How to reinvent your digital marketing

reinvent your digital marketing

What are the latest trends in digital marketing?  How can you learn more about your digital readers from their behaviour and target them with advertising and promotions?  What’s the best practice in social media and enlisting influencers in your market? What’s involved in marketing to enterprises rather than individuals? How can you refresh your email marketing?

These were the questions tackled by a team of top marketers: Shane Redding, MD of Think Direct, Carola York, VP Publishing at Jellyfish and Renee Doegar, Commercial Director at London Review of Books at Making Publishing Pay in London.  They shared the latest thinking in digital marketing with an audience of both consumer and b2b media professionals and fielded plenty of questions.  Here’s the highlights:

Shane Redding – Finding the whales

In B2B media, as with all B2B marketing, the big enterprise accounts matter.  And part of the role of marketers is using data to locate the “whales” and work out what is the opportunity.  Take the time to analyse your history and really understand what the largest clients require.  And are there sectors that you are not currently selling into that could become lucrative?

Having located your whales, can they find you?  It’s worth completely rethinking your inbound marketing strategy.  In many B2B sectors the people charged with researching new suppliers may well be recent graduates who are more comfortable with mobile and highly influenced by good design.  They may even be using voice search.  Does your content marketing meet their preferences?  Shane’s recommended read is  Social Selling by Tim Hughes, which focuses on influencing buyers.

Once found, be aware that you may have to negotiate a procurement process and get on a preferred supplier list.  Enterprises buy in a more complex way, with several decision makers, so be ready for this.

Chatbots are worth considering for B2B conferences and high value subscriptions.  They can be very effective in converting web browsers into qualified leads, whether run by humans or AI.  Insights from the live chat feed can also help you redesign your website so people find what they need.

Once you have a lead, or indeed a new customer, you need to impress them.  Customised content can provide a tailored service.  B2B Marketing is using Webeo to tailor its web content to suit visitors from the US, giving them a different experience to UK visitors, and showing client cases relevant to their sector. Personalisation has been shown to increase dwell time by 300% and enhance lead conversion by 5%.

Carola York – Learning from web visitors

There’s far more data to be gathered than you might realise from your anonymous, unregistered visitors.  The first step is ensuring that you maximise first party cookie consent, so that you are accurately recording return visits.  It’s even worth testing the effect of different cookie consent banners and wording.

There’s a free tool from Google which helps media organisations work out where they rate on data maturity – and what steps to take next.  You may need to focus on reader engagement or growing reader revenue.

Publishers can build on their Google Analytics 360 account to get more granular detail on visitors and develop distinct segments within their audience.

A South African news group aggregated data on all its online media brands and created audience segments which were easier for advertisers to target across all its news sites.

A deeper understanding of audience segments can also help with a paywall or subscription-based strategy.  A specialist financial publisher divided its visitors into four groups: “bouncers”, “skimmers”, “procrastinators” and “fans.”  They learnt which content drove visitors towards becoming “fans.”  They can now also focus their re-marketing efforts on advocates rather than detractors and are building engagement.

Google’s News Consumer Insights tool is free and can segment your Google Analytics data into Casuals, Loyals, Brand Lovers and you can then add in Subscribers.

You can then track the behaviour of your visitors in each segment against benchmarks and identify your priorities for moving people from one segment to another, converting Casuals to Loyals and Loyals to Brand Lovers.  It is also possible to analyse which traffic sources are most likely to deliver the more loyal readers.

So data can provide highly valuable insights into the early part of your funnel, before visitors register.  But it is essential to foster collaboration between marketing, editorial and commercial teams so that you are set up to act on the insights you discover.

Renee Doegar – the real value of email marketing

London Review of Books has grown its subscription revenues consistently over several years.  They have a very clear view of the lifetime value of a subscriber and use email marketing as a key channel to drive subscriptions.

Renee has used the LTV to calculate the value of an email address – it’s £1.14 pa – based on a long-term conversion rate of 7% of email addresses becoming paying subscribers.  This puts the focus on building the email list.  LRB has a metered paywall – visitors can read a limited number of articles if they register – this is an excellent source of email addresses.

Thousands of new emails are added each month, and they receive a regular newsletter with on average 30% open rates.  Over time, 7% become paying subscribers.  Renee maps out the registration journey in detail and new sign-ups receive a tailored welcome programme.  All aspects of the email programme are continually tested.

Social channels are pushed through the email campaigns to encourage greater engagement.  Social media engagements are growing fast and now bring in 3% of new business.  Email subscriptions are up 24% year on year and generate 7% of new business.

LRB have used their highly engaged email audience to launch a new business, the LRB store, selling merchandise and printed compilation books to their core audience.  In its first year, the shop sold £150k of products, all promoted via email.

Renee’s top tips were to listen to your audience, measure campaigns in real time, and test endlessly.


So there are plenty of new techniques for digital marketers to use.

  • Identifying enterprise customers and tailoring online content to attract them
  • Making the most of the data available on the behaviour of online audiences and nudging them towards greater engagement and loyalty
  • Actively building an email list, plotting journeys and testing new approaches to sell both subscriptions and related merchandise.

If you’d like to discuss how to make more of your digital marketing, feel free to contact the speakers directly, or get in touch to fix an informal conversation over the phone or over a coffee to discuss your own marketing objectives.

About the author

Carolyn Morgan has bought, sold, launched and grown specialist media businesses across print, digital and live events.  A founder of the Specialist Media Show (sold in 2014) she now advises media businesses large and small on their digital strategy through her consultancy Speciall Media.

Read more about Carolyn

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