Invest In Video! And Four Other Digital Resolutions For 2015

We polled our media, communications, video, analytics, and tech teams, and here are five things you should most definitely be doing in 2015.

1: Grow your community
Evan Moody, Senior Media Strategist

If you’re not investing at least 25% of your advertising budget in email acquisition year-round, you may not be getting the payout you’re capable of. An “always on” strategy can help you find efficiencies in your paid media budget over time and ensure that your community is growing at a healthy pace with the right people.

The bigger the community and more committed the community, the more you can drive action. Don’t forget to send your new sign-ups an email welcome series to get them up to speed and hooked on you right away.

2: Think like an editor
Andrew Rothman, Director of Communications

Digital enables—perhaps even requires—every organization and brand to be a publisher. And the backbone of a successful digital program is a robust content calendar that’s planned far in advance. This ensures you’re telling a compelling, cohesive story across all your digital properties. How to do it in four easy steps:

  1. Organize your calendar around upcoming milestones, events, and campaigns.
  2. Then fill in the gaps with engaging content that supports your strategic objectives.
  3. Make a plan to develop and publish the content, including research, design, distribution, and promotion.
  4. Don’t forget to revisit and revise as you learn more about what resonates with your audience.

So… what about timeliness and spontaneity? Hey, if you’ve already got your week’s worth of content planned and written, you’ll have plenty of time to respond to news, developments, and emerging trends.

3: Invest in video
Jessica Lacombe, Director of Video

By 2020, online video is set to make up 75% of all consumer internet traffic, according to a report from Percolate. We’ve seen audiences break free from desktops, and mobile video now accounts for 25% of online video viewership. Let 2015 be the year that your organization engages, entertains, surprises and rallies your audience with video storytelling.

A good advertising video will take your story and visualize it in a memorable way that drives a desired action. According to an infographic by Quicksprout, videos increase people’s understanding of brand products or services by 74%.

While many organizations view video content as cost prohibitive, the ROI tells us it’s worth the investment. Research has shown that 75% of audiences will visit a marketer’s website after seeing an online video, and use of the term “video” in an email causes open rates to double, while click-through rates increase 2-3 times when an email contains video content.

4: Integrate your systems
Jack Steadman, Director of Web & Product Development

Want a competitive advantage in 2015?

Most organizations and brands use data collected from their constituents to refine messaging and drive future, smarter action. A person’s pattern of email opens, clicks, signups, and online actions, which are at the core of a digital CRM platform, tells you a lot about the best way to connect with them.

But you can do so much more—as long as your data and technology systems are integrated. Is your direct mail database talking to your digital CRM? Is e-commerce connected to the master CRM? What about tickets and offline event attendance?

Integrating all of these systems—and in some cases, making sure to collect the right bits of information to support matching between systems—will give you a deeper view of your audience and their tendencies. Maybe the right time to ask for a donation or purchase is a week after a T-shirt was delivered or an event was attended. Maybe your strongest advocate mails you a check or goes into your store, and it’s a specific email that prompts them.

For partners like the Sierra Club, EMILY’s List, and Starbucks, we’ve helped create new technology and platforms that integrate their multiple systems and not only improve and personalize the user experience for their audience, but provide internal teams with invaluable data on their constituents’ behavior to drive smarter programs. What steps can you take in this new year to get your systems to talk to one another to truly leverage the power of smart data?

5: Create a long-term testing plan
Micah Wilson, Director of Analytics

I’m sure you learned a lot in 2014—what your audience responds to, how to optimize your website, how frequently to message your audience.

Now I’m asking you to challenge it all. You should always be testing to see what’s delivering the most conversions. It changes constantly.

The good news is that digital channels provide a great opportunity to make small, inexpensive bets on distinct content variations before doubling-down on the version proven by the data to be most effective. A/B testing, i.e. testing two variations of an email, ad, or webpage to randomly selected samples of your audience, helps you quickly identify the most effective piece of content or design.

The value of this type of testing increases exponentially when each individual test informs the strategy for the next test, using each piece of content as a building block for a more effective campaign. Develop a long-term strategic testing plan that outlines each test over the course of a campaign to ensure that the learnings accumulate as you go.

But, remember, digital marketing best practices only work until they don’t, and the only way to stay ahead of the curve is to keep proving effectiveness with data.

Have additional resolutions? We’ve love to hear them. Join us on Twitter using #DigitalResolutions.