Emotional marketing for strong brands

Feelings are involved not only with a romantic rendezvous but also with every purchase decision. Brands use this to their advantage – in emotional marketing. We explain what the marketing method is and how you can successfully use emotions in your advertising.

Joy, anger, sadness, surprise, pride – emotions are intense, reliable and hard to hold back. Or have you ever seen a wedding proposal in which the person in question remained completely emotionless? Admittedly, an extreme example. But it is precisely these spontaneous reactions that get under the skin that companies use in advertising. This is summarized under the term “emotional marketing”, which gives every campaign the decisive pep.

In this context, “decisive” is really to be understood in the most real sense of the word, because in the case of purchases and orders in both the B2C and B2B sectors, emotional impressions tend to tip the scales. Especially with almost interchangeable offers in competitive markets, the decision is made in favour of the provider that you remember (from advertising) and with whom you “feel most comfortable”, with whom “you have a good feeling”.

How does emotional marketing work?

Emotions are psychophysiological reactions that are triggered by an event or situation. They are accompanied by a noticeable physical change, for example of muscles, heartbeat or breathing. In a strict sense, emotions are, therefore, not the same as feelings. The latter occurs less in effect, but include a wide variety of psychological experiences.

  • Emotions: interest, disgust, love, envy, disappointment, joy, pride, etc.
  • Feelings: jealousy, insecurity, enthusiasm, melancholy, etc.

However, the terms are often equated. And in marketing, too, there is no clear distinction between emotions and feelings.

Emotions influence the decision to buy

Buying decisions are made with both halves of the brain. For his publication Descartes’ Error (review on Psychology Today), the American neuroscientist Antonio Damasio examined that the emotional component plays absolutely no subordinate role. For this purpose, he carried out a study with people whose connections between the left and right brain were broken.

The study participants were able to process the available information rationally but were not able to choose between different alternatives. To make a choice, you have to be able to find out how you think about the individual options or how you feel about them. The activity of the corresponding brain regions can be measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

About decision-making, emotional marketing comprises two aspects: First, it is about the customer rationally realizing that he needs a particular product. The research initially relates to information. When making the final purchase decision; however, feelings and emotions prevail (often unconsciously). In the B2C area, it may also be the case that the consumer does not need anything in principle, but develops a desire to buy through smart, emotional marketing.

Additional studies, called Psychology Today, have demonstrated that.

  • Feelings in the form of personal experiences come into play when evaluating brands and not the product-related facts.
  • The consumer’s emotional response to an advertisement has a far more significant impact on their intent to purchase than the content of the ad.
  • The sympathy for a particular brand, the best indicator is the extent to which advertising is to increase sales.
  • Positive emotions towards a brand have a more significant impact on customer loyalty than trust and judgments from others.

The more emotional the bond with a brand is, the more loyal the customer will be to it. So it’s worth investing in emotional marketing.

Emotional marketing in practice

The purpose of emotional marketing is to combine positive feelings with the brand message. The product is therefore not explained in terms of its technical properties, but rather in terms of customer benefit, which in turn evokes (hopefully pleasant) feelings among users. It is precisely these emotions that potential customers must feel immediately.

We have known this well enough from classic advertising, for example on television, from clean men shining into the camera, cheering children and sighing homemakers with a sigh of satisfaction. What was used quite strikingly in the 1970s often works a little differently Today? The desired feelings are awakened but more subtly than before.

Determine the target group

As in all other marketing areas, the target group should be narrowed down first. The better you know them, the more precisely emotional marketing can be tailored. Find out what makes your target group tick, what needs, what desires, what fears it has. The age structure and interests are also essential to find functioning starting points.

Find the right emotions.

Happiness, joy, enthusiasm – these are the feelings that advertisers want to trigger among the clientele. However, it is not enough to simply present these positive emotions. As we know from Antonio Damasio’s study, among other things, buying decisions mature through a perfect interaction of the different brain areas.

This means that the rational components must also be right, first of all, the quality of the product. Then it’s about finding emotions that match the product and brand being offered. For example, a married couple shaking with excitement doesn’t seem particularly credible when it comes to the next tax return. If a service provider offers help here, there is a feeling of relief.

Depending on the offer, negative emotions can also be linked to the product or service of the target group. For example, if a security service advertises particularly efficient burglary protection, emotions such as fear and discomfort are also present. The art is to convey a feeling of security that outweighs negative emotions.

The task of marketing is to find a credible situation and suitable emotions that help to describe the offer. Customers should find themselves in the case with their wishes and needs. When it comes to problem-solving products, there must be a solution with positive emotion that remains permanently connected to the brand.

Colour psychology in emotional marketing

Specific colours trigger individual associations and thus certain feelings. Although the taste of each customer is very different, there are particular properties of the colours that are supposed to have a relatively uniform effect on the psyche while blue is associated with calm and reason, among other things, red stands for passion and danger.

Knowledge of colour psychology can be used excellently in emotional marketing and should be taken into account, for example, when choosing an image background or the colour for the logo. For international campaigns, it is essential to know that colours may have different meanings in different cultures. And then, of course, there is always a personal aversion to specific colours.

Let pictures speak

Our brain takes pictures much faster than written or spoken words. And not only that: they are also stored much better and linked to the permanent information. If the first few seconds are decisive, an eye-catching image is indispensable – just as little as for the marketing message to have a lasting effect.

The images must also arouse the desired emotions among consumers and should be as authentic as possible. This means that your photos are best suited instead of images from image databases, which may also be found in the competition.

Search for starting points

Emotional marketing works particularly well if you build on what is already known. Positive memories come into question. The advertising often appeals to a happy childhood, which revives it briefly in advertisements and spots. Or the first big love, the first purchase with self-earned money etc. The awakened nostalgia should be fulfilled with the help of the brand associated with it. In reality, this does not always work for the buyer, but it does create the feeling that it could be – and that is enough.

Another option in emotional branding is the use of significant events, movements and megatrends. It can be a soccer World Cup or the Olympic Games, or maybe a film that draws millions into the cinemas – everything that arouses emotions in us. Since the “Fridays for Future” demonstrations at the latest, many people have reacted sensitively to climate and environmental protection issues, especially if they still have a regional connection.

The same applies here: it must fit the brand and the message. If it is too evident that a trend should benefit in all circumstances, the next shit stream is usually not far.

Tell stories

With storytelling, the most boring technical backgrounds can be packed into exciting stories. Every customer starts their head cinema; images are created in the subconscious that can be used for emotional marketing.

Emotional conditioning

This term from behavioural research is often used in connection with emotional marketing. It describes the process of combining two different stimuli and subsequent effects. This means that a brand (neutral stimulus) is always presented in combination with a particular emotion (emotional stimulus). After successful conditioning, the consumer will always automatically associate the previously neutral brand with the same feeling.

The link between the brand and the desired emotion can, as already mentioned, be brought about by appropriate images. Another possibility is direct verbatim statements. The best example: McDonald’s with its claim “I love it!” Visiting the fast-food chain means having a good time together (former claim: “Every time a good time”). Positive emotions are awakened through advertising and applications, which are then linked to the visit – and ultimately also to the McDonald’s brand.

Podcast

Cooperation marketing – opportunities for small businesses

If you want to survive in business competition, you have to look for allies in the long run. You can get this through cooperation marketing, which also offers small and medium-sized companies a lot of opportunities.

Having a brilliant business idea and getting it ready for the market is one thing. To win customers for this is quite another. And even if you have successfully placed your company, you can’t sit back and relax. Digitization, leaps and bounds in consumer behaviour and growing price sensitivity are forcing the most considerable flexibility that small companies can rarely afford on their own in the rarest of cases. If you want to be well-positioned for the future, you should think about cooperation marketing.

Cooperation marketing: focus on the target group.

The target group is the linchpin for future marketing cooperation. It has to be definedreachedconvinced and repeatedly wooed.

The most important prerequisite is, therefore, to know your customers and their needs. This is not as natural as it sounds. Young companies, in particular, often take their target group too far, so that they do not address them precisely. This is where an intensive target group analysis is helpful, to which you may need to consult a marketing expert.

The target group leads to possible cooperation partners. Because they should have access to the desired clientele or at least part of it, of course, the potential partner must not be a direct competitor but instead must offer something that complements their performance. If this is the case, the desired triple-win situation or win-win-win situation has been achieved. All three parties benefit the customer and cooperation partners one and two.

The target group should be limited as precisely as possible for cooperation marketing measures.

Brand cooperation goals

What do I want to achieve with cooperation? Advancing your own company with outside support and using synergy effects, in general terms. In practice, of course, concrete goals are required that can be plannedimplemented, and the results measured, including:

  • Increase awareness
  • Strengthen your image
  • Maximize sales
  • gain new clients
  • Increase range
  • open up new sales channels and sales markets
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Save costs
  • Expand offer
  • Add know-how

Most respondents clearly emphasize expanding the sales market. The points of competitiveness and knowledge are likely to become more critical in the future. This is suggested by at least one study by the digital association Bitkom :

Digitization as a cooperation project

“Four out of five companies cooperate with other companies to drive digitization,” is the conclusion of the Bitkom study. The motives behind it:

  • Knowledge transfer to your own company (48 percent)
  • Cost reduction (45 percent)
  • new markets (27 percent)
  • new customer groups (21 percent)
  • Develop new products or services (20 percent)
  • Pooling forces in the competition (18 per cent)

To a large extent, however, the cooperation only consists of outsourcing specific tasks for cost reasons. Bitkom general manager Bernhard Rohleder calls for “real cooperation” for the future so that the digital transformation in Germany succeeds. Cooperation “between global players, medium-sized companies and startups” is also essential.

However, one form of cooperation that has only become possible through digitization is already working well: reciprocal links to achieve a better ranking for your website.

Forms of cooperation marketing

Sponsoring is a particularly striking marketing cooperation

Cooperation marketing has many faces. There are rather striking models such as co-branding and sponsoring that catch the eye of many laypersons.

There are also more subtle forms that are hardly noticed by the public. The boundaries between individual measures cannot always be drawn. Many intersections can be beneficial in a cooperation marketing mix.

  • Affiliate Marketing: The affiliate partners advertise products and services of an e-commerce provider on their websites. If the link leads to a business transaction, a commission flows. The big advantage for small business owners: no financial risk.
  • Barter Deal: Barter (the short form) denotes a counter transaction in which no money flows, but services are exchanged.
  • Co-advertising: Two or more brands come together in a joint promotion, in which all are perceived individually.
  • Co-branding: At least two brands form a new product, but are still recognizable as independent brands.
  • Co-Events: The partners organize and finance an event for the joint target group.
  • Co-marketing: The partners bundle their marketing measures for a product or service to reduce costs. The advertised product can be a form of co-branding.
  • Co-promotions: At least two brands work together on this particular advertising measure. These can be information stands, competitions or the distribution of samples, for example.
  • Cross-selling (sales cooperation): The companies use the sales channels of the cooperation partner to reach new target groups.
  • C (S) R cooperation: The abbreviation stands for Corporate Social Responsibility, whereby the S for Social tends to be left out. The companies are involved in various areas such as childcare and the environment, which in turn can be achieved through different forms of cooperation.
  • Ingredient branding: The component of a product is made visible as a separate brand on the product and the packaging. Closely related to co-branding.
  • Licenses: The licensee receives the right to use the trademark (s) of the licensor for a fee.
Local branding limits cooperation marketing in one place.

Local branding: Suitable for companies whose marketing partners are mainly located in the same place. Based on the concept of regionality, however, local branding is not a separate form of cooperation, but somewhat limits the selected ways such as co-events and co-advertising to the local environment.

Media cooperation: A company cooperates with selected media. For example, collaboration can be such that the company provides information and receives editorial reporting.

Product placement: Better known as “product placement”, it is about placing products as elegantly as possible in the media, mainly films. Most significant risk: suspected surreptitious advertising.

Sponsoring: The company supports athletes, clubs or events financially and is named as a sponsor and receives advertising space.

Testimonial cooperation/influencer marketing: celebrities, influencers or bloggers advertise a product or service.

Which forms of cooperation are best suited depends on the objectives and groups as well as the requirements and financial opportunities of the companies involved? According to the marketing agency Connecting Brands, the most frequently implemented measure or form of cooperation marketing in Germany is co-promotion.

Find suitable cooperation partners.

Many companies get to a cooperation partner without really looking for one. A chance encounter triggers a conversation that ends in cooperation. That can work. However, a previous analysis and a targeted search for a suitable partner promise more success.

Own network

The best prospects are cooperation with a partner you already know. That is why your own business and private network is the first choice when searching. Not only are people with whom you deal every day, but also more extensive or less frequent contacts.

Customer database

In this regard, your customer database can also be a real gold mine, especially if employees with direct contact keep feeding them additional information. In this way, it is not only possible to filter which of the business customers offers which products and services, but also which one is already entering into cooperations or is thinking about a new collaboration.

Online

This is the method with the lowest inhibition threshold and the least effort if you do not yet know a potential cooperation partner. On the Internet, where a large part of the young companies are already at home, you can take a sneak peek and make contact.

Social media

Business partners have also found each other on Facebook. However, the first choice is business portals such as Xing or LinkedIn, where you can get the right contact person for the chosen company.

Contact exchanges

A more targeted search is possible via various contact exchanges, such as from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK)perspective SMEs and Biz Trade. This can also be used to search for successors, financing, licenses and company investments. There are more specific portals for individual sectors and regions, such as the city ​​of Munich’s cooperation platform

If you are looking for a suitable cooperation partner, it is worth considering all possible ways.

Chambers

If you like to get an overview of the various companies in a particular region yourself, you can search through the relevant registers of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Chambers of Crafts online. The stored company profiles reveal who is a potential cooperation partner.

Real-life networking

Networking events are offered in all major cities and can be found via city portals or Xing. You can also get opportunities to scan for partner suitability at industry meetings, congresses and trade fairs. The latter explicitly offer space for networking.

Influencing factors in cooperation marketing

The agency connecting brands also dealt with the factors in your study that are most promising for brand cooperation.

Partner choice

The choice of the right partner takes according to the study results, with 77 per cent of the main square one. The compatibility of the two companies must be checked carefully beforehand. It is not limited to the fact that products, services and objectives fit together. The sympathy bonus also plays a role. After all, one plans to work together over a more extended period.

Creative concepts

The creative cooperation concept follows in second place. It is not enough to bundle the activities. You need an approach that stands out from the crowd and offers customers real added value.

From marketing to management

This leads us almost directly to the desired win-win-win situation. However, the respondents rate the marketing of cooperation as more important than this. Because a campaign or campaign can be so good – it fizzles out silently if the target group does not notice it. Professional management is still classified with enormous influence.

Controlling

Controlling, which is treated somewhat neglected, is not directly responsible for the initial success of brand cooperation. Still, it does play an essential role in the course of the collaboration. Those responsible should continuously review the goals set so that they can be improved if necessary. In the event of adverse development, only the exit helps. This is noticed in good time by professional controlling so that no damage to the image occurs.

Cooperation marketing for small and medium-sized companies

Smaller and tiny companies, in particular, can benefit from cooperations, and in many cases are even dependent on them if they want to survive permanently. The idea is obvious to look for a cooperation partner from the “own league”. Often, especially in the context of digitization, it is necessary to look for partners who are much smaller or larger than your own company.

Companies of the same size

In some cases, it is advantageous if the cooperation partners have a similar number of employees and resources.

The three-person graphics office keeps getting inquiries as to whether it can also deliver texts. In cooperation with a small text agency, it can make a complete offer to customers. The writing partner can then offer his clientele an all-round carefree package with layout and illustration. In this way, both cooperation partners receive more orders, which, however, do not exceed their capacities.

According to Nils Pickenpack, pure marketing cooperation works best between larger companies that are at eye level. Here it makes the most sense for the process if the departments involved have similar capacities.

Startup and medium-sized companies

In the study series “Success Factors in Medium-Sized Enterprises “, Deloitte explicitly examined “Cooperations between Medium-Sized Enterprises and Startups “. The results of this study show that companies with between 50 and 3,000 employees and small companies with only a few employees are somewhat alien to one another. Still, there have already been many fruitful collaborations between these different cultural companies.

For small and medium-sized businesses and startups, cooperation can give just the right boost.

Different ideas

According to the study, both types of the company agree that cooperation in the areas of strategy, business model and innovation is necessary, but have different ideas. Medium-sized companies prefer a cooperation period of at least 36 months, whereas startups prefer one-off projects with an average duration of eight months.

Good chances of success

The Deloitte study mentions supplier relationshipsloose cooperation (for selected topics, which are usually not fixed in writing), pure project cooperation, and often longer-term and contractually regulated contractual partnership as promising cooperations for this partner constellation. Sometimes collaboration also leads to the creation of a joint venture or equity investment.

Practical example

Using the specific example of a medium-sized hardware company, the study shows what cooperation can look like in practice. As the hardware business is declining, the company is building a data centre. To be able to offer customers a broad portfolio of software services, the medium-sized company is cooperating with a startup for IT solutions that complement the offer.

Cooperation partner for large companies

Larger medium-sized companies have been working with corporations for a long time, for example, as classic suppliers for complex products such as machines or cars.

Even small startups are increasingly sought after as cooperation partners if they have products and services in their portfolio that corporations cannot offer. Some traditional business models no longer work with digitization. “Large companies are too sluggish to think out of the box,” explains Nils Pickenpack. For this reason, they cooperate with young startups, which in the following often leads to a takeover.

Startups often think “out of the box” and are, therefore, attractive cooperation partners for large companies that have often become sluggish.

Specifically, Nils Pickenpack mentions a car company as an example that secures entry into car-sharing or a specialized app via a startup. At Daimler, for example, this is done by participating in the mytaxi driver app.

Step by step to cooperation

Spontaneous collaborations can work, but in most cases, proper planning makes sense.

  • Assessment and analysis: To be able to enter into cooperation, I have to be clear about where my company is, what kind of collaboration it needs and what it can offer in return.
  • Objective: What do I want to achieve with cooperation? Do you want to open up new business areas for more new customers who bind existing customers better? Or a combination of several goals? The more precisely the goals are named, the greater the chances of success.
  • Looking for a partner : Once the first two points have been clarified, I can look for a suitable partner. The optimal candidate offers me what I need, is not a direct competitor and benefits from the offer that my company can make.
  • Establishing contact : The first contact is non-binding. If it becomes more concrete, it is necessary to get to know each other personally. In order to work well together, the employees involved not only have to harmonize professionally, they also have to be friendly. If my gut feeling speaks against it, it will be difficult with the cooperation.
  • Negotiations : At this point, the potential cooperation partners must deal openly with one another. Then the possibilities are explored. Skills, preferences, and capacities need to be on the table to pinpoint the framework for collaboration.
  • Fixation : For smaller cooperations or if I have known the partner for a long time, oral agreements may be sufficient. Otherwise, a written fixation makes sense. The common goals are defined in a concept. How should these be achieved? And who has to perform which services? How often do meetings take place? What should the controlling look like? This also includes regulations in the event of failure: How is unforeseen profit slumps, negative headlines of a partner dealt with? Who is liable and how? What happens if a partner has given false information or kept negative developments secret? When will the cooperation be terminated?
  • Success monitoring : Only a regular review can ensure that the goals set are also achieved. How this should be carried out should also be part of the written fixation.

UX storytelling: Make the user journey a hero journey

Storytelling can be used not only to tell stories in marketing but also in UX design. Staging the visitor’s customer journey as a hero journey can increase the conversion rate. We show how to do it.

The heroes of each story involuntarily embark on great adventures, fight villains, overcome unpredictable problems, receive unexpected help, and finally return home: wiser, more experienced, and usually quite tired. For thousands of years, people have been telling stories and experiencing the adventures, sufferings, and moments of happiness of others. Stories touch us. They make us sad or happy, angry, or satisfied.

UX designers have now recognized the potential of storytelling for their work. They use storytelling as a tool to trigger emotions among users. Visiting the website is quite like a hero’s journey. Because just like Frodo, who has to destroy the ring in “Lord of the Rings,” or how Arielle, the little mermaid, is pursuing her goal of living as a human being, every website user has a mission: if only a theater ticket to buy, to book a train ticket or to find out information.

The first impression counts

Which emotional journey user experiences when visiting a website depends heavily on the functionality of the page. The web design of the delivery service has different requirements than that of a hotel operator. And yet there are some basic rules. For example, a clear value proposition on the website decides whether a user chooses a product or a service. The first impression is significant. Therefore, the home page should convey the essential functions and a message.

To ensure this, website operators should test their site on first-time users and ask them what impressions they have: What feelings does the website trigger? What is its purpose? What added value? Companies with complex products and services face a particular challenge here because a sentence or two is often not enough to convey their value proposition.

Visual storytelling is particularly useful here, i.e., images, videos, illustrations. Because where texts take a few minutes to read, a user processes the photos within a few milliseconds. They convey emotions faster and more immediately. They build an emotional relationship with the product and explain abstract facts and universally. In contrast to stock photos, self-made photos increase the recognition value and thus the interest of the user.

Lemonade is an excellent example of this. On his homepage, visitors receive a clear value proposition: “Everything in a flash. Fragrant prices. Big heart.” Translated this means: fast, cheap, customer-friendly. A short video explains how the company differs from other insurance companies.

Navigation as a mentor

Clear navigation encourages you to click further on the website. Here companies should make sure that they choose the right terms. If “complaints” or “return” is given instead of “contact”, this triggers negative associations. The company often seems to be dealing with problems and defective products. UX designers should rename such terms or move them to the FAQ area. Second, times are often misleading. Navigation elements should be clearly and formulated. Creativity is out of place. Calling the donation area of ​​a website “doing good”, for example, can be misleading. Is the user doing good himself? Then what does that mean? In the worst case, someone visits the website to donate – and leaves it again,

For a user to achieve his goal without problems, he needs a precise orientation. Because, unlike books or films, he does not experience the history of a website linearly. The user has to choose between different options on each page. Does he click on the link in the text? Or does he return to the home page? A good UX design always shows the right, i.e., the shortest route. Companies often make the mistake of wanting to present all sections of their website on their homepage. But that seems confusing and overwhelming. You should instead give users a clear starting point and then guide them to the goal as linearly as possible, for example, through a clear call-to-action, through interaction elements or directly through minimalist design.

A comparison of the interface designs of German and Swedish railways shows the difference: At Deutsche Bahn, users have too many different interaction options. The Swedish railways, on the other hand, provide a clear starting point by placing the simple question, “Where do you want to go?” Very large and prominent. By restricting the choice for users, it provides a clear direction.

Motivate to be a hero

Users have to be motivated again and again on their journey through a website so that they do not lose interest. Especially if you are visiting the site for the first time and you are new to the company and its product or service. Users are motivated by encouraging them to keep clicking. For example, by cliffhangers, like the open end of every Netflix series. Teasers at the bottom of a page cause visitors to continue scrolling. Among other things, UX designers can easily place part of the following content at the bottom of the page. But be careful: If there are apparent gaps when scrolling, users may overlook the content.

Less is more, as the comparison of the UX design of German and Swedish rail shows: While Deutsche Bahn overwhelms its users with too many interaction options, the website of the Swedish rail gives a more precise orientation through a reduced, minimalist design.

Texts should also motivate. Numerous studies on reading behavior on the Internet have already shown that Internet users are mainly skim-reading today. Because their attention span is also decreasing, UX designers have to design bright and clear websites. For this reason, a good UX design does not have long body texts. And if it does, then only with precise subheadings and pictures. In this way, users can orient themselves on the various focus points. Also, designers should place content on the left or in the middle, since users are used to reading from left to right and therefore typically scan a page in a Z or F pattern.

Smooth usage delivers a good user experience. However, this is not a unique selling point. But what makes a website unique? Good stories! Therefore, the success of a web design today depends not only on the functionality but, above all, on whether it generates emotions, the best positive one. Some brands do this by touching the user through pictures and videos, through their speech and choice of words. The messenger service Slack has found a proper implementation: It welcomes its users in a friendly manner, motivates the participants, has apparent features that everyone understands intuitively. The Mailchimp platform also shows how emotions can be aroused by celebrating the successful sending of an email campaign with a fun animation.

But which feature works? When do users feel motivated when do they lose interest? Do users understand the content or message of the company? It is all about finding out as early as possible. The basis of good UX design is, therefore, communication with users in the form of tests or surveys. Designers need to understand how users interact with a website and how each feature affects them.

To optimize the websites, a more detailed test in which the users are observed is suitable. These tests show how well an interface design supports the user in his mission – and what hinders him. Based on these results, UX designers can create personas, a kind of prototype for the target group. They also make it possible to generate a detailed customer journey map, in which the needs of users and customers are recorded so that they can better understand their decisions.

Conclusion

Storytelling offers many ideas for a successful user experience design. Anyone who sees their users as heroes who experience the visit to the website as a journey to a specific destination can offer them a bright, appealing, and exciting design of their website. With visual surprise elements, a positive and emotional response as well as the simple presentation of complex content, users have fun clicking and scrolling.

Podcast

Why a strategy is needed for online marketing

Marketing online without a strategy is like a ship without a steering wheel and compass that is torn apart by the wind. The online marketing strategy helps to select the right channels, to use them correctly and to set priorities.

In online marketing, in particular, countless routes can be taken. The strategy accordingly brings a shared understanding of where the journey should go. 

Because without clear objectives, resources such as time and money cannot be used efficiently, and projects can only be assessed insufficiently. 

If the strategy is lacking in advance, it is also challenging to measure later successes and derive further measures from them. 

Often there is no common thread in corporate communication so that the customer does not perceive the brand on different touchpoints as one unit. 

Holistic marketing approach

Often, it is not only online and offline communicated differently, but also within related areas in online marketing, such as on the website, in social media, in the newsletter and online advertising. 

This happens when the different departments in the company do not work together and do not have a common understanding through a predefined strategy. For this reason, it is essential to show that holistic online marketing can only be successful if everyone rows in the same direction and knows the destination of the trip.

The strategy also ensures that resources are used more efficiently if the funds are used sustainably through a clear objective

Excellent team coordination prevents tasks from being duplicated and additional resources being wasted. 

With a rigorous approach, measures can be successfully implemented so that effort and income are ultimately balanced

Addressing the right target group

Perhaps you are familiar with this situation: You know that you want to attract more visitors to your website and therefore generate more sales.

But you probably have not (yet) wondered which users should be addressed, what their search intent is and whether their search needs and expectations are met when visiting the website. 

This also raises the question of whether more traffic on the page brings the desired added value. Or whether other factors such as relevant content and thus SEO visibility, user behaviour or selection of keywords play a role in search ads

After all, a short visit to the website alone is not enough to increase sales. The goal is always to trigger interactions with the customer, e.g. via contact inquiries, newsletter registration, order confirmations, etc.

Collect data about user behaviour

Interactions on the website provide clues about user needs and at the same time, generate relevant data about user behaviour.

The data collected not only help you to understand your target group better, but also minimize wastage. 

If you cannot pinpoint your target group and you do not know which channels they are on, you may reach people who do not belong to the target group and thus unnecessarily increase your advertising costs

But to find out which data is relevant, you need a strategy with clear goals.

Without a strategy, it is difficult to find out which goal is being worked towards and how promising the activities are. 

Also, new opportunities can be discovered when developing a strategy by collecting comprehensive insights about the business area, its market and its target group, as well as needs. 

Instead of merely creating classic target groups or buyer personas with socio-demographic characteristics such as gender, age, income, marital status or school education, the findings can also be grouped and assigned to so-called user types

Components of an online marketing strategy

For example, the following characteristics can be analyzed:

  1. User
    needs What are the different needs of the individual user types? 

    Motives like motivators or intentions are interesting here, why someone should buy or use the desired product or service. 

    Think about the different interests of your target groups and how you can best address them. 

    Ideally, the needs and motivations are based on real (online) data and are coordinated with the micro-moment journey (cf. blog post The 4 micro-moments of Google search queries and their influence on SEO ). Then give your user types meaningful names that make it easier for you to assign them.
  2. Channels
    On which channels and platforms can the different user types be found? 

    Based on the needs and interests, you can derive which advertising options appeal to your user types. 

    This will help you find out whether you can reach your target groups, for example, through email marketing, affiliate marketing, viral marketing, social media marketing and / or search engine marketing.
  3. Promotional touchpoints
    How online-savvy is your target group?

    Ask yourself whether the user type uses online or offline media (social media, TV, print, etc.), how often he does this and which formats they are (reviews, blog posts, apps, on-demand solutions, etc.) ).

    Address your target groups wherever they are and spend money.
  4. Messages
    To which content does the user type react positively or possibly negatively?

    You reach environmentally conscious people by emphasizing resource-saving and sustainable advantages. Bargain hunters, on the other hand, react particularly with content with cheap offers and bargains.

    Think of suitable messages for your user type, which can help you, for example, to write the right advertising messages.
  5. Key figures
    Determine suitable key figures how you want to measure the success of the goals for your user types later.

    The online strategy helps you to find suitable KPIs and optimize them.

Market and target group-specific analyzes help to refine the strategy and increase the success of marketing measures. 

A look at the existing customer data and the information collected on the website also help with the evaluation and structuring of relevant information. 

Use all possible data sources such as your CRM tool and tools from third-party providers such as Google Analytics, Search Console from Google, Facebook Insights, Youtube, Pinterest or Instagram Analytics and look for any abnormalities and similarities in user behaviour and the characteristics of your customers. 

Don’t forget to audit your existing website, social media channels and marketing activities. Because how do you optimize your performance if you do not know where your strengths and weaknesses? An initial audit also serves as a “zero measurement” to measure the success of optimization measures.

We now know that many roads lead to Rome. But only through a well-developed strategy can you know which of these is the most efficient

Of course, you can try many different paths without a guide to see which one is the right one. But you lose a lot of time and money. 

The relevant tools such as a compass, world map and weather forecasts, on the other hand, take you to the safe harbour without any major detours. 

So use the right tools in online marketing and plan your trip.

Conclusion

There are six good reasons why a strategy is needed in online marketing:

  1. The plan is trend-setting and sets priorities
  2. It creates a shared understanding of where the journey should go
  3. It reveals opportunities and potential
  4. The strategy helps better to understand target groups and markets and their needs
  5. Potential customers can be addressed with the right message at the right time
  6. The overarching strategy not only saves time and money but also supports you in optimizing your goals

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The 4 micro-moments of Google search queries. And their impact on SEO

Since the advent of smartphones, more and more users have been using search engines on the spur of the moment and are making a search query ( micro-moment ) in the middle of everyday life. According to Google, most searches fall into one of four main categories (search intentions).

The four main types of micro-moments:

  • You want to know something (e.g., from Wikipedia)
  • You want to go somewhere (Google Maps, route planner)
  • You want to do something (How-to YouTube guide)
  • You want to buy something (e-commerce shopping)

Depending on the search intent, the hit list shows explanatory information or a map, instructions, or online shops.

If your website content is to appear high up on search engines, the individual user need must be known and how Google responds to it.

“Micro-Moments” summary

Consumer behavior has changed . Especially since the spread of smartphones. These are available to us at any time and are ideally suited to answer any questions of everyday life. Whether from a discussion, when looking for an address, a guide, or when comparing prices, we always pull out our mobile device and spontaneously look for a solution ( intent-driven micro-moments).

The search query is communicated to Google by voice control or text, and the answer appears as the appropriate result.

To appear at the top of the hit list in these crucial moments, suitable content must satisfy the search intent of the user. If all questions of the searcher are answered, his user behavior will signal this (eg, put away the smartphone, do not return to the hit list after visiting a website), and Google will rate the result shown as right.

For subsequent searches by other users with a similar search profile, Google will again consider the result that satisfied the corresponding search intent in previous searches.

Decisions in the micro-moments determine the success or failure of web offers.

How Google sorts the hit list by relevance

Using various dimensions such as the location of the user, the end device used, the search history, and the useful search content (topics, keywords, and their semantic context), Google tries to identify in milliseconds what the search intent of the user is.

The information about the search intent makes it easier to sort the possible hits by relevance. Olaf Kopp has clearly described this connection in a  blog post with our software partner Searchmetrics.

So if you want to optimize your content for high visibility in search enginesyou have to identify the search intent of potential prospects.

Then you can publish appropriate content: If you are looking for information about a purchase, you may be interested in the price comparison. Anyone who has already made the purchase decision is looking for an e-commerce shop. That is diametrically different content. On a single page, you will probably not be able to satisfy both search needs in a targeted manner.

Does your information offer answer the most burning questions of users?

The perfect search engine understands precisely what you want to know and delivers the exact result you want.

Larry Page, Google Co-Founder, 2002 (!)

How Google judges the quality of content

But how does Google find out what the relevant answers are to users’ questions?

RankBrain is Google’s filtering algorithm, which brings together the intent of searchers and the context of content in the search results list (to put it very simply).

The Google Quality Rating Guidelines are an excellent source for understanding Google’s demands for good content. One hundred eighty pages define what a good search result is.

The manual testers not only assess the actual websites but also whether they meet the user’s search needs. The inspectors are not only presented with search result lists for assessment, but also with the identified user intent!

Does the content meet Google’s “Quality Rating Guidelines”?

Accordingly, you should put yourself in the position of readers when writing content :

  • What is your search intent?
  • Which of the four micro-moments does your search belong to?
  • Does the published content meet the user’s need at the critical moment?

If the search intent is not met, the readers will leave the found website and switch back to the hit list (referred to as “pogo-sticking”). Google sees this as a negative signal, since the user has probably not found what he was looking for.

The four micro-moments of Google search queries

Google developed the concept of micro-moments to explain the differences between search queries on mobile and desktop: Because the device is always at hand and everywhere and logged in, searches on smartphones often have a secure context, for example, where and when.

Real-time, intent-driven micro-moments are the new battlegrounds.

Joseph Corral, Head of Marketing for Micro-Moments, Google

Joseph has confirmed BlueGlass CEO Raphael Bienz that users click less and less on the 2nd or 3rd page of the Google hit list: They prefer to modify their search if the desired result does not appear on the first page!

According to Google, the average search intention can be divided into four main types:

  • I want to know (curiosity, need for information)
  • I-Want-to-Do (trigger action, seek advice, find support)
  • I-Want-to-buy (something to buy)
  • I-Want-to-Go (physically go anywhere)

If you search for “BVB,” for example, information about the Borussia Dortmund football club is displayed (I-Want-to-Know Moment). On the other hand, if you are looking for “BVB jersey,” transactional information from e-commerce shops (I-Want-to-Buy Moment) appears.

Google search for “BVB jersey” with an overlay of e-commerce shops

Google search for “BVB jersey” with overlay of e-commerce shops

If you search for “BVB” again, in contrast to the first search, new advertisements appear that try to skim off a possible purchase intention. For this, Google refers to the search history with the previous search “BVB jersey.”

Micro-Moments Examples “Travel” and “E-Bike”

Every website operator has to break down the micro-moment principle individually to his serviceGoogle offers comprehensive examples and statistics for the travel environment.

Micro moments for booking trips

The identified user needs serve as guidelines for the creation of web content (content marketing): Typically, you should offer a content-relevant page for each topic or question, if possible with explanations, photos, illustrations and, for example, video interviews with product managers or suppliers and producers ( Rich content).

It merely has to be the best website on the internet for a specific question. Then Google will consider the content prominently: If the page answers the topic or question comprehensively and conclusively, the user will be satisfied with it (e.g., long-form content, relevant listicles, good video).

Google registers the excellent usability and then shows the page for the same question from other searchers above in the hit list.

The SEO visibility rises so. If the search snippet is also well written in the hit list (title and description tag), the click rate will increase (CTR) and thus the number of organic visitors to the website.

How do you find the relevant questions for the micro-moments?

The possible decision-making processes of prospective customers and customers (user journeys) can be derived intuitively, or various tools can be used to support them. Google Autosuggest offers practical and free help by supplementing search queries with similar searches.

Also, at the bottom of the search hit list is a list of other searches related to the search term. These are based on statistical data and allow conclusions to be drawn about possible user needs.

Answer The Public also offers keyword evaluations free of charge. Theme trees and other possible questions can be derived from this.

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