THE DM CODE

A Digital Marketer’s Guide to Humanity!

Don’t Hurt the World.

Rating the level of danger on a scale of 1-5 where 5 is highly dangerous and 1 is not dangerous at all, I think the level of danger for the current model of online advertising is a 4. I think online advertising clutters our minds with so many images and messages, it’s pervasive, intrusive, and invasive. Online ads are considered to be so annoying that people dole out massive amounts of money to sites such as YouTube, Hulu, Kindle, Spotify, etc. just to avoid them. 

I Get Overwhelmed!

According to this article, “People are “objectified” by the advertising industry, they are wanted for one thing: to buy the product or service. Everything that makes us human is reduced to that of a consumer.” The negative effects of online advertising on society include but is not limited to: 

  • Data exploitation
  • Privacy breach
  • Enforcing negative stereotypes
  • Creating a sense of discontentment
  • Inspiring stress in our relationships with ourselves and others
  • Influencing us to spend money we do not have
  • Persuading us to purchase things we do not need
  • Exploiting our vulnerabilities
Be Human

Living in a post-Cambridge Analytica world, consumers are filled with great distrust for tech companies and the marketers that advertise on their sites and/or apps. And without transparency and trust, it is near-impossible to build lasting brand-loyalty. According to this New York Times article, “All over the internet, general fakery abounds — there are millions of fake followers on Twitter and Facebook, fake rehab centers being touted on Google and even fake review sites to sell you a mattress.” It is for these reasons and more that I have come up with the DIGITAL MARKETER CODE OF ETHICS (also known as the DM CODE). As Marketers, we must, like doctors, DO NO HARM by avoiding harmful actions and obeying the laws and regulations that guide our profession and businesses. We must also strive to regain the trust of consumers by religiously following the DM CODE:

“The Time Is Always Right To Do What Is Right” – Martin Luther King

CODE 1

HONESTY – to be forthright in dealings with customers and stakeholders.  To this end, we will:

  • Strive to be truthful in all situations and at all times.
  • Offer products of value that do what we claim in our communications.
  • Stand behind our products if they fail to deliver their claimed benefits.
  • Honor our explicit and implicit commitments and promises.
Still the Best Policy!

CODE 2

TRANSPARENCY – to create a spirit of openness in marketing operations. To this end, we will:

  • Strive to communicate clearly with all constituencies.
  • Accept constructive criticism from customers and other stakeholders.
  • Explain and take appropriate action regarding significant product or service risks, component substitutions or other foreseeable eventualities that could affect customers or their perception of the purchase decision.
  • Disclose list prices and terms of financing as well as available price deals and adjustments.
“In the kingdom of glass everything is transparent, and there is no place to hide a dark heart.” ― Vera Nazarian

CODE 3:

FAIRNESS – to balance justly the needs of the buyer with the interests of the seller.  To this end, we will:

  • Represent products in a clear way in selling, advertising and other forms of communication; this includes the avoidance of false, misleading and deceptive promotion.
  • Reject manipulations and sales tactics that harm customer trust.
  • Refuse to engage in price fixing, predatory pricing, price gouging or “bait-and-switch” tactics.
  • Avoid knowing participation in conflicts of interest.
  • Seek to protect the private information of customers, employees and partners.
“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

CODE 4:

RESPECT – to acknowledge the basic human dignity of all stakeholders.  To this end, we will:

  • Value individual differences and avoid stereotyping customers or depicting demographic groups (e.g., gender, race, sexual orientation) in a negative or dehumanizing way.
  • Listen to the needs of customers and make all reasonable efforts to monitor and improve their satisfaction on an ongoing basis.
  • Make every effort to understand and respectfully treat buyers, suppliers, intermediaries and distributors from all cultures.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of others, such as consultants, employees and coworkers, to marketing endeavors.
  • Treat everyone, including our competitors, as we would wish to be treated.
It costs $0.00 to treat someone with respect.

CODE 5:

RESPONSIBILITY – to accept the consequences of our marketing decisions and strategies.  To this end, we will:

  • Strive to serve the needs of customers.
  • Avoid using coercion with all stakeholders.
  • Acknowledge the social obligations to stakeholders that come with increased marketing and economic power.
  • Recognize our special commitments to vulnerable market segments such as children, seniors, the economically impoverished, market illiterates and others who may be substantially disadvantaged.
  • Consider environmental stewardship in our decision-making.
“The reason people blame things on the previous generation is that there’s only one other choice.” ~ Doug Larson.

CODE 6:

CITIZENSHIP – to fulfill the economic, legal, philanthropic and societal responsibilities that serve stakeholders.  To this end, we will:

  • Strive to protect the ecological environment in the execution of marketing campaigns.
  • Give back to the community through volunteerism and charitable donations.
  • Contribute to the overall betterment of marketing and its reputation. 
  • Urge supply chain members to ensure that trade is fair for all participants, including producers in developing countries.
“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” – Henry David Thoreau

In conclusion, I believe that unethical online advertising threatens the quality of all communication and consequently the well‐being of individuals and the society in which we live.

References:

Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/technology/internet-advertising-business.html

Facebook faces a reputational meltdown.  https://www.economist.com/leaders/2018/03/22/facebook-faces-a-reputational-meltdown

Codes of Conduct | AMA Statement of Ethics. https://www.ama.org/codes-of-conduct/

Statement of Ethics. http://www.amagvsu.com/statement-of-ethics.html

The Murky Ethics of Data Gathering in a Post-Cambridge Analytica World. https://www.ama.org/marketing-news/the-murky-ethics-of-data-gathering-in-a-post-cambridge-analytica-world/

The Negative Influence of Advertising. https://bizfluent.com/info-8196648-negative-influence-advertising.html

What To Do When Your Webpage Doesn’t Rank

Don’t Give Up!

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way (the way!) for people to find your webpage through a Google Search. Almost every other internet experience begins with a search engine query. The top result on Google has a 33% chance of getting clicked.

Astonishingly, 75% people won’t even click on the second page of the search results.

The reason why other websites are ranking higher than yours on Google is because they are making a conscious effort to improve their SEO.

If you want better website traffic, Google’s first page is where you want to be.

As a marketer, you’re probably wondering: “I’ve launched my client’s website, I’ve provided quality, engaging content, I’ve done everything right. Why isn’t my webpage ranking?”. If you have these questions, or are close to giving up completely, I’m glad you found my page. Here are 5 reasons why your webpage isn’t ranking, and 5 things you could do when your Webpage doesn’t rank:

  • Content Length: Long-form content is considered to give more value to users. So, Google looks for and loves webpages with long text content. If your webpage provides all the information needed for a particular topic, it means your visitors get all they need in one page and they don’t need to visit more pages to get the answer to their question.
  • Tough Competition: If your target keywords are highly competitive keywords, it will take longer and more in-depth work for your webpage to reach Google’s first page. Websites fail to rank because their target keywords are highly competitive keywords. In order to reach the first page, your website needs to provide stronger content and be overall better than the competition’s. An example of a highly competitive keyword is “best laptops”. As you can see in the screenshot below, big, established, and popular computer websites like hp.com and Microsoft.com have dominated this first page. Their websites have millions of inbound links from thousands of domains. You need to use software like  MozMajestic or Ahrefs to comprehend the level of competition for your chosen keyword before you start creating content.
  • Improve Your Page Loading Speed: It’s extremely important to optimize both your page speed and server response time. If the loading time of your page is too slow, Google would recognize it, and it could harm your webpage’s ranking. A slow webpage negatively impacts your visitors’ overall user experience. This negative experience will also affect your ranking. Below, is a quick look at how users abandon slow loading pages. Research shows 53% of visitors will abandon websites if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. To make things worse, a shocking 80% of those visitors won’t return to that website. This is definitely bad news for your SEO ranking because it eventually kills traffic to your website and foils your overall conversion goals. To avoid this, test the speed of your website, using online services like Pingdom, which is available for free. This helps you test your website from different locations all over the world. If your webpage loads fast, people will keep coming back. If people keep coming back, Google’s algorithm will recognize your website’s popularity and adjust your search ranking accordingly.
  • High Quality Content: Frequently updated websites tend to fair better. Also, you need high quality, recent, and relevant content to improve your ranking. Dwell Time is how much time people spend on your website per visit. If your site has fresh, exciting, or newsworthy information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and improve your website’s dwell time. If your webpage provides highly informative content, it will have long dwell times. Google Chrome controls nearly 45% of the internet browser market share, making it the most popular browser in the world. To date, Chrome remains the most downloaded browser in the US. When users bookmark your website from a Google Chrome browser, it can help your SEO ranking. Visitors tend to bookmark webpages with noteworthy content!
  • Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices: Finally, mobile use is on the rise. Mobile vs. Desktop usage in 2019 shows that “for most sites, the majority of their traffic comes from mobile devices. This is a critical fact of life for all business and media websites.” Mobile use has in fact overtaken the use of computers and laptops. Because Google acknowledges this fact, it ranks sites accordingly. The better your website is optimized for mobile users, the higher it’d rank. Interestingly, over 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile users, it will most certainly hurt your ranking. Make your webpage mobile user friendly to increase your webpage ranking.

Additionally, Dwell Time is increased on mobile which is good news for your SEO ranking!

P.S: To know where you currently stand in Google’s search results, you can use tools like SERPs.com to check where a site page ranks for a certain keyword or term.

P.S.S: Next week, we would look at 5 more things you could do to increase your Webpage Ranking. See you!

References:
“34 Ways To Improve SEO Rankings in 2019.” Quicksprout, 29 July 2019, www.quicksprout.com/ways-to-improve-seo-ranking/

Chapter 4: “On-Site SEO” Digital Marketing Essentials, by Jeff Larson and Stuart Draper, Publishing by Edify, 2018.

5 Ways to Increase Landing Page Conversions

Looking to boost conversions on your website? Remember these 3 words: DESIGN! DESIGN!! DESIGN!!!. According to research from Stanford University, 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the top criteria for deciding if a company is credible or not. So, it’s extremely important that your design looks professional. 

Landing pages are created with the intent of converting site visitors into sales. Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal (a conversion) out of the total number of visitors. A high conversion rate is indicative of successful marketing and web design. 

Here are 5 easy ways you can increase your landing page conversions: 

  1.  Design for Usability: Usability is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use. Websites should be designed so that the average user (ideally, the below-average user) can find what they’re looking for or accomplish what they want without too much thought or work and without making too many wrong clicks. Increase usability to reduce barriers to conversion.
  2. Generate User Reviews of the Product/Service: Any Amazon customer or seller would tell you that reviews are the life-blood of any business in this digital age. Even non-Amazon customers sometimes log in just to read reviews of a product they want to buy in a brick-and-mortar store. Personally, I seldom buy any product that has no reviews from its customers. No matter how famous and trust-worthy the brand name, I feel safer shopping online knowing the consumer-experience of other customers. So, if and when possible, harp on encouraging verified customers to leave product reviews. 
  3. Conversion-Centered Design: There are 7 principles guiding conversion-centered design – Attention, Context, Clarity, Congruence, Credibility, Closing, and Continuance.  
  • Attention:  1) What is the action you want potential customers to take? 2) Does everything on the page point to this action? 3) Is there a single call to action that attracts users’ attention? 
  • Context: Here, you have to reassure your visitors that clicking you page was a good choice by creating a strong link between the pre-click (source of the campaign) and post-click (landing page) experience. Ask: Where are site visitors coming from? Does the message and content of the homepage match the expectations of customers? 
  • Clarity: Write a copy that communicates the value proposition of the campaign quickly and effectively. Ask: – Is it clear from a quick scan of the webpage what the webpage is about? Does the user know what will happen once he or she clicks a link? 
     
  • Congruence: Align every aspect of your landing page with the campaign goal. Ask: Do all the words on the landing page encourage the conversion or do some words distract potential customers from the desired behavior? 
  • Credibility: Trust symbols (any symbol, icon, image, or small statement communication to the user that the site is legitimate) inspire confidence in the visitor. Also, “real photographs” are more trustworthy than stock photos. Ask: Do potential customers have ample reason to believe you can deliver on your promises? 
  • Closing: Use positive messaging close to the desired click region. Negatively-valenced words can sometimes inhibit clicking. 
  • Continuance: This can be used to get a second conversion and create a post-conversion experience.  

4. Add a Visual or Video to Your Landing Page: Informative videos help visitors in making well-informed decisions on your landing page. Research shows that landing pages with a short video can increase conversions by up to 80%. Videos can also increase the amount of time spent by a visitor on your landing page.  

5. Create Effective Visual Hierarchies: More important things should be larger and higher up on the page, and similar items should be groups together. Break pages up into clearly defined areas helping different users with different actions identify the specific area of the site first. 

Finally, a landing page is most likely to convert if it provides clear answers to these three questions with information easily found above the fold (the portion of the website that can be seen without having to scroll down). 

  • What are you offering? 
  • Why should I pick you? 
  • What do you want me to do next? 

References:  

  • Roger, Erra. 7 Easy Ways to Increase Landing Page Conversions. EZ. 

https://ez.no/Blog/7-Easy-Ways-to-Increase-Landing-Page-Conversions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_marketing#Conversion_rate

  • MRKT 484 Ryan on Testing Landing Pages. OSU MediaSpace, Oregon State University, https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_j1xoorhb
  • Leist, Rachel. “How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide [ Free Blog Post Templates].” HubSpot Blog, 6 May 2019, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-start-a-blog#sm.00007ssv1q6ovdkcq1p1c0jjakt6m