Observed effectiveness of social media and other online marketing channels is validated by the results of a recent survey by the leading company for consumer research.
Nielsen completed their Global Trust in Advertising Survey in September of 2011, and the results show great things for the potential of online marketing. With 28,000 participants from 56 countries, the results reflect widely disparate levels of internet penetration in different regions. Specific numbers therefore aren’t as significant as the trends they reflect, and the trends are consistent.
The runaway winner in consumer trust is earned media, with 92% of respondents indicating they believe the recommendations of friends and family. General word of mouth reputation also falls into this category. This isn’t news to most accounting firms, who have always striven to earn business through the referrals of satisfied clients. Right behind earned media comes trust in online reviews by consumers, at 70%. Both of these have seen huge jumps in consumer trust since 2007.
In fact, every kind of online marketing is showing increases in the number of consumers who count it as reliable. Meanwhile, although more and more advertising dollars flow to television, trust in the traditional marketing channels of television, newspaper and magazine advertisements has been falling. If your accounting firm is directing more of its marketing resources online and less to traditional paid media, it seems you are making a wise choice.
Nielsen’s global head of Advertiser Solutions Randall Beard reiterates the constant theme at Marketing Ideas for CPAs with strong statements: “The growth in trust for online search and display ads over the past four years should give marketers increased confidence in putting more of their ad dollars into this medium. Many companies are already increasing their paid advertising activity on social networking sites, in part due to the high level of trust consumers place in friends’ recommendations and online opinions. Brands should be watching this emerging ad channel closely as it continues to grow.”
Note that Beard is referring to paid online advertising, including ads on social media sites. When you utilize the power of online paid advertising in conjunction with consumer-driven online marketing like client testimonials, reviews and social media interaction (as distinct from advertising) you begin to see the immense capabilities of content marketing. What would this look like?
- A great website with good attention to SEO
- An active social media presence with content that draws and sustains audiences
- Judiciously targeted email marketing campaigns
- Paid online search and social media ads
- A good reputation within your niche, supported by clients in online reviews and testimonials
- Some video to boost search engine placement
Put together even most of these and you’ll have a marketing plan that gets amazing results while allowing your brand to show its unique style and strengths.
You can trust me on this, and if you’re not in the habit of trusting unknown internet quantities I won’t be offended in the least if you’d rather trust the Nielsen Corporation. Either way, your firm wins with content marketing.