Digital Marketing

The "Sales Funnel" Seems Almost Created for Digital Strategies


A tried and true conceptual framework for marketing, the "sales funnel" or "purchase funnel," has enjoyed a kind of renaissance. Not surprising. Although articulated more than a century ago, the "sales funnel" feels as though it were invented to illuminate e-commerce.

The online store potentially exercises control over the "buyer's journey"—another reborn concept—that no brick-and-mortar store ever achieved. The "funnel," of course, is a metaphor for the guided steps ("journey") by which a potential buyer becomes aware of a product or service, becomes attentive to it, appreciates its value, seeks out additional information, chooses a place that sells it, and buys it.

(We pause here, but that is not the end of the funnel in "holistic" or "end-to-end" marketing, which goes on to ensure customer satisfaction, foster customer loyalty, and nurture an enduring relationship with the brand.)

The "take away" for marketers is that this entire journey through the funnel can occur online. That means: Potentially within the circumference of influence of the marketer.

A Trip through the Online Purchase Funnel

Some brief comments on the architecture of the online purchase funnel:

1.    "Inbound" marketing, which tends to characterize the Web, means drawing potential buyers into the funnel by offering information, ideas, a trustworthy source of advice. The potential buyer is not driven into the online store of a forceful sales pitch, but drawn into a relationship. Social media, skillful SEO, a well-designed "landing page" on a website: All mediate this process.

2.    The process continues by holding the visitor's attention with genuinely informative information, credibly researched and presented, with the use of visuals (today, especially, video) to make the information highly palatable.

3.    Introduction to the brand and the online shopping experience are carefully handled at every step. For example, the homepage of Netflix is not about films, per se, but how the reader faces no risk in trying the service. Clearly, Netflix is convinced that one step through the tunnel involves strong reassurance that you won't be trapped in it by renewable monthly fees.

4.    Even the online visitor to a website has a choice where to buy the product. Thus, there is an art to making the act of buying online easy, attractive, and reassuring. One sales funnel expert, for example, says: Keep the "buying" page—checkout, the "buy button"—looking like the rest of the website. Visitors become uneasy if they feel they have been sent somewhere else to make the purchase when it is the website that has gained their trust.

5.    The online art of converting a sale into customer loyalty deserves a separate article, but, again, the online store has a built-in advantage. When the buyer has traversed the tunnel—from interest to attention to trust to a decision to buy—that trust also wins the seller the buyer's email address—still by far the single most valuable item in the cyber shopping world.

An impressive arsenal of data-backed insights, useful tools, design principles, and techniques have evolved to realize the full potential of the online sales funnel.

Since 2009, Real-Time Outsource has been "showing the love" for helping brands, businesses, agencies, destinations, and non-profit associations maximize every part of their social communities.

Powerful Digital Strategies for Conquering Top Consumer Seasons


Integrated Plans that Grow Audience's All Year Long

Never underestimate the power of the seasons; their impact on society and the significant role they play in our lives. The world looks forward to certain celebratory seasons and occasions because of their emotional and educational value. Seasonal marketing campaigns can be the most influential contributor to a brand's success, inspiring customers to return multiple times throughout the year due to a positive 'first contact' experience. Seasonal campaigns matter because they're relevant to the times we're living in now. Everything we know and do is subject to being shared; from minute-to-minute restaurant experiences to hashtags that can boost sales with a single word. Then there are the Instagram stories that carry with them the short yet powerful punch that can increase your bottom line simply by being in the right place at the right time. Seasonal marketing campaigns remind us that "timing is still everything." 

Christmas in July: Using Familiar Concepts to Maximize Results 

Every retailer and e-commerce site has the opportunity to make a lasting, profitable impression during a particular season. Some clichés, though overused, never go out of style. They're an integral part of certain strategies that remain tied to images, memories, and buying patterns. Marketers who successfully weave intellect, emotion, and spirituality into the fabric of their seasonal campaigns have a better chance of connecting to the customer on a personal level. 

Seasonal Marketing Campaigns: How Early is Too Early?

It's all about strategy when choosing the right season to market your business. For example, you're in the pet food business and the Christmas season is right around the corner. Consumers who love spoiling their furry friends also buy them gifts. It's a great time of year to add pictures of pets wearing snowshoes or waiting on the porch for the next package delivery. It's easy and it makes sense to use real-life scenarios that people experience in their daily lives. 

Even though a season is short, it provides countless opportunities to reach beyond your present customer. By providing your customers with the following services, you plant seeds that grow throughout the life of your business. Taking advantage of seasonal marketing strategies such as Christmas in July can entice shoppers to purchase items earlier than anticipated by simply making it worth their while. 

· Shipping options: Allow customers a ship date they can lock in now

· Wishlist: The perfect way to give the perfect gift while referring new customers to your site

· Flash sales: A welcome, worthwhile surprise for existing customers

· Rewards: The word says it all; we know you and we thank you

· Huge discounts: Meaning what you say, and saying what you mean builds trust and creates brand loyalty 

Know Your Seasons and Start Planning: Meet the Top 5

According to Internet Retailer's Peak Seasons Report

, there are five holiday and non-holiday seasons that account for more than $136.69 billion in online sales: 

· Valentine's Day

· Mother's Day

· Back-to-School

· Halloween

· Christmas/Hanukkah

E-commerce sites base much of their seasonal marketing strategies on these top 5 occasions, knowing the success and expansion of their business may be dramatically influenced by seasonal shoppers. Marketing professionals who neglect including these occasions in their seasonal merchandising plans run the risk of missing optimal growth opportunities for the rest of the year. 

According to Internet Retailer

, "These five holiday periods combined accounted for an Internet Retailer-estimated $806.31 billion in total retail sales from Halloween 2017 through back-to-school season 2018. This 17% is higher than e-commerce's usual share of total retail sales, which Internet Retailer estimates was 13% of total retail sales in 2017. The report can be a guide for merchants to maximize sales during these periods, as it reveals key shopper trend data, including conversion rates and traffic, for each holiday and explains the online selling nuances for each. For example, nearly 70% of online spend on Mother's Day occurs just one week before the holiday, while the back-to-school online shopping season lasts for more than two months." 

Re-Vamping and Re-Cycling Seasonal Campaigns

Cost effective thinking is a useful strategy and it's a place where humor can really help. Once you commit to a specific advertising campaign, take another look. Can it be used during another time of the year? Does it include materials that are time-sensitive? Is there a way to add humor to re-market the product? Things to look for when the season is over: 

· Did the campaign produce desired results?

· Were there any constructive criticisms or reviews on the product?

· Did the content inform adequately?

· Were the product listings easy to understand and navigate?

· Did we maximize our potential by using multiple content types and various distribution platforms?

· What message did we send to the world?

· Is there an emotional takeaway from this campaign that can be meaningful later on?

· Sticking to a Schedule

Time is of the essence when planning a seasonal campaign. This translates to meticulous timing and attention to detail. If you're printing promotional materials, allow time for corrections. If your plans include a winter car sale, make sure the video production is completed by then.  Prepping for a season should immediately make you aware of the hundreds or thousands of other companies who are preparing as well. Everybody is going to be busy at the same time. You can turn this into an advantage by being prepared and ready to go at least two months before the holiday -- the sooner, the better.  

These are the points that make the difference. And, they provide you with opportunities to sit with your marketing team and talk about them together. One new idea can transform your ad into a seasonal favorite, increasing brand awareness and giving you a positive brand image.

Seasonal marketing takes place now but, it lives in the future. We see it over and over again, the companies who produce relevant yet timeless campaigns become part of our lives. Appealing to humanity's heart is a seasonal campaign. Within its pictures, words, and music lies the power to make us laugh, cry, or both. Certainly, gifts to be used wisely.

5 Steps to Structuring an Effective Digital Marketing Plan

The following steps are an effective means of integrating a digital strategy into your business. They provide a foundation for every key online marketing activity that takes place. They integrate the essential multichannel marketing activities

 of the customer's lifecycle and break them down into the following sections:


Implement a data-driven approach for reviewing the effectiveness of your current digital marketing campaign including:

· Customized analytics

· KPI dashboards

· SMART objectives 


Build your brand identity and increase awareness using these online marketing techniques which drive consumers to visit your site:

· Personal branding

· Content marketing

· Search engine optimization (SEO)

· Conversion optimization

· Social media marketing

· Email marketing


Encourage visitors to interact on your web or social media site to generate leads for the future


Your website's goal is to convert organic traffic

. Once a visitor arrives conversion occurs via personal interests:

· Answer questions

· Describe products and features

· Promote purchases through sales or special offers


Sales happen when businesses meet the needs of the consumer quickly and professionally. Repeat customers are those who are satisfied with the product and customer service. The best way to retain your customer's attention is with follow-up communication using:

· Email

· Social media marketing

· Call to action

We all love a company that can make us smile. We, as business people, get educated and gain perspective from analyzing our work before and after a holiday season so look forward to looking back.  When we open our eyes and listen closely, the possibilities for prosperity become endless.

Real-Time Outsource operates 7 days a week providing proven social media and influencer strategies for the most recognized names online. We'd love to hear your comments, questions and, concerns. Please contact us

 today for cost-effective campaigns, eye-catching content, and monitoring of your reputation online. 
















7 Realtime Strategy Dos and Don’ts


As with everything else, you have to understand digital strategy well in order to practice it. Sometimes, you only learn through trial and error. But, at other times, you can learn from the experiences of other people too. This way, you'll know what to avoid, such as keyword-stuffing, long articles without any subheadings and photos which are unclear in thumbnails. You'll also learn what you should try to do more of, such as introducing keyword variety, using clear and striking photos and maintaining a clean-looking website. These are some of the things that people with experience in digital strategy usually recommend:

  1. Don't do keyword-stuffing. At one point of time, people used to pick a keyword and keep using it in their content in order to get more hits. Now, however, search engines have wised up to this strategy and will actually penalize you if you do this.

  2. Don't write very long articles. Reading on the internet is not like reading in a magazine. It may not be unusual to see an article which is several pages long in a magazine. But this will be too much for someone browsing the internet.

  3. Do break up your content using subheadings. This makes it easier to read. You can also use bullet points and lists which are very appealing to the internet reader.

  4. Don't use panoramic photos. When people do a search for a topic, they're going to get a number of search results which include small photos. So it's best to use close ups which are clear even at thumbnail size rather than panoramic photos which are not. (If you can tell what's in your panoramic photo when you view it as a thumbnail, it's ok to use it.)

  5. Do design an intuitive website. This means keeping the website clean-looking and not too busy. Plus, the headings of your tabs should be easy to understand and the material under these tabs should be relevant to the headings.

  6. Do post on social media as often as possible. You can't start a social media account and then let it sit there unused. If you want to attract new customers, you have to keep the conversation going.

  7. Do start a blog and update it as often as possible. Fresh material is the only way to get new people to visit your website. And if you're writing something that will add value to the life of your consumer, then all the better.

Contact us for more dos and don'ts when it comes to digital strategy.

5 Popular Digital Strategy Myths Busted


People often assume that there is some secret to doing well in the digital world. Are you going to suddenly start getting more hits by posting at a certain time? What if you start writing about celebrities? Is that going to make you more popular? What if you start writing in a slangy way? What if you start using a lot of big words or jargon? Will people assume that you know more? These are some of the myths that have been perpetuated when it comes to digital strategy. So let's get rid of them once and for all.

1.    Time: Is it really that important to post at a certain time? The fact is that people check their email and social media first thing when they get into work. And teens tend to check when they get off from school. So sometimes, it can help you to post at certain times. But the fact is that if you keep posting regularly and writing good content, the time you're posting at is not going to matter that much.

2.    Celebrities: Sure, you might get a lot of hits by writing about the hot celebrities of the day. But are these the types of hits that you want? Are any of these people going to turn into customers? Probably not. So writing about celebs may get you more hits in the short term but doesn't help you any in the long run.

3.    Slang: If slang comes naturally to you, then sure, feel free to use it. But if you're forcefully using slang into order to appeal to a younger age group, you can be sure they'll have you figured out in no time!

4.    Jargon: No one wants to read big words that they don't know or understand. There might be some people who will be impressed by this type of language, but the majority will leave your website when they find they aren't getting any of the information they need.

5.    Attractive Models: Most people assume they need to use attractive models on their websites if they want to get more traffic. But the fact is that it's more effective to use relatable models—models who look at least a little bit like your customer. So why not mix it up and use models who are white, black, skinny, plus-size, men, women, young, old etc.? Your potential customers will appreciate you for it.

Contact us to learn more about increasing your following in the digital world.


Two Effective Digital Strategies Leading to Conversion Rate Optimization

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Most companies realize that going digital is not just an option anymore; it's a necessity. No matter how small or big your business might be, you should have a website, blog and social media pages. And it's a good idea to keep updating these as much as you can, if you want to keep increasing traffic to your site. This in turn will help you to increase your customer base.

However, there's a certain problem that many companies have been seeing of late. Maybe you are getting a lot of traffic to your site but you're not getting that many new customers. There are many ways to solve this issue which fall under the general heading of conversion rate optimization. The idea is to convert viewers into buyers as much as possible. Here are some tips to help you do this:

Valuable Content

There are times when companies will just post blogs in order to improve their SEO. The more keywords they use, the more they'll show up in a variety of searches. And this means that more people will come to their website. However, if those people come to your website and find that your content is really not that interesting or useful, they're not going to stay on your website. They probably won't even read your article. They'll just move on to the next item that shows in their search.

So it's not a good idea to just keep posting content in order to attract visitors. You have to think long term. That's what a thought leader in the industry would do—post blogs and social media comments that are going to improve the lives of the people who read them. Don't just post filler content. And if this means that you have to read through everything yourself to make sure it meets your standards, then do so.


Once you've made sure that your content is really great, you also have to think about aesthetics. You'd be surprised at how many people turn away from a website simply because they don't like the garish colors or they feel like it's too "busy." So stay away from garish colors and keep the layout simple.

You can still use bright colors, especially if you're in a creative field like fashion, but just use your judgment. You don't want to fade into the background by making your website too muted and too simple. But you don't want to stand out in an unseemly way. Go for a middle of the road approach.

Contact us for more great digital strategy tips.

Also .... Check out this awesome Video from Brian Tracy!