10 Digital Marketing Acronyms Every Entrepreneur Should Know

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As an entrepreneur, you can be forgiven for wanting to manage every aspect of a new startup. Your new venture is your brainchild, after all, and you want to do what you can to see it grow and prosper. But sometimes, doing what you can means letting other people do things for you.

One of the areas where experience matters more than enthusiasm is digital marketing. There are many reasons why hiring a digital marketing expert is the right choice for your startup. The bottom line is that they’re better at it than you. Plus, you get to focus your attention on the areas where you can contribute the most.

When you hire a digital marketing expert, you’ll learn that they speak funny. The majority of important marketing notions, concepts, and activities are referred to using acronyms. Since the success of your start greatly depends on your ability to communicate effectively, here are some explanations of the most important acronyms in digital marketing.

1. SEO — Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is a group of practices for improving your website’s visibility in search engine results. The activities that fall under SEO include choosing a good host, researching keywords, optimizing website performance, creating high-quality content, and link building. When done well, SEO will ensure your website had a healthy stream of organic traffic.

2. SEM — Search Engine Marketing

As opposed to SEO and organic traffic, search engine marketing is concerned with getting you paid traffic. Instead of using optimization practices to improve search engine visibility, in SEM you use paid ads that appear in search results. Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Ads, and Bing Ads are the most popular search engine marketing platforms.

3. PPC — Pay per Click

Pay per click is an advertising model where you pay a certain amount of money each time someone clicks on your advertisement. The cost per click has an acronym of its own, CPC. However, some people will use PPC and CPC interchangeably. Search engine marketing is a form of PPC advertising.

4. KPI — Key Performance Indicator

Key performance indicators weren’t invented for digital marketing. However, digital technologies provided marketers with the opportunity to gather an enormous amount of data. They use that data to derive indicators of the success of their online activities, or KPIs. You should also know that KPIs are useful as long as you know which ones to choose for which activities. Choosing the wrong KPIs can lead you astray.

5. CTA — Call to Action

Website visitors will sometimes need encouragement to perform certain actions. If you want them to order something, subscribe to your newsletter, or visit a certain page, you use calls-to-action or CTAs. A CTA is a combination of copy and visuals that tell the visitors what you want them to do. CTAs are usually buttons or links on a website. They use short, assertive copy, such as “Order Now!”. They are also made to stand out on the page and be easily visible.

6. B2C — Business-to-Consumer

Business-to-consumer and its relative business-to-business (B2C and B2B) refer to your customers. If your business sells products or services to consumers than it’s B2C. If it sells to other businesses, it’s B2B. In marketing, the activities you undertake are dependent on your customers. B2C and B2B marketing might use different channels, different types of content, and different tones.

7. CTR — Clickthrough Rate

The click through rate is a handy metric that describes the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. The CTR tells you the share of people who performed an action out of the total of people who had the opportunity to do so. For example, the click through rate for a landing page CTA is the number of people who clicked on the CTA divided by the number of people who visited the page.

8. UX — User Experience

User experience, or UX, is a term that describes the users’ experience when interacting with your digital assets. UX is important if you want your customers to be satisfied. To develop a good UX, you need to adopt the point of view of your customers, and then build your assets around what they would want. At the very least, make sure your assets are easy to navigate and display on mobile devices. That way, the UX you offer won’t be disastrous.

9. CRM — Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management is a term mostly used in the context of tools you can use to manage customer relationships. These tools allow you to track all sorts of things about the customers. The basic ones handle contact information. The advanced ones can track customer interactions, send personalized emails, and leverage geolocation to improve targeting.

10. CRO — Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization is a process of analysis and improvement of conversion rates. If you want to improve conversion rates of a landing page, for example, you can try using different calls-to-action for better results. Or, you can place the existing CTA at a different place. You can also optimize form length, the copy on the landing page, as well as the visuals. Plenty of things affect conversion rates, and most of them can be optimized for better performance.

 

Where Does Competence Come Into Marketing?

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How do you define marketing? Is it simply being able to propagandize well, as in trying to spin a product to look better than it is? Is it deception? Is it exposure? Or does it have more of a significant social element?

Marketers are often viewed with some form of disdain by the public. They know when an advertisement is silly, on the nose, or simply doesn’t respect their intelligence. This is why clever and well-crafted advertising campaigns are celebrated so much. They’re rare, and when they hit, they hit with impact. Competence is a large factor in the creation of such content. What does this mean? Well, when it comes to developing a more profound and affecting campaign, reading social humor and the general climate at large is essential. In the interests of developing our understanding of marketing competence, we’re going to talk about what it comprises of:

Subtlety

Subtlety is important when it comes to developing competence. In order to develop your message more thoroughly, you need to allow it to transcend mere marketing. It needs to be affecting, worth content of its own. Think of a video advertisement, the first one you can remember being impressed by. It’s likely this has stuck in your memory for a reason. Either it was very funny, clever, impressive or a spectacle. You likely remember the product that was being promoted along with the advert.

However, we’re willing to bet you didn’t feel sold to during your time experiencing the advertisement. That was a necessary companion, but it wasn’t the focus. This is where smart and subtle advertising is heading. People are so aware of being sold to that they are great at filtering it out. Walking down the street often brings us in contact with a plethora of brightly lit signs all snapping for our attention. It’s likely we give these not even a moment’s notice unless we’re looking primarily for something to buy. This subtlety previously explained can give you the power of magnetism regarding the public who deeply desire to have their intelligence respected.

Reach

Marketing is only as good as the reach it has. You can pull off the best and most intelligent campaign ever, but if it only reaches one hundred people, then you’ve missed your opportunity. Thankfully the internet has made this easier than ever, particularly methods of social media marketing. If you’re able to, it’s very instructive and enlightening to see how tracked advertising can work for your firm, and how it affects you personally. For example, we suggest you type in ‘guitar packages’ into Google or Amazon right now. Search a few links, and continue with your work or reading blogs. The next time you watch a YouTube video, or read your Facebook timeline, you will see tracked ads next to your profile or before your video. Just imagine how your business could profit from this. Work using tracked advertising ID’s, sponsored Facebook and Instagram posts, and search engine optimization. Use it wisely and willingly. It can gift you much more reach than any billboard or magazine space can, and with more specificity.

With these things combined, your marketing competence will never be called into question.

Building A Loyal Audience

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The key to any successful business is having a loyal audience which returns and will purchase over and over again. You may think as you start out in the business world that you simply need a killer website, social accounts and thousands of followers. But it is the integrity of these followers which you need to look out for, and maintain if you are to succeed.

1. Quality, not quantity

The biggest misconception when you are building up your empire is thinking that you have to have more followers to make a more successful business. Of course, the more followers you have the more likely you are to get a sale, but it is the quality of your followers which you want to look out for. Think about if you have 10,000 followers- only 1000 of them may actually purchase your product and engage with the brand. However a similar company with 1000 followers may have 800 people who purchase and engage. This is a huge difference in the percentage of engaged audience members. When you are creating a promotion, you need to track the people who visit and see if they are the people who come back again and again.

2. Emails

Email has always been a large part of good marketing, however you need to make sure that the quality of your emails is good enough for people to read. Instead of simply creating a poster with 20% off written on it and sending that out, take time to write an engaging email, share a funny story and add links to your products. You are much more likely to gain a loyal, engaged audience this way.

3. Partnerships

Collaborating with similar brands can be the key to helping you grow and nurture your online family. By exposing yourself to their audience and visa versa, you can all come together and create on big community.

4. Test, test, test

Whatever type of marketing you do within your business, test it. Keep testing and testing again until you can see where you need to improve and what is successful for your brand. Use google analytics to test if referral traffic is booming, look at your social posts for likes and comments, see how many sales you gained through that email campaign… every little thing should be tested and analysed so that you can make the best campaigns for your audience and pull people in.

5. Content is key

Content is at the heart of any marketing strategy, it is the glue which holds everything else together. Creating content can be varied and it must always be engaging. Think about guided digital commerce, images for social media, blog posts, social posts and everything else in between. Every piece of content you share with your audience should be well thought through and checked out. For example if you look at images for social media and your website: you could just use stock images, or you could go out and about and take photos of your own. They might not be as perfect as stock images but they will show your individuality and show your audience that you are making the effort for them. The same applies to blog posts. Writing informative and helpful posts will give you a much more loyal following than simply posting to say that a new product is on sale.

6. Design

Most of what will attract people to your website in the first place is your design. Humans are visual creatures: whether it be a person, a cute puppy or a stunning landscape- everyone loves to look at clean, clear and bright things. Think about your design and create a color scheme which fits the type of business you are. Add lots of images to your website because images are known to drive twice as much traffic.

7. Consistency

The most important thing to bear in mind if you are thinking of starting your business  and building a loyal audience is to stay consistent. You need to make sure that you are posting on social media every day, engaging with your audience, replying to comments, creating blog posts, promoting your products and updating your website. It is an on-going job which you need to take the time to work on and get better at each and every day. If you stay in the forefront of your customer’s minds, you will be the first one they think of when they need something. You will have a loyal, recurring audience in no time.

4 Ways To Improve SEO Without Rewriting Content

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Typically, ranking highly on Google is about content. After all, the more material you have, the easier it is to leverage keywords, which means there a better chance of being noticed. It’s a simple piece of logic which website owners use to maintain their high SEO standards. However, one mistake they make is to churn out new content or mess with the old material for great results. Although it works, it’s also a time-consuming process which can be annoying and stressful. Usually, it’s best to avoid rewriting altogether and focus on alternative methods to boost SEO.

Here is a handful of the most effective ones at your disposal.

Update Title Tags

Every page has a tag – it’s the thing which pops up at the end of the domain name. For something small, it has a huge impact on pagerank because it’s a chance to optimize content. All you have to do is think about the titles of your content and include words and phrase which you know rank highly. Google will pick this up and adjust the page accordingly. Of course, if every page on the site ups its title tag game, then the entire website will get a boost.

Keywords In Existing Content

Okay, so you can’t touch or don’t want to rewrite the content which already exists on the platform. No problem because you can use Google to tell you which words and phrases are relevant to the content that already exists. With a tool such as a keyword planner, there is no reason to let old material get stale and lose points. Instead, consider inserting the terms which the planner believes is relevant to the content now. You can do this by including it in the main body or playing around with tags, meta tags and headings.

Purge Content

People laugh when experts like Skip The Line Backlinks recommend purging content. What kind of professional tells you to get rid of the thing which boosts SEO? Well, the type that knows what they are talking about! It’s tempting to think that all content is terrific because it has the potential for keywords and backlinks, yet it isn’t the case. Sadly, bad content will negatively impact your ranking because search engines rank pages based on added value. If you aren’t adding anything, it’s best to delete the dead wood and opt for quality over quantity.

Play With Page Speed

The Fred algorithm only convinced the SEO community or what it already knew: Google values speed. The reason is simple: it increases the user experience. After all, the quicker the page loads, the happier the customer is and the less time they waste. So, any pages which load slowly are going to reflect poorly on the king of search engines. Therefore, ensuring images aren’t too big or that videos don’t lag are tricks which can boost SEO without much hassle. Just general maintenance goes a long way also.

It’s true that content is king, both written and video. Still, there’s no need to rewrite or re-post everything you have ever done to optimize SEO.

Why Storytelling is Such a Powerful Tool for Brand Creators

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Stories are ingrained in the lifeblood of human civilization, from primitive cave paintings, to the Epic of Gilgamesh; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, all the way to the modern development of film and television. We’ve always been compelled to relate and intake, cultural wisdom in the form of stories, myths and legends.

To prove this point researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis, studied levels of brain activity in the minds of participants who listening to excerpts read from a children’s picture book. Researchers found that, rather than just passively consuming the events of the story, areas of participants’ brains that corresponded to the movements of the story’s main character actually lit up. Showing that, when we listen to stories we actually see, and feel the experiences they evoke as if they were real.

For a company looking to create a unique brand, in a crowded marketplace; establishing this sort of a connection with customers is a much sought after advantage. Here’s what you have to gain, from using story telling in your brand creation.

Set Yourself Apart

In 2007, companies like Motorola, Nokia and Blackberry ruled the roost when it came to mobile technology. While Apple had gained some public attention with its wildly successfully portable iPod music player; the company was still considered a lightweight when it came to actual mobile phones.

Then, early in February 2007; Steve Jobs and co dropped this advertisement and shortly followed with a formal introduction at their Macworld Expo, later that year. Within 2 months Apple had sold a staggering 1 million iPhones, and the product was well on its way to dominating the mobile phone market for years to come.

Yet, the iPhone was not the first smartphone on the market; nor did it come from an established name in the industry; so what led to this overwhelming success? Watch that video again, and you’ll see that the answer is storytelling.  From the beginning Apple had a clear story to tell about their product and through simple advertisements and on-message branding they made customers believe it.

Subtle Call to Action

At marketing firms like brandmatters.com.au, differentiating a product isn’t enough; companies their marketing efforts to actually pay off through direct conversions. Without storytelling, creating that motivation within customers can seem awkward and aggressive, but with it you can organically motivate customers to take action.

Every good story has a moral at the end, as listeners we’re trained to listen for one. So when a brand takes you through an emotional journey where they lead an audience surrogate through obstacles and problems; customers have their ears pricked for the solution. Of course those solutions are offered by your company’s offerings.

Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers are less expensive and time-consuming to retain; and they actually spend more on your products. A Harvard Business Review study revealed that customer’s actually spend more on their 6th purchase from a company than on their first, and even more on their 8th. Spend less, and earn more, who wouldn’t want to get those benefits?

Storytelling helps you create a brand that customers can relate back to their own values and experiences, and once you’re successful in forging that kind of bond, it lasts!

 

Five Creative Ways of Making Your Startup Stand Out from the Crowd

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If you are working hard to get your new business off the ground, you might want to appear unique and approachable at the same time. While the majority of businesses created today operate on the internet, you should not neglect the importance of branding through networking and carefully designed marketing materials. Make a statement about your business online and offline, and show off your best side to potential business partners and customers. Find out how below.

1. Create Unique Stationary

“Business Cards” by Paul Reynolds is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is important that your new business is credible, and you show your audience that you are serious about your offer. There is no better way than brand yourself and make people remember you from business meetings and networking events than creating unique business cards, Custom Labels & Tags, and promotional gift items. Make sure that you choose an appropriate and easy to remember logo and color scheme that you can use for creating brand awareness in your new market.

2. Engage in Video Marketing

One of the most underestimated ways of creating awareness about your new company is video marketing. You don’t have to have a full studio with all the latest equipment, and can create a short presentation in just an hour highlighting the benefits of your offer to potential clients. Many online marketers use videos for personal branding, as they can help them get their values and mission effectively communicated to the target market.

3. Create Unique Presentations

Whenever you meet a new potential client, make sure that you tailor your business presentation to their needs and industry. Use their name several times in the presentation or project proposal, and tell them why this feature is important for their business.

4. Personalize Your Messages and Videos

If you want to make a statement and get the job or project, you should create personalized video messages and send them to your potential clients through email or the cloud. This way, they will know that you made the effort to address their particular needs and concerns, instead of creating bulk marketing materials to distribute to everyone. Even if you have an autoresponder, it is important to segment the market and tailor each message to the individual company’s industry and level of engagement.

5. Create a Strong Brand Message

“Raising brand awareness – Own your Brand Conversation” by Thos Ballantyneis licensed under CC BY 2.0

Before you can become successful in the world of business, you need to develop a personal and business mission and vision. A brand message should be something your audience will remember, and can relate to. If you want to end their struggle with cloud administration, or want them to have more flexibility when hiring temporary workers, build your brand message around this aim, and make it consistent across all your marketing channels. This way, you will be the guy they remember for making HR easy, or one who saves them money on accounting software.

Whenever you are thinking about your future business, consider how your future customers will see you. Get them to give you feedback on your marketing and branding messages, and tailor your brand image to their needs and wants. Using personalization and unique marketing materials will help you stand out from the crowd.

Influencers: Why You Need Them And How To Identify Them

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The power of marketing in the digitally led global business climate should never be underestimated. The sad fact is that no matter how incredible your product, no matter how well run your operations and no matter how much time, blood, sweat and tears you pour into your business, it all amounts to little if the right people don’t know who you are. There was a time when marketing was a strategy of broadcasting. You’d send your message out as far and wide as possible and hope that the right people would find it. Today, the world of social media and digital connectivity has made it far easier to identify your target audience and market directly to them via pay per click advertising. This reduces extraneous marketing costs and maximises the chance of your content and advertising reaching the right audience. Yet, as important as it is to know your target market, it’s just as important to know who influences their behavior.

What is an influencer?

Influencers can make all the difference between your content falling on deaf ears or going viral.  The rise of the influencer is a relatively new phenomenon but one which numerous big brands recognize the value of. Influencer marketing works in a similar way to celebrity endorsement, but influencers tend to be easier to reach, cheaper and more receptive to working with brands. They tend to be individuals who have gained a sizeable and loyal following on social media.

Why you need them

Like celebrities, they’re usually attractive and aspirational figures whose look, style and habits your potential customers find aspirational. They can help you by endorsing your products, link building and even agreeing to be the face of your brand. They can also help to elevate your brand’s status, giving you a degree of “cool by association” in the eyes of your target market. Moreover, unlike roping in a celebrity, influencers tend to actively want to work with brands. They may well have content of their own to monetize and will be grateful to be able to piggyback on the recognition of your brand in order to expand their own reach.

How to identify an influencer

Instagram and YouTube celebs like Zoella or Jamie Genevieve may not be the best influencers for your brand, it’s important to find an equivalent that speaks to your target market. Looking for people with large followings and an interest in your product or service is a no brainer, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s important to keep an eye on an influencer’s social media engagement. Throwing money at an influencer with a large following is unlikely to pay dividends if that following is not actively engaged with the influencer. Make sure that their posts all have a healthy amount of likes and comments.

Important caveats

Any time you associate your brand with any individual, there’s always an element of risk. There’s a chance that they could be ostracized by their following by their actions, their posts or their political affiliations. They can misrepresent your brand or mislead your potential clientele. Thus, it’s extremely important to make sure that your influences are vetted and well managed.

The Art Of Making Your Content Go Viral

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“So, content is King is it?” I can hear you saying it now, “I have the content. I have lots of content, but why aren’t I king yet?”. There are many reasons why (besides living in a democratic republic or not being next in line to the throne by blood) your content may not be making you king. You see, when Bill Gates made that statement way back in 1996 he misled a lot of people. It’s not having content that makes you King (although the quality of your content is a major factor), it’s the way in which you implement and share that content, whom you share it with and when that will determine its success. There was a time when simply having some form of content marketing (however ill-strategized) gave businesses a leg up, but those days are long gone. Content marketing is no longer a novelty, in fact it’s used by around 94% of brands. In order to make your voice heard among the masses, you need to give yourself a viral boost. But how?

If there were a single, foolproof way to make your content “go viral”, everyone would be doing it and the exercise would be pointless. However, there are some ways in which your content can be tweaked to enhance your likelihood of going viral.

What is “going viral”?

Many use the term “going viral” in relation to online content without a particularly clear idea of what it means. So, for the sake of clarity, virality is how quickly and widely a piece of content is shared around the world. When content goes viral it’s very often a case of the right people noticing, consuming and distributing the content at the right time. The rise of social media celebrities means that certain people are well placed to share content with their sizeable following and boost its distribution exponentially. These people are called influencers.

While many books and articles claim to be able to impart the secret of virality, the truth is that it’s a process that will occur organically under the right circumstances. While you can’t force these circumstances, there are some things you can do to help yourself…

Invest in regular, high quality, relevant content

Sounds like a no-brainer doesn’t it? The fact, however, is that too many businesses think that they can build a powerful content strategy on cheaply sourced, poorly written or irrelevant content, just as you can’t build an impenetrable fortress on sand. Your content should be posted regularly (for regularly read daily), and should be of high quality, written in a way that is SEO friendly (use the Yoast plugin if you need guidance with this). Outsourcing your content is all well and good, but the more specialized your field, the more specialized your content should be. Your content should be attuned to the demands of your target market and address issues, news and trends that matter to them.

Dare to be different

In an age where more providers than ever are dishing out free content to your target audience, it pays to do what you can to make your content look or feel different. For example, turning a regular series of blog posts into an instant Flipbook gives your content the look and feel of a magazine. This will be more appealing to readers and increase their chances of sharing it.

It’s okay to make lists

A small but vocal online subculture look at list articles with disdain, but look at Buzzfeed and you’ll see that some of their most shared articles are in fact lists. Lists are popular because they represent digestible yet information dense format that’s suited for consumption in small doses while on the go (which, in case you weren’t looking is how people consume their content these days).

Have personality

Aside from providing specialist information and the kinds of insights that only you and your insights can give, it’s important to have personality. After all, intelligence is attractive in our friends and loved ones but nobody wants to hang out with a walking encyclopedia. Finding the right balance between personality and making your content feel weighty is a tricky one. Your tone should be engaging without glossing over salient details. You should be funny without being flippant, you should be articulate without being confusing and information dense without being dry.

Finally, know your onions

You can have the punchiest and most engaging prose style in the world, but if your information is incorrect or unfounded, audiences will not forgive you for it. Having someone tear your insights to shreds on social media because you didn’t do you research isn’t a good look on any business.

5 Interaction Channels That Create Unparalleled Brand Loyalty

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With the explosion of e-commerce retail, customers now expect the shopping experience to be cohesive and connected. In other words, if consumers have a dispute to settle, they want to receive timely and efficient customer service on the channels — phone, email, social media, live chat and more — in which they spend a majority of their time.

But the quicker your business recognizes the channels that are most optimal in providing a positive brand experience, the sooner management will see a bigger return on investment. Plus, happier customers are never a bad thing. Here are five popular omnichannel options to consider.

1. Texting

These days, anything can be done from the palm of our hands. Knowing people send upward of 100 texts per day to family and friends, why not make it yet another option for customers to reach your support team?

Indeed, give the people what they want. According to Marketing Sherpa, 27 percent of consumers ages 18 to 34 prefer to receive communication from brands via text versus a paltry 6 percent amongst those age 65 and older.

Additionally, an eWeek study concluded that 89 percent of consumers want companies to offer multiple channels in which to respond to support requests. Of that same group, more than half (52 percent) said they would prefer having a conversation via text conversation with a customer support rep.

 2. Live Web Chat

Looking to save time, drive more business to your website and keep your customers satisfied? Implementing live chat support on your e-commerce site could do the trick. In fact, this feature provides the immediacy that consumers want — without having to pick up the phone and wait on hold for an eternity.

Not only does live chat provide more in the way of efficiency, it can also save your organization time, particularly if the feature employs AI to more quickly provide answers or tips. Because most customer service issues addressed via live chat can be solved in 42 seconds, these interactions often don’t need to be escalated to the phone or via email. Moreover, 63 percent of customers are likely to do business with a brand whose website offers live chat capabilities.

3. Email

The speed, efficiency and record-keeping capabilities of email no doubt allows this communication channel to remain popular throughout the business world. Plus, no matter your industry, email is bound to be a popular communication tool to connect with colleagues, customers and clients any time of the day.

In fact, 91 percent of all consumers use email every day, providing a basis for this interaction channel to be standard in your customer service offerings. From inquiries related to distribution and service downtimes to account balances and missed payments, email provides a host of opportunities to easily rectify most customer service issues.

Plus, easy-to-use, navigable interfaces via Gmail and Outlook mean most employees won’t need a rigorous onboarding session, as most employees use a similar system at home. And with tools like MailChimp, you can select from a number of email templates that can be tailored to best communicate with your audience.

4. Voice

Despite monumental tech advances in recent years, consumers still want and enjoy the ability to have a two-way conversation with support reps to rectify an issue. In fact, customer support via phone still accounts for 68 percent of all customer service interactions, according to New Voice Media.

Like email, most consumers expect the brands in which they do business with to offer phone support. For many, it’s the speed and convenience of picking up the phone and speaking with someone directly that makes this interaction channel appealing. Of course, long hold times and call transfers can be a major turnoff.

But cloud-based customer engagement platforms can eliminate some of these pain points. In fact, cloud contact center solutions, including those sold by Aspect, provide flexible options that allow businesses to more efficiently provide answers to questions and inquiries from any number of service channels.

5. Social Media

The ability to instantly connect with brands via social media not only provides you more ease and flexibility, but it also lets you hold their feet to the fire should certain companies not respond in an efficient manner. Indeed, calling out a company directly on Twitter can have massive implications on how it handles future customer service inquiries.

And this communication channel is only continuing to grow in popularity. Case in point: An estimated 1 in 3 consumers who use social media prefer this channel to communicate with brands versus phone or email. Plus, the ability to have instantaneous back-and-forth conversations between company and consumer via social media is meaningful: Consumers spend 20 percent to 40 percent more time and money with brands that respond and engage via social media.

So who are these consumers? According to Marketing Sherpa, 18- to 34-year-olds are most likely to use social media as a customer service tool, followed by consumers ages 35 to 44. So, on which channels should your brand be providing customer service? While social media and email remain the more popular options, do some research to determine how your customers like to communicate.

 

Digital Marketing Strategies That Work: A Quick Guide

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In this modern technological world that we live in, digital marketing needs to be part of your business plan. Businesses and consumers are all going to be looking online, so if you want to get their custom, then having a good online presence is the way to help that happen. If you’re just starting out with your business, then it can feel like a pretty overwhelming place to be as it can be ever changing. So here are some of the sure fire ways that you need to be implementing as part of your digital marketing strategy; are you doing any of them already?

Know Who To Target

To market your business in the best way that you can, you need to know who your business is trying to target or who the ideal customer is for you. You might have an idea of this, and may have designed your business in a particular way for a certain demographic. But when you use online platforms, you can actually check who your business is marketing. Using online tools related to your website, you can check the location of people that view your site. You might not have intended to go global. But if you have plenty of viewers from overseas, it could mean you targeting your audience or product to suit those overseas too, for instance.

Identify Goals

Having an idea of what you want to get out of your online presence is a great way to be specific with what you decide to do. Do you simply want to get more followers on social media or more hits and shares on your blog posts? Do you want to rank on the first page of a Google search for a specific keyword? Do you want to double your current revenue from your online store? When you identify a goal, you will then be able to take the right steps to achieve it.

Look For An Agency or Mentor

If you have only got a small team of people at work, none of whom are particularly savvy when it comes to digital marketing, then it could be a good idea to look for an agency to outsource the work to. You could also look for an online mentor to help you, such as someone from LDI (Lifestyle Design International), for example. If you’re not sure what that is, then you could look up a Lifestyle Design International review to see if they could help you achieve what you want to do. When you want to achieve online, then you do need to get the best advice to help you.

Audit Your Owned Media

At the heart of what you will do with your digital marketing strategy is your owned media, which will essentially be the content that you have. If you have a website, then anything from your about or contact page needs to be looked at, as well as blog posts and anything relevant you are sharing that way. Boost the posts, use keywords, images, and social media posts to help.

Forming A Practical Marketing Wing For Your Business

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Every business needs to have a marketing team that works non-stop to make sure the products and services of the company are projected in a positive light to customers and clients alike. However, the traditional style of a marketing department is slowly going to the door, and more modern practices are now being pulled in. Rather than just working on ways to make the business and the newest item look great and innovative, now marketing teams are more inclined to show customers how. This means that the marketing and communications departments, more so for small businesses that have to make sure each employee possesses multiple talents, are able to practically make this happen. No longer should a small business try to go outside the company to get a logo, animation, mascot, digital walkthrough or model, made so that the products and services are better understood.

Hiring and filling a group

Marketing staff is a versatile bunch, and many are more orientated toward the analysis and behind the scenes impact of the projections, advertisements, and campaigns have on the business. Others are simply more creative and want to be much more hands-on with regards to the actual creation of the project. Therefore it’s vital to realize that some marketing professionals will be better at formulating a plan, watching the figures and others will be more inclined to take the artistic route. Those that are can be shown an Altium course. At seminars, meetings, exhibitions, and lectures, they will be put on training courses. Here they can learn the importance of design and be shown the essentials. They can also go on to do, more advanced courses that will delve deeper into the software and technical aspect of designing and managing components.

Research and impact

Of course, if this method is done, that means there will be a split in the marketing department of your business. This is actually a good thing, as smaller teams that work together are able to almost purify a subject and the results down to a simple form. However, the impact that design has on the business, especially with regards to clients that are familiar with the business, should be studied and logged. The research and impact a marketing campaign has on consumers, can and should be made into a digestible report for the business itself. If consumers are reacting positively to one part but are nonchalant toward the other, this can be corrected and improved with more staff members dedicated to sifting this out. The design team can, therefore, use their creative means, to alter a patch of the campaign, be it a 3D model, the logo or simply an interactive component that consumers are reacting to such as a smartphone app.

Forming a creative wing for your marketing department isn’t just about including more artists and creators. It’s about now making the design of such projects, purely in-house and not having to rely on a third-party. Therefore the communication between departments has to be bolstered, and though the original team will have to split into practical and technical minds, the evolution of marketing campaigns is paramount.

Wow The Market With Your Positive Brand Reputation

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Whether you are an entrepreneur at the head of a massive business empire or you’re a freelancer using your name as a brand, the way others perceive you can make or break a deal. First impressions, as the saying goes, always matter. However, when these first impressions can be shared with others, they become difficult to address and fix if they’ve been negative. Imagine this scenario: As a young graduate, you’ve prepared for an interview for your first job, but on the big day, your nerves get the best of you. The interview turns into a fiasco, and you don’t need long to realize that you’ve ruined your chances for this job. Others candidates have made a better first impression. It’s annoying, but unfortunately, these things happen. Maybe you’ll be lucky next time. Now, put yourself in the same scenario, but with one noticeable difference: The interviewer publishes an article about how bad they found you and why no company should bother hiring you. You’ve not only ruined your chances for this specific job, but for any job! The same thing can occur at a business level. Creating a positive reputation is about making sure that the interactions with your market run smoothly and that, if mistakes happen, they can be sorted out efficiently and durably.

Monitor what others say about you

You may try hard to appear on top of the search results on Google and Bing, but what happens when others beat you to it with your own branded terms? When bloggers, reviewers or journalists write about your company, they use your brand name. Depending on the reputation of the online platform their commentary is published on, it’s likely to appear before your own website, especially if you’re looking at customer reviews. Tracking what others say about you is part of your Online Reputation Management strategy or ORM for short. Indeed, there’s nothing worse than finding that the top search results for your brand rank negative reviews or articles about your business. It’s damaging to your reputation and your growth, and that’s precisely why there are options that you can use to remove online content and improve your brand reputation. When a blogger publishes something negative about your brand, for example, you can contact the webmaster to remove the page, or in some instances, you can ask Google to remove the information permanently in the case of fraud, sexually explicit information or even Right to Be Forgotten in the EU.

Be a confident professional

Building a positive reputation begins with your professional skills. Becoming an expert in your business environment is at the core of making the best possible impression. In a word, the day you neglect your professional training is the day you will cause harm to your reputation. While you may not need to become the very best, your ability to remain knowledgeable about the latest industry trends and evolutions is essential to maintaining the image of expertise that you crave.

Shout about your successes

Nobody likes to sound big-headed or pretentious. As a result, less and less small businesses like to shout about their achievements and latest successes. But let’s get things clear from the start: If you don’t tell the market about your results how do you expect people to know about them? Self-promotion is not a shameless excuse to boast. It’s about promotion what your business is good at. So make sure to create success stories and monitor the metrics that you can share with your audience.

Let others tell their stories with you

The main reason why happy customers are so precious is not that they’re easier to deal with for your customer service team, but instead, it’s because they are your best advocates. If you don’t like the idea of promoting your successes, maybe you can let your best customers do the promotional work for you. When a customer shares a positive experience they’ve had with a brand, their circle of followers listen carefully. Why so? Firstly, because people trust what strangers say about you. Secondly, because it’s likely that your customer might be describing a meaningful issue that others struggle with too. Promoting your services for their problems also presents your brand as a solution to people in a similar situation.

Share your knowledge

You don’t always need to talk about your successes. Sometimes, sharing your experience willingly can make all the difference to an audience. You could speak at a conference, for example, to share your expertise about a specific market theme, or publish a book to discuss a niche business strategy. Usable knowledge is, after all, the best advertising campaign you could get.

Are you ready to improve your brand perception and build a reputation that will attract future customers? Then it’s time to maximize your expertise, monitor branded content, and make the most of your satisfied customers.

Social Media Engagement 101: How To Boost Your Followers Interaction

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If you’re considering making any form of branding or business online, it’s always important to remember your audience. If you want to build your online presence, you should always consider social media engagement.

Some might think that since you’re starting an online business, or want to gain revenue from blogging, it’s alright to stop with just increasing your audience size. However, you’re missing an essential step. It’s always important to be consistent with follower interaction to grow your presence online. For those who are curious, the following are the top ways on how to increase follower interaction on social media. Let’s take a look.

Social Media Engagement: Why Follower Interaction Matters

If you want to make your online presence considerably relevant to your customers and fans, it’s always important to engage with them on a regular basis. This allows them to “grow” into your products and services. People who frequently visit your sites and social media accounts should be the ones you constantly engage with.

  • These people, although “lurkers,” can be transformed into fans and even customers.
  • Devoting time to build relationships with them can potentially jumpstart sales, increase numbers in positive reviews, and even develop customer loyalty.

Follower Interaction Know-How

It’s therefore a priority to make sure you’re engaging with your followers in order to boost your so-called “cred” or credibility. After all, it’s much more comforting as a customer to be able to interact with a service or a brand as it establishes good relationships. Customers may prefer to buy products from a service that they know they can ask questions to or talk to, than to buy from a “reputable” brand that ignores its customers.

If you think it’s time to start focusing on follower interaction, you’re on the right track. Here are some of the best behaviors for social media engagement that you can do for your business and branding.

Consistency is key. Perhaps you can start by making sure there is a consistent theme throughout your social media platforms. Use a common color scheme, a common logo, and focus on your niche. This allows people to “know” what they’re getting into.

  • This affords them the opportunity to trust you, as they know what to expect.
  • This also means it’s important for you to start developing ways to “show” your brand to other people.

Advertising is perhaps the most common way to generate follower interaction. Be warned, however, that it also tends to be extremely expensive. Social media platforms such as Facebook give you the option to “expand” your reach via your ads. For a fee, Facebook can “boost” your posts and help reach more people.

  • This is a double-edged tactic, however, as there’s no guarantee on the level of interest people who will see your ads. They can be potential customers, or just lurkers who can see your advertisement.
  • This is still a good shot if you have the spare budget. After all, expanding your advertisements’ reach can help you assess just how popular a potential product or service can become.

Creating unique content is perhaps the second-most common way to generate follower interaction. It also tends to be the cheapest way. However, be warned that this process takes a lot of time. This is because you have to slowly develop content to make you a relevant figure in your niche.

  • If you’re planning on sharing pieces created by others, don’t forget to give them credit.
  • If you’re planning to make unique content, try utilizing useful quotes, viral videos, funny GIFs, and even entertaining graphics.
  • Remember to always create content that’s unique and not used anywhere else as this helps to improve your overall reputation as an authority leader.
  • Make sure all content is spell checked. Spelling mistakes can appear unprofessional.

Collaborations can help, especially if you’re friends with people from other famous brands. If not, try approaching the notable figures in your niche if you could perhaps do a collaboration. You can for instance offer if your service or products can be “joined” with theirs, as you can boost the chances of selling products.

  • Examples of collaborations can be blog posts that promote products and services, contests and giveaways, and other forms of unique content.
  • This also helps you develop more fruitful relationship with other figures in your niche. This can help establish a good presence even to other members of the market.

Other Things You Can Do

Finally, here’s some other things you may be able to try to help increase follower interaction.

  • Offer freebies, contests or other incentives that may grab your follower’s attention.
  • Trigger emotions by sharing funny posts.
  • Share random questions or quotes to help peak their interest.
  • Share something controversial but not too controversial. You want to peak interest but not make people hate you if they don’t agree with you.

These are just some of the ways that you can engage your followers better to get better interaction.

Conclusion

At U-Thrive Marketing, we know that these tips above of course do not work “instantly.” You have to mix and match elements of these tips in order to boost your chances of getting more followers to become customers. Try to find ways to have these techniques “match” your branding and marketing, as this helps establish your “identity” in the market.

Bill Sheikh

I am the founder of U-Thrive Marketing, Tulsa’s premier online marketing and website design firm. We have helped hundreds of businesses across Oklahoma and the rest of the US take their online marketing to the next level. We specialize in generating more customers for the businesses we work with by utilizing proven online marketing tactics such as SEO, PPC & Social Media marketing. We also have a team of experts that specialize in website development, website design and graphic design. I have also been personally featured on many national and local publications related to marketing. 

Marketing Methods Debunked

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Marketing is one of the most important things a business needs to do. Right from the beginning you should be looking for ways to market yourself, and your products. The official definition of marketing is, “The study and management of exchange relationships”.  Basically, you’re communicating with your customers products and offers. Without it, you’ll be struggling to get yourself noticed in a very big world. Before you start a marketing campaign, you first need to do some market research. Knowing exactly what your customer wants, and what your competitors are doing can help build your own marketing campaign. This can either be done in house or outsourced. Getting an expert to look into your market for your first campaign might be a little easier than giving it a go yourself, that way your first campaign will be strong and effective. There are a lot of different ways of marketing, some of which can be confusing. This article is going to debunk some of the most effective.

SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. This is one of the most effective methods for getting your website noticed within a search engine’s rankings. It works by increasing traffic to your website, or a particular web page within your site, and in turn boost your overall rankings. Everything is on the web at the minute, so getting your website to the top is so important, hence why SEO should be your number one method of putting yourself or product out there. Like with market research, it may be best to outsource this one yourself. A successful SEO campaign can be hard to do, but SEO can be self taught. The backbone of SEO is link building. So basically, a search engine his little ‘robots’ that’ll crawl through all the websites on a web search. Within a website or webpage there should be a number of links that the robot can follow through the continue its crawl. If you have no links, and the robot can’t crawl your site, you site will be right at the bottom of the rankings. So this is where keyword research and link building come in. The more links that are dotted around the web that link to your website the better. Search engines assume that the bigger and better that your link building profile is, the more interesting your site is. But you can’t just build spammy links on random fake sites. This could face you being penalised. You also can’t build hundreds and hundreds of links at once. Again, you’ll be penalised. The robots aren’t stupid, you need to build your backlink profile up naturally. This is where companies that specialise in building backlinks come in handy. As you start to dabble in the world of SEO and backlinks, you should start to notice a rise in your rankings pretty soon.

Social Media

Again, this is a really big method of marketing, purely because social media is so huge. It is however, not as effective in terms of drawing traffic to your site as link building would be. It is more to showcase yourself to the world much more quickly. Social media is a real time thing, people are constantly tweeting, putting a picture on instagram etc. As soon as you tweet or post something, it’ll instantly start to get noticed. Your business should always have the three main social media pages set up. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you create a business page through Facebook, they have a really good tool called boosts. Basically, if you post something such as a new deal, you’ll be asked if you want to boost the post for a set price. This will then rocket the posts views from maybe hundreds, to in the thousands. The prices are relatively cheap, but it isn’t alway reliable in terms of meeting the right people. If you’re going to utilise Twitter, you need to think of hashtags that are relevant to your business. For example, if you’re selling gift hampers, you could promote a product by using hashtags such as #Gifthampers, #Christmas, #Birthday, and so on. Twitter is huge, and if done right you could be sending a lot of people your way. Make sure you’re always active in terms of tweeting, and try to gain followers as best as you can. Instagram is more for just showcasing what you have to offer, it won’t be as effective in terms of sending people to your website. Use it to show professional pictures of your products, and again you can use the hashtags that instagram has to build a decent following. Make sure you show your products off in the best light, use photo editing software to make them look as professional as possible.

Adwords

This is a service ran purely by Google, and it is effective if used alongside other methods such as link building. If you’ve ever done a Google search, you’ll notice that at the top of the search they’ll be three pages separated from the rest of the search with a little ‘Ad’ sign next to them. These are Adwords. Google uses keywords to determine which website should appear for which search. This is the difference between natural non-paid rankings, and paid rankings. To get your website in the top three, you’ll have to be paying a bit of money. You’ll be competing against other companies to take one of those spots in a particular keyword search. So for example, if you’re running an Adword campaign for the keyword ‘Sports Clothes’, they’ll be a few other companies doing the same, pumping money into this keyword search to try and secure the Adwords spot. It’ll sort of become like a bidding war to stay there. Whoever pays more, wins. It is effective in the sense that your website will get noticed instantly, and it does look more trustworthy. But it can be a really expensive game, and unless you want to constantly be paying a lot of money, it’s only a temporary method. But it will boost sales quickly, even if only for a short period of time.