We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: without a solid marketing strategy, your business can’t gain traction. This is crucial for businesses, especially at this time when virtually anything and everything is accessible over the Internet. Consumers generally run quick online searches for information on products and services, so if you want to reach as many potential customers as possible, build that digital marketing plan and build it quick.
With ever-changing trends and updates to keep up with, startups may find it difficult to determine which marketing techniques would work for the business. Apart from research and experimentation, serial entrepreneur and investor Phil Laboon offers three digital marketing strategies for marketing your new business.
1. Embrace the concept of social media.
Social media is a good place to start if you want to be successful online. Most consumers choose products and services as a direct result of discovering them on social media.
To find conversations related to your industry, simply log on to a site and enter keywords or phrases relevant to your field. You can establish your credibility by actively engaging with users in such discussions and offering valuable insights.
Visual content is one of the top trends in social media marketing. Capitalize on this by posting eye-catching images, infographics, or short, informative videos on your business’ social media pages.
2. Make sure your website is user-friendly.
Optimize your website to meet the needs of users. If they can’t navigate your site easily, they’re not going to stay for long, and they most likely won’t be visiting again. It would be best to consult a web developer to help showcase your startup and make your website as easy to read and navigate as possible.
Ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices as well. This SEO trend surfaced after Google’s algorithm update that places mobile-friendly websites higher in search rankings. Visit Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to know if your website has a mobile-friendly design.
Should you redesign your website? To get a better picture of what does and doesn’t work with your customers, offer free or discounted products or services in exchange for user feedback.
3. Use email as another way to reach your target audience.
Using email to reach your prospective clients is still a viable marketing strategy, but know that email marketing practices have changed in recent years. Monthly or weekly newsletters may not be enough to hold the attention of your target audience. Give the consumers you wish to attract what they are looking for, something they can actually use, such as offers and valuable insights.
In a constantly competitive marketplace, creating a startup may present different kinds of challenges. Pay attention to and take advantage of the latest digital marketing and SEO trends to get noticed by potential customers.
Constant changes in algorithms, consumer behavior, and social media in general make it difficult to keep abreast of developments in digital marketing and strategies that still work. Entrepreneur helps us understand which digital marketing tactics are no longer relevant and should be discarded:
1. Having a desktop-only accessible website
Google, with its well-meaning approach to making the user experience flow as smoothly as possible, has made it clear that mobile-friendly websites will be more visible and rank better in search results. This coincides with the modern user’s on-the-go lifestyle, which includes accessing the web via mobile devices.
Bear in mind that websites must be fluid not only to the user, but for the business owner’s convenience as well. You are running the risk of having inconsistent information from site to site when you have a mobile website built on a separate platform, and inconsistencies lessen consumer trust. You’ll be doing extra work and time handling social media and directory updates and uploading new information to additional sites. So ditch the traditional desktop-designed website and work on getting it mobile today to keep customers coming in.
Google has a “Mobile-Friendly Test Tool” where all you need to do is enter your URL and it will tell you if and why your website isn’t performing effectively on a smartphone or tablet. One tip is to avoid small fonts and links put too closely together - make your website easy to navigate on a small screen.
2. Not updating your website
Apart from mobile accessibility, Google also closely watches how often users click and convert on your website. Despite speculation that Facebook channels would outdo websites, research confirms that consumers still return to a company’s website for more information on the product or service, the corporation, and contact details. To place higher in search engines, your website must be enticing, easy to navigate, and constantly updated with quality content. Experiment using A/B testing to help your site achieve better user engagement, sales or other conversions.
Your site’s bounce rate is interpreted by Google as a signal that your content is irrelevant to the search query. One of the rules of digital marketing success is to make sure your website addresses your customers’ needs with timely and relevant content.
3. The spammy link
Up until business owners and unethical search agencies created backlinks from fake websites with poor-quality content and irrelevant information, Google determined a website’s authority by the number of websites linking to it. The search engine giant has since been penalizing websites without authentic backlinks coming from reputable and relevant websites and rewards quality content that earns backlinks naturally. In addition to signals from other sites, editors from Google check a website’s content for its relevancy to certain search queries. To avoid dropping in the rankings, it really helps to have meaningful and helpful content, products, and backlinks.
4. Ignoring criticism
Having a social media presence includes one-on-one conversations with customers. Social media is already up there with email and telephone as the main platforms for customer support. Companies should learn that the best way to deal with criticism is not by ignoring it, but by addressing the issue and working to rectify it. According to a study conducted by Edison Research, consumers contacting a company through social media expect a response within 30-60 minutes and round-the-clock support from the social-customer service team. Make the most of negative feedback posted on your page and take it as an opportunity to educate your customers and show them your commitment to customer service.
5. Single display and Facebook ads
The era of single display ads that show up on one page in the same place every time is coming to an end. Only few website visitors convert on the first visit, and sales professionals know that it takes 7-9 contacts to close the sale. A sales opportunity in the form of following up on initial contacts is made possible through re-targeting. With re-targeting, you’re able to target one customer at a time as your ad follows them around the web after they land on your website, engaging them even after they’ve left your page. Re-targeting done right helps move the prospect further down the sales funnel.
Social media marketing today is nothing like its early days when all a brand had to do to be heard around the world was send out a single tweet, engage with its existing audience, and its content would just about share itself. Today, consumers are savvier and more discerning when it comes to what they pay attention to. Overwhelm your audience with content, and you’re sure to lose their attention and the possibility of converting customers.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that brands need a content strategy to succeed in marketing. But with marketing trends shifting rapidly, how do you come up with a content marketing plan that works? Forbes listed 7 steps needed to develop a solid content marketing strategy:
1. Document your strategy.
Documentation is the only thing that is consistent amidst game-changing trends. According to an annual research by the Content Marketing Institute, those who document their content marketing strategies are more likely to consider themselves effective, feeling less challenged, and able to justify spending more of their budget on it.
Focus on a core outline and actionable steps when documenting. You could start by outlining your target social media channels, content you want to produce, and your objectives. And then support your efforts by having regular meetings with your team to re-evaluate your strategy and make necessary adjustments.
2. Develop an audience persona.
Build personas for your audience to effectively execute your content marketing strategy. When identifying your core audience, go beyond demographics and develop a persona that covers their pain points and how they react to different types of content.
3. Match your best ideas to the best channels.
No matter how great you think your content is, it will likely be ignored when posted on the wrong channel. The best thing to do is come up with ideas that match your brand’s voice, determine which platform the topic works better on, and, having pulled out the best quotes and statistics, cross-promote on another channel. However, take note that finding success with your content on the right channels can still be a hit or miss. Study trending topics on various channels and pay attention to the most clicked-on headlines and buzzwords. Find out the type of content that earns the most engagement and incorporate similar posts and tap into the power of relevant influencers on those channels to share it.
4. Think fast.
Remember Google’s Mobilegeddon? Mobile-friendly websites now rank better in search results. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile before publishing content linked to it. Because mobile is now the leader in search and ultimately the future of marketing, it’s important to start tracking engagement and shares in detail now. Learn about how users are finding your content and what they’re doing with it - if they’re sharing it, clicking on it, or uploading it elsewhere.
5. Incorporate the user experience.
Having a solid user experience strengthens your content efforts and eventually leads to sales. After creating top-quality material, make sure that users can easily engage with your content, whether they’re accessing it on a desktop or on a mobile device. On every mobile device you have available, test if all your call-to-action buttons are working and if the forms can be easily filled out. Ensure easy navigation throughout your site, check the speed at which your pages load and how quickly icons respond to a click, and find out where on your website users are spending most of their time.
6. Embrace social media as a channel.
Limiting your efforts to only social media can tank your marketing efforts altogether. Instead, embrace social media as just one of many channels that fully support your content marketing campaign. Make all of your content work together consistently and offer the same quality, optimization, and personalization regardless of the channel.
7. Go offline.
Don’t be so caught up in social media that you forget to take into account what your customers are doing offline. For further engagement and brand awareness, identify what type of content works offline and how it complements what you’re doing online, and take advantage of the opportunity to cross-promote and power your marketing with user-generated content.
We've come a long way since simply using Facebook to share personal photos and status updates. Social media has become such an integral part of marketing that there isn't a business that doesn't have a page on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
This year brings more opportunities to explore the ways in which businesses can use social media marketing for expansion and success. If you haven’t already planned for this year, or are still looking for ideas to add to your existing strategy, B2C offers a useful and practical social media planner for 2016:
January: Review and Customer Feedback
Start 2016 by pleasing your customers. No matter what the outcome was for your business by the end of 2015, January is the best time to ask for customer reviews and feedback from the sales you have made. You’ll have plenty of time to work on any negative feedback you receive, while using positive reviews to help strengthen promotions of your product or service. Note: Some businesses have a second social media account solely for customer service.
February: Love your Business
With Valentine’s Day being this month, why don’t you publish memorable and inspiring posts about your business, your people, and your product or service? This is ultimately telling your fans why you love your business. However, you don’t want to sound like you’re making a sales pitch, so be sure to release only a few of these posts.
March: Free Gifts
Advertise a free product or service trial by running a Facebook or Instagram contest and tying it into the Easter theme. This will help attract new interest and revive old customers.
April: New Beginnings
Catch up on your customer service and make sure you have responded to all kinds of feedback. This isn’t to say that you should ignore consumer reviews for the rest of the year, it simply means that a few posts letting your customers know that you have heard them and are working to improve your product or service could help your business be viewed in a good light and therefore encourage growth.
Everyone is amped up on the summer vibe, so get out in the sunshine and create a short video for your business. Videos have been making an impact on social media because they are visually appealing, and we don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
Think of June as a feel-good month. Share relatable posts from other businesses and connect with other relevant companies by commenting on their pages, leaving a message, or simply liking their page.
July: Scheduled Posts
Are you caught up with all your posts? Make sure you have scheduled them accordingly and are free of any backlog. Don’t forget to experiment with posts at different times of day, especially if you’re targeting a global audience.
August: New Platforms
Don’t be complacent about having just one or two social media profiles. Find out where your target audience hangs out on social media. Don’t be afraid to explore other platforms and study how you can make them work for your brand.
In the process of developing a new product? Thinking of adding a new service? Have a new manager on board? Keep your audience up-to-date with what’s happening in your company to exhibit transparency and to stimulate engagement with fans.
October: Creative Images
It’s Halloween! This holiday is so heavily celebrated that it wouldn’t be half bad to have a month-long celebration on social media. It’s also time to get creative and dress your logo up in a Halloween costume and put some spooky decor in your cover photo. Have another contest and give away cool treats!
Thanksgiving is another reason to create a holiday marketing campaign and get everyone involved and engaging on your page.
December: Christmas Marketing Campaigns
Having already run a few holiday campaigns over the past months, December is your last chance for the year to create the most captivating marketing campaigns that would create more leads, sales, and brand awareness.
There’s no denying that social media has become one of the major players in a brand’s marketing strategy. And with Facebook being the most visited social networking site with the highest number of active users, every business simply needs to be there. The major difference lies in how your brand leverages its exposure as well as the level of consumer engagement at the social network. Knowledge of these will help you optimize the level of exposure and success you have in terms of Facebook marketing.
To strengthen your Facebook marketing efforts, Social Media Today shares some quick tips that don’t involve spending money on ads or like campaigns:
1. Create engaging content.
It’s a given that you want to get in front of as many people in your target audience as possible. Hiring someone to post random material from around the web is the wrong strategy. It’s okay to get someone to do the work for you if you don’t have the time, but make sure that the content you’re posting is what your audience cares about. Energize your active audience with behind-the-scenes posts, success stories or testimonials and, most importantly, increase engagement by asking your followers relevant questions and offering fill-in-the-blank posts.
2. Emphasize photo albums instead of photo posts.
Video and photo posts work best on Facebook, making up about 93% of the most engaging pieces on the network. As a social media marketer, if the consumer/advocate likes your photos, try to give them albums. Not all audiences are the same, so don’t be afraid to test ideas.
3. Take advantage of the call to action button.
With the call to action button, Facebook offers you an opportunity to encourage your fans and visitors to take an action in the direction of your objective. Have a series of videos you would like your audience to watch to get to know your company? Use “Watch Video”. If you’re looking to use Facebook to sell your products, definitely opt for the “Shop Now” button. There are more buttons to choose from, it’s only a matter of knowing which audience action is important to your business.
4. Share Facebook-only offers.
Don’t fret if people aren’t flocking to your webpage in droves from social media. You can convert them into brand advocates with exclusive Facebook-only offers. For these to work, create a sense of urgency. Coupons and offers good for only 24 hours or less will get them talking and visiting your website or online store.
5. Don’t forget to showcase other social media.
Many marketers forget to showcase other social channels on Facebook. It’s safe to assume that if you’re big on Facebook, you’re good everywhere else. Create tabs that showcase channels like Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to offer glimpses into your corporate culture. Different social media strategies work on different channels which is why it’s important that consumers are aware of where you have a presence.
6. Share snippets of your blog.
Sharing fragments of your blog content with a matching link to the article helps boost your SEO and drives traffic to your website. It also increases the possibility of new backlinks.
by: Finella Kristle Panlilio
Thursday, November 26, 2015 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
Every year, content marketers dedicate ample time to prepare for the holiday season. The busiest time of the year holds excitement as well as opportunities businesses shouldn’t miss. B2C covers the dos and don’ts of incorporating holiday campaigns into your social media marketing strategy.
Do choose a holiday theme.
Be consistent and create a story and unique framing for your brand that you can use throughout the season. Your holiday theme should carry out in both your messages and designs.
Don’t misuse the holidays to sell more.
Holidays involve some kind of cultural or religious significance for most people, so remember to use holiday wording, metaphors, and imagery for your business marketing with care. Give extra thought to your target audience’s profile and how they might respond to the content of your holiday-related campaigns.
Do adjust your posting calendar.
Business social media engagement is pretty low during the weeks of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s, so adjust the schedule of your posts accordingly. You don’t want to annoy your followers with unwanted messages mixed in with updates from their family and friends.
Don’t ignore your current customers.
The Black Friday/Cyber Monday/countdown to New Year’s retail season may be tempting to focus your promotions on attracting new customers, but you should also use the holidays to thank your existing customers for their loyalty and offer rewards. You can also feature customer stories on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, share customer-only previews and promotions across all channels, and use Facebook to send invites to customer-only events.
Do run a contest or giveaway.
Take part in the outpouring of generosity during the holidays by running a social media contest or giveaway for your loyal followers. Select something that’s juicy enough to be shareable, but not so generic that you attract new followers who will never become customers.
Don’t go overboard with company celebration photos.
When it comes to sharing your company celebrations on social media, it pays to be judicious. A photo or two at the start of your holiday party is fine, but don’t go and live Instagram the entire evening.
You’ll want to refrain from posting any celebration photos if your company has had any reputation or performance issues in the past year, to avoid hateful comments.
Do feature follower holiday posts.
It’s good to share your followers’ posts from time to time - it shows that you look at and appreciate their life stories. And if they post photos featuring your products or services, even better!
Social media is the collective term for online communications channels committed to community-based input, interaction, collaboration, and content sharing. These consist of websites and applications for forums, social networking, social bookmarking, social curation, and microblogging.
Back in the late 1950s, word-of-mouth marketing advocates began to reflect on the importance of thought leadership and network influencers as a means to shape consumer behavior. Today, the role of influencers in relationship-building and business-customer engagement has been perfected by social media, where conversations between consumers and brands go beyond sales pitches and to open and transparent interactions. Social media has helped build relationships that encourage brand loyalty in the long run.
Companies and business owners might find it incredible that a few blog posts, daily status updates, likes, and follows are going to magically grow the business. PC Tech has listed 10 benefits that support this idea:
1. Improved customer service
Using social media to handle customer service is a win-win situation for both the customer and the company because while customers want to easily seek information and clarifications about a company’s product or service, companies want a medium where they can solve customers’ problems as efficiently as possible. Twitter, with its simple and informal nature, is a good example of a platform for managing comments and complaints.
2. Inexpensive effective marketing
Whether you’re a large business or a lone entrepreneur, social media marketing is the most inexpensive yet powerful business tool to build trust and authority. You won’t have to spend as much on traditional marketing which will help your business maximize its profitability.
3. Service and organizational improvement
A company’s audience on social media includes direct and indirect customers, direct and indirect suppliers, partners, established business authorities, and government bodies. Social media presents a big opportunity for you to listen to their feedback and further improve your product or service, and your organization as a whole.
4. Sharing your company message
Through social media, companies are able to easily spread their message to existing and future customers. You no longer have to deal with the age-old struggle of getting your top management monthly, quarterly or annual messages published in newsletters and magazines. Social media enables you to send your message to the right people who are constantly connected to the company, thus creating online ambassadors of people sharing the same message about your business.
5. B2B and BPO are easier.
Social media extends your reach from customers to businesses, especially on social networking services mainly used for professional networking, like LinkedIn. It facilitates the possibility of business process outsourcing (BPO) where one company is able to partner with another domestic or foreign company to do work on behalf of the other.
Your brand is what people think of when they hear your company name. Raise your customer's perception of your brand by having a strong social media presence that highlights your company’s unique qualities.
7. Promotions and brand campaigns
Social media promotions and campaigns provide a new outlet for generating buzz about your brand, sales, deals, and potential business partners as they pull in new users and returning customers alike. Make them exclusively available through social media to drive traffic to your company website. Promotions and campaigns made via social media reach a wider audience due to the shares made by both your customers and fans.
8. Reach unique audiences.
Don’t try to use social media as an opportunity to reach everyone. Instead, use it to reach the right audience - there’s a difference. You can target specific groups with platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
9. Discounts and freebies
To further maximize sales, use social media to offer discounts and freebies. In addition to publishing relevant content, this is a good strategy to gain loyal followers.
10. Brand leadership
Companies with a strong social media presence have the opportunity to subjectively shape industry and consumer behavior. This allows the company to establish itself as a brand leader from whom other companies learn. This industry status is attained by organizations that operate transparently and do not avoid social media.