Why promotional marketing stands out in the digital age

For those of us involved in marketing, it’s all too easy to forget that the digital revolution hasn’t necessarily changed every consumer behaviour and habit. Many of us still choose to shop in physical spaces, preferring to see a product in real life before we buy it. In the B2B sphere as well, purchasing decisions are often the result of meetings and relationships that have taken place in the real world. These ‘real world’ touch points, from product launch events to the department store aisle, are still incredibly important in influencing the consumer journey.

Promotional marketing may seem outdated in this digital marketplace but, on the contrary, it has become more relevant than ever. Brand awareness built up online can quickly be surpassed by brand experiences born in the real world. It’s perhaps no surprise then that promotional marketing has been shown to drive a higher ROI than many other forms of advertising. Whilst it may not be as scalable as digital marketing or have anything like its reach, as a way of establishing those all-important physical touchpoints with consumers, it is without equal.

In this article, I want to explore some of the reasons the inherently physical world of promotional marketing is, in fact, flourishing in the digital age.

Promo marketing generates long-term brand exposure and recognition

One of the most powerful assets of promotional marketing is its ability to drive brand awareness over the long term. Physical products are tangible artefacts that don’t disappear into the ether in the way a YouTube video or webpage does. Studies have found that consumers tend to keep promotional products for a year or longer. Whether it’s a pen, a handbag or a USB stick, that’s a lot of potential brand exposure alongside a comparatively transient social media or email marketing campaign.

What’s more, by appealing to our other senses, promotional marketing allows brands to create deeper more meaningful connections with consumers. Most marketing is seen or heard (or both in the case of video) but a physical object that can be touched, experienced and perhaps even smelt is something altogether more compelling.

Promo marketing is ripe for cross-pollination of marketing channels

It’s a misconception that digital marketing and physical marketing are doomed to sit in silos, separated from each other by the mere nature of the medium in which they exist. Cross pollination between physical media and digital media is entirely possible if planned correctly. Technology has created incredible opportunities for marketers to track the consumer journey from physical product to online activity.

Promotional marketing presents many opportunities for pushing consumers towards a brand’s digital assets, whether that be their website or social media channels. Some products will naturally lend themselves to this, such as USB sticks, or other devices with on-board memory, that may come pre-loaded with brand marketing and product info in the form or brochures or video. The same is true of social media as a means of pushing consumers aware of your promotional marketing and how to go about getting their hands on promotional products.

Promotional marketing establishes quality

Giving away a promotional product can help you to establish the quality of your product offering and by extension your brand. Even if you are a service based business, the quality and calibre of your promotional marketing reflects on your brand and will help to build consumer trust. This is why it’s important to establish a positive correlation with your brand by investing in high quality products for your promotional marketing. There is a very real chance your brand building could backfire if your promotional products feel in anyway cheap or poorly made.

Utility is a powerful driver of promotional marketing

Promotional marketing products come in all shapes and sizes, from bags and clothing to phone chargers and USB sticks. Utility however seems to be one of the most powerful determinants of whether a promotional marketing campaign is effective or not. People are bombarded with relatively cheap items these days, but if you can offer them something truly useful and practical for free, then that puts you in a very strong position. Not only will your customers think of your brand every time they get use out of your product, but they’re also more likely to keep it for longer, further establishing brand recognition and advocacy.

Digital marketing complements not competes with promotional marketing

Much promotional marketing, especially in the B2B area, is done via corporate or consumer events. Far from reducing the efficacy and desire for event marketing, the growth and development of social networks has gone hand in hand with event marketing’s continuing success. Events remain a powerful way of brand building and have in fact adapted to incorporate technology and digital media to their advantage.

Live streaming, tweeting, hashtags, online seminars, virtual speakers and social media campaigns have all served to enhance and improve the event experience for attendees, whilst QR codes, RFT technology and more sophisticated conversion tracking has allowed marketers and event organisers to better track ROI and leads post event. All this plays perfectly to promotional marketing, which forms the perfect touch point between those brands exhibiting at an event and the delegates or consumers attending.

About the Author
Steve Hill is the Director of Bag Workshop, a leading UK supplier in promotional bags and custom branded bags. Having worked in marketing for over a decade, Steve stepped aside to found three separate companies supplying bespoke marketing products under the Wurlin Promo umbrella. You can connect with Bag Workshop on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

 

Destination Marketing: 4 Ways to Influence the Buyer’s Journey

The destination marketingbuyer’s journey is like no other. It shifts from search, to reading blogs, to booking a holiday. Find out how to influence the journey in this blog.

influence header

Searching online for reviews, looking at photos, and planning your journey for your next trip is half of the excitement. Preparing for your adventure ahead is what makes it so adventurous. With the destination customer journey beginning through destination-related searches, it’s vital for leisure and tourism businesses to devise and implement well-thought-out marketing strategies.

With constant digital and technological advancements, it can make it tough to nail down a flawless strategy. To help springboard your destination marketing into the realm of positively influenced buyers, we’ve laid out four ways to pave the way for a solid strategy.

1. Make it meaningful

Now we don’t mean shower users with flowery language and giveaways (although it would be nice). We’re talking about resonance: creating a powerful place brand identity that will make a long-lasting impression on your potential buyers.

Your place identity should evolve from your company’s mission statement, goals, and objectives. A persona that captures the key values, culture, and commodities of your destination. Thinking of keywords that you want buyers to associate with your destination and making those words tangible. It takes more than well-thought-out descriptive words that sound lovely. It’s about making these words a part of your destination. That will resonate with your potential buyers, and will ultimately influence how they feel about you, thereby deciding their buying behaviour.     

Once you’ve established your strong identity, it’s time to think about interacting with your buyers. Modern-day consumers’ behaviour has seen a shift from the buzzword of ‘engagement’ to ‘interaction’. Long gone are the days where measuring your number of followers or likes is seen as a success: it’s now all about what your buyers are actually doing with your brand. Rather than waiting for your potential buyers to come to you, why not go to them?

Don’t all rush off at once. We’re not saying send hundreds of emails, constantly tweet, or tag target customers on Facebook – don’t do any of those things. Think more guerilla and direct, with in-market events. The destination, travel, and leisure industry is often dubbed “the invisible industry”, and now it’s time to show you’re here. Take elements of your destination that encapsulate your place identity, and allowing potential buyers to get a real taste of your destination, as opposed to relying on online reviews. Experiencing first-hand what your destination has to offer will directly influence the buying journey for your destination. But remember to showcase your in-market events online, because there’s always a chance your footage may go viral.   

2. Create purposeful content

It’s like the old saying: less is more. Would you rather have an abundance of content that hardly brings in any value, or a handful of pieces that have true substance and which generate a lot more value? We’re guessing you’d choose the latter option.

There’s no point in having lots of content if it’s not purposeful and is only there to fill pages on your site. It has no value, no meaning, and no influence on your potential buyers. So let’s focus on creating content with substance.

The best way to hold influence over your buyers is by utilising the trend of influencers – that is, influential bloggers and content-creators. Contacting local or national online influencers to visit your destination is a great way to indirectly influence your potential buyers. Using techniques such as influencer takeovers across social media platforms not only pushes your destination further online, but it does so from the position of someone actually experiencing your destination.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s clear that video is now a vital content format for all types of companies. Sprawled across every possible outlet is the medium of video content. Usually we’re not one for advocating to follow the crowd, but in this instance we think you should. Whether you use POV with a GoPro, go live online, or use snippets in your social stories, the video format provides you with rich content that will certainly hold influence over buying decisions.

We’re not saying the written word is dead, because it certainly isn’t, especially in the destination industry. By producing written guides and travel blogs on your destination(s), you’ll showcase the different elements to your brand, and that will resonate with potential buyers. Using the process of outreach to place your travel blogs on relevant destination sites for different cities can prove extremely vital when influencing buyers.     

Using these key methods, you can really make your content stand out. When creating content, it is important to understand that you make an impression during each stage of the buying journey.

touchpoints-graphic

Whether it’s video blogs, influencer travel diaries, or live streams of your destination, content is the biggest way to influence your future customers.

3. Inspire your buyers

The latest digital trend taking brands by storm is the notion of VR (virtual reality). Taking users on simulated adventures, VR immerses the consumer in a digital environment where they can experience the real world in 3D. This goes hand-in-hand with destination marketing due to its attributes, allowing users to experience a destination or place without having to actually be there. This can significantly influence the buying journey, as it allows consumers the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’.

Going that extra step further over video content, VR allows buyers to become participants rather than just viewers of the content. They get the chance to become immersed and fully involved in the destination marketing adventure. The VR format also offers the chance to personalise adventures, tapping into direct target audiences, and influencing buyers on a personal one-to-one basis.

VR is known as the technique to inspire imagination, and it’s time for destination marketers to be inspired. Creating VR content and gathering VR footage isn’t just for the Goliaths of marketing – the Davids of the industry can generate their own VR campaigns too.

4. Be readily available

Many services do not offer round-the-clock customer services, and this is exactly where destination marketers should step ahead. When we search for trips or places to go, it is more often than not done outside of office hours, so it’s highly likely that this is the same for your potential buyers. With this in mind, offering constant availability can positively influence your user.

If you’re thinking of how to always be available and online for your potential customers, then look no further than chatbots within messenger apps. Utilising the idea of a chatbot will help your destination marketing by providing a personalised journey map for your potential buyer. Whether they want to know the location of your destination or the price of it, chatbots allow 24/7 service to your consumers. By taking advantage of this ‘wherever, whenever’ style of service, it provides high influence on the buying journey, because your potential buyers will have constant access to advice and information in booking their place to come visit your destination(s).

The buyer’s journey within destination marketing is like no other industry. It shifts from search, to reading blogs, to even craving user-generated content. This is why it is important to ensure that your destination is a positive online influencer to ensure potential buyers are swayed to your destination and not to your competitors’.  If you want free consultation on how to put a strategy together, feel free to contact the team at theEword.

Internet Marketing for the Soft Sell

To selling an Internet marketing service, learn what your clients want and then give it to them. Techniques like remarketing & conversion optimization help build a IM business

By Katrina Manning

One thing that surprises many novice Internet marketers is the fact that people don’t really mind being sold to. What truly matters is how you do it. In the end, you must allow people to sell themselves. This isn’t about control, it’s about gently leading people down the path you want them to take. Only the very skilled know how to do this in a way that ensures the prospect believes it was their decision the entire time.

Plus, if you have a product that your target market does not like–no amount of selling will work. On the other hand, find something they want and selling is much easier. According to BuildNicheLinks, hard sell tactics just feel desperate. Your goal is to build a continual relationship not a one-time sale. Instead, Internet marketing should be about building relationships with people. You must find out what they want, then provide it to them. That way, they want to buy from you over and over again.

How Internet marketing developed such a bad reputation

Internet marketing can be a scary proposition for many business owners since there are no formal education requirements to participate. Not having a standardized industry protocol is part of the reason Internet marketing has a bad reputation. The best Internet marketers will take the time to engage with their clients and offer a transparent reporting process.

Plus, flexibility is required to try varying options and avenues for marketing success. Internet marketers must be realistic in their assertions, then, put in the work to fulfill their claims. If your Internet marketing plan sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When you know that 82 percent of customers research online before making a purchase, it shows that having an appealing online presence is more important than ever. Your online visibility is the first thing people see. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Create your unique selling proposition

To have a competitive advantage in your industry, it is critical to have a unique selling proposition. What sets you apart from your competitors? This is a specific promise you make to your customers, that your competitors are not promising. Think of when Domino’s Pizza first guaranteed pizza delivery in 30 minutes or it was free. Sales skyrocketed. It set them apart, but also made their competitors take notice.

Pizza lovers didn’t want to wait for fresh and hot pizza. Domino’s took note and made that their unique selling proposition. It wasn’t hard to sell since this is what people wanted anyway. Domino’s didn’t have to use desperate selling tactics to get more customers. Their unique selling proposition brought attracted new and loyal customers in droves. If something is easy, people will take it. Think of it this way: people are overwhelmed with data. There is a palpable information overload. What the modern consumer wants is ease and convenience. Amazon recognizes this. Look at their Prime Now service.

You can order anything from groceries to electronics and have it delivered within two hours of ordering. That is speed and service at its finest. Craving ice cream and also need cat food? No problem, and there’s no need to drive to the grocery store. Amazon Prime Now will deliver it to you in two hours. Got sick unexpectedly and need medication? Again, you can have it delivered in two hours or less. Speed is how you can position your company against any other in your space.

Optimize your conversions

One of the largest goals for an Internet marketing campaign is to increase conversions. This can be getting more people to sign-up for your newsletter or to make an initial purchase. It can also be getting information from your prospects such as filling out a form and sharing their e-mail addresses. The only way to increase your conversion rate is by offering benefits such as discounts or insider previews for sharing their information. It also helps to understand why Google doesn’t like your website.

Re-market

One of the easiest forms of Internet marketing is re-marketing. This is when a prospect looks at one of your products or services, then leaves to browse another site. Yet, they may see your ad pop up on other sites. It’s a reminder of what they have recently looked at. Re-marketing works because it targets prospects who have already shown initial interest. Perhaps they don’t have the budget yet or are in the research process. Nonetheless, you don’t want them to forget about your product and service. As the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind.

Internet marketing is here to stay. As a result, it helps to ensure you understand how it works.

About the author
Katrina Manning is a published author and content marketing writer. Over the past eight years, she has written thousands of articles in the business, tech and lifestyle genres. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, experimenting with new recipes, travelling and looking at Instagram pics.

Best link-building tactics you should know about

Link-building won’t be so difficult if you follow these tactics. Almost like magic, you will see how much more effective your strategy can be. It’s as simple as that!

By Joan Herbert

When trying to bring traffic to your website, link-building is one of the key elements of SEO. You need to make sure that you are raising your position in search engines with your link-building, as well as bringing in traffic from those links. Here are some tactics that you need to focus on.

Make sales, not views
One of the big things to realise early on is that you need to be looking at the right figures in order to succeed. Many people believe that the more views a page gets, the better. But this is simply not the case. Instead, you need to be getting relevant views – from people who are likely to convert into customers. Even if the website itself is your product, in the case of entertainment websites, for example, you need to bring in the kind of viewers who will stick around and read what you have to say. Focus on your target audience and be very specific and picky with your keywords.

Interact
A great way to spread your link far and wide is simply to comment on other people’s blogs. Blogs will be part of the niche that your target audience is interested in. For example, if you have a web design company, you can comment on blog posts about building a website, growing a brand, establishing a web presence, and so on. The presence of your web link with your comment will give you easy backlinks which come from a relevant place for your customers.

Embed content
Make videos along with your posts that you can put videos into. These videos can be another way for you to gain followers. Let’s say that you run a food website. Make a recipe up, and film yourself making it in the style of a TV chef. Then put that video alongside the recipe. Now there are two pieces of content your viewers can share: the post, and the video. The post links back to the video, and the video links back to your post. Every time one is shared or linked, your potential views are doubled. It’s a great tactic for getting more bang for each post.

Talk to experts
When you want to build on a new subject, talk to experts. Lots of them. Use their quotes. If you can’t talk to them, quote from their articles. If they don’t have articles, talk about how something they have done is a great example. When the post goes live, email it out to all of those experts. Chances are that they will want to share the post with their followers, which gives you a fantastic link from a credible and trusted source. It also opens up a new potential follower stream for you on social media.

Guest post
Guest posting is hugely important for linking, even if you don’t have your own blog on your website. It’s one of the tried and tested methods. There are two options: one is to make a post relevant to your website which links to you as an example. The second is to write a post about your field and then add your link into your author bio. Check out the site rules first as some are strict on what they will and won’t allow. This should help you figure out which to choose. Always add your link in the body if you can for better SEO relevance.

Link-building won’t be so difficult if you follow these tactics. Almost like magic, you will see how much more effective your strategy can be. It’s as simple as that!

About the author
Joan is an Assistant Manager at http://www.Bank-Opening-Times.co.uk, a curious individual, avid reader and a passionate creative writer.

How to Choose the Right Influencers For Your Next Marketing Campaign

Over two-thirds of people with an internet connection regularly use social media, so you can’t afford to miss an opportunity to make connections

Influencer marketing has become increasingly common with the prevalence of social media. Over two-thirds of people with an internet connection regularly use social media, so you can’t afford to miss an opportunity to make connections of that calibre. By understanding which influencers will work best for you and making your move, you will have the ability to funnel your important content directly to an audience who would love to eat it up. All you need to do is find these influencers and put your plan into motion.

Understand Your Campaign

Never settle for an ambiguous idea. Vague ideas produce vague results, and vague results aren’t worth your time or money. If you’ve never structured a comprehensive marketing plan before, you’ll undoubtedly benefit from online marketing courses. Even if you’ve taken them before, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up. Influencer marketing is relatively new, and if you’re unfamiliar with the art of marketing, you’re going to have to learn. Use your knowledge to build a clear plan with clear goals. Without this foundation, you won’t be able to measure your results.

Pay Attention To Your Audience

Who is your audience already following, watching, or reading? They probably already have their favourite YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter personalities. If these people aren’t already working with a brand that could cause a conflict of interest, they’re easy picks for your next campaign. Your audience likely has enough in common with their friends, and by utilising an influencer who is already reaching this niche of people, the work cannot possibly be easier.

Look for Rising Stars

In addition to well-established influencers, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to work with up and coming ones. Finding these individuals gives you the best chance to create a mutually beneficial working relationship. They’ll gain exposure through you, and you’ll gain exposure among the followers they’ve amassed from other sources. This will help to pass your marketing message along to areas you aren’t currently marketing in. Influencers love mutually beneficial relationships. In the end, everyone is happy.

Start Vetting Influencers Early

Don’t wait until the evening before you intend to launch your campaign to start reaching out to influencers. You’ll want to check their past and their image to make sure they’re people you’ll want associated with your brand. The longer you talk to them, the better off you’ll be. Open up a line of communication with everyone who has the potential to be an influencer in the future. If the time isn’t right when your first campaign rolls around, you can always use them later. There’s never any harm in planning ahead.

Consider How You Want Those Influencers to Influence

Don’t expect an Instagram influencer to do just as well on YouTube. Always allow your influencers to use the platforms they’re best with. It also helps to choose influencers who have a larger presence than you do on their particular platform. That way you can draw in followers who actively use that platform. For example, if you aren’t exceptionally active on Snapchat, choose an influencer who is an expert with the platform and allow that person to run a Snapchat takeover for you. You’ll be allowing your influencer to do what he or she does best while diversifying your social media presence.

Influencer marketing is one of the strongest strategies to fully infiltrate your desired market. As long as you’re approaching it with careful preparation and a little foresight, you’re sure to see the results you’ve always dreamed of.

About the author
Sophia Beirne works as a Content Manager at
Career FAQs, Australia’s leading portal on online learning and career resources. She is keen on everything digital as well as new tech solutions and self-development ideas.

5 Reasons Why Google Doesn’t Seem to Like Your Website

If your website ranks low in Google, it’s time to change it! This article will help you understand why your SEO strategy isn’t working.

Search on Google

You feel like you’ve done everything you can possibly do to boost yourself in Google’s rankings, but you’re still not as close to the top of the first page as you’d like to be. It’s clear that your current SEO strategy isn’t working, and you’ll need to switch tactics. Before you start aimlessly tinkering, it helps to consider some core things that Google considers. Perhaps you’ve shifted your prioritizes in the wrong direction, and the fix is simpler than you thought.

1. It Isn’t Optimised for Mobile Viewing
Mobile optimisation is of the utmost importance to Google. With more than half of internet traffic coming from smartphones, Google doesn’t want to direct these masses of people to a website that won’t display correctly on their phones. This is a weighty priority for Google, and most websites have already complied. If you haven’t, your competitors are going to outrank you.

2. You’re Trying to Buy Google’s Friendship
Google has largely improved its algorithm, and that algorithm is quick to spot any shady circumstances around your links. Buying links won’t go unpunished. It became such a common practice that Google cracked down on it, deeming it to be dishonest. Any links you build need to make sense. It’s better to focus on building mutually beneficial relationships with other reliable websites than it is to attempt to cheat a system that’s wired to detect cheaters.

3. Your Website is Crowded
You want to create rich content, but if it’s too rich, it will make Google’s sweet tooth ache. If all of your keywords are smashed together, Google won’t be able to determine your focus. It will believe most of the information is irrelevant, and it will have no idea what you’re trying to accomplish. Rather than concentrating everything you need to say onto a single page, spread your content out. Organize it a little better, and devote a single page to a single subject.

4. Someone Else Didn’t Like Your Website
If you feel as though sabotage might be involved, that may be a real possibility. It’s rare, but competitors can employ negative SEO strategies to take down other websites. Sometimes, hackers can take advantage of weak spots in your security to plant malware for their own benefit. You should always review your security reports and constantly update your security measures. If you see any suspicious links, remove them and contact Google.

5. Your Keywords Are All Wrong
This is one of the most common mistakes, and it’s an easy one to fix. How long has it been since you’ve done keyword research? Google AdWords offers keyword research tools. Check your preferred keywords against what Google perceives to be the most popular keywords. Make sure everything matches. You may need to make a few changes in your wording, but it’s simple enough to do. It’s rare that a website would need to completely overhaul itself based on a few keyword changes.

Whenever you have questions about the way your SEO strategy is working for you, you can always consult your Google webmaster tools. If you don’t already use them, it may be time to start. They’ll give you a complete breakdown of how traffic is moving, and whether or not your website has any issues that may affect its ranking.

About the Author
Mary Frenson is a Marketing Assistant at Checkdirector.co.uk, a new source of information on UK companies. Mary is always happy to share her marketing ideas and thoughts on business issues. In her free time she enjoys handicrafts.

5 essential online marketing trends that will dominate 2017

Social media marketing can be time-consuming. If you want better engagement and higher conversions automation is the answer. Here are some practical tips.

Person using laptopBy Jessica Gust

Social media marketing can be time-consuming, and it’s always a task that needs to be done if you want better engagement and higher conversions. But how do you take the time out of the task and get it all done smoothly? Automation is the answer. Here are some practical tips to automate your social marketing and still get it right.

Queue your posts

With queueing, you can write posts far in advance of the time you need them to go out, resting assured that they will do so when you need it. Facebook already has a built-in queue system, or you can use a service like Buffer to do all your networks for you. They currently cover Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram, so all your posts are taken care of. You will need to upgrade from the free model if you want to add multiple networks or queue more content at once.

Share content from other sources

If you want to quickly and easily give your customers information that they will enjoy, simply share content from other sources. This can be done with recommendations from within Buffer, or by queueing updates from your own pages. You can also re-post your old content. To make things even simpler, sign up for Quuu. This service posts updates from your niche to the social media page of your choice, giving you shareable content that you don’t even need to read yourself.

Set up triggers

If you are having trouble getting everything connected, set up IFTTT. The system, named If This Then That, helps you to automate your marketing. When a trigger happens – such as getting a good customer review on one of your products – a result will be automated – such as a tweet sharing the review. You can also use it in more unusual ways. You can let your customers know how the weather will be today, or promote certain products whenever you make a sale. Let it work behind the scenes for you by adding posts without any interference.

Use statistics

Slow news day? Get your queue back up and running by running analytics. Take a look at the content you have posted that has proved to be the most popular, and repost the items that are still relevant or evergreen. You can exploit social trends like the #throwbackthursday hashtag to post this old content on Thursdays. You could even search your old content for buzz words that are currently trending, then add them to a queue to go out over the next few hours.

Keep an ear out

Catch every mention of your brand on social media with Mention, which finds your business name and shows you the results. This will help you to check in with customers and doesn’t even require you to open the website – they will send you email alerts. You can also use services like TweetDeck to track certain hashtags or mentions and respond to them in real time. As for responding to customers, you can automate this, too. Services allow you to send a message whenever you get a new follower or reply to mentions of certain words with a standardised tweet. How would this work in practice? A company that fixes boilers can respond with a sales message to any tweet that mentions “broken boiler”, for example.

The more you automate your marketing, the more time you will have to focus on customer service and brand representation. But be sure to keep an eye on things so you know they are still ticking over the way they should be.

About the author
Jessica Gust is a Marketing Assistant at https://www.localpeek.co.uk/– a new postcode finder. She is passionate about new marketing strategies, she is always eager to share her ideas through blogging.

How to Get the Most out of Mobile Marketing

New campaigns need to be designed around the smartphone and other high-end mobile devices if they are going to have the greatest market penetration.

Mobile marketing is essential With the increasing popularity of smartphones, they have become the prime sell and brand awareness tool for marketers. New campaigns need to be designed around the smartphone and other high-end mobile devices if they are going to have the greatest market penetration.

Responsive Websites

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when web designers would create a desktop website and then a mobile version that resided at a different domain. This meant double the cost and twice the maintenance for e-commerce sites. Now developers use one website that is responsive to the user’s device and needs.

Market consulting company Nielsen Norman Group says that responsive websites are dynamic based on device size and orientation. That definition is a bit limited because today’s responsive designs change based on user need, preference settings and cookie-based demographics. Business owners need to make sure that every site in their marketing campaign is responsive.

Cutting-Edge Design

Only focusing on smartphones and tablets is becoming outdated, however. With the advent of wearable technology like Samsung Gear and the Apple Watch, digital marketing is positioning for yet another big change. Wearable tech skews to the millennial generation and is more interactive than other forms of mobile marketing. Geofencing and other new marketing systems are geared for this type of mobile technology. They capture the location and movement statistics of the wearer and enable business owners to interact based on that information. For example, athletes can be targeted from their exercise activities or elderly by health demographics.

Mobile Shoppers’ Minds

Mobile buying is a new enough phenomena that research is just now breaking down buying behaviors between traditional, online and mobile cohorts. Mobile shoppers tend to be faster decision makers, rely on online reviews and are more situational in their buying decisions. Systems that make this easier for mobile buyers are the new holy grail of marketing. QR codes, geolocation tags and in-store kiosks are just some of the mechanisms that marketers are using to tap into mobile shoppers’ habits.

Structure vs. Texture

Business owners can break down the user interface and marketing methodology. Structural components are the ones that make the site and its corresponding marketing campaigns work for the user. Dropdown menus, navigation bars and one-click enlargement fall under this category. Texture is more about how it looks and includes the way the information makes users feel. Research shows that males are more influenced by structure and females are more engaged by texture, so business owners should keep this in mind as they segment their market.

Color

For both women and men, the way they feel when they are exposed to a marketing message is the cornerstone of their buying reaction. In other words, if they feel good, they are more likely to buy. Color is the single strongest mediator of emotion in a nonverbal world. Generally, yellows promote a friendly belief, reds are excitement and off-white is balance. These are not hard-and-fast rules but more like guidelines, so use the information with moderation.

Is it Time to Shake-up Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

Is it time to change your digital marketing strategy? The latest strategic moves taken by the world’s biggest brand can help shape your future strategy.

By Richard Barker

Marketing Strategy signpost According to a survey conducted by Regalix, in 2015 the majority of business-to-business marketers invested in digital marketing, with some 38% even shifting spend from traditional mass advertising to advertising across digital channels. These recent statistics highlight just how important enforcing a clear, succinct and ultimately successful digital marketing strategy is, but what does it mean for the brands these professionals represent? And more importantly, for small to medium sized businesses like you?

It’s a fact that more and more brands are relying predominantly or even solely on business generated online, and evolving digitally has therefore become an important part of operations for multiple organisations, but when does your existing strategy become old news? Here we’ll explore the signs that say it’s time for a change, check up on the latest strategic moves taken by the world’s biggest brands, and explore the factors that will shape your strategy for the year ahead.

Time for change: Is your campaign due for a revamp?

As I own a Web Design Company in Leeds I know many practices that sit at the heart of the average digital marketing campaign, including pay-per-click (PPC), social media, search engine optimisation, web design and development, online marketing and content marketing, establishing a strategy in the first place takes a lot of research, expertise and hard work. However, the key to a successful marketing plan, whether based online or off, is moving with the times.

The digital world is particularly fast paced, and thanks to its ever changing algorithms, consumer behaviours and wider trends, marketers always have plenty to keep them on their toes. Recognising when your existing marketing efforts are no longer as fruitful is difficult, but there are identifiable signs that say it’s time for a change…

Changing your digital marketing outlook isn’t just a matter of switching up a few tactics come the New Year, your plan should be constantly evolving to ensure success in the face of new trends, changing customer preferences or market specific advancements. Whilst the internet is known for its unpredictability, garnering unpredictable results shouldn’t be an outcome of your digital marketing prowess. There are a wide range of tools that can help you to efficiently and accurately measure your marketing effectiveness, something that must be done throughout the lifespan of any campaign. From website metrics such as page views, time on site, crawl rate, bounce rate and inbound links to social media measurements of reach, buzz, engagement, participation, transaction and advocacy, defining which parts of your campaign achieve unpredictable results or simply don’t perform at all isn’t as challenging as you may think. Many tracking tools are free to use with Google Analytics, Search Console, Scoop.it and Buffer just some of our favourites.

Static traffic can also provide evidence that certain strategies aren’t performing as well as they should be, as with more than 100 million new internet users annually, your website should be growing organically, even if it’s by a fraction, without a finely tuned marketing strategy in place. If your traffic and reach is not rising, then your current strategy will need to be upgraded.

What we can learn from big brand stories

Whether your goal is to increase return on investment, expand your market reach or simply get your brand name out there to the people (i.e. potential customers) who matter, many SMEs have big expectations when it comes to their marketing plans. So what better way to aim high than to take a closer look at what one of the world’s biggest brands is doing digitally!

Coca Cola ScreenshotCoca-Cola is a household name across the globe, a brand that has overcome language barriers and other hurdles to become the world’s best loved beverage. Their recent change in strategic direction delivered a vital insight for fellow businesses, big and small, and offered a few life lessons for the wider marketing community.

Whilst it was the company’s ‘debrand’ – Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign witnessed a personalised product take the place of their iconic brand name – that hit the marketing headlines in 2013, this year, their ‘One Brand’ strategy provoked unity across all their trademarks. Described as the “biggest strategic change in the history of the company”, One Brand saw the firm take a solo brand global with new strapline, Taste the Feeling, and evoke the universal moments that people, regardless of their creed or home country, experience. This particular campaign offers a poignant reminder of just how important storytelling is, and how every great marketing move, as demonstrated by a company that already dominates the mass market, should provide consistency to the consumer and ultimately stay true to the values that it and its customers hold dear.

Evolving your marketing plan for the year ahead

Whilst no two digital marketing campaigns should be the same, there are a number of steps you can take as a small to medium sized or start-up business to transform your strategy and achieve success in the year ahead. It’s no secret that your commercial website is a portal for better business so make sure it is engaging, relevant and as up-to-date as possible. Removing, changing or editing any outdated content is a great place to begin, and new content should be written not for the search engines but for your visitors. Research gathered by the Content Marketing Institute revealed that 70% of marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago. But remember content posted across your social media platforms, on-site blog and off-site should be treated individually so keep it unique and don’t forget those calls to action.

The same theory applies to the imagery used on your website and across your social media channels. Whilst the power of content led marketing is well-known, its combination with stunning and relevant images is just as impactive.

The consumer predictions that could shape strategy further

Consumer trends and more specifically user behaviour should help shape your strategy further. Advertising across social media platforms has been, and still is, a great way to target the groups interested in your industry sector, and trends show that the utilisation of digital advertising isn’t set to come to a halt any time soon. Whilst Facebook ad investment has growth steadily in recent years, with a 11.9% rise in spending predicted next year, using its mobile platform to advertise has exploded in the past two years and is set to continue growing rapidly into 2017.

There are now more mobile only consumers than desktop consumers, with those surveyed admitting to spending 60% of their time on digital media, so capitalise on this by introducing a strategy that puts mobile and content first. Search algorithms are backing the mobile-first, content-first approach with website speed still essential to getting those conversion rates as high as possible.

With brands spending more money putting their best face forward online, evolving digitally should be embraced by all so… where will your strategy take you?

About the Author

Richard Barker is the founder of full-service digital marketing agency Harrison Mann. He specialises in search engine optimisation, pay-per-click, content marketing, website design and social media marketing, all of which have been used to help clients from across the country grow their online presence and boost their bottom lines.

LinkedIn Address: https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardbarkeruk

Site URL: https://harrisonmann.co.uk

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+HarrisonmannCoUk

 

Boost Your Business with a Powerful Referral Marketing Strategy

With a well-crafted referral strategy, you can dramatically increase the volume and quality of referral leads for your business. Check out these seven tactics here.

Referral marketing is a new twist on word of mouth marketing – one of the oldest and most effective means of promoting practically any type of product or service. According to a recent study of small business owners conducted by Verizon and Small Business Trends, 85 percent of small businesses credit word of mouth as the number one method of attracting new customers.

With a well-crafted referral strategy, you can dramatically increase the volume and quality of referral leads for your business – usually with no more than a modest out-of-pocket expense. Here are seven practical tactics that can help get your own referral campaign started on the right foot.

Provide a Truly Superior Buying Experience for Your Customers

Every member of your organization needs to embrace the idea that total customer satisfaction is the number one goal. A great product or service offering, exceptional customer service, and an overall “warm and fuzzy” buying experience are absolutely essential to the best referral campaigns. Start by evaluating the buying experience from your customer’s point of view. Huddle with your staff to identify problem areas, brainstorm solutions, and decide which aspects of your company’s buying experience are worth sharing with friends and family.

Don’t Ignore Your Analytics

You should already have Google Analytics set up on your website. This is a free service that provides a wealth of information about how your site is performing, including data on third-party sites that are already linking and referring traffic to your site. Focus your referral-strengthening efforts on those sites providing you with the highest quality traffic. Consider adding more links and mentions in future posts, exploring guest blog posting opportunities, and creating a commissioned affiliate program.

Add a Wow Factor to Make Your Customer’s Product Experience More Shareable

Examine your product offering for a unique attribute that is highly shareable through your customer’s social channels. A creative packaging experience is one way to stand out from your competitors and gain those all-important social signals. Trunk Club and Everlane offer two highly creative examples of using product packaging to encourage customer sharing of their purchases through social media.

Make Referring Your Brand As Easy As Possible

The easier you make it for customers to share and refer your products, the more referrals you’ll get. Consider adding a referral link on your website’s navigation bar, and offer an incentive for future purchases for both your customer and for each friend referred. Add a social sharing badge to each of your product pages.

Create a Customer Loyalty Program

Reward your loyal customers with an incentive program for each visit to your site, each purchase made, and every friend referred. These actions will earn your customers points redeemable for vouchers that can be applied to future purchases.

Reach Out to Your Influencers

Practically every niche has its influencers – people who have a feeling for a certain product niche and a following of consumers who rely on their reviews and recommendations. Influencers range from popular celebrities to niche bloggers and YouTubers. Search Google for your niche category and compile a list of influencers who are writing about the products or services that your company markets. Contact the most popular influencers for a possible sponsored posting or a review of your product.

Encourage Customers to Review Your Products

Positive reviews about your company and products are another form of referral, and should be collected from as many satisfied customers as possible. Positive reviews should be marketed aggressively by posting to your website, adding to your outbound emails, and submitted to appropriate review sites. Any negative reviews should be followed up on, and every effort made to resolve the situation to the customer’s satisfaction.

Print or TV? The Media that Won the Battle for Your Advertising Dollars?

Print, TV, Radio are now perceived as “unconventional,” as fewer people use them. That’s the reason old media are becoming effective again.

By Matt Janaway

Want to use unconventional media? Would it be print or TV?

That’s right—online advertising has become so common that people are beginning to consider blogs and social media as traditional media. Print, TV, Radio, or outdoor are now perceived as “unconventional,” because fewer people are using them. And that’s precisely the reason old media are becoming effective again.

Let’s compare print and TV, and see which one of them works best for your business.

Print Media

“Brands should be looking at print as an opportunity right now to get attention right now,” says Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute. The words may be a surprise for many, coming from a the father of digital content marketing at a time when some major print publications have already shut down for lack of business. But a closer look reveals that print is back with a bang.

It appears that the explosive growth of the internet caught everyone by surprise. As people started consuming more digital media, marketers diverted resources from the (actual) traditional media. Print was the biggest sufferer. However, print did not die, as many people thought (or are still thinking). It just evolved. After years of losses and negative growth, the global print industry is showing signs of recovery, simply because more businesses are beginning to use print media again.

Advantages of Print Media

Print Has Good ROI: A cross-media study conducted last year, print media had the highest ROI—120% or €120 earned for each €100 spent. The study compared five media channels—newsprint, magazines, radio, TV, and online banners.

Print is Physical: Your customers can touch and feel print unlike other media. That’s probably why print leaves deeper impressions on people’s mind. A postcard or coupon that you receive in the mail excites you more than if you were to see it online.

Print is Targeted: With print media, you can precisely reach your target audience. Magazines, newspaper sections, leaflet distribution, and direct mail can be targeted with pinpoint accuracy. The same cannot be said of other media.

Print is Convenient: Internet users have short attention spans. People may find it taxing to read complex information online. Print is something people can engage with at leisure. This makes print perfect for disseminating detailed information.

Print is Flexible: Unlike the fixed TV or online advertising formats, print gives you unlimited options for customization. You can use many different types of magazine and newspaper ads, send out direct mail or inserts, and design your printed material any way you like.

People Want Print: Disagree? Ask someone who sits before a monitor for 8 hours a day. Digital media have become so pervasive there are times when you want to unplug and relax. Print is the best alternative during such breaks.

Limitations of Print Media

Print is Motionless: The biggest limitation of print media is that it cannot deliver sound and motion. Hence, you might still have to rely on electronic media such as online videos or TVCs for distributing certain types of information.

Print is Slow: Your audience takes more time to respond when you make your offer using print media. People may keep your brochure or catalog for months before they call your business. Print is also slower to reach audience compared to TV, radio or Internet.

You Cannot Target By Demographics: Unlike online media, print media does not allow you to select your audience by demographics—age, gender, income, etc. You can get around this problem by geo-targeting your campaign for locations where your desired age- or income-group is likely to be present.

TV Media

TV has been a strong advertising medium for as long as we can remember. Although the TV’s share of advertising market has been declining since the arrival of digital marketing, but its growth has been largely undeterred. The TV ad-spend in the UK crossed £13bn last year, growing at a rate of 3.1% year-on-year.

But does that mean TV is the right medium for your business? Like most other questions, the answer to this question is also ‘it depends’. A good TV spot can bring your brand to the limelight instantly, but TV advertising is expensive. Local cable TV channels present the best opportunity for small or local businesses. Let’s look at the pros and cons of TV as a marketing medium and see if it works better than print.

Advantages of TV Media

TV is Mass Media: Newspapers and magazines come nowhere close in terms of reach. “Pick,” at the bottom of the top 20 UK based TV channels (by revenue), has a reach of more than 23 million. That’s probably greater than the circulation of all newspapers and magazines combined.

TV if Impactful: Though it may largely depend on the quality of your material. Nothing builds brand image like TV. A product launch led by TV advertising becomes talk-of-the-town overnight. The ability to air motion and sound makes TV stand head over heels above static media (or does it?).

TV is Everywhere: TV is available in every home, most offices, restaurants, even on people’s computers and mobiles. You can rest assured that many people will be watching when your spot is aired, regardless of the time and territory of transmission.

TV is Fast: Or super-fast, should we say. Print is sluggish when it comes to creating awareness or generating leads. TV shows your offer to millions of eyeballs instantly, which makes it the perfect medium when you want to reach the most number of people in least time.

Limitations of TV Media

TV is Pricy: The cost of a 30 second TV spot on ITV starts from £80 (late night, Border region) and can go up to £60K+ depending upon the time of airing and the regions you want to reach. You may need hundreds of spots if you’re looking to make a good impact.

TV is Intrusive: TV advertising usually interrupts people in the middle of their favorite programs. People may not be in a receptive mood to see your commercial at that time, and may switch channels or just take a bathroom break.

TV is Rigid: It is very hard to modify or update TV content. With print or online advertising, you can quickly make the changes to your ad—include a special offer, extend the date, or insert a coupon. With a TV ad, this would mean rewriting the script and re-shooting the commercial.

Should a Small Business Use Print or TV

You are probably already using some form of print media regardless of the size or type of your business. Most businesses use cards, flyers, classified ads, posters, etc quite effectively, without going overboard with the budget. Print has a lot going for it if you need to make a choice. It has the flexibility and accuracy that allows small business owners to control the cost, while still reaping a high ROI.

Big brands can literally own TV channels, but for a small business, the decision to advertise on TV must be made carefully. TV advertising can be extremely effective if you’re going to announce a store opening or sale, where immediate returns are expected. But it will burn your marketing budget quicker than any other medium if you use it for building brand image.

To conclude, though print is the small-business medium-of-choice, you should not turn your backs on TV. Even a cheap late-night spot can give your business an edge over your competitors, at least until they also start using TV.

About the Author
I am a digital & online entrepreneur and marketer, specialising in the retail & eCommerce arena. I have built, purchased, optimised and sold in excess of 10 eCommerce businesses with multi-million pound revenues and I’m now heading a team project optimising 30 websites with over 20,000 products. I consider my methods, scientific and incredibly advanced.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MattJanaway

https://twitter.com/MJanaway

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattjanaway

Mixing up your Marketing: How to Effectively Combine Print and Digital

If there’s one thing that the digital revolution has taught us, it’s that the secret to success is often found by connecting the dots between different marketing platforms.

printing-1241409

For many established and traditional businesses in both the B2C and B2B space, it has been tempting to see the digital medium as a way of cutting back on print marketing budgets. The perception that digital marketing is a cheaper option, that can deliver a more trackable or predictable ROI, is a false one.

Modern businesses ignore the digital medium at their peril of course, limiting their exposure to new consumers and even denting their reputation in the eyes of an increasingly online-dependent consumer base. But, whilst digital marketing is crucial in this connected age, abandoning or scaling back print marketing budgets could prove counterproductive in the long term.

What’s needed is a synthesis of approaches. After all, if there’s one thing that the digital revolution has taught us, it’s that the secret to success is often found by connecting the dots between different marketing platforms.

Joining the Dots

It’s clear from recent studies that print is far from dead and that customers in both the B2B and B2C spaces still place a lot of trust in printed marketing material, like direct mail or magazine advertising. This can be seen both in terms of building brand awareness and influencing purchasing decisions. The trick to fusing these tried and tested methods with an established digital strategy is to identify and then leverage the individual advantages each has to offer.

One example of this is the way digital can produce real time metrics through tools like Google Analytics. To use this data across both print and digital campaigns, you will need to track the crossover between media and this isn’t always easy. Ad platforms like AdWords and AdBrite will produce ‘view-through’ conversion tracking, but this even has its limitations tracking digital footprints, let alone offline ones.

Tracking the customer through the sales funnel across both print and digital, from awareness through to purchase and beyond, involves utilising as many techniques and tools in your armoury as possible. It also means constantly seeking feedback both online and off.

Surveys, polls and questionnaires on websites, social media and through print campaigns can capture some of this data for you. But it’s not enough just to capture user data if you can’t work towards creating a joined up marketing strategy in the first place. To do this you need to start thinking about cross pollination.

Cross Pollination

Creating a powerful presence across both print and media involves creating the right channels for cross pollination. This is the idea of using one medium to encourage discovery of another, or encouraging a digital touchpoint or feedback to collect metrics on an offline campaign. Some examples are:

  • Personalised URLs, QR codes and NFC tech can not only help you track the success rates of printed campaigns but they can form effective bridges from print to digital, often via a smartphone or tablet. The versatility of QR codes in particular allows you to use them on any printed material, from billboard posters to magazine ads. The potential for creativity and personalised branding in this area is huge.
  • Social media works perfectly with print but this is a two-way street as well, so always look to your social media accounts to really promote and build buzz around your new print advertising campaigns. Conversely your printed materials, from ads to business cards, should all contain your social media URLs as standard.
  • Variable printing has been around for a while but its potential when combined with highly targeted market research data is huge. As well as personalised text, variable printing allows you to alter graphics and images to really personalise your printed marketing materials. The degree of personalisation that can be applied by harvesting data on your customers online is unparalleled. So if you know that 5% of your email subscribers or Facebook followers love one particular product area then you can target a particular promotion through direct mail to just those customers, significantly increasing ROI.

To digital marketers, it can often feel as if print is an irrelevance and that the hearts and minds of consumers must be won online. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth and with so much focus on the rapidly shifting online environment and the next big thing it’s easy to forget the power print can play in a diverse multi-platform marketing campaign.

About the Author
Chris Holloway is Managing Director of Manor Printing and has a wealth of experience in print and design, having seen the industry change beyond all recognition in twenty seven years since joining the company.

How inbound marketing puts the buyer in the driving seat

We’ve decided to examine inbound and see why it works so well with the new psychology underpinning the modern buying process.

Inbound marketing is a popular marketing methodology that has been adopted by thousands of companies across the US. The notion of inbound marketing is not commonly known in the UK but as it’s increasing leads, converting customers and making sales in the US, we’ve decided to examine inbound and see why it works so well with the new psychology underpinning the modern buying process.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing was created as a result of changing buyer habits.

Disruptive marketing is not as successful as it used to be. People can use mobile technology and faster internet to get instant information whenever they need it. People have more power over what adverts they want to see. The old sales methods don’t work as well they once did.

  • 86% of people skip TV adverts
  • 44% of direct mail is ignored and deleted

As the influence of outbound techniques has decreased, marketers in the US have turned to more inbound tactics. Instead of hassling buyers all the time with outbound, inbound focuses on engaging customers when they are ready to be approached by a business.

Today, the buyer has more control over what they want to see and hear online. They can stop, skip and ignore adverts. That’s why inbound focuses on interacting with the buyer at the right point of the ‘Buyer’s Journey.’

The Buyer’s Journey describes each segment an individual buyer goes through before they buy: awareness, consideration and decision stages.

The focus of the inbound marketing methodology works to move the buyer onto each stage of the ‘journey’ with engaging information and interactions. For inbound to work, inbound marketers have to understand the psychology of their ideal buyers.

They have to understand what their motivations are, their interests, their buying attitudes, etc. Inbound marketers have to get into the psychological mindset of their buyers to create effective marketing strategies their buyers will actually engage with.

Inbound answers the buyers’ needs

In 2014 eMarketer recorded businesses in the US were spending $180.12 billion on advertising. How much of that advertising was actually effective?

As modern buyers have more power on what they buy, inbound marketing focuses to interact with ‘ideal’ customers rather than wasting advertising on the masses. Thanks to instant internet access and mobile technology, people can access the World Wide Web whenever they have a query. So inbound marketing focuses on creating interesting and high quality information that will engage with their ideal buyers.

Inbound marketing pathway

As you can see in the Buyer’s Journey diagram above. the inbound methodology works to create different forms of content to move the buyer onto the next stage.

Helpful blogs that answer common questions about a certain topic can attract ‘strangers’ into ‘visitors.’ By creating calls-to-actions and sign up forms you can then convert ‘visitors’ into ‘leads.’ Then finally you can close the deal and turn them into customers.

By using valuable and insightful content, you are engaging with buyers and their needs. Internet and mobile tech has empowered modern buyers and marketing strategies have to adapt to interact effectively with customers.

US marketers are turning to inbound

The idea of inbound marketing is still relatively new. It was only in 2007 when Hubspot (the leading inbound marketing software) introduced their online management system and it only took a couple of years before the marketing concept took off in the US.

Inbound trends USA

Since then, more businesses have adopted the inbound methodology into their marketing strategies. Major companies are using it and inbound is giving smaller businesses a powerful edge over bigger businesses with bigger budgets.

Buyers are responding to inbound marketing:

  • Inbound leads have a higher close rate over outbound techniques. Inbound has a rate of 14.6% whilst outbound is 1.7%.

How can you use the inbound methodology in your marketing strategy?

Whilst more businesses are using inbound in the US, in the UK, the notion of inbound marketing is still quite unknown. This is great news for you as that means you’re still ahead of the competition.

In the US, businesses were using inbound from before 2009 whereas in the UK, companies were only starting to use inbound in 2012. And, look how it’s growing.

Inbound growth

Inbound is a marketing strategy that has adapted to the changing dynamics of buyer behaviour. The impact of outbound techniques has declined as the power of the modern buyer has evolved so you have to be willing to update your marketing strategies.

You can improve your engagement with buyers and convert more leads by:

  • Learn more about inbound by reading valuable resources like:
  • Look at your business plan and your marketing strategy
    • Would your budgets and efforts be better spent on inbound strategies rather than outbound?
  • Get a consultation from a certified inbound agency to see if your business could benefit from inbound
    • Before you decide to jump on the inbound train, you need to know if inbound will work with your business.

As a UK certified inbound marketing agency we have seen the rise in major and small businesses benefiting from going inbound. Today’s buyers are more empowered and you have to understand their psychology to improve your engagement with customers. Stay ahead of your competitors by going inbound.

What Drives Consumer Behaviour Online in the Real Estate Industry?

In the real estate industry, many real estate agents don’t truly understand the overall affect that their online marketing strategies are having

By Sarah Smith

As mobile technology continues to integrate into the lives of consumers, technology itself is used to support a number of social online interactions, including shopping. In the real estate industry, many real estate agents don’t truly understand the overall affect that their online marketing strategies have on their own success in terms of gaining clients and expanding their business.

Today, more consumers shop online vs physically shopping at brick-and-mortar businesses than ever before. Even in terms of research, people search online first before buying a specific product or service. This means real estate marketers have to present a strong online presence in order to increase their business as well. Obviously, a potential home buyer wants to see the home in person, but first they will look at it and read about it online first. This gives them a much greater opportunity to see more homes at once and to also make a more informed buying decision in the end.

In order to achieve a high level of success, savvy real estate agents must know how to build trust with their potential buyers first.

How Real Estate Marketers Grab the Attention of Consumers

In order to attract a wide audience, real estate agents need to offer a unique combination of practical and emotional marketing. Purchasing a home isn’t just a financial investment, it’s a highly emotional one as well.

One key way that real estate agents appeal to a wide range of consumers is through their emotions. Families who want to experience a healthy, safe environment will respond to marketing ideas that include nostalgia, commitment, humour, and happiness. Many times, agents will use commercials that portray a family eating dinner in a gorgeous home, or depict a significant moment in an individual’s life like graduating from college or getting engaged. Virtually everyone can relate to or desire these special experiences in life.

Research reveals that 65 percent of all consumers regarding the real estate industry are actually married.

Considering this fact, advertisements are specifically designed to connect to a buyer on a psychological level by showing a happy, healthy family that’s living the quintessential American dream. In general, most people desire what a home represents, such as security, health, and general well-being.

But, many potential home buyers are more focused on the practical features of a home. They generally want to save both time and money along with having easy commutes as well as buying an energy efficient home and living in a highly-desirable neighbourhood. When developing advertisements for people in general, real estate agents have to present efficiency and minimalism in order to be effective.

The Psychology of Marketing Online

Real estate marketers must project a sense of trustworthy and confidence to their potential buyers primarily because their business revolves around word-of-mouth advertising and referrals. In order to persuade consumers that they’re the real estate agent to trust, they tend to advertise their brand through key Internet marketing strategies or commercials that create familiar and recognizable brands in the minds of their potential buyers.

This marketing approach is often used to elicit an emotional response from the buyer as well as inspire them to engage in the online buying process. This often requires a great deal of comprehensive knowledge of how psychology is used in the real estate market overall.

Aspiring real estate agents need to enrol in a reputable real estate licence course and then work on improving their real estate marketing skills in order to increase their client database and expand their brand.

How Do You Set Up A Google Business Page Properly?

How Do You Set Up A Google Business Page Properly? You need to follow these simple steps to get it right.

By Sarah Smith

Creating a Google business listing is but one more step you can take to help promote your business. A Google local listing works much like adding your business card to a bulletin board. The listing is active at all times, and potential customers will find critical information about your business. The business card you create with Google will appear in several different places, and Google will use that information many of their own platforms. The information you are instructed to provide in this article will help you spread the name of your business throughout Google network of websites and platforms.

#1: Local Listings

Google Business Screen Shot

Google local listings are used to provide your address, phone number and website to all customers. Google uses your address and phone number to create a Google map listing, and that listing interacts with all the map users on Google. Your business will be listed on maps that are created as customers browse, and your business will be shown as a search result on Google. The address and phone number you provide will be used to make immediate calls or create directions to your location.

#2: How Do You Add Your Business Listing?

Google Business Screen Shot

You must sign up for a Google account that allows you access to their business listings page. The site tells you how to add business to Google pages instantly, and you can complete your listing in a matter of minutes. The business page is created once you have entered all your information, and you will see the fruits of your labour once you click the link to your business listing. You choose permissions for your information. You may make the information public or private, and Google will use your permissions to list your website accordingly. Potential customers will see your business listing in a variety of places, and you will have a permanent business card floating around the Internet.

#3: Why Create A Business Listing?

Google Business Screen Shot

Google is the largest and most powerful search engine in the world, and their services reach millions of people a day. The services use your business’ information to create maps and search engine results. Customer will find your business in a variety of ways on Google, and your business’ information will be ready to go when Google needs it.

Your competitors are using Google in the same way you are, and you must combat other businesses in your industry with information. A few lines of information in your Google business listing will help create something that customers can find every day without any trouble. Customers will latch on to anything they can find, and your business should be at the front of line when customers begin searching for a company that does what you do best.

You may direct customers to your business listings for directions, or you may use your business listing to create maps through Google that bring customers to your business. The use of Google to create business listings will help your business gain the online visibility it deserves.

How to integrate social media into your print advertising campaign

Physical advertising is still important, as it can reach areas that online advertising can’t.

The Internet has changed the world of advertising forever and the rise in social media continues to change the ways in which we can reach out to customers.

But that being said, physical advertising is still important, as it can reach areas that online advertising can’t. To produce a successful campaign, online advertising must be embraced, but not at the expense of print. Both are of equal importance and it is integral to your campaign to learn how to combine the two.

Social media is widely available and reaches a huge audience very quickly, whilst being an incredibly cost effective way of advertising. If used properly with your print advertising it can rapidly increase the effectiveness of your campaign.

Essentially the simplest way to link the two is to direct all your print back to your social media. If you can capture the interest of potential customers and clients through print advertising, they will visit your social media to find out more.

To do this, include social buttons with accompanying details on all your print advertising. This way potential customers are not only aware that you are on social media, but through the integration of the URL or profile name next to the icons, can easily find you. These are part of your contact details now, and in the way that you wouldn’t leave out a phone number or e-mail address, it is important to allow easy access to your social media.

As business cards are handed out to inform key people of your details, make sure that the social elements are included on here. You can design your Helloprint Business Cards online, with over 10,000 designs available or the option to upload your own artwork, you are sure to find the right one for your business.

Within your print advertising give people a reason to go onto your social media, by letting them know what you do. A perfect but simple thing to include on your print adverting is, ‘Follow us on Twitter’, or ‘Like us on Facebook.’

Then use your print advertising to promote competitions or giveaways that are on your social media; for example, Instagram is the perfect place to get customers tagging pictures and videos of themselves using your products.

This can then link back to your website where viewers vote for their favourite. Likewise, if you want to hold a Q & A session to start conversations with your customers, use your print advertising to encourage them to, ‘Join the Conversation’.

Launching a hashtag campaign is a great way to get people talking and at the same time an easy way for you to follow what is being said. Big brands use social media to make their campaigns go further, and are examples of how creating a long-lasting unique hashtag can then consistently be used throughout advertising campaigns.

The #LidlSurprises campaign was initially launched to start changing perceptions of the supermarket. They now use the hashtag when talking to customers and for competitions, as well as ensuring their TV, print and in-store promotions all sport the hashtag. They have supported their offline campaign even further by using tweets from customers as in-store advertising.

Finally, using social media to find out where your target market spends their offline time will tell you the best places to direct your print ads. It will also tell you what your customers want, to guide the direction that you take your print advertising and whom you aim it at.

6 Facts That Will Give Meaning to Your Marketing Strategy

The best marketing strategy alone cannot guarantee your product or service will perform well

Experts have touted the success of most companies as being dependent on marketing tactics. Companies and researchers have invested a lot of money trying to identify marketing tactics guaranteed to produce good results. Tactics such as blogging, outdoor advertising, retail merchandising use of social media, are some of the methods employed by companies to promote their brands.

Yet even the companies that seem to have come up with the best tactic, sometimes get bad sales results. This goes to show that marketing strategies cannot operate in isolation. The best marketing strategy alone cannot guarantee your product or service will perform well. This is because:

People are the key, not tactics and strategies

Most marketers focus so much on the medium they are using to advertise, because they think that the medium is what affects the consumer’s decision to buy.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, are some of the platforms used to advertise. Let’s say you have a female customer who has a Facebook profile. As she browses through her Facebook page, she notices an advert for your recipe book, that is selling at 70% discount and that promises to contain recipes compiled by the world’s top chefs.As she likes gourmet cooking and the advert sounds like an exciting proposition, she clicks on it and buys the recipe book.

As a marketer, you might be tempted to argue that the sale happened because the mode of advertising used was Facebook.The fact of the matter is though, the sale would have happened whether or not she stumbled on the advert on Facebook, a blog, she saw it on TV or in a magazine.

Therefore, the following are true:

  • Platform does not matter, buying is driven by the customer’s needs

The decision by any customer to buy a product or subscribe for a service is driven by need. Because this specific customer wants to cook like a chef, she decided to buy the recipe book.

If there were two other separate adverts on her Facebook page, perhaps one offering ballet classes and the other offering piano lessons.Sinceshe is not interested in these activities, she most likely would not click on them even if they were being offered for free.

  • The message is the most important thing

Going by the example given, the message was so enticing for the customer that it led to a decision to buy.

Therefore, you can market on all platforms and employ the best tactics but without the customer’s need and a great message, your strategy to market will fail.

Failure to get results does not mean the tactic employed was wrong

Part of the reason for the development of so many marketing tactics it is because many companies usually employ one tactic and when it fails to deliver results, they quickly move to the next tactic. In fact, it’s not strange to hear a marketer blaming bad sales results on a strategy used for marketing.

Your marketing tactic is just a tool to communicate a message about your product or service to your customers. It does not guarantee sales; how you use it is what will guarantee sales.

If you don’t get good sales, look at your message and your product and work on them to make people want to buy.

Your marketing strategy should be very targeted

As a business person, it is only prudent to admit to yourself that your products and services are not suitable to every target group in the market.

People have different preferences and due to this, no matter how well you market, not every person will be running to buy your product or use your service.

As a marketer or owner of a company, avoid trying to sell to every person in the market, as this could be counterproductive. By trying to target everyone, you will fail to pass the message regarding the value of your product to those who would be interested.

Be very specific with who you are targeting and craft a message specifically for them.

Give customers the benefits they are looking for

Knowing your customer is the greatest way to deliver value to them. Do not sell to customers based on your perceived benefitsof your product or service. Instead, establish from your customers what benefits they are looking for and then offer them exactly that.

When customers see that you are keen on giving them products that will benefit them, they will stay loyal to your brand. Striking a balance in this area is critical. You cannot satisfy everyone in the market. So identify your target group, and create a product with benefits that suits that target group.

Package your benefits in the most creative way, because your competition are probably offering similar proposition.

Do not ignore what your competitors are doing

For every product you make, there are probably dozens other like it in the market.The trick to selling therefore is to make sure that your product always stands out above the rest.

If you are starting a blog for instance, put a lot of thought into meaningful things you can do to stand out visibly. If customers can’t see what makes your product proposition different, they won’t have any compelling reason to buy.

The worst thing you can do to your brand is to ignore your competitors. By knowing what your competitors are offering and then making a conscious effort to offer something better will have customers remembering you.

You have to make people trust your marketing

Testimonials make it possible for more customers to trust you. You might have the best marketing strategy and the best product, but if people don’t see how others have benefitted from it, they will have no reason to believe in you.

Another way to assure your customers that you are offering quality is to give trial products. Not only do people like free products, but also most will take this gesture to mean that you are so confident your product works, you are even willing to give a few samples without expecting any money back.

In conclusion: Where does your marketing tactic fit in?

The bottom line for you as a marketer or business owner isalways to remember to work on your message, focus on your target group and offer benefits to your customers. With these in mind, any tactic you use will give you great results. To know more visit this site http://remotedba.com/

 

Organic linking building is still important, and that’s not changing any time soon

Genuine link building is very different from link spamming

It’s not easy to build links. Building links the right way is even harder. You have to put in lots of effort, and sometimes all you get are rejections. It’s not easy, but it pays better than any other technique for raising organic ranking. Matt Cutts of Google has mentioned the importance of links time and again, stating that links will still be relevant for many years to come.

However, there’s also the question of manual and Penguin algorithm penalties, which were created to punish unnatural linking practices. If links were not important, there wouldn’t be a whole industry dedicated to link auditing and sanitization of link profiles. Google would not dedicate this much time and resources to examine link quality and punish spammy links.

Still, there are many people proposing that link building is dead in order to shoo away one of the most important organic ranking techniques. The reason for this, other than the fact that it’s difficult, is that incorrect link building can lead to attraction of a penalty or worse, a lawsuit. But that’s not reason enough to take the next flight out of link-building-land.

Any marketing strategy aimed at improving organic rankings must include strategies for natural link-building. Sure, great content is very important and matters a lot, but there are thousands of pages on the Internet with great content which no one ever sees. Without linking, great content can only stretch so far, especially in more competitive market segments.

Organic link building techniques

The thing to remember is that genuine link building is very different from link spamming. The former involves gaining editorial links that have inherent value that may be different from SEO value. These links must be placed by human beings. Automatic link dropping is a sure way to attract trouble.

Here are a few ways you can build links naturally:

  1. Controversy – you want to apply this very sparingly, because if you use it too much, it loses both taste and efficacy.
  2. Humor – you can depict your controversies in a softer, more humorous tone every now and again. Be original as it’s more effective.
  3. Forum participation – Not as a spam-linker, but in your personal/professional capacity to engage with the community and provide helpful answers and contributions on the subjects under discussion. You will build authority and improve your opportunities to attract links.
  4. Original research – dig into a subject not previously explored and publish your findings; this can earn you a lot of links.
  5. Social media – choose the platform that a huge chunk of your target audience is found and be there. Get to know people and engage with them on an authentic basis, which could build interest in your brand and content hence attract shares, which improves your quality links volume.
  6. The “Top X List” – these should also be provided sparingly to avoid diluting their effectiveness.
  7. Blogging – this helps to build credibility and establish authority and thought leadership in your field. Write well and do it frequently.
  8. Tutorials and how-to’s – these may not give you tons of links, but they make an enormous difference for rankings, especially with long-tail keyword queries.
  9. Plugins and other products – create a useful extension, app or plugin and make it open-source.

Conclusion

Where rubber meets the road, editorial link building counts for a lot, and it still will if you’re looking at making a difference in the long term.

 

 

Feline Fascination: How the Internet came to be Obsessed with Cats

An article looking at how cats have come to dominate the internet and what this says about our psychology, as well as how marketers are trying to tap into this phenomenon.

By Joe Cox

Many cat lovers will tell you, if you’re having a conversation about cats, that the ancient Egyptians not only loved cats but worshiped cats as gods, treating them with such reverence that they became a focal point for an entire society. Fast forward three thousand years and you’d think not much had really changed, if YouTube was anything to go by. A search for “cat” returns a staggering 46,000,000 videos; that’s a lot of feline footage.

Assuming you manage to get though all of these, Vimeo will serve you up another 130,000, whilst Vine will give you another 1,400,000 kitty mishaps and tomfoolery, all in six second bursts. Now, even the ancient Egyptians would be impressed with that kind of dedication.


A Brief History of Cats and the internet

From the inception of the internet cats have been at the centre of the action. Usenet was one of the net’s early text driven forum systems and for years one of its most popular groups was found on rec.pet.cats (or recreation.pet.cats).

If you’re interested you can still browse this fascinating insight into an early moggy hive mind on Google Groups.

After the internet began to break through into our common consciousness in the 1990’s it wasn’t long before it became clear that cats were going to have a huge presence in this new and exciting online world.

“2Channel” was an early text board, often featured cats being drawn using ASCII art, a design technique that predates the internet and has led many people to conclude
that some people just have too much time on their hands. Even in its earliest days, the signs of our obsession with cats were there to be seen.

Before the advent of social media and YouTube, many cat related antics were spread by email chains. Early 2000 saw the infamous “Bonsai Kitten” hoax, with “Cat Stacking” and “Ceiling Cat” arriving in the years afterwards. The age of the cat meme was born.

Early cat memes found their way into the social subconscious through way of popular message forums like 4chan and YTMD but by early 2005 a new video sharing website had arrived on the scene and not only changed the internet forever but catapulted cats into the digital stratosphere.

Hilarious cat videos were suddenly ubiquitous and by the time Facebook began to take off in late 2005 / early 2006 the stage was set for an endless conveyor belt of cat related memes via social network feeds. You may recall such hilarious internet sensations like “Cats who look like Hitler”, “Serious cat”, Long cat” and of course “Happy cat”. By 2013 our fascination with cats with seemingly human expressions showed no sign of waning and arguably reached the height of popularity with “Grumpy cat”.

What to Cats Say about Us

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why it’s cats that have taken the internet by storm, as opposed to any other creature (four legged or otherwise). Whilst it’ true there is no shortage of non-feline related funny animal videos online, the volumes just don’t come close to challenging the hegemony of cats online. Love them or loathe them the internet generation seems preoccupied with cats.

But why cats? What’s wrong with dogs or any other animal for that matter? Understanding this can give us some fundamental insights into our own psychology and our need to humanise or ‘anthropomorphise’ cats by adding captions describing amusing things they might be thinking, making them sing, talk or play the piano, or simply making a celebratory out of a genuinely grumpy looking cat (which in fact has a form of feline dwarfism).

But maybe our love of cats is just born from their insatiable sense of curiosity and complete dis-interest in the human world. Writing in Mashable, Amy-Mae Elliot compares our cat online obsessions with our comparable lack of
interest in dog videos:

When a dog gets in a box, it’s because he desperately wants you to think he’s cool. When a cat does it, it’s because it suddenly felt like the right thing to do at the time. More often than not, it totally was. I think it’s the very aloofness of cats that makes us want to caption their thoughts, or put them in front of a keyboard and see what happens.

The ubiquity of the online cat isn’t reflective of our love of them as pets then but rather in their autonomy from us and our influence. Cats do things on their own terms regardless of who is watching and that makes what they do seem so much more genuine and therefore appealing to us.

Of course the potential virality of this kind of appeal certainly hasn’t been lost on marketers.


Making Cash out of Cats

By mid-2005 cat videos and memes were everywhere and it wasn’t long before marketers started looking to connect with the ever-growing phenomenon of online cat videos. A “Wonderful Pistachios” ad from 2012 showed us Bento the cat cracking a pistachio nut as he played the keyboard. The video was a take on another hugely popular cat craze, the “Keyboard Cat”.

Bigger brands like Kia have hinged entire adverts on cats with the Kia Picanto and later a partnership with the site Cheezburger where they asked site users to create a series of cat memes for the Sorento crossover. The results were typically irreverent with the Kia brand being partly lampooned. Given they were looking for young consumer brand interaction, they succeeded.

As a marketer, regardless of whether you are a cat person or not, campaigns based on cutting edge internet sensations have the potential to go viral and create a huge buzz around your brand. But like all marketing efforts that attempt to tap into the zeitgeist, they have the potential of being seen as jumping on the bandwagon or lacking in sincerity. Indeed, some of the best cat related marketing videos have played on the very idea of cats online popularity (such as John St.’s ‘Catvertising’ video) or attempted to humanise cats in ever more bizarre ways by making them sing or even have opposable thumbs (in Cravendale’s ingenious ‘Cats with Thumbs’ video).

See also: The Psychology Behind Grumpy Cat Videos

 

About the Author:
Joe Cox is Head of Content for Bristol digital marketing and SEO agency, Bespoke Digital. He has written about SEO, social media marketing and digital PR for the likes of Smart Insights, Ad Age, Ma

The difference between digital and print advertising

When should you use print or digital advertising?

It can be very difficult to make the decision whether or not to go digital when it comes to your advertising. Digital and print advertising are very different, even if they might both achieve the same goals. Getting it right can be very difficult, especially with a limited budget, and that’s before you even begin to take into account other new media advertising options, such as those GlobalMessaging offers.

Digital focuses on interaction, print focuses on information

In a print advert, you’ll need to include all the important information such as location, phone number and website – possibly an email address too. This kind of information is so important if you want interested people to be able to find out more or get in touch in the future.

In a digital advert you don’t need this kind of information as you can already assume that the reader’s preferred method of finding out information would be to look at your website. This is why all digital adverts contain a link through to more information.

You’ll also need to encourage interaction (such as a click) on a digital advert. These calls-to-action are a big part of persuading someone to take action now that they’ve seen your advert. A tempting button is usually the best way to go about this but text such as ‘read more’ or ‘act now’ does the same job.

Digital advertising goes beyond your initial advert

You’ll need an engaging destination for people to click through to from your initial advert. If you don’t capture someone’s interest after that first click then they’re probably going to leave your site and never think about you again.

When developing your advert, think about where the user is going to click through to. Think about whether the site is easy to use, if it offers the reader something and how that all converts into a sale or a lead – either now or in the future.

Digital offers greater control

It’s a lot easier to target your adverts to people whom you know will be interested in what you have to offer. This means you can keep a closer eye on your budget and get more bang for your buck.

You can also pay-per-click on these kinds of adverts. This means you’re only paying for people who have seen and engaged with your advert, unlike print advertising, which you pay for no matter how many people actually pay attention to the ad.

Print caters to those without the internet

Print advertising still has its place as it targets a whole different type of person. Depending on the magazine or newspaper your advert is going into, you can reach some interesting demographics, who perhaps don’t use the internet.

If you want to advertise something quite broad and don’t need the niche targeting that digital offers then print is still a viable option. As long as you understand that there are big differences between the two types of advertising, you should be able to make an informed decision as to which is best for you and how to make the most of it.