Tick Yes Blog

Category - Digital Marketing

Where to Invest Your Digital Marketing Dollars

Whether you own a bricks and mortar or eCommerce business, a major brand or large corporation, businesses of all sizes can benefit from digital marketing.
We take a closer look at some of the digital marketing options to consider for your business and brand.
Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most successful digital marketing platforms for converting leads to sales. Recent figures show for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.
Successful email marketers personalise emails to their consumers, offering real value and content of interest to engage the reader and increase that all important click-through-rate. Targeting niche consumer groups by grouping mailing list recipients into certain demographics such as age, gender, and purchase or browsing history, your company can more accurately deliver the content your customers really want, rather than sending generic mass emails to an entire subscriber list. One recent study found 81% of online consumers are likely to make a purchase after receiving a personalised email.
Websites and Landing Pages
Regardless of your industry, your digital marketing strategy should include a website, and incorporate designated landing pages to promote key offerings. In today’s digital age, your website is often the customer’s first impression of your business. So it not only needs to look great, but your website should also offer an optimised user experience (UX) and feature a call to action (CTA). Integrating easy to use CTA buttons such as ‘learn more’, ‘book now’ or ‘join my mailing list’ encourages time-poor customers to act quickly and engage with your brand.
Landing pages and CTA’s do involve an element of trial and error, as results can vary among different industries, companies and customers. Don’t let this put you off though. Capturing web traffic data from your own website through measures like Google Analytics will provide valuable information about the visitors to your site, and their online behaviour. This allows you to further develop and customise your website to accommodate your customers’ needs and organically grow your ROI.
Content Marketing and Blogs
All too often we see businesses neglect blogs or content marketing, because they can’t see the connection between words and dollars.
Content marketing is an extremely powerful, and underestimated sales tool, capable of engaging, informing and entertaining readers while influencing their purchase decisions.
Surveys have found content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and costs 62% less. While digital marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to realise a positive ROI.
Blogs and articles have the unique ability to market to a consumer, without making the reader feel like they’re being sold to. Content marketing allows businesses to position themselves as industry leaders, demonstrating their knowledge and skill in a practical manner instead of merely advertising products and services through a display ad.
Social Media
Social media can be used in a variety of ways to market your business, from simply increasing brand awareness and consumer engagement, to being the core driver of sales.
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the milestone of two billion users on Facebook, making it by far the largest social media network in the world. And that trend is reflected closer to home too, with the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report revealing almost eight in 10 Australians now use social media, along with 47 per cent of small businesses, 49 per cent of medium sized businesses and 60 per cent of large businesses.
The report also revealed 64 per cent of Australians are more likely to trust brands that interact positively with customers on social media.
Although setting up a social media account is free, there are costs involved to maximise your page’s content, reach and engagement. You’ll need to consider how much you’d like to invest in a monthly advertising budget, and think about the time and costs involved in managing and monitoring the page, and planning and creating the content – which might include professional videos, photographs and copywriting.
You can measure the ROI by making use of built-in analytical capabilities that can provide valuable data on how people engage with your social media posts, including click through and conversion rates to your website and sales pages. Most businesses however are happy to measure their success by the growth of their followers and likes, as evidenced in the Sensis report.
When Twitter first emerged, it was famous for being the platform with the 140-character message limit. Since embracing more visual and video content, Twitter has relaxed the word count, but it’s still entirely appropriate for users on Twitter to share a brief text-only message – which isn’t suitable on any other social media platform. Twitter claims 85% of its users believe Promoted Accounts help them discover new businesses on Twitter, which is a promising statistic for businesses looking for consumers in the social media space.
Instagram is a predominantly visual medium, allowing businesses to showcase their products and personality on a digital global stage. More than 80% of Instagram users follow a business, and promoted products have the highest engagement rates of all content types.
With more than 467 million users, Linkedin is the biggest social referrer to corporate websites. The platform provides a targeted approach to digital marketing and professional networking, particularly for engaging the interest of potential investors and corporate employees. 
Podcasting
Podcasts are an innovative and influential marketing tool being increasingly used by a growing number of businesses globally. A study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research showed that 65% of listeners are likely to purchase a product after hearing about it on a podcast, suggesting consumers are receptive to advertisements delivered in the right context or environment. While podcasting has been around for more than 10 years, the number of podcast listeners is increasing. Listeners tuning into podcasts come from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and interests. Recent surveys have found at least 22% of younger podcast audiences tend to listen to more than 10 hours a week, whilst older audiences aged 55 and above tend to listen to around an hour or so in the same time frame. With this in mind, companies have the opportunity to develop podcasts that target and grow their niche audiences, in order to deliver a desirable ROI. And you don’t have to create your own podcast. Brands can enjoy the same benefits from exposure in collaboration with other podcasters.
Google Advertising
Advertising through Google’s image ads allows businesses to reach all new heights of consumer targeting and engagement. Google’s highly detailed analytical features allow brands to target specific customers based on their online habits, web browser history and search information.
So if, for example you sell jewellery, fashion or car accessories in an online store, and you advertise using Google’s image ads, you can entice leads to become return customers by having your product galleries display on their web browsers, embedded as a display ad on other websites. Perhaps they visited your online store and popped a few items in the cart but didn’t check out? You can give them a gentle reminder by displaying those same items in front of them while they’re reading the daily news.
While a cost per click (CPC) element applies to this form of marketing, using Google image ads returns a 31 per cent click through rate, higher than Google’s text based ads of 23 per cent. These types of ads are displayed across sites that consumers commonly use including Facebook and other websites on Google’s advertising network AdSense, allowing you to market your business on multiple platforms with a single digital campaign.
Ultimately, all of these digital marketing measures work to drive traffic to your website, and can be used alone or in unison to build a synchronised and multifaceted marketing strategy. Web analytics allow you to track results like web traffic and sales conversions, illustrating the link between your marketing platforms like social media or blogs, and making sales. And while there are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to digital marketing, you can certainly consider these options as some of the most popular and successful platforms for marketing in 2017.

The latest ways you can leverage digital marketing

It wasn’t so long ago that marketing for most Australian businesses meant securing a spot in the phone book and a fraction of a column in the local newspaper.
Those with a healthy budget might have had a radio commercial and for the lucky few doing really well, even an ad on TV.
Today, successful marketing isn’t driven so much by the advertising dollar as it is by audience appeal, the right timing, solid strategy and sometimes, just a bit of good old fashioned luck.
Long gone are the days of weighing up the ROI of a ? vs ¼ page printed newspaper ad. When it comes to digital marketing, there is no simple one-size-fits-all solution.
It’s an all-encompassing blanket term for the new era of marketing, extending beyond merely advertising products and services, to focus on connecting and engaging with potential customers.
What that involves, and how to get it right, is unique to each and every industry. And the perfect mix differs for every company too.
Digital Marketing in Media
In fact, it’s the newspapers and media outlets we once relied so heavily upon for advertising, that have had one of the most radical and successful takeups of digital marketing we have seen in Australia to date.
Only it wasn’t so much a tactical decision as it was a necessary response to changing consumer trends.
Print newspaper circulation has been in decline across Australia for the past 10 years as more readers choose to go online for their news fix. The 2018 Reuters Institute Digital News Report reveals the number of Australians reading print newspapers each week has fallen 10% in the 12 months to November 2017, with 82% of Australians now using online news sources and 52% relying purely on social media to read the headlines.
It is here we have seen major growth in the media’s digital presence, with both national and local newspapers, magazines, radio and television news programs all using social media to publish, and now even live stream the news as it happens. This shift has not only changed the way the news is reported and received, inviting feedback and commentary from readers and viewers like never before, but has also paved the way for a new generation of exclusively digital news platforms such as the highly successful BuzzFeed and Pedestrian.TV.
Not surprisingly, advertising revenue from traditional media is in rapid decline, with newspapers dropping from 27% to just 14% of total ad spend since 2009. Meanwhile internet advertising has risen from 17% to 35% in the same period and is expected to account for at least 50% of total ad spend by 2019.
Despite the uptake of digital news, customers simply aren’t paying to get the news anymore. Most Australian newspaper websites feature a paywall and offer exclusive member-only content, but the Digital News Report shows only 10% of Australians are paying for online news content and most of those who haven’t paid for it, said it was ‘very unlikely’ they ever would.
This continues to be an ongoing battle for the media industry as it writes its new digital chapter.
Fashion, Food and Facebook
Small businesses were among the last to embrace the online marketplace. The potential for a customer base outside their immediate postcode was inconceivable, even laughable, for many.
But that soon changed.
Facebook in particular made an online presence affordable and feasible for businesses that had never even considered ‘going online’.
Now it’s the norm for your local corner store to be on Facebook, have a mailing list and even an online shop. Embracing these digital marketing platforms is what has transformed some small businesses into very big success stories, particularly those in the fields of fashion and food.
Women’s fashion store St Frock is just one stunning example, born from humble beginnings in 2005 as a weekend stall at the Bondi Beach Markets.
For four years, it was simply a relaxing escape from a high pressure job in PR and marketing for founder and fashion enthusiast Sandradee Makejev.
But in October 2009, Sydney was hit by a dust storm. That and predictions of increased rain had Sandradee thinking of other more weather-proof ways to sell her garments. Tired and weary from a hellish day at the markets, Sandradee set up a Facebook page, uploaded a few fuzzy photos, invited some close friends to check it out, and went to bed.
She woke to find she’d made $350 while she was sleeping. Within three months Sandradee had 1600 followers and enough income to quit her job, instead spending her weekdays packing orders on her bedroom floor. Within ten months, she was turning over $480,000 every four weeks.
Today St Frock, the former hobby market stall, is an international online fashion boutique with a bustling team of 35 staff, a 500-square metre warehouse in Ultimo and close to 500,000 followers on Facebook from all over the globe.

Corporates, Commercial & Professional Services
If a market stall can find fame on Facebook, anyone can right? That’s the false impression too many businesses have about digital marketing. It’s not a sure thing, it isn’t easy (well not often anyway) and there are no guarantees.
What works brilliantly for one business, won’t work at all for the next. And knowing which digital marketing platforms to employ, and when, requires careful consideration and skill.
Ultimately it’s about delivering what your audience wants, preferably before they even ask for it. This has seen many corporates, commercial ventures and professional services alike offer practical digital tools like client portals, apps and live chat services, as well as audience capture and engagement methods like blogs and content marketing, EDM and e-newsletters, and audio or video presentations now commonly distributed through social media and live streams.
It is within this sector we tend to see the greatest variations of success using digital marketing. There is a sense that many are still testing the waters with a hit and miss approach to finding what works for them and their target audience. But it’s important to remember every adventure on those ‘waters’ is embarking on unpredictable and unchartered territory.
This promo video of a government agency grad program is a prime example. The so-bad-it’s-good video has been viewed over 200,000 times since capturing the attention of the internet recently, with viewers shocked at how three minutes of corny scripting and forced acting could cost $40,000 to make. But, with the digital world being the unpredictable and ironic beast that it is, the value of the media exposure the clip has received means it has already more than paid for itself.
Image Sources:

Digital News Report 2018
Pixabay
Wikimedia

Colours for Conversion

The Importance of Colour in Digital Marketing

Did you know that the colour scheme of your website could be the deciding factor for converting leads and increasing sales?
Colour is an influential but often underestimated feature of digital marketing. Different colours can affect our moods and emotions in different ways, and they hold a lot of weight when it comes to forming an opinion on a brand or product.
There’s an abundance of research confirming the significance of colour, including this study which found that up to 90% of a person’s opinion about a product is based on colour alone. And that decision is made within just 90 seconds of an initial interaction.
If you think back to your pre-school days, deciding on your favourite colour was probably right up there on your list of priorities, along with learning to write your name and trying to keep within the lines of your colouring book. You might have even snuck your favourite coloured pencils and crayons home in your backpack once or twice. We’re conditioned from a very young age to have an emotional attachment to colour. So it’s not surprising when you consider the importance it has in our purchase decisions.
The Biology of Colour
You’ve probably never thought about colour in this much detail, so, bear with us here. When you look at anything, your brain automatically recognises and differentiates between the different colours you are seeing. But it doesn’t stop there. The eyes send a message to the area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which triggers signals to the pituitary gland, endocrine system and thyroid glands. This cascading effect floods our body with hormones which influence our feelings and behaviour – all in a matter of seconds. If you’ve ever laid eyes on a certain colour, be it in a shirt, a shade of lipstick or a new car, instantly fell in love and felt like you just had to have it – this is why.
The Psychology of Colour

Image from playbuzz.quiz
Earlier, we mentioned colours can affect our moods and emotions in different ways. But, the feelings colours evoke are different for different people.
That’s what makes the psychology of colour so complex.
Let’s start with favourite colours. Most of us have a few, and our favourites are likely reflected in purchases we wear or display like clothes, jewellery and vehicles.
Again, there are countless studies and surveys about colour, but this often cited survey reveals some solid findings about favourite colours according to gender. It found that blue was the most common favourite colour of both males (57%) and females (34%), followed by green (14%) and black (9%) for males, and purple (23%) and green (14%) among females.
So, according to this survey at least, blue and green make great unisex colour options if you want to appeal to a broad audience.
But when it comes to how colours make us feel, things get a bit trickier.
Some brands choose colours that naturally make us think of their product, think mocha brown for coffee, or orange for Fanta. But a lot of branding aims to evoke emotions or feelings in the viewer with the use of colour. This colour wheel illustrates the wide variety of symbolism associated with colours in different cultures. For example:
White commonly represents purity, marriage and luxury in Western society, but in Chinese and Hindu communities it’s the colour of death.
Red is symbolic of good luck in Africa, Eastern Europe and China, but more commonly associated with danger in Japanese and Western cultures.
Blue is associated with loyalty in Western, Japanese and Eastern European cultures, love in Africa and creativity in Hindu societies, but it represents unhappiness for Native Americans and trouble in South America.
Sometimes conflicts in colour symbolism can even occur within the same culture.
Green evokes thoughts of jealousy in Western and Japanese cultures, but also represents nature, good luck, and growth in these same countries.
Purple is associated with decadence and flamboyance in Western society, but also modesty, mystery, and cruelty.
And some colours seem to have mostly negative connotations across all cultures  
Yellow is the colour of illness and deceit for Hindu and Japanese cultures, mourning in Eastern Europe, danger for Native Americans and cowardice for Western and Japanese communities. (Just to confuse you even more, yellow represents health in China and happiness in Western countries.)
Black is associated with evil, death, mourning and unhappiness across Western, Japanese, Hindu and Asian cultures. But it’s also the colour of style and authority in Western society.
Confused? Don’t worry, we were too. But we’ve drilled down to find the takeaway message here, which is get to know your audience and define your brand’s identity. Who are you targeting? Where are they from? What should your colour scheme say about your business? And how do you want people to feel about your brand? For best results, limit your colour scheme to just a few colours, or apply several shades of a single colour.
This graphic by The Logo Company illustrates how major brands have embraced this colour psychology:

Graphic by The Logo Company
Colours that make us Click
Marketers are increasingly A/B testing the colours of links and Call To Action (CTA) buttons on websites and digital marketing campaigns.
The aim is to identify which colour combinations are more successful at influencing customers to click.
You’ve probably already guessed, the results are conflicting…
The Button Colour A/B Test by Hubspot found that Red Beats Green, with a red ‘Get Started Now’ CTA button outperforming the green by 21%.
In another case study, a Big Orange Button, affectionately termed BOB, increased conversions by 32.5%.
And in yet another test, a blue button beat orange by 9%.
We’ve analysed these studies and the underlying common factor is this: the most successful CTA buttons are in a contrasting colour that stands out against the background.
Seeing in Colour
A lot of people assume Facebook’s colour palette is mostly blue because it represents dependability and loyalty. But the main reason is founder Mark Zuckerberg is colour blind.
Colour blindness is more common than you might realise. One in 12 men and one in 200 women are colour blind. There are several variations of the condition, but all colour blindness makes most colours appear different to how they actually look.
Given the prevalence of colour blindness and other vision challenges, websites and marketing materials should be optimised for visual accessibility.
Some solutions for improving digital design for colour blind and vision impaired people is simple design elements, limited colour palette, high contrast text, and incorporating the use of symbols and patterns.
Our Conclusions on Colour

Choose colours that represent your product physically OR colours that are symbolic of your brand values
Take into account the cultural interpretations of colour according to your target audience
Limit your colour palette to no more than three major colours or use several shades of a single colour
Vary the prominence of each colour so they aren’t fighting for attention
Embrace white space
Avoid neon and low-contrast colour combinations which can be difficult to see
Test, test and test again. What works for one brand may not work for you.

As you can see, there is no easy answer to the question we’re all asking – what colours get conversions and sales success online?
By studying the psychology of colour and the many surveys and reports about the most influential colour schemes, we can conclude this is yet another area of marketing that should be customised to each unique brand and audience for the best results.
Source: How Colors Affect Conversions – Infographic
Image Sources:

Sourced with permission from

Your Biggest Digital Marketing Opportunities in 2017

We did it: we made it one more rotation around the sun, which means that it’s time for annual industry predictions roundups.
We’re most interested in what we can expect as digital marketers, and what will make brands the most successful at growing their content audiences and consumer bases in 2017.
You’ll probably hear a lot of the same things—content is still king, social is still growing, and marketers are looking forward to the future of virtual technologies, but we’re here with some actionable items that you can use today to kick off your wildly successful 2017 digital marketing strategy.
Use video to capture your audience’s attention.
In 2016, we almost heard about nothing else but video marketing. That’s because it works. The use of video as a content medium for marketers to leverage is only going to grow.
Video adoption is increasing at a higher rate than any other platform simply because marketers are seeing a good return. According to Forrester, including video in an email leads to a 200-300% increase in click-trough-rate (CTR). Not only that, but one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words as it relates to content value.
It also gets you in front of more consumers than other types of content—According to ComScore, 45.5% of users viewed at least one video online over the course of the month.
The impact of video is growing—but let’s talk about the elephant in the room. It’s expensive to create quality produced videos for marketing purposes. The trick isn’t to max out your budget to make as many videos as possible, but to use your budget to make the highest quality, largest lead generating videos you can, even if you release them less frequently.
Genuine testimonials are a huge SEO opportunity now.
Testimonials definitely aren’t a new concept—getting your successful customers to talk about their experiences with you publicly will be key when it comes to marketing strategy success.
But it’s no longer adequate to just gather as many reviews as you can. Now, testimonials can be coded so that search engines recognize them as genuine, meaning they’re even more valuable than ever.
The more reviews on your website, the better your search engine optimization (SEO) will be—and they should be everywhere, including home page, contact page, and any other page in which a quote is relevant.
Wearables are the newest emerging market to reach consumers right now.
As marketers, we hear a lot about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) when we talk about trends—but these mediums aren’t large enough yet to give you a realistic ROI. ‘Wearables’ is the new medium you should be focusing on right now.
In 2016, 72% of the US population owned a smartphone. Smartphones aren’t going the way of the mixed tape anytime soon, but wearables will start to catch up in popularity very quickly.
Industry experts predict that by 2018, the global wearables market will reach $19 billion. A lot of people will have jumped on board the wearables bandwagon, and the medium won’t be saturated with content.
Consider adding a wearables marketing strategy to your 2017 planning, for an opportunity to reach a new set of customers with little competition.
Augmented reality is coming back.
Remember Pokémon Go? It seems like it was a flash in the pan in 2016 when it started, and then quickly died out. The success of the augmented reality game means it will be coming back—whereas this latest game was just a test, its success means there’s a huge opportunity for the gaming market, and therefore for marketers as a segway to the virtual reality environments of the future.
2017 is your opportunity to experiment with augmented reality campaigning, partnerships and lead generation from a medium that’s still brand new.
If you’re going to get ahead this year, you’ll need to be looking towards all sorts of technologies of the future.
Whether it’s video, SEO, wearables or augmented reality, the world of marketing campaigns is taking a step towards some futuristic mediums, which means it may be time to rethink how you’ll reach and influence your customers this year – and beyond.
Image Sources:
Shutterstock

Your Career With (& Without) Digital Marketing Expertise

Expertise in digital marketing may make or break your career today. As for tomorrow however, unless you’re looking to become an avocado farmer, being analogue in a digital world could well prove to not be your smartest career move.
The signs are already clear. What’s the biggest marketing talent shortage today? Senior executives with digital experience.
And it’s going to get worse.
According to the Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey:
More than half of businesses surveyed anticipated hiring more digital specialists over the coming 12 months. Currently, 30% of the digital talent in Australia are, in fact, expats.
In other words, we’re not growing enough local digital talent to keep up with demand.
Why?
Researchers are quick to blame either the education sector for not adequately preparing students or the business community for not developing talent – and skills – to meet industry needs.
Attention marketers looking to advance your career: the same survey saw an increased demand for some very specific digital marketing skills: programmatic advertising, performance media and marketing, social media and content, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and data analytics.
Digital marketing experience and expertise can help to propel your career forward in ways other than just looking good on your resume. The ability to understand and leverage digital platforms and strategies will help you to justify budgets, quantify customer engagement, improve business processes and boost profits/ROI. Compelling skills for most potential employers.
So, what’s behind this seismic change?
Digital is an essential component of marketing.
According to recruitment company Hays Sales & Marketing, the way digital marketing is evolving is set to keep growing, and employers are set to take notice and prepare for its growth.
Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director of Hays Sales & Marketing said “As the business landscape shifts, marketers must evolve with the times to fully connect with their customers and drive business growth.”
 “As marketing becomes more technology-based, harnessing and mastering ‘big data’ will be key to achieving competitive advantage. If companies are to remain market front-runners, they need to integrate their digital and social marketing channels into one customer journey. To do this, they require candidates with integrated offline and online channel experience.”
So, you need digital and online channel marketing experience. The downside is that marketing education in Australia tends to be very broad and is still in the process of evolving to meet these digital demands.
Formal education isn’t necessarily the answer, however. Consider further developing your skills in the digital realm through industry conferences, online workshops or through mentorship with another professional who may have more senior experience.
The other option of course is to do what several of our clients have done which is to volunteer to be the ‘digital contact’ within their organisation. There’s no better way to get digital experience than by jumping in at the deep-end; particularly when none of your peers are willing to move out of their own comfort zones.
The bottom line: digital skills aren’t just important for your employer, they’re important for you too. A background in digital marketing will prepare you to connect digital campaign efforts with business revenue and growth, making you an essential member of your team.
To keep up, the business world is looking for talent abroad.
Over the past few years, the education sector in Australian has looked overseas for cues on how to further educate their marketing students. There are reports of institutions looking to the UK for marketing direction.
The good news is that we Australians have a good track record for quickly adapting to new market trends. Australia has one of the highest social media and internet penetrations in the world, but we haven’t been fast to adopt this trend in business—yet.
For a current or future marketing leader looking to shape his or her career, it will be key to build your digital marketing business case from overseas trends and case study success modelling. The research suggests that once you do, you’ll find the support you need:
According to Ethos BeathChapman, compared to other countries across the region, Australian marketers reported stronger support for digital marketing from company leadership. In Australia, 44% of senior managers provided very strong support, which compares to just 29% a year ago.
As leadership becomes more open to adopting digital strategies and programs, a key part of your job is to build the business case for your organisation to implement them, as well as to invest in your education in the digital marketing arena.
The business case for digital is sound; as long as it’s integrated with traditional marketing.
The good news is that integrating digital with traditional marketing means that you don’t need to learn your job all over again; you’re simply adding to your existing skill sets.
As of right now, however not many marketing leaders in Australia feel prepared:
According to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey on digital marketing, most marketers lack the skill sets needed to understand and glean insights from digital data. 82% of marketers state that career skills have changed, with 37% indicating they don’t have the skills required to analyse and understand the vast amount of data available to them.
With data, you can move mountains. You can attribute revenue to certain streams, refine your audience targeting, and reach potential buyers in real-time. Adding an analytical mindset to your arsenal of marketing skills is the most important thing you can do to move your career forward, and ensure the success of digital marketing in your organisation.
Digital marketing will (not) go away if you ignore it
Even now, on the verge of 2017 – some 22 years after the notional start of the commercialised internet – many companies and the people who run them are pretending that the world hasn’t changed.
The problem, of course is that it has. And if you don’t embrace the now not so new digital changes, your career may prove to be very ‘interesting’ in the future.
Having said that, prove me wrong! Perhaps being a digital luddite may just work for you and your career. Just like it worked for the marketers who said that new fangled radio, television and, heck, even computers wouldn’t catch on.
You never know though, you may turn out to be the smart one and prove all of us digital zealots wrong. If not, well, get out the shovel, pull on your boots and start planting those avocado seeds!
Image Sources:

Case Study: How Digital Marketing Took a Business to the Next Level

Having an effective digital marketing strategy is central to creating a successful and recognisable brand in today’s digital age. With so many markets in a state of flux, being able to pivot in real-time to adapt to changing market needs is one of digital marketing’s key benefits.
SolarQuotes is a company that used digital marketing to do just that. The company helps Australians buy solar power for their homes and business.
Finn Peacock, CEO and Founder, started SolarQuotes with just $500 for Google Ads using the free wi-fi at his local public library. The company’s website now contains over 17,000 reviews of solar installers, solar panels and inverters.
Thanks to a strong digital marketing strategy, SolarQuotes now turns over about $3 million per year. While still a small business, there are several valuable lessons brand owners can learn from SolarQuotes’ success.
Invest in Valuable Content.
To build those first Google Ads, SolarQuotes needed something to advertise. Over time, the company has built up an arsenal of articles, blog posts and practical tools to help its users navigate the solar market.
These types of articles aren’t just general information about the industry, they contain useful and actionable advice and tools for their audience. You can read about how a specific product like The Sonnen Battery has an unclear warranty or about how leaders in the industry, like Tesla, are faring.
These articles highlight the key thing your content needs to perform well both organically and with paid ads: real value for your target audience. Don’t get too excited though—it’s not enough to just provide value. Your content must end up in front of the right eyes.
Leverage PPC ads wisely.
For SolarQuotes, these paid ads came in the form of Google Ads. There are many other options, like working with advertising technology that re-targets prospects, or social media ads that find a home for your content in already built niche audiences.
The SolarQuotes team has spent six years building up their Adwords account into a “highly optimised machine,” and therefore can rely on their ability to successfully target the market.
That initial $500 I told you about earlier—that went towards design, coding and the cost of clicks.
Peacock explained his strategy to The Sydney Morning Herald:
“I put up the website, tested the concept and when it looked like it had legs, I started spending on the credit card.” His next outlay was around $3,000 on advertising. “I only did it after I was confident that I would get a return,” said Peacock.
These Google ads helped him drive traffic to his website, but once these audience members were there, he had to figure out a way to keep them there.
Grow your Audience and Keep them Happy.
The company kept their audience with organic (in other words free) strategies. In addition to its website, SolarQuotes has several social media channels for which they have built a pretty robust following.
Their Facebook (26,000 likes), Twitter (791 followers with tweets every day), Google+ (423 followers), RSS, YouTube and Pinterest accounts all work toward distributing their content and allowing them to engage with their highly-active audience.
Build Media Relationships.
They didn’t just stop with content. SolarQuotes developed a mobile strategy that would allow them to harness the power of technology via apps.
The company featured several ‘Current Solar Incentive’ apps on various media websites like The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, Weather Zone and more. They didn’t just talk about their product either, they grew their audience by talking about their success story, and putting a face behind their brand.
Customer Testimonials
Most importantly, SolarQuotes saw huge digital marketing success with their customer testimonials.
Their website features numerous testimonials from real customers and includes a blog that focuses solely on solar panel issues that customers may experience.
These testimonials and articles help build trust with new prospects that find SolarQuotes on the web and drive more leads for their business every day.
SolarQuotes’ success makes for a great story, but it isn’t unique. Businesses across the world are finding success by taking their digital marketing strategies to the next level.
There is one thing you can do to ensure your digital marketing success—ensure that the content, messaging and media coverage you promote is valuable to your audience. It’s through them that your business will inevitably grow.

What to Do When Your Brand Goes Up in Smoke

Last year, reports of fires and explosions led to a massive recall of the Galaxy Note 7, making a few customers look at their cell phones with wary eyes.
This is more than a big deal for Samsung, a company that has tried to build a brand built on quality and trust:
“Samsung has built a brand based on quality, and all products used in consumers’ homes require a level of trust. The company has taken a hit to its image for both quality and trustworthiness.” – Globe and Mail
They did what any company would do, they issued a recall and tried to fix the damage as fast as they could by issuing replacement phones—and then came nightmare number two.
The phones weren’t fixed. Customers started reporting that lithium batteries in the new phones went up in flames, and Samsung had to kill the Samsung Note 7 completely. It really doesn’t get much worse than that:
“This is a calamity,” said Srinivas Reddy, director at the Center for Marketing Excellence at Singapore Management University told Bloomberg. “The threat for Samsung is how soon they can get back. If they don’t get back soon, it provides a vacuum for others to creep in.”
Brand disasters like this can happen to anyone, from a small scale to a larger one like Samsung’s phone disaster.
Here are five steps you can take to repair the damage when your brand goes up in smoke.
Step 1: Listen and be a part of the conversation.
The first and most important step to reputation management is to listen and be part of the conversation. If your customers don’t feel like you’re taking steps to right any wrongs you may have made, their trust in you and your products will plummet quickly.
The Gap and Comcast are two victims of such customer service blunders—simply because they weren’t prepared to handle customer service through popular channels like social media.
Use social media to listen and respond quickly to customer service concerns. Have your finger on the pulse of the issue at hand before it grows to the point where it’s out of your control. Even responding with a something like a simple link to the correct website page is helpful—and shows your customers you take them seriously.
Step 2: Establish a crisis management team.
When the going gets really rough, you need a team in place to handle the damage. In cases like the Samsung disaster, digital chatter around the issue soon gets out of control, and can become something that can outgrow the bandwidth of your customer service team.
Consider forming a team from your public relations (PR), human relations (HR), legal and marketing teams. Appoint a spokesperson from each department to handle situations where your brand’s reputation could be at stake.
This doesn’t necessary have to be a single team dedicated only to brand reputation management, but having a plan in place developed by key stakeholders in your organization before disaster strikes will help you respond in a timely manner.
Step 3: Let customers know when the problem will be fixed, honestly.
The biggest mistake that Samsung made was jumping the gun on telling customers and the media that the problem with the Galaxy Note 7 was fixed—when it clearly wasn’t.
If you have a small team, and don’t have enough bandwidth to stand on call and respond to customers in real-time, set expectations on when they can expect to hear from you, and when they can realistically expect their problem to be resolved.
The most important part of this tactic – you need to be able to stick to your timeline. Worst case scenario, you can lose your credibility when a second problem backfires (in the case of the Galaxy Note 7— literally).
Step 4: Have a plan to talk to the media, and a back-up plan if their coverage is negative.
After you’ve addressed your customers directly, you should make plans to structure a conversation with the media — especially if they’re already contributing to the negative image of your brand.
If they’re not interested, become the media yourself by aggressively publishing new content about your company. Include reviews and testimonials to regain control of how potential customers view your brand in search engines.
Step 5: Do something positive to put yourself back in the positive spotlight.
When you’ve done all you can do to mitigate the damage done to your brand from your misstep, start building a plan to bring the media’s attention to a more positive story about your brand—something valuable and trustworthy for your audience.
Consider participating in community events, linking your next product release to a social cause or mission, or make a big donation. Highlight any positive project for your customers to combat the negative image they’ve been seeing and hearing.
Bonus Step: Don’t be afraid to seek outside assistance if it gets really bad.
In some cases, your business team might just be too small to handle a major brand reputation disaster on their own. In these cases, consider bringing in outside help to build or repair your brand reputation when needed.
Start with your executives — having an expert handle the persona of your executives can go a long way in helping your audience reconnect with your brand on a personal level, and bring your human story to the forefront.
The bottom line — bad brand impressions stick. Dragging your feet or not following through on your word can do horrible damage to a brand. Getting ahead of the game could help save you in the future from any unseen problems.

How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand.
By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend.
We have tips to help you optimise each of the most popular channels draining your media budget. One tip is important for all of them:
Stay in control of budgeting and targeting. If you’re new to a channel, keep watch on your audience and don’t scale until it’s profitable.
Here’s how you’re going to achieve better results without breaking the bank, and figure out the right time to scale for each campaign.
 
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads are considered a staple in the marketing world – simply because they work.
A recent study shows that integrating SEO efforts results in a 25% increase in clicks and a 27% increase in profits. Because of this, marketers are increasing their spend in SEO.
According to MarketingProfs, nearly half of digital marketing budgets are spent on search, with 31% on paid search and 18% on SEO. U.S. spend alone will top $45 billion by 2019.
If you’re one of those marketers spending nearly half of your budget optimising for search, measuring success by click isn’t going to be enough.
#1 SEO Tip – Always run campaigns with conversion tracking.
You’ve got to know what happened after a prospect clicks. If it led to a product purchase, then which keyword, ad group or campaign triggered the conversion? Conversion tracking will show you which ones are – and are not – worth bidding on.
 
Ad Retargeting
Search engine marketing (SEM) retargeting means targeting website visitors who did not convert yet, often through a third-party vendor. It’s effective, but is an area where media spend can get out of hand.
Research showed 56% of customers retargeted after visiting the cart, didn’t want to make an immediate purchase. Marketers then invest in bringing them back to the cart – what a waste.
In fact, over two-thirds of visitors who intend to make a purchase never make it to the checkout cart. This suggests that marketers are failing to create campaigns that are tailored to visitor intent.
# 1 Ad Retargeting Tip – Use conversion analytics to figure out customer intent – specifically, why some customers aren’t completing their checkout, or converting.
Once you identify the group that doesn’t have the intent to convert, you can stop spending your budget retargeting them, and reallocate to maximise results from those that do.
 
Content Syndication
Content syndication packages can be highly effective if you’re generating top-quality content, but are hard to pin down in a budget since pricing packages vary widely depending on the media outlet you’re syndicating with.
They’re very effective for generating leads, as according to Inc, 70% of people want to learn about products through content versus through traditional advertisements.
The trick to reducing your syndication spend is to be very picky when choosing media outlets.
#1 Content Syndication Tip – Focus on the right media outlets, and once you find them, don’t keep spending if you’ve stopped seeing a return.
Keep an eye on results from certain media outlets, and continue reallocating budget to those performing best.
 
Social Media Ads
In 2015, global analysts predicted a 33% increase in spending for social media ads. This is because over 50% of (business-to-business) B2B marketers rank social media as a “very” or “somewhat” low cost ad option.
Social media can be low cost, and can drive unprecedented amounts of engagement if targeted correctly. Avoid this one common mistake – spreading your budget across every social media channel out there.
#1 Social Media Ad Tip – Choose the right social media platform.
Which platform is converting the most leads? As an example, a bakery is going to perform much better on Pinterest than the latest cloud security software.
 
The key to reducing your media spend while increasing your results is to find where your audience wants to see you the most. With robust conversion tracking and by following industry best practices, you can make your marketing budget stretch farther than you ever thought you would.
 
Image: Shutterstock Australia
 

How to avoid digital dead ends

Have you ever noticed that so-called ‘express lanes’ on the road or in stores are often slower than the normal lanes?
While I know it’s easy to go on auto-pilot when performing mundane chores like driving or shopping, it amazes me that people so often follow the actual signs instead of reading the signs around them.
Because we humans are inherently disengaged, conflicted or uncertain as to what we should do in many situations, we’re attracted to people and things that can give us clarity, focus and direction. This is particularly the case when we don’t know a great deal about the subject at hand.
Charismatic leaders understand this. The more effective they are at providing a clear and compelling way forward, the more followers they attract. Not that their chosen path is always a good or rewarding one as history has shown on many occasions.
Digital marketing, as a discipline is failing miserably in giving marketers a clear way forward. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.
It’s not for want of trying, however. You could spend all your time consuming books, courses, podcasts, webinars, articles and conferences on digital this, mobile that, programmatic whatever. It’s information overload, the sworn enemy of clarity and focus.
What ends up happening is that huge dollops of dollars are being spent on doing digital stuff with no clear idea as to why it’s being done.
I was in a brainstorming session a few years ago with our client and their creative, media and PR agencies. The solutions that were put forward to increase awareness and drive sales of the client’s brand were all based on just doing digital stuff. Let’s sponsor Shazam, let’s run targeted Facebook ads, let’s do cool banner ads, let’s do pre-roll YouTube ads etc. Lots and lots of stuff.
My suggestion about first creating a strategy, engaging with consumers via email and phone to better understand their interests and needs and THEN rolling-out select digital stuff was met with a deafening silence. I was obviously a buzz-kill.
It’s no wonder clients end up going down expensive digital dead ends when they consistently receive advice that amount to just doing lots of stuff. The people giving the advice often know just enough jargon to confuse the people (clients) receiving it.
This doesn’t have to be you.
Here are the four key questions you need to answer when planning and implementing your digital program IF you want it to deliver actual results beyond views, likes, clicks and opens:

What do you want?
OK, it seems like I’m trying to teach you, an experienced and savvy businessperson how to suck eggs. Sorry. But for this rant to actually resonate with you in the context of all the hot air you may have been fed, I need to boil it down to the basics.
Is your market aging and you need a younger demographic? Are your competitors doing a better job than you of building awareness / relevance in the market? Do your customers buy on price and not much else?
These are the types of grunty sales and marketing problems that you need solutions for. They’re exactly the problems you can and should be looking to digital marketing to help you solve.
Marketing strategies and digital marketing strategies are not mutually exclusive. They must be intertwined. You must know what you want to achieve commercially before a coder’s keyboard is struck in anger.
If your digital partner doesn’t get what you’re looking to achieve outside of what can be done on a computer, mobile phone or a tablet, get a new partner.
What do your customers want?
I know, it’s obvious, but why do so many digital programs seem self rather than customer serving? One of the exciting aspects of web marketing is that it’s relatively easy to find the customers you’re looking to influence. So there’s no real excuse to be inward or focus group oriented with your digital programs.
The internet is the ultimate home of people seeking answers, solutions and to have most of their needs met. As with all types of marketing, the better we meet those needs the more successful we will be.
Often, the main solution web browsers are looking for is to make a connection with others who are ‘just like me’. We’ve achieved phenomenal results by simply asking customers to – confidentially – tell us their story as it relates to the product / service we’re marketing. Usually for no incentive other than the satisfaction of being heard.
Billions of dollars of value are being wiped off bottom lines in many industries because of many companies’ failure truly understand what their customers want. The default reaction: cut the price.
Do online surveys using third party lists if you don’t have your own; send an email to your customers asking for their opinions; put on a series of wine and cheese chats in your office; do targeted Google / Facebook ad campaigns driving prospects to a survey page. Heck, get on the phone and just talk to a bunch of random customers! Or do all of the above.
Your customers don’t care about your new website, app, eDM, social media page. Unless of course those platforms give them something that they want. If you use the access you have to your customers / prospects using various digital means, any or all of these may be appropriate. But you don’t really know if you don’t ask.

Think Long-Term
Unless you have a here today gone tomorrow offering, your digital vision needs to extend beyond the next six weeks or months. Try six years – for starters.
I get that marketers tend to be career butterflies but if you do your job effectively, your brand’s customers are not. We all are looking for long-term relationships: with our spouses, friends, work colleagues and of course, brands. Those types of relationships don’t happen after a 6 week burst. That’s a start, but the true value for everyone involved only becomes apparent over the years.
The same applies with your digital programs. Companies who view digital through the prism of the next quarter or year’s results are leaving money on the table.
By all means launch with a bang, get consumers engaged and excited but make sure you have a compelling answer for “now what?”. If senior management are looking for a ROI directly attributable to your investment in digital after only a few months in most cases, you may have a problem.
I’ve seen many cases of clever short-term digital campaigns with no follow-up strategy. This is old paradigm thinking: run my ad today and watch the sales fly tomorrow. The main advantage with digital vs. traditional advertising is that it’s much easier and more cost-effective to create assets – e.g. email / mobile databases / social media engagement.
And what can assets do? Provide a return over many years. Your 2016 digital budget should be directly returning money to your organisation in 2021 and beyond.
Stay the course

Don’t get bored with your digital campaign. Make adjustments by all means based on customer feedback but resist the urge to try something new when the old way could be working just fine.
Many marketers love shiny new things in the name of keeping up with changing consumer interests and needs. Which has some validity. The problems arise when you keep having to continually start from scratch, rather than build on what you did before.
Like relationships, if it’s the right one you hang in there through good and bad times. Customers don’t care when your budget starts and finishes; if you disappear for six months, one of your competitors has probably stolen your thunder – and customer.
Invariably, there are countless opportunities in your market for you to launch successful digital programs simply because most companies are not planning and acting in a structured way like this.

Use this formula to steer a course through the maze of digital options. Don’t just ask “what are we going to do?” WHY you’re going to do it is an infinitely more important question.
When you read and understand the signs that are all around you’ll be much more likely to get where you want to go. The alternative is far less appealing.
 
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Digital Marketing: You Know ‘What?’ but do You Know ‘Why?’

Isn’t digital marketing fun!
So many things you can do: websites to build, apps to create, social media updates to post, emails to send. It never ends. No wonder everyone wants to work in digital. You can fill your day doing the sorts of things you do after work anyway. And you get paid for it; bonus!
If playing with shiny new things is…your thing, digital is irresistible.
There’s only one teensy weensy question that’s should be asked by the buzz kill types (usually senior management): why are you doing it?
BEWARE: there are plenty of people who can tell you what you can do with digital, but far fewer who can look holistically at your brand and business and give you a commercially meaningful answer as to why you should do it. And, how digital strategies can help you to achieve your sales and marketing objectives. Which they can.
If you don’t have an integrated digital strategy – as opposed to a digital implementation plan – tread carefully. When you ‘do digital’ just for the sake, in all likelihood all that will happen is that you will deplete your budget and have nothing to show for it. Apart from the shiny new things, of course.
 
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