Tick Yes Blog

Category - Digital Marketing

When to Go All in Online

I’ve had an interesting experience this week. Someone I had never heard of or met proactively contacted me and wanted to connect on LinkedIn. And via email.
And on Skype.
And on Facebook.
Kudos for a shock and awe approach to connect with a prospect. It didn’t work though. I didn’t accept any of her invitations no matter how impressive her persistence and cyber-stalking skills were.
As someone who also proactively contacts people with whom I’d like to do business I have great respect for her energy and application. It’s just her judgement and of course her offering that caused me to not engage with her.
While I had obviously been vetted by the business I run – I assume my dashing good looks didn’t figure too highly as a selection criterion – her ‘try every digital touch point in one hit’ left me cold.
This is what I wrote about in my book Customer Romance (www.customerromance.com). We customers need to wooed before we’re won. Heck, we may not even be right for you or vice versa. But if you show me that I matter and that you want to get to know my needs, fears, wants and desires and then MAYBE we can take it to the next level.
Try liking my last LinkedIn Pulse article, or leave a comment. Take a position on one of our articles on our Google+ page. Re-tweet what we tweeted an hour ago.
Take an authentic interest in me and what I’m doing and the law of reciprocity may kick in.
It’s a lot of work isn’t it. And ultimately, it may all be for nothing as I may STILL not be interested in what you’re selling.
But that’s what it takes to form a relationship personally or professionally. Nothing is ever guaranteed. What IS guaranteed however is that if you go too far too soon you’ll invariably be rebuffed and then there’s no way back.
One of my favourite digital marketing sayings is ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’. Yes, I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Skype but trying to connect with me on most of these over the course of 12 or so hours when I’ve never heard of you is a little much.
Perhaps it my Australian reserve coming out but without getting to know me you probably didn’t know I’d feel that way.
Now before you suggest that I get over it, having empathy and understanding as to how your beautifully crafted sales and marketing initiatives will be received by your target market is critical to your success or otherwise.
If you want your audiences to be receptive rather than resentful, get up from behind your desk, walk a mile in their shoes and try to genuinely look at what you’re doing from THEIR point of view.
It’s marketing 101 but it’s not easy. You’re infinitely more aware of what you need rather than what they need. But that’s why we’re called sales and marketing professionals. We have the judgement to know when to hold and we know when to fold (thank you Kenny Rogers).
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy of: goodenough.asia

Worst Digital Marketing Advice We’ve Ever Heard

“Be controversial to get traffic to your site.”
Sometimes, controversy can be a good thing. You can get people talking about your brand and gain more recognition. However, trying to be controversial is essentially playing with fire. It is so easy to stray a little too far into the controversy and have the whole thing blow up in your face. Also, it is almost impossible to sustain controversy for too long, and a digital marketing plan is one thing that needs to be sustainable.
“Don’t worry if you mess up. Just delete it.”
In the new age of the Internet, deleting something is incredible difficult. If you make a negative comment or a poor joke online, everyone can see it immediately. Even if you delete it as soon as you realise your mistake, thousands of people could already have seen it and they can share it with many more. Some people think the best advantage about the Internet is how quickly things can spread, but in some cases this can also be the greatest disadvantage.
“It doesn’t matter what you post about, just post as often as possible for new traffic.”
Although posting often is a good thing, if what you post is lousy or boring, it will not help your business get found online. You may get a lot of traffic early on, but readers will quickly get tired of sub-par posts and leave your site for good. This is a common mistake and all businesses should live by the recognisable saying “quality over quantity”.
“Establish a presence everywhere.”
There are SO many social networks and other ways to market you business online that it is almost impossible to be everywhere. The key is to focus on a few popular options and use them dedicatedly. Spending your time marketing on 10-15 different networks takes time away from doing other important things for your business. By focusing on the most important networks, you can effectively market your business without spending too much time managing profiles or updating information.
“Dealing with comments is hard, so it’s better to just disable comments altogether.”
Of all they bad advice out there, this one definitely takes the cake. First of all, people are going to express their opinions in other ways if they cannot comment. They will go on social media or other platforms, which makes it harder for you to manage the conversation. In addition, disabling comments makes you look like a company that is unable to deal with reality. Comments are supposed to help you to know what your readers are looking for. Comments could give you new ideas that help you grow and attract new customers. And yes, negative comments can be difficult to deal with. Readers can complain or unjustly criticise your company, making it hard to respond without hurting yourself. The best way to do this is just to be honest and genuine with your readers. Do your best to answer them if they have questions or help them if they have complaints, but the worst thing you can do is to not let them comment at all.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Your Media Empire

It was a match made in heaven.
The media created content to attract audiences and (primarily) marketing budgets. Marketers, needing a place and a way to disseminate their promotional messages were insatiably drawn to the media because of those audiences.
From print to radio and on to television the symbiotic relationship was simple and elegant and it worked for decades.
But then along came the internet, combined with digital technology and the unexpected happened. Readers, viewers and listeners had somewhere else to go.
At home and on the go there were almost limitless places to get a daily media fix. Add in the ability to run one’s personal life via social media and the previously cosy status quo was gone, never to return.
The impact of the digital age on traditional media empires has been exhaustively documented. Newspapers folding, old media buying new media (whatever you do, don’t mention Myspace to Rupert Murdoch) and, worst of all, audiences fragmenting across countless sites, blogs, online games and apps.
So where does that leave marketers still needing to get the word out?
Well, for a time it was all very confusing. Should we do banner ads or Google ads, Facebook ads, build a website, launch a social media program, create an app and write content or…or…? The options and the decisions to make were even more confusing.
It’s not to say that any or all of these options are not worth doing. The big question is where to start.
You start at the end.
Focus on where you want to end up. That’s when you feel that you’re as set as you once were with your nice, easy to understand media plan leveraging someone else’s audiences.
Today, being set as a marketer means being master of your own media destiny. Sure, other people’s audiences still help but now there’s an even better way to reach and influence people: create your own audience.
This is not just an option; your future success relies on it. I know this may sound like an absurd, overblown and completely unrealistic idea.
It’s anything but. By cultivating your customers and prospects and leveraging every touch point with them, before you know it you’ll have your own mini (or maxi depending on the size of your organisation and your commitment to stay the course) media empire.
Keep them informed, engaged and amused and your audience will at the very least listen to what you have to say when you want to promote your products or services. Yes, being a media proprietor may be out of your comfort zone but consider it this way: it’s your core business now.
Digital is where your customers are and digital communications, for most of us, is what our customers are doing every day, hour and minute. So using digital to serve and sell your customers should be central to what you do, no matter what that is.
And here’s the golden nugget: most organisations don’t get it. Sure, they may be tinkering around the edges with digital marketing, heck they may even have an eager beaver Digital Marketing Manager or a hip, happening digital agency. There are plenty of people to tell you what to do but not enough to tell you why you’re doing it.
In a sea of digital implementations, an integrated strategic backbone to everything you do gives you the best chance of a) standing out and b) succeeding. And the best way to achieve a) and b) is to build a database of people who hungrily want what you’re selling.
What’s the best way to build a database? Do what the old time media proprietors did: give audiences reasons to keep showing up.
Nirvana? Yes. Easy? No. Possible? Yes.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images: www.inkace.com; bendalls.com.au; bizweb2000.com
 
 

Are You Digital Ready?

Damn it.
This internet thing is not going away. We’ve tried ignoring it but it just keeps growing like topsy.
I guess it means we have to do something about it now. Double damn it.
Do you know organisations where this seems to be the overwhelming attitude? Stupid question; of course you do. In fact, it’s probably harder to spot the ones that are ‘digital ready’ rather than the ‘digital denyers’.
There’s a very good reason for that: successful organisations run on successful systems. And how do you create successful systems? Trial and error, usually over a long period of time. So to introduce a new raft of guidelines to follow, platforms to maintain and contingencies to put in place is not easy. Putting it like that is it any wonder that risk averse people and organisations are late to the digital party.
But arrive they must.
(If you’re in any doubt about the enormity of the changes brought about by the digital age, check out this infographic. And here’s another sobering thought: in terms of technological and behavioural evolution we’ve only just begun.)
The evidence is overwhelming; digital is a fundamental part of the daily lives of your customers. The imperative now is to work through any fears and internal impediments and do what needs to be done to better serve customers using digital tools and methods. That really is the essence of becoming a digital ready organisation.
You don’t need to set up umpteen committees to contemplate your corporate navel. You just need to focus on what will enable the organisation to most effectively understand customer needs and evolve your systems and offerings accordingly.
An important point to remember: elaborate flow charts and PowerPoint presentations do not a digital ready organisation make. I’ve seen some incredibly impressive documents setting out what the organisation should do but then that’s where everything stops.
We’re all in the “now what?” business. So the digital plan is in place, you have the opt-in email database, your website is optimised for conversion, your Google ads are live and your app is available for download. That’s the easy part done. Now you need to implement so that your digital program integrates with your other marketing and sales activities to ensure that you achieve your commercial objectives.
In other words, the hard work starts now.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images Courtesy:  www.wired.com/2012/07/omega-peter-hurzeler/; mwcma.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/blindfolded-people/
 

Social Media Training = Better Boss

If you are the CEO of your own company or at least a senior executive, you should know how valuable social media training can be. There is no doubt that social media marketing has become one of the most powerful forms of digital marketing strategies. Success does come to those who choose to incorporate various social media platforms with their traditional marketing campaigns. And yet despite the call for management to learn more about how it’s done, there are still a lot of them who dismiss it as just another fad. Sadly, these are the brands that usually screw up their digital and social media campaigns.
Social media training can give your staff the skills to become effective marketers and efficient users of your own social media pages. Here are some things you can do to ensure all the hard work that your social media team has put in, is worth it.
•    Choose the holidays you participate in. Not all holidays are to be celebrated. Some of them, like Australia’s Anzac Day or the tragedy of 9/11 are meant to be remembered and respected.  Brand participation should be avoided at all costs.
•    Pick the forums you join. Content marketing is a good means of sharing the top reasons why people should choose your brand, no matter what goods or services you provide. However, it’s best to refrain from joining forums and discussions online that may be about your brand or that of your competitor. You don’t need to justify why your services or products are the best, leave it to us, as consumers, to decide for ourselves.
•    When you do something wrong online, just say sorry. Forgiveness is hard to give to those who don’t recognise their mistakes. Mistakes made online should be recognised, dealt with and then hopefully, forgotten. An apology for an inappropriate email, post or picture would be greatly understood by your beloved followers. After all, they chose to follow you for a reason.
•    Always stay up to date. Being online is great and all, but if you do not keep your skills and Intel up to date, you will fall behind, and fast. The social media scene is especially fickel and constantly changing, once you think you are a master of Facebook marketing, there will be new features, algorithms and 3 new social networks that attracts more people.
Social media training, despite a very busy schedule, can make a difference. A boss who continues to improve himself through all types of training is a boss that his employees will surely look up to.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
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Time to Get (Digitally) Active!

Australian small business owners, we need to talk.
About what you may ask? Well, it’s a little awkward but there’s something I really need to tell you.
You need to be active online.
Don’t be mad. I know you have a million things to do. I know you think this internet thing is all too hard. And you probably know lots of people like you that who also think this online marketing is a waste of time.
Which makes them and, hate to say it, you wrong, deluded, misguided and completely out of touch. And that’s being nice.
The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that only 41.6% to 44.4% of SMEs have an online presence. That compares to 97% of large companies.
If you were smart – which you have to be to run a successful small business – you’d see this as an opportunity rather than a problem. On average, most of your competitors are missing out on building their brand, engaging with current and potential customers and positioning themselves as thought leaders.
And the good thing is that it doesn’t cost a fortune to get involved. In fact, with a little imagination and effort you can be online in no time.
So why am I going on about this? Your business has survived so far, what’s the rush? I always like to answer that by suggesting that you look at your own online behaviour. See how many of these sound ‘familiar’ to you: research restaurants, possible illnesses, movies, potential partners, latest celebrity news, check your bank balance, pay your bills and get a new employee.
Heck, it would be easier to list what we don’t do online than to list everything we do.
So isn’t it time to commission a new website, or to start regularly emailing your customers, or create a Facebook page? How about starting a blog and writing regular posts. And while you’re at it you’re only a few taps away on your smartphone from recording videos to post on YouTube. All of which will in all likelihood find itself to the internet’s big bopper.
Google is used by Australians 6 million times every day to search for goods, services and information. According to a Fleishman-Hillard study 89% of consumers search for information online before making a purchase. I’d wager that a fair few of your current or potential customers make up those numbers.
So I guess the final question is “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????”
Being active online is simple but it’s not easy. It takes consistent work, dedication and focus. But think of the competitive advantage! And hard work? Pffftt, you’re not scared of hard work, right! For your sake you have to be in it. Run to your nearest computer or smartphone and start!
Now.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images Courtesy: www.unziptheweb.com, www.digitalbusiness.gov.au

Smoke, Mirrors and Digital Advertising

Having worked in the digital space for well over a decade I have witnessed first hand the ability of digital marketing to deliver tangible business results. From quantitatively robust research insights, through to enhancing multi-channel relationships and of course market share and profitability increases.
But there’s a big but. Not all digital marketing is created equal. Not all solutions are going to keep shareholders/senior management/your wife happy once the digital dust settles and the numbers are objectively reviewed.

For example, it’s very hard to get excited about digital display advertising when the average click-through rate is 0.05% (2019). Let’s put that in retail terms: imagine you run a store where you need to pay the cost of goods, rent, utilities, staff, cleaning, security etc. before putting a cent in your pocket. Then after dealing with all that, for every 2,000 customers who walk in your door only one shows any interest in what you’re selling. Note, I didn’t say they actually bought anything. They just asked a lukewarm question or two. Perhaps they’ll buy; chances are they won’t.
It’s not a very attractive business model. Yet that’s exactly what advertisers are being sold by website publishers every day. It’s what I was sold some years ago when I was marketing a travel related product. The salesperson from what was then Australia’s largest travel site got me all excited about contextual relevance, traffic numbers, time on site, engaged users blah, blah, blah. After spending many thousands of dollars, the rep proudly informed me that my campaign performed “off the charts”. Apparently it almost doubled the site’s display advertising average click through rate. And what rate was that? 0.7%.
We ended up paying $X00 per click and achieved virtually nothing because of the few people who did click most didn’t do what we wanted them to do. It was a disaster.
Now there will be many in the digital advertising business who will say that maybe:
a) My creativity sucked
b) There was no compelling call to action
c) Display is most effective when part of an integrated campaign
d) I didn’t test enough various creative, offers etc.
e) I wasn’t on the right – read their – site
You know what; there may be some truth in all of those points. But I keep coming back to the numbers. Or in this case, THE number: 0.7%. Unless you’re selling nuclear reactors or Ferraris where you ROI per single sale is very high and your target market is very specifically defined, digital display advertising can be a very big and very black hole.
If you are looking for maximising the returns from your digital marketing investment, look to create and then leverage your own digital assets. Sure, other digital strategies like social media can drive engagement and be a big contributor to your online success but never forget that unless your last name is Zuckerberg, you don’t truly own the communities on your social media pages, accounts etc. Someone who does own them could decide to change their platform and ‘your’ community could disappear in a single mouse click. Pretty scary, don’t you think? What you can control is your own website, blog and opt-in email database to which you can send relevant, targeted eDMs. You can create compelling content to syndicate on a variety of platforms that will be online forever and will continuously drive interested people to where you want them to go.
All of this is sounds a little small time to the ‘awareness merchants’. Schooled in the art of doing big brand building ad campaigns, this is all a bit fiddly. And they’re right. Interacting with individuals can be, let’s face it, a pain in the neck. Particularly when you’re used to paying for exposure to someone else’s community or audience.
If you want someone to buy what you’re selling there’s no better way to achieve that than to talk to them belly to belly and find out what they want and need and to then craft your pitch accordingly. Short of being able to do that, being able to digitally connect with them individually is the next best thing.
Of course traditional advertising is not dead and can still be highly effective, but as we’ve known for decades much of the investment you need to make is wasted and doesn’t achieve the desired results. As we’ve seen, digital marketing is by no means immune to wastage. The difference however, is that by running cost-effective tests and then implementing proven strategies it offers savvy, results-oriented marketers leverage well beyond what they’ve ever had before.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images courtesy: buzzcanuck.typepad.com & memburn.com

How A/B Testing Can Deliver Better Digital Marketing Results

Moving a letter one pixel to the left may be the digital equivalent to splitting hairs, but as it turns out, even small changes can have a big impact. Nowadays we know that you can achieve a 42% higher click-through-rate by not littering a page with more than one Call to Action (CTA). How do we know that? Well, someone actually tried to pit a website with just one CTA against another with two or more. As the majority of people in marketing are aware, changes to things like colour, positioning and size can actually make all the difference – but are they willing to take the time to do some serious experimenting?

Online design can differ enormously from one webpage to another. There are a number of unwritten rules; you might for instance want to adapt your site to the population’s F-shaped online reading behaviour, and people have come to expect contact details at the bottom of a site. But apart from those guidelines, it’s up to you. As your audience will constantly change their view of a good website, experimenting with new design and online solutions is very, very important.

We could present a number of statistics on user behaviour, but those would only provide general guidelines when all you really need is to be specific. At the end of the day the crowd of people visiting your website differs from the one visiting your competitors’.  By adapting your digital platforms you can make sure to target the audience most relevant to you.

So how does one know what works on their website? Well, A/B testing of course! You pit your original website (version A) against one with a variation (version B) in order to find the best solution, thus allowing for information based decisions. This may be Marketing 101, but quite frankly A/B testing is something a whole bunch of marketers are not very good at. This is rather odd, considering tools such as Optimizely have turned A/B testing into child’s play.

You could for instance test out tweaking:

          Copy length          Wording          Whether to use bullet points or not          CTA button placement/colour          Images

What matters are the bits and pieces that will help you reach your goals. If an image will increase traffic to your site – try it out. If a different colour will make a button more clickable, go for it. Just make sure to test both versions simultaneously and have patience – you won’t get reliable results in just a couple of hours.

In the fast paced world of digital marketing, it’s only natural that those in charge of a company’s marketing efforts want to avoid a creative stand-still. Creative forces want to do just that, create, and not dabble in the almost scientific world of A/B testing. The trial and error approach may be a great way of learning the ropes, but it is also a way of spending a budget at light-speed. A little testing will go a long way in today’s harsh marketing climate.

The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Image courtesy: monicamlewis.blogspot.com, ergonomics.ucr.edu

How to Pick an Excellent Digital Agency

Previously, we discussed which agencies to avoid in the jungle of digital marketing. As there are quite a lot of digital marketing success stories out there, one has to come to the conclusion that not all agencies are bad. That’s why we’re now going to give you a four-step method to assess whether your digital agency is a keeper:
They listen
Regardless of how many companies they’ve worked with, how many success stories they have under their belt or how shiny their awards are – a good agency knows that every business is different, as is every target audience. Nor does a good agency try and take things over, after all you are the one with all the facts and inside information and expertise within your field. A good agency knows that it can only offer a good solution if it gets a clear enough view of the problem. Collaboration is key.
They know what they’re doing
The most successful digital marketing campaigns tend to be fun, smart and sometimes outright crazy. How about a twitter fueled race for instance, or a casual jump from space. We’d all like to think that success is a result of a deus ex machina, that sudden stroke of creative genius. History does however tell us about a number of failed (and plain stupid) campaigns out there, those that weren’t saved by the god of creativity (and discretion). What a good marketer knows and a bad one doesn’t – is that they are the ones we can really learn from and it takes a lot of knowledge and planning not to step into those traps. A good agency knows that digital marketing can be associated with great risk to your brand’s reputation – and sales – and takes that into consideration. A good agency has learned from its mistakes – an agency that hasn’t had its fair share of mistakes has just been plain lucky.
They get results
Ok, this one’s a no-brainer. You wouldn’t hire a digital agency if you didn’t expect that they will help you to achieve good results. Often the results that matter are the concrete ones, those that make sure that you will be able to grow your business. If your agency can help you extend market share, increase sales or improve ROI in some way, then they’re probably well worth the money. Just remember that abstract results like an increased social media following, open rates and clicks have some value, but they’re just the means to an end. The end, and the main game, is your growth.
They’ll have you coming back for more
There is something special about some agencies. It’s their way of professionally running a business and treating its clients with respect and their brands with dignity. A really good agency will not just do a job, they will live for it.  They’re passionate about working with you to make you – and them – look like stars. That’s the agency you want.
Have you ever experienced when a good agency works its magic? Or when a bad one tries to get away with cheap tricks? Please tell us about it.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: foodvacuumsealers.com.au, www.prepare1.com

4 Ways Your Digital Agency Could Mislead you

When venturing into the exciting world of the internet, every day could become April Fool’s Day – and you have to be on our toes or else you might come out looking like the fool. As a serious marketer though, staying on your guard is nothing new.
The digital age has really provided businesses of all sizes with great marketing opportunities. However, with great functionality comes great complexity, making the totality of digital marketing’s opportunities somewhat hard to grasp.
That’s why there are agencies out there ready to help out in times of need (as long as you have a budget, of course). The trouble is with so many agencies claiming to be digital experts, hiring the right one becomes another problem altogether. How can you tell if they know their stuff?
When you hear one or more of the following statements you may be talking to a bad one:
Social media is the answer to everything
No it’s not. Social media isn’t some magical wand that will make everything right. It could however be a great way of increasing brand awareness, publishing educational content and it’s a great channel for customer service. It all depends on your company’s needs. Sometimes starting a Instagram or Facebook account simply doesn’t make sense for some companies and brands. Lazy digital agencies play the social media card since it’s an easy way for them to make it look like they’re actually doing something.
Focus on the numbers
Don’t fall in love with hundreds of thousands of likes on Facebook, millions of views on YouTube and countless followers on Twitter. The numbers don’t matter unless the likers, viewers and followers actually visit your website, buy your product or contact you directly in order to get more information. Analysing numbers is of course useful, but putting too much value in sudden peaks or troughs can be dangerous. A sudden peak could mean that your social media campaign works – it could also be luck or chance.
Digital efforts will cover up for your flaws
In his book The Social Media Manifesto, the author Jed Hallam compares social technology to make-up removal. Social media will put your company out there; it will make it more transparent and open to attacks. A Google search could give a potential customer access to that piece of information that you’ve been trying to hide. Meanwhile your social media channels could provide a dent in your armour and if you are unlucky, spin user interaction out of control. So you should focus on your business first, making sure that your brand is spotless and ready for thorough inspection.
Everyone else does it
This is true to some extent. More and more companies have started to see the value of digital marketing and social media in particular. The successful companies are however those who can identify their needs while putting down enough time to actually have their digital marketing make a difference.
There is of course more to it than these four aspects. Digital marketing is as much of a science as regular marketing, and an agency claiming something else just isn’t worth your time. So we hope that you enjoyed April Fool’s Day, hopefully without any digital marketing related worries.
OK, so maybe your current digital marketing agency don’t know their stuff – but we’ll help you out! Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how to spot a great agency for all your digital marketing needs.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: artofmadmen.wordpress.com, tech2date.com