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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.

The Decline and Fall of Free-to-Air TV

Free-to-air (FTA) TV is gone, over, finished, obsolete, outta here. Everyone is on their mobile phones, tablets, PCs etc etc. NO-ONE watches TV anymore, right?
Wrong.
FTA, of course is not finished. It merely has had a bit of a turn and is having a lie down. It will be back bigger than ever, right?
Wrong.
Once the staple evening and weekend fare of every self-respecting baby boomer and Gen X’er, television is no longer our ’electronic hearth’. We have plenty of other glass that we can stare at now. And that glass allows US to be the creative director, programmer and consumer where, when, what and however we choose. It’s exciting, flexible and fun!
All of which leaves poor old FTA looking like a threadbare old coat gathering dust in the corner while the flashier Zegna suit alternatives sashay out the door.
Nothing new here. Technology is being regularly rendered obsolete. Depending on your age, this list provides a reminder of what was once vital and is now irrelevant (did someone say floppy disk?).
Sure, multi-year sports mega-deals with FTA networks still make news but now there’s this little thing called ‘digital rights’ that sporting franchise owners have carved off. Before you know it, those same sports will be running their own multi-media empires and they won’t need external TV stations anymore. Why? Because they can. They own what viewers want which is why broadcast rights are so valuable. That’s why ‘narrowcast’ rights are even more valuable. The more focused you are, the more valuable you become.
This could not be starker than in network television’s own ecosystem. According to Forbes, sports focused ESPN is worth $50 billion+ compared to the generalist ABC network’s $3.2 billion valuation.
And then there’s cable, Netflix and Apple TV and Amazon TV. All of which are vertically integrating by creating and controlling their own content through to its eventual distribution and
marketing. And we haven’t even mentioned YouTube.
In a complex, tangled and confusing electronic content dissemination world, FTA television seems firmly stuck where it was king of the heap: the 70’s. Of course, FTA still attracts enormous audiences but as with all declining technologies, while the trend is gradual it’s not looking good. What FTA TV will look like in 10 years time is anyone’s guess.
Mourn not though. Globally, television executives have at best paid lip service to the hyper-connectedness facilitated by digital communications. Throw up a few websites, syndicate our media releases on a Facebook page and enable SMS voting for our talent shows and we’re sorted. They’re so not sorted.
There are collectively hundreds of millions of viewers out there who have never had any personal interaction with the FTA TV channels they’ve slavishly supported for decades. Some could argue that they never needed to connect with viewers beyond offering them fabulous programs to watch. Which still works. To a degree. Trouble is, we’ve all been spoiled by what we can do and what we can control.
So while it’s unrealistic to think that regular emails and SMS’ to viewers will halt the declining trend, it can’t hurt.
But the clock is ticking, and it’s very loud.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images:

legarde-rob.com

The Only Way to Make Money from Social Media

If I had a buck for every time I was asked “How can I make money from social media?” I wouldn’t have to write posts about making a buck from social media.
The problem is not with social media itself. No platform worth its cyber-salt ever claimed that you’d make millions by posting, uploading or liking social media content.
Oh, I know, I know. How about Oreos, Dell, Coca-Cola, Old Spice, Kim Kardashian etc you ask. And I’d answer “Yes, but…”.
All of those brands and the many others that are profiled in seemingly every social media presentation were major brands either before or separate to the influence of social media. That’s my point. Wrestling with the answer to the ROI from social media is like trying to quantify the ROI from your receptionist. Each has their undoubted benefits but being able to spend $1 on either with the certainty of getting $5 back is not one of them.
Neither can do you or your organisation any good in isolation. You need your other marketing initiatives in place for social media to be truly effective. By effective, that means integrating with those elements to deliver my favourite marketing equation of: 1 + 1 = 23.5.
So the only way to consistently make money from social media is for it to become a fundamental part of how you do business with the outside world.
What’s too often forgotten when any marketing investment is being reviewed is that success is not about doing one thing occasionally, it’s about doing a hundred little things consistently. There are few more visual, flexible, dynamic and interactive ways to do lots of little things than via social media.
The frustration of course is that it’s hard to highlight exactly what the financial return is from your social media investment. But try cutting social media altogether – or doing it poorly – and see how your increasingly discerning markets think of you; particularly compared to competitors that are active on social media.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images courtesy:

Patience Makes Perfect Content

Those advertising types have it soooooooooo easy! If you have the money you can shout wherever and whenever you like: ‘BUY NOW! 99% OFF! GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU IRRESISTIBLE TO THE OPPOSITE SEX!’ And then the...

General Pants + Tinder = Strategic Partnership

If marketing was easy, then every business would be a success (theoretically speaking). Of course it isn’t easy and businesses spend hours upon hours developing marketing strategies to clearly communicate what they actually want to say. Content creation, budgets and social media updates can be time consuming and if you’re unlucky (or get it wrong), sadly unsuccessful. But what if you could be offered a well deserved break? What if someone else could help you lift that heavy load of online marketing? Enter a strategic partnership in the form of a fashion retailer combined with a digital dating app (which go together like a horse and carriage don’t you think?)
General Pants hooked up with the flirting app Tinder around Valentine’s Day this year, offering users the opportunity to send a push mobile notification inviting other users to “get in my pants”. Tinder users could show their profile in a General Pants store to get 20% off their next purchase. Everybody wins – users get a Tinder experience plus 20% off pants, all at a lower cost than the usual marketing campaign.
Tinder has been busy getting it on with other brands in the form of strategic partnerships. The app helped promote the TV-show ‘Suits’ as well as ‘The Mindy Project’. Characters in the shows would discuss Tinder while Tinder would display the same characters within the app. This is perhaps as subtle as eating a giant Mars bar on live television, but at least in the case of ‘The Mindy Project’, the Tinder appearances kind of make sense as the show has a romantic focus.
It would be impossible to write a post about strategic partnership without mentioning the almost legendary alliances involving Ron Burgundy, the scotch loving main character in the Anchorman movies, played by Will Ferrell. The most famous was Burgundy’s promotion of the Dodge Durango via 70 YouTube videos, or perhaps we should say “promotion”, as Ron (or Will Ferrel as himself for that matter) wouldn’t always speak well of the car at all. It was a huge success (apparently sales went up 59%) that cost Dodge close to nothing, as the movie makers payed for the videos in order to promote Anchorman 2. A less well known partnership hosted by the man with the mustache included a limited edition Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The flavour? Well… scotchy scotch scotch of course!
Strategic partnerships are a smart form of marketing – as long as they provide customers with sufficient value and grow the businesses at a low cost for all parties involved. A bit of logic does help, don’t put a giraffe on a skateboard unless it makes sense in some way. Consumers are becoming more skeptical when they see brands working together and collaboration without some kind of common ground will only create uneasiness (which a clever enough marketing team could no doubt use to its advantage). Don’t overdo it – people eventually get tired of Ron Burgundy and those Tinder related dialogues becoming a little too obvious at some point. We’re talking collaboration, not necessarily a merger, so don’t rely too heavily on others to pull your brand.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: pixelworld.deviantart.com, examiner.com, nolandalla.com, abine.com

Just Add Happiness – Coca Cola Marketing

You’ve read posts like this one before – it’s about Coca Cola’s marketing campaigns and why they’re great. We love the way that the soft drink company has raised the standard for content marketing – not so much using content as a tool, but as a marketing strategy altogether. Recently we’ve had the pleasure to see a couple of new interesting campaigns, more often than not including the famously loved vending machine. Here’s a pick from Coca Cola’s momentous archives:

      The invisible vending machine (above); this vending machine was built into a wall and camouflaged. It would only become visible if a couple passed by, asking them their names (which would show up on the wall when told) and offer them a bottle of coke;
      The “hug me” vending machine; this one offered bottles of coke in exchange for hugs;
      The Christmas vending machine; the day before Christmas, this vending machine located in Argentina would open up a secret door when people put money into it. This would give them access to a snowy, Christmas decorated room housing Santa Claus;
       The happiness vending machine; these ones appeared at a number of locations and could as well be called the “gives-away-lots-and-lots-of-free-stuff” vending machine. People who interacted with the machine got free coke, surfboards, skateboards and pizza among other things, provided by the machines anonymous inhabitants;
       The dancing vending machine; this one had people dance for free coke;
       The transformer; this one wasn’t really a vending machine, but a person dressed as a transformer capable of turning into one (the ad was so great we didn’t want to leave it out!);

Some of you probably see a reoccurring theme in some of these videos; give away free stuff and people will love you. This is true to some extent, who doesn’t love free stuff? But Coca Cola does more than that. The people in these videos only expected a bottle of coke, but ended up enjoying something out of the ordinary instead.
Coca Cola makes the consumers in each campaign feel special (not EVERY machine out there will hurl free stuff at you), and the company get to use their reactions for some unique and compelling content. By making more of a happening out of these campaigns, they create an “I was there” kind of discourse, having people from Hong Kong to Argentina discussing the brand. This way, consumers come to look forward to the company’s next move.
We may all have different takes on Coca Cola, but you’ll have to admit that they have made their marketing into an art. “Happiness” is a keyword, showing that they know what advertising is all about. A great ad will leave that positive imprint and association – having you come back for more.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs. 
Image & video courtesy: thedrum.com, Youtube; Coca Cola, Openhappinesskorea

Keep it Simple Part 1 – A Customer’s Perspective

Remember when the decision making process was less complex? Maybe it never was, but isn’t it a little trickier nowadays, you know, with this global network called the “Internet”, presenting all possible options plus one extra? Back in the old days when there were two brands of shampoo to choose from, one for men and the other one for women – shopping was bliss. Now there are thousands, and by the gift of the Internet, customers have instant knowledge access to most probably all of them.
You’ve all heard the expression “information overload”; it’s one of the hazards of the digital age. This is not just something that critics of modern society made up to scare kids away from the computer and into the playground. Studies show that humans in fact do have limited information processing abilities. With too much information entering our brain, our ability to make good decisions is notably hindered.
Variety is great however. Customers are more in control – they’re well informed and have the ability to pick the best option from a wide selection of products and services. This indirectly benefits the companies due to customers disregarding the less honest brands. It’s more likely therefore that the last man is the one who actually knows what he’s talking about and how best to ‘walk the talk’.
Back in the days when there were only a couple of brands to choose from, there was less pressure for companies to spend endless hours creating a marketing campaign that cost more than Victoria Beckham’s wardrobe. On the plus side however, diversity has created a more caring society where customers really matter.
Moving on – diversity may be a good thing, but that doesn’t make it easier for people to choose what shampoo to buy, quite the opposite really. Or forget about shampoo, how about which university to go to, what stock to invest in, where to cut ones hair? Some decisions, if made incorrectly, could mean utter disaster (or at least major inconvenience and a bad hair do). So how do we make good decisions in a world filled with information?
There are two different kinds of decision makers that you need to know about; maximisers and satisficers. A maximiser will make sure that he or she has considered every single option before making a decision. A satisficer will however settle for the first option that fits the bill/need. One may assume that being a maximiser is the way to go, but according to Psychology Today, maximisers tend to be less satisfied with their decision. The downside of knowing all of your options is that you also know what you’re giving up. So maybe the maximiser tactic should be saved for those super important decisions (and not which shampoo to buy).
So if your customers are struggling with indecision, chances are that they’re using one of the following strategies to make up their minds – they could for example:

      Divide the options into different aspect categories (this shampoo smells good, this one is cheap, this one is eco friendly), then pick the best choice from each category and narrow down the preferences until only one item remains;
       Consider two products at a time. The winner of each “round” will face the next opponent until no more opponents remain;
       Find the worst alternative and throw it out – then keep at it until the best option remains;
       Simply go for a brand they recognise.  For the customer, selecting what they know may not be the best alternative on this list, but it works really well for making quick decisions. This is why it’s so important to create brand awareness among consumers (as discussed here).

Having too much information can be just as frustrating as a lack of it, plus few customers can handle the wrecking ball of information being launched at them every day (excuse the Miley Cyrism). Knowing that customers have limits and are forced to use different strategies to cope with what indecision gives you, Mr Marketer, an understanding of why you need to keep your marketing strategy as simple and clear as possible to cut through the clutter.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: magneticresume.com, indezign.net

How to Succeed with Google Search

 
Google search is the ultimate search engine tool that is widely utilised by consumers to search for products, services and information about anything that could catch their attention. Retailers understand that consumers nowadays are infinitely smarter than their predecessors and can easily utilise search engines to look for what they want on the Internet.
 
However, to help make their products reach their target audience, they do have to make sure that they show up on those search engines. With the help of search engine optimisation (SEO), all this was fairly easy to achieve, but what will one do now that Google Search is getting a makeover which will make the old SEO tricks null and void. So what do the retailers who depend on Google do? They get in with the times and set their sails to catch the winds of change. With the help of the following tips, you can strategise and successfully utilise the new Google Search.

Be Committed
At first it was easy to fool Google’s SEO system with just a few well placed keywords and other factors that helped the content show up as the main search result for Google. And that was it. The post could be around 3 years old and your blog could have no new content but Google would still show it. You can say goodbye to shortcuts like that now. You’ll have to continuously post new content and ensure that even if you don’t have quality, your quantity can help push you into the results.
Be Interesting
It’s as simple as that. You might think that you are pretty interesting but trust me; it’s something that is easily assumed but harder to accomplish. There are tons of people who are funny, loud and wacky on the Internet, but try to post  things that will distinguish you from the rest of the market. Interesting content gets more hits, more views, more followers and just more of everything.
Don’t do Anything by Halves
Google’s SEO was pretty easy to trick. All you had to do was tweak the right elements a bit and then you were set. However, the new update ensures that you can’t just tweak your way into the search results. You’ll have to start working on producing content and other materials that is not only relevant but is also completely integrated with Google’s search engine for optimal content optimisation.
No More Shortcuts
Long story short, Google just cut off all your shortcuts to get your content to the top of the search results. However, it’s something which is still relevantly new. Give it some time and the faithful interwebs will work out some loopholes for you to manipulate. In the meanwhile, get some content writers and chain them to their desks. Writing new content for every post isn’t easy and it looks like it’ll be a really long night.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images Courtesy of  Google Images
 

Social Media Trends for Big Business

 
Social media has started to make a big impact on the economy. While social media was once considered to be just a place to connect with people, it soon expanded and now encompasses the economy of the world. Once the global reach of social media was realised, it was only a matter of time before businesses started to utilise social media in a big way.
 
In a very short time, social media has become an integral part of most businesses enabling some to double their revenue over the past few years. Many big businesses seem to favor a few social media practices that have become very popular among other smaller businesses too. Based on popular social media trends, these big businesses utilise them in the following ways:
1. Implementing Marketing Basics in Social Media
Many people believe social media marketing is something pretty simple. All you do is sit at your desk and post stuff. That’s a fine excuse for using Facebook at work all the time!  However, big businesses take their social media as seriously as their marketing. With the help of market research, they take the time to analyse, strategise and produce content that is targeted to capture their audience yet simple to share on social media platforms.
2. Planning the Structure
More and more websites are becoming like social media platforms. While they don’t let you hang around and chat with your friends and family, these websites do showcase easy to navigate features, graphics and even colour combinations that entice you to spend more time on that page. With such pleasing aspects, websites have begun to morph more with social media websites and web pages.
3. Optimising the Structure
Technology has advanced nowadays to include devices like laptops, tablets and smart phones that can easily support internet connections. With the smaller and stronger processors available nowadays, tablets and smart phones function almost like a pocket computer. However, it is now almost a necessity to have various versions of it available in order to make it easier to view on the device your customer is  using. Having mobile friendly websites increase the chances of the user coming back to your mobile site by almost 74%.
4. Building Digital Foot Prints
Many people think all they need to do is add in the right SEO and they’re done. But many businesses, especially big businesses, create digital footprints for their social media and business. It’s pretty simple –  link all your social media websites with your business website and maintain the chain you’ve created. This makes it more likely that your business will appear on all search engines, whether it was YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter that led them to your business profile.
5. Crisp Content
Nowadays, people are so overloaded with information and so visually enticed that they don’t always have the time or the patience to read through it all. Keep it short, keep it simple and to the point yet be able to impart all that you want to share. It sounds a lot harder than you might think but once you get the hang of it, nothing is simper.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock
 

What Kind of Digital User Are You?

Social media has indeed infiltrated quite a number of fields including the business industry. Apart from marketing and journalism, professionals from various fields have had to learn to adopt the social media culture or...