Best Practices for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

Best Practices for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

Marketing moves fast. And, with the internet and advances in technology, it’s moving faster than ever.

This is a crucial truth today’s businesses should take seriously—being left behind is no longer an option. Digital marketing opens new ways and avenues for brands to reach and engage their target markets better. It also levels the marketing playing field, so much so that SMEs can compete with the big boys in their field.

However, it’s not nearly enough to simply have a working website and post updates occasionally on your social media pages. You have to be strategic, fast, and efficient, and here are five ways to help you be just that.

1. Don’t Ignore Mobile Devices

Accoding to eMarketer, mobile devices will make up 72% of digital ad spend by 2019. This gives us an idea of just how important mobile marketing has become for businesses. Failing to realise this point puts you in a disadvantage. Your competitors are most probably already doing digital marketing on smartphones and tablets and enjoying the rewards, so why shouldn’t you?

It’s now a need and not just an option to make your digital marketing efforts mobile-friendly. This includes doing things such as making your website, online ads, and content easily viewable and accessible through mobile devices. Ads, websites, and other forms of content that render badly on mobile devices not only mean lost views and visits (and, possibly, lost leads and conversions), it’s also a big blow to your digital reputation.

Also, remember that people generally have short attention spans online. For example, if your website doesn’t load nicely or fast on mobile, chances are they’ll simply go to your competitors’ page. That said, they’ll also remember that your online portal isn’t mobile-friendly, which means they might avoid it entirely when they’re on their smartphones in the future.

2. Make it Data-driven and Customer-centric

Data-driven sales pages used to mean A/B testing, tracking through Google Analytics, and using heat maps to redefine the online browsing experience.

These are all still true. But being data-driven has come to mean much more than this. It now includes harnessing Big Data, for example, to gain customer insights across the buyer’s journey or to predict purchasing behaviours and using these to create personalised offers which you promote through digital marketing. Data-driven online marketing copy also involves research across multiple channels, tracking how and why online marketing materials and messages in, say, an Amazon review are effective.

In a nutshell, this means that using data to find out what your target market wants in terms of products/services, customer journey and experience, and after-sales service is now a key step that will boost your digital marketing campaigns. Behind the shift to data-driven decisions is a desire for businesses to keep their customers at the very core of marketing initiatives.

3. Email Click Rates are not Down—You’re Just Doing It Wrong

Email marketing company MailChimp recently found that segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher compared to non-segmented ones. This is proof that proper email list building remains the single best way to monetise emails for SMEs looking to scale their operations, regardless of industry. What people truly mean when they say things such as “email open rates are down” is that there needs to be an improvement in email tactics. What used to work may no longer be viable.

On the content side of things, the way you title your emails is also a great way to improve email stats. For starters, coming up with the right title, one that elicits a reaction or attracts attention, should encourage more people to open your email compared to those with titles that are too boring or feels like it’s been automated.

It’s also important to encourage interaction and follow-up. For example, consumer credit reporting agency Experian PLC reports that “E-Commerce customers who receive multiple abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4x more likely to complete the purchase than those who receive only one follow-up email.” These are the kinds of interactions that SMEs should be looking to capitalise on in email marketing.

4. Harness the Experiential Factor for Live Events

Social media marketing advice should include using the “live” aspects of various social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. With today’s mobile devices and with social media becoming more and more useful for marketing and advertising, taking advantage of live events is a step in the right digital marketing direction

Many brands and businesses are now employing live events, from simple Q&A sessions and podcasts to big time concerts and forums. This presents an opportunity to engage your audience in a unique way and promote your brand online. By banking on the experiential appeal of these live events, you’ll be able to stand out and become more visible in the online space.

Experiential marketing is on the rise, especially in markets that feature an increasing number of millennials. Why does this matter? Because millennials and their descendants have mostly grown up with social. They’ve already “seen it all” and they’ll be more likely to take notice of experimental events or unique marketing efforts that seamlessly blend into their online experience.

5. Experiment with Different Content Types

Much like choosing which tool to fix, say, your broken roof, businesses should also determine which type of content works best for them. This may mean experimenting with the different types, from blogs and infographics to podcasts and videos.

The trick here is to study what your market may be more interested in and what your business offers and aims for. For example, if you’re a company that sells hardware for home design or renovation, you may want to write featured blogs that offer evergreen content on things such as how to properly upgrade your house’s flooring or ceiling. You could also create how-to videos on related topics. You can then include branding and promote your products in these blogs and videos (but don’t hard-sell so the focus is still on what you can give to your audience).

The idea here is to find the balance between what your audience wants more and what your brand needs. Remember that some types of content won’t work for certain businesses—finding this balance is key to being more efficient and cost-effective and avoiding wasted effort and resources in your content marketing efforts.

The thing with digital marketing is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. If you want to keep up, we recommend partnering with an expert. Here at Curate Bee, we’re more than willing to help you enhance your digital marketing efforts and make things easier for you. We offer different products and services, from social media management and online ads to content creation and marketing, that will put your company on the map, and build for you a solid online presence that will result in more leads and conversions. Contact us today and know how we can make digital marketing work wonders for you.

Traditional to digital marketing

What You Need to Know When Switching From Traditional to Digital Marketing

The fact that you’re reading this means you are already aware of the potential advantages that await your business if you make the move to digital marketing. You’ve realised your present and future customers—and the competition—are or will also be online. As publications such as The Economic Times notes, good digital marketing will not only allow you to compete with other SMEs, it will also help you quickly build your brand and, ideally, the competitive edge you need to flourish.

Digital marketing opens up a much greater reach, and remains “out there” and viable much longer than traditional marketing media such as print ads and TV commercials. Since there are fewer middlemen between you and the final products, you are also getting better value for every marketing dollar you spend.

Sounds really enticing, yes? However, for those planning to fully switch from traditional to digital marketing (or at least put more focus on the latter), there are several things you must know first before making the move, such as the ones below.

Know Your Target Audience

The keystone of any marketing strategy is knowing your real customer base. Not only does this dictate where you will focus your marketing efforts, but also your approach and your brand. The tone and content you would present to tech-savvy millennials who spend 18 hours a day consuming media would be quite different from what you would provide to attract elderly retired people who may prefer simple email.

Employing a “shotgun approach” to marketing would not only be more expensive but less effective. Knowing your target audience allows you to hone in on the tactics that will most likely garner actual customers because, as Forbes puts it, you are addressing their needs and motivations.

Versatility Pays Off

When you examine the online content of brand giants, you will notice that they employ a combination of digital marketing types, which may include:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – What content your business puts out there is only part of the equation. After all, what’s the use of good content if no one accesses it? SEO incorporates keywords and phrases in effective ratios so that your site pops up close to the top of internet search results and content becomes more visible online.
  • Social Media Marketing – There are a variety of social media platforms, from the biggest (Facebook) and photography-oriented (Instagram) to the quick and snappy (Twitter) and focused on professionals (LinkedIn). Which platforms you will focus your efforts on will largely depend on which ones your target audiences frequent. Social media marketing is all about engagement—starting conversations to increase brand awareness.
  • Content Marketing – The reality is most of us don’t want to be frequently bothered by sales talk both online and offline. So, a good tactic is not to look like you’re selling anything at all, but rather sharing useful knowledge, experience, and expertise through your content. Publishing blogs, fun and informative videos, and Q&As, for example, can position you as a thought leader in your field, improving your online brand reputation and creating buzz around your content.

Paid Is Not Necessarily Better

This may seem like one of the weirder digital marketing tips. Paid advertising—including pay-per-click—will always have a place in the digital marketplace, but the most successful brands know that it’s conversion that matters most. Exposure to your content doesn’t help you if people don’t take the step to buy your products or avail of your services.

What makes the types of digital marketing listed above so effective is the potential conversion rates they can bring. No one likes to be just a number, so if you make an effort to forge a relationship with people, they are more likely to engage and become loyal customers (as long as you deliver in terms of products or services, that is).

It’s an Ongoing Investment, Not a One-Off

Developing a website is not the end game but rather just the beginning. We know that technology is constantly evolving. An out-of-date platform may pose data security risks and scare customers off, negatively affecting how they perceive your brand. Aside from having a website, you should also explore channels, such as the ones we previously mentioned (content, social media, SEO).

Also make sure that your content is mobile-friendly. Remember that most people nowadays use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Not having content that can be properly viewed using these devices will be a huge blow to your marketing efforts and leaves you vulnerable to being overtaken by the competition.

Having stale content results to bored and uninterested followers who will likely forget about or avoid your brand. You want people to continue tuning in. As such, refreshing or updating your content, email campaigns, and social media posts are important if you want to garner consistent digital marketing engagement and success.

It May Be Worth It to Go “Pro”

It’s tempting to go the self-taught route to save a few bucks, but it can be a good idea to look into professional digital marketing services as well—especially if you are less fluent in online practices and processes. You’re likely to spend more, but the learning curve will be less steep, you’ll be guided into the world of digital marketing, and you’ll have experts to assist you if you run into problems, helping make results come sooner rather than later.

The internet is a wide sea full of fish a.k.a. your competitors; the pros know how to help you find your target audience and how to speak their language. They also know the most effective options for reaching them through the different types of digital marketing options and the best channels for reaching those that matter most—your customers.

Digital is the future of marketing

Why Digital Is Truly The Future of Marketing

The face of marketing has changed dramatically in recent years, and we can expect even more changes in the future as technology evolves and new possibilities emerge.

Traditional marketing techniques such as direct mail, print ads, and television advertising are still around but are increasingly becoming less popular options, particularly for small- and medium-sized businesses with limited marketing budgets.

On the other hand, digital marketing revolves around the Internet, digital platforms and devices. It makes use of online channels to reach a wider audience and build brand recognition and is composed of several disciplines including:

  • Social media marketing – Communicating with customers and publishing content on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
  • Content marketing – Creating or curating content such as videos and blogs that are not directly promotional, but drive customer interest and action.
  • SEO and SEM – Search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) increases the visibility of websites in search engines leading to more visits.

Most businesses are now starting to realise the potential of digital marketing, but some still downplay or even downright belittle its role. This is certainly a short-sighted way of thinking. While traditional methods may still be effective currently, there’s mounting evidence that it won’t work quite as well in the near future for new generations of consumers. For example, research shows that Millennials are increasingly being turned off by old-style marketing, with 84% of them saying they don’t trust traditional advertising.

As such, relying solely on traditional marketing methods is certainly not advised in this day and age of digital connectivity and interaction. So, why should you focus your efforts on digital marketing as we move towards the future?

It’s Simple—People are Spending More Time Online

The average Australian spends a whopping 10 hours every day using internet-connected devices including computers, smartphones, and tablets. Most of this time is spent on mobile devices, which have now overtaken desktops and laptops in terms of internet usage worldwide. This increased time online has had a knock-on effect on the activities that traditional marketing uses as advertising channels, with one in seven Australians watching no commercial television at all and magazine sales declining year on year.

This does not mean that marketing opportunities are decreasing, only that a shift in strategy is needed to take advantage of these changing habits. In fact, Australians are now watching more videos and TV show content than ever before, but choose on-demand and online content over traditional broadcasting.

It’s clear that small- and medium-sized businesses need to take advantage of this growing online screen time and place their advertisements where the most eyes are going to see it. Social media is one channel, in particular, you should pay attention to, with over half of Australia’s population checking in on social networking sites at least once a day.

Digital Marketing Offers Impressive Return On Investment (ROI)

In terms of return on investment, digital marketing is hard to beat. Print and television advertising are astronomically expensive compared to engaging in content marketing or maintaining an active social media profile, and in many sectors, digital methods have been able to offer a higher conversion rate.

If you own a small business, it’s likely that your marketing budget is limited. While bigger brands may be able to risk shelling out thousands or even millions of dollars for television advertising without a second thought, for smaller companies the result of wasting the majority of your marketing budget on an unsuccessful campaign could be devastating.

On the contrary, effective digital marketing campaigns can be set up with much smaller marketing budgets. For example, posting on social media is free, requiring only time commitment, and marketing emails can be sent out for just a few cents per recipient. Even if these campaigns are not as effective as hoped, much lesser is lost in terms of investment.

ROI will, of course, vary widely between different business sectors, audiences, and campaigns, but there is plenty of proof that digital marketing offers better returns overall.

Utilise Features such as Improved Personalisation and Segmentation

One of the limitations of traditional marketing methods is that it’s difficult to tailor and offer advertising only to a particular set of individuals or demographic. This is an area that digital marketing excels at, and it is now possible to segment and customise campaigns on a huge range of criteria including age, location, shopping habits, personal interests, and more.

Facebook ads are one example where this kind of highly targeted marketing can be very successful when done right. Users can be targeted by location, interests, and behaviour, and even be ‘retargeted’ by sending the same user an ad for a product they’ve already shown interest in.

Naturally, this results in a higher success rate, with targeted ads being twice as successful as untargeted advertising so next time you schedule your email campaign or implement ads, think about how you can segment your audience for better results.

Digital Marketing Offers Valuable, Real-time Results

Digital marketing campaigns have the ability to instantly track and measure success built right into the technology. You can start seeing open and click-through rates for marketing emails as soon as you send out the campaign, and it’s possible to view traffic on your website in detail, right down to tracking exactly where individual users click on your web pages.

Website analytics software such as Google Analytics make it easy to see how website visitors are finding your site (from search, social media, or links from other websites); this offers valuable insights on where you should concentrate your marketing efforts going forward. The results you gather from your real-time results can also help you in segmenting and personalising messages for your audience, something that would have been a challenge in traditional marketing where return on investment (ROI) is notoriously difficult to measure and attribute figures to marketing efforts.

Be Authentic, Show What Your Brand Stands For

As mentioned in the previous, young people are becoming increasingly distrusting of traditional advertising, mainly because they dislike being marketed at directly. The distrust toward traditional forms of marketing may be why digital marketing is gaining a stronghold when it comes to trust, with 64% of Australians saying they are more likely to trust a brand if it interacts positively with them on social media.

Yet, not all businesses are taking advantage of these changing attitudes towards brand trust, as only 47% of small- and medium-sized businesses have a social media presence, and only 26% advertise on social media. With very little to lose from setting up an account on one or more popular social media networks and communicating regularly with your target audience, this is an ‘easy win’ that every Small Business should target.

Authenticity is definitely the keyword here, and it’s important for brands to show their personality online. Informal language, behind-the-scenes peeks, and candid photos all work well for engaging your customers and building trust on your brand.

More IoT, More Digital Marketing Avenues

The ‘internet of things’, in which data-producing everyday objects including cars, wearable devices, and household appliances are connected to the internet, is still in its infancy. However, more and more of these smart devices are being produced which means this trend will only gather steam as we experience more digital innovations.

The rise of such devices opens up a host of new channels and marketing methods, including exciting possibilities for digital marketing. Some examples of how this technology is already being used for marketing and advertising include smartphone users being sent special offers from local shops and restaurants when they’re detected to be in a particular area; Amazon dash, which allows instant ordering of consumable products such as washing powder at the touch of a button; and ride-sharing apps such as Uber, which allow users to view nearby Uber cars in real-time and see when their driver has arrived.

There’s simply no doubt about it; digital marketing is not going anywhere. Small- and medium-sized businesses still relying solely on traditional offline marketing methods will need to change their strategies or risk being left behind by the competition.

Don’t let this happen by relying solely on traditional offline marketing methods, change your strategy to include digital moving forward.

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Digital marketing tips for small businesses

SME Talk: How to Make Digital Marketing Work for You

Digital marketing is a great tool for businesses of all types and sizes. By harnessing the power of the internet you can gain additional leads, promote and market your products or services better, build brand awareness, and have a more awesome online presence.

Don’t believe anyone that says digital marketing is just for the big companies though—it can also be a key to success for SMEs. However, just because you have a website doesn’t mean you’re going to reap all its benefits. You’re going to need an online strategy and utilise digital tools to truly make digital marketing work for you. If you run a small business, we’ve come up with several key tips to help you get started.

But first, what is Digital Marketing?

In a nutshell, digital marketing is composed of all online marketing efforts made for a brand. It’s a term that includes different channels such as social media marketing, email, content marketing, and website building and design. Digital marketing can have different formats and be facilitated through these channels. Digital marketing’s main goal is to generate more leads and build or strengthen a business’ online presence.

Looking at the different areas and channels involved is a great way to better understand and leverage digital marketing.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is B-I-G, which means you shouldn’t ignore it. Fact is, Facebook has over two billion active monthly users, and many other social networks have hundreds of millions of users. As such, your current and prospective customers are most probably on social media as well. How can you use this channel to connect with them? While individuals aren’t necessarily thinking about purchasing something, social media marketing allows you to start a conversation based on interests, among other things.

Social media marketing helps your brand target and attract prospects based on their interests, location, demographics, and preferences. When you are able to target so granularly, you can cultivate interest in those that have a real need (or at least curiosity) for your product or service. PearlyWhites, an Australian company that sells in-home teeth whitening kits, grew more than 10,000-percent as a result of embracing social media to reach potential customers. Jake Munday, its Managing Director, says he uses Facebook to target certain demographics that might be interested in his product. He can keep track of their social media efforts and drop campaigns that are not working, improving efficiency and budget-planning.

One important thing to note is that you don’t have to be on all social media sites. Analyse what you offer and who your customers and target customers are (their habits, preferences, demographics), and choose the social media sites which best fit the results. For example, if you’re all about food and your target markets are enticed by gorgeous food shots, go to Instagram which is a widely known photo-based social network where food photography is very popular. For more in-depth advice, do check out our previous post on social media marketing.

Content Marketing

Content marketing primarily focuses on online content that educates, engages, and inspires. It’s not necessarily product- or service-focused. Instead, it delivers content (e.g. blogs, videos, photos) which offer something of value to readers/viewers (e.g. tips, trivia, news) which then tie back to your brand. The key here is generating online buzz around what your business offers. Content marketing is about putting the right message in the right place for your audience to see it.

One effective content marketing strategy is to create and deliver content that tells an engaging story. Remember that storytelling, when done right online or offline, is an almost intimate form of interaction between a brand and its audience. For your content marketing efforts to be successful, you should create buyer personas (to have a better idea of who you want to target), craft a distinct voice and tone, and determine the goals of your content. Once you have a foundation based on these factors, you should create a content calendar around specific keywords, campaigns, or objectives.

Be careful though and avoid delivering content that’s too promotional as they tend to lack authenticity. Also be sure to be consistent in creating and delivering content to fully utilise audience engagement. We recommend reading our recent blog on content marketing to answer your other content-related questions.

Website Design and User Experience

Websites are often one of the first key steps to building an online presence, and they must do more than look nice. It basically acts as your business’ online portal and HQ and is often viewed as the starting and ending points of many digital marketing campaigns. Your customers’ experience on your website has a lot to do with whether or not they come back (and convert).

However, you shouldn’t focus all your website efforts on the desktop; you should also make mobile devices a big part of your plan. Consider these statistics:

  • 52-percent of users say that bad mobile website experience made them less likely to engage with a brand.
  • Mobile users are five times more likely to abandon a purchase or task if the site doesn’t provide great mobile user experience.

Thus, it’s imperative that your site is easy to view and use both on desktop and mobile devices. You cannot ignore the latter as it is one of the key factors that dictate your audience’s level of satisfaction regarding your online efforts. As more and more of the population spend more time on devices such as smartphones and tablets, having a mobile-friendly digital marketing approach is now a priority rather than a mere option.

Email Marketing

Email isn’t dead, not even close. To put things in perspective, it actually still has the best ROI of any digital marketing channel. According to recent research, 18-percent of companies reported an ROI of over $94 for every $1.35 spent on email marketing. The importance of email marketing for SMEs is huge—it’s an opportunity to customise messaging and offers as well as target certain people or groups more accurately based on segmenting. It also allows you to continue the conversation (from social media or content interaction) and offer content.

To continue fostering engagement on this channel (often measured by the amount of opens and clicks), it’s important to offer something relevant and offers value. Understand the threshold for your users with regards to how often you send emails. Be straight to the point, creative, and interesting. Make sure to come up with interesting titles for your email campaigns as well to encourage more clicks. Here are a few more tips on how to make an effective content title.

Digital Marketing Impacts Small Business

Adopting digital marketing initiatives creates digital engagement, which can lead to, well, more leads and conversions. More importantly, it helps you create an effective online presence which you can use to battle toe-to-toe with the bigger players of your industry via the internet. According to a recent report from Deloitte Access Economics, Australian SMEs that have mastered digital marketing are:

  • One-and-a-half times more likely to be increasing revenue
  • Eight times more likely to create jobs
  • 14 times more likely to be innovative

Every business wants to have these numbers, and executing effective digital marketing projects can be your ticket to getting them. Again, if you want your business to survive today and in the future, you should take on digital marketing—the numbers don’t lie.

Get Started on the Right Foot for your Digital Marketing Journey

While it is indeed beneficial and even crucial to a business’ success, digital marketing can still get rather confusing and intimidating for the uninitiated. That said, it’s wise to call on expert help if you want to get started on the right (digital) foot. Curate Bee offers different services—from social media management and website-building to content creation—to help you jumpstart your digital marketing journey and gain success along the way. Consult with us today and find out how we can be of service.