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New to Content Marketing Strategies – Tips to get started!

Content Marketing Strategies – What to Say and Do!

“Content marketing is a way of promoting your products or services to your target audience, by creating relevant and valuable content that attracts and engages them, and possibly encourages profitable customer action” (WebNetHosting, Visual.Ly).  Website and social media content placement is essential to ensure you strike ‘engagement’ gold with your audience.   You need to leverage both to maximise return on investment and build a following and active community around your business.

 What is the goal of your Content Marketing

Understanding your business objectives and how each targeted channel works is absolutely key to achieving your goal whether it is to:

      • Attract more web traffic
      • Increase engagement levels with social media campaigns
      • Increase conversion rates by lead generation and customer acquisition
      • Increase brand awareness

Content is the key to getting people talking about your main marketing messages and attracting them to your site.  You can share your stories and information about your business and build a dialogue with your audience.  Make your activities interactive – show your visitors’ feedback and comments and allow others to join in.  Have a plan before you begin as social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) are content hungry.

The Periodic Table of Content Marketing courtesy of E Consultancy Ltd

The Periodic Table of Content Marketing courtesy of E Consultancy Ltd

Uploading content is not sufficient in today’s digital world.  The old catchphrase ‘if you build it they will come’ is no longer valid.  Content needs to be relevant to a reader’s interests, presented to them in a personal manner, and capable of viral activity to achieve likes, comments, and shares.  Think of social media sharing as an electronic word of mouth.  Content Marketing strategies help people, already engaged in your market, to find your business online using a combination of SEO, social media and good content.  Choose social networks that work for you and your customers.

Developing content is an integral business process but it is not all about new content every time: You can use appropriate published material by giving credit and linking to the source.  Remember, once you ‘go live’ it is important to maintain and monitor customer engagement by posting regular content in context.

Content must be relevant, detailed and deliver information to support the objective.

Context means having the right information personalised for the right segment using the right media.

Turning Strangers to Advocates 

Fail to Prepare and Prepare to Fail!

√Before you begin, listen to your audience and analyse your competition

√ Develop a content road map

√ Use a mix of media

√ Understand the power of blogging

√ Think about the importance of keywords when planning and sharing content

√ Create a process to develop content for your chosen social media channels

√ Create a publishing schedule for content.

√ Build time into your working day and week – set reminders on your phone and use Content Management scheduling systems.

√ Take an integrated approach to your visibility online – always include buttons to like, share, and comment to close your communication circle.

Create

Understanding the demographics of your audience will help set the tone and style of your content.

  • Your content must be useful to the reader
  • It must include a ‘Call to Action’ – telling your reader what to do next.
  • Optimise your content by using keywords
  • Keep your content interestinguse a blend of media just as you do in traditional marketing.
  • Build a list of things you can write about on your Website or Blog which will resonate with your target audience
  • Industry Articles
  • Video
  • Images / Photographs
  • FAQs
  • Expert advice
  • Tips and tactics
  • Webinars
  • Case study
  • Q&A session
  • Survey and poll
  • Interview
  • Stories

Publish     

  • Create a monthly publishing timeline focusing on frequency and topics to keep you on target.
  • Publish your content on platforms that you have created

Promote your content

Once published, it is important to promote your content. This places your business brand amongst your intended audience.

  • Re-use content in different ways targeting it slightly differently depending on the channel
  • Use social media marketing platforms to distribute your content
  • Build internal links to create authority
  • Manage comments and feedback
  • Encourage people to hit a button – like, share or re-tweet!

If people love what they read, see, or hear they can share the content on their networks; helping a wide audience to get to know about you, like you, trust you, share your messages and ultimately do business with you.

Analyse

You need to understand if your content marketing campaign is successful.  Track the metrics and measure targets frequently and adapt your strategy to ensure you extract full benefits.

  • Review the reactions and outcomes to published materials and understand how your message was received by your audience
  • Use social media analytics tools
  • Use Google Analytics
  • Monitor performance with marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) identified in your plan.

In summary, you are what you share – does it do you justice?

Onward and upward – SashaT♣

If you like this Blog, please see previous articles

a)https://wowdigitalmarketing.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/digital-marketing-strategies-for-small-business-are-you-lost-or-found-online/

b)https://wowdigitalmarketing.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/digital-marketing-strategy-for-small-business-begin-with-a-plan/

Bibliography:

  • Carvill M. and Taylor D. (2013) The Business of Being Social: A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for all businesses.  Crimson, England.
  • Chaffey, Ellis-Chadwick F., Mayer R. and Johnston K (2009) Internet Marketing – Strategy, Implementation and Practice.   4th Edition: Pearson Education, England
  • Chaffey D. and Smith P.R. (2009) eMarketing eXcellence – Planning and Optimising your Digital Marketing 3rd Edition Elsevier:England
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Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Business – Are You Lost or Found Online?

Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Get You Found Online

Now that you have a well crafted plan (Digital Marketing Strategy for Small Business – Begin with a Plan!), you can focus on being found online.

Steps to getting found

An online business audience consists of 1) search engine bots and 2) people, looking for something, who want to talk about you! Your online presence needs to appeal to both circles and your content (information) must be available in ways that suit both audiences.

How do you search for information on the web?  Do you type in phrases to generate a search engine results page (SERP)?  Your customers do the same thing.  If you want to be found by a) people looking for your products and services or b) your target audience, it is important to provide a consistent presence across all chosen online portals e.g. website, blog, Facebook, etc.  Content helps you get found online.  Remember to keep your message simple, fresh and consistent.  Use imagery, keywords and tagging and always send people to your website, to a landing page specifically addressing your topic or to your social media sites.

Are you good at giving directions?

Online visibility is only as strong as the map you create.  Search (organic and paid) outcomes are based on the quality and relevancy of links you build (both incoming and outbound) and the keywords you attach to your content.  Start by:

a) considering the top five words that apply to your business
b) asking your customers to do the same.   How did they find you?
c) using Google Adwords to review keywords that people generally use
d) using Google Analytics to identify keyword trends of visitors to your site.

Are you proud of your Digital Shop Window?

Did you know 1.6 mio people in Ireland have a smart phone and 1.2 mio people have access to a tablet.  Your website is your digital shop window.

  • Does your website work from a mobile perspective?
  • Is it easy to read, of interest and relevant to your target audience?
  • Is it search engine friendly – can it be found by search engines so that people are directed to you?
  • Does your use of keywords get you on or close to the first page of search engines for your identified search terms?
  • Is the site easy to update?  Do you have a content management system?  Are you in control of your website?  Do you have to wait for and pay someone else for updates?
  • Is your website regularly updated – will your visitor see something new on each visit?
  • Is your site browser and device friendly?  Does it launch properly on different internet browsers e.g. Explorer, Chrome, Safari?
  • Have you signed up, embedded the code and used Google Analytics for all site pages?
  • How quickly does your site load – do you keep your visitor waiting?
  • Do you have a ‘Call to Action’ and encourage site visitors to do something e.g. sign up for a newsletter, provide an email address, contact your business or like your Facebook page.
  • Is your website something you are proud of?

Why start a Blog?

The statistics show you get more leads if you blog on your website.   Each blog post generates its own URL, has your keywords in the Title and Headings and delivers multiple signposts to Search Engines indexing material, thus creating more traffic opportunities for you.  Blogs can be easily created using Content Management System software (e.g. http://www.wordpress.com) that allow you add content without relying on technical support.  Blogging can help build your network  particularly when your content is useful, interesting and focused on the reader. 

Visibility + Credibility = Profitability 

Networking takes time and effort.  People want to get to know you, like you, trust you before they do business with you.  Social media is the vehicle for communicating and distributing interesting content across the internet.  In turn, readers share the content they think is compelling.  For example, Facebook will enable you approach your audience in a more relaxed tone, you can encourage activity through competitions, loyalty events, by adding comments to and sharing from other pages to build your profile.

Using social media news feeds provides a business with quick, easy and cost effective ways to broadcast information and make an impact.

Insert - Benefits of social media marketing

No more Hide and Seek

A connected marketing strategy, using traditional and digital channels, will publicise your digital contact points on all printed material and reuse your content across chosen channels.  Promote your website and Blog on your chosen social media channels.  Close your connection circle by adding social media buttons to your website to encourage sharing.  Use the website as your anchor and extend your presence across multiple sites as skills develop or you can dedicate increased business resources to your digital activities.  It does take time but this is not a process, it’s an integral part of business today.

Onwards and upwards – Sasha T♣

New to digital marketing  – you may find this glossary helpful.  A to D  /  E  to O    / P to W 

References:


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Objectives vs Goals: Do We Need Both of Them Starting the Business Online?

By Maija Daujate

Goals and Objectives can cause confusion because online and offline these terms often have been used differently. Dave Chaffey, the author of several academic e-business and e-marketing books and co-founder of the digital marketing theory provides clarity in this case.

Where are  Objectives? freedigitalphotos.net

Where are Objectives?
freedigitalphotos.net

Goals vs Objectives: Online and Offline

If you are starting your business – any – clicks, or clicks and bricks — have a glimpse into any business or marketing management book. Let’s look into the academic textbook Corporate Strategy for Irish Companies (Gallagher, 2011). It suggests that you have several criteria to decide at the beginning, such as your mission statement, vision, goals and objectives. It clarifies that goals represent your strategies at the corporate level, but your objectives represent the desired outcomes to be achieved and therefore should be SMART – an acronym for being Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-related. This is a basic system which helps to keep your business in track in any environment, online or offline.

However, searching for marketing topics online you will find that more often there are smart goals instead of smart objectives and sometimes there are no objectives, just goals. The situation online seems to be turned upside down and if you aren’t a specialist on this field yet you may get embarrassed. Therefore the question is: Objectives and Goals – how do they work online?

Let’s Ask the Expert!

It was quite easy to reach Dave Chaffey online. He always participates in conversations on his SmartInsights pages and if you are registered on this site you can start to speak to him. He answered almost instantly. This made me excited, because a couple of years ago I wouldn’t have even dreamed that I could reach such a renowned expert that easily.

My question was straightforward:

Me: “Hi Dave, as I know there are broad goals and specific objectives in business. At the beginning we set a goal showing our intention and then we set specific measurable objectives specifying things we want to achieve. Am I right? Why is it vice versa for the digital marketing?”

Dave: “Hi Maija, that’s right broad goals and specific SMART objectives – some say different. Perhaps it’s not helped that confusingly, in Google Analytics, goals are specific quantifiable metrics which are often used as KPIs and link to specific objectives. Even Avinash Kaushik of Google acknowledges this can be confusing in his post where he defines goals and objectives.

But that’s the way it should be:”

Goals and Objectives

The image from SmartInsights.com (Chaffey, 2013)

Dave Chaffey’s goals and objectives hierarchy, as his diagram shows, match with what is in the classic business management theory which states that goal is an intention behind the decision, but objective – anticipated end result of activity there.

Does It Really Matter If we Change Objectives for Goals?

For people who specialize just on the digital marketing, maybe not. They don’t really have responsibility for all processes of the whole business. They act on the digital layer – the top part of the iceberg called Business and Marketing – and focus on KPIs (key digital process indicators). All their game is played on Google Analytics and similar analytics instruments.

But if you are starting your own business and you wish to integrate digital marketing into your marketing plan, you take every word seriously, wherever it is said – online or offline, and you need clarity and consistency for all terms used. Otherwise, there could be a feeling that digitalists play their own game and there is no consistency in what they say all along with marketers.

By the way, the Oxford dictionary primarily associates goal with sports. ‘Goal’ sounds informal and energetic. It may explain why this term is chosen by Google and why it is more popular amongst digital specialists as a market segment.

Anyway, see the video:

In the Future: Goals vs Objectives?

WARC, a major site which provides trends, ideas and evidence for marketing people suggests that there is a “shift away from digital as a separate discipline, and a renewed emphasis on core brand-building programmes” (Tiltman, 2014). Thus, we can expect further more intensive integration of digital into conventional marketing and the goals and objectives of both may be married.

References

Chaffey D. (2013). Why and how you should define goals vs objectives carefully; 8th of November.SmartInsights.com; Available at: http://www.smartinsights.com/goal-setting-evaluation/goals-kpis/difference-marketing-objectives-marketing-goals/ [Acessed:10th of March].
Chaffey D., Ellis-Chadwick F., Mayer R., Johnston K. (2009). Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. Harlow. Pearson education Limited.
Gallagher G. (2011). Corporate Strategies for Irish Companies: Text and Cases, 2nd edition. Dublin. Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
Tiltman D. (2014). Warc Trends: Toolkit 2014 – How to keep your brand ahead of the competiton. WARC com ; Available at: http://www.warc.com/Content/ContentViewer.aspx?MasterContentRef=d8a8617d-5e0b-4981-a266-0f96dde6a787&q=toolkit+2014&CID=A101049&PUB=WARC-TRENDS; [Accessed: 1st of March 2014].


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Digital Marketing Strategy for Small Business – Begin With a Plan!

Ready to create a Digital Marketing Strategy for your Small Business?  

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Having recognised the need for ‘digital’, what should you prioritise? Who is going to work on developing your Digital Marketing presence and how do you begin? This article will outline key considerations to assist in your business planning.

The introduction of the internet changed the manner in which people and organisations communicate with mass audiences.  With sophisticated marketing and communication tools available through social networks, digital marketing has had to change dramatically.  Digital Marketing (DM) is defined as the management and execution of marketing using electronic media (such as the web and email) and digital data about customers’ characteristics and behaviour (Chaffey et. al 2009).  It is complementary to traditional marketing methods and a successful DM strategy is one which is integrated into business activities.

Begin with a Plan!

Before you plan, you need to really understand your business from both an inside and outside perspective.  I find a framework helps focus the mind in this regard.  I suggest you look at an excellent 6 step framework developed by Chaffey and Smith (2009:p211) – the SOSTAC planning framework applied to digital internet marketing strategy development.

 1. Situation Analysis  Where are we now?
 2. Objectives  Where do we want to be?
 3. Strategy  How do we get there?
 4. Tactics  How exactly do we get there (details)?
 5. Actions  Who does what and when i.e. details of tactics?
 6. Control  How do we measure performance?

More  can be found here or visit http://www.smartinsights.com/ where you can access a number of useful guides on the subject.

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Like any plan, the first step is to conduct a situation analysis.  Where are you now as a business?  What is your online marketplace?  What are your business capabilities?  Complete a SWOT analysis on your internet and digital presence.  Consider your micro environment and also factors in your macro environment that impact customer analysis and competitor benchmarking:

MicroE Your customer Your Market Your Competitor Your Potential Partners
MacroE Social Legal Environment Political Technology

How will social media channels ‘plug into’ your tactics?

When developing a business plan, Carvill and Taylor (2013: p14) recommend you consider how social media channels will be ‘plugged into’ your tactics.  They suggest you ask and answer the following questions to guide you as to which channel and what content strategy to adopt:

  • What is your business goal?
  • Who is your audience – what do they look like, what is their frame of mind, who are they influenced by?
  • Where is your audience – which social channels are they using, where are they based geographically, what time do they read posts?
  • How do you connect with your targets in a compelling way – what is going to engage your audience, compel them to ‘share’ and get others engaged?
  • How do you keep your conversation continuous – move beyond ‘like’ to a longer term engagement?
  • How do you get your audience to recommend you to others – word of mouth on social media has potential to go ‘viral’!

Insert - Commonly used social media platforms

Test, Review, Evaluate, Test …

Having a plan of action and knowing what your want to achieve are critical starting blocks for any business goal and it is no different for your DM strategy.  Digital Marketing is aimed at your customer – so you should be thinking what are your customer needs and what do you know about them.  Timelines for digital channels are much shorter than traditional marketing so you should have a vision for the year ahead but be flexible and focus on the next 90 days.  Remember to state your assumptions when setting specific objectives (this will help you evaluate how matters develop).  This is your plan, so use language that you and your team can understand and relate to.  This is a critical living document for your business so review it regularly and update as changes are required.

What do you need to know and where do you find it?

There are many information sources available to you.  Use your networks to talk to fellow entrepreneurs – who did their website, which channels did they adopt; what training courses or grants are available?  Sourcing student academic books will give a good background and provide reference sources (always something useful to have in the office); and of course, the World Wide Web which has too much information and will consume your time if you are not disciplined in what you read!!

Having said that, I attach some references if you would like to read more!  Do remember to share this post if you enjoyed the article.

Onward and Upward – SashaT♣