Are you over the constant flow of the best digital hacks, dramatic predictions, small business guides and top marketing tips for 2017? So are we.
We don’t want to hear again that ‘Video will be huge’, ‘Social will continue to grow’ or that we’re going to ‘focus on the customer’ and on and on. Instead, we’ve put together a definitive short and sweet guide that will help you improve your online strategy in clear and ACTIONABLE points.
1. The best strategy is to… have a strategy
It might seem like a waste of time to plan, rather than spontaneously exercise digital activities, but long term it will more time and cost-efficient and ensure better messaging and consistency. Your audience also will appreciate regularity of your comms which will make it more effective eg. E-news every fortnight or month. Make it a routine to think at least a month ahead; plan and schedule your social media posts (i.e. in Hootsuite for most social media channels or Schedugram for Instagram posts), write the content for your mailer at least a week before a send date. Promise, it will be less painfully than trying to desperately post or send something quickly – without much thought but with spelling errors!
2. All men are visual creatures*
Make things pretty. Take a look at your website. Review your social media imagery. With incredible mobile cameras, photo editing apps (our favourites – Enlight, Snapseed or Photoshop for mobile) and websites designed to create professional-looking branded images and quotes in seconds (i.e. Canva ), stunning and engaging visuals are accessible to everyone. It might seem scary at first, but after a few tries you will realise how easy they all are to use and how inspiring the results can be.
* all the members of Homo sapiens species collectively, without regard to sex
3. Cross-channel your comms for more impact and consistency
Make sure you focus on the same key messages across all your communication channels. If you’re focusing on your new Autumn coat collection in your newsletter, don’t promote gloves on social media and 20% discounts of swimming suits on Adwords. It will confuse the viewers and dilute the message. Customers need to see the same message reinforced a few times, via different channels and media, before it can resonate and be enacted upon.
4. Be clever (easier said than done)
First things come first, and make sure you do your research and cover your bases first. Don’t spend extensive budgets on Google advertising if your website doesn’t have SEO covered. Make sure you make the best improvements available for free to ensure your site is user friendly, fast, relevant and searchable, rather than advertising it. Not only you are paying for seeing results you could be achieving for free, but often without having the basics of the website covered, you will receive a poor Google score and end up spending an extortionate amount of money for low search positions.
5. Be human
With social media savviness comes immunisation to marketing efforts of brands via social – don’t be just a brand trying to sell stuff. Show your personality, use humour, a relaxed tone of voice, take snaps of behind the scenes and staff – it makes your brand more personable, likeable and less obvious that the end result is to make someone buy something. Make people like your brand as a person, appreciate your jokes, share interests and gain their trust instead of a hard push. Those golden days are long gone; digital space belongs to sophisticated marketeers and consumers!
6. Stay in touch but don’t be a pest
Don’t let them forget you, be present across all media and regular newsletters – but don’t be a annoying. Overflowing customer database with dozens of EDMs a month will make them unsubscribe from your list at best (blacklisted at worst). Be subtle but persistent!
7. Enough of guesswork
Back it up with data. Most social media provide free in-house analytics these days; so does Google with website Analytics and newsletter providers. Use them, look at what works, what doesn’t, and tweak accordingly. Record your month-on-month stats to ensure continuous improvement and prove ROI on your online advertising spend (with website visits, post engagements or conversions, whatever your goal might be). Listen to your customers, watch their behaviour on your website, what they like, what makes them drop off your website to optimise and improve the customer experience.
8. Keep your options open…
This is the best, and most underused tool to help you improve pretty much everything you do online FOR FREE. Send split test newsletters with different subjects and body to see what works best, use different hashtags and times of the day or week to see what and when interests your Instagram followers most. Create different landing pages, split test them. Mix up your Facebook ads with different copy and visuals to see what gets most clicks. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes - learn from them.
9. Take mobile seriously
Year after year we hear about the growth and importance of mobile, but often that’s just talk – it’s time to actually act upon it. No more excuses about your website, social or Google ads – make sure you are mobile optimised across all, otherwise you are wasting your time and money*.
*48% of users say that if they arrive on a business site that isn't working well on mobile, they initial thought is that the business simply doesn’t care (Source)
10. Create content yourself
Reposting nice Facebook articles or using someone else’s quotes just isn’t going to cut it. You need to create original, engaging content across social and most importantly, a blog and newsletter*. New content on your website will aid your SEO and organic search-ability, reinstate your credibility in the field and give a reason for customers to come back to your website. Your quotes and articles can be shared across web, leading from re-poster’s sites to yours, rather than vice versa. It might seem daunting at first, but it just takes some research and practice!
* 70% of consumers learn about a company through their blog rather than ads (Source)
Written by: Natalie Potter (brand strategist / director)