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Five Digital Marketing Trends For 2019

With 2019 now in full swing, it’s time to start pushing that wonderful digital marketing strategy you’ve been thinking about. Oh, wait? You haven’t got one yet? Or you have too many strategies? Then you’ve come to the right place. To celebrate the new year we have put together the top five digital marketing trends for 2019 in one handy listicle.

Smartbots

You’ve all seen those bots on Facebook pages that pop up and ask you if you’re interested in any of the products their page is promoting. Well this year we’re going to see more of them. The only difference is that they’re getting smarter. Talking to a chatbot in 2019 will be more like messaging your mate on WhatsApp rather than a predictable, emotionless robot. Programmers are making chatbots speak more like actual humans now, not only to provide a better customer experience, but also to make us feel like we’re getting a more authentic interaction. After all, many customer service surveys this year have shown that consumers want a more personalised experience when buying a product or service online. The only down side to this trend is you’re either going to have to teach yourself some coding or if you’re already know some it’s still going to take you a while to craft an entire chatbot. It’s a fun concept though, right?

Going Live!

Last year we saw the rise of the “live” video. Vloggers were all over the internet filming the most bizarre things they could in real time. This is going to be no different in 2019. Live videos will still be a great way to grab active social media users attention. All you have to do is ensure whatever your filming is entertaining enough. The important thing to remember here is that users can drop in and out of viewing live videos at any time. Therefore every single second has to be note-worthy by either making the audience feel something or learn something. So if you’re thinking about your business being the next vlog sensation make sure you save you “live” videos for the most entertaining or insightful moments.

Augemented and Virtual Reality (still!)

Last year, both virtual and augmented reality were taking the marketing world by storm and the obvious news is that they still are. Big players in the tech and marketing industry like Apple, Snapchat and Facebook have hopped on this trend. In the last few years this kind of technology has been made readily available to the public through smart phones, headsets, PCs and gaming consoles. Again, while this trend is a fun one to think about, it’s pretty hard to integrate it in your business. You’ll either have an extremely steep and long learning curve or have to pay a significant amount of capital to reap the benefits of virtual reality marketing.

Push notifications

This is definitely one of the easier trends to apply to your marketing strategy this year. Push notifications are a simple widget you can plug in to your CMS that can notify people when your website has a new blog post, has a sale on or has launched a new service. All your customers need to do is enable the notifications when the little notice pops up on their desktop. The beauty of this trend is that you’re only sending notifications out to people who want them. Therefore they are more likely to read the notifications and follow through with an action, like visiting your website and buying a product.

Engagement based marketing

Another easy to follow trend that is taking digital marketing back to basics. Engagement based marketing is all about giving people what they want when it comes to your business. Use data from marketing campaigns to find out who was the most engaged in your content (many social media platforms and marketing software packages can show you how to do this). Once you know who those engaged users are, send them another campaign, this time make it more personal. For example if you have an outdoors wear store and you send out an email advertising your different products, look at how many people clicked on the walking boots category. Then send out an email to these people a few days later but only about walking boots.

So those are just a few digital marketing trends to kick start your 2019. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any online marketing then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

Five Free Digital Marketing Channels For SMEs

There’s no denying the benefits that can be reaped by SMEs when they execute a successful digital marketing strategy. However many SMEs find that a lot of these strategies outlined on blogs or talked about by experts usually require some investment. But don’t fear you don’t have to spend any money to make a difference to your online footprint. In fact there are many free digital marketing channels for SMEs to use.

Use social media

Creating a social media account or page for your business is a very easy and completely free way to market online. Of course, there may be some features you have to pay for like advertising but nothing can stop you from posting for free. Social media marketing is a great way to expose your business to alot of people all at once. Through interactions and engagements, it also makes it easy to see whether or not people are enjoying your content. That way you can analyse and adapt your content to consistently send out messages your audience will love.

Write some blog posts

If you don’t want to set up anything on social media (we get it – it’s not for everyone) you can always write some content for your own blog. Blogs are widely searched for online and are some of the most visited websites on the internet. So why can’t yours be? Make sure you find your niche. What are the messages you want to send out about your SME? Whatever your subject matter, we think the best way to reach more people is to add in content that somehow helps readers. If you can help solve a common problem that people in your industry may be having you’ll be surprise how many people will come back when they next run into a issue.

Work with other complimentary SMEs

We’ve spoken about how you can work with complimentary SMEs and influencers before. However we didn’t explain how you can do it exclusively through digital channels. There are many ways you could do this but we thought we’d just mention a few of our favourites. Firstly you could set up some sort of online contest together, where both businesses contribute to the giveaway prize (it doesn’t have to be of a monetary value). Then you both share the content with your followers and gain exposure to double the amount of people you usually would. Some other ideas are: joint webinars, podcasts, sweepstakes and polls.

Send out email campaigns

If you already have a GDPR compliant database then why not try your hand at email marketing? A lot of email marketing platforms like MailChimp allow you to send out emails for free if you have a smaller audience. Whilst you can’t have a huge amount of contacts through the free version, you can still use a lot of the more advanced marketing features. For example on the free version of MailChimp you can send out automated messages, personalise content and collect statistics on your campaigns.

Brush up on your SEO

While you need a bit of SEO knowledge to do this, if you’re willing to spend some time learning the tricks of the trade then you can really make a difference to your online marketing. Optimise your website by ensuring that it’s responsive and fast. You can also tweak metadata, image tags and other on page content to encourage more organic traffic to your website.

So those are our a few free digital marketing channels SMEs can use to make a difference to their business. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

Which Social Media Platform Is Right For Your SME?

Last week we spoke about the basics of social media marketing and what you need to do to stay on top of the game. And one of the most important tips in there was to avoid trying to master all social media networks. Ideally you want to start off with one, learn everything you can about it and master it before taking on any other social ventures. Make your first social platform your bread and butter when it comes to social media marketing going forward and you’ll find that your efforts become more successful. However the most important question now is – which social media platform is right for your SME?

Twitter

Our personal favourite. Twitter is the wondrous place where you can share your thoughts with he world in 280 characters or less. (Who remembers the 140 character days?!). Anyway, we think Twitter is one of the more liberal social platforms where all sorts of people and businesses are welcome to share their ideas. So no matter what your SME’s core business is there is a place for you on Twitter. You can join weekly chats, start up conversions and of course share your content. The only sort of business we would say that Twitter wouldn’t be ideal for as a first platform would be more visual businesses. So if you’re a photography, craft store, artist or interior designer you may want to skip down the list to Snapchat or Instagram.

LinkedIn

Day by day LinkedIn is becoming less of a stiff business platform and more of a place where people can share their stories with people who are interested in personal development, entrepreneurship or really want to get involved with or change the industry they’re in. The audience on LinkedIn is usually people over the age of 18 who are either in established careers, setting up their own business or recent graduates looking for their first big break. Because of this we would highly suggest starting on LinkedIn if you run some sort of consultancy, training or education based business.

Facebook

Similarly to Twitter, Facebook is somewhere that a variety of different businesses can gain an audience and get some exposure. There aren’t too many restrictions here as to which sort of SME will do well on Facebook. Therefore we recommend it as a starting point for most people. However due to some Facebook algorithm changes, it has become harder for businesses and brands to reach users organically. So it’s probably a good idea to read up about algorithms first before making a decision.

Instagram

According to some statistics from last year Instagram is the fastest growing social media network at the moment with thousands of new users joining everyday. But what do you need to be successful on Instagram? The best way to gain a following quickly and receive great engagement is to ensure your Instagram account sticks with a theme so that your “grid” looks aesthetically pleasing to look at as one piece. Because of this, the SME’s that would do well on here are ones with a more visual product. For example: photography studios, craft stores, make-up artists, hair dressers ect.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a social platform where people tend to share videos and photographs of themselves along with a small caption and perhaps a silly dog filter. Although it sounds pretty fun this is the most difficult ones to get right and we’d say avoid it as your first platform if you can. The demographic of Snapchat is general is quite young. So if you’re target audience is young teens and young adults this is a good platform to capture them on. However, you don’t just have to think about your target audience before picking a platform – you need to think of your core business too. What are you selling? Because, for instance, fashion, fragrance and beauty brands usually do quite well on Snapchat – so do gossip magazines. This is probably because statistically more young people have these interests. Furthermore these sorts of brands can also deliver the correct content for Snapchat. It needs to be engaging from the start, entertaining throughout and finish with some sort of CTA like “swipe up to read more”.

YouTube

Everyone knows YouTube. YouTube is actually the second most visited video website of all time so there’s obviously lots of reasons as to why you may want to showcase your SME on here. However YouTube is all about interesting personalities, ideas, places and products. It is highly saturated with competition (like all social networks) but it seems to be particular fierce on there more than any other social network. Similarly to Snapchat, because YouTube is all about videos you need to make sure your video is capturing people’s attention. It doesn’t stop there though, not only do you have captivate people with your videos – you have to optimise your videos to be found with eye catching thumbnails and wacky video titles. To be honest the bottom line with YouTube is you’re going to struggle to stand out unless you’re some sort of original unique brand or a celebrity.

So those are the different social media platforms and what sort of SMEs they are most relevant for. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

The Basics Of Social Media Marketing For SMEs

Social media marketing is something that has changed vastly over the past few years. In it’s infancy it used to just be about posting pretty much anything and getting a tonne of likes and followers. However more recently the social media world has become rife with competition and not just amongst individuals. Brands and businesses alike fight to be the most engaging, creative and well known accounts on their platforms. With companies like Nike and individuals like the Kardashians, how is a smaller business supposed to compete?

Be yourself

As cliche as it sounds this is one of best ways to rack up a social media following. No one wants to follow an account where the content is forced, inconsistent or vague. Staying true to your brand shows your audience what to expect in terms of content and service. By being honest from the get go, potential customers will not only see that you’re trustworthy but you’re genuine too. This is invaluable in the social media landscape where fakes, scam artists and trolls are all too apparent.

Be specific

We say this alot but it’s actually better to do one thing brilliantly than a lot of things averagely. Focus your attention on one social platform to begin with and learn all you can about it. This way you won’t be spreading yourself too thin and you’ll be focusing all of your social media marketing energy into one place. Therefore you’ll be more likely to have some success.

Know your audience

This is the absolute key to having any sort of success on social media. You have to think about where your audience is and what sort of content they interact with on a regular basis. For example – if you’re running a small craft store you will want to put yourself somewhere that fellow raft enthusiasts would be. Hello Facebook and Pinterest. On the other hand if you’re trying to get your political magazine off the ground, you’ll probably find more politically outspoken people on Twitter than on Tumblr.

Think micro

Getting caught up in the numbers game is tempting but when it comes to social media marketing your number of followers doesn’t determine your accounts worth. It’s actually more about interactions and engagement rates. For example if an account with 100k followers only gets 1 like, 0 comments and 0 shares on a post it means that out of all of their followers only one person found their content interesting. Whereas if an account with 1k followers gets 300 likes, 70 comments and 20 shares on a post it means that majority of their followers are interested in what they have to post. So basically, it is a numbers game – but it’s more about engagement.

Have fun

We take back what we said about being yourself – this is the most cliched basic on the list. Having fun is what social media is all about – it gives you a chance to express yourself in new and creative ways to audiences that you may otherwise not have been able to reach. Join in with regular social media events like #ThrowbackThursday, #TuesdayThoughts and #ManCrushMonday to connect with people on a global scale – after all you never know who you may reach.

So those are the key basics in which you can ensure your SME nails the beginning of it’s venture into social media marketing. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

The Pros And Cons Of Using Digital Marketing Automation Software

We’ve been talking alot about marketing automation lately – what it is, what different types there are and how you can use them to your advantage. However what we haven’t done yet is weighed up the pros and cons. Now, we know that marketing automation software sounds like a great way to save time and money when it comes to your campaigns, but like all things there’s a few elements you must consider first before fully committing. That’s why we’ve put together a handy list of all the pros and cons of digital marketing automation.

It saves time!

As we’ve talked about previously, once you’ve set up your digital marketing automation software it can save you a lot of time. This can be invaluable to any business but especially those who are time and resource poor. By automating marketing activities you can free up your time to work on other business needs. Thus, spending more time on business activities that could have once been ignored – or not given enough focus to make a difference to the business.

You’ll need to invest

This one is pretty obvious – you’ll need to be prepared to spare some budget. Majority of high-spec marketing automation software may need a large initial capital investment. This is almost unavoidable, unless you went down the avenue of upcoming and free software. However, whilst some marketing automation is free you need to be prepared to either accept less advanced functionality, limited support or put in a lot of time to learn more about the software itself.

You can plan ahead

One of the best things about marketing automation is that it enables you to plan as far ahead in the future as you like. Have a great idea for a Christmas campaign? Schedule it in your marketing software. This way you can spend more time on moulding and adapting your campaigns to be successful rather than planning and executing them within the same month. As the famous saying goes “failing to plan is planning to fail”.

It can be a steep learning curve

When we spoke about investing – we didn’t just mean capital. Like we said before, depending on what type of marketing automation software you use  you may need to put in alot of time and effort to master it fully. After all the tool is only as capable as the person using it. So if you don’t know the best ways to use your software – you’re not going to be getting as much use out of it as you could.

It can streamline the sales process

When you save time on marketing or make a marketing process quicker and easier you can also help the sales process. Marketing and sales go hand in hand – a potential customer is enticed by your marketing therefore they send you a sales enquiry. So if you’re sending out valuable marketing messages to the masses, whilst only taking a few minuets to set it up you’re going to end up with more sales leads in a shorter amount of time. And we all know more sales means a more successful business.

Some people just don’t like automation

Unfortunately with this con there is nothing you can really do about it. Some potential customers just don’t like receiving anything to do with marketing automation. Be it an automated mailing, messenger bot or scheduled social posts that have been planned in advance. Some people just don’t like it. There’s a plethora of reasons why people could not respond well to automated marketing messages. A common reason could be that they don’t think it’s personal enough – they know it’s a bot they’re talking to. Or they think it’s too personal – how did you know that they left items in their cart? The list goes on.

Now you have a better understanding of the pros and cons of digital marketing automation are you motivated to implement it in your SME for some serious business results? Of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should use marketing strategies is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any of your digital marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

 

Different Types Of Marketing Automation And How Your SME Can Use Them!

Last week we busted the age old marketing buzzword – marketing automation. So, now that you know what it is we think it’s time you learnt how to use it. As we said in our previous post there are many different types of marketing automation. Therefore there are many different ways in which your SME can benefit from it. However, it’s important to note that marketing automation only saves you time and money – if its automating a marketing activity your SME finds  value in.

Social media post automation

This is probably one of the easiest ways to implement marketing automation in your SME’s marketing activities. Simply sign up for a free service like Hootsuite or Buffer where literally all the hard work has pretty much been done for you. All you have to do is link the software to all of your social media platforms, then start writing posts. When you’re writing the software allows you to pick which social network you wish to post this particular content on. You simple select the platform and then tap in the time and date you want to send it. It’s that simple. The best thing about these kinds of software is that you can schedule posts all in one go and post to as many or as few platforms as you like. Additionally, if you pay for the upgraded versions of these software packages you can also get automated social media reports to see how your content is doing.

Automated Google reports

If you have Google Analytics then you’ve probably caught yourself scrolling past the “dashboards” tab time and time again. However, what you probably don’t know about the dashboards tab is that it actually provides a simple way to set up and automate reports. Firstly you need to set up one dashboard per report you wish to receive. Then create the dashboard using all sorts of dimension and metric widgets – from graphs to tables. You can even add in data from Google AdWords (make sure your Analytics and AdWords are linked first!). Once you’re happy with the data you have set up you can then schedule it to be sent to various emails on a reoccurring basis. Just click on the email button at the top of the dashboard, write in the email you want to send it to and then to make this report automated select an option from the frequency menu.

Smart email campaigns

We spoke about automating mailing campaigns alot in our previous post. However, we didn’t speak too much about the direct benefits – not only do automated emails save you time, they also can improve audience engagement. Mailing services like MailChimp can send all sorts of automated marketing emails. But if you’re just getting started with automated emails we suggest that you try out a few easy ones first. For instance – new subscriber welcome campaigns, subscriber birthday campaigns or even inactive subscriber campaigns. By reaching out to subscribers after they take a certain action or when they have a birthday makes your marketing more personalised. And a few digital marketing studies have shown that personalisation is definitely the way forward if you want to impress, engage and keep subscribers.

Now you have a better understanding of marketing automation are you motivated to implement it in your SME for some serious business results? Of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should use marketing strategies is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any of your digital marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!