8 Trends To Keep Your Eyes On In 2018

1. Instagram Stories Drive Upcoming Instagram Trends

Instagram Stories is a big deal and they’re not going away. Daily viewers of Instagram Stories surpassed daily SnapChat viewers just one year after launch, and the growth isn’t stopping.

Instagram Stories was likely the biggest single change in the Instagram UX, and its marketing implications are huge.

A huge deal with Instagram Stories is this: accounts with over 10,000 followers can now add a link within the feature. Considering the fact that the only other place you can put a link on Instagram is just the one buried on your profile page, this is a huge deal, as it multiplies buying or inquiry opportunities by orders of magnitude.

Instagram Stories in particular will be relevant from a marketing perspective because, compared to other transitory video platforms, Instagram metrics are eminently trackable.

A final note on Instagram Stories: Their foundation is social media engagement gold. Video drastically outperforms all other forms of content on every test.

2. Influencer Marketing Makes Major Contributions to Social Media Engagement

Influencer marketing is big business — a billion dollar industry by some counts. There is an exhaustive list of micro-celebrities who earn six figure incomes. And this isn’t a fluke. Influencer marketing is uniquely keyed to exploit certain facts about a growing number of buyers.
As Millennials advance their careers, and Generation Z starts theirs, an enormous population’s purchasing power is increasing swiftly. These two groups — who, combined, literally comprise most of the world’s population — are uniquely influenced by this marketing method.

3. Generation Z to Decide Social Media Trends

We’ve mentioned Generation Z in both of the previous topics for good reason.

RetailDive had this to say about Generation Z and their associated social media trends:

“Gen Z is two- to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts — the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchase decisions…”

Furthermore, 81% report watching at least one hour of online video per day, or more, according to a study by Fluent, covered by AdWeek. Combine these facts and realize that droves of Generation Z will graduate college and/or start careers next year, and you start to see the powder keg.

4. Messaging Platforms Make Companies Accessible

 

What do you know about WeChat? They’re a wee little Chinese messaging company . . . errr, one that’s looking to cross 1 billion users this quarter. WeChat and WhatsApp are absolutely ubiquitous across either ocean, reaching across many different functions to dominate social media, direct messaging, and even purchasing and commerce.

Every year more and more buyers are Millennials and Gen Z, and fewer and fewer are older. In case you’re not aware of these people’s overwhelming preferences when it comes to talking to a company, we’ll illustrate in their native language:

top-social-media-trends-20185. Live Streaming Explodes

Live streaming isn’t about live streaming. At least not in the way we’re going to be talking about it. You’re going to see a lot more of it in 2018, and the people who do it well will be fully with the times and accelerating. Its prevalence will increase because it works.

But there’s something more at work here.

It’s actually about technology. We get better phones every year. Does that mean that we’re running the same apps better? Sometimes. But once the technological baseline of the average user has clearly moved up a notch, it becomes about making more robust apps that do more and fully take advantage of that new technology.

The smartphones of today are better than what we used to have by orders of magnitude. Furthermore, our data speeds are better, and are poised to make yet another insane leap in the next few years when 5G becomes the standard.

Live streaming is a medium or implementation of social technology that’s uniquely positioned to take advantage of hardware improvements for the next several years. The resolution of an image the size of a phone screen can only get so good before you have to zoom in to see a difference.

But better video processing across the board means all devices involved can handle more streaming at a better quality across more channels at the same time. This is such a huge change that it’s possibly unclear that anyone is even capable of fully understanding the ramifications.

6. Twitter is Going to Change

And they themselves might not even know how just yet.

Twitter has been slowly circling the drain, in some respects, for a long time now. 2017 pulled no punches with the social network, either. Twitter needs to make some big changes to stay relevant, as its growth is the slowest of all the major social media platforms.

7. Online Hangouts Become the Norm

Online hangouts go hand-in-hand with the live streaming trend, and with Generation Z. Consider Houseparty — an app for multiple friends to essentially FaceTime with each other in a group setting.

Houseparty made quite a wave in 2017 with rapid growth, and hit its stride well enough to inspire copycats, including perhaps an effort on the way coming from (no surprise here) Facebook.

The online hangouts trend is also going to intersect with VR. Sure, everyone promised everything this year with VR and AR, and all that ultimately came of it was two weeks of Pokemon GO.

But this year actually has the potential to be different. Many promising programs have another year of beta testing still left under their belts, but the technologies are improving in exciting ways. Once again, Facebook is at the epicentre, with Facebook Spaces.

8. Social Platforms See More Hardcore Moderation

The last year or so has forced the hand of several tech and social media titans to intervene and play a more active role in content moderation. Those manoeuvres, in retrospect, felt more like damage control than any sort of final solution.

We’re likely going to see companies revisit this in a more significant or longer-lasting way, and definitely more proactive than reactive.

As leveraging social media outlets for marketing first took flight, some were dubious of their staying power. The years since have changed sceptic’s into believers, and what’s on the forefront will clearly and easily amplify the channels’ relevance even further.

2018 is here… but were you prepared?

2018 social media trends predict that time on social media platforms will increase. This means you will need to improve your online presence in the year to come.

 

By Richard Holland – MSc Digital Marketing Student

 

Contact –

Linkedin- Richard Holland

Instagram – Ricardo J

Brand –

Instagram – Ricco London

Twitter – Ricco London

Facebook – Ricco London

How Long Does It Take To Rank Top 10 On Google?

Anyone who’s ever tried to outsource their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts knows that when you ask an SEO expert how long this will take, the answer is always ‘it depends’.

And they are right.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking… GIF Source

It depends on thousands of factors and there is no exact formula or ‘one size fits all’ approach. However, some factors that we do know play a key role:

  • Domain Authority;
  • Keyword Competition;
  • Content Quality.

And also it seems AGE.

So I hear you ask…

Does Page Age Make A Difference To Google Rank Position?

Yes. Ahrefs took 2 million random keywords on Google and pulled data from the top 10 ranking pages and found that Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is dominated by “old” pages:

  • 95% of pages in the Top 10 positions are over 12 months old;
  • The average Top 10 ranking page is 2+ years old;
  • The average age for a Number 1 ranking is almost 3 years old.

Waiting for your content to rank like… GIF Source

So, what strategies can you employ to speed that process up?

Competition Analysis

It sounds obvious, but many people still don’t do it – analyse what your successful competitors are doing!

Ask questions like:

  • What are they doing?
  • How are they doing it?
  • Can you copy/mimic or even improve on their efforts?

Use a strategy that works, and if you can, improve it.

Use a strategy that works; make sure that you constantly review it to ensure you are always using the most effective strategy to make your website rank higher.

To help you along the way, you may need a few tools:

  • BuzzSumo can tell you what content on your competitor’s websites are getting shared the most (shares are good to increase social signals).
  • Moz’s Open Site Explorer allows you to see everything from domain & page authority to inbound links and root domains;
  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider crawls websites’ links, images, Clinical Classifications Software (CSS), script and apps to evaluate onsite SEO.

Which leads us to…

On-Page Optimisation

So, after you’ve done your competitor analysis, the first thing you should do is optimise your website for on-page elements.

You should include things like:

  • Relevant content to the subject;
  • Keyword optimization;
  • HTML Tags;
  • Images:
  • Inbound & Outbound links.

The website plugin by Yoast is a great tool to help you get this right. It gives you tips and suggestions on how to improve your on-page SEO; for example:

Yoast SEO Plugin

Next…

Generate Backlinks

When you’ve got your on-page elements correct, you are essentially telling Google ‘this is what we do’; however, in order to rank well, you also need independent online sources to ‘recommend you’; this is easily achieved by generating backlinks to your content/website.

However, any old backlink won’t do. You must get backlinks from high domain ranking websites. Quality is better than quantity.

So how do links pass Domain Authority?

A great link building strategy is to create an infographic on your subject (Venngage is a great tool for this) and send to other audiences who might be interested and willing to share it with their audience. Once they share it, voila, you have a free backlink.

Next on the agenda…

Google Snippets

Google snippets are designed to answer your search questions at the top of a Google page. You will recognise them as looking something like this:

Google Snippet

Known as “position zero”, you can gain the top spot on Google, even if your linked content isn’t at the top of the rankings itself.

The way to achieve a ‘Rich Snippet’ is by creating content which answers a question, such as ‘how to make a pancake?’.

In order to achieve this top position, your content subtitle should be the question that needs asking and the next paragraph should answer that question precisely.

Bear in mind that Google reads your content like a robot which means you need to organise your content logically; if you do, you might even get your own snippet. If you don’t, forget about ranking in position zero.

And finally, something which goes without saying…

Don’t Forget Social Media For SEO

Some people will tell you that social media has nothing to do with SEO.

They are wrong… GIF Source

As we know, Google takes into account thousands of pieces of information in order to rank your website. When someone searches for a topic within your subject area, search engines do consider social media in rankings.

In particular, they look at:

  • How active your social media accounts are;
  • How up to date they are;
  • How many shares your website gets.

It has also been proven that a strong presence on social media has a positive correlation with better website rankings.

So there 😛 GIF Source

And don’t forget, social media offers 2.7 billion social media users. You’d be crazy not to utilise it as a sales tool.

So What Now?

SEO is sometimes over complicated. It’s all a matter of knowing what strategy to employ, putting in the hours and being patient.

As we know, 95% of websites/content can take up to 12 months to rank well in Google, however, if you get it all right, you may just find yourself ranking in a day:

How Long Does It Take To Rank In Google

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By James Rowland, Business Development Director at Neathouse Partners Ltd

Website Design: Inclusive Experiences Part 1 Visual: Colours and shapes

By Nick Heywood on the MSc Digital Marketing Management award

Why is accessibility important?

In order for the consumer to have an overall positive experience, it is strongly recommended that your project is designed to be inclusive. If the right accessibility isn’t in place, it could exclude consumers who may struggle or even be unable to interact with the project. The information that will be covered in this blog series can be applied to digital projects ranging from websites to computer games.

Visual Colours

Visual Colours

Visual: Colours and shapes

Visual aspects are crucial in any digital project, the appearance of your content is the first thing most consumers see, and influences how they will interact with it.

Using colour schemes/overlays

Using colour schemes/overlays

Colour-orientated design

This can be a tricky one, the use of colours can aid the experience for some consumers, it can however also hinder others if substitutional elements aren’t implemented.

Colour Schemes/overlays

Let’s start with how colour can aid experience, consumers with conditions such as Dyslexia and/or Irlen Syndrome can struggle to read against certain contrast and colours, due to struggles including the processing of spectral light, which influences how they process visual information; the use of coloured overlays to tint colours in front/behind the text can ease readability for them.

There is software that can help them with this online such as ColorVeil and nOverlay, although other platforms would benefit from access to alternative text colour schemes.

Alternate text colour schemes refer to the colour of the text, and the background behind it, especially in sections containing large bodies of text, or requiring quick reference during interaction. Providing options for the consumer to alter them provides an opportunity to not only tailor the experience to their needs, but also make it their own.

Colour schemes to take into consideration are shown in the image below

Text-Comparison on different colour backgrounds

Text-Comparison on different colour backgrounds

Taking font style and size into consideration can also aid this experience, Sans-Serif style fonts tend to be more comfortable to read, an extensive list of similar/other fonts to consider can be found at Dyslexic.com.

Communicating through shapes

If you rely on only colours to communicate functionality or change to consumers, it will be inaccessible to anyone who has a form of colour-blindness. Colour-blindness is a colour vision deficiency that affects how many colours a person can see in general; average colour vision is formed by three colour receptors in our retinas that process red, green, and blue, whereas a colourblind person will lack one or even all of them. The image below makes an accurate comparison of how people with various conditions perceive colours through their vision.

Colours perception for various conditions

Colours perception for various conditions

Photo Credit: Cole Seidner

This is why using various shapes can also help communicate your design, for example: how iOS Mail uses circles and Flag symbols to identify content you may wish to check, or how Twitter “fills” the Like/Love symbol to indicate you have Liked/Loved a post (see example below).

The role of colour and grey-scale options

The role of colour and grey-scale options

Viewing your content in a Greyscale colour filter is a good way of reviewing if colourblind individuals are able to visually process the information without the need of colour. Most modern smartphones have this feature under their Accessibility settings, up-to-date versions of Windows 10 (Windows+Ctrl+C) can also do this, Macs can do this via Universal Access in their System Preferences, it’s also feasible in Linux with plugins.

Following these steps in your project design will take it one step further to becoming an inclusive experience for consumers. Next time, we will be looking at how to communicate information that can’t always be seen or heard.

Nicholas Heywood

Twitter – LinkedIn – Portfolio

MSc Digital Marketing Management Student (Full Time)

How Influencer Marketing Could Benefit Your Business

Influencer marketing focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the market. Rather than marketing directly to this large group, you instead hire or pay these influencers to inspire and get the word out for you.

According to McKinsey, Influencer Marketing generates double the sales of paid advertising, as well as three times the amount of “word of mouth” messages. Furthermore, it results in recommendations – where people are up to fifty times more likely to purchase.

Influencer marketing could benefit your business in a number of ways, and you should consider using it because:

  • It’s more authentic than an advert.
  • It’s more cost effective than many other marketing channels.
  • It provides shareable content, which could amplify results exponentially.
  • You can effectively target a new audience.
  • It’s a way to create real-time engagement.
  • It’s an easy way to build trust with your customers and future customers.

Two cases come to mind where Influencer marketing benefited the business and the influencer, such as Youtube star PewDiePie teaming up with the makers of horror film ‘As Above, So Below’ – creating a number of videos in which he completed challenges and tasks set in the catacombs in which the film was set. This resonated with his then 27 Million subscribers, and received nearly double the views that the trailer for the film did.

The other, according to Neoreach, is American retail giant Walmart teaming up with former Vine star Meghan McCarthy. Meghan posted on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube, putting her stamp of approval on the promotion that she was promoting. Her posts gathered hundreds of follow up posts and tweets, an impact that no television ad campaign could make.

The Big Influencers for 2018

According to Forbes, some of the top influencers of 2017 are going to be even bigger in 2018. 

If the budget is there, then these are the kind of people that you want influencing customers to buy into your product or brand.

These include gaming maestro Markiplier, Keynote speaker and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, cooking whiz Rosanna Pansino, six-year-old Ryan ToysReview and powerful lady Lilly Singh.

Whilst all of these people have the majority of their following on YouTube, they are also influencers on the likes of Instagram and Facebook and could cost a hefty sum.

Some of these people may be out of your price range, but if you can find a local influencer to promote your product, then that may be worthwhile to your business.

.

Regan Foy (Twitter / LinkedIn)

Staffordshire University Students’ Union

MSc Digital Marketing Management Student (Full Time)

Google AdWords Basics: What Beginners Should Know

When starting out with Google AdWords, it can be very confusing. There are many aspects to consider and it is easy to waste a lot of money very quickly.

Google AdWords has much more to offer than the basics but it is very complicated to do well.

Nevertheless, having reviewed various accounts in my time, there are some basics beginners miss and MUST know about.

Keywords

Having a keyword strategy in place is imperative. Beginners go wrong by picking 100’s or even 1000’s of keywords and bidding on all of them.

Google Keyword Planner

This will bleed your budget before knowing what keywords convert and which do not. You will very likely end up with no budget left and no return on investment (ROI).

What they must do is hone in on the ones which matter.

Take a step back and think about your target audience and ask yourself:

  • What do they want?
  • What will they specifically search for?

At the start of any Google AdWords campaign, it is better to be narrow with your keywords than too broad.

Over time, you can broaden your campaign by using a more detailed keyword strategy, such as the Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAG’s) strategy.

It’s also important to check your negative keywords daily, or if you do not have the time, at least once a week as a minimum.

Conversions

A conversion is a process of showing an outcome from a click on your website.

This could be to gain a potential leads contact details, download an e-book or making a sale.

This easiest way to set this up on your website it by having a specific ‘Thank You’ page which can only be accessed when someone completes the outcome and link your conversion to that page. There are other ways, but this is the simplest. There is lots of free advice online to help you do this.

Google Conversions

Once this has been completed, you can then analyse what keywords are the best for you (and to know your campaign is working), and what keywords do not work so you can stop budget spend on what doesn’t work – and maybe funnel more budget into the keywords that do (just my logical suggestion).

Once you’ve set up conversions, you need to know your cost per conversion breakpoint.

Without knowing this, you will not know your maximum bid you can budget for to make a
‘return on ad spend’ (ROAS).

Here are 5 steps to working out your cost per conversion breakpoint.

This is vitally important as if pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are too expensive you may need to rethink your marketing strategy. Dropbox is a good example. They had an aggressive AdWords PPC campaign, but it was quickly stopped when they had a $300 customer acquisition cost. Instead, they introduced a free referral program.

Ad Copy

Oli Gardner from Unbounce suggests that 98 percent of ads are a waste of money. What you do not want when you’re first setting up your AdWords campaign is bad ad copy.

Good ad copy can boost your click through rate (CTR) and thus positively affect your quality score (QS) which will result in a cheaper cost per click and increase your potential ROI.

In order to have good ad copy, follow these 5 steps:

  • Use Statistics – Statistics in your ad copy are a great way of grabbing attention and differentiating ads from your competitors.
  • Remove Pricing – analysis of top performing ads shows just 40 percent of top-performing branded ads and 37 percent of non-branded ads included pricing.
  • Use Promotions – It’s no secret, using promotions and discounts in ads are older than time itself, and guess what, they work!
  • Punctuation! – Use exclamation marks. SEJ found a significant increase in CTR when testing ad copy with an exclamation mark, and without one.
  • Appeal to Emotion – Ads that appeal to people’s emotion can result in positive results with their CTR. You can even use a headline analyser to test your headline out.

Google AdWords Ad Copy Template

Post Click Strategy

So you’ve found the best keywords, you’ve got great ad copy with a high CTR and you’ve set up conversions, but you’re not actually getting any. This is where your post click strategy comes into play.

You need to make sure you have a landing page specifically targeting the Keyword the visitor has come to the website from. If they want to buy frozen vegetable, the landing page should be about buying frozen vegetables.

The best way to design your landing page is by firstly, creating a page within the parameters of best practice for Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO) techniques, and then A/B testing the pages with various controlled variables.

Unbounce is a great tool for creating and then split testing pages.

Basics Covered, But What Next?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking once you’ve mastered the basics, that’s all there is to Google AdWords.

There are numerous additional elements you will need to research and add to your account as you learn, these include:

  • Ad Extensions;
  • Google Display Network;
  • Advanced Settings.

As with anything in Digital Marketing, the more you learn, the more pitfalls you’ll avoid which will result in greater success for you and your business.

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By James Rowland, Business Development Director   at Neathouse Partners Ltd 

E-mail marketing or Messenger marketing?

What Email Marketers are saying

When it comes to email marketing software, marketers are spoilt for choice. But how do they feel about the emails they send?

It turns out that relevance is a huge concern for them. DMA reports that 42% of marketers say only some of the emails they send are relevant, and a whopping 10% say their emails aren’t relevant at all. That’s an issue, with consumers trashing irrelevant email.

Another issue people wonder about is the ROI of email marketing. In other words, is it really worth it? Various comparison’s of email marketing vs social media shows that email outperforms social by miles. And Chief Marketer says the ROI of email marketing is 28.5% better than for direct mail.

So what does Messenger do better?

Well, the big problem with email marketing is that you’re talking at your users and potential customers, not with them.

It’s kind of like being on the receiving end of a sales pitch, one where you have no say until the salesman is finished leaving you with only one response, yes or no.

Messenger though, creates a conversation.

It’s the only channel that solicits real time feedback from your users, the only channel where they have a say and shape the conversation which builds interest and engagement.

Check out the below example from 1800-flowers.

What Does the Future Hold?

Email is a mature channel, one which has been extensively developed and includes various advanced features to help you better market to your customers.

Messenger on the other hand is the new kid on the block.

It’s showing great promise and is getting far higher engagement in the areas where they’re going head to head, but it’s not yet at the level of sophistication email has developed.

Messenger is quickly gaining ground on email in terms of features and is already outpacing the platform in the areas where there’s overlap.

So what should a smart store owner like you do?

Well, what you shouldn’t do is abandon email marketing in favour of Messenger. Right now Messenger simply doesn’t have the advanced functionality and tracking of email.

However, if you already haven’t you should be looking at implementing Messenger on your site ASAP.

Right now, Messenger is the perfect complement to your email marketing. And if the last year is any indication, in the near future Messenger will continue to outperform email in other key marketing and communication areas for ecommerce as the platform progresses.

Right now, if I had to advise some specific campaigns your store needs to be running I’d recommend focusing on:

Messenger isn’t just a nice thing to have on your store or a new fad that will die out. The success rate of stores across the globe and the growing user base points to a new channel that might one day overtake email as the chief ROI channel.

In conclusion:

Email marketing and social media are like parallel universes that communicate with each other.

We suggest using email marketing when you’re looking more for reach, traffic and direct conversions. Social media, on the other hand, is a great tool that can help you engage your audience and assist you with making more sales.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t use both. Just be sure to allocate your resources the right way. Thank you for reading this blog and please leave your comments below.

 

By Richard Holland – MSc Digital Marketing Student

 

Contact –

Linkedin- Richard Holland

Instagram – Ricardo J

Brand –

Instagram – Ricco London

Twitter – Ricco London

Facebook – Ricco London

If You’re Marketing to Millennials, Get on Instagram

There were over 600 million Instagrammers in 2017, and 400 million of those users were active every day according to Softpedia.

Those numbers alone should be reason enough to get your business on the social media platform – but if you’re marketing to Millennials, otherwise referred to as Generation Y, or in simple terms anyone born between the early 1980s and late 1990s – then you should already be on there.

In March of 2017, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, found directions or contacted an Instagram account or business based on an Instagram ad says Wordstream.

Not only this, but according to the Instagram Blog over 50% of users on the app follow a business and 60% say they learn about a product or service through the app.

Why not make one of those businesses yours? We’ve produced the definitive guide to getting your business set up on Instagram below.

Getting Started

The first thing you’ve got to do is establish your presence on the platform with three main tasks, adding a profile picture, writing a bio and connecting your website. For an example of doing this the correct way, take a look at fashion retailer JD’s Instagram Feed.

Your profile picture should be something memorable and representative of your business – usually your logo.

Over time, people remember your profile picture when scanning through their Instagram news feed – especially if your logo is eye catching.

Your bio gives you under 200 characters to tell the world why you’re worth following and what your service or product is. Enhancing your bio by encouraging users to share content relevant to your business or brand using a hashtag can always be worthwhile.

It’s also important that your followers follow the path to purchase or learn as much as possible – and your website is generally the avenue where this takes place.

Ensuring your website URL on Instagram directs to a mobile friendly site is incredibly important.

How can I Market Effectively?

 Once your profile has been created, you’ve got to identify what kind of content your target audience will be interested in.

Brand storytelling, or Brand Centered Content whether through photos of products or photos of the results of products effectively showcases what the business or brand has to offer.

Skate and footwear brand Vans do this quite well.

Reactive Storytelling uses timely events or unique insights to generate immediate feedback from their audience – and these tend to be based upon pop culture or memes.

This usually includes an interesting story that is on consumer’s minds, combined with a brand relevant marketing message.

With Behind the Scenes content, people are looking for an inside look at how things are built or done inside your business and brand.

Brands are now looking at how they can be more authentic as it is what consumers are looking for in the modern market.

Overclockers UK are a wonderful, British example of this.

Inspirational or Motivational posts are used to spark emotions in your customers or target audience – and it is also the most effective way to drive engagement with your brand.

The key is to recognise what will resonate with your audience.

From this point onward, you should have a basic idea of how to use Instagram as a powerful marketing tool for your Millennial target audience.

——————–

Regan Foy (Twitter / LinkedIn)

Staffordshire University Students’ Union

MSc Digital Marketing Managament Student (Full Time)

Why Email Marketing Should Be a Focus for Your Business

When consumers thought the internet was shiny and new, email was the top dog in connecting with friends. Nowadays, email is used for much more – it’s used to share content from companies, and allow the consumers to connect with brands, be it through purchasing products or simply feeling part of the brand’s story.

There are issues with email of course, and for years it has been used to scam unwise users for their hard earned money and fill inboxes with unsolicited spam.

In this day and age, people beg the question of is it still worthwhile for business owners and marketers to connect with consumers via email?

The answer is yes, and there are an abundance of reasons why:

Reaching Mobile Customers

Email marketing shows it’s value for business owners in it’s ease-of-access in connecting with and reaching mobile customers without the investment in new technology. A study by Forrester Research in 2014 showed that 42% of email opens from retailers happen on smartphones – a number which is likely to have improved since then.

It’s also a better way to connect with mobile users than something like SMS for example, as it works on mobile devices other than phones, and there is far more space for content. According to Litmus, around 51% of email opens now happen on mobile, so it’s always important to ensure your content is mobile friendly so you can connect with mobile-users better.

It’s Better Than Social Media for Customer Acquisition

Whilst social media is an important part of any business’s marketing, and it is a great way of interacting with your audience, it’s not a sound way of converting these people into customers or members.

Social Media is important as a first step towards customer acquisition, but email marketing is the way forward in terms of conversion. A study by Custora in 2013 showed that customer acquisition via email had quadrupled over the four years from 2009, and reinforced that it was a growing trend in e-commerce.

Cost Effective

Email marketing is great for allowing business owners to reach a large amount of consumers, or potential customers for next to nothing in costs. This makes it a high choice for smaller businesses instead of channels like TV or Radio.

As well as this, with the correct maintenance of an email list, the return on investment increased through the close relationship that is established with the recipients. Emails generally get a high response, be that opens, clicks or more – so your company or brand is receiving better responses at a lower cost and at a quicker rate.

Easy A/B Testing

 A/B testing is the idea of sending one variation of your campaign to one set of your subscribers, or email list, and a different variation to another set.

The ultimate goal of this is to work out which variation of the campaign generates the best results.

This can vary in complexity and can include different subject lines to see which has more opens, whilst more complex testing could include completely different results. This is available through email clients such as Campaign Monitor and MailChimp.

Application & Examples

To start in the world of email marketing, you’re going to need to do some research. Firstly, you’re going to want to pick the email client that’s going to let you apply your ideas in the manner you want. Then you’re going to need to find contacts to send the email to – by lead generation through your website. Finally – you’ll need to produce content and send this out to the contacts, sometimes segmenting specific content to specific recipients.

An example of email marketing at work comes from InternetRetailing, who reported that leading online chemist ChemistDirect had a 30% increase in revenue in 2013 from email campaigns after changing to an email client.

 

So, there you have it. There are many, many more reasons for businesses to get involved in email marketing that haven’t been mentioned, such as the ability to personalise.

According to Pure360, it’s time you should be taking email seriously.

 

——–

Regan Foy (Twitter / LinkedIn)

Staffordshire University Students’ Union

MSc Digital Marketing Managament Student (Full Time)

How to Set ‘SMART’ Digital Marketing Objectives

Setting an objective is listed as the first step to a powerful digital campaign by the Digital Marketing Institute. It sounds simple, you know what your marketing campaign goals are right? In reality, the process can challenging, and without proper consideration, businesses often end up with a campaign that lacks direction and doesn’t link together   HiveDigitalStrategy go as far as claiming that goal-setting is one of the most difficult tasks digital marketers must complete. Despite this difficulty, the benefits are significant and justify the effort require to define clear objectives that are the foundation of a successful campaign. I have listed some of these benefits below:-

 

 

Given the importance of objectives, it should become clear that to effectively analyse your strategy, your objectives should be effective, or ‘SMART’. by creating objectives using the framework, you are keeping up with many of the best businesses in the world, as they all are driven by focussed objectives. MindTools defines the individual letters of the ‘SMART’ acronym as; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Below is a breakdown of the five letters involved.

At the forefront of business knowledge:

The ‘SMART’ framework is widely accepted to have been introduced in 1981, by George T. Duran. However, it is still at the very forefront of business knowledge, with the only development coming recently in the form of ‘SMARTER’ goals (The E and R stand for evaluated and revisited). The last two letters of this acronym are letters that usually come at the end of the campaign and so they are not actually necessary when first setting the objectives.

Now lets examine each letter of ‘SMART’ and how it can be used to create an objective.

Specific

To make your objective specific, you need to avoid ambiguous terms and ensure that there is an outcome that you desire from your digital marketing strategy. Your objective should answer the following question: What do I want to achieve?

Example: I want to increase traffic to my website.

By giving a specific outcome, you are able to centre your strategy around achieving your goal.

Measurable

To make your objective measurable you must be able to answer the following two questions:

  • How many/how much?
  • How will I know I have achieved my objective?

Example: I want to increase traffic to my website by 20%.

By giving a tangible number, you can determine when your goal is reached and track it along the way.

Achievable

Making your goal achievable means identifying the overarching method you will use to achieve your goal. Can you answer the following questions?

  • Is it possible to achieve my goal?
  • How will I achieve my goal?

Example: I want to increase traffic to my website by 20% using Search engine Optimisation (SEO).

By giving the method of SEO, you are ensuring that you have a path to follow, and can plan a strategy based around this.

Realistic

Determining whether your goal is realistic often involves a combination of research and estimation. You should answer the following questions.

  • What resources am I able to allocate to this plan?
  • Are the resources available enough to achieve this plan?

Example: I want to increase traffic to my website by 20% using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), with an allocated budget of £2,500.

The number of resources you will need to allocate is highly individual and depends on a lot of variables such as your level of competition, market saturation, and your financial situation.

Time-bound

It isn’t enough to say you want a certain outcome. Give yourself a deadline. if your objective is to increase visits to your blogging site by 1000, then set a time-frame. Within a month, within a year?

Example: I want to increase traffic to my website by 20% using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) within 6 months of campaign implementation, with an allocated budget of £2,500.

Using your SMART Objectives:

If your objective fits in with all five of criteria, then you have a ‘SMART’ objective and are ready to plan and implement a clear, defined digital marketing strategy, something that over half of businesses are failing to do. Get Ahead of them!

A REAL WORLD EXAMPLE:

TOMS, in the spirit of social entrepreneurship, launched a campaign that successfully implemented SMART objectives. ‘One day without shoes’ is a campaign that was launched by the company, with them encouraging the public to go barefoot for a day, and a donation of shoes being made by the organisation for each person that participates. Heres how their campaign followed the ‘SMART’ framework.

  • Specific – Persuade people to go barefoot for a day.
  • Measurable – Receive proof via Instagram of people participating.
  • Achievable – Post persuasive content (Stories) on social media.
  • Realistic – Ensuring they have the resources to manufacture and deliver the donated shoes.
  • Time-bound – Host the ‘One day without shoes’ on one day in May (May 10th in 2017) annually.

TOMS ‘One Day Without Shoes’ Campaign – Source: http://www.toms.co.uk/one-day-without-shoes

SMART objectives will have a positive effect on any digital marketing campaign. Why not have a go at creating your own examples and posting them below?

Thanks for reading!

Learn how to make your ‘SMART’ objectives ‘SMARTER’.

 


by Rory Tarplee

LinkedIn

MSc Digital Marketing Student (Full-time)

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right For Your Business?

Despite what people say, you don’t need to be on all social media platforms to promote your business. However, a lot of businesses fail to harness the power of social media, or waste time using the ‘wrong’ platform for their needs.

By picking the platforms that work for your company and utilising all of the features they have to offer you could be making a bigger difference with just one that you could be with six. Plus there are only 24 hours in a day and for a small business, it can be quite challenging managing all the platforms as well as business activities. But, how do you choose the right social media platform? Let’s get started!

 

WHAT TO CONSIDER?

When deciding which platform is worth investing your time in, there are a few things to consider – your target demographic, the style and ability of the platform and ultimately, what you want to achieve.
Below I’ve put together a list of the key purposes/demographics for the 5 most popular social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. Take a look and see which is most suitable for your business:

 

FACEBOOK –
Facebook is one of the most popular and powerful social networks out there. It has over 1.28 billion monthly active users. Due to its large number of users, the likelihood of your target audience being online is quite high. The platform has great targeting for both paid and organic content and you can almost completely control the way you want it to look – from the cover photo and profile picture to the about options, app integrations and featured images.
Almost any business can benefit from having a Facebook page. But Facebook isn’t primarily about selling. Facebook is ideal for giving your business a personality. Content works best when you portray your business in a friendly, sociable way. It’s the perfect place to show off what your team members have been up too as well as showcasing your products. “The best ‘bang for the buck’ in Internet marketing today is Facebook advertising. The targeting options are limitless and surprisingly inexpensive for businesses of all sizes.Facebook advertising can help marketers of all kinds get insights into how different demographic groups respond—and for a fraction of the cost of other alternatives,” (Chris Treadaway, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day).

 

TWITTER –
Twitter has become widely popular over the last decade and is known amongst businesses for being the place of conversation. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter is very ‘in the moment’.
Twitter is the platform for you if you want to reach out to people regarding news, updates, questions for your followers or just want to see what your customers are interested in, choose Twitter.

 

LINKED –
LinkedIn is a B2B social media platform. Just imagine attending your busiest networking event from the comfort of your own office/home. LinkedIn is predominantly a platform that allows you make connections in the business world and utilise them as necessary.

It’s a fantastic platform for recruiters and any professional services. LinkedIn has good targeting options and allows you the make the most of people’s skills.
Service providers are more common on LinkedIn in comparison to manufacturers or retailers, because it’s easier to talk about what your business does, and it’s not a very visual medium.

 

INSTAGRAM –
If your business is B2C and very visual, Instagram is the platform you need to be on. Shops, travel agents, estate agents, designers and more are all on Instagram because they offer a ‘strong visual’ product that people will take an interest in.
Instagram has great integration with Facebook when it comes to advertising and due to its use of hashtags, posts are easier to find and target your customers.
You can drive traffic through to your websites/product pages and also show your company’s personality.

 

YOUTUBE –
We’ve all heard of YouTube, right? It’s the go-to place for reviews, how to’s and entertainment. Almost any business type can benefit from YouTube but it requires a lot of time and skill to build a following and to create engaging videos.
As with all platforms, YouTube can work better for certain industries including retail, health and more. It’s also a fantastic platform for influencer marketing. Not to mention it is the second biggest exarch engine and is still and expanding platform, unlike twitter.

 

So which platform will you be using for your business and why, share your thoughts bellow and thank you for reading this blog post.

 

By Richard Holland – MSc Digital Marketing Student

 

Contact –

Linkedin- Richard Holland

Instagram – Vission Design

Brand –

Instagram – Ricco London

Twitter – Ricco London

Facebook – Ricco London