Five things you should know about digital marketing.

Evergreen content needs funding too

Visual media (photos, videos and infographics) on digital media are always the best performing. It engages customers and builds your audience. Whenever you post visual media your reach increases, your engagement increases and often you’ll see a little jump in following.

The downside? It’s expensive to produce. Budgets are tight and often the only time visual media gets a look in is when you run a campaign. Anniversaries, product launches and trade shows all get the lions share of the budget, so it’s inevitable that’s when you make videos, create an infographic or get some professional photos taken.

It gets posted,your audience reacts and then the campaign ends and you’re back to the daily grind, your newest visual media retired to a folder never to be used again, a budget not so well spent.

When you plan out your visual media its essential that you keep in mind its legacy. Can you use it after the campaign ends, or will it look tired and dated? If the answer is no, it might be time to head back to the drawing board.

Top tip: Where possible try to allocate some budget for creating evergreen content. Remember this content can be used for years to come, so it’s a worthwhile investment!

Chatbots can save you time

Chatbots have been around for some time, but recently we’ve seen some really innovative examples on platforms such as Facebook Messenger. With a number of providers popping up, it has never been easier to create a chatbot, and many don’t even require you to understand any code at all.

It’s important to note that chatbots don’t do a great job at replacing your customer service advisors. People often have more complicated problems, one that a simple script is unlikely to help with. Instead try using chatbots to potentially help users in selecting a product or range that best suits their criteria. You’ll even be able to give them updates on their chosen products after they purchase.

Top tip: Chatbots should give users something they wouldn’t get from your regular posts. Make them fun and engaging.

Privacy Rules

Since the start of 2018 we’ve seen a number of digital marketing scandals, with companies such as Cambridge Analytica bringing scepticism to the forefront of users minds. Users are more aware of their privacy than ever before.

Recently, whenever I tell someone what my job entails, they react with an anecdote of how digital advertising is somehow encroaching on their privacy. Typically, this entails some speculation that their mobile phone, laptop or smart watch is listening to them, tracking their every move and gathering information about them. I smile, nod and agree to their story, knowing full well that at some point they have willingly shared this information online, either posting about it on their social media or searching on Google. But the neurosis has set in, users fear their devices. They might not quite understand how the data is being harvested, but they know it’s happening.

So what does this mean for digital advertisers? Honestly, not a lot. But it’s something brands should be aware of. Remarketing systems and advanced demographics available to advertisers are great. They up conversion rates and make sure we reach the right people. But approach with caution! People might feel a little uneasy about quite how you targeted them, and if they believe you have crossed a line when it comes to their privacy then you may well have lost a customer.

Top tip: Always run some more generically targeted ads when running a remarketing campaign. Seeing that you’re pushing on advertising everywhere will reassure users that you’re not stalking them!

Digital Marketing shouldn’t be about speed

One of the great things about digital marketing is it can be very responsive. You can upload something to your website and social media channels and it’s there. Within seconds your website is updated and users can see your product. It’s the reaction speed of digital media that makes it so appealing. But here’s a word of caution, good things take time.

Time after time we’re asked how can we grow following as fast as possible. I can see why many businesses want this, after all it will give them some nice big numbers to present to the board. But often the damage being done to a brands social media channels is irreversible. Followers will be outside the target audience and engagement will suffer. As engagement suffers so does reach. Overnight the channel has gone from a small, but valuable resource, to a bloated drag on your resource. Yes, the numbers are high but your sales, leads or conversions will not improve.

Plan your marketing strategy to maintain a steady level of growth. Quick wins can be funded by advertising but take care that you don’t damage your digital assets in doing so. Competitions and give-aways can boost your audience, but approach these with caution as they can entice people with no interest in your brand, but interests in the prize.

Top tip: When setting social media targets ensure your KPI is based on engagement. The more engaging your content the more followers you will earn.

Advertising can help your traditional campaigns

One of my pet peeves in digital marketing is when individual parts get put into silos. Many companies have one agency for advertising, one for public relations, a web-designer, SEO agency and a social media agency. This breaks up the digital marketing sphere and makes any campaign a logistical nightmare.

Ongoing advertising is great, and specialist advertisers will often manage these incredibly effectively, boosting your conversion rate far above industry standards. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider boosting your traditional campaigns with a little ad spend. Giving your social media team a little budget to boost their posts will help increase reach. Your PR team might need a little ad spend to help them grab that two-page spread and your influencer marketing team might want to run a small campaign advertising a recent influencer piece.

Make sure each section of the digital marketing mix is aware of what the others are doing and remember, everyone is part of your team so if someone isn’t working as a team player its time to bin them.

Top tip: Don’t silo budgets! Give all your marketing team an equal opportunity to put in proposals for budgets. Not all ad spend has to go to your advertising agency, sometimes your SEO company might have a great PR story, or your PR agency might be able to secure that link you’ve been after.

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