A very common misperception amongst small business owners is that in order to make their business stand out from the competition, big bucks has to be splashed on advertising.
Not true. Thanks to the ever-developing digital marketing landscape and online tools available, there is a host of creative marketing techniques you can employ to successfully market your business in a cost effective way.
It’s all about content
A great way to drive visitors to your website and acquire new customers is to do content marketing. Content marketing is simply creating and distributing relevant, valuable content that your potential customers want to engage with and share with others.
It is an effective method to generate leads and reach the KPI’s of your business and include things like blogs, videos, podcasts and social media updates etc.
Creating content that your target market will love is important, but driving traffic to that content is equally as important. It’s no use having incredible content, but it’s not reaching the people you want to reach and achieving what it’s supposed to. That’s why having a solid action plan in place for promoting your content is vital. Draw up a calendar that specifies how and when your content is distributed.
For content to be powerful and effective, it needs to be fresh and unique. Something that hasn’t been done before by competitors and that consumers want to bookmark or save as it provides valuable, helpful information.
Powerful content is also tailored content. Tailor your content to your specific target audience, their needs and internet consumption habits. And lastly, creativity is key in content creation.
Deliver your content in meaningful, new ways, using the latest technologies and methods to draw higher engagement.
If used effectively, social media can contribute greatly to the growth of your business. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are great ways to distribute your content and reach your target audience.
Using these channels is cost-effective as it is mostly free to use. However, most of them offer fantastic paid business advertising solutions that allow you to promote your products or services to new customers outside of your own geographic location.
There are also great free tools available online to schedule your content in advance and monitor and manage the engagement on it. From these social media insights, you are able to understand your user better and improve your marketing strategy accordingly.
You’ll be able to see the number of reach, likes, comments and other engagement your content receives and from this derive which of your content works and which doesn’t, the best times or days of the week to publish, which channels work best, and who to target with your content.
Optimise for the search engine
Another awesome way to spread the word about your brand and products or services, is through Search Engine Optimisation.
SEO, as it’s often referred to, is the effective process through which website content is cleverly optimised in order to rank higher in organic search engine results and consequently increase website traffic.
It allows you to rank high on search engines, like Google and Bing, for popular search terms within your niche, without actually having to pay for an advert.
SEO can get rather technical, but there are many effective SEO tactics you can apply to optimise your website. With a few clever tricks, like installing SEO plugins and using key worded titles and content, you can also optimise your Blog, YouTube channel and other distribution channels.
Not only will SEO enable you to drive traffic to your company website, but increase awareness of your brand, and give you the edge on your competitors when it comes to securing new and potential clients.
Send an email
It’s a myth that email marketing is dead. It is still very much an effective and inexpensive method to promote your business and products to your target audience, and an easy way to reach people on-the-go on their mobile devices.
You also don’t need to be a technical boffin to send out an email marketing campaign. There are great tools, like MailChimp, available online that will help you set up and distribute your email campaigns, and depending on how many emails you want to send, it is either free or very reasonably priced.
Targeted emails to smaller databases that contain content relevant to its recipients are proven to be more cost-effective yielding better results, than ‘blanket’ emails to large databases of people that are less likely to convert into customers.
Email marketing is great for introducing new products and services to potential clients, upselling existing clients, nurturing possible leads, driving traffic to your website or blog, and promoting special events.
Classifieds and business listings
Classifieds is another great way to market your business on a limited budget. Not only popular for advertising second-hand goods, cars and property, classifieds have fantastic free advertising benefits for businesses as well.
Websites like Junk Mail Classifieds even gives you the option to register a free trader account for your business, and create an online business profile that has the potential to reach thousands of customers and generate daily leads.
Classifieds are known to be very effective, as they are high-traffic websites that allow you to advertise in specific categories, sub-categories and regions. This enables you to target a specific audience with your products or services and makes it easier for people to find and enter into business with you.
So, if marketing your business seems a bit like conquering Mount Everest right now, then take a deep breath and relax, because it really is easier (and cheaper) than you think.
Just take the time to do some research and familiarise yourself with the multitude of helpful tools readily available to help you get the word out about your brand and products, without breaking the bank.
9 Strategies For Memorable Advertising When Your Audience Is Chronically Distracted
Attention spans have never been shorter, and consumers never have had so many options. You need a smart strategy to rise above the noise.
The advertising industry is big. In fact, when all the numbers from 2017 are tallied, advertising spending in the United States is projected to reach $207 billion. However, research shows that 64 percent of people find ads annoying or intrusive. A whopping 92 percent of online ads aren’t even noticed.
If you want to get results from your advertising efforts in 2018, you must adhere to certain rules. These nine definitely are worth remembering as you firm up your strategy for the new year.
1. Optimise your ads for declining attention spans
The consistently shrinking attention span is one of advertising’s greatest challenges. Consider the following statistics:
- In a recent study, Microsoft revealed the average attention span has decreased from about 12 seconds in 2000 to about eight seconds today.
- A study by Jampp shows that our attention spans decline by about 88 percent every year – especially thanks to technology and mobile apps.
- Some sources estimate we are exposed to up to 5,000 ads daily – a sharp increase from a few decades ago.
Audiences suffer from declining attention spans, but they’re bombarded with more ads than ever before. With that in mind, it’s essential to embrace the KISS principle: Keep it simple, stupid.
2. Follow the ‘Rule of Seven’
One of advertising’s golden rules is explained by the “Rule of Seven:” Most prospects will need to see your message at least seven times before they consider your offer. Don’t expect most people to convert the first time they see your offer. Instead, use different means and channels to get the same message across to them. You’ll increase the odds they’ll respond to your offer.
3. Retarget your ads to people familiar with your brand
According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new prospect is about 5 to 20 percent while the probability of selling to an existing customer is about 60 to 70 percent. It’s much easier to market to people who already are familiar with your brand or who have been customers in the past than it is to “sell” people who are just learning about you. Research shows that retargeting your message to people who previously have visited your website can result in 10 times the clicks and a 70 percent increase in conversions.
4. Sensory adaptation beats CTA colour
In one of its articles years ago, Hubspot famously proclaimed that “Red beats green” in terms of coloured-button performance. For a long time, experts have touted red as the best choice for a call to action (CTA). Unbounce, on the other hand, says orange leads to more conversions. Others have found green, yellow or blue to be best.
So which colour, really, produces the best results? None of the above. Colour psychology has taken a back seat to an even more powerful underlying principle: sensory adaptation. In basic terms, our brains ignore anything that blends in with its surroundings. A green button will convert better on a page using a red colour scheme and vice versa. You should ensure your CTAs stand out. Do this, and every colour will convert well for you.
5. Segment and target
Marketing Sherpa structured a study that compared the return on investment of targeted emails (sent to users based on their interests) with “batch-and-blast” emails (sent to everyone on the list). Segmented emails resulted in a 208 percent higher conversion rate than emails that weren’t targeted. Increasingly, advertising research emphasises the importance of segmenting and targeting. More recently, marketing professionals are using artificial intelligence to develop sophisticated options for targeting users.
6. Focus on retention
A recent study from Adobe Digital Insights found that ads are getting more expensive while reaching fewer consumers. Experts expect this trend to continue as users find more ways to block ads. Meanwhile, advertising platforms will struggle to increase revenue. To get the most from your advertising efforts, consider ways to retain users. It’s more economical than paying to reach them each time. Start building a user list you can segment into groups: an email list, a push-notification list and others.
7. Don’t ignore mobile
Overlooking mobile users is perhaps the deadliest mistake any advertiser can make at this point in time. Mobile-only internet users outnumber desktop-only users. What’s more, research shows that engagement is higher on mobile devices than on desktop devices. If you don’t have a mobile-advertising strategy, you’re alienating more than half your potential customers.
8. Embrace the ‘less is more’ principle
It’s easy to assume that presenting people with more options will yield a better ROI, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, psychologist Barry Schwartz argued against this in his book “The Paradox of Choice.” He cited a jam study conducted by Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper. The pair of researchers divided shoppers into two groups. They presented the first group of shoppers with a table that contained six varieties of jam. The second group of shoppers were offered a table containing 24 varieties of jam. More people viewed the table with greater options, but 10 times as many people actually purchased from the table with fewer varieties of jam. You can do the same: Provide fewer options, and you’ll see conversions increase.
9. Use text strategically
An image is worth a thousand words – until it isn’t. A lot has been said about the power of images to drive action and boost advertising conversion. But an increasing body of research is finding that when used properly, text is even more effective than rampant visuals. Launchbit found that text-heavy banner ads generally result in more clicks and conversions than banners that consist primarily of graphics and colours. There’s an important caveat, though: Ensure your text communicates exactly what users will gain when they click your ad.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Marketing Tips For Start-ups
How to make marketing work for you when your business is just starting out.
Starting a business is one of the most rewarding endeavors any individual can undertake. It can provide life experience not achievable in any other way. It has an open ceiling while also not having a floor either. You can make your business whatever you want it to be and, with a lot of hard work, can turn it into something that people believe in.
Businesses around the world do incredible work within their communities and for the larger global population. While all of this is great, and certainly possible, the beginning of the business is not always a dream. Case in point: Marketing.
What you need to know about marketing your start-up
When starting a business, you probably have your idea mapped out in exquisite detail and have every possible contingency planned. Even when your product is down pat, and you believe your plan is impeccable, there are still a number of things that require a different level of patience and expertise.
Marketing your business can be an existential endeavor as you fine tune exactly what your business stands for and who your audience is.
In this article we hope to expound on how to make marketing work for you when you are just starting out. Startups are tasked with doing an incredible amount of work upon their inception. They have to test and refine their product while also carving out their own path within a crowded industry.
The last thing that startups need to be focused on is marketing. Luckily, thanks to the innovation and advancement of automation and artificial intelligence, marketing has become a much simpler task through the services of online applications.
Who can help you set-up a marketing campaign?
Companies like HubSpot and MailChimp make digital marketing easier than ever before. These tools can automate email blasts and generate visits to your website.
Speaking of which, websites are now easier than ever to make thanks to companies like WordPress and Squarespace that make creating websites easy and entertaining. Using automation and artificial intelligence will help to make marketing much easier as most startups do not have the resources to hire professional marketing teams.
Though advisable when they can be hired, marketing teams are often too expensive for most startups. The same goes for web designers who are typically too expensive for brand new companies. Going online and starting marketing campaigns for your business has never been easier thanks to these wonderful resources and the people who keep them running.
Is you marketing message clear?
When coming up with a brand, make sure that your message is embedded and can be deduced easily. Do not be afraid to create a message that your company stands for and don’t hesitate to proclaim it loudly for everyone to hear. If your company is based in organics, for instance, then have a logo with earth tones and naturalistic graphics.
This will send the message that you are interested in the environment and care for it deeply. At the same time, this will help to develop an audience that you can target and interact with honestly. The same goes for any industry you want to get into.
Make sure that your logo and brand message represents the audience you want to attract and the industries you are interested in entering.
Showcase any charities you are invested in and all of the causes your company supports.
This will continue to carve out your audience and refine your message so that people know exactly what you are about. The goal of any company is to ultimately provide a service to the audience that would benefit the most from it.
Network your company’s message through every avenue
Truly, it is diligence and hard work that will eventually attract customers to your product.
Start a social media campaign focused on relaying your message to the online community.
Contact other companies that share your goals and missions so that you may support each other publicly. Join charities and other causes that will both give you exposure and develop an audience. Use automation services and artificial intelligence to make marketing easier.
Be steadfast and confident in your idea and your company’s mission. This will be the ultimate selling point for your business. Your startup is only as good as you are. Going out into the general public and spreading your message is the best way to draw attention and market your product.
Draw a crowd whenever you can and insert yourself into the public conscious.
Confidence, with reality thrown in, is the ultimate selling feature of any business. Teaming up with investors and other businesses will give you the exposure you need to draw the audience you want.
In the end, a startup business that is successful benefits us all and is worth pouring your heart into. Treat your startup as an extension of yourself and take pride in working for it to succeed.
Why It’s A No Brainer To Attract Clients In Europe
If you’re an advertising entrepreneur, there’s never been a better time to sell your services overseas.
The creative industry in South Africa is in a good place. We’re delivering quality work at a good price, and while the industry is young, it’s growing fast.
Schools and design studios have emerged teaching the craft, and the Cape Town CBD has been transformed into a creative hub of burgeoning talent, ripe with hungry entrepreneurs embracing a start-up mentality.
Make no mistake: The advertising industry in South Africa is being taken seriously – and it shows.
But if anything, location is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Just because you’re based in South Africa doesn’t mean you should limit yourself, and the power of the internet means you can cultivate relationships – and create work – for clients anywhere in the world.
Thanks to a common language and a favourable time zone, one place in particular stands out: The UK.
What does South Africa offer? Quality work at a good price
As an Englishman living in South Africa, I have worked for clients like Coca Cola, Nike, Toyota, Johnnie Walker, Microsoft and local powerhouses like Sanlam. I began my career in the UK, W+K London and Euro RSCG before moving to Cape Town nine years ago to lend my expertise to agencies like The Jupiter Drawing Room and Isobar South Africa. Earlier this year, I embraced entrepreneurship by starting my own venture: Area 213 Communications.
As a foreigner living in South Africa, this is my observation: the industry is bigger in the UK but not necessarily better. More choice doesn’t equal a superior end product. Clients’ needs are still the same. They want innovative thinking and quality work delivered on time at a good price.
While the industry in South Africa is smaller, we have the tools and expertise to deliver work that’s comparable – if not better – than Europe.
But our number one selling point? We’re cheaper.
The exchange rate presents a value proposition any entrepreneur would be mad to pass up. While we can protect our margins and enjoy living in a beautiful country, we help clients abroad by delivering quality work at a price that makes them happy.
It’s a win-win for both parties.
Geographically, we’re well-positioned
What do clients want? They want to know that you’re taking care of them and producing great work. If there’s an issue, they want to be able to pick up the phone, speak to the agency and leave the call free of stress.
Invariably, brands in the UK and Europe will look to agencies in their own country – and often their own city – for simple peace of mind. If there’s a problem, they know they can get assistance from someone who can pick up the phone and address their concerns right away.
The beauty of South Africa is that clients can do that, only they’re using Google Hangout, Skype, or a landline. There are no tricky time zone differences to navigate. The spoken language is English, and the accent is easy to understand. Culturally, we’re very similar too. In fact, South Africans are naturally hardworking, and the UK appreciates that.
The number one challenge? Boosting our name
So, let’s get this clear. We can deliver great work. We can do it very competitively. And we’re in the same time zone as all major European countries. We’re not four hours ahead like India, or eight hours behind like the Americas. We have a beautiful milieu ripe with creative talent and we’re growing.
So, what’s stopping us? If anything, reputation. Advertising is a results-driven business, but it’s also image-conscious.
At the moment, South Africa is a market unfamiliar to Europe. The trick is cultivating relationships with people who are key stakeholders in brands abroad.
That’s difficult if you’re not familiar with the market, but not insurmountable. South Africa is an attractive proposition, but too few clients know that.
We need to raise the profile of the country abroad, because in the end, it all comes down to the quality of the work you’re delivering. No client in the world will turn down great work at a price that’s lower than they’re expecting to pay – irrespective of geography.
Related: 9 Tips For Creating An Awesome Brand
The key is to remove the barrier to entry and to get over the first hurdles: The small, very human quirks that prompt brands to choose agencies they’re familiar with, rather than agencies that can save them money.
My goal with Area 213 Communications is to nurture an advertising agency with a global approach to business and one that values the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit. I hope many of my peers will follow suit, putting South Africa on the map in the process.
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