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Forget The Marketing Spiel. Speak To Your Customers In Their Language

How do we say what we need to in the right words?

Atiyya Karodia




Every campaign or content direction needs a brainstorm, a solid number of hours and sometimes days to be able to explore, interpret, understand, articulate and then express what we observe.

We lock ourselves in a room and eventually find ourselves staring at a conclusion – the perfect payoff line and the ultimate hashtag. Many hours go into being able to eloquently articulate and justify our strategies, but we sometimes find ourselves explaining the intricacies of our work to our audiences instead of letting our work speak for itself.

On social media, this is what you experience when you see a campaign packed to the rafters with the language of creatives and art directors.

It isn’t at all that the content or execution is untrue, but rather that it isn’t in the words of the audience it’s meant to move. Sometimes we see this in copy and very often in images that are starkly unrepresentative of the target audience.

Sometimes we feel compelled to express the nuances of our strategy by chronicling them extensively in our execution, but lose sight of the responsibility we have to edit our thinking down to the absolute best to convey our message.

At one end of the spectrum, we find campaign messaging that gets lost in creative ‘wordsmithing’, but at the other end, we find messaging explained so thoroughly that it ends up feeling condescending.

Related: 5 Steps To Creating A Killer Marketing Strategy

As marketers, should we be confusing our audience with whirlwind poetry cooked up on a bean bag, or explaining what our audience already knows and talks about?

Immerse yourself

Understanding your consumer is something that cannot be done from the outside looking in.

You need to live, breathe and intimately experience the life of your audience in order to know exactly what you should be saying as well as how you should be saying it.


telemarketer talking to client

Social media is varied enough to accommodate rhetoric about almost anything, and listening to the conversations taking place about a topic won’t just help you understand how to express your positioning as a brand, but also what terms you should say it in.

Lead visually

Your copy may be spectacular, but the impact and impression that an effective image has on the viewer is far more crucial.

Don’t just consider the image you’re using, but how to use copy that tells a story in addition to your creative. Most importantly, though, consider whether the image you’re choosing to use resonates with your consumer.

Related: The 5 Emotions That Drive Customer Loyalty

Keep it simple

There’s no need to spell out what your audience already knows. In an age where a meme or GIF can more effectively convey a response, you certainly don’t need to talk around your idea or proposition unless you’re setting the scene.

Lastly, think about those hours or days that you spent reaching that final profound conclusion and then think of a way to say it in 10 words or less.

Remember, if you need to spell it out, it probably needs to make more sense for your audience.

Looking to craft effective digital campaigns that resonate with your audience, call NATIVE today.

Atiyya Karodia is the Social Media Manager at NATIVE VML. NATIVE VML is Africa’s leading full service agency for the Digital Age, working as a strategic partner for brands looking to thrive in this continuously connected world. The cornerstone of our work is to create “purpose-driven work that lives in people’s lives”, which has led to ground-breaking campaigns for South Africa’s most loved brands such as Absolut Vodka, BMW, Chivas Regal, Jameson Whiskey,, Nedbank, Nestle, Old Mutual, Pick ’n Pay, Red Bull, Ster Kinekor and The Foschini Group. To make contact click here . For media related queries please contact Janice Wilson,


How to Guides

6 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Really Works

Stand out. Get noticed. Six reasons why influencer marketing really works.

Greg Tinkler




In today’s day and age you need to ensure your marketing spend is going to the right places and most importantly, that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Influencer marketing is a strategy that offers one of the highest returns on investment. Basically, influencer marketing is the process of identifying strategic individuals within your target market, and partnering with them to create advertising that is genuine and more palatable to the audience.

Google Trends show that the interest in influencer marketing is at an all-time high, and further studies demonstrate that personalised, word-of-mouth marketing is more than twice as effective as the alternatives.

Good customer reviews make the best marketing

The idea is pretty simple — instead of a brand telling you why their new product is so amazing, the good review comes from a popular and trusted individual. When an influencer or thought leader promotes your product or service to their audience, they’re essentially telling their audience “You trust me, and I trust this company.”

This form of advertising is becoming increasingly popular since audiences have already opted to receive this particular person’s opinions. It also puts a human touch to your marketing effort. Partnering with influencers makes your service more trustworthy and allows you to effortlessly reach a wider audience.

Related: The Ins And Outs Of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been identified as the most effective method of customer acquisition in 2016 and 2017, ahead of the likes of display advertising, email marketing, paid social media and traditional media.

92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source.


Here are six reasons why influencer marketing works:

1It really does work

There are few things that drive a sale more effectively than word-of-mouth recommendations.

Studies show  that trusted word-of-mouth recommendations generate more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and those that were acquired through word-of-mouth had a 37% higher retention rate.

2It’s social media friendly

The world and marketing have shifted to social media. 70% of brands are increasing their social media marketing spend in 2017.

Today, it’s easier to connect with other consumers via social media and make better purchasing decisions by learning about their experiences with a product or service.

Influencers are a force to be reckoned with; brands can strategically partner with the right personalities to spark organic conversations and seduce their followers.

Related: 5 Ways To Improve Your Millennial Marketing Strategy

3Cut through the clutter

According to research, the average social media user is exposed to 5 000 advertisements a day. Whether or not that number is scientifically proven, it gets the point across: We are exposed to a lot of ads.

Influencers are able to cut your brand through the clutter and get it straight to your target market’s eyes.

4It’s native advertising

Traditional advertising interrupts the consumer experience (think TV commercials during your favourite series).

Native advertising places brands and products within the organic content, creating a more pleasurable experience for consumers and a more powerful marketing solution for brands.

5Your SEO will strengthen

On top of building your brand and improving your sales numbers, influencer marketing also helps your search engine ranking.

User-generated social posts account for 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands. The more people mention your brand on social media, the more popular and relevant you will be on Google.

Related: Basics Of SEO For Businesses And Brands

6It’s measurable

Probably the most important thing of all is that marketers and brand owners can actually track the success of their influencer marketing campaigns, unlike expensive TV, print and radio campaigns.

The digital world is different. Every website visit, social like, and picture posted online can be stored and analysed, giving you tons of data that turns into valuable insights about your target market and your advertising performance.

Influencer marketing presents a massive opportunity for brands to leverage the power of word-of-mouth at scale through personalities that consumers already follow and admire. The possibilities are endless, you’ll actually save marketing spend and guess what…? You can finally measure your results.

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How to Guides

How To Prove Your Marketing ROI

In today’s competitive environment, measuring ROI is a critical part of retaining (and gaining) clients.

Greg Tinkler




How can we work more smartly and prove our value in an industry where the rules and tools are changing every day?

Keeping clients happy and more importantly signed on to your company lies in both driving your client’s revenue goals and proving that you’re the one doing it. While proving ROI in the past has been tricky, with the data and technology available today it’s not only possible, but a business imperative.

No business wants to put money and resources into something that doesn’t pay off.

Related: Email Campaign Wisdom From South African Digital Marketing Sages

  • Will the results from the channel make the effort, time, and cost worth it?
  • How will you prove this?
  • Is there content that will perform better and show a higher ROI?
  • How is this going to be measured?

Measuring social media ROI

Here’s an example of how we measure ROI for our social media clients. First, we put very specific metrics in place, so we know what data we are collecting and tracking.

1. Increase social media engagement

Social media metrics to measure: Likes, Shares, Comments, Retweets, Mentions, Favourites

2. Increase customer visits to your website and online store

Social media metrics to measure: Website click-through and traffic from social media

3. Increase brand awareness for your product or company

Social media metrics to measure: Follower growth rate, percentage change over time in followers, Twitter sentiment, reach by region, clicks by region

There are numerous tools to also help you track Social Media ROI:

  • Google Analytics: Track website traffic, on-site conversions, and sign-ups originating from social media campaigns.
  • Hootsuite Analytics: Hootsuite offers a variety of analytics tools to help you track your reach, conversions and more; we swear by this for our campaigns.

Related: Business Shifting? Keep Your PR And Marketing Messages On Point

You should check your various social media metrics frequently. We do this daily to ensure that our clients’ social media goals are being met. The lifecycle of social media campaigns is often very short, so you need to stay on top of the data as it happens.

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How to Guides

8 Free Ways To Promote A New Article

You’ve just posted a brand new original article on your blog and now you want people to read it. In fact, you would love to get LOTS of people to read it. But how?




Before we even explore some ways, it is important to understand that the better and more useful and informative your article is, the better. The more original, fresh, entertaining, and valuable, the easier it is get people to read it.

If your article is merely regurgitating information that can be found on a hundred other websites, or if it is poorly written and contains an English teacher’s nightmare of spelling and grammar mistakes, all the promoting in the world won’t do it much good.

However, if your article is perceived as useful and valuable to readers then it will be a lot easier to promote. Here are eight free ways.

Related: How To Promote Your Blog By Following Your Passion

1. Mention your new article on each of your social media accounts

If you’re posting on Facebook for instance, be sure to include:

  • A link to it
  • A summary of the article
  • Reasons people will find it valuable
  • An image (this one is vital!)
  • A few, relevant hash tags.

If you don’t have any social media accounts for your organisation, you probably should take the time now to create at least one.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are all good.

2. Add a link to your article from the homepage

There are two reasons why this helps. First, internal links help with your search engine rankings. So a link from your homepage (which usually has the most search engine ‘power’) will give a slight boost to the page it is linking to, which will help it rank better in the search results.

The second reason to add your link to your homepage is your homepage is probably viewed a lot. So more people will see the link to your new article which will help funnel more people to it.

3. Send an email blast to your list


If you have a list of subscriber email addresses (which you should) then be sure to craft a special email message that’s purpose is alerting your subscribers to your new article. In the email, be sure to include the following:

  • A greeting explaining why they are getting this message
  • A summary of the article
  • A link to the article
  • Reasons people will find it valuable
  • An image (this one is vital!)

If you don’t have a subscriber list, start making one. This is an important asset for any business.

Related: 17 Free Online Tools to Help You Grow Your Blog to 1 Million Visitors

4. Alert Related Websites

Do a search for complimentary websites, sites that are not direct competitors with you but are related businesses or organisations. Create a list of 10-20 and email them one by one about your newly-published article.

In your email message, let them know that you thought they might be interested in your new article because it is very much related to the subject of their website.

5. Leave comments in a related article

Do a search for the topic of your new article (or a highly related subject) and then review each of the website in the results. Look for the ability to leave a comment at the end of each. If that’s possible, leave a useful comment and include a link to your article. Be sure that the comment you leave adds to the conversation and has some value.

6. Use Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a great tool, but a bit pricey. Fortunately, they offer a free trial. The concept is genius. It finds people who linked to or promoted similar articles to your own, and often times these people are influencers.

For instance, if you wrote an article about the best fly fishing spots in Kansas, you could add the keywords ‘fly fishing spots’ into Buzzsumo and it will find people who read and promoted other fly fishing spots articles on their social media accounts.

All you then have to do is let each of these people know that you just published an article that is very similar (and hopefully better than) the article they previously liked and promoted. Since they likes the last one, there is a good chance they will like yours too.

Related: Stumped? 4 Innovative Ways to Come Up With Blog Topics

7. Create a YouTube video

Create a video that either discusses your article or discusses a related subject. Post the video on YouTube and in the description below, include a link to your article.

8. Mention your article in a forum

If you belong to a forum in your industry then either create a new thread about your new article’s topic and then link to it, or mention it in a reply to an existing, related thread if one exists. Just be sure you’re adding value to the forum with what you post. Otherwise, it could be considered spam.

If you don’t belong to a forum in your industry, you ought to. This might be a good time to find one or two and join. After contributing for a while, you can then consider adding a link to a future article of yours in the forum.

The great thing about the eight ways outlined above is that most can be repeated each time you publish a new article. Two important things to remember: almost no one is going to read your article unless you promote it and the better your article is, the easier it is to promote.

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