The typical consumer spends five or more hours online every day and for some age groups, this number is even higher.
We turn to the internet for nearly everything, whether it’s researching a company and ordering books to finding accommodation and interacting with family and friends so it only makes sense for your business to have some sort of online presence to avoid losing out on potential customers.
Not every online platform is going to be the best option for your business though so taking the time to understand where your business fits in, in the online space is going to save you tons of time and money.
Choosing Your Online Marketing Mix
Marketing does tend to involve a bit of trial and error but taking the time to make informed decisions about your online marketing avenues is going to save you some unnecessary hassles.
There are three points that you need to take into consideration when developing your digital marketing mix:
- Target Audience. Think about how your customers spend their time, how they search for information and also how they shop. Their age groups will also play a big role in how they spend their time online
- Budget. Many entrepreneurs don’t have a huge marketing budget to play with but luckily there are a number of affordable or even free digital options available to them. Decide how much you want to spend on digital marketing activities, look at the options that you jotted down based on your market and then decide which of those fit into your budget.
- Tactics. The online platforms that you choose will also depend on when you want to reach your customers. Would you want them to see an advert on their way from work and then be able to find your website or do you want to target them on weekends when they are most active on social media. Having your goals set out will help you to develop your online marketing tactics.
Online Marketing Options for Your Business
There are many different options available to you when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. You should know that there are very few brands that use all available options as it thins out their marketing message, especially if they are attempting to target a very specific audience. Below are the five main categories for you to consider:
Create a website for your business or brand. There is no need to hire a web designer for this process if you are comfortable with designing it yourself with the assistance of an online programme. You might have to consider hiring a third party if what you want is a bit more complex, for example
running an online store. Whatever route you decide to go, make sure that you have a plan for your site first.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do match your website to the rest of your branding such as brochures, street pole ads and business cards
- Don’t choose a website address that is hard to remember or doesn’t fit your business
- Do use a layout, images and colours that are appealing to your specific market/customers
- Don’t make your site too complex. Getting a user to your site is great but they might just leave if they get frustrated trying to navigate the site
- If you are looking to design your own website, Wix, Yola and Weebly are great options.
- (Video) Top Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
- 5 Ways to Create a Killer Website
Your business is now online but ideally you also want to be found by search engines such as Google. There are a number of things you can do to show up on Google’s search result pages, the first one being website optimisation. By having an SEO (search engine optimisation) plan in place you can use the content on your site as keywords to give Google an idea of what your site is all about and when they should display your website in their search results. This digital marketing option is free and quite simple to implement if you understand the basics.
The second option is to use Google Adwords. This platform allows you to bid on keywords that you would like to rank for in search engine results. Depending on the competition of the keyword, your text advert will show up in the search results in the ad boxes at the top of the page. You will require a budget to use this marketing option and you should be aware that this method can result in trial and error approach when you first start out.
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t use black hat SEO tactics to try and get your website to page 1 of Google. You will be penalised.
- Do write the content on your website for your audience and not for the robots that will crawl your site
- If possible, do update your site on a regular basis with interesting content, competitions or special offers
- Don’t go in blind when using Google AdWords. Use their keyword research tool to find out if the keywords you have in mind would be worth your money by looking at the number of monthly searches and the level of competition around the keyword
- Do hire a reputable SEO specialist if you decide that you want an expert to optimise your website content
- Don’t Use These Black Hat SEO Techniques
- (Infographic) How Google Adwords Works
- The Basics of Google Adwords
- Questions to Ask Before You Hire an SEO Consultant
You’ll be pressed to find someone who isn’t registered on one or other social media site. The options for socialising and sharing are endless and this is an opportunity that businesses shouldn’t miss out on.
Deciding on a social media platform will again depend on your specific market. Find out how they spend their time on the social sphere, when they’re online and what their interests are so that you can find a way to speak to them the same as one of their friends would. Social media users don’t want to follow a brand that simply punts their own products and gives them nothing of value back so keep this in mind when you develop the social media section of your marketing strategy.
Below is a list of popular social media platforms in South Africa and how you can make the best of them.
This fast-paced microblogging site is busy so your tweets need to be catchy and to the point in order to get the user to click through to the rest of your content or your website. The users on this platform tend to be younger (18-29 years old) but there are other age groups participating in conversations too. (Source: http://www.seomworld.com/2013/08/social-media-users-demographics.html#.UwcBp2KSwuM)
Dos and Don’ts
- Do follow the right kind of users
- Do reply to tweets directed at you within 24 hours
- Don’t ignore or delete bad publicity
- Do reply to and start a conversation with your users where relevant
- Don’t use Twitter to spam users. Provide them with interesting content too
- Do use Twitter to track what your competitors are doing
- Don’t leave your avatar blank. Make sure your profile is complete
- Do use Twitter as a networking tool
- Don’t overuse hashtags, users might get annoyed and unfollow you
This is a personal space for most users so you need to post one to two posts per day and make them good in order to capture their attention and prevent them from blocking your brand from their news feed. Most Facebook users are women between 18 and 29 years of age. (Source: http://www.seomworld.com/2013/08/social-media-users-demographics.html#.UwcBp2KSwuM)
Dos and Don’ts
- Do invite friends, family and employees to like the Facebook page while you build up your online community
- Don’t spam users with promotions and product/service information. They are looking for a reason to affiliate themselves with your brand
- Do give users a reason to share your posts with their family and friends
- Don’t post brand related content on users’ walls, they will unlike your page
- Do make your posts visual, Facebook was made for this
- Do use this platform to keep track of what your competitors are doing
This professional platform is great for networking as well as creating a professional brand following so keep this in mind when you develop content for this platform. LinkedIn is most popular amongst users aged 25-34. (Source: https://www.quantcast.com/linkedin.com)
Dos and Don’ts
- Do make sure that your group is complete in terms of a profile and logo
- Don’t delete any bad publicity that might be posted on your group page
- Do make a point of updating your page on a regular basis with content that your users would find interesting
- Be careful about not allowing users to join your group without being approved first as this might drive them away
- Do make the time to clean up any spam or pending comments/posts. Users want a pleasant experience
- Do interact with your audience where relevant
- Do share content from other pages with your users
This platform is all about images so make sure that your website has the best quality content and visual elements in order to make it worth sharing. Pinterest usually works well for ecommerce sites. This platform mostly has female users of 50 years or younger. (Source: http://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-in-2013-user-demographics-for-twitter-facebook-pinterest-and-instagram)
Dos and Don’ts
- Do position your brand as an authority on a topic
- Don’t spam users with product promotions
- Do partner with top Pinterest users to promote your pins
- Do make a point of choosing the very best images for your pins in order to attract users
Google Plus is a platform that is still growing and slowly gaining momentum in South Africa but unless you are an established brand it might be better to leave this platform out of your social media mix until a later date. At the moment there are only around half a million SA users on Google+.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do complete your Google+ page and use eye-catching images
- Do comment on user posts and interact where necessary
- Don’t spam users by replying to posts with product information
- Do create your own circles and add industry experts to them
- Do create communities where you can provide users with very specific content around your brand and industry
- 6 Tips for Connecting with Customers on Facebook
- (Video) Are You Benefitting from the Potential of Pinterest?
- 10 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Create Your Social Media Strategy
- How to Use Twitter Beyond the Basics
- Five Need-to-Know Social Media Rules
Research shows that the average South African user uses their mobile device to access 30% of the online content they consume, which means you are losing out on a large potential client base if you aren’t providing a mobile friendly experience. (Source: http://themediaonline.co.za/2013/09/the-mass-market-engages-with-mobile/)
Your first step should be to make sure that your website is responsive, in other words it needs to be able to adapt to different screen sizes and still be user friendly. This is something that you can ask your web designer to implement.
Some brands even choose to have a separate mobi site that users are redirected to if they access a website from a mobile device. This way they can develop a separate design and content strategy around these users. If this is the route you are choosing to go then you should pay close attention to your mobi site visitors’ habits so that you can create content that fits in with that.
When it comes to mobile content, headlines are everything. You have very little space to grab the attention of users so graphics don’t need to be your biggest concern. You need to create the most attention grabbing headline possible and make sure that your content delivers on it. Linking to video content and integrating your mobile platform with social media will increase your chances of online exposure.
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t automatically assume that you don’t need a mobile strategy. Your market research will play an important role here
- Do vary the length of your content to see what works for your mobile users
- Don’t think that format isn’t important on a mobile site
- Do look into developing an app for your business if there is an opportunity to benefit from it
- Do take the size of mobile phone and tablet screens into consideration when developing a mobile site
- Great Examples of Responsive Website Designs
- How to Launch an App
- How to Hire the Perfect Mobile App Developer
- How to Be a Content Marketing King
Email marketing is the perfect platform for promoting your products and services as well as providing readers with excellent content but the problem is that online users are so used to spam popping into their inboxes that you really have to be outstanding for them to sit up and take notice.
The first step in developing an email marketing strategy is to decide what you want to achieve. Do you want to generate more sales, increase website visitors or get users to answer a survey? Once you’ve established this you can decide on the content of your mailer.
By researching your market you can decide what the best time would be to send the newsletter and also how often you should email them. Unsubscribes should be avoided at all costs. Another important point is to get your readers to want to open your email and this is done with a superb headline so give this loads of thought and ensure that the content in your newsletter delivers on it.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do keep your layout clean and easy to read
- Do make sure that the look and feel of your newsletter match your brand and website
- Don’t make it difficult for users to unsubscribe from your mailers
- Do use a call to action in your newsletters. Examples would be: “Click Here to Read More”; “Click Here to Receive Your Discount Code” or “Enter Our Competition Here.”
- Don’t rent or buy email lists. Let users opt in on their own
- Don’t forget to add a subscribe box on your website
10 Online Marketers To Watch In 2018
The more diverse your sources of news and inspiration, the better. These ten people can help get you there.
Online marketing requires experience, creativity and a working knowledge of the latest trends and technologies necessary to stay competitive in the modern landscape. And while there aren’t any shortcuts to gain more experience, there is a convenient way to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and get inspiration for your creative campaigns.
That way? Following and paying attention to the best, smartest marketers in the industry.
With 2018 just getting started, I wanted to list some of my favourite marketing influencers, some of the most influential experts in the industry and some of the most promising creative minds to pay attention to this year:
The Best Conversion Rate Optimisation Tips To Help You Grow Your Business
Whether you’re the owner of a company, or an online blogger, knowing conversion rate optimisation techniques will help you immensely.
Conversion rate optimisation, otherwise known as CRO, is a 21st-century way to turn visitors to your website or blog into followers of your information or customers of your product or service.
Therefore, whether you’re the owner of a company, or an online blogger, knowing conversion rate optimisation techniques will help you immensely.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO?
Internet marketing, or what some people call online marketing, is promoting your product or service on the Internet through the digital channels available. Driving traffic is to your website or blog is hard, but it’s something you need to do in order to sell your product or service, so the last thing you want is to leave money on the table.
Traditionally, from the traffic you drive to your blog or website, a percentage of that traffic will become your customers or followers.
CRO is conversion optimisation strategies that puts a focus on your blog or website to determine what small or big changes need to be made to convert as many of your visitors as possible.
It’s the classic case of not working harder, but smarter.
Changes such as a new headline, new sales copy, a different coloured CTA (Call-to-Action) button, and more, are tested for effectiveness. This helps you take out all the guesswork and make changes that are proven to convert more sales.
Techniques such as A/B testing, where you create two different landing pages and send the same amount of traffic to each, is one example.
At the end of the day, the version that receives the most conversion is the one you would choose. A site with significant traffic may successfully test over a shorter time. On the other hand, in order to get accurate data, a site with a smaller amount of traffic will likely need more time than a larger one for testing.
What Happens When You Convert More Visitors Into Customers?
It’s a no brainer, when you convert visitors into clients and customers, your sales increase, and that’s the number one goal of any company or business. CRO can help you grow your business by receiving the same amount of traffic that you’re currently receiving.
Technically that means that you can make more sales without having to spend more money on marketing.
That also means that you’re not focused on the number of traffic you pull in with a mind on percentages, but rather focused on making the most of the traffic you currently have which makes the most of your marketing efforts.
Not Utilising CRO Means You Are Leaving Money on The Table
Let’s say you’re a small company with a goal of R50,000 a month in revenue. Your job is to turn a percentage of your visitors into customers. Without the correct conversion rate optimisation strategies, you’re looking strictly at numbers. You find that 1,000 visitors turn into 50 customers with a revenue of R20,000, which is R30,000 away from your goal.
Without the correct CRO strategies in place, you would work to increase the number of visitors to your site. However, with CRO, you implement e-commerce CRO tips that result in those 1,000 visitors turning into 125 customers. That brings you to your R50,000 goal. Without performing conversion rate optimisation, you’ve left R30,000 on the table.
Now that you’ve reduced your cost per acquisition, or what you pay per sale or click or form submit, you can either invest more in advertising or just bank the profits. Now that you understand what conversion rate optimisation is all about, let’s have a look at some of the best strategies that can help you take your business to a whole new level.
20 Of The Best CRO Strategies
You can spend loads of money on a fancy website or blog, but if it isn’t converting correctly, you’re losing customers and sales. That’s why conversion rate optimisation is becoming the number one priority with websites and blogs in the 21st-century.
1. Create an Effective Headline
If you are trying to convert visitors into followers or customers from a specific post, then your headline is one of the most important elements. It’s not there for a hard sell; it’s there to draw your potential customers to your site so that they’ll check out your product or service.
Your headline must show people what benefit they will receive from using what you have to offer.
Keep changing up those headlines till you find a strategy that works.
2. Reduce Huge Blocks of Text with Bullet Points
The way you present the content on your website is crucial. Give a potential customer too much information, and they’ll leave your site with eyes glazed over. Any material you present should be not only easy to understand but short and to the point. One of the best ways to do that is with bullet points.
Bullet points create an organised presentation that keeps potential customers interested.
3. Include Your Contact Information
Significant changes can be done to your website or blog to increase conversions, but so can small ones. Include your contact information on your site or blog. This shows that you’re accountable and don’t mind being contacted, which can lead to customer trust and eventually sales. Include your phone number, email address, and even your mailing address.
4. Replace Phony Stock Photos
You know what a phony stock photo looks like. It’s the kind that you purchase from stock photo sites, and they’re the kind that you often see at more than one website. These types of photos look phony, and they reduce your credibility. Replace fake-looking stock photos with professional, unique photos or good quality photos that you’ve taken.
For example, instead of using a stock photo model with a cheesy grin, use a picture of one of your employees.
5. Use a Pop-Up Form
One effective way to convert visitors into followers and subscribers is a pop-up form. When visitors come to your side, a form pops up that encourages them to leave their name and email address, or just their email address, to become a subscriber. When you have a list of subscribers, you can then turn them into customers through newsletters, emails, etc.
6. Eliminate Unneeded Form Fields
A website or blog that is not user-friendly when it comes to form fields may not translate to customer conversion. A form field is where your customers type in their information. What is the bare minimum of customer information that you need? You ask for the name, but do you also need the company name, for example, or can you do without having a customer type that in?
7. Remove Automatic Image Sliders
Images that flash before your eyes automatically may look attractive, but automatic image sliders have been proven to create banner blindness and therefore, reduce conversion. Use static images instead.
8. Include Videos
Videos have proven to be effective in drawing visitors and turning them into customers. If your site sells fishing products, for example, include a video of an expert fisherman using one of your fishing poles. Make sure the video is no more than two to three minutes long and be sure to put one on your landing page.
9. Make Your Call-To-Action Button Pop
Here is another strategy that seems small but that may prove to be very effective. Alter your call-to-action or CTA button. For example, is it more efficient for your button to say “Download Now” rather than “Buy Now”? Is it better for your CTA button to be a bright red rather than a navy blue? By testing changes to your call-to-action button, you can determine if such a change will be effective.
10. Limit Your Call-To-Actions
If you have one call-to-action button on your website, that’s a wise choice. Too many call-to-actions can confuse potential customers and turn them off from your site. Put your focus on one effective call-to-action.
11. Have You Included the Word “Free”?
If there’s one thing that people love, it’s free stuff. What can you offer potential customers that are free?
For example, let’s say you sell psychic readings. Offer your potential clients a 10-minute free reading and display the offer prominently on the front page of your site. Chances are you’ll get a lot of conversions for your niche. Once you’ve drawn in customers with the free deal, you can better bring them to your paid services.
12. Match Your Landing Page to Your Ad
When your ad matches your landing page, the colour co-ordination and organisation can translate to conversions. In addition to the colour, the copy you use on your ad should match, in some way, with your landing page. So, when you draw potential customers to your ad, you gently move them to your landing page with no sharp differences.
13. Incorporate Trust Seals on Your Checkout Page
If there’s one thing that draws customers to a product or service, it’s trust. Incorporating trust seals on your checkout page and other places on your website is an excellent way to show that you are legitimate and to increase conversions.
For example, if you are offering dental products, a seal from a trusted dental association helps with customer trust.
14. Convey a Sense of Urgency
When you are promoting a product or service letting your potential customers know that a particular price will end soon, or that a product or service will only be offered for a limited, time greatly helps with conversion.
For example, let’s say yours is a site that sells cookware and you’re providing a crock-pot at a temporarily discounted price.
You would display on your blog or website a photo of the crock pot, along with content and possibly a video, and you would show the price and when the price ends.
15. Give Them a Money-Back Guarantee
There will always be a percentage of customers who are on the fence about your product or service. So how do you get them over that hump and create a conversion? One way is to offer a money-back guarantee and to display it where it can be seen.
Keep in mind that it’s good to put a time limit on the money-back guarantee to something like 30 days or 60 days.
16. Include Live Chats
Many companies are adding live chat prominently on their websites to answer customer’s questions in real-time. This is an effective solution that can lead to conversions. It allows you to take care of all a client’s issues to lead them into a sale. Many companies utilise chat apps to help with this process.
17. Retarget Your Ads
There are large and small changes that can be made to your website to increase conversions, but changes to the way you’re handling your ads could be done as well. Retargeting customers, can help increase conversions period.
When visitors come to your site, you create a customised targeted ad to get to them as soon as they leave.
If a visitor has come to your cosmetic store looking for an eye shadow, when they leave your site you target them with an ad for a different eye shadow in your line. The goal is to keep a visitor engaged with your product or service while staying top of mind.
18. Give Them Free Shipping
Shipping costs for a product can often make or break a sale. So, if there’s one thing that can contribute to conversion, it’s free shipping. Let your customers know that shipping is not a cost that they have to concern themselves with.
If free shipping seems unaffordable for your company, work with ways to cover shipping costs with your product prices.
19. Include Real Testimonials With Photos
One of the best ways to instill confidence in your product or service is with real testimonials. Have customers write testimonials of 50 to 100 words about your product or service and include a photo of the customers next to their testimonials. Include their full name with their picture.
20. Get Customers to Share Their Purchases on Social Media
These days, almost all of your clients are likely to be on at least one social media site. Encourage them to share the purchases they’ve made of your products on social media, such as Instagram.
Every time a customer buys one of your products or your services, automatically give them an opportunity to share and talk about what they’ve bought with a user-friendly share process included on your site.
The sooner you work on conversion rate optimisation tips on your blog or website, the sooner you’ll be bringing in customers in the most efficient way.
Customers translate to profits and profits translate to a successful company or business. CRO takes time, but with patience, your website or blog will see vast improvement in conversions.
Implementing 2 Advanced Google AdWords Strategies
Find out how Dynamic Search Ads and Call-Only Campaigns can give you that competitive edge you need on Google AdWords.
Let’s explore two advanced Google AdWords campaign types: Dynamic Search Ads and Call-Only campaigns. Give these two campaign types a try. They’ll let you squeeze even more from your AdWords account.
Dynamic search ads (DSAS)
Dynamic search ads are magical keys to reaching your customers. And the best part? Using them is easy once you master the setup.
What Are DSAs?
Google knows it’s hard to keep your campaigns perfectly in sync with your website. If you have an e-commerce site with thousands of products changing regularly, it’s a chore to be constantly creating new keywords, new ad groups and new ads inside your AdWords account.
DSAs were created to fill this gap. They let you show ads to excellent prospects who might be searching for items you sell on your site even if you don’t have a corresponding keyword for them in your account.
Why should you set up a DSA?
As long as you set a low cost-per-click, dynamic search ads typically have a decent CPA and provide additional relevant traffic. They’re also great for research as you get to uncover new search terms that people are using to find your site. (You can use this intelligence after the fact to add new keywords to your account.)
Let’s say you’ve just started selling wrought-iron fire pits on your e-commerce site but you don’t have the keywords for them yet in your AdWords account. A new prospect – we’ll call her Kim – is currently online searching for this by name. Kim types it in verbatim: “wrought iron fire pits.”
If you have a DSA campaign set up, you’re in luck: Google instantly recognises that you sell these but don’t yet have keywords for the purpose. Thankfully, you don’t miss a beat with Kim – Google shows her your Dynamic ad, then she clicks, comes to your website and makes a purchase.
How do they work?
It starts with Google regularly scanning your website and keeping an index of all its pages. When you’re starting out, you can choose to point Google to your entire site – we recommend this for your first DSA campaign – although later on you can target specific categories within your site.
Google knows what keywords are in your account and, more importantly, what keywords are not there. This means they can make accurate judgments about when to step in and show your DSA ads.
When setting up DSAs, Google creates the headline and you write the description. They choose the final URL and you set the bid.
Here’s how to set up a DSA:
- Create a new campaign. One of the options you’ll see is to create a DSA campaign. We suggest not using that as it would limit your options further along. Instead, create a new Search campaign with “all features.” Your plan will be to only use DSAs inside that campaign.
- You’ll need at least one ad group to hold your DSAs, and one is typically enough if you’re just starting out.
- You still want to be split-testing, even though Google chooses your headline for you. So, create two different DSA ads with different body copy in each.
- Choose the target. Start with the “all webpages” default. Save the advanced targeting for later.
- Add in ad extensions just as you would for a regular campaign.
Ongoing management of your DSA
Review your data. Keep an eye on the search queries Google chooses, particularly in the first few days. This lets you add any new negative keywords that you don’t want your ads shown for. And it’s a good way to identify and add new keywords you hadn’t yet thought of for other functioning campaigns. (You can add these new keywords as negatives in your DSA campaign, which forces that keyword traffic over to new campaigns in your account. Your DSA campaigns won’t be affected.)
These allow you to create search ads where Google shows your phone number rather than a headline. As such, they only show on mobile devices capable of making calls.
A person clicks on your ad, which starts the process of calling your business directly from their mobile, rather than taking them to your site.
Why use call-only?
Call-only campaigns force people to call your phone number rather than visit your site. If generating more phone calls is high priority for your business, call-only campaigns are worth testing.
How to set up call-only campaigns
Setup is simple. You can create a new campaign from scratch or just copy your existing search campaigns and change the ad type. Replace regular ads with call-only ads.
Tip: Google wants to see individual ad groups with a reasonable number of impressions at the ad group level. So a small number of ad groups with more keywords in each one – generating more impressions per ad group – will work better for call-only campaigns.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com
Start-up Industry Specific4 months ago
How Do I Start A Transport Or Logistics Business?
Snapshots8 years ago
Habari Media: Adrian Hewlett
Snapshots9 months ago
27 Of The Richest People In South Africa
Types of Businesses to Start8 months ago
11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas
Entrepreneur Profiles4 months ago
10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing
Types of Businesses to Start5 months ago
10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!
Lessons Learnt2 years ago
6 Of The Most Profitable Small Businesses In South Africa
Support for Women Entrepreneurs8 months ago
10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family