Marketing can be expensive but A/B testing is crucial. If you’re a small or medium-sized business, you need to know that your limited budget and resources are being directed into a practice that will deliver the best Return On Investment (ROI). Read more
The internet will constantly tell you that print is dead. That newspaper and magazine ads have had their day, and you should focus all of your efforts and budget into your online presence and digital ads. In fact, more and more brands are pulling out of the print arena altogether. Should you, too?
Hold On Just a Second
We might now be offered more ways to consume media than ever before, but there’s still power in print. Here’s our top five reasons why, in a digital word, print still has its place.
Digital advertising may be quicker, cheaper and easier to measure, but there’s just something about being able to hold a newspaper you’ve just bought in your hands and actually owning it. Print simulates the senses, leading to a greater audience attachment than a fleeting digital ad. High-quality imagery and luxurious paper can also both contribute to a more premium feel, differentiating you from competitors, which can be difficult to achieve digitally – the web is arguably a more equal landscape for marketers.
And that tangible power isn’t limited to just an hour, or even a day; newspapers, magazines, direct mail pieces and flyers can all stay present in your customer’s homes or offices for years, to be read again and again long after a digital ad has disappeared.
Print also gives you, to a degree, greater control over every aspect of your marketing. With flyers and direct mail pieces , or example, you can decide on everything from the thickness and GSM of the specific paper to whether you want a matte or gloss effect.
Similarly, the nature of print ads mean you have complete power over the format, colour and style you want your ad to take. All of these things can further cement your brand message and identity. You can also choose to buy ad space in contextually relevant areas, or position your ad in publications which showcase the values that you yourself would like to reflect. If you would like be perceived as more of a luxury brand, for example, ads placed in higher-end publications would help you to achieve this association.
In the same way, print advertising allow you to intensify your brand awareness in certain geographical areas. For example, if your research highlights a lack of salience in the South, you might choose to target London specific publications and newspapers in order to remedy this.
The web can be a dark and scary place, full of ads, popups and spam. One wrong click can mean downloading a virus which completely wipes out your system.
In comparison, print is reassuringly safe and predictable, carrying with it a sense of credibility. If something’s made it into print, it will have had some vetting, quality assurance and budget behind it, meaning it’s much more likely to have come from a real and credible company. On the internet, there’s really no way to tell. A study from internet security provider Adblock Plus found that a colossal 93% of people don’t trust online ads.
Print breeds trust and authenticity, and can therefore result in a high conversion rate of quality leads. In a study by Print Power, a reported 63% attached trust print media, compared to just 25% for the internet. This just goes to re-emphasise the fact that while newspapers and print have been around for many years, the internet is still finding its feet.
Targeting and Engagement
Magazines, especially trade magazines, have very specific and niche demographics meaning you can more accurately target your ad than you can online. As consumers also select and purchase the print media they consume, they’re often more immersed and engaged in its content than they are online; where they tend to click on a whim and skim-read.
When a consumer chooses to purchase and actively take time out of their day to read a publication, rather than let information wash over them as they do on the internet, you tap into a much more actively engaged customer.
As mentioned earlier, more and more companies are focusing their advertising efforts purely online. This means there is much less competition out in the print market, giving your ad more of a chance to shine. The fewer ads there are, the more a consumer will pay attention to the ones that are there.
If you doubt the power of print alone, options such as vanity URLs and QR codes allow you to bridge the gap between print and digital. When scanned using a smartphone, a QR code can be used to fetch a specific landing page targeted to your customer base.
Generally speaking, the best way to market your business and increase your share of voice is to market your brand using as many different channels as you can. It’s about finding that perfect media mix that works both for your demographic and your budget.
One thing is for sure: print isn’t dead. There’s still a place for newspaper and magazine advertising in your marketing strategy. Print makes it ways into people’s homes, becomes part of their day, and provides that initial first contact and inspiration that leads them online and to your website. When combined with other forms of media, print is a power to be reckoned with for your brand.
Find out more about how you can use print to your advantage. Call us and find out more about our print design and print buying services.
Forming strategic alliances with other brands can be a cost-effective and mutually beneficial way to both market your business and produce content. Brand collaboration can take many forms; from actively promoting each other on social media, to co-branding and launching a new product.
Given its many benefits, it’s no wonder this idea is becoming more and more popular. In fact, more than 60% of start-ups and small businesses are now working together to find new customers.
Are you considering brand collaboration? If so, make sure you read our five top tips first to find out if it’s right for your business, and how you might benefit.
Be True To Your Brand…
Say you’re a health foods company. You’re approached by a large confectionery manufacturer who is interested in working with you. The exposure and brand awareness you’d receive off the back of the project would be significant. Do you start a brand collaboration?
In this instance, the partnership would most likely be ineffective due to a lack of brand fit. The values and image of a health foods company and those of a confectionery company are probably not closely aligned, making content creation and marketing difficult. A real life example of this was when McDonald’s was announced as a partner for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. With such different brand values, many found the partnership confusing and inauthentic (the fast food chain was accused of misleading people into thinking their food was healthy by public health advocates. Read more at Olympic Sponsors Were Warned About Sochi; Now McDonald’s and Coca-Cola Are Having a PR Nightmare )
The most effective brand collaborations occur when the brands in question naturally complement each other, but are not direct competitors. This way you are likely to have the same demographic, a similar tone of voice and desire to project the same message. The partnership between Innocent Drinks and vegetable box company Rocket Gardens is an example of good brand fit – they worked together to help teach children about eating healthily in 2012.
…But Don’t Be Afraid to Be Bold
While it’s important to stay true to your brand and work with partners who both you and your customers see as a natural brand fit, don’t let that restrict your potential candidates to a just a few companies. It’s worthwhile to think about the future of your brand and the direction you’d like it to take five years down the line, as well as the image it has now.
Bottled water manufacturer Evian represents a brand who was bold enough to think out of the box – and it paid off. They collaborated with French designer Courreges to promote the label’s 50th anniversary. Although fashion and water aren’t a pairing that immediately springs to mind, the partnership worked to enhance Evian’s image as sophisticated and classic.
Identify Your Weaknesses
Brand fit isn’t the only thing you need to consider before choosing a brand to partner with. You’ll also want to audit your marketing and content activity to identify any areas where you’re weak, or haven’t managed to garner a huge following.
For example, you may have been concentrating on a select number of social media outlets and as a result, don’t have a presence on Pinterest. Identifying a brand who has a lot of activity and followers on this platform would be beneficial in widening your reach and getting your name out to new audiences. The impact on your marketing here would be much more effective than simply shouting again into an arena where you are already making a lot of noise.
Similarly, you may also choose to associate yourself with a brand who has certain values you would like to market yourself as having; but that you don’t necessarily have already. Think back to the health foods example – this brand could partner with a sportswear manufacturer, benefitting from the association with fitness as well as good nutrition.
Keep Your Customer Front of Mind
To help guide your decisions on what might be a good brand fit for you, always try to keep the best interests of your customers’ as your top priority. Looking through their eyes will help you filter what is a good fit and what isn’t.
Consider what other brands your customers may interact with or show interest in. Social media is a great place to research this, and surveys are also an informative route to take.
Invest Time Into Your Collaboration
For your partnership to be successful, you need to build a strong and profitable relationship with your brand partner. A collaboration is not something to be left simmering away in the background of your marketing landscape; you’re likely to get out exactly what you put in.
It’s key to spend some time at the beginning of your agreement fleshing out exactly what both parties stand to gain from the partnership, as well as the expectations you may have. Make sure you’re both clear on how success will be measured, so you can track how you are doing at any given time.
Agree who will be responsible for what. If you are creating a lot of content, both brands need to be clear whose remit certain tasks fall under in order to avoid any disputes (and delays) further down the line. A successful partnership is one that has been effectively and extensively planned; not one that has popped up overnight.
If you’re looking to get involved in brand collaboration but you think your brand needs a review and rework then get in touch with Clever Marketing now.
In your first few years of business, everything can seem a bit overwhelming. You’ve built your company from the ground up and acquired a small but loyal client base, but now people are telling you that you need to market yourself, too. Where do you start?
To help make things a little simpler, we’ve broken down the main marketing activity you’ll want to be doing into four key areas: digital, strategy, design and print. Welcome to your beginner’s marketing toolkit – a quick reference guide on how to build your strengths in each area and start effectively marketing yourself.
Digital marketing is an ever-growing and changing discipline, and when you first start to build an online presence it can seem like a huge and impossible task. Don’t worry – it’s easier than it looks.
Start with the basics. Having a simple but well-built website is essential these days for marketing yourself online. You can build a perfectly respectable site using free platforms such as WordPress or Blogger, but if you’ve set aside a budget for web development it’s definitely worth having your site professionally designed. Outsourcing your website build frees up your time to concentrate on other areas, and also ensures you get a slick and professional-looking site at the end of the process.
Once you have a website you’re happy with, the next thing to do is to optimise it for search engines – a practice commonly known as SEO. Designing your site with search engines like Google in mind will result in better rankings on search results pages. Before you start looking at things likePPC (pay per click) advertising, start by doing some simple keyword research to find out what kind of things people are searching for in relation to your industry. Choose the main ones to focus on and work them into the copywriting on your site.
The next step is to build up your presence on social media. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are particularly beneficial for brand advertising. But what do you post, and how often? Start small. Choose a couple of key platforms and plan a content schedule in advance. Establish a strong tone of voice, connect with others in your industry, and you’ll soon find your follower count increases.
Before plunging headfirst into the wonderful world of marketing, it’s important to build a comprehensive strategy to keep you on track. Your marketing activity needs to be in line with your overall business objectives in order to maximise your ROI.
Important steps to consider when outlining your marketing strategy include:
An audit of current marketing activity
Defining goals and objectives
Competitor and market analysis
Establishing key performance indicators and metrics to measure
Deciding on the kind of content marketing you want to produce, and its distribution
Your tone of voice, proposition and branding
Whether you choose to outsource your strategy or spend some time on it in-house, having a clear plan and set of objectives will help keep you focused as your marketing activity and collateral begins to grow.
The next step is to determine your branding, tone of voice and corporate literature. You might already have a clear vision of what you’d like your logo to be, or even designed it yourself – but it’s always a good idea to hire an outsourced or freelance designer to help you with this step. Your logo becomes the trademark of your business, and it’s what potential clients are going to judge you on for years to come. It needs to reflect both your personality and professionalism.
You corporate identity will be formed by several considerations: who are your customers? What have you got to offer them? It’s a good idea to create some brand guidelines detailing things like brand colours, phrases, tone of voice, and typography. Having this reference guide to hand will help your identity remain consistent across your communications, and is also an invaluable tool for any new members of staff or agencies you work with in helping them to get to grips with your business quickly.
Despite the rapid growth of digital marketing, print is still an important and worthwhile avenue for your marketing efforts. Once you have a solid strategy in place, a strong brand identity and a digital presence, you may find you’d like to expand into print supply and management for your marketing literature.
The type of collateral you create depends entirely on the kind of business you are, as well as your budget. Flyers, brochures, direct mail pieces, corporate branded items and print ads are all areas where you might wish to invest time and effort.
Choose one agency that offers a complete print management solution to keep your costs streamlined and communications aligned. If you don’t have a background in print, you need to feel confident your chosen agency can translate your ideas into a high quality and effective reality.
Here at Hampshire SEO & digital agency Clever Marketing, we specialise in providing digital, design, print and strategic marketing services.
If you want to play ball with the top dogs of marketing, you need to look at their tactics. One method which has become increasingly popular in recent years with companies of all sizes is marketing automation. Read more
As a marketing professional, you’ll know that Twitter has long outgrown its original identity as a platform exclusively for celebrities, and has transformed into a powerful marketing tool for brands. Having gone from strength to strength in its eight year lifespan, an impressive 500 million tweets are now sent on an average day. It’s obvious that Twitter isn’t going anywhere, and brands who are yet to embrace it are missing key promotional opportunities.
Don’t run the risk of falling behind – if you’re unsure about how to make Twitter work successfully for you and your business, here are our top three tips.
Define Your Strategy
Twitter, and social media as a whole, is fairly new medium and for this reason brands are still figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
There’s a growing amount of literature on the web about how Twitter can work for businesses, but what most observers miss is the importance of drawing up your strategy before plunging headfirst into the wonderful world of Twitter.
As the format involves posting quick updates of 140 characters, it might seem that tweeting is pretty straightforward, but there are many different ways you can use Twitter to your advantage.
For example, your yearly professional goal might be to build a digital presence, get your brand voice out into the industry, and promote certain products and services. This is the most common way to use Twitter, and can be achieved most effectively through engaging with your community and industry.
Another, underrated and less talked about way to use Twitter, is to listen. There is much to be learned from what people are talking about and sharing. Stripping back your own noise and always having an ear to the ground can inform you as to what content might work the best for your followers, which leads us on to our next point.
Listen to your Customers
Twitter provides so many great opportunities as a platform due to its sheer scale. Most of your customers are probably using it already – you just need to find them. As you build a captive community, take the opportunity to pay attention to what they have to say not only about your brand, but about your industry, their needs, desires and bug bears in general. Use these learnings to inform future output.
Whether or not you choose to use your Twitter platform as a customer service tool, it can provide another touch-point for your customers to get to know your brand better and also interact with you. Make sure you engage with your followers, start meaningful discussions and always reply to tweets and direct mails – especially in the beginning. Talking to your customers makes you more accessible and relatable. Promoting others also helps you to create trust.
However, always make sure you keep conversations and output professional. Twitter is social and fun, but remember that your account is professional rather than personal. Everything you say and do reflects on your business, so be polite and courteous and never get involved in any confrontation. Resist engaging with things that have only a tenuous link to your company – you’ll gain the most valuable followers by keeping all communications on-brand.
Think Like a Human
This might seem like an odd one, but what a lot of companies forget when they’re crafting their social strategy or promoting themselves on Twitter is that customers want to know they’re talking to a person, rather a company. No one wants to be consistently sold to or have messages shoved down their throat, especially not in this kind of social setting. People use Twitter to keep up with their friends and to see what’s going on around the world. Sales messages can look embarrassingly out of context, so leave them to your other channels.
In essence, joining Twitter is all about joining a conversation. Focus on building a voice and identity that’s true to your brand, and which will also make a user want to follow you in order to gain access to more of your content. Mix up subtly promotional tweets about your company with general observations and comments on your industry. This will make you appear an expert in your given area, and will also help you build up contacts and relationships in your industry.
In a similar way constantly evaluate the quality, quantity and success of your output in terms of shares, retweets and favourites. If you’re not performing as well as you’d hoped, look holistically at the type of content you’re posting. Share news from sites other than your own, host giveaways and interactive posts, join in popular topics and lean toward multimedia where possible – pictures and videos are more immediately engaging and can be used to promote your activity on other channels such as Instagram.
Above all, remember that Twitter is a social tool. Keep it light, keep it relevant, and keep it fun, and you’ll soon see the kind of engagement and results you’re looking for.
Twitter is an important part of your marketing mix, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, feel free to use Surrey digital agency Clever Marketing as an extension of your business. We’ll manage your social media for you but we can also add SEO into the mix and push traffic to your website with well-managed PPC campaigns.
You’ll know by now that making your digital channel a success is about so much more than building a website. Social media has brought brands and consumers closer together than ever before – your audience now has access to multiple new touch-points with you, providing more opportunities to build up meaningful and profitable relationships. Led by Facebook, the number of social networks has grown considerably in recent years.
A study by Search Engine Journal found that 93% of marketers now use social media for business. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr… Should you be using all of them? How do you retain your brand identity across all of these disparate platforms, and what should you post where? The world of social media is complex and ever-changing, so here are five easy ways to integrate your digital marketing efforts across all of your social channels.
Develop Your Tone of Voice
If you’ve invested in and produced great content, it’s tempting to rush in and post it all at once on your social media channels.
But it’s worth putting in some planning and strategy beforehand. Firstly, ask yourself; why am I using social media? Is it to gain new fans, reward existing ones, or both? Your end goal will ultimately define the kind of content you’re posting, as well as the calls to action you’re putting forward. It’s also important to apply your brand guidelines on social platforms.
Social media may be new and fairly informal, however, it’s no less important to regulate your tone of voice on this channel than in your email or direct mail.
Think about the content you post, how you deliver it, and how that relates to your brand. Your business might have a voice that’s fun and colloquial or one that’s more informative and straight talking; either way, it needs to be genuine and appropriate.
Once you’ve chosen your tone of voice, stick to it across channels to form a cohesive identity.
Make sure that no matter what platform you’re using, an audience knows it’s you they’re talking to. Great examples of a distinctive tone of voice include Modcloth and Innocent.
Consistency and Contrast
Social media is easy; you simply post identical content across all platforms, right? Duplicating your content might get that message out to more people, but you’re also missing out on potential opportunities. While, as discussed above, it’s important to keep your tone of voice consistent to represent your brand and create a solid and recognisable identity, it’s also essential to consider the individual potential each platform offers. This might have to do with demographic, limitations and varying content types.
For example, Twitter moves quickly, which makes it ideal for posting rapid updates you accept won’t stay in people’s newsfeeds for long.
If you want to leave more of a lasting impression, such as the announcement of a massive product launch or a great new testimonial, Facebook might be your best bet. Facebook also allows you to post galleries of images, which your users can flick through at their leisure.
You’ll also need to consider which platforms are right for your brand. For example, if you provide computer software consultancy and your content output is mostly instructive and informative, Instagram might not be the not be the best arena in which to showcase it.
Build a Community
Not everyone uses the same platforms and, equally, not everyone uses them in the same way.
Distributing content across platforms allows you to access different pockets of customers on their own terms, in a space that is familiar to them. Some people love creating inspirational boards on Pinterest, while others might like to scroll through hundreds of tweets on their way to work.
Creating different content for each type of customer helps you to build strength in each area, contributing to a larger community across all channels. You can then bring this community into your website and ultimately, into your brand.
Having many different groups of consumers also offers you options for cross-promotion, also known as “cross-pollinating”. Use one social channel to promote another and build followers in both areas through linking and sharing. Instagram, for example, offers publishing options across platforms like Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to use the same content, just in a different way.
Keep your content balanced by also linking out to other third party websites so your social output doesn’t become a constant sales pitch.
Listen to Your Audience
The truth is, you don’t know which type of content is going to work best on one platform until you’ve tried it, which is why you should continually measure the performance of your social posts in terms of re-tweets, shares, impressions and overall reach.
Tracking these key metrics will help inform your strategy for the future.
By listening to and engaging with your audience, you will be able to build a responsive community that not only talks to you but to other social media users, too – acting as positive advocates for your brand.
If you need professional help in developing your own brand across multiple platforms then feel free to get in touch to secure our services now!
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