Article | March 11, 2021
Depending on what industry you’re in, you might suddenly find yourself with a little more time on your hands than usual. Time for some DIY marketing? Sure, why not?
I’ve been talking to a lot of companies who are focusing on marketing right now. Yes, really. When we get back to “real life” – or whatever the new “real life” is going to look like – they want to be ready to hit the ground running. Smart.
Not all marketing projects are suitable for DIY, though.
DIY marketing: 4 projects better left to the pros
Let’s make sure you don’t waste time or money (definitely not money!) on these four projects. Call a professional for help.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
There are two kinds of SEO – SEO lite and SEO for realz. I’ve written about SEO lite before, though I haven’t called it that. You can do very basic keyword research for your blog to understand what keywords people are searching for.
SEO for realz is much deeper than that. “Real” SEO optimizes your entire website for search based on the best keywords for your company. It is based on many factors, such as what your current ranking is; what keywords you are ranking well for; what keywords are competitive versus less competitive; etc.
Once all that research is done – using special tools that I couldn’t even name without Googling it – each page of your website is optimized. It’s a whole process. Depending on how big your website is, it can take a long time.
Needless to say, proper SEO that actually helps you rank for the keywords you want to be found for requires an expert. And not just someone who says they’re an expert, but someone who has a track record.
I have mentioned Google AdWords exactly once in all of my blog posts, and when I did mention it, this is what I said:
“This is not an area of expertise for us, so my advice is to work with a company that specializes in it (and has proven results).”
Google AdWords is nothing like social ads. It’s about as far from a DIY marketing project as you can get.
First, it is an auction. Instead of bidding on a painting or lamp, you bid on keywords. Cost and placement depend on the competitiveness of the keywords you're bidding for.
Here’s how bidding works (courtesy of Wordstream):
The actual position of your ad is determined by your ad rank (Maximum Bid times Quality Score). The highest ad rank gets the 1st ad position. Your actual CPC (cost per click) will be determined by the ad rank of the next highest ad below you divided by your Quality Score. The only exception of this rule is when you are the only bidder or the lowest bid in the Google Ads auction; then you pay your maximum bid per click! AdWords bidding heavily penalizes advertisers who bid with low quality scores. Conversely, those with high Quality Scores get higher ad ranks and lower CPC.
Are your eyes glazed over? Yeah, me too. As you read above, you also need to meet certain Quality Scores for this to work.
Second, you need keywords that are relevant to your company. If the best keywords are too expensive, you might be tempted to bid on less relevant keywords, which could be a waste of money.
Third, writing ad copy that converts is the hardest type of copywriting out there. Trust me.
Web design and development
SquareSpace, WIX and other web builders are DIY marketing dream tools for small businesses that just need a basic, no-nonsense website. These platforms are built specifically for non-web designers and developers, and therefore they are pretty easy to use.
A custom website that includes a lot of functionality is not a DIY project. What do I mean by “a lot” of functionality?
Think about a membership site or online learning site. Those require a member portal, dashboard, chat function, resource library that supports videos or audio, learning modules, module tracking/grading, etc.
Then there are companies who want a custom design, not necessarily custom functionality. These sites use unique fonts, scripts, graphics and art. They’re the ones that make you stop in your track (OK, maybe that only happens to me, but believe me – these are the sites you notice).
Anyway, my point is: a custom website is NOT a DIY marketing project.
Lead generation strategy
A lead generation strategy requires you to hunt down new opportunities in new places. How can you be expected to spot a lizard in the jungle when you’ve only ever looked for ants in a desert?
A great lead generation strategy requires an outside, objective perspective. Heck, I don’t even do my own lead generation strategy – I hire someone (Nicole at SocialLight) to do it for me.
When a pro does the strategy for you, he or she might uncover:
Completely new audiences – or new segments within existing audiences
Messages, offers, products or services that will better resonate with your target markets
Different communication channels to use
Topics that your target market cares about most
When to reach your target market (and how often to reach out)
You can’t be expected to uncover all of this, and you won’t be able to do it as quickly as an expert.
So remember: when in doubt, turn to an expert – especially for these four projects.
Article | March 11, 2021
To ensure a strong customer experience for all your marketing initiatives, it’s important to take a couple of steps backward to move forward. Building a strong foundation of customer-centric messaging, content development, campaign design, and channel distribution requires investing time and resources into three essential steps: buyer persona development, customer journey alignment, and conducting a content audit.
Article | March 11, 2021
Collaboration is at the heart of Agile, and we’ve all experienced the benefits of face-to-face conversation as the best means of conveying information. In SAFe we take this to the next level with PI Planning, a face-to-face event for all members of the ART to align to a shared mission and vision.
Article | March 11, 2021
It has been over a year since retailers were forced to temporarily shut their doors or put in place restrictions to limit the in-store experience. Now, as we return to some semblance of normality, it’s essential that trust and brand value are retained for those operating a digital-only presence.
In this article, Nate Burke, CEO at Diginius, discusses how brands have effectively kept customers engaged, consequently building trust and brand value in the process, and what techniques to use while navigating the next steps of the pandemic.
As I write this, physical retail and outdoor hospitality are feeling a little more rejuvenated after welcoming customers back. My inbox and notification centre are full of alerts from brands offering high street discounts and incentives for scanning an app in-store. This is a prime example of how fast and timely brands need to be in order to capture their customers’ attention when trends and circumstances change.
It’s also a great example of how essential communication and marketing techniques are in building trust and creating brand value. While I might not be one to rush back to high street stores so soon, I do feel reassured and excited by these messages. And nothing could be more important at a time like this.
It’s a reminder that these shops are still there and are prepared to welcome customers back in. After all, if they’ve had time to plan and create a whole marketing campaign around the event, I can only hope their efforts towards a safe reopening have been given just as much thought and attention.
Digital tactics like those mentioned above have only ramped up during the course of the pandemic, where remote communication and at-distance offerings have been the only touch points between brands and consumers. And of course, this hasn’t been without challenge.
It’s human nature for us to trust and find greater value in something we can see for ourselves in person. Traditionally, brands have been able to create this through in-store experiences where customers know they can see products and services in action and are able to interact with staff and experts should there be any concerns. While digital channels do offer their own set of benefits, meeting these innate human needs is not one of them.
So, in a bid to retain consumer trust amid the uncertainty of forced closures, measures and constantly changing restrictions, we’ve seen a number of effective strategies from brands. Regular push notifications and email communications just scratch the surface. These tactics are a great way to generate instant response, whether it’s a brand reminder, an update on important changes or simply an alert of a new deal in an attempt to drive website traffic.
By now, it’s a known fact that personalised messages generate better results. And these forms of digital communication can certainly be personalised with little effort on the brand’s part. Whether it's a mass email with a tailored first name field, or an app alert that is sent as a restriction lifts - both feel personal and as though they have been sent by a real individual who knows who you are and understands the context of a situation.
But today’s customers need and expect more. These tactics have been used for years, and the sensitivity of the pandemic has called for a more human approach in terms of marketing and customer service. And that’s exactly what many successful brands have been doing.
While driving traffic to a website is important, it’s the service on offer once a customer lands on a page that makes the difference when it comes to building trust and brand value, and ultimately, converting. It’s all about translating the human in-store experience online.
For example, we’ve seen greater focus and uptake in live chat features on websites, with this now being an expected function for over half of consumers. Through such features, customers expect to be able to talk to a real person on the side of the screen who is able to understand their queries and responsively provide a solution.
Companies such as Currys PC World have taken this one step further, and now offer a ‘Shop Live’ feature that enables customers to video call a real sales representative who can help them with their purchase. In this way, brands are able to bridge the gap between themselves and their consumers, even in a time of social distancing. And as a result, are able to retain trust, while also adding value to their brand through the out of the box and supportive offering.
Other tactics have included offering incentives that encourage repeat purchases. For example, many online retailers offer unlimited next day delivery subscription services, whereby a one off higher yearly fee provides access to a year's worth of free delivery. With the delay between placing an order and it then arriving, as well as delivery fees being some of the biggest deterring factors from online purchases, the incentive has been incredibly effective in increasing loyalty. That feeling of the brand also offering you a better deal is also a great way to build trust, so even though a brand might be increasing the cost it incurs for delivery, the value of a repeating customer and their advocacy hold much more weight.
In this sense, it’s all about how a brand and its offerings are perceived by customers. And another sure fire way of improving brand perceptions is through PPC tactics. Anyone operating in ecommerce knows how competitive the market is. Ensuring your brand is seen above competitors is key in driving awareness and trust, as ultimately, a higher ranking and greater visibility reflect positively on a brand’s trustworthiness.
Clearly, there are a number of ways in which businesses can adapt and improve their offerings in order to encourage trust and add value. Of course, implementing all of these changes will be wasteful for budgets and not necessarily effective for every brand. Therefore, it’s important that you understand your market and customers, which can prove a challenge as things continue to constantly change as they have been.
But a solution may not be too hard to find. Insight software has advanced just as fast as these markets and customer behaviours. Therefore, with the right tools on your side, you can monitor shifts in the market in real time and adjust your offerings in response.
For example, if data shows you receive more website traffic at certain times, it may be an option to increase the number of customer service staff operating the live chat function during those periods in order to minimise waiting times and improve customer experience.
These tools can also help you decide which channels to focus PPC efforts on depending on those your customers visit most often. Using this data, you can then allocate budget accordingly, ensuring wasted spend is minimised while results are maximised. For example, during the pandemic, the figures were showing a greater uptake in use of marketplaces such as Amazon, as well as social commerce channels, including Instagram. If businesses understood this in real time, aided by collaborative commerce software such as VTEX, they may have been able to optimise their performance by increasing their PPC activity and consequently, visibility and status on such platforms.
Ultimately, commerce is facing a period of significant uncertainty that is having an effect on both customers and businesses alike. Regardless of whether stores are open or closed, customer behaviours and needs are constantly changing to keep up. And brands need to understand that how they communicate their messages and offerings is vital in retaining trust and brand value.
It’s evident that a humanistic approach is prevailing, as that is one thing that will never change. But as digital channels take centre stage, it all comes down to how a brand is able to translate its personable approach online. While there are a number of innovative methods brands are using to appear more human on online channels, using the tools and data available is key to ensuring activities help rather than hinder a business.
And in this way, not only will brands be able to retain trust and brand value, but they will be building on it too.