Article | March 4, 2020
Whether it’s Google PPC or Facebook, paid search has become an essential practice in B2B Marketing. On top of that, the B2B space is more saturated than ever. Think about it, how many project management tools are out there? CRM? Content marketing platforms? Influencer marketing platforms? This makes it harder than ever to stand out from the crowd, especially if you don’t have the spending power to buy thousands of dollars in PPC.
Article | January 12, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted brands and businesses in ways that we’d never have expected, but with everyone forced to adapt, it has left business owners with no choice but to rationalise and re-think their budgets.
Whether they’ve had to cut down, or change their focus, almost all companies will have been affected by the current economic influence of the world we are finding ourselves living in.
And Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at midlands-based influencer marketing agency, Influencer Matchmaker, explains where brands should be focusing their budgets and finances, and the positive impact this will generate.
Economic influence in 2021
As we enter lockdown 3.0, brands and businesses will once again be forced to adapt to new government guidelines and change the ways in which they operate.
And this economic influence has encouraged brands to re-think their finances and how to better spend their budgets.
Although it has been a difficult time for many, the pandemic has enabled brands to think more cautiously, allowed them to stay relevant and has thrust them into a digital-first world, which is the only way to move forwards.
Throughout 2020, it was proved just how important social media and online influencers really are. When the rest of the world stood still, the digital world kept on moving, and more importantly, earning.
So, if nothing else came from last year, the rapid decline in traditional advertising and the focus on social media and all thing’s digital, is enough to see exactly how 2021 will go.
Measuring the impact
Set to become a $15 billion industry by 2022, the influencer marketing industry is showing no signs of slowing down.
And with 63% of marketers intending to increase their influencer marketing budget for 2021, this proves just how successful this means of marketing really is.
Although slightly tricky when it comes to measuring metrics upon face value, influencer marketing is incredibly successful and creates truly impactful results.
By working with an influencer marketing agency, brands are able to be paired with an influencer that best suits their product, service and goals.
Influencer marketing allows brands to present their product or service to a targeted audience and in a more direct manner, too.
Not only that, but the results of all campaigns and activities are easy to track and monitor through the use of social media analytics. This allows brands, agencies and influencers to document the number of swipe up links, purchases made, views, likes, shares and other forms of impressions and engagement.
ROI (Return on Investment)
Influencers can generate impressive ROI (return on investment) for brands, whatever it is they may be trying to achieve. From increasing brand awareness and generating sales, to growing social media followings and reach, social media influencers are fully equipped to do just that.
And with industry expertise, experience and insight, an agency is likely to have access to the all-important data you need to ensure you are paired with the perfect influencer and receive the desired results.
Many business owners aren’t entirely sure where they should be spending their budgets, or even how to rationalise them, and by working with an agency, they will receive expert advice on where to spend their money to ensure effective results.
Although brands should specify what they would like to focus on in terms of ROI, when working with an influencer, brands will naturally benefit from a variety of other aspects, too – making it more cost effective than traditional advertising methods.
Customer retention and loyalty are huge benefits of working with an influencer. When done effectively, marketing campaigns can make consumers brand loyal, putting brands in great stead against competitors.
For example, many consumers are loyal to Hello Fresh. And whilst they effectively do the same, or similar job to that of a supermarket, it is their marketing efforts that put them one step ahead. By providing their customers with recipe cards, precise ingredients which limit food waste, and information on cost-per-person per meal, this is much more appealing and suits the needs of many.
And with that being said, many consumers are now striving towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. So, when presented with opportunities to limit waste, in any capacity, this will usually be taken without much further thought – which is why brands such as Hello Fresh have done so well.
Similarly, sustainability is another factor that has contributed to the decline in print advertising and the rise in digital consumption, as consumers are now able to receive the same information online without any damaging effects to the environment.
Now, more than ever before, brands and businesses are making a more conscious effort to spend their money wisely. And understandably, want to use the most cost-effective methods available to them.
2020 proved the worth of social media influencers and just how beneficial they can be for brands.
And with traditional advertising methods becoming more and more outdated, it has also become apparent that they are often more costly, too.
Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the cost of influencer marketing, it does prove to be extremely cost effective, with research showing that businesses make an estimated 600% return for every £1 spent on influencer marketing.
The art of storytelling and human-to-human interaction
With influencer marketing, it is much more than simply selling a product. Influencers have spent years building trust and creating a tribe with the community that follows them.
Social media influencers are a new branch of storytellers, implementing an element of human-to-human interaction, as opposed to human-to-brand.
Matt Hayes, Managing Director of midlands-based brand agency Champions (UK) plc, is a firm believer in building brand love and brand trust and explains that emotion should be at the heart of every campaign.
He said, “We’re living in an era that is centred around emotion and building connections, and that shouldn’t be any different when it comes to creating a campaign.
When buying into a product or service, consumers simply look for a connection and a sense of relatability. And by utilising the power of emotion, brands will achieve trust and form that all-important bond.
Without that, brands are nothing more than a commodity, competing on price alone. And influencer marketing holds the power to unlock all of this, and more.”
With social media usage on the rise and with research showing that approximately 82% of users have increased their social media consumption since the beginning of the pandemic, this shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
And with brands seeking to find new ways to become digital-first, many are finding it hard to stay relevant and keep up.
If you’re looking to rationalise your budget and remain at the forefront of consumer’s minds, then influencer marketing could be for you.
Article | December 13, 2020
One of the greatest changes we have seen with virtual selling is the inevitable change in meeting location. No longer in a traditional office setting, location is now entirely dependent upon each participant’s environment and choice. This can range anywhere from your kitchen table to the captain’s seat on the Starship Enterprise. The choice is yours, so choose wisely.
Your background makes a strong statement about you. You are quite literally projecting an image, whether professional or otherwise, to your customer. So make sure that your real or virtual background supports that image by being neat and clutter free, well-lit, and perhaps with a spark of personality.
Real vs. Virtual Backgrounds
Virtual selling offers a whole new avenue of creative control when it comes to selecting a backdrop for your next video call. But which should you choose? Here are some considerations:
The Benefits of Authenticity
You now have the opportunity to welcome clients and/or coworkers into your home, making sales calls more personal than ever before. Video meetings, whether held in your home office or at your kitchen table, can reveal quite a lot about you to your customer. Just as their background reveals a lot to you.
This can be a great advantage to sellers as it both humanizes you and levels the relationship. Instead of vendor-to-prospect, it becomes more human-to-human. Personal elements, like books, pictures, furnishings, can stimulate conversations and deepen connections.
When to Use a Virtual Background.
That being said, sometimes your home simply is not quite conference call ready! That’s the time to consider using a virtual background or green screen for personal privacy or professionalism. When might you want to consider a virtual background? Here are a few questions to help you decide:
Questioning if your background is too cluttered? (Hint: if you’re wondering, then yes, it probably is)
Clashing with busy patterns, stripes or artwork?
In the middle of a home repair project?
Providing TMI with your environment? (“Hello bedroom Zoom callers! I’m talking to you!”)
Anticipating scene-stealing pets or children?
In these cases, a virtual background may be your new best friend.
Considerations when using a Virtual Background
While a green screen allows you to have a little (professional) fun, keep it on the side of realism, i.e., the office of your dreams vs. the space station, or simply a backdrop that allows you to briefly live in a home that is not at the mercy of your children’s toys. In need of a little inspiration?
Pro tip: Canva has a wonderful selection of customizable backgrounds you can download for your next video call.
Be aware that overtly busy or fantastical backgrounds can present distractions that may detract from the overall quality of your presentation. When it comes to backgrounds, you are the star, and your background should quite literally be, “the background.” You’re already competing for the sale, you don’t want to also be competing for the attention of your customers! So select a backdrop that promotes your sales goals, not one that detracts from them.
Avoid Motion Blur
Another common problem seen when using virtual backgrounds or green screens is motion blur. This is when a presenter gestures or moves too quickly when in front of a green screen resulting in blurred elements. It is important to move slowly and with intention when using a green screen to avoid blurring or entire body parts disappearing into the background. Losing an entire hand is quite distracting, is it not?
Bottom Line: Take advantage of the benefits authentic or real backgrounds can provide whenever you can. If that’s not possible, virtual backgrounds are a great option as long as you choose one that supports you and your brand.
Get more virtual selling tips on the Selling On-Video Channel!
Article | April 15, 2021
Search engine optimisation (SEO) has come a long way, with continued developments, advancements and algorithm tweaks giving business owners, brand agencies and marketing gurus more than just a digital headache.
But traditionally, SEO has been a numbers game, with ranking positions the all-important deciding factor. However, with the purpose of the activity to reflect and cater to user behaviours, can SEO really be simplified to numerical values?
In this piece, Nate Burke, CEO of Diginius, a proprietary software solutions provider for digital marketing and ecommerce, takes a look at how far SEO has come and how more recent advancements in intelligence are helping it towards its ultimate goal.
For any business operating online, SEO is an essential element of the digital marketing mix. Forming the foundation of website designs and content output, SEO helps businesses build an online presence by increasing the chances of web pages and products appearing in visible positions on search engine results pages.
Over the years, the activity has advanced significantly. Of course, it has come a long way since the early days of cramming as many keywords as possible into text, or using spam websites to backlink to yours in an attempt to gain authority.
And while many of these activities are now frowned upon, and can in fact, negatively impact SEO rather than help it, the motivations are the same. For instance, using keywords in website copy or product descriptions is still key in ensuring they rank for the right search terms. Similarly, backlinks remain the golden ticket for website authority, albeit from genuine and trustworthy sources.
The difference is that today, SEO is much more intuitive. Best practice is all about optimising content for logical human behaviour and user experience. For example, keywords that are integrated into copy in a much more natural way are likely to gain more SEO points than a page which uses the old cramming approach.
The reason for this shift is all down to advancements in intelligence, which are enabling search engines to assess and score content in more sophisticated ways than previously possible. Ultimately, today’s ranking assessments understand pages and content in ways that are similar to human usage and interactions.
For example, Google’s roll out of featured snippets has shown significant insight into how the search engine is being used, and in turn, how businesses must adapt their content in order to reach the top-ranking positions.
Emphasis on Q&A style results in position zero of results pages is clear evidence for users turning to the platform for question queries, for which they want quick and straightforward answers. And with these featured snippet boxes taking up significant space on the top of the results page, pushing other organic results further down, it is essential for businesses to include such content into their optimisation strategies.
Additionally, there is a strong case for the use of PPC ads in order to ensure higher visibility on pages that are becoming much harder to rank on organically. This is also true for product searches, as the search engine prioritises shopping results when a user’s query is interpreted as an intent to purchase. Therefore, shopping ads are a great way to ensure your products are visible among competitors in the most prominent position on the page.
Evidently, intelligence in SEO is enabling it to reflect user behaviours and intentions more accurately. And while this is a positive change from a consumer perspective, as results are only becoming more relevant, convenient and useful, for businesses, the playing field is more complex than ever.
So, with ranking criteria constantly being adapted and advanced by search engines, there are ways for businesses to leverage their own intelligence in order to improve SEO activity.
For instance, the backbone of any effective SEO strategy is data and insight. For many, collecting this information requires a trial and error approach, whereby businesses implement tactics and learn from what is and isn’t working.
But as search engines become more complex and intelligent, it can be difficult to get things right, or to really be able to assess activity without waiting months in some cases. Therefore, businesses should use their own data and insights to inform any decisions or activity. This can be a key way to ensure you focus on the right channels, customers and keywords.
For instance, using lead intelligence gathered and analysed by a sophisticated management system that takes into consideration all sales channels, including owned and third-party marketplaces, can provide valuable information on which channels your customers are using most frequently and what products or services are most popular.
This information can then go on to inform the channels you should focus your SEO efforts on, and which products or services will provide the best ROI.
In SEO, the numbers will always be important, as ranking positions will always determine the success of any efforts. However, intelligence should be given just as much attention, as it is only with the latter that efforts can be streamlined for more effective results.