The Winning Formula For Successful Digital Marketing in 2018

HELEN CARTWRIGHT | July 30, 2018

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It can seem overwhelming when you think about the ever-evolving world of digital marketing. Where do you start? What are the first steps you should take when getting your feet wet in this critical area of study? In the following article, we will walk you through all the necessary steps to get you to a comfortable place of understanding what digital marketing is and how to use custom tools and strategies to your advantage?

Spotlight

Fluent, LLC

Fluent, LLC, an IDI company (NYSE MKT: IDI), is an industry leader in people-based digital marketing and customer acquisition, serving over 500 leading consumer brands and direct marketers. Leveraging a massive reservoir of proprietary audience data, as well as millions of real-time survey interactions with consumers every day, Fluent enables advertisers to more effectively target and acquire their most valuable customers, with precision, at a massive scale.

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Economic Influence: When brand’s budgets have been rationalised, what should they invest in?

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. Cost Effective 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.

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5 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITIES

Article | January 12, 2021

Are you a digital marketing specialist who’s curious about how to get more engagement out of social media? Or perhaps you’ve been in digital marketing for a while, but finding it hard to keep up with changing trends? Whether you're running your own business, specializing in boosting other people's businesses, or even starting out designing a personal branding strategy, it's essential that you understand how to make the most of your accounts on various social media platforms. Here are a few suggestions on how to stay ahead of the game with your next social media campaign without running yourself into the ground.

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Did Ask Jeeves have a point? How ‘search’ has become the new brand in the SEO landscape

Article | January 12, 2021

The way in which consumers are searching for products online has changed. In recent times, there has been a significant increase in question-based searches from consumers looking for quick solutions to their needs, overtaking direct searches for brand names. It’s clear the consumer environment is evolving, so what can be done to ensure existing and emerging businesses can keep up? Nate Burke, CEO of technology, digital marketing, and ecommerce solutions firm Diginius, explains the importance of optimising your products to meet this changing behaviour, while also remembering to build on your brand to become the ultimate business. Marketplaces are now dominating the online sphere, which results in more unbranded searches being made by online shoppers who are looking for solutions to their queries, rather than a name-brand product. Nowadays, global brands can expect 58% of their searches to be unbranded, while surprisingly, for small and mid-sized businesses, the figure is much higher, sitting at around 81%. Of course, for many businesses that heavily rely on their brand awareness and branded searches to bring in revenue, this rise might be a cause for concern. However, virtual and online marketplaces are now considered one of the most effective ways to scale globally, both for established businesses and smaller brands as they account for almost half of all global ecommerce sales. Whilst these platforms were once a place for small and independent brands, online retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart are beginning to scale their own marketplaces, capitalising on the nearly $2 trillion that is spent annually on the top 100 marketplaces. The shift in search can be put down to a number of changes in the way we shop, consume media and use technology. Notably, the increasing access to voice search, with Alexa and Google devices now regular features in our homes, has encouraged the rise of question-based searches. Understandably, competition on these platforms is increasing. So, in order to ensure their products are being presented to the right customers, businesses must work on product optimisation, while also building on their brand to encourage trust and repeat purchases. Recreating the “boutique” shopping experience online One way to do this is by aligning in store and online experiences. For example, although the days of exploring treasure trove, boutique shops are dwindling in favour of the online environment, consumers are still looking for those unique, personalised experiences from brands. In fact, 33% of consumers prefer to buy unique products over mass-manufactured items, which businesses should use as an opportunity for innovation within their product offering – to develop something that the other big retailers do not. Etsy is the perfect example of how independent sellers have come together on one virtual marketplace platform to provide consumers with just that: the opportunity to find unique, handmade products, combined with the ease of shopping online. The ecommerce and PPC perspectives Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. Whilst some of these are guaranteed to be named brand searches, many are following suit with the growing solution-led trend, creating a strong case for brands to focus their efforts on appearing in these results through search engine and product description optimisation. For example, say a consumer is searching for loungewear. Emotional, descriptive words that create a sense of feel and a tailored result should play into your product descriptions, such as “warm loungewear”, “comfortable loungewear” or “soft loungewear”. The idea here is to narrow down descriptions to give people exactly what they want when performing these niche, specific searches. And in the era of voice search, ensuring products are optimised with accurate and specific descriptions is crucial. The same approach is effective for product ads, too. Descriptions and targeting cues must be tailored to customers’ searches in order to generate the best results. While this might sound like a time-consuming task, the use of PPC software and analytics tools can help you to automate, test and adjust activity for optimum performance. For example, through use of dynamic ads, copy can be adjusted to ensure it is directly relevant and personal to each searcher to encourage click through and conversions. Although Google remains the go-to search advertising platform, we always recommend running ads on Microsoft’s Bing platform too, as often, businesses find they generate better returns and require less budget. This is because Bing is much less competitive than Google, with fewer advertisers bidding for the same keyword, although search volumes remain attractive. Similarly, with the rise of social media commerce, with Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping leading the way, as well as Amazon advertising, businesses looking to capitalise on shifting search and shopping habits have a number of avenues to explore. And while these tactics can help get products in front of customers in the increasingly competitive solution-led search environment, others, including retargeting, can then help to build brand awareness. This way, brands can capture customers who may have only been in the discovery or research phase when they were served the initial ad, as well as customers who may be ready to repurchase. Full circle This solutions-based environment is similar to that of Ask Jeeves, or, as it is known today, Ask.com. The question answering business was a perfect example of how a search engine can cater to the needs of consumers and provide quick answers to their questions. However, it was launched ahead of its time. It is interesting to see how this has now come full circle, with consumers needing quick and snappy results on-the-go, and Ask.com being perfectly positioned to cater to this need. AI has somewhat advanced this algorithmic model in today’s Google-led environment, but one could have imagined, in another time and place, that Ask could have been a pioneer in search-led advancement, rather than being the nostalgic afterthought it remains today. This is also a prime example of the constantly evolving online market. What consumers need today might not be what they want tomorrow. Although unfortunate in the case of Ask.com, businesses that can stay ahead of the curve by paying close attention to changes in consumer behaviour are much better off than those that stay stagnant. And, brands, whatever their size or scale, should most certainly pay attention and align their product descriptions to fit a much more solutions-led environment. But whilst adapting to changes, it’s important to never lose focus of the brand. Customers will always inherently look for trust in their purchases, and a simple flash offer is not enough to sway them away from a brand that deliver quality and confidence in its delivery. Although non-branded searches are the trend today, any sustainable business must be backed by a strong brand - that’s one thing that will never change.

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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Article | January 12, 2021

Social Media Marketing is using social media platforms to connect with your audience for brand building, driving website traffic and increasing sales. Social Media Marketing involves publishing creative content over social media platforms, engaging your followers, analyzing your results and running social media advertisements. Connecting with customers via social media is an essential method to promote all kinds of businesses. This helps in constructing a better brand image, associating with local clients and improving your client database. Around 90% of advertisers say online networking is essential for the online presence of their business.

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Spotlight

Fluent, LLC

Fluent, LLC, an IDI company (NYSE MKT: IDI), is an industry leader in people-based digital marketing and customer acquisition, serving over 500 leading consumer brands and direct marketers. Leveraging a massive reservoir of proprietary audience data, as well as millions of real-time survey interactions with consumers every day, Fluent enables advertisers to more effectively target and acquire their most valuable customers, with precision, at a massive scale.

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