If you’ve read my last post “Are You a Marketing Strategist or a Tactician?“, I’d like to imagine that if until reading my post you weren’t a strategist, by now you are making your first steps in order to do just that.
However, becoming visible online is one of the most difficult challenges SMBs around the world struggle with on a daily basis. Due to the fact that I’ve received many questions lately pertaining how to increase online visibility & customer experience, I’d thought I’d try to shine light on the common challenges SMBs have to overcome in order to propel themselves from barely being visible online to becoming invincible.
The most common misconception of business entrepreneurs is to invest very little resources in online marketing due to the misleading assumption that business at it’s early stages won’t be able to compete against the industry’s giants. If you think the same, then a must read for you is the book “Guerrilla Marketing” by Jay Conrad Levinson.
The key to enjoying the fruits of your labor in online marketing, is to do the 7 aspects of online marketing below right, where most do them wrong; thereby gaining an unfair competitive edge.
1) Video Content
Due to the recent explosion of internet bandwidth, video content has become the preferred medium of choice. Video is undisputedly the most powerful method to convey marketing messages due to the fact that video engages many different senses in one’s body (sight & hearing) and triggers imagination. It has grown so much in recent years that Cisco predicts that By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. With the recent shift of online video to quickly becoming a key means for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs, small businesses that fail to include it in their internet marketing strategies will do so at their peril.
When it comes to potential reach, video is peerless. YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month! No other medium channel, apart from Facebook can pride itself with such astounding figures.
A recent campaign from Volkswagen, for example, saw a trio of its commercial videos viewed a combined 155 million times. If in the past these numbers seemed out of reach for companies without 12-figure revenue streams, to day they are with the power of one small & magical button (the share button).
The message here is very straightforward, engage your viewers and they will share the video with others. They will stay longer on your website and hence, spend more time interacting with your brand. For virtually any marketing purpose, whether a social media campaign, or any type of SEO, video is without a doubt one of the most effective tools to leverage to your advantage.
In an age of information overload, video is evermore vital for small businesses to offer easy to digest content. If not, consumers will simply churn. If a picture paints 1,000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million (according to Forrester’s researchers). It’s no wonder then that Axonn Researchers found 7 out of 10 people view brands more positively after watching video content from them.
2) Programmatic Media Buying
Programmatic media buying in simple terms, is where Advertisers buy ad space in relevant publisher sties such as Yahoo, Ask.com etc… In real-time using computer algorithms, is increasingly being adopted. Programmatic buying has been embraced in advanced mobile markets such as the US, Canada, UK and Israel, but brand advertisers in developed markets still seem reluctant to reap the rewards of real-time audience targeting.
Simon Birkenhead from “The Guardian” believes this is largely due to the lack of understanding ad exchanges and their benefits: when asked more than 40% of marketers admitted they “don’t have a clue” what programmatic actually means. Marketers tend to have a slow adoption rate when it comes to new technologies, and usually prefer sticking to traditional media.
Top-down pressure is essential from chief marketing officers and marketing directors to effectively manage change if they want their brands to avoid falling behind in 2015. Mobile is here to stay and it will continue to grow in marketing importance, literally, by the minute.
3) Mobile Optimization
It’s well known that developed countries, such as North America and western Europe, have witnessed extraordinary growth in smartphone adoption over the last few years. However, with the raise of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies they are now starting to experience similar levels of growth, where the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, & Turkey) emerging economies will gradually catch up according to economist Jim O’Neill. The equity markets in these countries have flipped in and out of favour with investors.
Recently, however, mobile has become the hot zone. Experts around the world predict that smartphone ownership will continue to grow exponentially, with purchases via mobile in China, India and other regions of APAC becoming especially significant. More than 60% of total online retail sales are expected to be made via mobile by 2019.
Due to the lack of broadband penetration and desktop computers, these aforesaid countries will skip the desktop advertising revolution almost completely and go straight to mobile.
This phenomena is already present in Kenya, where money transactions via mobile are the most common method of choice. This is clear evidence to prove that brands that will not respond rapidly to wisely manage these changes will undoubtably be dominated by those who will.
4) Digital Marketing Tools
Whether you are a one person army or a large corporation, leveraging tools like Yesware, Ebsta and Steak would be a good place to start in order to be more productive to gain a significant competitive edge. These tools enable you to see who read your emails, schedule an email to be sent to one of your prospects, and finally sync all the information for you with your CRM (customer relationship management) system to save you a lot of valuable time in documenting.
Another great tool I’m a big fan of is Keyword Spy. This tool will enable you to see what keywords & campaigns your competitors are using together with a rough estimate pertaining their monthly expenses on google adwords. In addition, It will empower you to hone in on your marketing skills by refining what your competitors are doing and hence, create superior version on your own.
5) Customized Lead Converting Landing Pages
Investing in a mobile landing page is crucial in the outset mobile advertising dominance. In some cases a mobile only page might serve as the best approach for your segment, as opposed to spreading your efforts to thin across multiple channels. If you can think about the difference in use cases and needs a smartphone user, tablet user and desktop user might have. You might then target those use cases and build explicit support for those touch points.
I have to admit that my solution for this challenge is somewhat biased, but I really don’t see a better solution for this challenge than convertiFIRE.
6) Leverage Social Media The Right Way
Great social media content isn’t about tricking someone into clicking on your ad nor to harass him to like your page (strategy used by many unprofessional SMBs), it’s truly about being remembered in that person’s mind days later. Thus, telling powerful stories, while staying true to your brand’s core mission and vision. Remember that more people can now see a heavily-promoted Facebook post in a day than would see an advert you ran during the Super Bowl.
In conclusion, marketing is now ever more susceptible to trends and changes in technology. With that being said, global dynamics rapidly are playing a larger role in both local and global commerce, effecting SMB’s or large corporations virtually equally. Thus, when marketing a product, business or service your goal as a marketer is to be ever more vigilant of these shifts and dynamics and respond as quickly as possible by creating a competent and agile strategies to dominate your sector.
“There’s nothing like a view from the top”
Jim Rohn 1930 – 2009
Originally published on ConvertiFIRE
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