How marketers can play their part to create a more equal world

Marketing is at the forefront of any business. It is the mechanism for showing people your front door, your shop window and how potential customers form their first perception of you. It’s not always about trying to sell your products – sometimes (almost always) you need to focus on your brand perception and the contribution you make to society.

Due to recent events, though unfortunately a long overdue conversation, the focus has been on how we can create a more equal world and reduce systemic racism. Unfortunately the business world is not exempt from the racial biases that are a product of our past. The upside is businesses are in a strong position to help undo this.

How?

Well. Businesses, of all sizes, have a huge influence over society and have the ability to create opportunities and provide representation to drive more aspiration. Whilst directors and HR teams are responsible for ensuring equal hiring opportunities and an inclusive workforce culture, marketing teams/people can take responsibility for creating representation, not presenting biases and ensuring that you use inclusive language at every turn. This is true for businesses of any size – even if your marketing is low budget, it’s important that you still consider your impact, especially on your owned social channels.

To help businesses out, I’ve created a quick list of items that you can go through to ensure you, as a marketer, are playing your role in reducing systemic racism. Though these points are developed with racial biases particularly in mind, they can also be used to assess biases and inclusivity for any minority group.

  1. Work with your internal HR (or diversity specialist) to educate yourself and your teams on correct language to use and how to establish existing biases in your own behaviours/choices. If you don’t have one internally it is worth investing in an external consultant to kick start your efforts. Further to this, there are a lot of resources freely available designed to educate on this specifically.
  2. Audit your current marketing efforts. One of the most important things you can do is to recognise your own weaknesses and areas for improvement. Check yourself on the people used in your images, check for racial stereotypes and cultural appropriation.
  3. Have a diverse focus group you can check any new content with.
  4. Do not participate in events that are not racially diverse.
  5. Do not spend with publishers or platforms that aren’t playing their part.

Finally, always be open for feedback and always look to seek improvement. We can only change the world if we all do our bit – businesses included.


SEO vs SEM: the difference

SEO and SEM are two terms which I see used interchangeably but that actually have very different meanings. They are two sides of the same coin – but just like any coin, these sides are different.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process you go through in order to ensure your website/content pleases the search engine and allows it to serve up your content when a user is looking for it. Your goal here is to ensure that your website is turning up on the first page of the Google’s (or any other search engine) search results. There are lots of different elements you need to look at when optimising your website; it can be VERY overwhelming. From ensuring your website is structured in a way that makes it easy for Google to determine the classification and content of the page, to ensuring a quality back linking strategy and creating the type of content that it will deliver first to users that is key word heavy. Google will analyse all these factors, as well as the performance of your landing page, to determine its relevance to the what its user is searching. It’s definitely worth investing in an SEO consultant who can help set you up here.

Whilst traditionally the definition is related to websites alone, now there are search functions within many different platforms and so the principles can be applied throughout all that you do.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the tactic in which you pay per click (PPC) on ads which you create to drive traffic to your website. These are the ads which appear at the top of a search engine results page, marked with “ad”, that you decide the headings, text, links, landing page, etc, for. You choose which key words your ads will run against, how closely they need to match and what KPI you’d like to optimise towards. PPC/SEM ads are paid for via an auction/bidding mechanism: you set your maximum bids, time frames, budgets etc and then this information is combined with the quality score of your ads. The quality score of your ad is determined through a number of factors such as quality of landing page (content & load time), relevance of headlines/copy and additional features such as site-links or review features.

So what’s the link?

Well, ensuring you have a solid SEO strategy in place can actually complement your SEM strategy. For example, a high quality landing page with strong organically driven traffic is more likely to achieve a higher quality score – which can then help your paid ad appear higher up the ranking, without paying more.

If you’re getting to grips with marketing and starting to work out how to build a plan for your business, it’s really important to understand the difference and the value each can add. Our recommendation is to first focus on SEO, even if that means investing a little more upfront in an SEO specialist to get your website up and running.

Not sure how to get started? We offer a Brand & SEO package which combines a workshop on developing your online brand and working with our SEO specialist to build out a custom strategy & support plan. Fill in the form below to find out more.


Read this if you’re in B2B marketing

If you know anything about me and the values of Pink Digital then you’ll know that I am passionate about breaking down the belief that B2B brands must market in a completely different, impersonal way to B2C brands. I’ve written a post previously (back in October 2017) about the importance of remembering that your customers are humans and, how the global digital disruption (oooh, buzzword), needs to be considered for all organisations when creating your marketing strategy.

Now I’m going to talk more around how people’s personal beliefs, likes, dislikes, preferences and beliefs are impacting decisions in the workplace. I.e. why you should stop thinking something won’t work for you because it’s a traditional B2C tactic and why you need to lean into content that appeals to people.

First some questions: when was the last time you can honestly say you made a decision that was completely against your personal beliefs but was for the good of your company? Have you ever stopped working for a company because of how they operate or interact with you?
Have you ever found a new company to work with because their messaging was so up your street?

The chances are you answered: not for a long time, if ever; yes; yes.

There are 2 reasons for this.

1) You have been hired by your company for your expertise, mindset and experience. This means that it is very unlikely that if something is fundamentally against your beliefs personally, that it will benefit the company. You have been hired for your opinion. You know that and so will likely exercise your right to that opinion when making decisions on behalf of the company. Otherwise, I’m sorry but you shouldn’t be in your job.

2) It is physically impossible to completely separate your personal preferences for consumption, interaction and values, regardless of what you are researching or buying for. It’s not in our nature as human beings.

This means that who your company is and how your company operate are two of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy. And, you need to have a crystal clear view of who your target audience is – deeper than their job title.

You have to understand what they like, what they dislike, what their hobbies are, whether they have children, love sports, hate sports, are into fashion. Where do they over index? What values are important to them? All of these different elements can help to inform your tone, messaging, visuals and placements. It’s also why it is so important to continue to invest in brand awareness, not just sell, sell, sell your products. No one cares if you have the most cost-effective solution if you aren’t an ethical company nor will they want to partner with a company who’s employees are not happy or passionate – for example.

B2C marketing is often seen as the holy grail of marketing and super fun to work on because their campaigns focus on people and lifestyle. But you can appeal to people as well. Make people excited about your brand. Relate to them through their interests in more than just a badging exercise – find an organic connection between an element of their persona & your brand.

Then leverage the shit out of it.

Show the people at the core of the organisations you are targeting that you are there for them, that you understand them and that you can help them. Create an organic, human connection. The sales will soon follow if your website, products & sales team can do their job.


Email marketing – newsletters

Email marketing is often a tactic that gets overlooked but is absolutely key when thinking about keeping your current customers engaged. It can be a great way to communicate latest offers, content and news (not just of your company but the general industry) – the more people you have engaging with it, the more loyalty they have, the greater your customer retention.

So how should you include email as a tactic in your broader marketing plan? I’m glad you asked, as well as ensuring that it is consistent with your branding and tone of voice there are a few other ways you can ensure its success.

Newsletters can be a great way to update your customers on the latest & greatest so here are our top 5 tips for nailing it:

  1. Pick a cadence and stick to it – monthly or quarterly can be great and a lot less daunting than committing to a weekly newsletter. Obviously this does vary business by business but you also need to be mindful that the content won’t create itself.
  2. Design a template and stick to it – your readers want to know what they’re getting each time an email arrives in their mail box. Visual layouts stick in a person’s head; you want them to recognise your newsletter and recall that this is a mail they want to spend their time reading. Make sure you break up each section and choose a template that is aesthetically pleasing for the eyes.
  3. Establish your regular content and stick to it – there’s a theme here and it’s consistency. It’s really confusing for your customers if you keep changing up what you’re doing. Plus, you want them to invest in your content have them wanting more. Of course you need an introduction but think about what other unique pieces of content you could include – competitions, customer feature, latest offer, new blog posts, news in the industry (after all you can’t be expected to be seen as an expert if you only talk about yourself). There are lots of possibilities but our top tip is to pick a few key segments and deliver them each time you make a send.
  4. Write a clear, concise and attractive subject line – do not use emojis or special characters as these can trick inboxes into thinking they’re spam. Again, consistency is key, you want your readers to know by just that one notification that your email is worth reading and what they are expecting to receive. It should be descriptive of what it is but maybe include an issue dependent variation.
  5. Include call-to-action items – that is, make sure that your emails lead somewhere and incite your readers to do an action. Whether that is to read your latest posts, shop your new products, take you up on a special offer or follow you on social. If you aren’t telling your readers to do something, then you’re losing out on an opportunity.

It goes without saying that you also need to make sure that when you are collecting email addresses etc, you need to be cognisant of GDPR and ensure you have the correct permissions. Also make sure, that with almost every form fill/interaction with a customer you ask if they are willing to be added to your mailing list – this can help you build your audience. If you have a website, make sure you a link that is visible for people to sign up to your mailing list, you could even share the URL on social.

Most platforms for sending bulk emails also have built in analytic tools – you can see who opens, reads and clicks on the links you include so use them to your advantage. If you can, test different subject lines to see what gets you the most opens and if you aren’t getting any click-thrus, experiment with your content a little.


How to adapt your marketing strategy in times of uncertainty

Wow. What a year the last couple of weeks have been. COVID-19 has taken over. There’s a lot of stress, worry and uncertainty around right now – both personally and professionally. While I’m not a health expert and can’t comment on the medical situation, what I am is a marketing expert with extensive experience in reactive and adaptive marketing. So, for all you business owners/marketing folks/freelancers out there I’m here to provide you with some guidance on how to pivot, adapt and keep on track during this turbulent time.

The first thing to do is to ask yourself three key questions:

  1. What do you want your customers to feel?
  2. What do you want your customers to think?
  3. What do you want your customers to do?

From this you can work out where you want to head with your content & distribution.

Let’s start with how you want your customers to feel – let’s face it, right now, this may have changed from your usual tone/strategy. Building an emotional connection with your customers/followers (I will use these terms interchangeably) is the best way to ensure retention and attract new customers. People love relatable content and content that makes them feel good. For me, it’s about giving people hope and some positivity in their day – I want my clients/followers to feel confident and sure that there is a future past what we are experiencing right now.

Now, secondly, what do you want your customers to think? Again, in the context of my own business, I want my followers and clients to think they have the power to get through this. I want them to think that they have the strategy to go forward, connect with their customers and I want them to be thinking about the opportunities they have.

And finally: what do you want your customers to do?  I want my clients and followers to adapt their marketing strategy, reach out for help where needed and have confidence in adjusting their content tonality. 

Once you know the answer to these questions you can adjust your content and distribution channels accordingly. For example – for me right now it’s not about acquiring new paying clients it’s about inspiring confidence and helping struggling business owners/marketers. Therefore, with my content, I aim to provide positivity and tips for adjusting in this weird period. I’ve opened my doors to free consultations to work with my clients on how they can continue to build connections or a following base whilst not being physically open for business. For gyms/personal trainers this means focusing on building an online rapport with people & understanding opportunities to virtualise their services.  For coffee shop or restaurant owners – it’s helping people to re-create their favourite beverage or meal in the comfort of their own home, providing comical relief and keeping the conversation going for when business re-opens. It varies per business but the underlying principles are the same – think about what you want your customers to feel, think and do.

Once you’ve established the above, you can focus in on your channel strategy. Figure out which channels or tactics leave your brand at risk and pull back from them. For example – ensure that you are not monetising against any negative content, don’t be at risk of sharing fake news or information that is not validated by professionals. Be careful not to comment on areas that you don’t have the expertise in – authenticity and integrity are key. If email plays a key part of your strategy then assess whether the tone or content needs to change here.

Do share how your company is reacting to the situation – keep your customers up to date. This isn’t about switching off your marketing, it’s about being sensitive to the situation, your customers and understanding your role in this.

If you want someone to brainstorm with, provide advice then Pink Digital are open! We’re offering free consultations and advice until the end of April 2020 – get in touch via the form below, or if you’d rather, drop us a message on social.


I have a business, now what?

So much effort goes into creating business plans, understanding the rules (there are lots, I’m learning), how to fund your company, do you need any investment and setting yourself up with a website/social channels. But then what? Panicked posts while you frantically try to look at insights of what you post using the built-in analytics tools of each channel, spend hours trying to work out what everything means before starting the cycle all over again.

It doesn’t need to be like this. This post explores 5 top-tips for getting started online – from your website to your social feed. Start with the fundamentals.

  1. Develop an online brand – and be consistent. Ever heard of the phrase matching luggage? Well it’s essential for any business, particularly start-ups. You need to make sure the brand you use on your website is the same across your social feeds. Of course there can be a little variation on content and tone but it should all be identifiable as your brand. This includes colour palette, font, imagery style and tone of voice. Work what best represents your company and apply it to everything you do.
  2. Know what you want your website to do – and do it well. Spend some time working out what your online value proposition is. That is, when a customer comes to your website, what is the one thing you want them to do above anything else? Read your blogs? Buy a product? Donate to your cause? Knowing this can then help you design your website. Keep it in mind throughout every page design, all the content and the call-to-actions.
  3. Be strategic with strategic with your choice of social channel – make sure you look through the lens of your audience & objectives, rather than what’s hot right now. Just because the whole world is suddenly talking about Tik Tok doesn’t mean it’s going to help you grow your business. Go where your customers are and develop goals for each channel you own.
  4. Plan, plan, plan – it comes without saying that preparation is absolutely key for any business. This is inclusive of your content strategy. Make sure you have editorial calendars, spend some time block scheduling your social posts and map out where you are headed. A method I tend to find works well is looking at the full 12 months ahead, note down key tent pole moments throughout the year, then look 2-3 months ahead and start to think about some rough content ideas, then one 1 month out get a little more fleshed out and try to keep 1-2 weeks ahead of your social content. Just make sure you do have room for flexibility if and when you need to react to something.
  5. Analyse, learn and test – make sure you’re assessing your websites performance regularly, learn what works and test new things out. The same can be said for any marketing tactic you employ across all channels – search, social and display/video advertising. It is SO important to always check back and see what works and doesn’t so you can continually optimise your strategy. I recommend, depending on budget/activity levels that you keep an eye on this each week (absolute minimum and some tactics require daily monitoring) but make more strategic decisions every 1-2 months after deeper analysis. By this point you should have enough data to really understand if there are any trends.

So, I hope that helped! Marketing can seem overwhelming once you dig down into the details and too often I see companies panicking and saying things like “I need a website” before rushing to create one that aids their business in no way whatsoever. Or, my favourite is that they’re “doing social” or “trying paid search” – great!! But you need to understand why you are doing it and how it will help you reach your objectives.

Still confused? Drop us an email to see how we can help you.


Sunset over sea

Seasonality & strategy

As the weather (hopefully) starts to warm up and we find ourselves wanting to spend more time outside in the sunshine it’s worth thinking about how the seasons impact your business.

Why? Because this can seriously impact your marketing strategy – from a content and investment standpoint.

If you have been around for a few years: the first step is to really take a look at your numbers – do you see more sales/revenue/bookings/attendees/customers at certain points in the year? Is this at the same point year over year? Can you attribute this to anything in particular?

If you’re just starting out: the first step is to do some research! Do you know who your customers are/will be and do you know how your industry works?

For example, nail salons: when do people want their nails to look nice? On holiday, for a special occasion (maybe Christmas?), etc. So… create content that is relevant to these points that are going to speak to your audience! It’s simple but it does require some thought & planning – plus, you don’t need to capitalise on every moment in time, be strategic.

The same can be applied for investment – though this will really depend on your objectives. One way to look at this is through the example of retail. Retailers, understandably, generate a big proportion of their revenue over the holiday period (during 2019, the average weekly value of retail increased 28.8% during the month of December against the full year average – I calculated this based on statistics available here). It’s fairly common knowledge (and sense) that everyone is going to be shopping more in that run up to Christmas; so why not capitalise here, and put what marketing budget you have, against period in time you know your customers are active in. It’s no secret that existing organisations do this – hello, have you seen all the Christmas ads in the UK?!

You can apply seasonality across all your marketing tactics – no matter what your budget size or channel mix.

Are you no to low budget and utilising mostly social? Great. Perfect your content and increase your push during your key periods.

Do you have a little more and are utilising paid search? Even better. Ensure you have full coverage across your search terms and be more aggressive when you know customers are needing your services.

Do you have an abundance of marketing budget to spend? Fabulous – I would hope you have a marketing team and/or agency that have already got this down as part of their strategy (and if you don’t, email us!! We can help).

If the ideas mentioned above resonate well with you but you just don’t know where to start then, drop us a note below and see how we can help.


The value of being Insta-worthy

If your business involves a restaurant/bar/pub/shop or any in-person events then one thing you should think about is whether or not you are insta-worthy.

Instagram is not a trend that is on its way out and it’s something you can leverage to help boost your business. Having an a venue that looks great in a picture will no only attract the social influencers of the world, but it will also help you attract regular attendees/customers AND generate free advertising.

People love things that look good and photograph well. And you can literally google “instagrammable locations” to be drowning in blog posts/articles, spanning cities and countries providing you with the ultimate locations to spice up your feed.

Then, in flock the masses, they take their pictures, upload to social, tell their friends (if you’re lucky, tag your business) and you suddenly have some free advertising. Even if they don’t tag you, the likeliness is their friends will ask where they are and so spreads the new word-of-mouth.

If you’re really savvy you’ll, next to your instagrammable location, ensure you have a note around what # to use AND which handles they can tag you at.

So, next time you organise an event – definitely think about this. And, if you currently own a venue – definitely think about this.

Either way. Everyone should think about this.


How Pancake Day stacked up on social

Pancake Day crepe-s up on us every year and then bang, brands are tossing out pancake-related content left, right and centre. We’ve stacked up our favourites for you to see who really has the batter social content creator in their frying pan.

Links to actual tweets which we’ve screenshotted for some content:


Social Media content types for your company

When you think about the sun, it is only really in a positive way when it is beaming down on you and you feel its warmth/get a sun tan. The same can be said for social media.

Social media is only effective and good if you’re reaching people enough to impact them and leave a mark. You need to find a way to make it beam (like the sun).

 So how do you do that? Easy.

 Your social media presence should contain 4 different types of content:

 Brand

Obviously your primary goal is to improve brand perception and awareness (or maybe even revenue). So the best way to do that is to make sure you have a good amount of branded/company created content that is shared. This makes it easier for viewers/readers to establish the connection to your brand and ensure that your companies’ point of view is given.

 Employee

Part of your social media strategy should include an employee programme, be it an advocacy programme and so making it easier for employees to post about your brand, or sharing content created by employees. It all helps. If employees are happy and proud to be linked to the company publicly, it tells you something about that company’s values etc thus making it more appealing to both perspective employees and even customers. This is applicable for both B2C and B2B organisations. Utilise your employees to improve your brand reputation.

 Advocates

Also known as influencers. You need to find people/customers who are happy to talk positively about your company. This can be through their own social media channels or through the use of customer testimonials etc. that are then shared out through company owned channels. However you do it, just do it. Nothing is more valuable than peer-to-peer influence (in my opinion) – and part of that comes down to human nature of wanting the best. Why would you settle for something second rate if you’re friend/colleague/competitor has something better?

 Market

It goes without saying that every company wants to be seen as an expert in their industry. Fashion house? Okay, so what are the latest trends? Who are the latest models? Technology company? What’s hot at the moment? What’s the latest technological breakthrough? Whatever world you work in, your company needs to be that expert for your customers so you need to be sharing content that shows that. Get your latest facts and figures, understand what’s happening in your market and talk about it.

 If you do this, you should be on the right track to increasing engagements and everything else – of course paying attention to engagement metrics, following etc. to see how your content is resonating with your audience.

 What other social media tips do you have? 

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn, September 2017