Regardless of the size or scope of your business, your customers expect to have a relationship with you online. That’s why you need a digital marketing strategy. To help you get started—or improve the online presence you already have—Brother Canada is offering this concise three-part series.
In Part 1, we looked at the importance of being easy to find online, keeping your messaging simple, and building an email marketing list. In Part 2, we’ll take a closer look at the potential of social media marketing, video and working with an agency.
Social media marketing is sometimes criticized for overhyping the correlation between popularity and return on investment (ROI). But winning in business isn’t always about winning a popularity contest.
“Having a high number of followers on social media isn’t necessarily going to translate into sales,” says David Shadpour, Founder of Social Native, a content marketplace that helps brands leverage social influencers to create authentic branded content. “But there are huge gains to be made through the channel.”
Think of social media as a bridge on the customer journey. It creates a two-way relationship between your brand and your audience, regardless of where they sit in the sales funnel. It offers a powerful channel that can influence brand perception, and ultimately, consumer behaviour.
So, while it’s important to study your social impact, the human connection doesn’t always come with scientific analytics attached. At the bottom of that giant mountain of third-party data, market test results, and insights you’ve tracked around consumer behaviour, there’s a person.
“That person is you, me, your buddy from high school, your hair dresser,” says Shadpour. “Connecting with people means you need to think and communicate like people do, sharing information and recommendations with each other—and responding quickly to questions and feedback.
Video is one of the fastest growing segments of digital marketing. It can be expensive to produce, but it doesn’t have to be.
“People love watching creative video content,” says Caroline Watts, Marketing Manager for RevJet, a display and video marketing platform. “The best videos can move people to take action like no other form of advertising, because the best videos don’t feel like advertising.”
Watts notes that people watch, re-watch and share Super Bowl commercials for a reason: they connect to the content. Admittedly, Super Bowl commercials are expensive and often written and produced by award-winning agencies. But success doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. Even less expensive videos can grab more attention, engage people for longer, and have higher ROI than most other forms of digital advertising.
The most successful videos are short, tell a story, and strike a chord—whether they’re funny, heartfelt or socially engaging. When implemented as part of a coherent, well-thought-out marketing strategy, video can be hugely impactful. And it doesn’t have to be a Super Bowl commercial to score a touchdown with your audience.
You’ve probably noticed the latest fad: captivating videos that play automatically on Facebook and don’t require sound to make an impact. You can click on them to get the sound, but for the best ones, you don’t even need to. That’s the kind of thing you’re up against.
Digital marketing can go from relatively easy, with social media and blogs, to more complex, with video and multimedia campaigns. So the question is, do you go it alone, or with an agency?
“The first thing to think about is the time and resources you can dedicate to marketing,” says Aimée Savard, Principal at AimPR.ca. “Even for a small business, marketing can eat up a chunk of time and effort. As your business grows, so too will your marketing needs, particularly the need for content marketing—the actual stuff you pipe into your media channels for your target audiences.”
Next, you need to decide whether to do your marketing in-house or send part (or all) of it to an agency. There are advantages to both. Working in-house lets you work face-to-face with your staff on a daily basis. External agencies, on the other hand, bring a fresh perspective, which can be very helpful—especially for campaigns.
If you go external, choose wisely. There are countless agencies to choose from and they’re not all created equal. Find the one that has the right team for you.
Small, boutique firms can offer excellent value and can scale up with you as you grow. But keep a realistic perspective: “Nothing happens overnight,” says Savard. “And strong, behaviour-impacting marketing can take time.”
However you choose to develop your digital marketing efforts, the insights you gain from well designed and analysed campaigns will help maximize your marketing reach. If all goes well, they’ll start sending some of those marketing dollars back your way, in the form of sales—from both existing and, if the marketing stars align, legions of loyal new clients!
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