Selling To The Small Business Owner And Google Advertising

Selling To The Small Business Owner And Google Advertising

In 2017 we cant as small businesses we cant afford to stay in the sidelines and watch as this mammoth takes over and ruins our local small businesses for good. The state of technology and its advance, cripples us that are not in the know, and catching up is costly and time consuming.

Whilst I know that this video is not local to South Africa, the battle to educate is real, and it doesnt change, no matter what country you are in. The truth is that we access the internet via Google, Facebook, Twitter, the list goes on… And if we are not going to be thinking like you and me, and accessing our niche market via the same means we use those platforms then we are doing something wrong.

You have to know that not every paid online advertising model is a perfect fit, for example, a roofing company will have to follow a completely different solution to a blanket manufacturer. Such is the same for a publisher vs a marketplace. Im not saying that you wont need to advertise online, it really depends if youre growing a following or selling something. If youre wanting to do both, then you need to be looking at an earned media and paid for strategy.

All in all this is a great clip that highlights the conundrum from both sides.

Please go to our contact page and drop us a line if youre needing some assistance with the perfect solution for your business and your budget.

Digital Brand Lift VS Ad Recall

Digital Brand Lift VS Ad Recall

The current industry problem

The majority of big brands know very little about ATL-aligned digital brand lift strategies, and that they can cement and amplify longevity in brand lift through quantifiable, trackable, exploitable data, generating brand lift that is not limited to the campaign alone.

Let’s look at this as a relationship. For argument’s sake, the lack of digital brand lift in online promotions or campaigns is sharply akin to a one-night stand, and the consumer is the ‘one-night stand’. The digital campaigns that activate will only ever be a fly-by-night; the one-of-a-kind prizes brands offer are data points such as the opt-in, collected on the basis of the consumer’s interactions for remarketing. The one-night stand in its infinite glory.

What is not well-known by most is that, statistically, online competitions and promotions have no genuine consumer-data value at all. After a competition or promo win, winners may have zero intention of buying the product nor converting to brand only because they won; their goal could purely be “free stuff”. Competition triathletes are a breed of online users, and of social media platforms especially, who are growing faster than we data-junkies care to admit. However, this tiny bit of data facilitates the understanding that changes the ball game considerably. It boils down to this:

Brands are probably buying into false online-engagement data and success metrics, limiting the true velocity of digital brand lift and resulting brand identity/loyalty achieved long after the campaign ends. When applying this to brand campaigns and brand content, it’s clear we have a hit-and-miss.

Often consumers who’ve been profiled and captured are only ever exposed to the brand the next time the brand decides to do a campaign. The consumers have been segmented and profiled; 12 months later, the brand tries to reignite the same data assets, not once considering that the consumers probably disengaged when the last campaign ended, as no digital brand lift strategy existed to keep them interested and neither value in between campaigns was offered nor attempts to forge stronger interactions or identity association.

What does this mean?

A sweet spot has been forming with digital brand lift and identity loyalty or identity association, and that consumer brand-identity loyalty/association is forged through longevity and continuum of active engagement long after the campaign ends. Primarily, in the digital arena, we achieve digital brand lift and identity loyalty specifically through optimised content-marketing efforts in social media to activate positive growth and/or upward shift in consumers’ perception and brand awareness.

Identity loyalty or brand identity association is easily explained: Think of that one brand you believe in, not one you merely like or subscribe to but one you recommend to those you love, knowing the brand will follow through and cement your loyalty. Got that brand in your head?

Identity loyalty, however, does not happen by accident, nor is it an out-of-the-box application. For it to work, brands need to be highly data-proficient, maximising data strategically and using it to facilitate connections with aligned consumers. Once achieved, a marketing oasis is created with customers who ally with brand, and as long as the brand identity is clear, concise and clearly outlines the brand’s values and ideals consistently through content marketing, for example, it can attract devoted consumers like bees to flowers.

Ford, Harley Davidson, Apple, Air Jordan and Nike have all perfected this. Let’s evaluate a Nike Women campaign that is nailing it with viral video and developing exceptionally strong identity loyalty and brand lift. Called #betterforit, this is the story of Margot and Lily. “Two sisters — total opposites — make a bet that pushes them both way outside their comfort zones. One is a fitness YouTube celebrity with no friends, and one a rebel with no clue but loads of friends…”
nike-margot-vs-lily-episode-1-youtube-stats

What’s most interesting with this campaign is the digital brand lift strategy:

  1. To facilitate and entice consumers to buy outfits worn in the YouTube episode
  2. To promote the download of the latest workout
  3. To activate the NIKE Training Club (NTC) mobile app
  4. To connect coaches and experts to consumers embarking on this challenge, and for consumers to easily get the advice they need to get #betterforit

Key takeaway

Digital brand campaigns can be data-rich and insight-poor, lacking the understanding that social-media and brand-lift strategies are not an ATL output. ATL-type campaigns in social media are the very reason Google and Facebook have algorithms that attack brand spam. Social media is as personal as it gets with a consumer — it’s as close as you will ever be. Identity loyalty is forged here, by clear communication of your values, by aligning with the consumer’s identity. Identity loyalty and brand lift (ad recall) are totally within your control, and may be amplified to achieve specific outcomes. Things don’t just happen; it’s a discipline designed to get specific long-term results.

If brands are going to compete for the online space and the online consumer, as detailed in my previous column, then it makes sense to start focusing upon the things that matter, such as digital brand lift, to drive brand entrenchment two years down the road.

Facebook Take Your Audiences – Long Live SEO

Facebook Take Your Audiences – Long Live SEO

Hold on to your chairs marketers, brands and publishers, your world is about to drop off its axis.

I have on many occasions written about the massive move Facebook is going to be making, and I have on many occasions written about why you need SEO, but this time it is to warn you that you need it NOW. 

Why now? On Thursday last week, the 30th of June 2016, all our comfortable marketing worlds were shattered when Facebook announced on its blog, the new algorithm update.

Facebook have moved to obliterate all your “free” marketing efforts as the algorithm is changing to send less traffic to your content sites.

The reason being says Facebooks Vice president of product management Adam Mosseri The growth and competition in the publisher ecosystem is really, really strong, We’re worried that a lot of people using Facebook are not able to connect to friends and family as well because of that.”

Firstly, it was never your audience to begin with, so the panic we all feel is somewhat exaggerated by this realisation. Let’s dive deep into what this means for us locally. SocialFlow reported earlier this month that the reach of publishers has already dropped by 42%, and since most publishers generate about 70% of their traffic from Facebook, especially here is SA, it’s a rather bleak outlook.

It’s not like the writing wasn’t on the wall, we have all seen the little alerts Facebook pops out suggesting you should boost your post, well the future could mean exactly that. Let’s say you create this awesome Facebook post to this amazing article or offer you have and as you hit the post button Facebook gives you a message that reads: pay x amount to reach this audience.  Your reaction would be along the lines of “NO that’s my audience!”… But the real answer is: No, its Facebooks audience. And we should probably get used to that as this is probably the only way we will reach those audiences.

This of course also means the cost of Ads on Facebook will go up.

Let’s look at Auto play video that took Facebook by storm, the question is: do you know why there was a sudden boom from brands and publishers to provide video? The video view counts with Facebook’s “auto play”, even though they may have been somewhat massively inflated, were through the roof, the perfect solution for publishers to prove their social media ROI, and this in turn caused a storm in the marketing world, you have to remember that the news feed does not give your video an unlimited supply of attention, it just looks that way. There is a list of 20 publishers that Facebook paid to make it look that way. Buzzfeed being one publisher that made millions off of this video move.

Gone are the days when there was a native advertising sweet spot, from now on a publisher on Facebook will be issued with a tag that says NATIVE, and this will hurt marketers and publishers as it breaks the illusion that we publishers or marketers are buying access to sacred audiences. The tag allows the brand to access all insights from a post that they are “tagged” in. It works like this: you will be able to see how much traffic you generate from NATIVE Ads rather than seeing organic traffic, this will allow marketers to calculate how big that ROI margin is and I promise you, you will be feeling like you have been robbed.

This algorithm change also means that publishers can share branded content from their official pages to drive traffic organically, but we will be having to rely on Native ads and paid advertising inside Facebook which poses a budget problem down the line.

Let’s look at how we can save this massive loss in traffic from Facebook. SEO is the only answer, it’s the only way to secure earned organic traffic. The principles of SEO do not change; quality content principles don’t change. I know some of you are saying Social is one of the pillars of SEO, yes and no. Social signals will always play a part in SEO ranking, but those are short lived, and have a life span of 48hrs in SERPs if you’re lucky. SEO on the other hand is also applicable inside social media, you just have to find the right SEO person for the job and that might be difficult with the number false guru’s we have trailing the net.

It’s not about their listing on Google, everybody is an SEO on Google Ads, its about finding the SEO that has the knowledge to give you that will equip you for the future. That will guide you and assist you not spew out an audit that means nothing to you. Choose wisely as the next 18months will be critical if you don’t.

My advice to all of you who use Facebook as your primary traffic engine or advertising channel, get SEO now or you will not be here playing digital marketing in 18months time.

What Is Generic Content?

Content Marketing Definition

What Is Generic Content? 

Steer clear of  what we call “generic content“.

Definition : general, common, collective, nonspecific, inclusive, all-encompassing,broad, comprehensive, blanket, umbrella

It will bring your content marketing campaign down faster than a house of cards. Generic and ordinary will not work in 2015, rather hone your focus on “unusual” content that is informative, authentic, imaginative, authoritative and extremely engaging.

Create a sense of exclusivity and authenticity with your content. Ideally it should be content so exclusive that “only you are able to offer” and nobody else.

Stretch the imagination and research processes and generate content that makes its point in manner that is different, engaging, appealing and aligned with your predetermined marketing goals and above all else, ensure that the content is relevant, and authentic. Make sure your business objectives are aligned.

 

5 Tips In Winning The 2016 Content Marketing Challenge

5 Tips In Winning The 2016 Content Marketing Challenge

2015 has been a long year, with a myriad of new algorithms affecting search and social media, content quality taking center stage, long form content fast on its heels, not to mention the advance of video marketing and the micro moment. PR and SEO are now one output or at least should be, as is SEO and content marketing. The blurred line is spreading across all the digital marketing outputs. We now know that SEO and SEM are not the same thing, that syndicated content is duplicate content, that social media has serious ranking power and that authenticity and relevance are key in content. Click baiting and link farming are the cardinal sin, and, we know that content is STILL king, and that the marketing of that content is the queen.

Yet the deeper insight here is often missed. In this past year I have had the pleasure of working with some of the largest news publishers in the country, the largest marketplace in SA, and some of the best digital agencies in town. And this is the insight I have for you.

The Content Marketing Deluge

The biggest threat to content marketing as a practice is content marketing itself, as content marketing does not equate to content marketing success. The issue I have found most prevalent in the industry is that there is a skills shortage, of epic proportions in the severe lack of content managers, content strategists & content marketing professionals.

Businesses need to build on their internal content teams, ensuring they are equipped with up to date SEO knowledge, principles of copy-writing, ORM and PR basics and of course social amplification techniques.

Copy-writing agencies are now content farms, digital advertising agencies are now social media experts, video production companies are now rich media creators, contract publishers are now rebranding themselves as content marketers… and all this is based on content created from a mix of inexperienced content creators that are already stretched to the limit with no idea on how content marketing works.

This translates to an influx of crappy content, and that means that its just a matter of time before content marketing blindness takes over. Consumers will wisen up to this “new” tactic of mass publication pretending to valuable content. The reality is that content marketing is a powerful tool to get the consumer to drop their defenses for just a little while so we can gain their trust and become their custom. But with crap content disguised as great content, the user who is bitten will not be clicking on the good content in a hurry. So content marketing in my view will become harder with diminishing returns as long as we continue to mass produce content under the guise of believing that hordes of content published means you are a successful content marketer.

Branded content, in my opinion, and yes it is jaded, is the swearword of the digital marketing space, the term “branded content” was created by the world of paid media  it has no place in content marketing in 2016, but allow me to elaborate: Unfortunately, the problem is that the people in control of marketing media budgets in this industry do not understand content marketing as a concept nor as a business strategy.

SO, Who and or what will be successful in content marketing? It’s going to be the businesses and brands that create something of value, something unique, something so close to the audience, it will be precious to them. Those who build a “content brand”, not brands publishing branded content. What brands often forget is that the consumer has enough wit about them to know that:” Brands are a symbol of a promise, and a strong brand is built on promises upheld”

Brands and publishers alike need to stop applying the same old marketing structures and principles to content marketing. Content marketing does not require content assets to be effective, however producing high quality content consistently will be a challenge and the key is: less really is more, less quantity but more quality”.

Smart Content Marketing Tips

Here are some examples of “smart” content:

  1. Answer A Question: Can be called the “how-to” format. This is perfect for instructions like how to bake a cake, or teaching your audience something.
  2. Provide Opinion: Kind of like a review style and a great opportunity to show your perspective on a specific topic.
  3. Add Context: Pick an angle to follow with your particular topic, this is the ideal format for interviews and event coverage. Always focus on connecting with your audience first, if you can illicit some sort of emotional response you’re on the right track, and PS: It’s at this level that people connect and make purchasing decisions.
  4. Smart content uses more than just words, it uses images, graphics, animations and video so use these to bring your content to life.
Debunked – Content Marketing VS Social Media Marketing

Debunked – Content Marketing VS Social Media Marketing

In my escapades in this digital landscape I have too many times heard that content marketing IS social media marketing, and that is TOTALLY untrue!

Lets debunk this myth once and for all.

Although content marketing does involve some heavy investment in social media and the two may overlap somewhat, infact better said that they work in tandem, but there are a few very distinct differences between these entities. They have completely different processes, focal points and goals. Let’s look at the 2 biggest differences that are pertinent to a good content marketing strategy.

FACT: If you publish anything online, be it social or a blog post, you are a PUBLISHER.

The Gravitational Mass:

When looking at social media we focus our marketing activity inside the social media networks themselves, IE: As we create content, we aim to inject all our content into either of the platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, G+ or LinkedIn. The centre of gravity is the social platform.

The contrasting centre of gravity for content marketing is the brand website, be it a branded URL, or a microsite, makes no diffs, but the social media efforts are vital here and used primarily for backlinks to the actual content on the brands site. Social media here then is not the container of the content but the conduit.

The Content Types:

When talking about social media marketing, brands model their behaviour based on those using the social media; the content has to be built to fit in with the context of that channel, IE: Twitter allows 140 characters, an image etc, while things like infographics, video, and how to’s work in FB.

When looking at content marketing, brands model their behaviour based on that of a media publisher, the website offers longer forms of content and brands are not limited to what they can publish, IE: videos, blogs, eBooks, etc.

The Objectives:

Social media objectives are firstly brand awareness, by generating discussion and activity around the brand, then secondly, its best used for customer satisfaction and retention. It’s a proven fact that brands that use their social media for customer dialogue and care, are trumping the social media race.

In contrast however, having the website based center of gravitational pull, content marketing can be focused on demand generation of quality content, that way developing a relationship with prospects, as quality content brings quality prospects to one’s site, and this could lead to conversions.

The Conclusion:

As brands settle down into their new roles as publishers, the natural progression will be content marketing, but the bar is set really high, they not only have to create long form quality content that builds audiences on their own site, they have to engage more deeply with their audiences in all channels, and knowing the difference between content marketing and social marketing is just the beginning.

Content marketing strategies should include social media as they are there to not only support the audience but the long term content marketing objectives of the business or brand itself.