Marketing Agency vs. In-House Team: Which Should You Choose?

Marketing Agency vs. In-House Team: Which Should You Choose?

Like most business owners, you know you need to effectively market your business in order to expand your sphere of influence and engage new customers – but you’re unsure of the right approach. Is it better to recruit a dedicated marketing team to manage all your marketing in-house? Or should you enlist the services of an experienced digital marketing agency to tackle everything for you?

Both are reasonable options, but there are also ramifications connected with either decision. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency versus hiring an in-house marketing team.

3 Time-Tested Methods for Growing Your Business

If you want to grow your business (and why wouldn’t you?), there are a few tried-and-true methods you can employ to attract new customers:

  • Word of Mouth & Referrals
  • Advertising & Marketing  (PPC, SEO, Social Media)
  • Direct Sales  (Cold Calls, Email Blasts, Knocking on Doors)

In a perfect world, a business would land so many new customer referrals that it wouldn’t have to shell out money for advertising, marketing, or direct sales. But when you’re first getting started in business, you can’t always rely on getting the referrals you need. As a result, many companies will consider either hiring an in-house marketing team or outsourcing their marketing to an agency. Let’s examine both options:

WHY HIRE AN IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAM?

Based on your specific business needs, employing a dedicated in-house marketing team might seem more reasonable. Sure, you’re accruing additional salary expenses to the business, but you’re also gaining total control over how your marketing plan is put into action.

Recruiting an experienced, skilled marketing manager who can take charge of every aspect of your marketing efforts can help grow lead generation and steadily attract new customers. So, let’s weigh the pros and cons of hiring an in-house marketing team:

PROS:

In-House Marketers Have a Deeper Understanding of the Business

Generally speaking, someone who works exclusively for your business is likely to have a much better understanding of your customers’ needs. They’re more acquainted with your products and services, and they know how best to promote them to your clientele. If you’re a B2B organization – one that specializes in selling products and services to other companies – employing an in-house marketing team may be even more critical. After all, an outside agency might not be as familiar with your specific market.

In-house marketers are likely to feel more connected to and in line with your overall business strategy. In addition, they probably have a fairly solid knowledge base and a good awareness of previous campaigns – and whether or not those campaigns have been successful – without having to go to the trouble of researching them as an agency would. Moreover, an in-house team gives you creative control over the end-to-end digital process.

An In-House Marketing Team Is Focused On Your Brand Only

While marketing agencies will certainly make the effort to familiarize themselves with your brand and devote ample time to your marketing strategy, they’re also focused on the marketing needs of their other clients. 

By contrast, in-house marketers are able to focus on your business 100% of the time. Each of their marketing efforts is customized to your business’s specific needs. They spend time examining what’s working for you and making adjustments to marketing goals and processes. Because of this singular focus, your in-house marketing team is liable to put forth more ideas that are unique to your business.

In-House Marketers Are Available All Workweek Long

With a dedicated in-house marketing team, you don’t have to schedule a time to meet – you can brainstorm or revise plans anytime you need to.

Having convenient access to key decision-makers in real time can help streamline creative timelines and project management much more so than if you are outsourcing a project.

CONS:

Oprah Winfrey saying,

In-House Marketing Can Be Inconsistent and Lackluster

One of the challenges of having just one or two people working on your marketing is that it’s often a part-time role. In-house personnel might already have other duties they’re expected to perform, and handling the business’s marketing needs is simply bundled into their job description.

As a result, consistency plummets quickly. It’s conceivable that in-house marketers could go weeks without posting any new content or monitoring ad campaign statistics.

Additionally, if budget constraints prevent you from recruiting a diverse team of crackerjack marketers, the content created by these individuals might be lifeless and uninspired as a result.

Yoda saying,

An In-House Marketing Team May Have Limited Training Time

Marketing agencies often spend a considerable amount of time and resources ensuring that their employees keep up to date on their knowledge and skills. Ongoing training might include attending marketing conferences or webinars, exchanging articles and resources online, and brainstorming between various departments.

By contrast, in-house marketers usually have less time to dedicate to improving their skills. They also don’t have the benefit of learning from or collaborating with other marketing departments. While you may initially hire individuals based on their digital marketing experience and expertise, once they’re a part of your in-house team they are far less likely to have the time and resources available to continue to maintain and refine their skills.

Steve Martin unsuccessfully trying to think of new ideas.

In-House Marketers May Run Out of Fresh Ideas

Effective marketing inherently demands imaginative minds that thrive on change. When a small in-house marketing team is focused on managing your brand alone, creativity can begin to languish over time. After all, it’s difficult to keep formulating new and innovative strategies to promote products and share content when you have no one outside your circle to bounce ideas off. 

In some cases, company leadership keeps a tight rein on their creative team and doesn’t give them leeway to take chances and try new things. There may also be some overarching arrogance on the part of leadership, believing that no one outside the organization can represent the company as effectively as its employees.

Some rando guy saying really slowly,

Companies Must Foot the Bill for Retaining an In-House Team

In the short term, it can seem like you’re getting a better bargain by opting for a small in-house marketing team. But ultimately, it can become considerably more costly.

If you choose to partner with a marketing agency, you can anticipate spending more money at first to get you set up. But these costs will dramatically decrease to monthly maintenance over time.

By contrast, you will need to keep paying your in-house marketing team members an annual salary, as well as benefits and paid time off in most cases. With cost-of-living increases, this amount will only grow.

Digital Marketing Graphic with Soaring Rocket

WHY HIRE A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY?

Securing the services of a digital marketing agency can feel like a monumental maneuver. Typically, there’s a preliminary meeting, a contract of some duration, numerous discussions regarding the scope of work, and interaction with a variety of different people on the team. Finding the ideal agency can involve a great deal of time and effort.

Then there are the costs. Working with an agency is oftentimes more expensive than “DIY” marketing or recruiting in-house personnel, primarily because the agency is more experienced. However, a digital marketing agency can deliver a more expansive array of services and also churn out higher-quality work. Here are some pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency:

PROS:

Professional Marketers Have Specialized Skill Sets

Effective marketing demands a multifaceted approach, involving content creation, social media management, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), graphic design, and website design and development. Assembling an in-house marketing team teeming with all this talent is no easy undertaking.

When you partner with a reputable digital marketing agency, you gain access to an entire team of specialists – each of whom knows their niche and understands how best to get results. These passionate and knowledgeable marketers routinely manage a wide range of clientele, making it all the more probable that they’ll implement the proper strategies for your company with not as much trial and error.

A Marketing Agency Can Offer a Fresh Perspective

Companies that have been in business for any significant period of time may ultimately come to the realization that they’re circulating the same ideas over and over again. Campaigns start to look alike, and copywriters continue using the same terminology to describe things. In-house marketers keep trying to devise new and innovative ideas, but it’s getting more and more challenging to do so.

This is entirely normal. There’s a natural limit to how long a company can craft quality content when they’re promoting the same products and services day in and day out. It’s easy to become single-minded when working from inside an organization. That said, getting an outside perspective can be immensely beneficial to a business.

Partnering with an agency can help you view your company from a different perspective and bring a fresh approach to your marketing strategy. While it’s true that an outside agency will not immediately have a thorough, expansive understanding of your company’s brand and history, this can actually be beneficial. An agency can objectively identify opportunities that might have gone unnoticed or were not as easily recognizable by in-house personnel.

Digital marketing specialists have years of knowledge and experience, and they’re trained to analyze your business from the consumer’s or client’s viewpoint. The old adage “two heads are better than one” is especially relevant when it comes to digital marketing.

Additionally, an agency may be more willing to push the envelope and think unconventionally. This can bring about increased ingenuity and quite possibly more successful marketing strategies.

Consistency and Speed of Work are Hallmarks of Digital Marketing Agencies

Consistency and Speed of Work Are Hallmarks of Marketing Agencies

When generating new marketing collateral, it’s easy for an organization to become careless about what and when to communicate. More often than not, attending to customers is their primary focus, and marketing takes a back seat.

Since the majority of in-house personnel have other responsibilities apart from their marketing roles, the time they have available to keep up to date on all the latest social media, SEO, content marketing, and branding trends is extremely limited.

By contrast, entrusting your marketing to an outside agency enables these marketers to jump in and start implementing strategies right away, carrying out each project from planning to completion. Because these agencies routinely handle a wide array of client accounts, they typically work far more efficiently than an in-house marketing team.

Over time, these agile marketers have designed state-of-the-art workflows and processes that are built for quality, volume, and efficiency. Outsourced agencies will strive to make sure to send your content, ad campaigns, and social media marketing out on time, making sure it not only looks great but also that your branding is consistent.

Kim Kardashian flashing that cash

Marketing Agencies Are Cost-Effective Over the Long Term

While partnering with an outside agency might seem more expensive at face value, when compared to the costs of recruiting a full team of dedicated marketers, it’s a bargain! In-house personnel can set your company back hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in salaries, benefits, and technology investments.

On the other hand, you might choose to designate a single, in-house employee to handle all of your social media marketing, graphic design, and online advertising. But for less than the costs associated with that one individual, you could hire an agency and gain access to an entire team of specialists who are experienced in meeting the needs of a variety of diverse clients in multiple industries.

Working with an agency that comprehends your company’s specific needs will allow you to move swifter, secure better outcomes, and make decisions more effortlessly. You may not even have to work with an agency long-term at full scale – once you’re up and running successfully, you may only have to manage maintenance fees, which are considerably less by comparison.

Schitt's Creek:

Outsourcing to an Agency Gives Your Company a Competitive Edge

Competition is fierce and technologies evolve at lightning speed. Therefore, it’s essential to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in order to stay ahead of your competitors. It’s possible to achieve this with an in-house team if your organization is prepared to invest in marketing education, new technology, and advanced resources. But most aren’t.

Fortunately, staying on top of the most current digital marketing techniques is an agency’s lifeblood. Marketing agencies often enjoy early access to cutting-edge technologies, tools, and software – most of which just aren’t available to smaller, in-house marketing teams.

Unless your internal marketing team is large enough to justify the costs of ongoing education and technology, it’s generally more economical to outsource your marketing to an agency.

CONS:

Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air looking nervously uncertain.

Partnering with a Marketing Agency Can Incur Higher Costs Over the Short Term

Depending on how many functions you decide to pass on to an agency, you can expect to spend a bigger chunk of your marketing budget than you would with a single, in-house professional – at least at first.

But, as previously mentioned, you can’t always get the best results when entrusting all of your marketing efforts to one person. If you’re currently covering the total cost of salaries plus benefits to support an entire in-house team, you might find that outsourcing to a marketing agency is actually more affordable.

When you partner with an outside marketing agency, it’s important to bear in mind that, in addition to gaining access to a whole team of professional marketers, you’re also laying the foundations of a long-term marketing strategy that will gradually decrease costs and improve overall profitability.

Being businesses as well, marketing agencies naturally have their own salaries, taxes, and other expenses that they must meet. To accomplish this, agencies must set prices for each of their various services. That said, most agencies are upfront about their pricing and are willing to adjust their fee structures to meet your budget.

While an agency may cost more in the short term, it is likely to generate better returns that you can measure right away. This signifies that you know the value that you’re paying for.

Dream Corp:

Marketing Agencies May Lack Your Knowledge of the Industry

While some marketing agencies concentrate on a specific industry, most of them work with clients in a variety of markets. Consequently, they may not have the degree of knowledge you have about your products and services.

In such cases, there will be a bit of a “discovery period” in the early days of a project until the agency has become familiar with the particulars of your key business processes. Even agencies that have worked with a vast array of clients will need time to grasp your customers’ needs.

Because each market is distinct, what performs well for one business might fail miserably for another. You won’t want to squander money on a campaign that will end up alienating potential customers.

Finding a firm with demonstrated results in your field can help counterbalance a lack of industry knowledge.

The Umbrella Academy:

It Can Take Time for Agencies to Get Up to Speed On a Company

It can be hard to get down to business straightaway after hiring an agency. The client-agency partnership needs time to ensure proper alignment with the client’s stated objectives.

A creditable marketing agency will want to gain a deep understanding of your clients and identify what it is that they’re looking for. At the same time, they’ll need to make sure they have a good grasp of your brand’s voice and image.

After taking the time to evaluate your goals and prior marketing efforts with their team, the agency will work to determine what direction to take with your marketing and ensure that you approve of it as well.

Once a campaign has concluded, the agency will ask for your feedback so that they can adapt and enhance your marketing strategy going forward. All of these things take time, and a freewheeling approach won’t produce optimal results.

You Can Expect Lots of Meetings, Especially Early On

When outsourcing your marketing to an agency, you can anticipate taking part in a lot of meetings and discussions, especially at the outset of the relationship.

Every single aspect demands your consent and stamp of approval early on, and you can’t relegate these critical decisions to the agency. Being tasked with reviewing a new web design, fresh website content, or greenlighting an ad campaign can be burdensome at times – but it’s an integral part of the process.

As the client-agency relationship progresses, you can expect to continue having regular meetings in order to:

Warner Archive:

Regular Communication with Marketing Agencies Can Be Challenging

Effective communication is crucial to keeping your marketing plan running smoothly. But when you partner with an outside marketing agency, you won’t always have instant access to your team. Lack of physical proximity is a natural barrier, and face-to-face communication is understandably more limited.

Communicating with agency partners often takes place via phone or email, and they may be slower to respond to requests, questions, or concerns than you’d prefer. Certainly, meetings can be arranged, but they typically occur hours or days later.

The fact of the matter is, you aren’t the agency’s only client. You may not even be their biggest client. Agencies routinely manage multiple accounts for a variety of clients. If other clients contract for more services, your company’s project may not be prioritized as highly. Simply put, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

However, principled marketing agencies will work to ensure that no client feels less valued than another. They strive to keep in constant contact with each of their clients and make a conscious effort to respond to concerns quickly.

Final Thoughts

Both recruiting an in-house marketing team and outsourcing to an agency have their benefits and drawbacks. Neither option is inherently right or wrong for any business.

In order to determine which approach is right for your company, it’s important to examine your short-term marketing goals as well as your long-term growth strategy. Weighing these against your own team’s strengths and weaknesses is critical to assessing whether you should keep your marketing initiatives in-house or entrust them to outside experts. In addition, identifying which particular services your company needs and determining your marketing budget are essential to reaching a final decision.

Many companies already have a core of in-house individuals tasked with handling their marketing. By and large, in-house personnel live and breathe the company brand and are likely to have a far more in-depth understanding of the business’s unique selling proposition, product set, and buyer personas. Thus, in-house marketers may be better qualified to create relevant content and effective communication strategies for the company.

Nevertheless, the range of expertise and resources available to in-house marketers may be limited – indeed, they may find it difficult to implement new software or keep pace with ever-evolving trends and technologies.

There’s a steep learning curve involved with digital marketing, and teaming up with an external agency can help avoid classic “newbie” mistakes. Instead of spending time and effort exploring various possibilities, agency specialists will formulate and carry out a hard-and-fast plan without delay, ensuring a quicker return on your investment.

Many organizations find that a hybrid approach to marketing works best. Outsourcing key services to agency specialists can not only be extremely cost-effective, but it also provides an outside perspective that can help in-house marketing teams recognize opportunities to improve. Keeping some of your resources in-house also helps the company maintain some degree of direct control over its content, branding, and other marketing resources.

Now that you’ve had a chance to analyze the pros and cons of retaining an in-house marketing team versus partnering with an outside agency, it’s time to take the next step.

If you or your business could benefit from the services of a professional, full-service digital marketing agency, HighClick Media is here to help! 

HighClick provides comprehensive digital media and online marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our talented team of creative thinkers, innovators, and digital marketers bring skills above and beyond the ordinary to every project, resulting in explosive business success!

Whether you’re looking for a fresh website design, brand development, email marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), or pay-per-click advertising (PPC), our highly skilled team is fully equipped to assist you!

Reach out to us today by calling 252.814.2150 or visit our website for a full description of our services!

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What the Emergence of 5G Wireless Means For Marketing

What the Emergence of 5G Wireless Means For Marketing

It’s been a decade since 4G – the last generation of mobile network technology – was introduced. With its arrival, the landscape of digital media and mobile communication was forever altered.

Smartphones and other devices designed to fully utilize 4G wireless technology gave consumers the power of supercomputers in the palms of their hands, enabling them to quickly and easily search the internet for products, services, reviews, and media, as well as find answers to nearly any question imaginable.

In a short period of time, we’ve come to take 4G’s capabilities for granted. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that many of today’s mobile apps – with their capacity for streaming video and audio and in-app advertising and purchases – could not have existed on 3G.

No previous generation of mobile technology has had the wherewithal to drive economic growth to the extent that 5G promises. Much like the advent of 4G made it possible for services like Uber and Lyft to launch, 5G is likely to spark a brand-new wave of tech titans.

5G also gives every indication of opening up more opportunities for the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting everything from your house lights to your garage door and even your toaster to the internet. This translates into more people and more devices spending more time connected to the internet, increasingly consuming more content.

While it could take as long as a decade to realize the full potential of the technology, 5G is projected to cover up to 65% of the global population by the end of 2025, fielding as much as 45% of global mobile data traffic. When 5G wireless networks and devices finally start to take root, they will fundamentally change customer behavior and open up new marketing opportunities for organizations.

WHAT IS 5G?

5G, the fifth-generation cellular wireless network, is a cloud-based network that connects people on mobile devices to the internet remarkably faster than previous networks. While 4G requires cables and infrastructure to operate smoothly in a neighborhood, 5G’s cellular towers enhance cloud-based signals, eliminating many cable-related needs.

Whereas preceding wireless networks were only truly capable of powering mobile devices up to the size of a tablet, 5G will be strong enough and fast enough to effortlessly power computers, televisions, and even smart devices.

5G technology carries with it the potential for download speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G; very low latency (the time it takes for a network to send a data packet after it’s requested from a receiving device); higher network capacity (the ability to connect far more devices to a network simultaneously); and faster message transmission, due to supercharged connectivity.

The possibilities of 5G are limitless and could transform the digital marketing landscape in more ways than we can conceive of.

HOW 5G WIRELESS WILL CHANGE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

The expansion of 5G will be powered by the introduction of 5G-compatible iPhones and Android phones in the near future. This will likely spawn a huge wave of smartphone upgrades. Along with being on a faster network, these devices will feature better-quality screens, faster processors, higher-resolution cameras, and other improved components.

Once customers have acquired these compatible devices, wireless carriers will begin vying for these customers by building out their respective networks. This build-out will take some time, but 5G should be an everyday experience for the majority of Americans within the next 3 to 5 years.

Faster internet speeds on 5G-supported devices will make surfing the internet, watching videos, and online shopping much more attractive on mobile. This will likely motivate consumers to use their mobile devices even more often than before. Already, 37% of web traffic and 56% of revenue is from mobile devices, according to Smart Insights. As 5G expands to more communities, these numbers will certainly escalate even further.

With better and faster data exchanges, 5G will also lead to enhanced location accuracy. Having relevant data in hand to increase targeting accuracy for any ad, search page, or web page experience means improved results for both consumers and brands. Consumers will enjoy a better experience and marketers will reach a more targeted audience. While this won’t necessarily change the tactics that local marketers use to connect to their audience, it will increase the chances that the consumers they reach are the right ones.

WHAT 5G MEANS FOR MARKETING

A Solid Online Presence Is Essential

With higher loading speeds and dependable, super-fast connections, people will be able to consume more online content, faster. In fact, early users of the 5G network have reported using four times more data than they did previously. Consumers are likely going to be spending more time browsing, scrolling, and swiping on the internet and less time viewing traditional content like cable TV, newspapers, and magazines. More screen time translates into more opportunities to reach your target audience.

If your brand doesn’t currently exist on all the relevant platforms, now’s the time to establish and develop a solid online presence. If you haven’t already launched a website, this is a crucial first step. Set up and optimize your business profiles on all the major social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Consider creating marketing videos aimed at increasing brand awareness. Starting a company blog is an excellent way to build a community and provoke conversations among industry peers.

Digital Ads Will Be on More Screens & Surfaces

With 5G and advancing Wi-Fi technologies, wireless internet is going to be noticeably faster and more widespread, even in rural locations. Due to the higher network speeds, visual and media in digital ads could be much more advanced.

Currently, digital ads can be seen on smartphones, websites, and occasionally on screens at shopping centers and airports. Super-fast wireless connectivity means high-end screens could be located anywhere an internet connection exists. Quite literally, any surface has the potential to become an interactive digital marketing ad platform. Faster speeds could even open the door for functional holographic ads. 

Super-fast wireless connectivity means that high-end screens could be located anywhere an internet connection exists. Faster speeds could even open the door for functioning holographic ads. In a world where literally any surface has the potential to become an interactive digital marketing ad platform, advertisers can dramatically increase the number of locations and methods by which they can reach potential customers.

Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)

For years, marketers have deemed immersive technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to be rife with potential for paid advertising. While some major brands have played around with VR and AR for some time, opportunities in these areas have been constrained based on Wi-Fi access.

One of the chief reasons why VR, AR, and other forms of extended reality (XR) haven’t yet become widespread in popularity is because these technologies demand significant bandwidth, less latency, and greater speed than 4G is capable of providing. The expansion of 5G networks will allow advertisers to utilize this format with more reliability and less lag.

Augmented reality inherently relies on immersion. A lag or stutter can shatter the illusion. In order to maintain the suspension of disbelief, the AR experience needs to be utterly convincing, real-time, and executed seamlessly. As internet speeds accelerate, delivering on these requirements is becoming progressively easier.

Low latency and high system capacity will improve overall consistency, helping to bring smooth, immersive experiences into mainstream reality, and offering a wealth of opportunities for marketers.

 

In the near future, we can reasonably expect to see brands launching innovative and compelling messaging using high-quality, interactive creative imagery overlaid on practically every surface imaginable. This innovative marketing content will likely be viewable not just when wearing standard AR-enhanced glasses, but also in store windows, on walls, in car dashboards, and on next-generation mobile devices that also function as projectors.

Internet of Things (IoT) Will Reach Its Full Potential

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the concept of connecting any possible device to the internet. This goes beyond the obvious connected “things” like computers, cell phones, smart TVs, cameras, home security systems, and wearable devices (Apple Watches and FitBits, for example), and extends to more commonplace items like thermostats, lighting fixtures, household appliances, doorbells, and even barbecue grills. All of these and more can be controlled through devices such as smartphones or smart speakers.

While many IoT devices are capable of functioning on 4G networks, connections between devices generally can’t rely on transferring large amounts of data because there simply isn’t enough bandwidth. With the increased bandwidth that 5G networks will bring, the number of connected items will skyrocket, and the connection between these items will become more efficient and seamless.

As adoption of 5G continues to increase, the amount of data generated by IoT devices will also grow exponentially. Marketers will have to learn to separate the valuable data from the “junk,” but once they’re able to reliably pinpoint the good data to use on a large scale, the possibilities are endless.

What benefits can marketers derive from this treasure trove of data?

  • Understand audiences more deeply in order to better personalize their messaging
  • Generate contextual and location-based ads that are hyper-targeted to reach their ideal audience
  • Create timely, relevant content for prospective customers at each stage in the buying journey
  • Listen to the needs of their customers based on their behavior
  • Make real-time adjustments to marketing campaigns based on ongoing data analysis

Going forward, advertisers should be ready to interface with users across a variety of different devices using a vast array of ad formats.

More Interactive Advertising

Up to this point, buffering and other technological limitations have impaired the accessibility of interactive ads.

At present, advertisers are tasked with finding a happy medium between producing compelling creative content and minimizing webpage load times. High-definition or interactive digital display ads lengthen the amount of time it takes for a page to load, which can cause some website visitors to skedaddle before they even see the ad.

5G download speeds will be fast enough that marketers will no longer be limited with regard to the quality of creative features on a webpage. 4K and live videos will be commonplace across the internet, even on mobile.

Since interactive ads won’t negatively impact a website’s performance, the sites will be significantly easier to navigate. Improved website performance could potentially boost click-through rates and decrease bounce rates as well.

Marketing Processes Will Be Improved

Reporting and data mining that once took hours or days for marketers to complete might only take a few minutes or seconds with 5G. Analytics, applied to every phase of the marketing process, can help predict where demand will be for particular products, optimize pricing to gain a competitive edge, and identify consumer purchasing patterns and behaviors.

With faster data communication between devices, marketers will finally have access to real-time analytics. This opens up the possibility to maximize and modify marketing campaigns in real time using artificial intelligence (AI) and other marketing automation tools.

Greater Personalization & Hyper-Localized Targeting

As internet speeds increase and mobile connectivity reaches deeper into more rural and remote areas, the number of internet users is likely to grow at an even faster rate than before. With the proliferation of users, marketers will also see a noticeable increase in the amount of valuable data they are able to collect. With more detailed information in hand, marketers will be able to deliver hyper-localized content and multifaceted campaign strategies. Hyper-localization makes personalization and targeting increasingly important. With this data, marketers will be better able to:

  • Tailor ads by demographics, consumer behavior, and specific device usage
  • Improve segmentation, customer experience (CX), and customer journey
  • Generate customized calls to action, personalized emails, and location-based homepages
  • Build meaningful relationships between the brand and the consumer

Expansion of Mobile Marketing

Over the past decade, screen time on mobile devices has significantly increased. With users’ eyes glued to their cell phone screens, mobile marketing is more vital than ever. 

Marketers understand that there’s a discernible difference between how people use a computer and a smartphone. Desktop search inquiries can be more complex, whereas smartphone queries are generally simpler and more direct. Bearing this in mind, marketers will need to fashion content that’s more appropriate for mobile devices.

This content will likely be centered around screenless searches – voice search and digital assistants, for example – as well as micro-moments (when people reflexively consult a device, typically a smartphone, to act upon a need to learn, do, discover, watch, or buy something). Consequently, this content will be more conversational in tone and framed to answer frequently asked questions to aid users in acquiring information on the go.

Mobile ecommerce sales in the U.S. represented nearly 40% of total retail ecommerce sales as recently as 2018 – and it’s anticipated that these numbers will keep climbing. Despite this unprecedented growth, U.S. consumers are nonetheless encountering considerable difficulties while shopping online.

Consumers’ greatest frustration emanates from latency – in a recent survey, 42% of users referenced low-performing websites or apps as their biggest inconvenience. As network speeds accelerate with 5G, zero latency will essentially eliminate the number-one problem for mobile shopping.

Now is the time for companies – and marketers – to gear up for the progression of 5G by streamlining shopping apps and enriching the customer experience.

Video Advertising Will Increase

Video is already the most consumed content on the internet, as well as a fast-growing segment of digital marketing. While 4G networks are relatively fast, lag issues still creep up when streaming videos. Due to limited bandwidth, pages load slowly, preventing many marketers from doubling down on video as a central focus of their efforts.

With heightened connectivity and accelerated internet speeds, the use of video content, streaming, and mobile video consumption is expected to skyrocket. Page load times will dramatically decrease and buffering time will be reduced to virtually nil, creating a nearly seamless streaming experience for users.

5G networks will allow users to stream high-quality videos faster than ever before, contribute to better overall quality (such as 4K video), easily support longer-form and data-rich videos, and enhance live video capabilities.

Consequently, video advertising will become more prevalent online. Marketers will focus on producing unique, high-quality video content as a primary component of their advertising strategies. Consumers should expect that the quantity of video ads they see will rise; however, these same users may be more open to video content if they find it to be particularly relevant.

As recently as 2018, users reported having viewed a combined 1 billion hours’ worth of YouTube content each day, substantially more than the next leading platforms combined. Rival social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have all rolled out emergent video platforms in an attempt to seize a portion of YouTube’s viewership for their platforms. As the breadth of video-streaming networks continues to expand, marketers will work on diversifying and gearing their efforts toward each specific platform.

Decreasing Use of Ad Blockers

Currently, an estimated 47% of consumers routinely use ad blockers. One of the biggest reasons for this is that ads can significantly slow down a page’s load time.

With the higher speeds and lower latency that 5G will bring, the use of ad blockers is likely to decline. This means that marketers will be able to serve more ads to more people, much faster than before.

Faster load times and a better user experience (UX) will ultimately lead to more positive relationships between brands and consumers as well.

Richer Content for Websites & Emails

More mobile bandwidth would seriously diminish concerns about website load times, allowing businesses to use more images, animation, and video. Just because they can, though, doesn’t mean that they should – busy and frenetic web designs can be confusing to visitors. However, 5G does allow for richer content with fewer worries.

5G technology would decrease concerns about email load times as well. Marketers could be more confident about using retina and 4K images in emails, and could even use larger-sized animated gifs with more frames.

Voice Assistants Will Be The Norm

Whether scheduling activities or creating lists, people are now using voice assistants for anything and everything they please. Sales of smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Alexa, have also boomed in recent years.

Smart speakers and voice assistants demand rapid access to vast amounts of data in order to accurately encrypt a verbal command and return a useful response. 5G technology will allow these tools to function even faster and be more helpful. In addition, the data transfer speeds available from 5G networks will enable you to take your smart speaker with you wherever you go for even greater versatility.

One of the biggest marketing impacts of 5G will be that consumers can have actual voice conversations with mobile devices, instead of merely issuing a few voice commands and interacting at other times by thumb-typing or screen-touching.

As voice assistants become more omnipresent, marketers will look for new ways to leverage this developing technology. Mobile advertising could eventually become entirely slanted towards voice conversations.

HOW TO KEEP UP IN A 5G WORLD

It’s understandable if your company isn’t quite ready to explore the possibilities of interactive advertising, augmented reality, or virtual reality. However, you should still keep tabs on the latest marketing technologies in order to be “in the know” about what the bigger brands are doing. This can help you identify which opportunities might be more accessible to you in the future, or come up with similar strategies that you might be able to recreate without the high-priced technologies.

If you haven’t already, you should also work on building up your digital and online marketing tactics. The ongoing improvements of Wi-Fi and the expectations of 5G have demonstrated that there’s a business case for being hyperconnected. If the majority of your customers weren’t online frequently already, they certainly will be in the coming years.

Make sure you’re actively engaging with consumers on the most popular social media channels for your industry. Build a robust website awash with digital content such as blog posts, marketing videos, and other relevant information.

If you’ve already got an amazing online presence, consider exploring newer mobile platforms that could thrive in the 5G era. You might not be able to afford to create an AR advertisement, but you could experiment with creating content that utilizes AR or new-media filters on apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, or Instagram.

In a 5G world, marketing will be distinctly data-driven with messaging served to individuals, not the general public. At every micro-moment of decision, you’ll be seeking to gain influence. Thus, you will need solid marketing technology in order to capture and analyze data and respond in real time. Accomplishing this goal will demand investment and meticulous planning. Utilizing a customer data platform is a great place to start

FINAL THOUGHTS

While the move to widespread 5G coverage will be a gradual progression, the latest generation of wireless technology stands as a colossal creative and strategic opportunity for marketers. Integrating technology into the marketing realm was already bound to happen; but with the realization of 5G on a massive scale, digital will indeed begin to dominate.

Amidst this rapidly changing landscape, marketers must work to establish closer relationships between consumers and brands through more relevant and compelling communications and experiences. 5G will allow marketers to find new and innovative ways to communicate with their existing customers, based on better location accuracy and other techniques. 

Marketing professionals would also be wise to invest in new skills and strategic planning in order to fully leverage the new technology and its infrastructure. By keeping an eye on key digital marketing metrics and monitoring customer behaviors closely, marketers can quickly identify major shifts and adapt accordingly. 

As with any new technology, unexpected pitfalls may arise, such as data breaches and identity theft. Marketers must ensure that comprehensive security and privacy procedures are in place to safeguard their own assets and those of their clients.

Overall, the addition of 5G and even improved Wi-Fi networks will be great for businesses with an online or digital presence – and marketers who run many of their daily processes online.

There’s definitely a lot to unpack, but as 5G takes shape and becomes part of our collective reality, we’ll continue to discover new ways to harness the technology and enhance the consumer’s experience.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing and creative services team to deliver precise marketing solutions to help grow your business, look no further than HighClick Media. We provide comprehensive digital media and online marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our talented team of creative thinkers, innovators, and digital marketers bring skill above and beyond the ordinary to every project, resulting in explosive business success. Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 to see how we can help you #elevateyourbrand!

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10 Things to Remember When Launching Your Website

10 Things To Remember When Launching Your Website

Launching a website is a big decision. If you make the wrong choice, it can cost you thousands of dollars and years to correct. Before launching your website, there are a few things you should remember so that you can achieve the desired success.

Ensure That Your Logo Represents Your Brand

Creating your logo design for a website should be simple yet creative and unique so that it can be easily recognized by customers. It should also represent your brand in a way that’s straightforward for users to understand. The best logos usually include text, illustrations, or designs with the company name included in them.

Research Your Competitors Carefully

In any niche market or industry today, it pays to know what your competitors are doing at all times. This will help you come up with better ways of getting ahead of them, by offering something they don’t have or targeting their audiences effectively without being noticed. You can do this through various means, such as social media monitoring tools and third-party trackers among others.

Have Great Content That Is Unique and Informative

Having great content definitely plays a role when trying to attract users to visit your site from time to time. However, this doesn’t mean you should plagiarize others’ work! Just make sure that the content you have is unique in its own way and provides genuine information to your users.

Develop an Effective SEO Strategy

If you want your site to succeed, you cannot overlook the importance of having an effective SEO strategy. This is one of the most important aspects you will need to consider before launching your website so that it ranks high on all major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

There are many elements that can be used in developing a good SEO plan, but what matters the most is making sure that these strategies stay updated as much as possible. Some of the best SEO practices to include in your strategy include practicing link building, proper keyword research, using meta tags, and much more.

Do Not Ignore the Mobile Market

It’s no longer news that mobile internet usage has overtaken desktop usage worldwide. With this in mind, you should not ignore the importance of having a responsive website that’s compatible with all devices, including tablets and smartphones. Therefore, test your site for mobile compatibility before taking it live.

Be Consistent with Your Content

When it comes to having a successful website, consistency definitely plays an important role as well. You need to make sure that you post new blog posts on a regular basis. This includes updating existing ones from time to time so that they remain fresh for visitors who might be checking out your site after some months of not visiting it. This will also help Google know what topics or categories are most relevant to yours, therefore giving you more chances of ranking high when people search for those keywords online.

Build a Strong Relationship with Users and Readers

Building strong relationships with readers doesn’t only mean posting engaging content, it also means having the patience to reply to their concerns or questions as much as possible. This will help you establish a strong connection with your audience and give them reasons to come back for more. By building a relationship with your audience, you will, without a doubt, gain an edge over your competition.

Focus On Your Users’ Needs and Goals

When launching your website, never forget that users are the ones who matter most! Their needs and goals must be put first before anything else. Meeting their goals determines whether your site will be successful enough in attracting more customers through referrals and retaining existing ones. When you provide value and do everything right, then people might get curious about what products or services you offer and find themselves visiting the site more often.

Remember to Prioritize Content Sharing On Social Media Platforms

Social media marketing plays a very important role when trying to get the word out about your website or its services. In fact, some of the best ways you can use social media for free include promoting blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sharing content with friends and followers on these platforms, joining groups that share similar interests like Pinterest boards and LinkedIn groups, and more. Just make sure not to spam people’s feeds by oversharing!

Have an Email Newsletter Ready for Subscribers

  1. Having an email newsletter ready means that you are taking advantage of one of the most effective ways to interact with visitors on a regular basis without being noticed by Google as “spammy” links which will affect your site’s rankings! An email list allows you to send updates about new posts or products anytime while staying at the top of your mind without appearing pushy whatsoever. This method has been proven successful time and again when done right.

Final Thoughts

Your website is an invaluable tool for your business. It not only helps you attract more users but also provides information that can help consumers make better decisions about the products and services they’re interested in buying. Therefore, increasing your chances of making a sale that will eventually lead to generating revenue should be your first priority. Use this article as a guide before launching your site, and you will achieve optimal success in no time.

Keep in mind that building a professional website for your business is no easy task. But it’s not in which you have to “go it alone.” HighClick Media is here to help! Our talented team of professional website designers and developers can customize your site to your exact specifications. Maybe you already have a business website, but it’s time for an update or a total facelift. We can help with that as well! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help you elevate your brand!

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How to Keep Your Business Competitive in the Marketplace

How To Keep Your Small Business Competitive In The Marketplace

Small business owners can take advantage of the latest technologies to help elevate their companies to the next level. While there are a variety of different marketing and advertising mediums to pursue, digital options can help narrow the playing field when it comes to competing with larger counterparts.

Website Design

If you’re a small business, entrepreneur, or independent contractor with some basic tech skills, you might be able to create your own simple website using an online builder which allows you to add your own text, photos, and contact information. While this is not an ideal solution, it’s still better than not having an online presence at all – and having a website can go a long way towards helping your customers find you.

However, if you’re really looking to make an impact, it is well worth the investment to hire a top-notch website designer. A professionally designed business website not only looks great but also has the capability to track data and provide an analytical breakdown of customer traffic – and this, in turn, can help you refine your messaging and strategy.

Social Media Presence

Social media is a “must-have” in today’s business world. Select the platforms best suited to reach your target demographic and come up with a strategy for regularly adding content and updates to ensure that you’re getting repeat traffic.

You’ll likely want to gather relevant images and/or documents to help develop your online presence. Converting file sizes so that they’re easier to send and use is beneficial in various ways. For example, when you convert a JPEG to a PDF you can retain the quality of the image while sending a smaller file. You can also merge multiple PDFs into one, limiting the number of attachments you have to provide.

Email Marketing

According to Rewind, an email marketing campaign is a cost-effective way to get in front of and stay in front of your target market. It’s also a great way to engage customers and to share news and information with collaborators and business associates – all while linking back to your website, product pages, or social media sites.

When it comes to creating compelling content for your email marketing campaigns, you’ll want copy that’s short and easy to read, contains lots of great images, and includes a call to action. This might involve encouraging recipients to take advantage of an upcoming sale, driving foot traffic through your doors, or getting people to subscribe to your blog. While you can set up a distribution list for email marketing, certain software products come equipped with features that make this process easier.

Other Web-Based Tools

Having a web-based or digitally focused strategy can go beyond advertising and marketing purposes. You may find that it’s beneficial to engage freelancers who work remotely or to utilize online software programs or platforms for things like accounting, bookkeeping, customer relationship management, streamlining the payment collection process, and even collaborating with vendors in terms of ordering and scheduling deliveries. In fact, Tech Radar says you can find apps that will help you keep pace with your competition – whether it’s via a scheduling calendar, a project management tool, or even a quick bill-pay app that saves you time and hassle.

The more digital, web-based, and online tools you can use for your small business, the better positioned you are to maximize every opportunity to get in front of your target audience. Take the time to carefully evaluate what you can do on your own and what it’s wise to hire out for – IT, web design and development, and even a social media consultation can all be worthwhile investments towards your enduring success.

Final Thoughts

As a full-service digital marketing agency, HighClick Media is eminently able to help your business compete in even the most crowded markets. Our team has extensive expertise in a wide range of areas, including brand development, logo design, website design, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, and more!

Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help you #elevateyourbrand!

********************

Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice and troubleshooting tips.

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Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

 

Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be massively beneficial for businesses of all sizes when it comes to marketing. Whether you’re looking to expand your customer base or gain an edge over your competition, there are several simple, cost-effective ways to utilize SEO. When partnered with creative brand design and social media usage, SEO can help your business gain credibility and get a foothold in your field.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few key strategies to help boost your company’s search rankings online in order to get new customers to come to you.

 

Get Help with Your SEO

Get Help from SEO Professionals

In this age of technology, it’s essential for even the smallest businesses to have solid search rankings on Google. As more and more consumers rely on their phones for everything from driving directions to shopping, you’ll want to ensure they can easily find your business, get in touch with you, and buy products with the push of a button.

Enlisting the services of SEO professionals to help optimize your rankings in Google searches as well as on Google Maps can go a long way. The more mobile-friendly your business is, the better chance you’ll have of finding – and keeping – a larger customer base.

 

Website Accessibility

Make Sure Your Website Is Accessible

Not only is it important to give your customers lots of options when it comes to your business, but it’s also equally crucial to make your website as accessible as possible and to load it up with high-quality content. You can utilize several types of media on your site to make your business more visible in searches, from multiple links to videos. Just don’t forget to make sure all of your customers can benefit from them. Using captions, alt text (a written description of an image), and font options will help differently-abled customers easily interact with your products and marketing, among other tactics.

 

Keep Your Content Fresh with Frequent Updates

Keep Web Content Fresh with Frequent Updates

Whether you have videos, written blog posts, or photos on your site, you’ll want to ensure that your content is updated frequently. The more you refresh your content, the more traffic you’ll drive to the site – and increased traffic has a direct effect on your search engine rankings.

Every time you post something new, keep possible keywords in mind that are relevant to your customers. What would they type into Google when looking for your specific products or services? Try to keep these keywords as unique as possible on your website pages to prevent disruptions to Google’s algorithm. You can use online resources to figure out the best keywords and placement on your site, as well as tools that demonstrate how to write good content.

One important way to keep existing customers engaged with your content – and potentially convert leads into customers – is to make use of email marketing. An effective email campaign will help boost sales, keep your business in regular contact with its target audience, and directly promote your products and services. Connecting with your audience via email on a weekly basis helps balance your need to keep them engaged against the desire not to be overbearing.

 

Take Advantage of Google's SEO Tools

Take Advantage of Google’s SEO Tools

One essential online resource for small businesses is Google Analytics, which helps you track the performance of your website pages and provides lots of information about your customers, such as which social media platforms they used to find your business. Not only that, it can give you valuable insights about your competitors that could prove advantageous throughout the year. You can use these metrics as a guideline for taking your business to the next level or to learn where you could benefit from changing things up.

Becoming proficient with Google Analytics can be a daunting task for new users. Fortunately, there are many guides available online to introduce its tools to new users in order to facilitate a productive learning experience. A good guide will walk you through setting up your account, analyzing your SEO performance, and evaluating reports.

 

Final Thoughts About Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Final Thoughts

SEO is an invaluable tool for businesses of any size, and there are many ways to utilize these tactics. Do some research on the best ways to integrate search engine optimization into your standard practices, and get help from professionals like the folks at HighClick Media who can assist you in making the most of your website, social media accounts, and overall marketing strategy.

If you need help with any of these aspects of your digital marketing, we’re happy to help you out! Drop us a line here or call us at 252.814.2150 to see how we can help #elevateyourbrand!

 

********************

Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice, and troubleshooting tips.

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Give ‘Em Something to Talk About: A 4-Step Guide to Boosting Your Brand Reputation

Give ‘Em Something to Talk About: A 4-Step Guide to Boosting Your Brand Reputation

If you’re looking for a surefire way to win customers’ trust and grow your business, you need to pay special attention to your brand reputation. In today’s world, consumers have tons of options when it comes to online retailers. If you want to encourage more people to choose your website, it’s important to have a stellar reputation as a brand.

When people see your brand logo, you want them to instantly think of your business as one that’s dependable and passionate about helping customers. As you continue building your reputation, you’ll notice that more people are visiting your site, which significantly increases your chances that they’ll convert to customers.

Your brand reputation hinges on several factors, including established marketing channels such as social media and email. In this article, we’ll examine several things your business can do to make sure you’re establishing a favorable brand reputation.

I got a reputation! A following! My brand is on the rise!

Demonstrate Your Value

One of the best ways to bolster your brand reputation is to demonstrate your value. Many organizations like to talk about what they do that makes them great – and sometimes that approach is successful. But if you want your business to grow by leaps and bounds, you need to show visitors what you bring to the table.

There are many ways that you can highlight your brand’s value in a manner that your audience can better understand. A SaaS provider, for example, could present a full demo of the dynamic features their product offers. Instead of merely reading about how quickly someone can construct a form with your software, show them by providing a demonstration.

We would appreciate a good review.

Another great way to underscore your value is to showcase customer testimonials and reviews on your website. This method works particularly well because it’s someone else – not you – who is touting your company’s value. New visitors can see what actual customers think about your products or services, and that can be the determining factor when contemplating your value proposition.

Research proves that reviews and testimonials can help increase sales by building social proof – the idea that our behavior is influenced by the actions, attitudes, and beliefs of others, assuming it must be the correct behavior – which generates trust and a positive reputation. Adding these blurbs to your business website can improve your conversion rate by 270%!

Finally, someone's talking to me!

Engage with Your Audience

If you’re not purposefully engaging with your audience daily, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build up your reputation. Consumers expect online brands to engage with them on social media, email, and their websites.

There are several ways that you can enhance engagement across all your marketing platforms.

On your business website, you can allow comments and reviews on your blog posts and product pages. Engaged visitors will take advantage of these channels to communicate with your brand. Make sure your team is available to address users’ concerns and thank them for their feedback.

You subscribed to my email list; prepare to buy!

Email marketing is another avenue where subscribers want to see more engagement. When you send out emails as part of a drip campaign, you can expect to get responses from users based on what you sent to them. By personalizing future emails in the campaign, you can offer specific answers to customers’ questions.

When you engage with users directly, they’re far more likely to regard your brand as trustworthy.

Social media is another pivotal platform for customer engagement. Whether you’re a small, independently owned business or a major corporation, social media engagement can generate substantial results for your business.

Who here is on social?

Reach out to consumers who comment on your posts and join relevant social media groups where you can interact with your target audience. Customers recount that when a brand engages with them on social media, they typically spend 20% to 40% more when they shop on that brand’s site.

The reason for this is simple: when companies deliver targeted, interactive experiences to consumers, they’re taking significant steps toward strengthening their brand reputation.

Is there something I can help you with?

Improve Your Customer Service

Your customer service and support teams are essential to furthering your brand reputation. Should a customer have questions or concerns, your customer service team can make the difference between a completed purchase and an abandoned cart.

Let’s say you’re visiting a particular website to make a purchase. After selecting the products you’re looking for, you realize you have a question about one of the items in your shopping cart. So, you begin searching for a way to contact customer support. Upon finding the appropriate link and typing out your query, you find out that the promised response time is 3 to 5 business days. Would you patiently wait for a response or abandon your cart and seek out a competitor with a team that’s ready, willing, and able to support you?

Hmmm...I think I'm gonna pass on that one.

In this age of instant gratification when consumer patience has dwindled to almost nil, most people would choose to find the items they need on another website.

Ideally, your website’s live chat options should include a combination of real customer service agents and chatbots. The chatbot is your first line of defense. This handy tool is typically located at the bottom corner of a site’s homepage, so customers can easily access the information they need when they have questions.

When I think of chatbots....

Chatbots should be able to accommodate essential operations such as password changes and blog references. If an issue is more complex, you can program your chatbot to transfer that customer to a live agent where they can get assistance immediately.

When your team can answer customer inquiries in minutes instead of days, you’ll be well on your way toward building a positive brand image. Customers will return to you time and time again when they perceive your business as hospitable and reputable.

Implement Social Listening

Implement Social Listening

Social listening involves monitoring and cultivating your business based on what consumers are saying about you and your competitors on social media. It’s also a powerful tool for improving your brand reputation.

Nearly half the population (49%) uses social media platforms to talk to friends, watch videos, and make purchases. Identifying how people think about your products or those of your competitors can help boost your brand reputation.

Big Reputation, Big Reputation...

Through social listening, you may notice that several people outside your primary social media group are discussing a feature your product is missing. Instead of viewing this feedback in a negative light, you can use it as an opportunity to show your commitment to customers. Implement the requested features whenever possible and work towards building an all-inclusive package for users.

Overall, social listening can help you pinpoint customers’ persistent or recurring problems, as well as identify potential areas for improvement in your products or services.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to boost your business’s brand reputation. The tips covered here are broad in scope and applicable to a variety of different industries. Carefully consider where you might be missing out on critical opportunities to deeply connect with your audience, and make the necessary changes to rectify these problems.

Before you know it, you’ll enjoy a world-class reputation with both new and current customers. Bear in mind that reputation is much easier to lose than it is to gain. Build your audience’s trust, continue delivering on these standards, and you can expect to see exponential growth in the years to come.

If you’re looking to boost your brand reputation through digital marketing, HighClick Media is here to help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150!

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How to Grow Your Business by Giving Stuff Away

How to Grow Your Business by Giving Stuff Away

Integrating a giveaway campaign into your overall marketing strategy can be incredibly advantageous. A well-executed giveaway can help advance your business rapidly and at a relatively low cost. In fact, this type of campaign can yield a return on investment as much, if not more, than traditional marketing channels.

While large-scale prize draws were formerly the domain of powerhouse organizations, the internet has since devised tools that will allow your company no matter how large or small to effectively manage nationwide campaigns.

How can a giveaway help achieve rapid growth for your business? What is the secret that has historically made these campaigns so successful? Is a giveaway campaign worth the time, effort, and resources it will take to run it? This article will attempt to answer these questions, and many more besides.

8 Benefits of Giveaway Campaigns

 

Giveaway campaigns are mutually beneficial for consumers and businesses. People are enamored with the idea of getting something for nothing. Marketers take advantage of this “love of anything free” to reap a number of benefits for the businesses they represent:

Increase Brand Awareness

Brand awareness consists of two main components: brand recognition and brand recall. Brand recognition is the ability of a consumer to recognize one brand over other brands, based on its attributes and design elements. Brand recall refers to the ability of the consumer to correctly generate a brand from memory when prompted by a product category. By putting your brand out there in lots of places to let people know about your giveaway, you’re also gaining a lot of attention for the business itself.

Promote Your Products

Whether you’re launching a new product or you just want to get more eyes on your existing line of products, a giveaway offers an ideal opportunity to accomplish this. Some people may not have realized you existed previously (see “Brand Awareness” above), while others may have heard of you but never known exactly what kinds of products or services you offer.

Generate Fresh Leads

By having participants sign up for your giveaway by submitting their email address or other contact info, you are, in essence, creating new leads for your business. These leads may or may not become future customers, but you have at least gained an inroad to communication by their participation in the campaign.

Boost Your Sales

Let’s face it unless you’re running a nonprofit organization, you  need sales in order to stay in business. During economic downturns or particularly competitive periods, you may need a little something extra to push you over the hump. A successful giveaway is capable of doing just that.

 

Continued...

Build Your Social Media Following

An effective giveaway campaign can help enhance your following on popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Since most giveaways are promoted and shared on social media anyway, this is the perfect opportunity to gain lots of new followers for your brand. You can even choose to make “liking” your brand page as a condition of entering the contest.

Increase Your Email Subscriber List

One of the most popular and simplest entry methods for giveaways is the submission of your email address. By capturing the email address of participants and adding them to your newsletter, auto-responder, or blog update lists, you can quickly and easily build your subscriber numbers.

Show Appreciation for Your Fans & Followers

If you’re an established business, chances are you already have a dedicated “fan base” of satisfied customers. This is something that businesses often take for granted, but the truth is that your customers are free agents who can choose to shop elsewhere at any time, and for any reason they choose. By actively engaging your already-happy customers in a giveaway campaign, you show them that you’re thinking of them and care about their continued business.

Create Better Engagement with Existing Prospects

If you’re like most businesses, you probably have a number of “followers” who aren’t actual customers…yet. Since they are already following your page, they’re likely to see any updates you post. When they’re made aware of your giveaway campaign, they may be intrigued enough to not only enter the contest but to finally give your products or services a try as well.

8 Common Types of Giveaways

Giveaway marketing takes a variety of different forms, all of which involve the distribution of free merchandise or services in some form or fashion in order to promote your business. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of giveaways, and explore how they could work for your organization.

Pre-Sale Giveaway

When companies introduce a new product to the market, they often give away free samples. They might hand out products to consumers in person or send free coupons in the mail. They might also offer free e-coupons to people who “like” the products or brand pages on Facebook.

While some folks may be hesitant to try something new if they have to pay for it after all, if they’re disappointed, they will have wasted their money many people will try anything once if it’s free. If consumers feel that the product is good, they’ll come back to buy it even when the product is no longer free.

With this kind of giveaway, companies target likely purchasers. They give away free products to people who are already in grocery stores shopping or at the restaurant eating, or to people who are paging through the Sunday coupon circulars. Marketers already know these people buy similar products, making them far more likely candidates to like the new product as well.

Gateway Product

Amazon often offers complete e-books for free download for a limited time – from a day or two to a month or two. Anyone with a Kindle or a Kindle app on their phone, tablet or computer, can download and read the whole book without paying a penny. At first, this sounds crazy, since neither Amazon nor the writer or publisher of these books makes a penny on the download. But authors and publishers have discovered that offering a book for free can create more sales for the author’s other works. If a reader likes what they read, they often return to see what else they can find by that author, and this time they’re willing to purchase the book. On Amazon, free books climb the bestseller lists, becoming more visible, so that more people will likely see the book and be inclined to buy it even after it’s no longer free.

Loss Leader

A loss leader strategy involves offering a product or service at a price that is not profitable with the intention of attracting new customers or selling additional products and services to those customers. In a loss leader giveaway, you give away something for free in order to get customers in the door, in the hopes that they’ll buy something else while they’re there. If enough people buy the business’s other products, then the giveaway is a worthwhile campaign.

Free Publicity

Sometimes a company uses a freebie campaign as an opportunity to gain attention it couldn’t afford to buy. A famous example of this is when Oprah Winfrey, in the year 2000, gave every member of her studio audience a new car. GM, the car’s manufacturer, received tons of positive press for donating nearly 300 of its new Pontiac G6s. Every newspaper in the country reported about the extravagant giveaway, alongside television, radio, and internet coverage. An ad campaign with similar coverage would likely have cost GM considerably more than the giveaway itself. Not only did they get everyone talking about their new car, GM got to be the good guy, enhancing its reputation with the public.

Continued...

Branded Giveaways

This popular type of giveaway combines your company or product logo along with your marketing slogan on unrelated, low-cost products. These practical items are distributed to targeted audiences who, in turn, will keep and use them for extended periods of time, and are therefore reminded of your brand over and over again. 

Your Own Products

Product giveaways are a simple, low-cost way to encourage your target audience to try your products. This type of promotion banks on the quality of your product when compared with others on the market and prevails only if your product has the wherewithal to truly have an impact on consumers.

A number of supermarkets invite manufacturers into their stores to conduct sample tasting in hopes that consumers will be enticed by their brand’s product enough to make a switch. In certain cases, these trials also succeed at introducing customers to a new product that they wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

Partnerships

Partnerships between any two small, non-competitive businesses help minimize the cost and expand the scope of giveaway marketing efforts. Such partnerships can have a tremendous impact and elevate the reach of your brand considerably.

Trade Shows

A trade show giveaway is a reliable way to garner interest from fellow businesses and consumers, regardless of the industry. This type of giveaway often differs from traditional customer giveaways in that the attending audience has already demonstrated an interest in the showcased industry, simply by being there.

Trade shows offer a forum where products can be directly evaluated, side by side, by both industry experts and consumers. To that end, these giveaways should be more focused on making an impact than evoking a sentiment of goodwill. Creativity can give your company an edge over its competitors in such a setting, and any giveaway that culminates in more visitors to your trade show booth is considered to be a triumph.

Potential Problems & Possible Solutions

While there are obviously a ton of benefits to giveaways from a marketing standpoint, there are a few potential challenges that some businesses may face when running such a campaign.

PROBLEM: Giveaways Invite “Freebie-Seekers” & Treasure Hunters

Let’s be honest. Some people are just entering your contest to get something for free. Successful giveaways often end up with thousands of entrants, very few of whom have any interest in your company whatsoever.

When you start using the email list you’ve gathered during a giveaway, you’re likely to see both low “open” rates and high “unsubscribe” rates. The latter can actually be quite damaging, as this designation can result in your emails ending up in spam folders if enough people report abuse or mark them as spam.

SOLUTION: Find the Right Barrier to Entry

Engineering a giveaway expressly to discourage entrants might seem like the opposite of what you want, but it’s worth thinking about. When it comes to leads, quality beats quantity.

On the other hand, asking for too much info is a surefire way to deter even potential entrants who truly are interested in the prize.

A good compromise is asking participants for an email address, but offering them an extra chance to win if they share something perhaps involving a hashtag on Twitter or elsewhere.

Social media is still a very personal space, and most people won’t share something unless it corresponds with the image they’re trying to portray there. People who might become excited about your brand or product and may have friends who could be as well have a likelier chance of entering (and winning).

PROBLEM: The Prize Is Underwhelming

Let’s say you’ve decided to give away the latest iPhone. Not a bad prize lots of folks like iPhones. But lots of folks already have iPhones. These days, iPhone and iPad competitions are everywhere, so they just don’t have the intended effect of enticing entrants the way they used to.

SOLUTION: Give Away Something That’s Valuable to YOUR Audience

What would make your ideal customer’s life simpler? If you can’t determine this yourself, ask your current customers. Just be sure to enter them in the giveaway as a courtesy for giving their feedback.

If your brand sells its own products, this is much easier. A free product or one-year subscription probably won’t cost you too much, but it’s extremely useful to someone who genuinely likes your product.

Continued...

PROBLEM: Marketers Often Neglect to Adequately Follow Up After the Campaign Is Over

Sometimes marketers allow an interval of months to pass between setting up a contest and sending the first email to the resulting list. This is a huge mistake!

By this time, the average person will have forgotten about signing up for your emails in the first place. They’ll probably assume you’ve bought the list from someone else and are now spamming them. First impressions are crucial, and this isn’t the one you want to make when you’re sending what’s likely a promotional email.

Whether you’re following up about how to earn additional entries or notifying entrants about when the winner will be drawn, you can start testing how responsive your new list is before the contest is even over.

SOLUTION: Craft the Ideal “Loser Email”

Send a follow-up email when the giveaway is over to let entrants know that they didn’t win the competition (which they may have even forgotten they’d entered). Include a clever subject such as “You’re a loser” which is far too enticing to ignore or automatically delete.

The follow-up email should announce that a winner has been drawn. This is a critical step when you’re giving away a product or subscription. If you fail to announce a winner, some contest entrants may hold off purchasing from you indefinitely “just in case they win.” Let the “losers” know that while the winner has already been drawn, they can still receive a discount on the featured product.

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How to Run a Giveaway Campaign

Understand the Upsides & Downsides

Like any other marketing approach, not all giveaway campaigns will be successful. The internet is a congested space, with tons of free stuff being offered. It’s conceivable to spend a great deal of money on a giveaway campaign and generate any income or acquire a single subscriber. Attention still transcends free products.

Not all industries or websites will garner massive amounts of shares. A subscription to a specialized industry tool won’t propel hundreds of thousands of tweets. Neither will a product with mass appeal attract the right kind of attention nor get seen by the right audience.

So-called “spy tools” such as SEMrush or Ahrefs enable you to evaluate share metrics from your competitors or other industries. As part of your planning process, take a look at previous giveaway campaigns so you can set realistic expectations.

Set Goals for Your Campaign

Based on your current strategy and budget, work to define your marketing goals and determine  specifically how the giveaway fits in.

Is your aim to gain more email subscribers? Boost sales? Get lots of shares? Increase brand awareness? Some combination of all of these things?

The fact of the matter is, whenever someone is giving away free stuff they’re going to be popular. Making a person’s day is always fun, and it’s totally fine if that’s your primary goal but be sure to communicate that in advance.

Identify Your Audience & Choose Your Prize

Determine what specific audience you’re targeting and what product you’ll offer to entice them. The product you select as a prize will likely dictate not only the breadth of your audience, but also the type of audience to which you’ll present your business.

Unimaginative prizes, such as the latest Apple products or Amazon gift cards, will elicit a practically limitless audience. But you’ll also have a next-to-impossible task trying to get their attention. Since this kind of prize is neither directly associated with you nor your audience, the underlying message is that there are strings attached therefore, there’s no reason for anyone to truly pay attention.

If your aim is to attract brand advocates, leads, or prospective customers, offer a prize that will engage people who are, at the very least, moderately likely to become customers. Some marketers are of the opinion that “a lead is a lead” and ultimately, the more the better. While it’s true that some leads generate revenue, boost your brand, end up becoming devoted customers, other leads simply join your contest because they’re interested in winning a prize.

As a general rule, the larger the potential audience, the greater the prize needs to be. The more targeted the audience is, the more targeted (and desirable) the prize needs to be.

Define & Devise Your Promotion Plan

As with any other kind of content, you need to have some type of promotion plan. How will you notify people about the giveaway? How do you plan to spark their interest? How are you going to establish trust? (Most people recognize that there’s usually a catch.)

Begin with your current audience, then expand to an audience you don’t already have. Paid social media can be a helpful option, since that’s where most sharing will take place anyway.

Identify ways you can target specific audiences that might take an interest in the giveaway. Reach out to prospective clients who follow websites that are complementary to yours. See if their followers might be interested in your campaign as well.

Try to strike a balance between over-promoting and under-promoting. Employ a crafty mix of stunning visuals and compelling copy to get your message across. But, by all means, don’t spam people in order to get noticed. This is rarely effective and often detrimental to your business.

Configure Your Infrastructure

Take advantage of “plug-and-play” giveaway software such as Gleam, KingSumo, Rafflecopter, and PromoSimple. These useful tools are designed to help you collect entries, manage your campaign, and select a winner in addition to providing a smooth and optimized experience for users.

Encourage Social Shareability

Incentivize participants to share the giveaway with friends and family in order to gain extra entries. Additional sharing creates a viral factor which will translate into more email addresses and participants that you would likely have received with pay-per-click ads or more organic promotions.

Announce a Winner & Award the Prize

After the contest has ended, your giveaway tool of choice will automatically select a winner. You will then give final approval based on predetermined contest rules and verify whether or not the entrant has confirmed their email address.

You then notify the winner and deliver the prize to them. Announce the winner to all participants. It would be great if you could get the winner to share a picture of themselves with the prize. This delivers social proof and encourages participants to enter future giveaways that you might hold.

 

Follow Up with Your New Email Subscribers

While some participants might have initially only been interested in free stuff, it’s possible that they might be at least mildly interested in your email marketing. Giveaway entrants might not show an interest in your current offer, but there’s no reason you can’t go back and reach out to them with a new offer in the future.

It’s essential that you clearly spell out what people are signing up for somewhere in the fine print of the giveaway itself. Allow them to opt-out if they’re no longer interested in your marketing emails landing in their inboxes.

Once the giveaway is over, “scrub” the unsubscribes and non-responders from the final metrics and start email marketing to all your new subscribers!

Analyze Your Results

Run your landing page URL through a sharing tool to generate final share metrics. Examine your analytics to view total sessions and your email platform to note the number of email addresses submitted. 

Evaluate the results of the campaign based on your previously set goals. If the cost of the giveaway prize turns out to be less expensive than acquiring the same number of new subscribers through pay-per-click or other channels, then your giveaway is a marketing success!

Conclusion

Sometimes creating social virality for its own sake can be a worthwhile endeavor. A giveaway campaign is an extremely powerful marketing technique that can go a long way toward making that happen. However, giveaways and other contest-style tactics are best employed in tandem with your other ongoing marketing efforts. They will never be able to replace the entirety of your promotional strategy. You’ll need a variety of different campaigns, contest-based and otherwise, to achieve the best possible results. And, as always, make sure you have a strong sense of who your target audience is and how best to reach them.

HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in targeted online marketing solutions. We can help elevate your brand by developing a smart marketing strategy that actually works! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150!

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How to Generate Leads for Your Business with Digital Marketing

How To Generate Leads for Your Business with Digital Marketing

If you haven’t already, it’s time to face the facts: the digital age has altered the way we conduct business forever. Gone are the days when promoting your business meant taking out an ad in the newspaper or going door-to-door with flyers.

These days, when seeking a product or service, the first thing most people do is reach for their laptop or mobile device and search for what they need – typically via a search engine or social media platform. In fact, nearly 90% of shoppers perform online research before making a purchase. Accordingly, conventional sales and marketing tactics have evolved to adapt to these behaviors.

Today’s marketers, salespeople, and brands must put themselves in the shoes of their prospective customers. Can your target audience carry out a quick Google search and easily discover your brand and specific products or services online? Is your message reaching the right prospects through your social media channels and campaigns?

As organizations continue to adjust to a digital sales environment, many are experimenting with online lead-generation campaigns aimed at bringing in new prospects that they can eventually convert into paying customers.

Using proven digital marketing methods, your business can build a solid lead-generation strategy that will attract new customers and boost sales in a cost-effective way.

WHAT IS A LEAD?

Before proceeding any further, we should probably define exactly what a lead is. According to HubSpot, a lead is any person who shows interest – whether implicitly or explicitly – in a company’s products or services in some way, shape, or form.

Rather than receiving a random cold call from someone who might have purchased their contact information, leads usually hear from a business or organization after initiating communication – typically by volunteering their personal information for an offer, trial, or subscription.

WHAT IS LEAD GENERATION – AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

While we’re at it, we should also clarify what lead generation is, and why it’s important for your business.

According to HubSpot, lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into people who are interested in your company’s products and services.

Implementing a lead-generation strategy can help get your marketing messages heard across various channels, thus boosting brand awareness, creating demand for your products and services, and establishing relationships with potential customers.

From a digital marketing perspective, the overarching idea behind lead generation is to bring traffic to your website, convert website visitors into leads, and ultimately convert those leads into customers. By gradually warming up prospects to your brand, you set up your sales team for greater success and help drive revenue for the business.

HOW TO GENERATE LEADS THROUGH DIGITAL MARKETING

It’s important to note that there is no generic formula that works equally well for all businesses. A lead-generation method that may be effective for one company might fall flat for yours. A number of factors come into play here, including the type of business you have, the kinds of products you sell, and properly identifying your target audience, to name a few.

There are any number of promotional channels you can use to steer traffic to your website in order to start generating leads. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common digital marketing techniques that have proved to be successful for many organizations:

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves “creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience to drive profitable customer action.”

Common forms of content marketing include blogs, articles, infographics, videos, and social media posts.

The ultimate goal of content marketing isn’t to sell your product or service – rather, you want to build trust and authority around your brand. Instead of delivering an obvious sales pitch, offer meaningful solutions to specific problems that customers are experiencing and position your brand and its products and services as the natural remedy.

Effective content marketing helps improve online visibility, boost brand awareness, increase website traffic, and attract more credible leads. In addition, when your audience notices that you’re consistently posting useful information, they’ll presume that you’re good at what you do – which naturally helps build confidence in your business.

Having a great deal of interesting content on your website will also encourage visitors to spend more time on each page. When Google sees that people are spending a lot of time reading your content, this sends a positive signal that people are finding your pages helpful – which, in turn, has a positive impact on your Google search rankings.

Gated content is a surefire way to generate leads, as this type of content is only available to people who agree to fill out a special form to access it. It’s a fair exchange for both parties – you get the contact information of a new lead and a potential customer gains access to your special content. Popular forms of gated content include case studies, whitepapers, reports, e-books, and how-to guides.

 

Pro Tips for Successful Content Marketing:

  • Regularly post blogs, news, and tips about or related to your industry. This helps further establish your expertise in the field.
  • Organic search is the largest source of high-quality leads – so spend some time optimizing your content for search engines so that users can find it easily.
  • Research your target audience thoroughly so that the content you create aligns with users’ search intent – in other words, seek to answer the questions they’re already asking and provide the info they’re already searching for.
  • Promote your content on your social media sites and in emails. Great content won’t make a bit of difference if people can’t find it!

Email Marketing

Despite the fact that it’s one of the earliest forms of digital marketing, email is still one of the most effective methods for gaining and nurturing leads. In truth, the first point of entry to a lead is often an email. Virtually everyone who’s active online has an email address – and that isn’t going to change anytime soon!

Email marketing can consist of newsletters with updates on your organization, announcements about special promotions, and exclusive offers for subscribers.

With today’s technology, you can achieve more favorable results with your emails through audience segmentation. In essence, you can tailor your email marketing messages to target specific segments of your customer database. In doing so, you make your brand relevant to a greater number of people.

Email is a surefire way to reach people who are already familiar with your brand, products, or services. Done right, this marketing channel helps bolster trust between your organization and current or potential clients.

Social Media Marketing

Social media has unquestionably become one of the most powerful avenues for marketing. With over 2.8 billion monthly active users on Facebook alone, it’s a safe bet that most of your potential customers have and use at least one social media account. Currently, the most popular platforms for driving traffic to your website and acquiring leads are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Through social media, you can connect with your target audience directly, gradually build relationships with them, and in due course convert those followers into leads. In order for your efforts to be successful, you’ll have to invest time and effort into building an engaged audience.

Instead of flooding your followers with a slew of special offers, speak to them about their desires and challenges. By interacting with users on a personal level, you not only start to earn their trust but also humanize your brand in the process – the importance of which cannot be understated.

It’s essential that you know your target audience well in order to determine which social media platforms they use frequently so you can reach them where they are. Don’t expect to succeed by simply setting up accounts on every social media channel available, then interacting with your audiences once a week – consistency is key. Ideally, you should establish a presence on 1 to 3 social media channels and start posting meaningful and relevant content on a regular basis.

Resist the temptation to use social media simply as a platform to talk about yourself. Rather, use it to discuss news about your industry, share tips that aren’t necessarily written by your team, and always welcome open discussions. An active business social media account can go a long way toward promoting your brand as a thought leader and expert in the field.

Pro Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing:

  • Be sure that your social media profiles include all the important information users might need to get in touch with you, including hours of operation, physical address, website URL, and other contact info.
  • Showcasing your company culture on social media can give your brand a distinctive personality online. Don’t hesitate to share pictures, videos, and anything else that might give users an inside look at your company.
  • Many people visit social media sites simply to be entertained. When composing your social media posts, be sure to maintain a casual, not-too-serious tone. This can form a stronger connection with your audience.
  • That being said, each social media platform has a different vibe. Strive to “read the room” and change your tone based on the platform you’re using, while still retaining the ethos of your brand.
  • Center your social media efforts on interaction and engagement. It makes no difference if you’re posting a hundred times a day on Twitter. If nobody’s engaging with those posts, you’re wasting your time!
  • Always remember that social media is a two-way street. By sharing and commenting on your followers’ content, you show that you’re an active participant in the relationship you’re building with them.
  • If you’re considering running paid advertising on social media, Facebook Lead Ads is a good place to start. This type of advertisement provides a quick and simple way for users to share their contact info with you without ever having to leave Facebook or visit your website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Ranking high in organic searches is likely one of the most beneficial long-term lead-generation strategies there is. Yet, with over two hundred factors determining how Google will rank your website within search engine result pages (SERPs), it can be difficult to know where to start.

Being at or near the top of Google SERPs is especially critical when you consider that 75% of people won’t ever advance beyond the first page of results. With Google receiving over 1 billion searches per month, if you’re not laying claim to your rightful place in those searches, how can you hope to drive the website traffic needed to generate leads?

The solution is search engine optimization (SEO). The goal of SEO is to improve your website’s rankings in SERPs for specific keywords and phrases. If someone is looking something up online and your website appears first in search results, there’s a good probability that they will engage with your website in some form or fashion.

As with many other aspects of the digital world, the rules of SEO change regularly, especially as technology advances. But this doesn’t mean you can’t gain some degree of control over your rankings.

SEO is primarily driven by your chosen keywords and how you map them to relate back to your website. This process can be complicated, and is generally best left to marketing professionals. However, there are a couple of things you can do on your own which will make a positive impact.

You can start by making sure that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) is consistent on your website, as well as within online directories such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business.

Make it simple for your customers to leave a review on your website. Additionally, reviews on third-party platforms can greatly increase your chances of being found by qualified prospects – without having to pay a dime! So, don’t hesitate to ask your satisfied customers to put in a good word for you.

Website Optimization

Having a business website is a critical component of marketing your brand – think of it as your digital business card. Indeed, the overall aim of digital marketing is to propel traffic to your website. But nearly 96% of users who visit your website aren’t yet prepared to make a purchase. Your website has to persuade visitors to buy your products or services.

Is the design of your website and landing pages sleek and contemporary? Are pages loading quickly enough? Are all internal links routing to the correct web page? These are the kinds of questions you need to regularly address in order to successfully generate leads through your site.

Though having a slick, professional appearance can make your brand look modern and well-informed, it’s not what matters most to your target audience.

Website visitors would prefer to interact with a website that’s easy to navigate. If it isn’t, visitors are unlikely to spend a great deal of time on your website – let alone convert to customers. Loading errors, lag speed, and poor user interface can actually drive traffic away rather than drawing more in.

In addition, Google deems it essential that websites be more mobile-friendly. If not optimized for a seamless experience on users’ smartphones, your website can actually be penalized by being ranked lower in search results.

Building optimized web pages for your business is the secret to driving traffic to your website and to convert those who are “just visiting” into leads. Experienced web developers and web designers can make sure that both your website and your landing pages – which are essential to driving leads, since these pages are often where most of your website leads will be generated from – are fully optimized.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an online advertising framework that businesses draw on to drive traffic, sales, or inquiries from their target audience. With PPC, an advertiser runs an ad on an online platform such as Google Ads and pays a fee every time someone clicks on the ad. PPC platforms provide an impressive depth of targeting, which is to say you can deliver ads exclusively to those who you deem to fit your customer demographic.

PPC uses keywords in a similar fashion to SEO – accordingly, you’ll need to decide which keywords you want to target with each campaign. These keywords will trigger your ads to appear at the top of search results.

Pay-per-click is ideal for generating new leads because it attracts “qualified” traffic – that is, users who have already shown interest in your products. In fact, PPC visitors are 50% more likely to make a purchase than visitors from organic searches.

Setting up and running a PPC campaign can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to it. Oftentimes, the best approach is to partner with a reputable digital marketing agency that specializes in PPC advertising.

Chatbots

Marketing is all about identifying your target audience and communicating how your product or service can address and resolve their problems. In today’s customer-centric market, chatbots are immensely popular as customers enjoy interacting with them.

A lead-generation chatbot essentially serves as the first point of contact with a new user and signifies the beginning of your brand’s relationship with them. Chatbots are engineered to interact with site visitors in a conversational way. A chatbot’s primary goal is to anticipate what the user is going to ask and to provide a response that’s entertaining, engaging, and educational. The longer a user communicates with a chatbot, the more data is amassed.

Lead chatbots are designed to collect contact information from prospects in order to convey the data to sales professionals who can then continue the conversation and ultimately convert those leads into customers. They’ve proven to be highly effective, too – in fact, chatbots convert 4x higher than traditional lead-generation tools.

The benefits of chatbots for lead generation are practically limitless. Here are just a few of the more obvious advantages:

  1. Available to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  2. Meet the needs and interests of prospective customers by offering relevant products and services.
  3. Address customer queries in real time and proactively provide pertinent information to users.
  4. Direct quality leads to arrange initial sales meetings by gathering essential info, suggesting times, and sending booking confirmations to meeting participants.
  5. Increase operational efficiency, delivering cost savings to the business while providing greater customer satisfaction.

While chatbots are seldom qualified to answer visitors’ more complicated queries or executing the final steps of the sales process – both of which necessitate a human touch – for more direct approaches like those listed above, these marketing automation tools can be valuable straight out of the gate.

Final Thoughts

Generating leads for your business might seem like a challenging task, but it’s essential if you want to drive revenue. By employing these proven digital marketing methods, you can increase the number of leads your business generates and ultimately improve your chances of increased sales.

If you’re just starting out or still struggling to find ways to grow your business, we’d love to partner with you! HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC advertising, social media and email marketing, content development, and website optimization. Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or visit our website to see all that we offer!

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6 Ways to Improve Your Ads Immediately

6 Ways To Improve Your Ads Immediately

If you’re looking for more leads, appointments, and sales, there are six ways that you can improve your ads immediately in any type of marketing.

If you’re not doing these, it’s a safe bet that potential leads are slipping through your fingers and into the hands of your competitors.

Despite the number of books, studies, articles, and research available on good marketing and advertising, there’s an amazing amount of really bad, wasteful garbage that companies push out in an attempt to get more clients.

To fight the swath of ignorance and laziness in the marketing world, we’ve come up with a quick refresher on the fundamentals of direct-response marketing so you don’t get confused by all the wasteful advertising that’s all around us.

1)  Clarity of the Target

Before you can even attempt to create and plan a good lead-generation, direct-response marketing campaign, you need to know exactly who you want to attract. 

If you were dropped off in the middle of a forest and forced to hunt for your supper in a Survivor-style situation, given the opportunity to select one or two “weapons” from a handful of tools, traps, and bait from a pile, you’d first have to determine what type of critter you felt like eating that night before you could intelligently decide what to grab.

Obviously, if you wanted fish, you wouldn’t select a slab of meat as bait over the worms.

And if you wanted deer, better to pick doe urine – yep, gross but true! – to draw in a big ol’ buck over a block of cheese.

The type of client you want will determine the media you use direct mail, Facebook, radio ads, networking events, etc. – as well as the copy you write and the offer you include.

Successful direct-response campaigns make it very, very clear for whom the ad, message, or campaign is intended. If a neutral third party were to read your campaign and could not instantly determine who this product or service was specifically for, the ad – or email, website, letter, etc. – is flawed!

There are two reasons why most marketing fails this test. The first is that the advertiser doesn’t know who they want. They lack clarity on who the most likely buyer is. Second, it’s because they are foolishly trying to be all things to all people so they don’t “miss” any opportunity. In doing so, they put the proverbial doe urine on the cheese, thereby repelling both targets and attracting a possum!

2)  The Headline & Strong Sales Copy

The headline has always been one of the most important elements of a lead-generation campaign, and in the ADD 8-second-attention-span world we live in today, it’s hyper-critical. Inevitably, the recipient is going to skim the headline and make a determination as to whether they should keep reading.

Second, the copy needs to be extremely effective at catching and keeping the reader’s attention long enough to get them to take action. 

If the headline isn’t effective at stopping the reader in their tracks to pay attention and the copy doesn’t keep them reading, it’s not going to be a successful ad. Full stop.

Be Very Careful Not to Be Cute or Obtuse

3)  Be Very Careful Not to Be Cute or Obtuse

Writing effective copy to elicit a response is not easy, which is why you don’t see it very often. It requires you to be concise and crystal-clear about why the reader should pay attention and respond.

Some headlines are so vague that you cannot tell what the advertising company does or who they do it for, much less what they can do for you. Furthermore, if the images and design don’t adequately complement the story, the reader is left even more confused and unfulfilled.

Just because a particular message might be difficult to write is not an effective excuse for not executing it. It’s a sign of pure laziness.

The bottom line is that you can’t afford to be careless with your advertising dollars. Some big-name companies might be able to throw away millions on “branding” campaigns that don’t drive sales – but you can’t!

My offer is this: Nothing. ~ Al Pacino, The Godfather

4)  The Offer

You cannot call an ad, campaign, or other marketing communication “direct response” and expect it to generate leads unless it has an offer or call to action (CTA).

Whatever you choose to offer, it must be information that your specific target market would really like to know, instantly want, be intensely curious about, and feel that they must have and/or would be scared not to have immediately!

Here’s a “spring cleaning” exercise: go through every prospect-facing piece of collateral and check to see if you have an existing offer – whether it’s for a free consultation, a piece of content (video, report, checklist, etc.), an e-book, webinar invite, cost analysis, and so on.

Where to check? Your business card, the “About Us” and home pages of your website, trade-show collateral, your company vehicles, your LinkedIn profile, Google My Business page, Facebook page, etc.

Tick Tock It's Now O'Clock!

5)  Urgency to Respond

Whenever possible – which is, in almost every case – create an urgency to respond. Limit the number being given away, include a deadline when the offer will be withdrawn or taken down, or give some additional incentive for responding immediately (“First # will receive a free gift”).

Offer Multiple Ways to Respond
6) Multiple Ways to Respond

Whenever you run an ad, be sure to include at least two – ideally, three or four – ways that the recipient can respond. Linking to a landing page on your website is good – but don’t only offer that! Include a phone number, a fax-back form (believe it or not, some industries still rely heavily on faxes), and a business reply card

Final Thoughts

If you’re still unsure about how to get started with your marketing campaigns, HighClick Media is ready, willing, and able to help you reach your specific objectives!

Click here to drop us a line or call us at 252.814.2150 today! With years of experience in every aspect of digital marketing, HighClick can help you #elevateyourbrand!

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