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 more practical to recruit a dedicated marketing team to manage all your marketing in-house? Or is it wiser to enlist the services of an experienced digital marketing agency to tackle it 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 they wouldn’t have to shell out money for advertising, marketing, or direct sales. But when you’re first getting started in business, referrals can be hard to rely on. Because of this, many companies will contemplate 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, it might seem more reasonable to employ a dedicated marketing team in-house. 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 and cons of hiring an in-house marketing team:

PROS:

In-House Marketers Have a Deeper Understanding of the Business

Someone who works for your business is naturally going to have a much better understanding of the needs of your customers. They’re more acquainted with your products and services, as well as how best to promote them to clientele. If you’re a B2B organization – one that specializes in selling products and services to other companies – this may be even more critical, as 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. Chances are, they also have a fairly solid knowledge base and awareness of previous campaigns – and whether or not they have been successful – without having to go to the trouble of researching them, like an agency would. Additionally, 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 its marketing strategy, they’re also focused on the marketing needs of their other clients. 

By contrast, in-house marketing personnel are able to focus on your business 100% of the time. Each of their marketing efforts is customized to your 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 a project has been outsourced.

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 consequence, consistency plummets quickly. It’s conceivable that weeks could go by without any new content being posted and ad campaign statistics going unmonitored.

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 are updating their knowledge and skills. Ongoing training can entail 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 demands inherently 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. 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.

When you first link up with a marketing agency, you can anticipate paying out more money to get you set up – but these costs will dramatically decrease to monthly maintenance over time.

With an in-house team, you will continue to pay them 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 interacting with a variety of different people on the team. Finding the ideal agency can involve a great deal of time and effort.

Then there’s the cost. Working with an agency is oftentimes more expensive than “DIY” marketing or recruiting in-house personnel, primarily because the agency is more experienced. But 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/website design, and web 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. For this reason, 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 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.

As the majority of in-house personnel have other responsibilities apart from their marketing roles, the amount of 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, when you outsource your marketing efforts to an agency, they are able 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 that your content, ad campaigns, and social media marketing are all sent out on time and looking great, as well as ensuring 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 you compare it 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.

Alternatively, 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 specific needs will allow your company 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. Thus, it’s essential to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in order to stay ahead of your competitors. It’s conceivable to do 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 and benefits of supporting an entire in-house team, you might find that outsourcing to a marketing agency is actually more affordable.

When you link up with an external 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.

Naturally, being businesses themselves, marketing agencies have their own salaries, taxes, and other expenses that must be met. In order to accomplish this, they have to set prices for each of their various services. Most agencies are upfront about their pricing and are willing to adjust their fee structures to meet your budget.

While an agency might cost more in the short term, they are going to be able 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 central business processes. Even agencies that have worked with a vast array of clients will need time to grasp your customers’ needs.

As each market is distinct, what performs well for one business could fail miserably for another. You won’t want to squander money on a campaign that will turn out to alienate 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 to 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 certain they have a 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 make certain 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 the optimal results.

You Can Expect Lots of Meetings, Especially At First

When outsourcing your marketing to an agency, you can anticipate taking part in lots 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 the critical decisions to the agency. It can be burdensome at times – being tasked with reviewing a new web design or web content, or greenlighting ad campaigns – 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 your 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. While meetings can be arranged, 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 can be easy to get lost in the shuffle.

Principled marketing agencies, however, 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 in 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 what your marketing budget is 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, so you can receive 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, it also provides an outside perspective which 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 skill 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 and 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!

Related Posts

Why Shop Local?

Why Shop Local? It’s become something of a fad for folks to hop on social media and encourage their friends and neighbors to “Shop Local.”

Read More »

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

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!

Related Posts

Why Shop Local?

Why Shop Local? It’s become something of a fad for folks to hop on social media and encourage their friends and neighbors to “Shop Local.”

Read More »

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

Embracing Creativity: How Do You Stay Creative?

Embracing Creativity: How Do You Stay Creative?

As a full-service digital marketing agency in Greenville, creativity is our fuel. Each team member brings a unique set of innovative skills to the table, and we celebrate that every day! But, on National Creativity Day, we cheer for the creative personalities in the world just a little bit louder! Learn how we acknowledge, motivate, and inspire all things creative at HighClick Media!

How do you stay creative?

Michelle: My curiosity definitely keeps my creative juices flowing. New experiences, ideas, and connections are the best way for me to see the world from another angle.

Margot: I break the routine, get out in nature, get around other creative people- like the HighClick team- and keep my vision board in front of me!

Richard: I stay creative by constantly finding new things that inspire me or draw my curiosity to understand them better. YouTube and Instagram are my favorite tools to discover new material.

Alana: I get most of my inspiration from my daughter. Kids are super honest and have no filter! Also, social media, web surfing, community exploring, and magazines.

Leah: I stay creative by looking at the inspiration all around me. I always try to keep an open mind so this way when inspiration knocks, I answer!

Kendall: I actively look for inspiration! I use Instagram as a source a lot, but inspiration can really come from anywhere.

What is your earliest memory of being creative?

Margot: Painting clay pieces with my mom!

Richard: As a kid, I can remember on many different family trips, my Dad and I would to go off on side adventures to find something cool to paint, draw, or photograph.

Alana: During my childhood, I used to do a lot of role-playing in the house when it came to my desired career, and I was involved in several artsy things from grade school all the way through high school.

Leah: My earliest memory of being creative is when I was in elementary school. My uncle does construction and when I was younger, I went to one of his job sites and made a makeshift lemonade stand. It was summer and there were a lot of workers outside… Let’s just say little Leah knew how to reach (or choose) a target audience.

Kendall: I remember making my parents presents for Mother’s and Father’s Day when I was pretty young. I made my dad an apron out of bath towels and made my mom a lion out of a hair dryer and more bath towels.

Michelle: My grandma took care of me during the day, and for years we would meet her friends for breakfast daily. While they would sit and chat, I would get grandma’s pen and draw pictures on napkins.

How do you stay creative outside of the office?

Richard: Over the last few years I have developed a passion for music production. My favorite part is visually being able to see the individual layers of a song and understanding all that goes into creating a finished one. I think people often overlook that music is so much more than just clicking play on Spotify.

Alana: Outside of the office, I like decorating with DIY projects whether it’s simple artwork or re-vamping furniture. I also enjoy making little gifts for friends.

Leah: My latest obsession is to refurbish older furniture and home décor and turn it into something modern and beautiful!

Kendall: Lettering and calligraphy are probably my favorite thing to create just for fun.

Michelle: I write, paint, and make music!

Margot: Making fun memories! I like doing things with my family and friends to create an awesome experience that they’ll remember.

What, in your personal life, has influenced you to choose a creative career?

Alana: Generally, people influenced me with my career choice. I enjoy working with people and doing everything in my power to make them happy. It’s part of the whole “making the world a better place” kind of mindset.

Leah: I wanted a career where I could constantly push myself to think outside the box. I don’t like having a cookie cutter lifestyle, and it’s exciting to push the envelope!

Kendall: My senior year in high school I decided to do an art show as my senior project and things just took off from there. I was also always really competitive about coloring better than my older sister.

Michelle: I gravitated towards a creative career because I can’t stand to be bored. When I’m able to create, I never get bored!

Margot: Having been raised with a mom and grandmother who are  EXTREMELY creative encouraged my creativity and imagination growing up so that I can be creative and use that in everything I do.

Richard: My Dad is probably my biggest influence on why I am in a creative career. He definitely sparked the creative side of me at an early age and has helped fuel it ever since.

What is your favorite color? Does this color describe you as a person?

Leah: Hot Pink! Hot pink is meant to radiate warmth, joy, and love for life! Who doesn’t love it?!

Kendall: Definitely green! The color psychology of green doesn’t really match me as a person so much, but it’s still my favorite.

Michelle: Blue and green are my favorite colors! They’re relaxed and easygoing. These colors describe me sometimes, but depending on the moment I could be passionate red, energetic yellow- who knows?

Margot: Purple, and absolutely!  It’s bold, bright, creative, magical and FUN!

Richard: Blue is my favorite color. I would say it describes me because I’m a relaxed person.

Alana: My favorite color is green. Green represents life and makes me feel good as a person.

If you could interview a creative person (past or present), who would that person be and why?

Kendall: Currently, Lauren Hom. I really like her work and she has a very impressive freelance career in lettering. I recently considered signing up for her Passion Project course.

Michelle: Frida Kahlo! She was fearless and honest and bold!

Margot: Walt Disney. He grew up poor, had a spirit of adventure, took big risks, dreamed big, and succeeded despite the failures along his journey. He has created a legacy and improved so many lives along the way. I would love to pick his brain!

Richard: I would like to interview, either Kevin Parker of Tame Impala or the guys in Odesza, because I love their music and would enjoy learning from them both.

Alana: There are several people I love and wish I could interview: Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Beyonce, Anderson Paak, SYD, Shangela, Karl Lagerfeld, and Marc Jacobs.

I want to interview them because I’d like to pick their brains on what drives their creativity and learn what influenced them. I’d also like to know all the objections they’ve overcome and how they’ve managed to remain motivated and disciplined.

Leah: Ellen! She has been knocked down so many times in her personal life and professional career but has still found a way to radiate positivity! Ellen touches the hearts of many and I aspire to be like her every day.

How do you deal with creative blocks?

Michelle: I take a break, and work on something else! It usually gives me a fresh perspective.

Margot: I go for a drive until I no longer know where I am and need to pull out my GPS to get back home.

Richard: I deal with creative blocks by getting outdoors, traveling, and hanging out with friends. I feel like taking your mind off of what your doing helps and also experiencing new things that could spark your creativity is a great way as well.

Alana: I put everything on hold and sing and dance around the house to kinda work off the negative energy.

Leah: I turn up the jams! I sing until I am no longer in my own head. I have found that if I stop overthinking, it is SO much easier to keep those creative juices flowing!

Kendall: Depending on what kind of block I’m dealing with, either research or take a break.

If you could offer one piece of advice for someone who wants to unleash their inner creative genius, what would it be?

Margot: Just go for it, mess up, move forward, and enjoy the journey!

Richard: I guess I would say, don’t be afraid to express whatever creativity you have inside you. If you are interested in trying something new, don’t let other people’s opinions sway you from giving it a go.

Alana: Beware of your outside influences, and ensure that you take advice from those who truly have your best interest at heart by giving you honest feedback regardless if you like what they have to say or not. Stay in touch with your inner child and shine. Last but not least, surround yourself with loving, positive, and supportive people.

Leah: Write every little idea down, no matter how random it is. You never know where a strike of inspiration can lead you!

Kendall: Everything you make is not going to be your best thing. And that is 100% okay.

Michelle: Don’t be afraid of new experiences or making decisions on a whim!

Related Posts

Why Shop Local?

Why Shop Local? It’s become something of a fad for folks to hop on social media and encourage their friends and neighbors to “Shop Local.”

Read More »

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

Is Social Commerce the Future of Ecommerce?

Is Social Commerce the Future of Ecommerce?

Over the past few years, the way we use social media has evolved.

Originally, social media was designed as a way to connect with people near and far. But as platforms have progressed, they’ve begun connecting us with brands as well. Nowadays, consumers can complete a purchase on their favorite social media site – from start to finish – without ever having to exit the platform.

Social media has finally advanced enough to play a significant role in the thriving world of ecommerce.

We’ve arrived at the era of social commerce where social media platforms are quite literally becoming search engines for shoppers.

What Is Social Commerce?

Simply put, social commerce is the buying and selling of items and services through a specific social media platform. The entire shopping experience – from product promotion to after-service sales – is incorporated into interactive features available within the social networking site.

Thanks to social commerce, users can shop directly from their social media feeds.

How Is Social Commerce Different From Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a technique geared towards steering qualified traffic to an external website or online store.

Social commerce, on the other hand, provides the convenience of one-stop shopping within a social media site or app – an exciting alternative for today’s on-the-go shoppers.

The Emergence of Social Commerce

Shoppers these days are impatient – maybe even a little spoiled. Our attention spans are just 10 seconds long, if that.

Our social media obsession has hardwired us to expect instant gratification in all of our digital interactions. Social commerce is the solution, by virtue of the fact that it understands and accommodates this fundamental change in our preferences.

If we were to pinpoint the primary cause for the emergence of social commerce, it would undoubtedly be the Millennial generation. Indeed, Millennials were the catalyst for the shift toward social commerce in the first place.

Due to the enormous spending power of this generation – estimated at a whopping $1.4 trillion already and projected to be $4 trillion by 2030 – businesses understand that they are duty-bound to cater their efforts towards Millennials.

Essentially, there are just two factors that significantly impact the success of a business:

  • A product or service that fulfills a genuine need in the market
  • A streamlined buying process that makes it simple for customers to make a purchase

The potentiality of social commerce lies in the latter requirement – the whole purchasing process is simplified, thanks to features such as chatbots and auto-fill payments.

Understanding this critical component of online shopping, Facebook rolled out its Shops feature with the sole intention of giving people “a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying.”

Let’s be clear: social commerce isn’t some passing fancy that’s going to fizzle out in a matter of months – it characterizes the way online business will be conducted from now on.

For organizations that don’t wish to be caught off-guard, it’s critical that they pivot towards social commerce.

that was easy

 

What Are the Advantages of Social Commerce?

One of the key characteristics of social commerce is its seamlessness. Seamless, in this context, refers to delivering an individualized experience for each customer whenever and wherever they want.

Social commerce meets these criteria in that brands can now have an entire conversation with a customer, instead of shifting from phone to desktop and eventually to a brick-and-mortar store. 

To wit, a shopping experience targeted towards the wants and needs of each individual shopper will become the favored solution. While price and quality still matter, being regarded as a cherished customer is an enormous part of the total experience for today’s shopper.

A staggering 75% of consumers are apt to purchase from a brand if its marketing content addresses them by name and offers suggestions based on their buying history.

Brick-and-mortar retailers recognized this long ago and began installing greeters at the entrances to welcome customers. The attention showered on customers went a long way toward building brand loyalty.

Social Commerce vs. Traditional Ecommerce

Traditional ecommerce models require shoppers to go through an excessive number of steps, increasing the risk that they will abandon the entire purchasing process.

Social commerce, on the other hand, centralizes the whole customer journey in one location. Shoppers can locate the products they need, read customer reviews, make any inquiries they might have, and check out – all without leaving the platform.

With fewer steps required to complete a purchase, customers are much less likely to get confused, frustrated, abandon their carts, and leave the site.

It’s important to note that, with social commerce, you still manage your products and market the way you normally do. However, you must take the added step of linking your inventory with the platform and streamlining the journey for customers engaged via social media.

Which Social Media Platforms Have Enabled Social Commerce So Far?

With an overwhelming number of physical stores having to shut down due to government lockdown measures earlier this year, many businesses resorted to ecommerce in order to survive.

Fortunately, many of the top social media sites had already integrated social commerce capabilities into their platforms or were actively working on doing so.

Facebook Shops

The world’s largest social media platform’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic came in the form of Facebook Shops. This new feature gives businesses the ability to advertise and sell products directly from the Facebook platform.

Brands already utilizing an ecommerce platform on their website, such as Shopify, can integrate it seamlessly with Facebook to sell to their social media followers.

Facebook Messenger

While email boasts the highest return on investment of all traditional digital marketing strategies, social media messaging app sales have now greatly outpaced email.

Open rates and click-through rates of ecommerce emails are, for the most part, relatively low: 15%-25% and 2.5%, respectively. By comparison, Facebook Messenger chatbots generate an astounding 80% open rate and 20% click-through rates on average.

Facebook Messenger’s chatbots come equipped with a number of potent features, including:

  • Greeting capabilities and assisting customers to “Get Started”
  • Allowing brands to send and receive text/images with customized calls-to-action
  • Templates letting customers interact with chatbots with the help of interactive visuals

Facebook “Buy” Buttons

Until recently, brands used call-to-action buttons on social media posts to divert users to a third-party site in order to complete their purchase.

Now, when brands include “Buy” buttons on their social media channel, customers can buy their products easily and then continue on Facebook right where they left off.

Instagram

Thus far, Instagram has primarily been used for brand discovery – the most recent data indicates that 70% of consumers use the platform to find out about new products. However, Instagram has laid the groundwork towards becoming an ecommerce hub – a smart move considering that more than 200 million users frequent at least one business profile each day.

The Instagram Checkout feature enables shoppers to browse through images and videos of products in their feed. Once they find an item they’re interested in buying, they can click on the post, select the dimensions or colors as applicable, and then pay for their purchase – all without leaving Instagram!

With Instagram’s shoppable posts and Stories features, brands can tag images or videos with the name, price, and description of catalog items that users can then click on to learn more about the product.

Pinterest

With more than 416 million active monthly users worldwide, Pinterest is another powerhouse channel for social commerce.

Brands can use Rich Pins to sell their products within the platform. Rich Pins are an organic format providing additional up-to-date information about the Pin itself, including the product’s price and availability.

Buyable Pins allow customers to purchase products directly on Pinterest without the platform redirecting them elsewhere. These Pins are distinctive thanks to the big blue “Buy It” button positioned next to the iconic “Pin It” button.

Buyable Pins allow users to see the product’s price, its seller, and read the descriptions. Once shoppers click on the “Buy It” button, they’re automatically directed to the Checkout page within the platform.

Snapchat

It might be surprising to find Snapchat in this list – but after a number of updates, this Gen-Z-favorite platform is making a pass at social commerce as well.

The most interesting – but not necessarily astonishing – thing about Snapchat’s attempt at competing with larger social platforms is the fact that it’s using augmented reality.

Snapchat’s 238 million users will soon be able to use the app’s lens-altering selfies to digitally try on shoes – whimsically dubbed as “shoefies.”

This is a crucial step in the platform’s ultimate goal of enabling users to virtually “try on” a complete wardrobe.

Given that reality-altering lenses are integral to the app and the fact that its users are predominantly Millennials and Gen Zers – the principal drivers of social commerce – Snapchat figures to become one of the leading social commerce channels in the coming years.

Augmented reality (AR) is a powerful tool that ecommerce companies can’t afford to shrug off. Consider that:

  • 61% of consumers prefer to shop sites that offer augmented reality
  • 49% of online shoppers are willing to pay more for an item if they can preview it in AR
  • 45% of consumers state that AR reduces the amount of time spent on making a purchasing decision

TikTok

The fastest-growing social media site around, especially among younger users, TikTok is also integrating social commerce capabilities into its platform. TikTok recently partnered with ecommerce giant Shopify to integrate in-app shopping features. Thanks to this partnership, brands can create and manage their TikTok marketing campaigns from the Shopify dashboard after installing the TikTok channel app through the Shopify app store.

Brands can create a TikTok Pixel to track actions – such as users visiting their site, adding an item to their cart, and completing their order. Using ad templates designed specifically for ecommerce, brands can also create in-feed shoppable video ads.

YouTube

Even YouTube, the stalwart video-based platform, is elevating their ecommerce game by implementing a more shoppable ad format. By expanding the call-to-action buttons on video ads, brands are able to drive more traffic to specific product pages. Businesses can sync their Google Merchant Center feed to the video ads to create a browsable display of featured products.

Final Thoughts

Social media platforms are perpetually coming up with innovative ways to simplify the purchasing process. Social commerce is but the latest in these continuing efforts.

If your brand is willing to invest the time and resources now to get up to speed on the fundamentals of social commerce while the trend is still in its infancy, you’ll be able to provide superior service to your customers for years to come.

Need help getting started with social commerce on one or more social media platforms? HighClick Media is here to help! Give us a call at 252.814.2150 today to find out how we can help elevate your brand!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

Thanks to advanced technology, building a website today can be extremely simple. However, designing a website that marries impeccable functionality with stunning visuals is still challenging. It goes without saying that websites are now a fundamental part of a business’s online identity.

No business can hope to survive, let alone thrive, in today’s cutthroat market without an attractive, easy-to-navigate website. Far too many businesses fail at building a substantial online presence for their brand due to a subpar website.

So, why do some websites fail to attract and hold traffic where others succeed?

Certain elements of a website design contribute the most to building visitor interest in a website. Including these elements on your site gives it a beautiful visual appeal along with flawless functionality and authority. These are also the components that are most often botched during development.

Let’s take a closer look at 16 critical elements for building a great website.

Color Schemes

The color scheme of a website is seldom paid attention to when developing a website. However, you should know how important a role it plays in influencing a visitor’s behavior. Therefore, it’s important to use a color scheme that will best appeal to your visitors while also representing your brand well.

For instance, if you visit the fast-food giant McDonald’s website, you’ll be greeted with a color scheme that combines red, white, and yellow. These colors have been synonymous with the brand for ages.

We suggest first choosing the dominant color that best represents your brand. You can then choose an analogous color scheme that complements your dominant color choice to highlight certain sections of your site, like call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

White Space

Open any website today and you’ll find that a majority of these websites possess white space that divides certain sections of the webpages. These spaces lend an immaculate and accessible design to your site. They make the content or CTA buttons on your site easy to identify and read for visitors.

Some websites also use white space to give certain aspects of the site more emphasis than others. For instance, white space can be used to make certain “special deals” the focal point of a page.

Make sure you’re consistent in spacing the gaps between sections of your site. We recommend beginning with the navigation and then moving your attention to the content of your site. A grid-based layout can help you design a clean interface that maintains consistency across the entire page.

Easy Navigation

Sites that make it complicated for their visitors to navigate normally experience higher bounce rates.

As such, it’s imperative to facilitate simple navigation by giving users an easy-to-use and intuitive website. The website should offer users simple routes to navigate to certain fundamental aspects of a site, recommended pages, along with a way back to the original page.

Take a look at this quick navigation menu bar in Marks & Spencer’s website:

We suggest using parallax scrolling as a navigation system, which includes arrows that make a website’s user interface (UI) easy to interact with. Therefore, you must place a strong emphasis on simple navigation if you want visitors to spend more time on your site.

Distinct Typography

Using unique typography to present content on your site is an ideal way to distinguish yourself from other similar sites online. The fonts you ultimately choose should complement your brand while communicating its message to visitors. It’s also important to consider a font that makes your site look professional without appearing bland.

We suggest using a font size of at least 16 pixels to make your site’s content readable on mobile and desktop devices. You can use different but complementary fonts to highlight the headings and subheadings on the site. Finally, use contrasting color schemes to match your text with the background perfectly. Pairing darker tones with lighter colors will do the trick just fine.

Outstanding Visuals

This goes without saying, but certain visual cues on your site will give any website a distinct edge over similar websites online. Populating a webpage with high-resolution images and beautiful illustrations can make your site more compelling to visitors.

For example, take a look at this high-definition image from Hershey:

Of course, you can’t use just any random visuals on your site. They should align with what your brand stands for.

Use stunning banner images. You can populate your page with custom-made images, which can also be used to highlight certain key focal points of your site. Try to avoid using too many stock photos on your pages.

Site Usability

Aside from beautiful design, you also need to create a site that provides users with a satisfying user experience (UX). Most developers make the critical mistake of compromising a site’s usability in favor of its overall visual design. It’s imperative to optimize a site in order to facilitate smooth interaction between the site’s elements and visitors. A subpar UX design could result in your website’s bounce rate blowing through the roof.

You can enhance the user experience by using animations, readable and engaging content, simple navigation, and more interactive elements.

 

High-Quality Content

Having high-quality content is integral to optimizing search engine rankings for your site and thus generating more traffic to your site. It’s also absolutely essential to populate your site with quality content in order to keep your visitors engaged. Top-notch content that’s relevant to your brand can persuade visitors to spend more time on your site, explore other areas, or make a purchase.

We recommend dividing your content based on its relevance. Always keep relevant information about your website, product, or service at the top. Follow it up with content that explains your services or highlights features that set you apart from competitors.

Finally, use an FAQ section to answer questions that a visitor may have about your service.

Have a look at this FAQ page design from Shopify:

Compelling Calls to Action

A website exists to persuade a visitor to take certain actions on it. CTA buttons on a site trigger this response from visitors. As such, you need to place CTA buttons strategically throughout your site to persuade visitors to perform desirable actions on the webpage. The call-to-action messages themselves must be persuasive. They should explain what you want visitors to do in a few words.

“Buy Now,” “Sign up Free,” “Contact Us,” etc. are all examples of CTA buttons commonly used by most websites.

Make sure your landing page leads users to all the CTA buttons present on the page. You can utilize contrasting color schemes, content, and white spaces to highlight a CTA button.

Take a look at this CTA button used by Spotify:

If you have a variety of CTA buttons on your page, determine which type is more important and use it more prominently.

Mobile-Friendly Design

It is a well-known fact that the majority of websites receive most of their traffic from mobile users. With over 7 billion active smartphone users around the world today, not optimizing your site for mobile devices means losing out on such a massive audience. Suffice it to say, mobile optimization is one of the first things you need to do when building a website.

You need to utilize a custom web design that responds and adapts to various mobile screen sizes automatically.

We recommend using Google Search Console or other free tools like Pingdom or BrowserStack to check whether your site is mobile-friendly.

SEO-Friendly Elements

As you may know by now, search engines like Google take many aspects of a site’s user experience into consideration when ranking a site. As such, a developer needs to consider search engine optimization from the very beginning of a website’s design process. Elements like simple navigation, scannable text, loading speed, and mobile friendliness contribute to the overall user experience.

A problem with any of the above elements will result in a user having a poor experience with your site, eventually increasing its bounce rate. Google will take this high bounce as a sign of bad UX and ultimately plummet your site in search engine rankings.

It’s important to consider how each element will contribute to your site’s SEO. We suggest working with an SEO expert, who will monitor and assess all crucial elements of your site while it is in development.

Right Usage of Ads

You’ll find many websites online that have successfully monetized their websites by displaying ads on them. If used appropriately, display ads can be a great way to earn some revenue from your website. However, such advertisements – if used incorrectly – can aggravate your visitor’s user experience. In short, advertisements have the power to make or break your site.

As such, we discourage using too many ads on websites as it can harm the user experience. You don’t want your website to look unprofessional, which is exactly what will happen if your webpage is littered with ads.

The most effective way to advertise on a site, in our opinion, would be combining banner ads with affiliate marketing. Make sure your ads integrate organically with your site. They shouldn’t feel out of place and interfere with the content on your site.

Security

Online security should be an integral part of any website. Security and privacy have often been a major cause of concern for individuals surfing the web. Security alerts popping up when someone tries to open your site is a surefire way of turning potential website visitors away forever.

Internet security should be given as much focus as the design and overall functionality of your site. It should be mandatory for your website to implement an HTTPS protocol. This will help protect a user’s information, lend some much-needed credibility, and build trust among prospects. 

We suggest buying SSL certificates from reliable hosting service providers. These are cheap to acquire and can be integrated seamlessly with your site.

Integrating Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have billions of active users from all around the world. So it only makes sense to integrate social media into your site’s design plan. You should have social media buttons that instantly redirect your users to your site’s official social media channel. You can also have buttons that allow users to directly share certain content or products from your website on their private channels. 

Having social media buttons strategically placed on your website is a great way of indirectly marketing your site, opening doors for people to leap in directly onto your site from their respective social media profiles online. 

Adding Internal and External Links

A proper link-building strategy can prove to be a great way of enhancing the brand authority of your website. It is important to learn how to build internal and external links to help boost your website’s performance. For instance, you can direct users to certain content on your site and improve its SEO performance by using appropriate internal links.

Proper link-building research requires a good strategy. We suggest finding out how your competitor’s websites are employing their link-building strategy. Draw inspiration for sites that are using the strategy with productive results.

Comments Section

We’ve already stressed how important it is to make your site as interactive and engaging as possible. Aside from content, you can add a comments section to your site, which allows users to leave their two cents below a particular content or product information. This can be a great way to receive feedback, which can be used to improve your service.

If you are running an ecommerce store, we recommend adding a review section similar to what is found on sites like Amazon and eBay. A dedicated comments and review section will make your site more interactive and improve brand loyalty.

Achievements and Endorsements

This is perhaps the most effective and widely adopted way of building trust among customers. It is in your business’s best interest to flaunt your past achievements on your website for all to see. Displaying your achievements can go a long way towards building a solid reputation for your business and brand.

We recommend having a dedicated section for testimonials, displaying positive comments from at least 4 to 5 past clients.

We also suggest highlighting the names of all the popular brands you’ve served. If you’ve received endorsements from authoritative brands, add them to your site as well.

Final Thoughts

While these 16 elements can seem a bit overwhelming, they’re essential to building a website that not only looks fantastic but functions flawlessly as well.

Are you ready for the good news? You don’t have to do it on your own!

HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in professional website design. Our talented web designers will craft your business website with lots of TLC and plenty of technical prowess! We can build you a brand new website from scratch or spruce up your existing site.

Interested? Reach out to HighClick Media today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here. We’ll be glad to show you how we can help #elevateyourbrand with a world-class website for your business.

**********

Guest blogger Joseph Schneider is the Director of Marketing at Haitna, a digital marketing firm based in Texas.

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

How to Make Your Social Media Stand Out

How To Make Your Social Media Stand Out

curated social media feeds to increase your brand recognition and gain followers

With so many people on social media, it can be a lot to take in all at once. But the best part about social media is that you can take it one post at a time!

Trying to change your entire feed can be time-consuming, so it’s important that you have a plan in place before you start shaking things up. So, whether you’re new to social media or you’re simply trying to improve your online presence, here are some tips to turn your social feed into a must-see!

eye-catching theme

Theme

Creating a consistent and eye-catching theme is extremely important when trying to increase your social media presence. You want your overall aesthetic to make viewers want to follow you based off the impression you create.

The first and most important step in picking a theme for your business’s social media is to decide what it is that you’re trying to sell or promote. Are you offering specific services? A wide range of products? No matter how well you edit your images, what truly matters is what you post about.

Be Your Brand

Be Your Brand

Being your brand simply means keeping a consistent voice with every post. Regardless of how many social media platforms you have or how many people you have posting on them, you want to sound as if only one person is speaking.

The last thing you want is multiple tones and voices in your content. This inconsistency in your brand identity will make it harder for your brand to be effective and identified. Some examples of brand voice characteristics are quirky, authentic, and passionate!

Post Consistently

When trying to use social media for business alongside your personal account, it can be easy to forget to post on your business account.

Let’s be honest: nobody has gotten multitasking down to a science! But one of the worst things you can do for your brand awareness is to “ghost” your followers on social media. Having an inconsistent online presence is actually worse than having no presence at all.

We like to mix it up a little bit. Roland Schitt, Schitt's Creek

Mix Up Your Content

Looking to add a little extra oomph to your social media marketing? Try to mix up your content by utilizing different content formats and techniques. Don’t just post plain images back-to-back – incorporate videos! Some of our favorite apps to spice things up on our social media are:

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

When choosing what images to include in your social media feed, try to pick ones that are clear and high-quality. If you’re trying to figure out how to make your social media stand out, this is a great place to start!

Utilizing puzzle feeds and grid images can make your small business really stand out on social media. The most important thing to remember before posting an image is to make sure that it accurately reflects your business. Having a great feed that’s completely irrelevant to your business is counterproductive! Always make sure that you’re representing your brand well.

If your visual doesn’t fit into your brand directly, you can utilize your caption to tie it all together.

How to Create Cool Captions

Creating Captions

Your images should be clear and your captions should be captivating. Captions are your chance to really engage with your online audience and build genuine relationships with them. Looking for ways to write engage-worthy captions? Try these steps!

3 Easy Ways to Create Captions Graphic with Megaphone

 

1. Decide What Message You’re Trying to Convey

The entire point of an Instagram caption is to tell the message that your image is trying to say. For example, if your business is hosting a giveaway, your caption should include all the details your customers need to know in order to participate.

Call to Action

2. Include a Call to Action

If you want your customers to click on the link in your bio, you need to give them this direction. They’re much less likely to take action if you don’t give them the directive to do so!

In order to achieve a good call to action (CTA), you must be clear about what it is you want them to do. For example, “Click the link in our bio” or any simple variation of that. CTAs are everywhere: blog posts, watching videos, downloading freebies, and so on.

Jim Carrey typing furiously on a computer keyboard

3. Don’t Write A Novel

You don’t need to write a book to write a good caption, and you don’t need to just write a one-liner either. Finding that sweet spot right in the middle is crucial to any caption!

The best way to achieve this is to break your caption into small paragraphs. Seeing one giant block of text will make your audience shy away from reading your caption. But short, easy-to-read captions are definitely engage-worthy!

 

Stay Tuned! Joey Graceffa

Establish Recurring Posts

One consistent way to make sure your social media awareness increases is to establish a set of recurring posts. The goal here is to create something that keeps your online audience engaged and coming back for more!

Recurring posts can be anything from weekly livestreams of Q & A’s , sharing tips and tricks, giveaways, and more.

You can post these on any of your preferred social media networks, but we prefer to do these on Instagram. This approach is the best way to showcase your creativity and your expertise with your audience.

Sharing is caring. American Grit

Share Your Story

Make your brand relatable! Authenticity is key when representing your brand. Don’t fabricate your story – just share it!

When trying to decide how to tell your story think about what you personally relate to, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What drives you to keep working on your business?

Finding the answers to these questions (and more) is exactly what’s going to make your customers connect with you.

Mission Statement

When writing your mission statement, keep your story simple. Younger consumers are interested in reading a lengthy story – it’s too much to keep up with! They want something uncomplicated and easy to follow. Try to keep in mind that the more complicated your story is, the less likely people are able to connect with it.

The structure of your story should have a defined beginning, middle, and an end. Don’t just throw it all together.

Your mission statement is a story that represents your brand – so make it a good one! Give your customers a reason to get involved with your business. The main reason customers get involved with a business is because that business is providing a solution that they need.

Marketing Team Strategizing with Post-It Notes

Social Media Strategy

Do you really need a strategy for your social media?

YES!

Here’s why!

Having a strategy in place makes it easier for you to know what kind of post you should do each day. Whether it be an infographic or a #TipTuesday, go ahead and have your content planned ahead of time!

By doing this, you have time to let your creativity shine! Not only does preplanning your content help free up time in your day, but also helps get your team in sync.

Having your team on the same page helps keep your brand voice consistent.

Should you hire a social media manager?

ABSOLUTELY!

Creating consistent, creative, and captivating content takes time and experience. When you hire a digital marketing agency, you’re hiring someone to study your brand and help your online audience identify your business easily.

With social media marketing, it’s crucial that your feed stays up-to-date, visually pleasing, and engaging. All of which takes a lot of time and focus.

When you partner with HighClick Media, you’ll find that we do WAY more than just social media! We are a full-service digital marketing agency, offering web design, search engine optimization, PPC, and more! Our mission to help grow businesses just like yours!

So, are you ready to make your social media account stand out? If so, what are you waiting for? Reach out to us today, and one of our social media experts will be happy to chat with you about your social media goals! We’ll elevate your feed to new heights!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

8 Generation Lead Tips for Small Businesses

8 Lead Generation Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses have to overcome numerous hurdles before making a name for themselves and ensuring an ever-increasing revenue stream. Naturally, some of the biggest obstacles are generating leads and inspiring loyalty.

At first glance, it seems simple enough – find a market gap and have your business fill it. Customers will flock to you without much effort on your part. In practice, it’s not nearly as effortless.

If you don’t want to be in the 70% of businesses that fail within a decade, you need to ensure that your lead generation tactics are flawless.

Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks that will help set you up for success:

Start with an Impeccable Website

Most members of your target audience will have one thing in common – when they need products or services (that happen to be in your offer), they’ll first look them up online.

Over 97% of users search online to find local businesses and make purchases. So, only having a website will immediately up the ante on your lead generation.

Still, it’s not enough to simply have a website. You need to make it a great one if you’re going to generate and convert your leads.

Create a clean design that makes it easy for your website visitors to scan your pages and find the information they need. Be clear about who you are, what your business does, how it can help your audiences, and how interested prospects can contact you.

It’s also always a good idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing with their websites and gather some inspiration from that.

Perfect Your Landing Pages

With your website done, it’s time to start developing landing pages. One of the worst mistakes you can make in this regard is to use your homepage as the go-to landing page for all your ad campaigns.

Your homepage is already the most frequently visited page on your website, so there’s no reason to keep directing your audiences to it during your campaigns. Instead, create dedicated landing pages focused on converting visitors.

You’ll need to make your landing pages enticing, relevant to your ad content, concise, and direct. Present your offer, highlight your brand’s value, and include a clear call to action.

The better your landing page, the higher your conversions will be. Do some A/B testing to find out which landing pages perform the best, find out what your audiences want, and keep tweaking your pages until you get the desired results.

Improve Your SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest prerequisites for successful lead generation. By enhancing your SEO, you will:

There are a number of factors that impact your SEO ranking, including:

  • Page loading speed
  • Internal and external links
  • Quality of your content
  • Security
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Keyword usage

If you want to rank on search engines and attract audiences, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive SEO approach. You can’t just improve your page speed, neglect all the other aspects of SEO, and expect to rank first.

SEO is a slow and steady approach, so take your time perfecting it.

Provide Relevant Content 

One thing that will help you improve SEO and boost lead generation is content. In the online environment, content is king.

Content marketing allows you to improve keyword usage, take your external and internal linking to a new level, engage audiences, enhance your visibility, and display your expertise.

 Whether you’re creating blog posts, e-books, video guides, infographics, Facebook Stories, or any type of content in between, your focus should be on quality. Keyword stuffing and improper backlinking are a no-go. Here’s what you should do instead:

  • Provide valuable information that will help your audiences
  • Offer solutions to your target customers’ most common problems
  • Provide relevant insights
  • Entertain your audiences

Before long, you’ll notice just how helpful content marketing can be for your lead generation.

Make Use of Social Media

We can’t talk about lead generation for small businesses without mentioning social media. It’s a gold mine for attracting customers and inspiring loyalty.

Whether you like it or not, you need to have a social media presence as a small business owner – it doesn’t matter if you’re running a small antique shop, a dropshipping business, or a family-owned pizzeria.

However, before you join all the most popular networks and get in over your head, analyze your target audience. See which platforms most of them use and examine how they interact with other businesses on them.

Then, only join those platforms that you can easily manage. After all, you’ll need to stay active on these platforms by regularly posting fresh content and responding to comments and messages. If you’re on more than a couple of platforms, you’ll likely find it difficult to keep track of them and use them to your advantage.

Take Advantage of Lead Generation Quiz Makers

A reliable lead generation quiz maker is ideal for engaging your audiences. It makes quiz creation a breeze, allowing you to know your target customers better and offering you a chance to stand out from the crowd.

You can create any type of quiz you want:

  • A fun personality quiz that grabs the viewers’ attention
  • An assessment quiz that tells you how much your audience knows about you and your products
  • A market research quiz, which allows you to assess your target audience’s most common pain points 

Share your quizzes on social media to reach a wider audience, add them to your lead generation emails, and embed them on your website to convert visitors.

With a lead generation quiz maker, it will take you no more than a few minutes to create engaging quizzes that boost your visibility and help you attract customers. You can also integrate it with email marketing tools or customer relationship management tools to nurture leads efficiently.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

To generate leads as a small business owner, you need to keep a very close eye on your online reputation.

You could have the perfect brand persona, excellent products and services, top-notch support, and a bulletproof content marketing strategy – and yet your reputation could still suffer. You need to be careful to pay attention to what people are saying about you and your brand.

Your customers and even competitors will talk about your brand on forums, social media groups, review sites, personal accounts, and more. Keep a close eye on all brand mentions.

If someone is harming your reputation online, you’ll need to be ready to clear things up, highlight your brand value, and present your business in the best possible light.

Respectfully respond to negative reviews, engage in discussions on public forums, offer solutions to public complaints, and ensure that your online reputation is excellent.

Spread the Word About Your Business Through Different Channels

Even with the best strategies at your disposal, it can sometimes be challenging to significantly increase lead generation on your own. Sometimes, you’ll need a little bit of help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it!

Spread the word about your business through different channels. For instance, you could try guest blogging, wherein you create content for other websites in your niche. Doing so will help you expand your reach, showcase your expertise, and attract a wider clientele.

Alternatively, you can reach out to influencers who make sense for your industry and who can connect you with their followers. Influencers inspire trust among their followers, enjoy an excellent reputation, and can easily impact their fans’ purchasing decisions.

Final Thoughts

Lead generation for small businesses can seem like an insurmountable challenge. But it’s easier than you may think when you have a few tricks up your sleeve and know what you’re doing.

So remember, if you want to boost your lead generation and conversion, you’ll need to: 

  • Create a great website 
  • Perfect your landing pages
  • Work on your SEO
  • Create relevant, engaging content 
  • Make use of social media 
  • Use a reliable lead generation quiz maker 
  • Monitor your online reputation
  • Spread the word through channels, such as guest blogging and influencer marketing

Follow these tips to ensure the success of your small business and start generating leads like a pro. Your business could also benefit from some creative experimentation on your part to complement the ideas discussed above.

If you need further help developing a lead generation strategy for your business, reach out to the small business experts at HighClick Media. We’ll take the time to get to know your business, identify its particular needs, and come up with solutions that will help your business grow. Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here.

**********

Guest blogger Angela White is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing. Specifically, she writes in the areas of product research and marketing using quizzes and surveys. She is a researcher at a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools called ProProfs Quiz Maker.

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

5 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse

5 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse

Is your business ready for the transition to the metaverse? Yeah, we get it – that’s a loaded question! After all, there’s still a fair bit of speculation and rumors about exactly what’s involved with the metaverse and what it will mean for us and our businesses.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed businesses placing a greater emphasis on ecommerce and digital transformation – thanks in large part to the global pandemic. But we’re also seeing businesses begin to shift their attention even further toward digital as the virtual world becomes less of a fantastical idea and closer to reality.

With internet users spending more time online than ever before, and many small businesses falling on hard times, it’s time for us to rethink how we will connect with our audiences going forward.

In this article, we’ll explore five ways to help your small business weather the world-changing transition to the metaverse – and thrive in its aftermath.

Know Your Niche

The concept of the metaverse – connecting people to technology (and vice versa) using virtual and augmented reality – isn’t a new one. In fact, the idea has actually been kicked around for decades, to varying degrees of execution.

No one seems to agree, or know for sure when the metaverse concept was originally conceived; it’s equally difficult to find an agreed-upon definition of what the reality of the metaverse means for us now.

What’s certain is that the first (and perhaps best) way to make sure your small business is ready for this new era of digital transformation is to have a clear idea of what you want for your brand and how you can make the most of technology to achieve your goals.

For one company, that might mean developing better AI in order to be able to better address customer questions through your website. For another, it might entail creating an entire virtual reality world that allows potential buyers to examine products before buying them as though they were actually there with the items.

Let’s face it: you know your business better than anyone else. Accordingly, only you can determine what the metaverse can (or can’t) do for your business.

Consider Updating Your Branding

With new tech initiatives and the emergence of newer, more diverse social platforms come new branding opportunities. This is a great time to take a long, hard look at your visual brand.

One of the great things about the metaverse is its focus on connectivity. Startups and small businesses alike must ensure that the visual aspects of their messaging make clear how important communication is to the business. As one of the founding values behind the metaverse, paying special attention to your visual branding must always be a top priority.

Claim and Update Your Business on Search Engines

More than half of business owners haven’t claimed their company’s listings on tools like Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). This is a huge mistake!

Claiming and maintaining your online presence is absolutely crucial for a small business in today’s digital world. Without it, you’ll miss out on countless opportunities to drive traffic to your site, or to the business itself, as well as risk frustrating customers who can’t find the information they need when they need it.

Keeping this information up to date is just as important, particularly for things like holidays or hours of operation, as incorrect information could easily turn off potential customers.

I am not ready for that.

Don’t Abandon the Old Ways Too Quickly

Try to avoid the temptation to go “all virtual, all the time” too soon. Yes, the idea of the metaverse is exciting, and it’s likely that at least some of your customer base will be ready for it.

But good business dictates that you should always give the customer what they want – and the majority of consumers aren’t quite ready for this new way of doing business. At least not yet.

Even as you’re positioning your business to be ready for “the next big thing,” don’t be too hasty to cast aside the old ways completely. Many of your customers are going to want to stick with what they’re used to, for as long as possible. You should continue to give your audience the option to engage with your brand through more traditional methods.

Remain Adaptable

Last but certainly not least, be ready for anything! One thing that many entrepreneurs and small business owners know well is that right about the time you get comfortable, that’s when change comes fast and furious!

Sure, we have an exciting future ahead of us, thanks to an increasing tech-minded push, and it’s going to change the way we view and interact with our world. But if you get too hung up on tomorrow’s virtual reality project, you might not see what’s coming up next week.

 
 

Final Thoughts

Transformation is coming – that’s a given. How will your small business ride out these changes over the next decade? Well, that’s up to you. At the very least, you should be prepared for what comes next.

If you need help transforming your business for the digital age, HighClick Media can help! Whether you’re looking to update your website, get started with social media marketing, or optimize your website for search engines so it’s easier to be found online, we have a solution that’s right for you! Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help elevate your brand!

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

An earlier version of this article appeared on Entrepreneur’s website and can be found here.

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

How to Increase Brand Awareness on Social Media

How To Increase Brand Awareness Through Social Media

 

As a small business owner, you’re always looking for ways to grow your business. You know how to price your products competitively while still generating a profit. You know that special promotions such as flyers, TV ads, and signage are generally reliable for bringing in a few new customers. You know what works for you, and you’re confident that these practices will continue to propel your business in the future.

But are you using social media to further increase your brand awareness? If so, great! If not, why not? It may seem like a small thing in the big picture, but the reality is stark. The future of your business could depend on how well you can adapt to changing technology.

What Is Social Media?

Let’s go back to the basics. Social media is any means of electronic communication, such as a website or application, through which users build online communities to share and exchange information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.

Who Uses Social Media?

The short answer: practically everyone. Facebook is by far the most popular social network, with 2.45 billion monthly active users (MAUs). YouTube users number at 2 billion each month, while Instagram boasts 1 billion MAUs. Twitter (330 million MAUs) and LinkedIn (260 million MAUs) round out the list of the top social networks in use throughout the world.

Why Does Your Business Need Social Media?

Your business can benefit greatly from the connection between brand and customer that only social media can make. Similarly, social media can increase your overall brand awareness, which can boost leads and ultimately generate more sales.

What Is Brand Awareness?

Simply put, brand awareness is the extent to which someone can recall or recognize your brand. Over time, Kleenex and Band-Aids have become so associated with the products they represent that it’s easy to forget they’re actually trademarked names. The ultimate goal of brand awareness is for your business or products to become a “household name” for your customers. Specifically, you want your business to be the first name they think of when they’re seeking the services you provide.

Is Social Media Marketing Effective?

Much more than you might think, actually. Studies have shown that 71% of consumers who have a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to friends and family. In addition, 74% of potential customers say they’re more likely to trust a business with positive reviews on social media. It’s been said, and rightly so, that social media is the new “word of mouth.”

Is Social Media Marketing Affordable?

You may be wondering whether you can afford to market your small business on social media with a limited budget. The truth is that you can’t afford not to! If you’re willing to invest a little time and effort, that’s really all it takes – and the payoff can be amazing! You don’t have to use paid advertising to get results, though it can improve your chances of a successful marketing campaign.

How Can You Use Social Media to Increase Brand Awareness for Your Business?

Now that you understand a bit more about social media and what it can do for your business, how do you put this knowledge into practice? Here are 7 practical ideas to get you started:

IMAGE IS EVERYTHING

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to social media, this is especially true. Users will instantly stop scrolling when something catches their eye, and a compelling picture or illustration will cause them to do just that. Be sure the image you choose offers a snapshot of what the post is about. Also, make certain you have permission to use the image. A quick Google search will lead you to more than a few websites where you can source images for free. If you have the ability to shoot and post your own video – perhaps a how-to, tutorial, product demonstration, or live “Q & A” session – even better! Infographics also resonate well on social media – design your own or find one that clearly addresses the subject of your post (and tag the original source). Infographics that provide helpful or insightful information are more likely to be shared than a huge block of text. Nobody wants to read a thousand words, anyway!

GET PERSONAL

There’s nothing more tedious than a business that inundates their followers with post after post proclaiming the superiority of their brand, products, or services. Aggressive sales pitch posts? Even worse! Social media users want to be entertained and engaged, not simply informed. Tell a story that piques their interest, then find a way to subtly tie it in to your brand. Don’t be afraid to add a dash of humor now and then. Some of the most-followed brands on social media are those that regularly inject their marketing with mirth. Another great way to keep your audience engaged is to actively listen and respond to their opinions, comments, and critiques – both the positive and the negative! You just might learn a thing or two about your own business! Encourage users to share your content and you’ll not only reach your followers, but their network as well.

SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE

Social media users have short attention spans. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention. If your content isn’t fresh, valuable, or relevant to their interests, the chance of reaching followers with your message is greatly diminished. Focus on topics that are closely related to your particular field. Chances are, that’s why they’re following you in the first place! Use emojis, hashtags, and other popular text language to show your target audience you’re in touch with how they communicate. Finally, draw your audience in by letting them interact with you. Ask a question that generates responses in the comments. “Question posts” are much more likely to get shared, which also serves to increase your reach.

GIVE STUFF AWAY

This may not immediately strike you as an intelligent way to grow your small business, but it actually makes a lot of sense. People love getting something for nothing, so use that to your advantage. Create a contest for the best idea about X, Y, or Z, with the grand prize being a gift card to your business or perhaps a free product. Encourage followers to share the contest post with others, and maybe even offer bonus entries for each share. The more people see the post, the more you’ll have people talking about your business – and that’s never a bad thing! Consider initiating a referral program where you offer something for free to followers who refer a new customer to you. Any way you look at it, that’s a win-win situation!

MIX IT UP A BIT

While keeping a consistent brand voice across the board is key, it’s perfectly acceptable – and highly recommended! – to use a different tone depending on which social media platform you’re utilizing. On Facebook, you might post interactive content that’s more likely to get likes and shares (which is how you get the most eyes on your post). Twitter posts are short and snappy, and it may serve you best to adapt a more playful tone there. Instagram is image-driven, so you’ll probably want to reserve your strongest visuals for that platform. LinkedIn tends to be more serious and therefore might be an ideal landing spot for your more informative blog posts. As easy as it might be to copy and paste the same message across all your platforms, resist the urge! Each social media site should carry its own unique message along with the relevant info that you’re sharing.

STALK THE COMPETITION

Keep an eye on the social media accounts of your direct competitors. What kind of marketing campaigns are they attempting? What seems to be performing well for them? What appears to be falling flat? Learn from their successes and their mistakes, come up with your own strategies and solutions, and put them into action.

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

Most social media platforms – Facebook Page Insights, for example – offer solid feedback on the number of likes, shares, and comments your content has generated. You can delve in even deeper by using web analytics programs to see which platforms are providing the most referral traffic. Pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t, and adapt your methods accordingly as you continue to optimize your approach.

These are just a few of the ways you can use social media to your business’s advantage. Identifying your target audience will help you determine which platforms to use to promote your brand. You don’t need to have a presence on all the major social networking sites, just the ones that make sense for your customers and their online habits. Define your social media goals, identify the various types of content you’ll produce, and determine how you’ll measure your success. With these tools at your disposal, you’ll be well-equipped to take your business to the next level!

If you’re curious to learn more and get started, HighClick Media is here to help. Reach out to us and one of our campaign experts will contact you to chat about your marketing goals. We’ll work hand in hand with your small business to design the perfect strategy that will make your marketing efforts a success! Call us today at 252.814.2150!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

Inactivity on Social Media, Or: How to Kill Your Business in One Easy Step

Inactivity on Social Media, Or: How to Kill Your Business in One Easy Step

Marketers like us are always touting the benefits of establishing a solid presence on social media. We must be cutting through the white noise, at least in part, because more and more brands these days are creating accounts on social media. While this is certainly a huge step in the right direction, simply having a business page on all the trendiest social networking platforms is not enough.

You have to be active.

In truth, it’s quite easy to set up channels on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, and the like — it’s a lot harder to maintain them. It takes time, effort, and resources.

But it’s absolutely essential.

Being active on social media boosts brand awareness, makes it easy to engage with customers, improves your SEO rankings, and allows you to control your own narrative.

Conversely, oft-neglected or poorly managed social media accounts can actually be damaging to your company’s reputation.

Twitter tool ManageFlitter considers social media accounts to be “inactive” when no one has posted on them in over 30 days, while others would deem inactivity to mean that there have been no posts in the past 48 hours.

However you choose to define it, an inactive social media account sends all the wrong messages about your company. Primarily, it communicates the fact that your business doesn’t care enough to be up to speed with today’s technology.

Dormant social media accounts can have immediate negative effects on your business, including — but not limited to — decreased reach, decreased influence, and loss of market share.

7 Reasons Why Social Media Accounts Become Inactive

There are any number of reasons a business’s social media pages might become inactive, but we often see many of the same “excuses” being tossed around:

where did everybody go

The business is..well…out of business.

Maybe the owner retired, decided to move on, or the business simply failed. But, in essence, there is no business. Unfortunately, this fact often isn’t communicated very well, since businesses’ social media pages are rarely shut down upon dissolution.

i don't get it

The business never really understood social media to begin with.

As mentioned before, it’s easy to set up a social media account; but it’s what you do with it going forward that truly matters. Having a strong social media marketing plan, understanding why you’re using it, what message you’re trying to convey, what content you have to post, how to measure your activity, how to convert fans into customers — all these things play a much bigger role than simply setting up your account.

Social media is something businesses are expected to do these days, but that doesn’t mean that business owners or their employees possess the required skill set to achieve the desired results. Not having the knowledge or technical ability to properly use social media is not a valid excuse for abandoning your efforts altogether. Undergoing professional social media training or enlisting the services of an outside company to manage your social accounts are much better solutions.

Business owners have become disillusioned with social media.

Seeing results from your social media campaigns requires patience and a lot of hard work. It’s not a magic pill that fixes all your problems instantly; it’s something you work on for the long term. Social media is often equated with face-to-face networking. First, you build relationships, and over time these relationships can translate into an abundance of new work. But you have to be dedicated and persevere. Give up, and you’re yielding the fight to your competitors.

what do you want me to say

Businesses don’t know what to say on social media.

It’s a standard complaint — how do you find things to say every single day that will energize your audience? Make a note of all the services your business offers, the things you do, the problems you solve, the pains you fix, and the things that interest your customers — down to the smallest details. Determine where the intersection lies between your business and your customers. Ensure that your marketing conveys the right message to the right people at the right time. When in doubt, apply data and insights to back up your gut feelings.

too busy to deal with social media

The business is too busy to deal with social media.

This statement can either be the truth or an excuse for the fact that you simply don’t care for social media. Many customer-facing businesses, such as restaurants and bars, simply don’t have the time to pick up the phone in the middle of a busy evening and respond to or engage with potential customers. Some business owners are genuinely too busy for social media, but they must be honest with themselves about this.

Realistically, two social media platforms should be able to be managed effectively in just thirty minutes a day. Perform a time audit of your typical day, and determine where you might be able to shave a few minutes off several daily tasks in order to make time for your social media management. Or, if there is someone in your office with the required technical, marketing, and customer service skills to manage your social media, see if they can find thirty minutes each day to devote to this task. If neither of these are viable options, outsourcing to a social media management company might be your best bet.

kirsten dunst bye bye

The person managing social media has left the company.

Oftentimes, a business’s social media activity stops dead in its tracks for months or years when the person running social media campaigns has left the company. This is a function that must be replaced, not left dormant.

From a customer’s standpoint, social media has become as important a channel of communication as the phone, emails, or web chats. How much would it concern you, as a business owner, if your phone lines were to go down for an entire morning? Shouldn’t you be worried just as much if your social media is inactive for days, weeks, months, or even years?

kim kardashian lurking

The business is simply “lurking” on social media.

The lurker relates their side of the story something like this: “I don’t post on social media. I just use it as another channel to follow the news and my favorite sports teams.” This is perfectly fine for an individual using social media for fun. For a business, it’s a death knell. This would be tantamount to showing up for a networking meeting and observing the goings-on while hiding in a corner. It just doesn’t work.


pitfalls of business inactivity on social media

 

 

7 Pitfalls of Social Media Inactivity

People Will Think You’re No Longer In Operation

When a social-media-savvy person is searching for a local business in your field and comes across an inactive or seldom-updated page, they might quickly come to the conclusion that you must no longer be in business. This false impression will inevitably exclude your company as an option in the mind of the potential customer. They’ll swiftly forge ahead to find a business that frequently updates their page with fresh content.

Since approximately a third of all small businesses fail in the first three years, it’s not unreasonable to assume that an inactive social media account signifies a business’s closure. However, a neglected social media page could also send the message that nothing new has happened at the business in however-many days — which, if true, makes your business seem as dead as if it were closed, and generally not worth the time of the average consumer.

Your Credibility Will Be Damaged

Customers research a business on social media to scrutinize its values and get a feel for what the business is like. If they’re greeted with an inactive account, the first impression is not favorable. Employees and potential employees will also check out a company’s social pages to see what kind of culture it demonstrates.

Fair or not, companies are judged on their willingness to engage with consumers, their dedication, and their social media presence. An inactive presence does more harm than good.

Inactivity projects the message that the business doesn’t take an active interest in its potential customers. When you’re active on social media, you can control your narrative online. You can communicate your credibility firsthand and attract customers the right way.

Your Customer Service Will Suffer

If you are no longer monitoring your social media accounts, have you communicated that to your online followers? Are there customers tweeting at you for support? Are there issues going unanswered? Social media is a two-way conversation, and if you’re not engaging back, you have no chance of building positive word of mouth or cultivating brand fans.

Savvy internet users will check out reviews or testimonials on Facebook or other social media pages before deciding to try a new business. Consumers want to sense an atmosphere of camaraderie and to know that your business is a well-respected member of the community. If your social media presence is lackluster, chances are you don’t have many (if any) customer reviews on your page — this could be a major turnoff to potential clients.

home alone you're what the french call les incompetents

Your Company Will Appear Incompetent

A subpar social media presence makes your company look unprofessional and amateurish to potential clients. Inactive social media pages give the impression that your business is unable to follow through on obligations and complete tasks.

If that’s what you’re going for, then great! If you’d rather convey the message that your business is equipped to solve problems, combat challenges, and truly serve your customers, it’s time to put in some work on your social media pages.

spongebob squarepants patrick i t hought what we had was special

You Will Start Losing Followers

You’ve heard the popular saying “out of sight, out of mind,” right? This is never more true than when it comes to social media. When you aren’t actively posting to your social media pages, you’re giving your followers the chance to forget about you. Consumers can be a fickle bunch. If you’re suddenly off their radar, they’re going to move on to another brand that grabs their attention.

Marketing is all about consistency, no matter which type of medium you’re using. Staying in front of customers on a regular basis continues to remind them that you’re around and that you can’t wait to see them in your store or office.

Without an active online community, you won’t have loyal followers; and without loyal followers, you will lose potential brand advocates. When your followers aren’t reaching out to engage with you or others about your business, your links are less likely to be shared to social media. This will result in fewer signals being transmitted to Google’s algorithm, which will increase the chances that your keywords will drop in ranking on Google searches. All of which is extremely bad for your business!

zach galifianakis algorithm change

Social Algorithms Will Decrease Your Reach

Brands that become inactive on social media for as little as two weeks can expect to see their reach decrease by an average of ten times! When your page becomes dormant and no one is interacting on it, your posts simply aren’t going to be seen by your followers.

For example, Facebook — the largest social media platform worldwide — has set up their algorithms to determine which posts will show up on people’s news feeds and which will not. This can be directly affected by your not posting for weeks on end.

Inactivity on social media can significantly affect your reach, even when your brand begins posting again. In order to recover, it typically takes around 3 to 5 times the amount of dormancy time in order for engagement and reach to return to their former levels. In other words, if you’re inactive for a week, it could take anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks to get back to your original reach numbers.

marcus lemonis looking nervous lose market share

Your Brand Will Lose Market Share

Periods of social media dormancy create ideal opportunities for competitors to steal your brand’s market share. Savvy brands become more active when the competition slacks off. This means they get lower ad rates and higher CPAs (costs per action), not to mention the bulk of your audience’s attention.

When your followers see less content from you and more from active brands in your field, they will become more receptive to these brands even if they have enjoyed a long and satisfactory history with your brand.

let's get this party started

 

7 Solutions for Reviving Your Social Media Presence

If your business has been silent on social media for too long, it’s time to make a change. It will be an uphill battle, but it’s never too late to kickstart your social media presence. Here are a few pointers to get you back in the game:

i don't understand what just happened here

Evaluate What Went Wrong

In order to learn from your mistakes, it’s important to understand what went wrong before. Did you stop updating your social media pages for one of the reasons stated in an earlier section of this blog — not enough time, insufficient technical ability, unaware of what to say, or frustration due to a lack of instant results — or some other reason?

This is the perfect time to be brutally honest with yourself about why social media didn’t work for you before you decided to stop posting.

schitt's creek you will work until it hurts

Pick a Social Channel and Redouble Your Efforts

Find out which platform (or platforms) your audience is active on, and research best practices so you’ll understand how to reach customers where they already are.

Pinpoint what specific plans you should set in motion for your social media revitalization. Revamp and rejuvenate your platform with fresh energy, resources, and strategy. Commit to being more consistent in your posting.

smart thinking marketing strategy

Develop a Marketing Strategy for Your Channel

Before starting up or refreshing a channel, determine whether this method is going to yield return on investment for your business. Formulate a plan for a successful launch and consistent cadence.

At a bare minimum, coordinate a passive posting schedule for your social media pages. Passive posts include content such as memes, quotes, branding statements, photos, etc. If you don’t have the wherewithal for this kind of content creation, you can always work on expanding upon the content that’s being created by the community about your brand. Never underestimate the potency of a retweet or a cross-shared post. You could also duplicate older posts that are still relevant to your business.

hit your goals cobra kai

Create Attainable Goals for Your Company’s Social Media Presence

It would be awesome if your business could have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and whatever the latest buzzed-about platform may be. But is that actually feasible?

Keeping track of and publishing fresh, relevant content to this many platforms will be extremely challenging, and will most likely result in mismanaged pages, intermittent posting, or inactive accounts.

Touch base with your team to decide on what platforms you can reasonably manage. Take it a step further and consider which social networking sites will best serve your specific audience. Once you’ve determined what platforms will generate the best results and customer advantages for your company, set up only those accounts and develop clear-cut posting objectives.

what is this communication word you speak of?

Communicate

If you’re planning on shutting down any of your inactive social media accounts, be sure to communicate that to your audiences. Let customers know that the page will be “sunset” (phased out) as of a certain date and provide followers with a link redirecting them to the new page.

This keeps your clients in the loop, avoids giving the false impression that you’re no longer in business, and ensures that you’re migrating all your current followers and customers over to the new channels.

let's do this!

Implement Your Plan

There’s absolutely no reason to go through the evaluating and planning stages unless you’re going to put your plan into action. Social media marketing is all about the return on effort, and zero effort nets zero results.

help me help you tom cruise

Partner with a Social Media Marketing Company to Maximize Your Efforts

For small-to-medium-sized businesses, it can be difficult to find a staff member who has the time to commit to managing your social media presence. If this is an issue for your company, consider enlisting the help of an outside party.

A reputable digital marketing company that routinely handles social media can help manage your campaigns and eliminate the stress of keeping your accounts up to date. Such an agency can also help maintain consistency in posting and boost your page engagement, ensuring that more people will see your posts.

i'm a social media mogul

 

 
 

Final Thoughts

Social media should be viewed as an extension of your business. But you must find a way to devote the time and effort to it that you’ve already given to your physical establishment.

While it’s absolutely vital that you have a strong social media presence in this day and age, it’s better to have no social media presence at all than to have a number of inactive accounts. Likewise, it’s better to have a stellar social media presence in just a few places rather than to have a poor presence across many different platforms.

By building a well-thought-out strategy, cutting back on the number of accounts you dedicate your time to, and outsourcing the management of some or all of your social media functions to marketing specialists, you can truly use social media to the fullest advantage.

It’s time for your business to not only exist online, but to thrive.

HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in social media marketing and management. Our marketing team understands the importance of a strong social media presence, because we use it every day to elevate our clients’ businesses. By developing a custom marketing strategy, producing quality content, and creating personalized promotions, we guarantee your brand will soar above the competition. Call us today at 252.814.2150 to find out more how we can help grow your business!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!