Category: marketing guide

What Small Businesses Need to Know about Digital Marketing Today

What Small Businesses Need to Know about Digital Marketing Today

 

If you are a small business or a pure startup, you need to have a strong digital marketing strategy to grow your business. While material marketing has its place too, digital marketing is the new competitive edge for businesses. The best thing is that internet marketing completely does away with any boundaries that limit conventional marketing strategies. Whether you are in Lebanon, the US or some other part of the world, the entire world is your target audience with online marketing. Here is what you need to know about digital marketing if you are a small business.

Quality Will Always Have the Upper Hand on Quantity

When it comes to digital marketing, you have to focus on quality rather than quantity. Take the example of SEO where you have to use keywords in your content and link your landing pages to high authority websites through backlinks. In both cases, you have to focus on quality. Stuffing your content with keywords will attract penalties from search engines. Having too many backlinks coming from low authority websites will also result in penalties from search engines, especially Google. You have to be careful about quality even when embedding images on your web pages.

Personalization Is the New Focus

Whether you are doing paid or unpaid marketing, your focus has to be on personalizing your ads and marketing content according to your target audience. You can’t use cookie-cutter strategies anymore as they will result in lower ROIs. Take the example of email marketing where you first segment your customers based on their interests and then send the emails that are most relevant to their recent searches and interests. Website analytical softwares like Google Analytics are also used to collect visitor data to allow marketers to make the overall website experience more personalized.

If It’s Not Mobile It Is No Good

It does not matter how much money you spend on marketing, it will do you no good if your efforts are not optimized for mobile. It all starts from your website that has to be optimized for mobile devices. The website experience should be seamless for users when they move from a desktop to a smartphone or tablet. Mobile optimization is also important for search engine optimization. Keep in mind that your website is only visible in Google results to the mobile users if it is optimized for mobiles. To go the extra mile, you should also develop a mobile application if your business model allows for one.

It’s Incomplete without Local

The most important trend in online marketing has been “local”. If you are a brick and mortar business or your services are limited to a particular region, local SEO is more important for you than general SEO. Through local SEO you can target a more narrowed down audience and you get to compete with fewer businesses. A great way to appeal to the local audience is to offer them a local version of your website and application i.e. make them available in their language. So, if your business serves Lebanon, you would want to offer a translated version of your website in Lebanese Arabic.

For a long time small business owners have been under the impression that they don’t have to pay much attention to SEO, local SEO, social media marketing, personalized marketing, etc. but the time has made it clear that small businesses need the same level of digital marketing as large enterprises.  

Conventional Online Marketing Tactics That Still Work

Conventional Online Marketing Tactics That Still Work

In the world of digital marketing, there are plenty of new trends and innovations which can help businesses attract a larger audience and generate more leads and conversions. However, even as we boldly move forward in the digital age, some trends and tactics never change. Of course, there may be more advanced variations, but the basic technique hasn’t changed over the years. You probably must be wondering which tactics are these. Read on to find out:

Slogans/Jingles/Pitches

The power of slogans, jingles, and pitches hasn’t changed over the years because they rely on human psychology rather than some fancy new marketing trick or tactic. In fact, memorable and catchy phrases have a way of being imprinted onto people’s minds, hence making it a good tactic (regardless of how old it is) for gaining a boost in web traffic and increasing overall leads and conversions.

Online Contests and Events

Although hosting online contests and events are a relatively old marketing technique, they prove incredibly effective in building a strong following. For instance, people might now know much about a new brand or business until they have heard about it via social cliques, family or friends. Hosting a contest just helps them do that, hence allowing businesses to spread the word about their recent products and services. A contest is also a great way for increasing subscribers and engagement with customers.

Mailing Lists/Lead Buying

Email marketing has been around ever since the inception of the internet. However, it still refuses to go obsolete and proves a good tactic for spreading the word about new products and services. In fact, buying qualified leads for direct mailing campaigns still remains one of the best and most reliable revenue driving channels which allow prospective customers to learn more about a particular company and its recent services.

Promotional Gifts

Promotional gifts have also been around for some time, but still remain vital for attracting new customers and building trust. In fact, promotional gifts are one of the most cost-effective ways of building a lasting impression on prospective customers. All you have to do is make a tiny investment in a promotional gift and you can receive years of attention from repeat clients.

Coupons/Mailers

Coupons have served as a valuable old-school marketing technique, even before the inception of the internet. In old times, people looked forward to receiving coupons and availing amazing discounts and offers. It’s great to see this trend hasn’t changed and many websites actually try their best to engage customers and get them to use coupon codes to take advantage of better deals.

As you can see, while online marketing is changing with time, there are certain elements/techniques (like the ones mentioned above) which seem unlikely to change in the future. So, if you are looking for ways to boost your reputation online, try these basic online marketing tactics. You might be surprised at the results you get from them!

DIY Marketing vs. SMM Companies – Why Hiring Professionals Is Better

DIY Marketing vs. SMM Companies – Why Hiring Professionals Is Better

SMM or social media marketing companies use social networking sites to help you with your online marketing. With the advancement in technology and the ubiquitous nature of the internet, there is no field out there that does not require the help of social media. It has slowly taken over the news industry along with the communication industry. Researchers are stating that the use of televising is decreasing while more and more people look towards the internet and Social Networking Sites (SNS) for entertainment, communication, and NEWS.

It is vital for the most business to have a social media presence as it allows you to show your customers what they desire directly. Alongside creating your brand image, social media marketing requires a lot of planning and hard work. There is also a certain level of experience required to monitor the data and see what it means. You can always maintain your online presence, but hiring professionals has its own merits. Read the following to know what might work best for you:

Cost:

With doing all the SNS marketing yourself, you save yourself a pretty penny but with an SMM company working on and taking care of all your social media accounts the business expands, and you gain a more substantial profit. The SMM takes care of updating content, engaging the audience and customer responses. You can work on your main task and increase profit while the SMM agency deals with your image.

Data Analysis:

SMM companies offer data analysis, which means that they study your insights and that of your field alongside your competitor’s insights. These reports can help you know your weaknesses and overcome them. Also, you learn from the mistakes of your competitors. The detailed analysis can help you figure out any empty spaces in the market that you can fill.

Time:

You are the only one who knows what your brand is exactly about and only you can explain it well to the customers. On the other hand, creating your marketing strategies alongside the content development is a very time-consuming process. With the help of an SMM you just have to explain to them, what you need and the work on it for you. This process might be time-consuming, but it yields improved results.

Content Development:

Content development is more than just updating your status. You need media managers and professionals who are not only experts but also solely dedicated to producing what is required. The posts require engaging pictures and posters that are hard to develop on your own unless you want to take a course in Photoshop and media designing. On the other hand, doing all these things on your own can give you a better insight of what your customers need while you stay on top of recent trends.

Social media websites and apps are constantly evolving, and it is very hard to stay on top of all those advancements as you are busy managing your clientele and manufacturing your product. Social media companies have the resources and the contacts to help you reach a larger audience in a small amount of time. You can concentrate on what you do while handing this responsibility over to the professionals. In this way, both your productivity and profit increase. The cost of employing an SMM agency gets covered as your business expands and generates more considerable revenue.

5 Benefits of Hiring a Social Media Agency

5 Benefits of Hiring a Social Media Agency

A social media Agency’s job is not just helping you create and promote your data, but it also analyzes it. By examining trends and insights, the agencies help you make better advertisement content for your Social Networking Sites (SNS). Not depending on the size of your business it can help both individual customers and large corporations.

It has been reported through various researched that more than 75 percent adult Americans use social media. It is also a known fact that the use of television is slowly decreasing, at times like these it only makes sense that marketers take their business to newer resources. This will not only make sure that higher target is reached but also bring in maximum results.  Social media companies don’t just tell you how they are going to increase your numbers but also send in reports by analyzing the data on their end of how their work has made a difference.

If you are living in Lebanon and are thinking about hiring a social media company, here are a few benefits of hiring one:

Advertising:

It is their job to device strategies to help promote your company’s products. They will analyze your business and identify where you should focus your energy on. If they find any problems, they will also come up with ways to help you fix them. They will prepare creative marketing strategies that will help your business.

Brand Promotion:

Social media companies build brand recognition by using different influencers. They know how to make other people talk about your product. They have associates and contacts that are hard to reach otherwise. They help promote your brand across all channels and project a positive image for it.

Assessing Competition:

Social Media Agencies don’t just analyze the general market data and the data of your company. It is also their job to analyze the data of your competition. This doesn’t just help you pick up your pace but also finds out any empty spaces left and be the first one to touch that market. This not only allows you to know how your competitors are performing but also lets you learn from their mistakes.

Social Engagement:

Since there are multiple social media platforms, it can be tough to manage all the buzz at the same time. Social media companies can help by providing with social media engagement software and other engagement services.

Bigger Clientele:

By helping you reach a larger audience, social media help you grow your business. As more people get to know about your brand and its positive traits, you receive more customers. Which in turn leads to a higher profit. This makes these agencies cost-effective as the capital spent on marketing is covered by the bigger clientele, alongside generating a larger revenue and higher profit.

Social media has grown into an empire of its own; it’s an era and a power that is almost omnipresent. Social media agencies are the ones who know how to control this power. The key here is to choose the right company for you. By doing so, you don’t just take your company at a higher level but also avoid a few future losses.

Reasons Why Businesses Fail with Social Media Marketing

Reasons Why Businesses Fail with Social Media Marketing


Reasons Businesses Social Media Marketing Fail :

Social Media is a wild beast that we need to tame if we want to achieve our business goals. If tamed properly it becomes a best friend that seldom betrays. A single search on Google will reveal thousands of ways how you can use social media to expand your business. With all this literally at our fingertips, so many businesses still fail at overcoming this wild beast. We have listed down some of the main issues that people tend to overlook while operating their SNS (Social Networking Sites):

Not Determining the Audience

This is one of the biggest mistakes most people make. Businesses are all types big or small. Some operate in just one city; others can have a customer base all over the country, even the world. The key is determining who your customers are. One way of learning that is building customer profiles.

This will help you figure out what they need. You have to know if they need to buy immediately or do they need information. After you are done determining what your buyers need, you have to develop certain keywords and use them in your content. These keywords are the bridge between your customer and you. That’s just the way search engines work. For example, if you sell flowers in a city. You need to use key terms like flowers, the city’s name, delivery, and occasions.

Content Development

What you post on your SNS is very important. It can’t be based on whims and wishes. The content that you post needs proper planning and preparation. It can’t just all be about the product alone. They should be related to current events and employ basic marketing strategies. Keeping in mind what the customers are thinking is important. Posts related to events such as New Year, Christmas or any other holiday should be posted in due time. These posts need to be prepared way before time. You need to discuss how you are going to make sure that your customers don’t forget about your services in these times.

No Social Engagement

You need to keep your audience engaged. The posts have to be entertaining and informative. Answering questions is a perfect way to keep in contact with your buyers. It is also a way for potential buyers to get information. You should also start a blog about your developments. These blogs can include why you made certain choices or how those choices have helped your clients.

Budgetary Issues

Just like any other form of advertisement, the commercial use of SNS is not free. It requires budget allocation and quite a lot of planning. Moreover, having a just an SNS account is not enough. You need to develop your webpage where the customers can get the entire feel of your services. It is also a way to make them feel safe.

Social media isn’t just a plaything anymore; it has many more uses than just entertainment. It has the power to make or break a business.  All you need to do is employ the right resources. Choose your platform based on your needs. And if you feel like you can’t manage it all, you should contact a professional.

How to Gain a Boost in Web Traffic – A Few Tips

How to Gain a Boost in Web Traffic – A Few Tips

Ask a business owner or marketer what they would love most in the world, and their answer will always be “more clients/customers”. However, in the online world, before getting customers, it is imperative to gain a large amount of web traffic. Bear in mind traffic is the “backbone” of every internet business. If you know how to drive enormous, quality traffic to your website, you are guaranteed a boost in overall sales and revenue. However, the question here is how can businesses attract more traffic? What can be done to make sure visitors shop from your site repeatedly? Look at these tips below to find out:

Understand SEO

The key to gaining a huge boost in web traffic always starts with proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO). By now you probably do know, working on your SEO enables you to gain a better ranking on Google, hence making it easier for audiences to find you online. If utilized correctly, SEO can lead to impressive surges in overall web traffic. Typically, there are two components of SEO: off-page and on-page. It is vital for you to focus on both components.

Advertise

You cannot just create a website and expect viewers to come looking for you. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store where customers can come in and explore your business, online websites are in constant competition with one another to gain better ranking. As a result, if you want to gain a boost in web traffic, it is vital for you to “advertise and market” your website. Display advertising, paid search, and social media advertising are all excellent ways of getting your site in front of people, attracting visitors, and building your brand.

Good Content

Apart from SEO, focus on generating shareable, distinctive content. In the world of search engine, posting great content on your website can trump all other strategies. Despite what some of you may believe though, there is no magic formula for content marketing success. For this reason, make sure to always vary your content and make it attractive as possible to lure in different kinds of audiences. Post data-driven pieces, infographics, photos, and videos along with informational blog posts, PR’s, eBooks, and long-form content.

Write Tempting Headlines

The headlines are without doubt one of the most important aspects of your content. If your content lacks a convincing headline, chances are it will chase the viewer away and the blog will go unread. Therefore, it is essential that you master the art of writing alluring and enticing headlines. Did you know that writers working at Upworthy and BuzzFeed often come up with twenty diverse headlines, before finally making a decision on the one that will generate great traffic? Perhaps not!

Get Social

Last, but not the least, it is not enough to only produce great content and hope that viewers and potential customers will find it. In this fast-paced world, it is important to be proactive. So, do not hesitate on getting a little social with your audiences. Use social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to promote your content and attract customers.

Therefore, now that you are familiar with the tips mentioned, gaining a boost in traffic will not be a problem.

Instagram for Marketing – Not Optional Anymore!

Instagram for Marketing – Not Optional Anymore!

With visual content becoming more popular on social media, businesses all over the world are communicating visually with their customers, followers, and fans via short videos and photos. Now, while there are plenty of platforms available, Instagram remains the best resource for leveraging the power of visual content. The site has over 800 million users (500 million daily active users), making it the most-used photo sharing platform, with over 40 billion photos and videos shares since its conception. So, yes, marketing on Instagram is worth it! But, if you don’t believe us, the benefits below speak for themselves:

Increase in Traffic

Although you don’t have the option of adding clickable links in your Instagram updates, the platform can be a powerful source of traffic. This is because of the unique features it offers for you to display your photos. With the given editing and filters options, you can be as creative as you want to add style, quality, and uniqueness to your photos. This proves useful in grabbing the attention of users, gaining positive comments, and directing many customers to your website, resulting in increased web traffic.

Increase in Engagement

Anyone with an Instagram account can leverage crazy levels of engagement with the audience via interesting and useful content. In fact, according to Hootsuite,  top brands on Instagram are seeing a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21% which is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter. Instagram has become a powerful platform for marketers and its potential cannot be overlooked any longer.

Building Trust and Personality

One of the key benefits of marketing on Instagram is it can help you build great trust with customers, paving the way for future engagement. By posting relevant and targeting messages, videos, and photos, you can create an emotional connection with your audience. This motivates customers, users, and viewers into checking out your site and the services you offer, giving a personal feel to your business as well as building trust and personality.

Update Regarding Latest Promotions and Offers

Businesses on Instagram can share timely photo and video updates regarding their services. Just by sharing latest events and activities, you can boost sales. This enables customers to learn about the latest promotions and offers, while they can participate in an Instagram Contest hosted by you. Use popular hashtags and visit popular brands to get an idea on how to use the app. Avoid copying ideas and try to be as special and unique as possible.

‘Free Advertising’

Last, but not the least, using Instagram for marketing is free. You can showcase your services and products in a way that generates massive exposure. This gives you a chance to show off all you offer, while guaranteeing increased web traffic minus the high costs of expensive marketing campaigns. If you want to take your business to the next level, you can also leverage Instagram Ads. You will have to pay a certain fee, but these ads are perfect to send people to important sections of your website,

So, if you want to receive the above-mentioned benefits, it’s time you considered using Instagram as well. According to Adweek.com, only 24% of small businesses currently use Instagram. Therefore, by using the platform, you can gain an edge over the competition.

Can Virtual Reality (VR) Technology Be Used for Marketing?

Can Virtual Reality (VR) Technology Be Used for Marketing?

Yes, virtual reality (VR) technology shows scope for helping businesses market products, services, and places. In fact, virtual reality technology allows marketers and owners to give their audience the best and closest experience of a place, service, or product, without physically touching or being present at the location. Fast-forward a few years and this technology will be the “norm” for marketing business products. For more information, let us look at how VR technology can be used for marketing:

Market Research

Whether it is a new shopping center, store, or cinema, investing in a new physical space is often a huge decision, filled with plenty of doubts and risks. This is where understanding how your customers feel about the new place proves essential, and this is exactly what VR technology can help do. It can provide an immersive experience to customers, allowing them to navigate your new product range, planned layout, and color scheme, without physically being present there. Did you know Tesco first created a virtual store to allow customers to walk in and explore even before they built the store?

Tangible Experiences

How can a holiday service, cruise ship, hotel, or restaurant convince customers it can offer an amazing experience, without the person trying it? A website or brochure can only get you so far, but actually taking customers to the desired destination and allowing them to explore the amenities, beauty, and features of the place is what can really set the bar high. This is what VR technology can be used for, providing an unmatched and excellent tangible experience that gives customers a real sense of what the place would look like (the walk-in experience, the views, nearby attractions, etc).

Commercial Opportunities

Imagine if you can sell the best seat at a theatre, stadium or event as many times as you like. Virtual Reality technology presents you the amazing opportunity to do this. By live streaming content from a performance or match, viewers from all over the world can have access to what it feels like to ACTUALLY be present at the event, even if they are located thousands and millions of miles away. According to a recent report, Samsung and NBA are working together to bring live VR basketball experiences to their fans.

Product Experiences

Is there any way for businesses to convince customers their products are better than those offered by their competitors? For an automobile purchase, test driving the vehicle is considered the best selling tool. But, how can one get an experience of the vehicle, without actually visiting the showroom? This is where VR comes in, allowing customers to configure the car to their needs and take it for a personal test drive, anytime and anywhere.

Last, but not the least, VR technology can also be used by brands who want to promote educational experiences, such as showing a product manufacturing/designing process. VR technology provides many opportunities for businesses and marketers to showcase their places, products, and services in the best way possible. If you want to take your marketing strategy to the next level, it’s time you considered investing in VR technology too.

A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing on Facebook

A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing on Facebook

In the process of looking for new ways to boost your company’s image and boost sales, you have probably faced one important question: “How can you get information about your brand in front of people?” The answer: you need to know exactly where people are. And, without doubt, Facebook is where you can find many people to market your brand.
The market leader Facebook is the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered users and currently has more than 1.55 billion monthly active users. And, on any given day, 48% of these users log in. So, you can spread information about your brand to a huge audience by creating a Facebook page and following these tips below:
Give People a Reason to Join Your Page– A Clear Call-To-Action
Why should people join your page? What are you offering that others don’t? Give people a reason to like or join your page by creating a strong call-to-action or a campaign. For instance, you can create a campaign that encourages users to like your page to receive special discounts or a free trial. Similarly, you can create a strong call-to-action, like “Got some spare time? Come volunteer for our latest “so and so” project. Or if you are busy now, cheer us on from the sidelines”. This way, you can offer real value to your target audience, hence resulting in an increase in conversion rates.

Stay on Topic – Post Articles/Blogs Related to Your Brand/Industry
People who join your Facebook page are likely to expect posts related to your industry or brand. So, don’t go on posting things about the Kardashians and focus on providing relevant information to your audience. There are plenty of things you can write or share on Facebook. For instance, you can write about an upcoming event and tie it to your brand. You can share funny or humorous YouTube videos loosely related to your business or even ask the audience to post stories, questions, or pictures about their experiences with your brand.

Ask the Right Kind of Questions – Be Friendly and Easy to Communicate With
Without doubt, one of the best ways to get your fans engaged and involved with your brand is to ask interesting questions. So, don’t be afraid to share or ask a few personal questions. If done correctly, you can build great relationships and significantly increase your fan engagement. However, ask questions that are easy to respond to. For instance, if your brand offers event and concert management, a good question would be, “How can you describe your first experience at a concert?” Get the drift?

Include Pictures in Your Facebook Updates – A Picture Speaks a 1000 words
Where Twitter is a link economy, Facebook operates as a picture and video economy. Therefore, always include picture and videos in your posts. This way, you can increase your engagement with customers and improve the chances of getting more people to join your Facebook page. Posting images increases the chances of users sharing your posts. This as a result leads to increased page likes, especially if your picture touches the hearts of customers.
Last, but not the least, celebrate your milestones with your fans. Reached 1,000 likes on your Facebook page? Go crazy, celebrate with your fans, and offer them something unique!

5 Laws of Social Media Marketing Every Business Should Know About

5 Laws of Social Media Marketing Every Business Should Know About

Social media marketing and content marketing – a delicious combo for success, as long as it is handled and maintained correctly. However, bear in mind social media marketing is not just a trend anymore; it has grown to be a significant tool for creating a prominent presence in the digital world and global market. In addition, needless to say, SMM is here to STAY!

The only problem is though: there is a certain etiquette that comes along with marketing on social media. In addition, most businesses are not aware of this. Hence, they end up with poor marketing results overall. If you do not want the same for your business, look at these ingredients for social media success below – in the form of 5 vital SMM laws.

1.      The Law of Listening

Many marketers and business owners think it is all about talking when it comes to social media sites. However, in reality this approach is wrong. For social media marketing, it is essential that you talk LESS and listen MORE. Therefore, make sure to do your due diligence in observing the behavior of your target audience and listen to what they are saying about your brand. Then it is sensible to jump into any discussion, as you have gathered enough info to learn what is important to them.

2.      The Law of Focus

When it comes to social media marketing, its better you direct your strategy to a specific area rather than focusing on multiple areas. By knowing the ins and outs of specific highly focused social media and content marketing strategy, you have a better chance for success than a broad strategy that attempts to focus on multiple aspects. For instance, if you are focusing on video marketing on social media sites, avoid letting your content marketing strategy or online contest arrangement come into the way.

3.      The Law of Visibility

Bear in mind that you cannot just create a social media page and forget about it after a few days. It is important that you be active and show your fans/followers that you are interested in hearing about their stories. The way businesses operate nowadays has changed significantly. If you are not online, then you simply do not have a business. You must increase your visibility. One way you can do this is to communicate and befriend with people in your network or blogging/participating in groups.

4.      The Law of Quality

There is no doubt in the fact – quality will always defeat quantity. Nobody wants the same boring content, be it in the form of video, photo, or text – and that too in huge quantity (Is it okay to share data that does not offer any value or perks to the reader/viewer?). In social media, it is all about being unique and creative with your ideas. Therefore, when you plan on marketing, make sure to deliver consumers quality over quantity.

5.      The Law of Patience

There is a reason why most people say: “You can’t gain success overnight”. Bear in mind that you need to give your strategies some time to work. Most often than not, social media marketing success does not even come in a year. However, the key to success is: you stay determined, patient, and motivated throughout. This way, you can learn what works with your target market and what does not.

So, if you want to take your business to the next level, make sure to follow these above mentioned laws.