Times have changed, and so has the way businesses approach their customers. They say if you want to see improvements in your business or increase sales, you must engage in digital marketing.
Traditional marketing has taken a step back, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of opportunities and growth, digital marketing can be highly beneficial to businesses.
In this week’s let’s talk, we asked experts how businesses can best utilise digital marketing to grow their businesses.
Carden Calder, Managing Director, BlueChip Communication
“#fail Founder to founder, what NOT to do with your digital marketing “Fail fast” is fine in theory but I’d hate you to waste the same time and money I did when starting our digital marketing. Here are five mistakes we made, and that you can avoid, save time and money, and drive growth faster.
- Act on “fuct” rather than fact: The single best thing you can do to keep yourself honest is to build a simple fact base: what you did, and what the result was. Building this, over time, is the perfect antidote to the “feelings” and false assumptions (“fucts”) we and our clients sometimes use as a basis for our marketing, but that stop us from learning fast.
- Track vanity metrics: How many media articles you generate is a vanity metric, not a business one. Instead, we recommend, and we use, metrics like indexable words published per month, number of emails sent, readership metrics and database growth. We track these because they drive database growth and leads which in turn drive revenue. That’s the ultimate metric!
- Create too much content and not campaign it enough: We put waaaay too much of our overall thought leadership and marketing effort into the content creation process and too little into campaigning it. We’re in the financial services so it’s tempting to think you need constant new and clever content. Not true. About 80/20 to “campaign” versus “create” is probably right for most financial and professional services businesses under about $100m revenue.
- Talk to ourselves not our target audiences: Behavioural economics has plenty to say about how irrational most of us are as decision-making machines. This includes being terrible at predicting how others think. We’ve spent countless hours and too much money persisting with messages and channels (twitter) we thought would be effective, and we found interesting. Our content wasn’t resonating with our audiences. We killed off the lower performance content, focussed on engaging a narrow group of target clients, and cut down the topic list. Life got easier.
- Go soft when we should have gone hard: It’s easy to wimp out at the tough choices but then your lack of courage will mean your digital marketing will be kind of… limp. We did this. When we scaled up our digital marketing we weren’t brave enough to eliminate a whole bunch of brands, like big banks, from our target market. Some clients just aren’t in our (or your) sweet spot in terms of relationship, results we can deliver, or the type of work we enjoy doing. It took me about 10 years too long to work this out.
Justin Theng, Head of Customer Analytics at SAS ANZ
“My advice for getting started in digital marketing can be summarised into three points. When starting out, surround yourself with inspiration – look at the competition, and other marketing leaders you respect. Look for brands like yours that you like, subscribe to their newsletters, become a fly on the wall. Next, prepare to learn and absorb information at a rapid speed. Don’t try to tackle every channel and social media platform at once.
“Pick one, build out your processes and funnels then move onto the next in order of importance and likelihood to lead to sales. Prioritise direct return on investment, like ads, and leave the SEO content for later. Consider where the industry is heading – in is one filled with data. While most experts know where to source data from, there is often a gap in knowledge and understanding of which tools can help analyse and make sense of that data to inform critical decisions.
“Finally, it’s important that you know how to separate what’s real and what’s just ‘marketing hype’. Marketers love to rehash techniques, but the truth is only a handful of strategies will work in the real world – trial and error is key to understanding what will work for you.”
Allira Taylor, Marketing Manager for the JUMP! Swim Schools franchise network
“Digital marketing is one of the most effective tools a small business can use to promote at both launch stage and ongoing. It’s a critical part of what we do for each swim school we help our franchisees open because it is so powerful in its ability to penetrate the local market. If there are three things every small business should be looking at as a starting point is a Google My Business listing, Facebook ads and Google Ads. Experiment and see what works best for you.
“For Facebook, we find videos have proven to perform better compared to static imagery. We also get great value out of retargeting campaigns, where we target audiences who have interacted with previous advertising but haven’t taken action yet. Inviting potential customers to send a Direct Message (DM) as the call to action, rather than follow an external link has been working really well for us too, as it keeps communication within the Facebook platform and allows your audience to ask questions before they purchase.
“Meanwhile, a successful Google Ads campaign will put your brand front of mind for customers who’re actively searching for your service. Recently, a new swim school site at Marsden Park achieved such success with their digital marketing campaign, they had to pause their advertising as enrolment capacity was achieved ahead of schedule.
“We also have a new site in Armstrong Creek that listed their swim school on Google My Business which generated a waitlist of 900 kids – before we put any dollar spend behind our marketing efforts. Digital marketing is not something we can ignore and is certainly worth your time to learn more about and trial.”
Kate Toon, Founder, Stay Tooned
“Digital marketing can be overwhelming for businesses – so many channels and shiny things to be distracted by.
“As much as sharing pretty photos on platforms like Instagram can be fun, it doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Instead, focus on getting essentials such as SEO right first. Solid SEO might not give you all the warm and fuzzies of social media likes, but it will help you be found by customers who are searching with intent for the products or services you offer.
“Your email marketing is another core part of digital marketing for business, and it’s a channel within your control. Much better than being reliant on big social media platforms, who could take away your audience in a moment.
“Invest some time in creating a valuable lead magnet piece to attract new people into your funnel, and show them some email marketing love once they’re in your funnel. For e-commerce businesses, never underestimate the power of an introductory discount in signing up new people to your mailing list!”
“If in doubt, ask other businesses what’s working for them in digital marketing. My Digital Masterchefs community was created with this purpose – to help like-minded business owners learn the ropes of digital marketing and share their own lived experiences with each other.”
Adam Benson, Chief Executive Officer, The Recognition Group
“Marketing to business is different than marketing to consumers because the customer journey is much longer. B2B digital marketing involves identifying prospects, following up with them across several interactions, then nurturing the relationship until they can be converted to a paying client.
“In the background, you may run more passive content focused on establishing your brand as a thought leader in the space, leaning into opportunities to demonstrate it. In the digital era, we use platforms like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook to identify our business audience at a more granular level, letting us dial in messaging and deliver it more effectively.
“Delivering on promises consistently to retain clients long-term will ensure time and effort invested early creates lasting value for your business. Like all forms of marketing, if you don’t have something compelling to say about your brand, the customer will quickly sense it. This effect is compounded by the longer cycles of B2B, which means beginning with a strong message is key.”
Jamal Cassim, co-founder, Untangld
“For me, this isn’t about ‘digital marketing, but marketing in a digital world.
The best way to get started is to learn the fundamentals of marketing science – from the role of the brand to the importance of salience, and the relevance of each stage of the marketing funnel.
“These foundations will always be our best clues to the future. Because there’s a whole industry built around selling you the next hype thing: don’t fall for it. Ignore growth hackers and messiahs of the latest revolution. Instead, observe brands and marketers who’ve been able to deliver growth consistently, gifting us case studies that span years.”
Shannon Ingrey, Vice President & General Manager, APAC, BigCommerce
“Consumers are spending more time on social media platforms, and they’re focused on the convenience of their purchases. It’s crucial for businesses to meet them where they are and, most of the time, that’s on a digital or social platform.
“Digital marketing channels will be important for businesses looking to engage with consumers in 2022 and beyond. TikTok’s relevance has exploded over the last few months, especially for businesses targeting a younger demographic.
“More consumers are making purchasing decisions based on recommendations from social media influencers, and social media accounts for up to 71 per cent of buying decisions by many shoppers.
“Retailers can kickstart their digital marketing strategies by offering more interactive experiences like shoppable live streams on TikTok and Instagram. Equally, investing in influencer marketing could give shoppers a more intimate feel for the product they may be considering purchasing.
“Social platforms are continuing to expand their eCommerce tool capabilities for both businesses and shoppers in Australia, presenting new opportunities for retailers to embrace social commerce and provide shoppers with more convenient ways to find and purchase their products.”
Gali Arnon, Chief Marketing Officer, Fiverr
“Digital marketing and the specific niches that live under this umbrella are becoming increasingly popular year on year – both for those entering the field and business owners requiring talent.
“Business owners are crying out for digital skills, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic, and some of the highest-earning Australians we see on the platform are in this very area of expertise.
“The best way to capitalise on this opportunity is to seek out education, even in the form of a short course like what we have available on Fiverr Learn. At Fiverr, we are finding that services such as SEO, Shopify experts, and Google Analytics specialists are filling a large gap in the market, and some of these skills can be learned relatively quickly online.
“The reality is that someone with sought after skills who is able to quickly prove their track record is able to command a higher price for their services.”
Dave Scheine, Country Manager, Australia at Podium
“When it comes to digital marketing, businesses shouldn’t lose sight of convenience. Today, consumers want convenient communication on their terms, and few channels provide more convenience than SMS.
“Just as SMS revolutionised the way we interact with family and friends, it can do likewise for businesses and consumers. SMS has a 98 per cent open rate, 209 per cent higher response rate than emails, Facebook and phone, and four in ten Aussies would switch to a different business if it offered text communications.
“Evidently, it’s an incredibly effective channel for businesses to engage with customers on a device that’s rarely outside their line of vision. The delivery is as important as the message.
“No matter what you’re offering, it will fall on deaf ears if it’s done via cold call or lost in an endless email inbox. When that message is shared through the convenience of SMS, the impact is greater. There might be shinier, more hyped digital marketing tactics, but very few are more effective for local businesses connecting with their community.”
Avi Efrat, Founder Fantastic Framing
“Digital marketing through various platforms (Social media, Email, SEO) At Fantastic Framing, we use digital marketing across the following platforms: Google Ads (with remarketing) FB Insta TikTok Google Shopping How can businesses with limited resources benefit from DM? You need to spread your resources across multiple channels when starting a digital marketing campaign.
“You should probably start with Google for a shopping/sales campaign and Facebook for brand awareness. Start with $1000/month – this is the budget we started with, but we have built on our successes and are now spending much, much more on how to use DM to establish brand reputation Various digital marketing platforms Establishing brand awareness/reputation is best done through social media, and the best way to do this is by providing a backstage insight into the brand and the founder’s stories.
“Having a campaign in digital marketing is a must – it doesn’t matter if you are tech-savvy or not. Start by spending $5 in digital marketing from $100 in revenue and scale up your efforts from there.”