West Creatives - Is your brand position becoming a problem?
 
Your brand may be well managed, running solid campaigns delivered across the right channels, achieving acceptable KPI’s, and yet the bottom line isn’t showing the kind of growth you think it should, you might even be suffering losses.

What’s going wrong here?

You might be hitting all the traditional marks and keeping abreast of marketing trends, but cultures change and if you’re not maintaining focus on your brand position and equity, you could be re-enforcing a weak public perception.

As household budgets get tighter, interest rates remain low, inflation increases and uncertainty persists, there is little room for complacency, which will ultimately lead decline.

PWC are expecting the UK economy to slow around 1.6% in 2017, and 1.4% in 2018. The squeeze on household budgets is polarizing spending, Consumers are saving where they can at budget retailers and splashing out on more expensive luxury items with the money they’ve saved. It is the middle that is losing ground.

Once mighty brands that service the middle income bracket are showing weakness. Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Aviva PLC, M&S and H&M have all lost value. During this period of uncertainty, it is good practice to review your brand position and evaluate your equity. It might be time to consider new demographics in order to remain relevant. The storm is coming, you can do much now to appeal to the new spending trend and improve your bottom line.

A successful brand must adapt quickly and attract new customers as spending habits change. During this flux period, adaptation and a clear understanding of your market is essential.


This quick tutorial will show you how to use the powerful twitter location search using Hootsuite.

Social media is unrivalled in its ability to connect businesses with their customers. One of the biggest issues many businesses face is finding people who are talking about their business or the products they desire. Twitter happens to have search parameters which can be exploited using Hootsuite.

Lets assume you are a small business looking to find out what local people are saying about the products you sell. By using a list of commands in the search parameters in Hootsuite, you can quickly set up a stream showing tweets mentioning whatever keywords you define.

1. Open Google Maps and navigate to the location you want. Right click on the centre of the location on the map and select ‘What’s here?’. Copy the co-ordinates shown in the pop up details.
West Creatives - Powerful twitter location search using Hootsuite

2. Open Hootsuite and click on ‘Add Stream’.
West Creatives - Powerful twitter location search using Hootsuite

3. Click on ‘Search’, make sure you have selected the right Twitter account in the ‘Select a profile’ menu.
West Creatives - Powerful twitter location search using Hootsuite

4. Then enter the search term you want, followed by ‘geocode:’ then paste the co-ordinates you copied from Google Maps. You should then add a radius, 5km for example by typing ‘,5km’.

The code should look something like this: bagels geocode:51.752818,-1.258165,5km

Click ‘Add Stream’.

Viola! All tweets mentioning your defined keyword within 5km of your specified location will show in the feed. There is a restriction – this only works for tweets with location settings allowed. If a Twitter user has disabled location settings, it won’t show.
West Creatives - Powerful twitter location search using Hootsuite

The possibilities are endless. You can set up several streams to track product mentions, business names, industry keywords and more. Having a live stream allows you to respond directly to users immediately, as they are talking about your products and services.

The best part – it doesn’t cost a thing.


West Creatives - Speak to your customers
 

How often do you take the time to speak to your customers and ask them what they really think of your products or services?

How often do you make changes based on what they say?

It is tempting to rely solely on data and standard KPIs to dictate where to focus your efforts, but this does not necessarily take into account your customer experience. Testing subject lines and CTAs, landing pages and campaign timings will lead to improved KPIs, including conversions, but all of these metrics are based on customer actions after the campaigns are sent. If you speak to your customers about their specific requirements, you will most likely find there are gaps in the features and benefits of your services and products.

There are multiple benefits when you speak to your customers, not only will you gain essential insight into their requirements, you will also lean how the product or service is actually being used ‘in the field’. You may be surprised to find out your customers use your products and services in ways you didn’t expect.

When a your business is running successfully, it is easy to assume you have the overarching opinion on what is best for your customers. This is where complacency can creep in and become a threat. Competitors will be looking for any opportunity to exploit failings or missing elements that your customers are seeking. You can resolve this threat before it becomes a greater issue simply by listening.

This requires a good communication policy between departments. Too often marketing, sales, R&D, production and customer services are ‘siloed’ in separate departments. Whilst this might be convenient from a management perspective, it hampers the ability to adjust quickly and appropriately to customer demands. If a business waits for a drop in sales to prompt a change, they are already acting too late. It takes a lot more time, effort and revenue to re-engage a lost customer than retain an existing one.
 
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West Creatives - Agile product launch
 

An agile product launch is essential for winning new territories

We just helped a UK based client with an agile product launch for a new product and service in Australia, not without several challenges.

Before launching the product, we went through the process of researching the market including assessing the economy, demand, potential clients, compliance, delivery capabilities, sales capacity and language barriers. we also reviewed whether dedicated support to deal with overseas enquiries was needed. A SWOT analysis was completed and a launch plan with clear KPIs was created and shared amongst the team.

The planning established that there was sufficient demand for the product so we developed the necessary marketing material in line with our research (content marketing, social, email, display and Google Adwords). The focus was on covering the issues met in the Australian market relevant to the client’s products and services.

The launch went well with a high response rate and several enquiries. At this stage it is essential to have open communication with your sales team dealing with the incoming enquiries. We were able to review what the potential clients were saying about their impression of the product and what their needs were. This enabled us to adjust the campaign accordingly and maintain a high response level.

By having an agile product launch approach to the campaign, we were able to respond and adjust quickly and effectively. Despite all the prior planning, changes were expected.
 

Combine feedback with data

The customer response was also matched with analytics. Reviewing campaign included clicks, time of day, user behaviour on-site, testing various subjects and CTAs. We combined those results with the feedback from the sales team helped build a clear picture of what the potential clients were most interested in.

When launching in a new territory, it is important to understand that there are several ‘unknowns’. The new audience responds to campaign touch points differently. We found the response rate to social media and dynamic ads were much lower than expected, but email interactions were much higher. We responded by adjust ad bids, moving budget to successful channels and focusing attention on what works.

If we had not had an agile product launch, reviewed the campaign data or had open communication with the sales team, the success of the product and service launch would have been greatly diminished.
 
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West Creatives - Personalisation is key to winning in eCommerce
 
The contemporary customer does not ‘go’ online – they ‘live’ online. They also have very high expectations of brands and personalisation.

Regardless of your vertical, you should be concerned with your customer, obsessed even. This needs to be apparent in the way you approach them online. In a noisy world of marketing messages, the customer wants to feel known and valued by the brand that’s trying to sell to them. A ‘one size fits all’ approach will only result in declining engagement, ROI and ultimately, a shrinking bottom line.

All demographics are increasing online, regardless of age, and are increasingly connected to their peers, family, and interests. These interests include your products and services. You need to make them feel connected to your brand too. Personalisation is key.

What use is it to show a consumer a pair of shoes when they’ve been browsing hats? Retargeting was considered suspicious when it first became available but now the consumer expects you to not only recognise them as a website user but also know which products they viewed and might like to view as well. Personalisation goes beyond product recommendations, it includes extra services, localisation and tribe recognition too.

The approach needs to be multi-channel and consistent. The secret to winning with personalisation is data. By collecting as many data points as possible, you are able to understand your customer’s desires, preferred devices, localisation, browsing periods, budget and more. Collating this data and turning it into meaningful targeted messages is the way to succeed.

This seems like a complicated undertaking, and it is, but to win online, personalisation is essential.

Ensure that your data collation clearly records customer and user details in a format that can be easily utilised for personalisation in re-marketing campaigns, email and site content.

By ensuring that your message is curated for the individual, you will see an increase in interactions and conversions.
 
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West Creatives - Should we expect the UK to abandon EU internet privacy rules after Brexit?
 
The US congress has recently voted to scrap privacy rules preventing ISPs from selling your browsing data. The White House has also confirmed that the president supports the move, so this should become law very soon.

With such sensitive data available to the highest bidder, this action may well adjust the way Americans use the internet. Knowing that not only marketing agencies, but possibly also government agencies could be tracking your online behaviour, many users may not be as active or curious in the face of reduced internet privacy.

A huge blow to advocates of data privacy, this also presents new opportunities to digital marketers. User targeting will become much easier and prevalent, assuming the ad networks will be amongst the buyers of browsing histories. Behavioural targeting could possibly go beyond a brand’s domain, offering better quality leads and improved attribution.

The flip-side is this could lead to a backlash from users, rejecting ads and messages from brands who seem to know too much about them. Whilst access to marketable data may offer new opportunities, it would be wise to tread carefully to avoid damaging brand perception.

These events in the USA may soon be reflected in the UK. Once we leave the EU, the UK will no longer be under the obligation of the EU’s privacy rules. Considering the Government recently passed the Investigatory Powers Bill allowing several agencies access to a user’s web browsing history, it is possible there would be a further reduction in internet privacy protection.

It poses a dilemma for digital markers – the ability to outperform your competitor’s vs protecting citizen’s data.

In a capitalist society, demand for even more consumer’s data could dictate the erosion of internet privacy. However, it is unlikely that a sense of nobility towards protecting internet privacy would be enough. There are plenty of other organisations that see value in user’s data, such as crime prevention agencies.
 
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West Creatives - How to use hashtags
 
Hashtags have been around for a few years now but we still see some bad use of them, here’s a simple list on how to use them effectively.
 

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a simple way of categorising your content on some social media channels. Originally started by twitter users as an expression, twitter developed it into a feature. By placing the ‘#’ at the front of a word or phrase, your content becomes searchable by other users, greatly aiding exposure. For example, #marketing or #socialmediamarketing. Notice there are no spaces when using a phrase as a hashtag.
Some still use them as a way of expressing an emotion, such as #lovethis. This can work for some content but be sparing in using them this way.
 

How do I search for hashtags?

Simply type in the hashtag you want to search for in the search bar on the relevant social media network. There are social media management platforms such as Hootsuite that let you retain search terms for hashtags. This is especially useful for monitoring relevant topics or whether people are talking about your brand. By doing this, you can quickly join in the conversation.
 

How do I know which ones are relevant?

You need to make sure your content is getting to the right people, if you use irrelevant phrases, fewer people will see the post.
Hashtagify.me is a useful website to find popular hashags that are relevant to your products and services.
Use Twitter analytics to review which tweets are getting the highest response rate.
Use Google analytics to determine which posts are generating the most website clicks, and conversions.
Keep an eye on Twitter trend to see if any of the topics are relevant to your products or services.
 

How to use hashtags on social media

Twitter
Since you have a 140-character limit, only use 1-3 at a time. Be sure to check your analytics to see which are getting the most interaction rates.
 
Instagram
You can use many more on Instagram but don’t go overboard. You can’t link to your site from the posts so focus on building your brand image.
 
Pinterest
Excellent for connecting to potential customers, best for female consumer products. Don’t forget to include deep links to the product page on your website.
 
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West Creatives - Social media for business
 
I’m going to assume you understand what social media is, but there is a big difference between using it personally and using social media for business. A lot of new business owners jump straight onto the networks they use themselves, this might not be the best solution. Whilst these sites have access to millions of users in the UK, you need to choose the networks that align with your business type and demographics.

Be sure to use original content, it’s bad form and often illegal to use images and videos you don’t have rights to. The amount you should spend on creating social media content depends on your business and branding. Some small, niche producers can get away with using shots from camera phones, larger brands will use professional production crews.

Every business has its own unique branding so there isn’t a simple standard to follow. You should test each platform and test the type of content you use to see which is best received by your fans. For example, you are likely to find that content that works well on Snapchat might not work as well on LinkedIn.

Here’s a breakdown of each network, listed by popularity in the UK. Each platform has its own focus, demographic and business opportunities. Figures are correct for 2017.
 
 

Facebook – 32,000,000 users – www.facebook.com

 
Predominately used for socially sharing personal moments with friends and family. Don’t expect to receive high interaction figures for organic posts (not paid), to reach a large audience you need to use Facebook Ads. Video works well on Facebook but be sure to upload the videos directly, they will have priority over video from other sites, which means more views.

If you post too much sales content, your audience will quickly disengage. Think of Facebook as a platform for building your brand, exciting and enticing new and existing customers. Special offers, interesting insights, product launches and plenty of imagery will work well.
 

Business opportunities:

  • Excellent for posting branding content
  • Most active demographic: 35 – 55 females. Businesses appealing to this demographic will receive higher interaction rates.
  • Not suitable for: B2B
  • Facebook ads can work well for some business types

 
 

Youtube – 19,100,000 – www.youtube.com

 
The biggest video sharing site in the world. There is a big trend towards online video which doesn’t appear to be slowing. 8 out of 10 people ages 18-49 use YouTube at least once a month, the most active audience being Males (62%) aged 25-44, spending 40 mins on average on each session.

The scope for business on YouTube is vast. The appeal of the network is as varied as the content uploaded to it. YouTube is suitable for building an engaged audience and driving traffic to your website/ecommerce solution.

Themes for building an engaged Audience:

  • Instructional videos
  • Product reveals
  • Workplace tours
  • Interviews
  • Demonstrations

Drive traffic to your website:

 

Youtube Ads

You can create adverts specifically for using on YouTube. The ads are managed via a Google AdWords account. This is a useful place to start: https://www.youtube.com/yt/advertise/en-GB/.
 
 

Twitter – 15,000,000 – www.twitter.com

 
A ‘microblogging’ site, Twitter allows you to share posts or ‘tweets’ of only 140 letters or characters. This limitation leads to some creative use of language and distillation of meaning. You can also share videos, images and links.

Unlike a blog post on a website, the ‘lifetime’ of a tweet is very short. Consider Twitter as a way of having an immediate conversation with your audience. The immediacy of the platform makes it perfect for posting snapshots of your daily business, updates, news, links to content and direct conversations with your customers.

The best way to get your content viewed on Twitter is to use hashtags – basically a descriptive subject preceded with a ‘#’, for example: #marketing, #business or #startup. Users who are interested in that subject will follow these hashtags and are more likely to see your posts. It’s a simple and free way of finding a larger audience for your tweets. Beware of using too many hashtags, 1 – 3 is fine.

Twitter ads are available but they have consistently produced poor results. Better to focus on using the right hashtags and posting interesting tweets.

Ideal for B2B, twitter lets you reach out to individuals that might be hard to reach by other means. This does not mean you should bombard them with sales messages, that’s a quick way to get blocked, but you can start conversations which might lead to sales.

Easy to use and set up on a smart phone, Twitter should be considered standard social media for business.
 
 

Instagram – 14,000,000 – www.instagram.com

 
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is all about sharing pretty pictures and videos. Instagram is favoured by younger users, the average user being female, aged between 18-29.

The trick here is to focus on making your pictures and videos looking as good as possible. The better the image looks, the higher engagement you should expect. Keep an eye on filter trends but don’t sacrifice your brand style to look like the latest format. Hashtags are essential, you can use more than you do on Twitter but don’t overstuff.

User interaction is more passive than some of the other networks, you won’t be chatting to many users but you should be receiving ‘likes’ and comments on your posts if they’re working well. You can link to your website from your profile and ads, but not from images, videos or comments. Instagram is excellent as a branding platform, not so good for generating organic website traffic.

Instagram ads can work well, but your business really should be appealing to Millennials to get a good return on investment. The ads are managed via Facebook Ads.

An excellent choice for D2C, 48% of brands already use Instagram. You can have some success as a B2B but if you’re limited on time, it might not be the most effective.
 
 

Google+ – 12,600,000 – plus.google.com

 
Setting up your Google+ account is essential as it is will directly affect your listing in organic Google searches. Regardless of your industry or demographic, you should have an up to date Google+ account. Despite Google denying a correlation, studies have shown that getting more ‘+1’s on Google+ will positively affect your Page ranking.

As a social media for business network, it has largely failed, especially compared to the others. My advice would be to not spend time building an audience on Google+, but keep the account current. Some smaller businesses have had some success, notably photographers, but the very low interaction rate means you will have a more productive time on other platforms.

The UK makes up 5% of the total users on Google+
 
 

Pinterest – 10,000,000 – uk.pinterest.com

 
Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is all about pretty pictures and using hashtags. Users can collect the content they link onto themed ‘boards’ to refer to later. The advantage is that you can deep link (directly to product pages) from your posts. Perfect for attracting interested users to your website/ecommerce solution. The content needs to look excellent, poor photography does not do well here.

Hashtags are very important in Pinterest, it’s how most of the content is found. You should also spend time on the descriptions, offering plenty of enticing and useful information.

The user base is 81% female and is one of the strongest platforms for that demographic.

Infographics – images and charts depicting instructions or information on how to perform tasks can be very successful. Subjects such as how to wear scarves, hair styling and correct product usage can attract high engagement.

Use an informal tone, this is not the platform for ‘business speak’.
 
 

Snapshat – 10,000,000 – www.snapchat.com

 
71% of Snapchat’s users are aged 18-34, making this social media network a firm favourite with Millennials. It is predominately a consumer network, if your business is B2B, you are unlikely to see positive returns.

Posts on Snapchat expire so you should approach your content with that in mind. Immediacy is key, as with Twitter, so it’s a good platform to share behind the scenes moments, giving your fans a chance to see how things work and add some personality to your brand.

Ideal for brand awareness, especially for the younger demographics. Successful campaigns include product reveals, account takeovers (where ‘influencers’ take over your posts for a given length of time), product demos and VIP access.

You can use both image and video. The standard of photography is expected to be lower, most of the content is ‘snapped’ using smartphones.

Snapchat release smart filters that superimpose funny ears, eyes, tongues and other effects, don’t be afraid to join in the fun. The tone on this network is very personal and informal.
 
 

Linkedin – 10,000,000 – www.linkedin.com

 
One of the most influential social media for business networks, if you are looking for social media for business, this is it. As with the other networks, avoid too much sales focused content, engagement will drop.

Content focused on insights, developments, advice and offers can all work well. The language format is different too, don’t be afraid to use a more formal business tone.

You should include external links when relevant and use images and videos as much as possible. Your goal should be to build a good reputation and interest in your products rather than directly trying to sell. Interesting insights works very well, especially if you can share something different or controversial.

Avoid doing the LinkedIn equivalent of cold calling – messaging users with sales pitches. It is much more effective to build interest by demonstrating your industry knowledge through business page and personal account posts.
 
Whilst using social media, remember to conduct yourself appropriately. Many companies have received bad PR for social media mishaps. Apart from Snapchat, content can be shared and read for a long time. Customer service is very important. Remain on-brand and never be offensive.

Try to post daily of possible, of you remain engaged, so will your audience.
 
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West Creatives - Mistakes are good

Worried about making mistakes? Prepare to lose. The number one tool for evolution is the mistake; big and little tests, constantly pushing the boundaries, developing new features and improving on past generations. Sound familiar?

If you are afraid to make mistakes, your business will struggle to grow. It will certainly stunt any rapid growth. Having the confidence to test new ideas, attract new audiences and claim a larger portion of your industry means you are going to have to learn some lessons the hard way.

A case in point would be Pepsi. Once the poster child for Generation X, Pepsi successfully encapsulated the spirit of the times and enjoyed a significant portion of the soft drinks market. Their ad campaigns were fast paced, featured pop culture, youth, celebrity, and sexuality.


It worked in the 90’s, surely it will work now.

Apparently not.

The Pepsi 2017 campaign featured all of the above and yet it utterly failed to connect with the Millennials, attracting ridicule and scorn. Why so? Most likely because they tried to use an old format for a more discerning audience. It’s a fine example of executives trying to connect with an audience they don’t understand. Millennials are more politically aware than their predecessors, the mistake was to try and connect with them by trivialising something they care deeply about. It’s not enough to simply include the right signifiers to try to get your audience to emote, it has to be authentic. There is nothing authentic about a generic, corporate friendly protest.

Pepsico is the second strongest soft drinks brand in the world, so they can afford to make a mistake. They might have got it hopelessly wrong but everyone’s talking about Pepsi cola right now. PepsiCo Inc.’s share value has plateaued a little since the ad launched but it hasn’t dropped. In fact, the value has steadily grown throughout 2017.


The figures prove that mistakes don’t have to be that damaging, in fact, they can be a blessing. Make them, learn from them and move on. Memories are short, a fresh campaign that’s improved upon the last will quickly replace any bad publicity. In fact, a mistake can lead to an authentic moment, like Pepsico’s apology for getting it so wrong:

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding.
Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout.
We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

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West Creatives - Launch your business online

Before you are anywhere near ready to launch your business online, you need to step away from the computer and think seriously about your brand. A poorly defined brand will leave your potential customers confused about who you are and the motivation behind what you do.

The online marketplace is an incredibly noisy arena. The audience is massive but there is a perpetually increasing demand from competing businesses for their attention and hard earned money. There are gimmicks aplenty, businesses trying to stand out from the crowd with catchy slogans, graphics and offers. Whilst these tactics work, to an extent, what the buying public are really looking for is authenticity.

Trying to look like someone successful is a losing strategy. You need to clearly define the genuine passion behind your product or service. People are more likely to feel an affinity with a brand that is convicted about what they do. If you don’t have any of this, we suggest you spend some time thinking hard about that too – if you can’t get excited about what you do, don’t expect customers to get excited either.

What is a brand? You might assume this is the logo and colour profile, but that comes later. First you need to define your ‘voice’, ‘statement’ and ‘principles’, this will dictate how your customers and the wider public will perceive your business and products.

  • Voice: The tone of your online content. Are you factual, conversational, political, humorous, cutting, edgy, controversial, practical, luxurious, ethereal, cool, traditional, loving, austere or a mixture of these?
  • Mission Statement: What is the motivation behind what you do? What you must do is give your customers a reason to emote with your mission.
  • Principles: How do you conduct your business and how can your customers expect you to deal with them? Also, do you have a wider vision for your business’ impact on the industry, locality, global and personal issues?

You don’t have to have overarching intentions of changing the world, but by clearly defining your business and its intentions at this early stage, you will find it much easier to decide how your brand should represented online.

Logo, colours, images, fonts, layout. This is the visual element of your brand. They should be carefully selected to represent your branding. If done successfully, the customer will imbibe your brand’s voice without needing to read any text at all. An incredible amount of information is communicated through colours (bold or pastel, hues, etc.) and image content (formal business, rustic, youth, elderly, commercial, industrial, nature, urban, etc.).

Fonts are an important consideration. A serif font suggests classical and traditional values, a san-serif font is modern, contemporary and clean.

Layout is also important. Some of the larger online stores such as Amazon and eBay utilize the entire page space, content providers are shifting to minimalist design such as Netflix and Now TV. Don’t underestimate negative space. By being bold enough to leave some of the page blank, you are making a statement, that the product should speak loudly enough for itself. Although you mustn’t overuse this to the point where it negatively impacts user experience. It’s likely you won’t be designing the website yourself, but you can discuss these elements with your website designer.

By considering these branding elements, you are close to being ready to launch your business online, but before you do, you should also consider the practical impact and logistics required. Who is going to answer your website enquiries/calls from the website? Have you increased or planned for an increase in fulfilment capacity? Who will manage your social media prescience? Do you have a content plan, both for blogs and social media? If done correctly, launching your business online will offer greater revenue, but it will also incur costs – have you budgeted for costs such as web design, staff wages, hosting, domain registration, proprietary software licences, image fees and fulfilment costs?

West Creatives - Launch your business online 2

Now you have established your brand and considered the costs and logistics, its time to launch. Here is a rough breakdown of the most important considerations:

Website – your store front on the web.

Much like a shop front on a high street, your website is your store front on the internet. The purpose of your website will differ depending on the type of service or products you offer. Some may need an online store whilst others will be showcasing services & products, offering technical support & documentation or serving content such as news, images or video. Regardless of your content type, there are some principles that apply in all cases.

  • The website must reflect your branding and feel like a natural fit to your products and services.
  • The website must be mobile responsive.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is essential and must be considered and implemented from the outset.
  • User experience must be at the core of the design. The site needs to be intuitive to use on all browsing devices.
  • Analytics should be set up to allow you to analyse your content consumption, traffic sources, user behaviour, purchases and submissions.
  • Your contact information must be quick and easy to find on any device.
  • Customer support contact information and documentation must be easy to find.

App – A mobile app might be the right solution

Your business model might be suitable for mobile consumption. If your customers would benefit from a quick and instantaneous access to your products, services or content, you should consider this option. Consumers increasingly desire convenience, fulfilling this improves your brand experience. The costs can be much higher than a standard website, which needs to be considered, but by resolving your customer’s needs in their hand can greatly improve conversions.

eCommerce platforms – Should you take on the Goliaths?

eCommerce giants such as eBay, Amazon, Alibaba and Etsy have access to millions of customers and are algorithmically optimised to deliver products to them in a manner small businesses can rarely achieve.

Logically, it might seem that the best option for a small producer is to sell their products on these portals. If you opt for a service like Fulfilled By Amazon, they will deal with fulfilment and customer service for you. Therein lies a couple of issues. Amazon’s fees can eat into an already tight margin, making it difficult to remain competitive. You are also handing over your customer experience to a distant company. Generally, Amazon’s customer service is excellent but this might not be the desired path for a luxury brand. Competition is also very high on these large sites, you might be surprised how much time needs to be spent on optimising product descriptions and pricing to rank highly in product searches.

Some brands prefer to eschew the major retail channels, instead relying on their own online stores. This is a great option for maximising margins and control over user experience but the marketing costs are much higher. This option generally works well for established brands and/or larger budgets.

Your company may well deal in services that aren’t suitable for these retail channels, in which case an online store where the service can be booked is the ideal option.

Social media – Don’t try to be all things to all people.

There are several social media channels to choose from, and each is specifically tailored to their own audience. We won’t get into the nuances of each platform in this post but there are general audience trends you should know:

  • Business: LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Consumer: Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Instagram
  • Political/news: Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat

There is much more detail and other social networks to go into, but we’ll save that for another post.

Regarding content, pick the channels most suitable to your brand. There is little value in banging your drum to an unengaged audience, so stick to the channels that offer the best interaction to your posts and don’t try to please everyone. Be authentic and stick to your brand voice and principles.

Some quick tips for social content:

  • Mix marketing content with posts that engage with your audience, a constant sales patter gets old quickly and users will disengage.
  • Use images as much as possible, a post with an image will receive greater interaction. Make sure they are correctly sized and only post images you have permission to use.
  • Reply to your fans! Think of your social channel as a means to build a loyal fan base rather than solely as a sales channel.
  • Add links when appropriate. Linking to your site is good practice, try to link to content that answers questions or desires.
  • Use hashtags when appropriate. A good way to pull in a wider audience but beware of using too many.

As in any form of marketing, launching your business online is a risk. It will take time and investment to build your online community and establish your brand amongst the competition. However, considering the mass adoption of online trading and connectivity, it has become a necessity. Even local businesses should at the very least have a web page, social media and be registered on Google. You customers are searching for your services and products online right now. If you aren’t there to meet their needs, someone else will.

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