By Firas Mghames, Managing Director at FEER McQUEEN and CEO of Flag M Group
Let’s state the obvious: up until 2019, the world was functioning just fine. Marketers were happy, clients were satisfied, and consumers were spending their money.
Then, suddenly, a pandemic took over the world and messed with our sales cycles, our clients’ sanity, and our consumers’ behavior. A vast number of businesses had to shut down or minimize operations, while others thrived on new opportunities, facilitated mainly by the online world.
3.9 Billion People at Your Fingertips
Taking brands into the online world isn’t easy. There are dozens of marketing channels available for marketers and brands to use.
With around 3.9 billion global active users on social media, brands have to be on all platforms to make it big and reach half of the world’s population — what a gold mine to tap into!
Organic & Paid Content — It Takes Two to Tango
Whether you choose to go with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or TikTok… relying on both paid and organic engagement is key.
By promoting content and posting constantly, some brands can grow their followers from 6K to 18K using only $12K in 1 year. Talk about a match made in heaven!
Gaining one genuine follower could cost a brand between $0.5 and $1.5 – a small price to pay. While gaining organic followers may appear better for your pocket, paid advertisements on the other hand are necessary.
However, boosted posts aren’t as effective if the brand doesn’t regularly post content dedicated to driving brand engagement. Focus on creating a culture and world for your audience to immerse itself in.
Email Marketing – It Really Does Work
Talking about the online world is not just about social media. Email plays a very pivotal role as well.
Email marketing remains one of the best channels to use with much less censorship compared to other means. Email marketing is personalized, allows for creativity, and lets you create predefined segments.
Moreover, it is still one of the most cost-effective channels for advertisers. Nine out of ten marketers in the United States use email marketing to spread their content organically, and it actually works.
Our experience has proved that emails with personalized subjects and names can have open rates as high as 50%. That’s worth a try, isn’t it?
The Customer is King – Focus on Customer Support
Another way the online realm helps with marketing is when customer support comes into play. For example, WhatsApp Business has several features that help elevate communication with customers, allowing brands to quickly reply, broadcast messages, segment and retarget customers, and showcase products through catalogs.
All of these features build a relationship between the brand and the customer, not only allowing for feedback and improvement, but also opening up two-way communication that brings the customer closer to you. Not to mention that WhatsApp is an easy platform for most audiences, as it is popular and widely used — with around 2 billion users.
SEO – It’s Organic and Hits the Spot
Another successful must-have in the online world is SEO — Search Engine Optimization. Google processes billions of searches every single day. No matter the industry or the brand, someone, somewhere is searching for something related to you.
With SEO, brands can boost their site rankings in relevant search results, leading to a healthy number of organic leads and customers. What more could you want?
SEO and Content Marketing are effective ways of driving traffic to your website if you’re working on value through high-quality content. Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, on average. Can you imagine the potential?
SEM – Paid and Display Search
Now, when it comes to a paid way to get those leads, SEM — Search Engine Marketing — is your go-to. It is an effective way of putting your ads in the face of customers who are looking to make an immediate purchase decision.
So, naturally, SEM has one of the highest conversion rates. What better way to invest in your brand? Aside from conversion rates, SEM is a great tool for increasing brand awareness and visibility.
With tons of people hitting that search button countless times a day, it’s no wonder SEM helps boost brand visibility, especially if the brand’s keywords are popularly searched terms.
The Influencer — Roll Out the Red Carpet
One of the things social media has created is a new kind of celebrity known as The Influencer. From micro and macro, to mega, influencers play a big part in today’s consumers’ decision-making.
Influencer Marketing has allowed brands to pinpoint target audiences and advertise directly to them through personalities they are familiar with and that they like and trust.
It is a brand-new hype of popularity, viewership, followers, and, to a certain extent, fame. Believe it or not, the influencer marketing industry was forecast to be worth a whopping $13.8 billion in 2021. Wow!
Referrals and Affiliate Marketing — Word of Mouth with a Twist
In a time where consumers find it difficult to trust marketing messages, and where information is displayed for everyone to see, sending your brand communication through a referee or an affiliate can be a great way to expand your audience and catch new customers.
It is the new version of “Word of Mouth” impressions. And it works like this: if you can get people to spread the word — positively, of course — you are more likely to increase your conversion rate. It’s that simple.
Brands can team up with other known brands or names to up sales and increase visibility for both players. It’s usually a win-win situation.
Review — Old but Gold
Reviews are a good old-fashioned marketing tool that has never retired, except now it’s all done digitally with just a few strokes of the keyboard. Reviews are important because people are more likely to buy a product if they read largely positive experiences about it.
Accordingly, it is always recommended to seek customers’ feedback and put their reviews where other prospective customers can easily find them. For example, customer reviews about products are one of the main reasons to attract – or scare away – buyers on Amazon. It helps potential customers understand product details and gauge satisfaction before even making the purchase.
Audience, Audience, Audience
All of that is awesome, but who are we using those tools with? The audience, of course! And how do you define a brand’s audience? Well, the key is defining who you’re talking to, and eventually who you’re selling to.
This audience can differ in style preferences, lifestyle patterns, and even interests. As a marketer, the job is to understand this diversity and push your brand to become the brand that provides your audience with what they are looking for, with laser-like communication that attracts all those different segments of the audience.
Each of these segments can be defined as a persona. Thinking of these personas will help you reach the right people, so start by asking yourself some questions: Who are the people I want to talk to? What do they need in life? How old are they? Where do they live? What are their hobbies and interests? What language do they use to communicate? And what are their spending habits?
This will get you to zero in on your audience, made up of your personas, a reflection of the real people who will engage with your brand.
From Theory to Practice
Now that we’ve covered all that, what about finding the best channel for your marketing strategy?
First of all, take a look at what others in the industry are doing and how they are using marketing channels.
Second, talk to your audience and discover what they get excited about.
Third, test, test test. Set aside a test budget and use it for everything: visuals, copy, ad objectives, audiences… you name it. Test one marketing channel at a time to see the direct impact of your efforts. Then, take it away!