One of my clients is a small charitable group who are looking to find new volunteers and increase the publics awareness of what they do to generate higher donations to their good causes.
Whilst the majority of the team are onboard with the idea of employing a professional marketeer to achieve these goals, some are sceptical due to the additional expenditure they now have.
Of course, budgets always come into play and smaller charities might not have the budgets that the likes of Cancer Research or the RSPCA might, but nonetheless, charities of all sizes should be doing more to raise awareness of their cause through digital marketing.
There have been some great examples of charities using digital over the years. From giving a voice to the unheard to helping people help each other, charities have proven the effectiveness of digital engagement.
Investing in digital marketing can make a huge difference to any business, charities perhaps even more so. Here’s why...
A Wise Investment for Budget Conscious Business
Charities often work with very restricted budgets and it’s important that every penny spent helps the charity to spread the word of their cause and to ultimately achieve their goals, be it awareness, fundraising or recruitment.
Digital marketing is the most cost-effective way to reach the largest audience possible. When done well, digital techniques such as search engine optimisation (SEO), paid search advertising (PPC) and social media can enable charities to speak to huge numbers of people very quickly.
Digital is also an arena in which brand advocacy really comes into its own. Consider your charities loyal supporters; no doubt they’d relish an opportunity to help you to further build cause awareness and if you check, they’re probably doing it already through social media posts and the things they share online. By investing in digital marketing, charities can better equip their supporters to be really valuable brand advocates too.
Building Cause Awareness
With so many charities (there are 183,230 charities registered in the UK today according to the Charity Commission), it can be difficult for charity supporters to find the charity that’s right for them. Everyone wants to support charities but it’s impossible to support all 180,000 – so each charity needs to let people know exactly what their cause is and how support can help them.
Digital marketing can enable charities to highlight their cause – even if you don’t have the bigger budgets that the likes of Macmillan, who advertise on TV etc., do. Search engine optimisation, as an example, is a really strong place to associate your charity with its cause, by ensuring your charity appears when people search for relevant terms like ‘how can I help people with disabilities in my area’.
Digital Marketing for Charities: Tips and Advice
The website is the online shop window of a charity. It is where the charity can showcase its values, highlight its cause and encourage people to donate.
But despite the importance of websites, many charities are missing out because they simply fail to address the basics.
Charities investing in digital marketing for the future should be reviewing their website design and making use of strong calls to action and the power of faces. They should also make their job easier by choosing easy to use, easily modifiable content management systems to build their sites on from inception: this will only help with marketing efforts in future, as well as making it easy for customers to navigate.
SEO for Charities
SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process through which companies can improve their website’s visibility in the Google search results. For charities, it’s a particularly important digital marketing discipline because it enables them to build brand and cause awareness.
Whilst big name charities can invest in TV advertising and so on to spread their message, charities across the UK should all be investing in SEO to build their visibility in search for terms related to their brand and also relevant to their cause.
Think about other ways people might look for your charity. Did you know, there are nearly 1,600 searches every month in the UK for ‘charity fundraising ideas’? 210 for ‘charity days’? It is using SEO that charities can ensure their websites appear for these search terms – thus helping them to build brand and cause awareness to people who might not already know their name.
The future of digital marketing for charities will see savvy charities taking advantage of the opportunities of SEO by:
Charities on Social Media
Social media marketing is an important element of any business’ digital marketing strategy. It provides a huge opportunity for charities in particular to spread their message and engage with potential fundraisers and benefactors.
One charity making social media work for them is the NSPCC. With over 352,415 fans on Facebook, the NSPCC boosted its donations and continues to build its profile through its Page. And what makes it so successful? The Page is kept up-to-date, content is posted regularly and the charity interacts with its audience.
Charities looking to grow their digital presence in the future will be innovative in their use of social media and make use of the many channels available, such as:
Digital Marketing for Charities
The charity sector has experienced a boom in digital in recent years. Big name charities are using digital technologies and techniques to raise brand awareness and to increase donations.
But there are still many opportunities available to charities, both large and small.
I was at a meeting last night made up of respected leaders from a well-known membership organisation that provides volunteers and funding to local and international communities. We were all there to talk about how we might be able to work across the boundaries of our individual clubs to create a bigger impact with regards to the public image of the organisation.
Whilst talking about the various ways we can market ourselves it became clear that some clubs re still scared by social media, fearful that it will only bring negativity and downgrade their good name and good standing in the community.
This got me to thinking, is social media really something we should still fear in 2019?
Social Media Is Where Your Customers Are Spending Their Time
If you are afraid of or confused about the social media landscape and are avoiding it, I am here to help. Stop keeping your business in the dark ages, it’s time to get on social media and connect with your potential customers and dedicated fans.
If you think social media is just a fad, then I’ve got news for you… social media is here to stay.
Furthermore, I have had the pleasure of working with many amazing clients over the last few years by helping them grow their social media following from ground zero. So don’t worry you aren’t the only one who is afraid of change or investing in a “new” marketing strategy.
But trust me, if you are not using social media just keep in mind your competitors are using it to attract your target market away from you! So don’t miss out on the opportunity, especially if you are a small business!
If you are hesitant about using social media to build a community around your small business, you aren’t the only one. In fact, I have noticed that there are three specific reasons many small business owners are hesitant about investing in a social media strategy but why they should today.
1. Small Businesses Want Immediate Results
One of the biggest reasons many small businesses stay away from social media is because they want to see immediate results. Unfortunately, growing a social media following takes time and if you want to build a community of fans around your brand, that also takes time. Unlike traditional advertising methods, social media is a long-term strategy which is often a scary thing to hear. Especially if you are a small business, every pound counts, I get it. But just think of it like this, an investment in social media marketing today could pay dividends in the future!
For example, one of the biggest business social media influencers right now is Gary Vaynerchuk. But how did he rise to fame? He invested years into growing his personal brand on social media through the creation of inspiring content, entertaining viewers through a Wine show called, “Wine Library TV”, and providing value to people on their entrepreneurial journeys. Over the years, Gary’s brand has adapted and grown to new heights which have allowed him to not only leverage new content but build trust with viewers. In addition, this newfound “trust” has allowed him to generate new clients for his advertising agency, Vayner Media!
So think of social media as a long-term marketing strategy and you can leverage it to grow your personal brand and your business’s brand online!
2. Small Businesses Don’t Understand the Benefits
Another reason many companies are behind when it comes to social media is that they don’t understand the benefits of social media marketing. Social media has the power to connect a company directly to their target market while providing them with actionable insights. Are you still not impressed? Well, social media has the power to drive traffic to your website, create a community around your brand and help your bottom line.
If your goal at the end of the day is to get more customers, social media can help you on your journey. For example, one way many companies use social media is by driving customers to their website through entertaining or educational content. Don’t believe me? One brand that has become well-known for educational and inspirational videos is Goalcast. They have grown a substantial following on social media by creating biographical videos of famous individuals such as Elon Musk and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So don’t underestimate the power of social media, it has the potential to take your business to the next level by generating more potential customers while creating valuable brand loyalty.
3. Social media creates negativity
A successful business cannot lay in fear of risk but embrace the rewards it can achieve. Brand negativity by those few you speak about will occur even if your business never logs into a social network. In fact, there's a greater risk since that negativity will be the only content feeding social proof around your brand. Social media does embolden haters but it also provides a new soapbox for great experiences. If anything, social media has increased the importance of building positive customer experiences online and off.
Social media does have a powerful amplifying effect. But just like any technology, it can be used for good or evil. The key is building the right social strategy for your brand. It's not a "one size fits all" marketing solution. It has to be adopted in strategic, tailored ways
There is no reason to not invest time, money, and effort into a social media strategy this year. Social media has truly changed the way that businesses can communicate with their customers. That’s because it gives businesses an affordable and accessible way to grow a community around their brand.
Seriously, don’t fear the social media landscape. Think of it as a way to communicate with your customers and grow a community around your brand!
So what are you waiting for? Get your business on social media today, contact LjH Consulting to start that journey.
Content marketing is a powerful weapon for influencing brand development and attracting new customers. It is also among the fastest growing branches of digital marketing. If you’re a content marketing veteran, you know how important it is to keep up with the emerging trends and innovate. From implementing new technologies to putting new spins on old tactics, the content quality bar is rising. To help you level up, we present you with the ultimate content marketing tips for 2019.
1. Have a Documented Strategy
A great content strategy starts with a simple content marketing assessment. Did you know that marketers with a documented content marketing strategy are five times more likely to succeed? In order to leverage the full potential of content marketing, you need to have a guiding strategy.
A great content strategy starts with a simple content marketing assessment that identifies the primary challenges and outlines the steps you’ll take to overcome them. Certain points of interest like lead generation and SEO are a good start, from which you can customise the strategy depending on your specific goals. Furthermore, you should include a unique perspective of your organisation and find an approach that will set you apart from the competition.
2. Tell a Story
Sticking to the good old “How To” lists won’t always do the trick. That’s where brand storytelling kicks in. Brand storytelling gives a whole new perspective to content marketing and gives you an opportunity to connect authentically with your audience by humanising your brand. This is particularly important now, when people appreciate the brands they can connect with.
You can start by sharing your own experiences. How the company started and what it took to get it where it is now is an excellent beginning. You can also reach out to customers who claim your products have changed their lives. Talk about their experiences in a way that your potential customers can relate to.
3. Take Advantage of Live Video
It’s safe to say that video is the future of content marketing. Cisco’s predictions indicate that by 2021, video will take up as much as 80% of all internet traffic. The wide acceptance of the video format opens up numerous possibilities to communicate your story and build relationships. One of the trends that should be singled out is live video.
Facebook users spend triple the amount of time watching live videos over traditional videos. Similarly, social media stats show that Instagram’s videos get two times the views of its photos. Live video creates a real-time connection with the audience, driving engagement and response.
People love seeing their favourite brand humanised, showing that not everything is always perfect. There are endless possibilities, from using live streaming, hosting Q&A sessions, and giving product demonstrations, to hosting interviews with topic experts.
4. Embrace Artificial Intelligence
Ever since it was introduced, artificial intelligence has been one of the hottest topics in the marketing world. You can use this powerful technology for discovering keywords, planning blog topics, and reviewing analyses, as well as accessing data reports that would guide the creation process, shaping it for your core audience. Furthermore, AI-powered predictive intelligence enables the gathering of information that can be used for offering personalised experiences. You can instantly get valuable insight into what your target audience is searching for, when they do it, and what content would be the most successful at any given point.
5. Go for Micro-Influencers
Influencer marketing has come a long way. In 2009, content marketing strategies generated over £68.98 billion in revenue, and, in 2019, they’re expected to generate more than £237 billion. Influencers continue to utilise social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to grow their base of followers and then leverage them to ensure a six-figure income from featured brands.
But in 2019, predictions are that the micro-influencers — those with smaller yet dedicated following—will overshadow the ‘big sharks.’ The main reason for this shift is the lack of dedication coming from macro influencers as they take on more sponsored posts, thus reducing the authenticity and, as a result, the impact of the marketing. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, build more personal relationships with the audience, delivering an authentic message.
While there’s no doubt that it will continue to be one of the most important tools for boosting brand awareness, building trust, generating leads, and educating audiences, you need to be aware that trends change. Start with preparing a documented strategy, dive into your storytelling, embrace live video and AI, and you may as well proclaim yourself the king of content marketing.
Content is at the heart of today’s marketing strategies as businesses use websites and blogs to demonstrate their own expertise. "Content marketing is the only marketing left." Seth Godin.
If you run any type of professional business today you’ll know that, in terms of marketing, the world has changed dramatically. Tried and tested activities for getting client attention just don’t work like they once did:
You are expert in what you do and know that there are clients out there who would really value your assistance. How on earth do you get their interest?
Changed buying behaviour in a web-driven world
In the past five to ten years, the web has transformed buying behaviour. In the past, if a potential client wanted information on your services, they’d call your office and engage you or one of your sales team to get the lowdown on your offering.
Today, their first port of call is undoubtedly the internet. They’ll search on Google, check out your website and expect to sign up to article updates or social media feeds to find out more. They are checking to see who they could best trust to solve their business problem. They expect to find valuable content.
Your clients are in control, and you’d better make sure that the information you put up about your company answers their questions and positions you as the trusted resource they seek.
Today, effective marketing is all about creating high quality content and sharing this across the web. By quality content we don’t just mean information that is well-written or artfully produced. We mean information that is first and foremost of real value to your particular client base.
Educate your clients, show them best practice, tell them what to look out for, give them valuable tips on how to achieve success, demonstrate how you’ve helped others in their shoes, answer their problems, open their eyes.
Creating and distributing this kind of relevant, valuable and compelling information will help you turn prospects into buyers and buyers into long-term fans.
Create the type of information your buyers actually want to consume. Marketing with valuable content is a win-win for your company and its customers - your potential clients get the information they require and you get to demonstrate your expertise and usefulness.
Valuable content will help you sell. It helps your ideal clients find you and makes it easier for them to buy from you. It’s an opportunity to position your company as the place to turn to when the time comes to buy.
A different approach to client communication
If you want to reap the rewards that valuable content brings, you need to start communicating differently. There are different rules of engagement here. The valuable content approach is not about continuing to holler about how amazing your firm is, as we all did in the past. Unthink what you learned about sales and marketing messages.
Your position should be not "look how great we are" (as in a traditional brochure) but "look how useful we are - we have the answers to your problems."
This approach is truly customer-centred. Create content that is genuinely useful to your customers. Make yourself indispensable.
Not easy but essential
Creating and consistently delivering this type of information takes effort. You need to build a deep understanding of the needs of your target client base and of where and how you add value. It also takes time and skill.
Valuable content may not be easy but it is an essential tool if you are going to grow and sustain a successful business in today's web-driven world.
Sorry to mention the “C” word whilst still in November, but with more than half of annual retail sales occurring during the three months leading up to Christmas in the UK, and a large proportion of these happening between Black Friday and Boxing Day, the festive season can quite literally make or break brands.
To make sure the festive season goes with a bang, some brands are spending more and more on big, flashy Christmas TV ads and campaigns to reach shoppers in the run-up to the big day, however not every brand has the budget required to take part in what many now refer to as the 'Super Bowl' of British Advertising. But fear not! As with Christmas presents what counts is not what you spend but the thought that goes into it making your gift, or marketing campaign, really relevant and personal.
So, with so much at stake, and just a few months until the big day, what steps can marketers take now to ensure that their brand is at the top of the wish list this Christmas?
CREATE EMOTIVE CONTENT
To cut through all the noise, marketing campaigns need to spark conversations that are evergreen in quality and continue growing and developing long after seeding - and the best way to do that is by using emotion. John Lewis' Man on the Moon and Sainsbury's Mog TV commercials provide great examples of how to capitalise on human emotion. The first focuses on the less publicised side of loneliness experienced by many at Christmas, and the latter applies humour to unexpected, catastrophic events, whilst both also integrate the relatable 'time for sharing' theme to deliver a heartfelt message.
Although each campaign was entertaining and successful in gaining many millions of media impressions, it is less clear whether they encourage the buyer to make a purchase, choose one brand over another or simply leave viewers with warm and fuzzy feelings. Without spending £7 million, there are many other ways for brands to get their products onto Santa's sleigh at a fraction of the cost.
OUTSMART THE COMPETITION WITH A CLEVER AND CREATIVE SEO STRATEGY
With online shopping now accounting for 27% of the UK's entire retail market, a solid strategy for SEO is crucial for helping the search engine spiders to recommend and index your website. Marketers should ensure that online content revolves around providing answers to trending queries rather than simply telling the audience what you want them to hear. Smart content uses your assets, is entrenched in research, will contain useful information and be ahead of the curve. And importantly, it will help to drive traffic to your website and grow conversions.
MAKE SURE YOU'RE MOBILE FRIENDLY
Search engines rank websites based on their inherent authority, for example, are your pages being linked to by third party sources, as well as components that communicate positive attributes like the website's speed, efficiency and general user experience. They also look at how mobile friendly your website is.
Today, some 39% of people use smartphones as the primary mode of research for products and services (up from 19% in 2013), and purchases made using mobile devices are predicted to reach $1.915 trillion worldwide. With that in mind, it's important to make sure you are offering mobile users a great experience on your website, while also considering mobile users carefully when planning your ads. For instance, it is well worth adding geo-targeting to the mix to not only enable you to serve real time ads to nearby, potential customers but it also provides you with meaningful and identifiable insights on what people want, need and are interested in during the festive season.
SHOW OFF YOUR PRODUCTS EFFECTIVELY ONLINE
Product Listing Ads (PLA's) are continuing to go from strength to strength. Cost Per Clicks (CPC's) remain low, yet conversion rates and average order values are almost as high as pure brand, and the ROI is excellent. So how do you make the most out of PLA's at the most important time of the year? Marketers will need to ensure all of their products are in the feed, named and include prices. Each product should have its own line and all text and images need to be 'crawlable' so the links can be discovered and indexed. Your feed will have to be updated daily and product titles must be 70 characters or less and in this instance, the description lines must include relevant keywords.
BE SMART ABOUT HOW YOU TARGET SHOPPERS ON SOCIAL
Social Media is constantly evolving which is making it more useful and relevant to marketers, but also more difficult for brands to use to their advantage. Having millions of followers does not necessarily mean engagement. At a time of the year where brands should be trying to reach the right customers with the right message, it is vital to properly know and understand them. 55% of all FTSE companies' followers on Twitter appear to be fake or inactive which means that content often isn't even reaching 'real' users. Marketers need to dig deep when finding out where their target audience is spending time online and take advantage of data driven tools and proven advertising platforms to obtain results based on tangible business objectives and not just brand awareness, likes and shares.
With the average household spending approximately £800 on Christmas shopping, including gifts, food and drinks, marketers need to plan early, set clear objectives and ensure all channels are working together simultaneously. And in most cases, they won't need to spend £7m on a TV ad.
Google offers a range of free tools to help you get the most out of your AdWords campaign. Here's my guide to what they can offer your business
1. Conversion trackingYou can track your conversion rates and cost-per-conversions using 'conversion tracking'. And, with this information, you can work out the return on investment (ROI) of your AdWords campaign. To take advantage of conversion tracking, you need to put the AdWords Conversion Tracking code on to your website. That puts a cookie on a customer's computer or mobile phone when they click on one of your AdWords ads. Then, if the user reaches one of your conversion pages, the cookie is connected to your web page. So when someone converts by buying something or making an appointment, for example, Google records that as a successful conversion.
2. Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a sophisticated analysis tool. As well as basic conversion tracking, Analytics shows you how people found your site and how they explored it. With this information, you can improve your website return on investment and increase conversions.
3. Google TrendsWith Google's Trends, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories and time frames. It's a useful tool if you want to track seasonal trends. For example, if you run a holiday business, you can analyse when customers are most likely to book their summer holiday. With that information, you can spend more on AdWords when demand is highest and cut back during quiet periods. Google Trends can also help you test advertising messages and find the one that hits the spot with customers.
4. Impression share reportThis tool shows you the percentage of possible impressions that your ads could have received if your campaign budgets were higher. Impression share report data helps you make an informed decision about whether to increase your AdWords budget.
5. Bid simulatorHow much you bid for keywords and phrases affects where your results appear in the searches. The bid simulator tool shows how your campaign would have performed if you had been using different bid amounts. This tool takes the guesswork out of bidding so you can see whether bidding higher or lower would be more cost effective.
6. Keyword plannerBefore you add new keywords, get estimates for their cost and the amount of traffic they generate by using the Keyword Planner tool.
7. First page bid estimateThe first page bid estimate predicts how much you would need to bid for your ad to appear on the first page of Google search results when a search exactly matches your keyword. It's based on the Quality Score and current competition for that word. However, it is an estimate so Google warns that it is making no guarantees. That said, it enables you to maximise the chances of a higher placement in the results and can drive more traffic to your ad as a result.
8. Ad schedulingAd scheduling enables you to control when your AdWords campaigns run. With ad scheduling, you can specify certain hours or days of the week when you want your ads to appear. This is a great way to make your budget work harder as you only need show your ads when they are most profitable. With ad scheduling, a campaign can run all day, every day, or for as little as 15 minutes per week.
Advertising online - through pay-per-click (PPC) adverts, banners and other messages - can be an excellent way to promote your brand, boost traffic to your website and generate sales. It should be an important part of your internet marketing strategy.
Unlike traditional methods, advertising on the internet can deliver visitors immediately - through a simple click on your ad with easily measurable results.
Deciding where to advertise onlineYou can plan your internet advertising as you would traditional press advertising, by looking for websites that have the right audience. This could include online publications or price comparison sites that cater to your target market, for example.
You should also run a search with keywords and phrases your customers are likely to use. Provided that the websites that come up aren't competitors, they may well be good places to advertise. A quick check will tell you whether each site has the right image and offers the web advertising opportunities you are looking for.
Or you could buy advertising from a 'content network' that automatically displays your ads on websites that are likely to have the right audience. You have less control over where your online advertising appears, but it can be effective nevertheless.
PPC advertising and other online advertising optionsPay-per-click advertising (PPC) is ideal for putting your product in front of people who are ready to buy. You only pay for people who actually click on your ad to come to your site. This enables you to track visitor journeys while monitoring the effectiveness of your search engine keywords.
You can also pay for website advertising according to the number of times the ad is displayed. So the more people who visit the web page on which your advert is featured, the more you pay. Often referred to as CPM ('cost per mille' or 'cost per thousand displays'), this is good for brand exposure.
You can even pay for your online advertising on a cost per action (CPA) basis, where you only pay for the number of viewers who actually buy your product as the result of an ad. This kind of payment scheme requires a close relationship with the website where your ad is published, and is typically part of an affiliate marketing relationship.
Choose wiselyYou are likely to have different online advertising options. For example, you might be able to buy different ad sizes in different places or choose which pages of a website to advertise on.
Prices will vary according to the size, location and style of your advert (you might include animation, for example), but the most expensive may not be the most effective. A banner ad on the home page might get the most exposure, but an ad on the page most relevant to your product might deliver more people to your site.
Lisa Hunter is an experienced Marketing, Events and Project Manager. She has over 10 years’ experience working in the IT and marketing industry, delivering strategic marketing support and managing creative projects for a wide-range of clients. In this blog she shares her knowledge and experiences…we hope you enjoy it.