What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is pretty much any form of marketing that involves electronic devices. When you
think about it, digital marketing is just marketing. It’s how today’s businesses are getting their message in front of their best prospects and customers, but using online platforms. 

Whether we like it or not, most purchasing decisions begin online. None more so than now, customers are online: hanging out in social media, staying updated on current affair sites and blogs, and searching online when they have a need for a product or service. Your customers use Google and YouTube and many are now using voice search on their phones so effective digital marketing puts you in those same channels.

Think about the latest thing you looked for and/or bought. Regardless of what it was, you probably began by searching the Internet to see what was available, who provided them, and what your best options were. Your research may have also included by reviews you read, the friends and family you consulted and pricing. 

Talking to your potential customers on digital platforms means you build brand awareness, set yourself as an industry thought leader, and place your business at the forefront when the customer is ready to buy. Not only that, but digital marketing can collect valuable insights into your prospect market, audience behaviours, customer engagement, traffic sources and customer retention. 

What makes up digital marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO). 

SEO is the process of optimising the content you have online. Primarily, this will be a website and/or Blog. Google indexes pages so elements like the technical setup, the content, the URL, the page properties etc all play an influential part in helping your pages appear at the top of a search engine result for a specific set of keyword terms. 

Having a high, organic position in Google is one of the most desirable elements of effective digital marketing. Not only for visibility, brand building etc but effective SEO drives visitors to your site when they’re actually searching for the services and/or products you offer. Recent figures suggest that over 90% of people look for organic positions over paid ads……….

Paid search. 

Paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, typically refers to the sponsored result on the top or side of a search engine results page (SERP). These results take the form of pre designed and written ads which charge you for every click. They have the word Ad next to them.

The beauty of paid search is that you can tailor your ads to appear when the desired search terms are entered into Goggle. This means your ads can be shown to prospects seeking something specific. This is called targeting in marketing speak! However, Google ads work very much like a bidding system; the higher your budget, the more change your ad will show and the more chance of getting a click. This is marketing speak is called visibility!

Content marketing. 

Content marketing has become a vital part of digital marketing. If companies can generate authentic, original and educational content consumers using a blog or a video, tag the item correctly and post to a website, channel or Insights platform, Google will be your friend forever! Some staistics indicate that content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising so make the additional effort.

Social media marketing.

Socials have been all the rage for a while now, but……and it’s a big but, just because there are lots of platforms to use and these platforms are primarily free, it doesn’t mean that every company should have a profile on all of them. 

The key to effective social media marketing goes far beyond simply having active social media accounts. These platforms like Twitter come under the heading of social media as you need to create engaging content and interact with people. The more your audience is inspired to engage with you in return and the content you post, the more likely they are to share it. Once shared, your network will expand. 

Social media though, is time consuming so pick the platform that works for you and that is where your market it. Integrate activity with your other marketing efforts and, above all, don’t tell people you are going for a coffee on Twitter!

Email marketing. 

BMC is a massive fan of email marketing. Very much a push strategy as you push out your message to a database and it is still the quickest and most direct way to reach customers with information, updates, offers etc. Your eshot needs to be engaging, relevant, informative, and entertaining and tick the following 5 boxes – be trustworthy, relevant, engaging, consistent and be considered.

Yes, there are huge amounts of junk emails flying about, but these are simply mass market blasts that have no relevance to you. A quality, clean and relevant database of recipient is also vital.

Mobile marketing. 

Much as we all cannot live without our mobile devices, mobile marketing can be deemed as invasive. Think about a ping on your phone; you pick it up and it is a SMS or in app marketing advert. Delete.

Mobile marketing is quite young as a digital marketing platform but it can be effective. Not only that the ability to reach your customers directly on their devices is attractive, especially if your selling actual products, but consider your other digital marketing channels and the offer you make.

A great article that elaborates on this area is from Megan Mars.

How much do you charge for a logo

To me the identity of an organisation is one of the most important elements to take to market and, much as I understand that costs are vital to a business, what I think organisations need to consider is the value a professionally designed logo brings to their business rather than simply asking “how much do you charge for a logo?”

Logo design uses combination of text and imagery that tells people the name of your small business and creates a visual symbol that represents your vision. It’s a big part of your brand identity and is quite often the first thing a customer will see. A good logo is memorable, differentiates you from everyone else, and fosters brand loyalty so embrace it.

BBC-logoHowever, logo design can cost a huge amount of money.

For example, when the BBC decided to invest in its brand, it invested £1.8 million. Now, digest that figure for what is basically 3 letters in a row. But….this logo has been familiar to consumers for years. It is minimalistic, clearly defined and most consumers will not associate these letters with reliability and other, positive values.

2012_Summer_Olympics_logo.svgWell, what about the 2012 Olympic logo? What do you think? How much? What if I said about £625k? Worth it? Can you see the London style of architecture in the design? No? Me neither.

Accenture-red-arrow-logoWhat about the global company Accenture? Yes, the company specialises in strategy, management technology etc, but what about the costs for this? Well…how does about $100,000,000?

So, in a nutshell, what I am saying is that a logo shouldn’t be decided purely on the costs and the time it takes to draw. Your logo is the public face of your company; it is what the organisation represents and simple logos comprised of only essential elements are often the most difficult and also successful.

I have seen companies offering logo design on Twitter for $100, but remember, you get what you pay for. Using a dose of clip art and a bit of a creative font on your text doesn’t make you a designer almost as much as changing a light bulb doesn’t make you an electrician. There are logos like the Nike tick which probably took about 1 hour to actually design, but the thought process and the actual value of creating a clever, professional logo can take months and sometimes years. Therefore, the execution might be quick, but that doesn’t mean that is all you should pay for. Good designers and marketeers train for years to ply trade and this allows them to design things and make strategic decisions and sometimes, asking a designer to make the logo bigger or to change the colour of the typography isn’t actually a decision you are qualified to make!

This all may sound harsh, but it is true. A good designer will take a solid brief and then go through a multiple of ideas and concepts before working up their ideas. Trust them and work with them and above all, pay them accordingly!

Why should I pay for a marketing consultant

marketing consultant

With all the readily accessible marketing tools available these days, there are many companies implementing and delivering their own marketing activity. This is always a good thing IF a company has the right knowledge, resources, expertise and above all, time. Many do, but many don’t, and this is why some companies should consider engaging a marketing consultant.

Perhaps you want to understand what the benefits of hiring a marketing consultant could bring to your business? Perhaps your current activities are not quite doing what you need. Perhaps you want an independent view or maybe you need to review your current strategy. Whatever your reasons to consider hiring a consultant; a marketing consultant is a professional marketer who can be brought into a business to help improve your marketing efforts. They do this by assessing and understanding your business and drawing up marketing strategies that will help you communicate your message to your customers.

A consultant may well begin by assessing your business; where it is now and where it wants to be as a result of effective marketing activities. They will have a wide variety of techniques and tactics at their disposal to develop a marketing plan. A consultant will help you to create a marketing plan, help you decide on best messaging and propose the most effective marketing mix to best communicate your message.

Additionally, once a marketing plan has been decided the consultant may well be in a position to help you to execute that plan, optimising and assessing the performance of your marketing and ultimately making you more successful. They will help your business to grow with better marketing.

Being in business means competition and, whatever sector you are in, there is always the challenge of finding new customers and/or retaining the customers that you have. This is called marketing. But marketing costs money and time to effectively deliver and if you are a business owner or manager, and are doing the marketing yourself, be warned, this takes time and knowledge. Do you have this time and knowledge or is your time better invested in improving the business or just focusing on the day job? Some business owners get it so right, in that case, if you are happy to continue doing so and you have the time to do it, great, keep doing the good work!

Marketing is constantly changing; technology is constantly on the move and new opportunities and ways to target your customers are always changing, particularly when it comes to the internet and the dreaded social media.

No doubt you will have a website. If not, invest in one NOW. A website should sit at the centre of your marketing strategy. Customers will find you because of it, they’ll be able to research your products and services from it, they’ll be able to communicate and potentially purchase through it. But the internet is changing rapidly, what happens when your website becomes unfit to perform its role? How do you know when your website is no longer performing as it should? This is where a consultant can help you. Either to develop a new site or better improve the digital footprint that you have.

Marketing consultants don’t just look at your website, they can provide insight into the market, your competitors, best practice etc + they keep up-to-date with the latest techniques and strategies. Ultimately, marketing consultants will understand how to make marketing work harder for your business. I can think of many reasons that businesses should choose to engage or in fact need a marketing expert, but price will also be a determining factor.

So, when it comes to money, the cost will usually be calculated on a day rate or an hour rate and sometimes as a project. The nature and challenges of the brief and the marketing objectives will influence the pricing structure. As a rule, a senior marketing consultant with at least 20 years’ experience spanning a wide variety of sectors and with a proven track record could charge between £500 and £1000 per day. The more days that you hire and the more commitment you make, it is likely that the cost will reduce. Sometimes consultants also have external costs and fees that will be quoted separately, but elements like travel and expenses are usually incorporated into the fee.

You might think (wrongly!) that hiring someone is the cheaper solution for your marketing. Salaries for marketers will vary on location of your business and the candidate experience levels. As a generalisation, if you were
looking to hire a Marketing assistant it could cost you c£25,000 per annum, marketing managers between £25,000 and £55,000, Marketing Directors could be anywhere from £55,000 to well in excess of £100k. In addition, there is the time required to find the right person and, if you employ an agency there are costs there of up to 15% of the final salary package on offer.

Therefore, another great benefit of hiring a consultant is that you can hire them as when needed. You may need Marketing Director level consultancy for a short time to help you get organised, define the strategy
and direct your team. It could be that it is much more cost effective to hire a Marketing Director for a short time to achieve this goal, falling back on the experience of your team once the goals and direction have been set.

At Bath Marketing Consultancy our ethos is one of adding value and creating impact. We like talking to people; we like to be challenged and we like to create new relationships!

Marketing is not all online; direct marketing could be the key

Consumers are frustrated! We all want to hit the shops. We all want to go for a meal and several pints. We all want to play sports again, see our friends and family and, above all, we all want to get back to some sort of normality.

The coronavirus pandemic is still impacting consumer behaviour worldwide as online sales of goods and services are still on the up. In January 2021 for example, online transactions increased by 39.7% compared to the same period in 2020. Streaming platforms like Netflix have also experienced huge increases in subscriptions as we turn to the internet for entertainment. But consumers want human interaction; they want to browse and they want to shop…….and this means to a lot of businesses, there is potentially a huge market of customers waiting in the wings to spend their money with you.

When it comes to marketing strategy, digital marketing has been and will continue to be, vital for companies. However, as retail, leisure and hospitality start to open their doors again, traditional marketing platforms need to be included in the marketing mix. I feel that direct marketing, then, is going to be key in the next 6 months for a large number of organisations. By this I mean, marketing that talks directly to consumers – emails, online adverts, flyers, database marketing, promotional letters, newspapers, outdoor advertising, phone text messaging, magazine adverts, coupons, phone calls, postcards, websites, and catalog distribution.

Unlike mass advertising (e.g TV), which is presented to everyone, direct marketing is presented only to people who are suspected to have an interest or need in a company’s product. A good example of this is a campaign we are about to launch for one of our key clients via a personalised sales letter containing an offer.

For that reason direct marketing also has a higher potential return on investment, since the likelihood of making a sale to a targeted customer list is higher to begin with. It is also measurable and allows you the sender to make the message personal, making the recipient feel it is meant just for them.

So, if you are a shop or a hotel or a leisure club or a restaurant, consider implementing advertising in a local magazine, sending a sales flyer through a door or even picking up the telephone. Customers are waiting to hear from you.

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Implement Google Adwords into your Digital Marketing activities

Google Adwords

When a company first opens its doors, one of the biggest initial challenges it will face is awareness; the prospective market becoming conscious of you and what you do. Roll back the years and building a brand was a long, slow process that took time, money and a lot of perseverance.

Nowadays, however, the internet has revolutionised how brands, organisations and businesses become visible to their target audience. Digital marketing such as social media platforms, websites, SERPS, influencers etc are all fast and costs effective routes to market, but I want to talk about one particular initiative that should now form a part of your digital marketing strategy – Google ads.

As we know, digital marketing has gone from being a specialist approach for innovative companies to being a vital part of any marketing strategy and today businesses of all shapes and sizes, from start-ups to huge international brands, are turning to Google ads to target potential customers directly via what they are searching for.

Fact. Google is the most widely used search engine fielding more than 3.5 billion search queries every single day and it offers advertisers access to an unprecedented and unequalled potential audience of users who are actively looking for goods and services. But……with these sorts of numbers and a global platform, using Google effectively is definitely a specialist skill.

Having an SEO strategy, no matter how large your business is, is vital, but getting to the Holy Grail position of page 1 organically takes time and not all businesses have that luxury.

Fact. Google ads are faster than organic SEO. In fact, this is arguably the biggest advantage of using Google adwords to reach your audience. Yes, there is leg work required to research, write (and/or design) the ads, create a bidding strategy and implementing, but the campaigns can be launched pretty much immediately….and you only pay if people click your ads!

What PPC do I do?

Google’s advertising initiatives are split across two main networks – the Search network, and the Display network. The Search network encompasses the entirety of the Google as a search engine, and advertisers can bid on millions of keywords and phrases to target prospective customers.

The Google Display Network, which offers advertisers more visual ads such as banners, spans approximately 98% of the World Wide Web, making it a great choice for advertisers who want to accomplish marketing goals that aren’t necessarily as conversion-driven as those of PPC ads, such as raising brand awareness on a large scale using banner ads.

Yes, but why launch a google adwords campaign?

In a nutshell, Google Adwords is an effective way to drive traffic from the search engine through to your website. Google plays a vital role in increasing the reach of your marketing campaign and adwords can get your company or product there quickly. Adwords however, is an auction so the more budget you have, the more your ads will show.

Google does have support on offer and can talk you through how to set up adwords, but……I very much feel that it is very much worth hiring an independent expert to research keywords and then set up a search ad campaigns. Ongoing, campaigns also need monitoring and optimising to make sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.

Adapt your Marketing during the coronavirus

2020 really has been crisis management for a lot of businesses as the virus has not only changed the way consumers buy goods and services, but the pandemic has changed the way people do business and communicate (I wish I had shares in Zoom!)

This situation will, in my opinion, reward organisations who have adapted to the changes and the way they market themselves. Sitting it out has not been and will continue to not be an option.

In order to be successful, companies must be visible. None more so than online. Organisations already in a space where they deliver what they do to the doorstep or the consumer have thrived and will continue to do so. The flip side is that companies who have traditionally relied on a physical presence have been hit terribly.

So, what can organisations do to keep the tills ringing? What do they do with regards to getting themselves in front of the prospective customers?

The use of the Internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other channels to reach consumers (digital marketing) is now even more critical to a companies’ marketing. This is because the virus has been causing us all to spend more time online searching. Your prospect therefore, simply must be able to find you in search engines (Google has an 86% market share) and being able to adapt the sales process will be the difference between success and failure.

Drive traffic to your website by utilising social media, Google’s search and display networks; use email marketing and optimise your website. Google very much indexes pages so use a blog and write authentic, insightful content.

The latest trend we are seeing is that paid ads are becoming cheaper. In other words, traffic on the web is up and there are fewer advertisers due to the decrease in smaller businesses advertising. This is because the way the big ad networks make money is through an auction system. They need small businesses to drive up the cost per click (CPC) for ads so that way the big, billion-dollar companies have to spend more money on ads. When we average things out per industry and globally, we are seeing paid ads producing a much higher ROI than before the Coronavirus hit. If you don’t have as many small businesses advertising there isn’t as much competition, so the cost per click decreases.

With your website and business, consider what you can give away for free or offer payment plans. Anything you can do to help people out will be appreciated. You’ll also find that it will drive you more visitors through sharing.

You could also explore running limited time promotions or if you are selling consulting services, you can accept money over a period of a year.

It is a sad fact that we all probably have more time now so use it to your advantage. Put in the effort so you can think and plan. It’s not too late and, that way you’ll come out of the Coronavirus stronger!

How do I make my digital marketing effective?

I talked recently about marketing in the current climate, the recent social media Digital Marketingand online search trends as well as some suggestions for your marketing in a video on our Facebook page.

Adding to the video, here are 3 action points you could and should be looking at to make your marketing more effective:

  1. They will help you understand exactly how this time is impacting on them and may well give you an insight into what you should be talking to similar prospects about. Become a problem solver!
  2. If your customer wants to press pause, make sure they have a reason not too and try and put in a mechanism that plans them taking things further with you. There should be a benefit for them that isn’t just cheaper pricing.
  3. Create a sales message that is actually engaging. So much scrolling and page turning is done these days (or “scan reading”) making your message very easy to skip past. Make people stop and look!

In a digital era, where almost everyone is digitally enabled, you want to ride with the wave and not against it. Most businesses have come to realise the power that digital marketing holds and they have at least put their toes in the water. Digital marketing is all about boosting your footprint and then maintaining that profile and position while you grow your brand.

A digital marketing strategy allows businesses to have direction; it allows organisations to know their market share, and hopefully gain a competitive edge. Getting the plan of attack right is important and that why you should work with an expert who has proven experience in marketing.

Why pay for a marketing agency?

A digital marketing agency really should have a number of potential marketing plans based on the budget and the objectives of its clients. Sit down (or Zoom!) with a marketing expert, discuss objectives which are realistic, play to strengths and invest for the future. It isn’t a coincidence that the biggest spenders are the most successful companies!

For an SME, it is likely that your marketing budget will be small, but make sure you have one. Look at the potential cost per lead and conversion and work out what sort of budget you can afford.

Digital marketing can give countless options and usually is a cost friendly and result-oriented route to market.

 

What do I do with marketing during the Coronavirus

Well, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about the current situation? These are incredibly trying times for us all both personally and professionally.  Peoples’ mental and physical health will be challenged like never before and some of us will lose loved ones well before their time. Quite frankly this is horrible.

On the business front, I already know heads of companies who were running very successful organisations who are now laying off staff and shutting their doors. Dreams in tatters and finances in ruins. Hospitality, retail, finance, marketing, property…….all will suffer as people stop spending and uncertainty kicks in.

Where does this leave us and what can we do when it comes to paying the bills and putting food on the table? A huge amount of client facing roles will be on pause and I pray that these people and people on the front line are looked after by the Government.

For others who trudge into an office each day for work, there was a time when working from home was a pipe dream, but with this virus forcing people to work remotely, there are jobs you can do from your own home.

Whether that’s working remotely for a company or starting your own business, there’s no shortage of work-from-home opportunities that we all need to look at either for the next few months or maybe even permanently.

Affiliate marketer, animator, graphic designer, web designer, bakes, blogger, bookkeeper, research, consultant, data entry person, copywriter, proofreader, online teacher, photographer, translator, virtual assistant, voice over artist, script writer, website tester……are all roles that can be done remotely.

What are we doing at BMC? Well, we are very fortunate that a lot of what we do can be delivered remotely and hence, my team is all working from their respective homes. We are open for business and today we are furiously updating clients’ websites with corona virus messages and making sure that these websites are optimised and performing well.

Ongoing, while I appreciate marketing is probably at letter Z in the alphabet on the priority list, I think website positions in search will be even more in demand in the next 6-12 months. With people at home now, the world wide web will see huge increases in people searching for goods and services and hence, we strongly advise that we all take a look at how we are performing online and how we are utilising social media and video to make sure that, when people are in a position to buy from us, we can be found. Organic SEO, paid search, SEM etc are all initiatives that we can do and we are more than happy to look at any website client or not and do a free audit to try and help.

What actually is good customer service?

Tricky this one as the scope is wide. There is also the, what I might feel is good service, other people may not and vice versa situation. Either way, customers today no longer seem to place such emphasis on the price or the actual product.

Customer Service in Marketing
Customer Service in Marketing

Instead, how they feel after interacting with customer service can have a big impact on how they make decisions to buy again in the future. A good interaction with the company or organisation can keep customers satisfied and loyal, while just one poor interaction could lead them to stop doing business with companies again. This can be very evident in the food and banking sectors. Having said that telecoms, legal, marketing, leisure.…….

Customer service really does influence buying behaviours and should become part of the “offer” companies make to their prospects in their marketing…..but only if they can substantiate it in real life. Customer service is not isolated to the actual purchase, it should also be part of aftersales and marketers have a tremendous opportunity to leverage effective customer problem resolution to increase loyalty and, potentially, sales.

The concept not only assumes that customers with successfully resolved issues are more likely to interact or transact with that company again, but that they can also be very instrumental in convincing others to do business with that company as well.

Companies can and do invest time and money to get in front of prospects and maintain clients and, I’ve said it many times, but there is nothing as effective in marketing as a good reputation travelling fast.