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Welcome back to another edition of #2STeamStories, a monthly serial that lets you get to know more about the 2Stallions Family and what they do. From internships, UI/UX design, to content marketing, #2STeamStories aims to help everyone get a better picture about life at an agency. We also hope to provide insights into each speciality and encourage aspiring marketers to join this dynamic and exciting industry.

In this edition, we dive into the world of our Head of Content, Olwen van Dijk-Hildebrand.  True to the long-form that is her specialty, Olwen shares her journey into the marketing world, coming into it unexpectedly. Join us as she takes us through her career history and her arrival at 2Stallions and learn what it takes to generate content that connects and inspires individuals.

Hi Olwen! Tell us a bit about yourself. 

Hi, everyone, I’m Olwen. I’m Dutch-Indonesian born, but I’ve spent the majority of my life living all over the world. My father worked at the UN, and as a result I spent my childhood travelling from country to country with the rest of my family – parents and a younger brother. I spent the first 5 years of my life in Yemen, and have fleeting but fond memories of the place; after that we lived in London for a year, and Africa for eight years following that – first in Ivory Coast and then in Mozambique. I finished high school in Fiji, and finally went on to university in Australia, where I finished my tertiary education and met my husband. After close to a decade in Australia, we made the move to Malaysia where my parents had retired.

Can you share your marketing journey with us? How did you first start marketing? How did you find your way to working at 2Stallions?

I stumbled into marketing more out of necessity than choice. In 2012, my husband and I bought a small cafe in the Dandenong Hills in Melbourne. We ran the cafe for three years and during that time, I managed our Facebook page, and thus my introduction to marketing. I didn’t think about it that way, of course; at the time I was simply trying to drum up business and raise what I would now call brand awareness.  

In 2015, we sold the cafe having earned a wealth of experience in the culinary and barista arts and customer service, and moved to Malaysia. It was a big move, and neither my husband nor I knew exactly what we were going to do when we got here, but we wanted a change and so we made a change. 

I applied for jobs and eventually found my way into a marketing executive position in Kuala Lumpur at AQ Services International, a mystery shopping company. I was with them for five years, really until the pandemic kicked in. When I left I’d gone from executive, lone wolf marketer to the senior communications manager with a team of six. I was really quite proud of the work we’d accomplished and it was a shame to have to leave it, but circumstances being what they were there wasn’t much choice. 

Luckily for me, I’d worked with 2Stallions since 2016 – AQ Services had been a client for several years – and Daniel Heerkens reached out to me in mid-2020 to offer me a job. 

Can you share with us a little about what’s expected in your role? 

At 2Stallions, my role as Head of Content is essentially expected to create all the content for internal marketing efforts and to help with client projects where needed. I develop and adapt the content strategy for internal marketing and create the content to go with it. Content marketers generate content and content concepts for all marketing channels, including our company blog and our social media channels. 

What are some of your favourite things about content marketing? 

I have a passion for words. I love what they can do and how much power they have when used in different circumstances. Content marketing is essentially knowing how to use words to inspire emotional reactions – what you see on social media or read in a blog are all driven by that same concept. What I love about content marketing is that it lies at the heart of all marketing – I might be biased, but really without content, digital marketing is an empty vessel. 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Speaking the right language, whether visual or words, is the trickiest part to get right. Content marketing is about speaking to a target audience, so the hardest part is trying to find the way to do that. You have to reach people in a memorable way, and sometimes the most powerful way to do that is through the right word choice. 

How do you like to spend your time away from work?

When I’m not working, I spend time with my family – that is, my husband and our two cats. We enjoy watching movies or shows together. On the weekends, especially at the moment with the pandemic lockdown, I write, fiction mostly. To destress I play video games – currently, I’m really into the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game Mobile Legends, but I’m a massive Skyrim fan as well. I also spend a lot of time online, scrolling through social media feeds, constantly looking to learn about current content trends and preferences. If I had to pick a favourite platform, I’d go with LinkedIn, but I enjoy Instagram and TikTok as well. 

Wrapping Up

Connect with Olwen on LinkedIn to learn more about her work as a content marketer.

Get to know our #2StallionsFamily with the #2STeamStories tag.  Discover the works done by our diverse team of digital marketing professionals who’ll bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. If you’re looking for a content marketing expert, don’t hesitate to contact us

Social media listening does more than look at what’s happening on your social networks and pull insights from your social data. It also plays a pivotal role in increasing your return on investment (ROI).

Don’t know how this process does the trick? Carry on reading. We’ve listed three ways social listening maximises your investment returns.

First, What Exactly Is Social Media Listening?

Social media listening involves monitoring and analysis of the social media channels for trends and direct mentions of your brand, products, services, and even competitors.

Unlike social media monitoring, the social listening process doesn’t stop on the monitoring part. It analyses social interactions and conversations to identify general sentiment around your brand, discover opportunities, and take efficient actions. 

3 Ways Social Listening Maximise Your Investment Return

1. Find & Generate New Leads

Did you know that social media sentiment exists? Yes, this attitude, thought, or emotion people have towards a situation, event, online post, or company exists in the social space.

Let’s put it into perspective. Imagine your business launched a new marketing campaign, and it unexpectedly took the Internet by storm. Everyone is talking about it on social media, giving your brand an advantage against your competitors.

Here’s the thing, is the chatter positive or negative? This is where social media sentiment comes to use. It adds context to all the mentions, comments, shares, and reactions around your business.

Sentiment analysis not only tells you how much people are talking about your brand, but it also helps you understand how they feel about your brand, posts, and campaigns. As a result, finding new leads becomes an easy job. You could easily find relevant conversations, identify a group of potential customers that may be interested in your products or services, and build personal relationships with your social fans.

2. Improve Social Media Strategy

Sentiments are indeed an integral part of the social media listening equation. Data doesn’t mean much without context, and relying on numbers alone couldn’t guarantee you to receive a return on investment.

You should look beyond the number of shares and likes and dig deeper into what they’re feeling or thinking. Monitor social sentiment to better understand how your messaging influences your followers.

For instance, your video campaign highlights only the essential features of your product and leaves out the less important ones. To your surprise, some consumers talk about the product features that you didn’t mention and ask further questions about them.

Situations like these illustrate the importance of social listening. Analysing social conversations allows you to gather feedback on your products and services, optimise your campaigns, and improve your social media marketing initiatives.

3. Increase Customer Engagement

Delivering seamless digital customer experiences across social media channels is a critical factor in improving engagement, driving loyalty, and most importantly—increasing business revenue.

If you’re not convinced about how customer experiences can influence revenue growth, let these statistics do the talking:

  • Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers. – Deloitte and Touche
  • Brands with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience. – Forrester
  • 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue. – Dimension Data

The good news is that social listening can help you create positive digital customer experiences. By analysing your brand mentions and total engagements, you can find better ways to connect with and entice your followers. You could develop fruitful relationships with your social fans, engage with your critics effectively, and produce content that will satisfy your online customer base.

The Takeaway

You can’t improve what you can’t measure and analyse. So to increase your social ROI, you should step up your social media listening efforts.

Social listening takes social media monitoring a step further and assists in lead generation, campaigns optimisation, and customer engagement, among other things.

Have you ever mistaken social media listening and social media monitoring as the same thing? The truth is, the two are not the same, the former is the action taken after the latter.

Social monitoring is simply looking at social media channels. You do this to keep tabs on your brand mentions, monitor engagement rate and check relevant hashtags or industry trends.

Social listening, on the other hand, looks beyond the data. It is the process of pulling insights from those social mentions and customer conversations to identify room for improvement and take action.

If you’re only monitoring, you’re probably missing out on crucial insight about your brand. Incorporate the human side of data into your marketing strategy to grow your company and become an industry leader.

More About Social Listening

Social media generates countless business opportunities—and social listening can help you unravel them. This process allows you to understand what people think about your brand, their problems or needs, how they compare you to the competition, and the similar information.

The main thing to remember is that social listening involves monitoring. It analyses the information gathered and the mood behind the data to help you with many different aspects of your business, including:

  • Boost customer engagement
  • Manage PR crises on social media
  • Track your competitors’ marketing activities
  • Identify influencers and brand ambassadors
  • Improve your social media sales funnel
  • Stay ahead of trends and the competition

Social Listening Glossary

As with other disciplines, social media listening is full of marketing terms and jargon that can become overwhelming, especially for new marketers. 

At 2Stallions, we’re well aware that translating the marketing lingo can be tricky, so we’re here to help decipher the code so you not only understand but can learn the language for yourself. Here are some basics to get you started:

Brand Authority, also known as company reputation, refers to how the audience perceives a brand. Several factors can influence authority, including content, active online presence, and engagement over social media.

Brand Awareness describes how recognisable a business is to its customers. It involves remembering the brand’s name, its expertise in the field, customer service quality, products or services, and so on.

Brand Health takes brand authority and awareness a step further. It is a metric that determines how strong a company is and how true the brand in delivering its promises to customers.

Brand Monitoring is the process of tracking various channels to gain insights about the company, its products, brand mentions, and anything connected to the business.

Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of the number of users who click on a specific link or call-to-action. Businesses use this to measure the success of a social media advertising campaign.

Communication Channels refers to the platforms used to engage and reach out to potential and existing customers. It consists of the brand’s official website, blog, and social media profiles (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Consumer Insights are the interpretation of customer data, behaviours, and feedback. They help businesses understand their customers’ expectations, improve customer service, and devise new marketing strategies.

Crisis Monitoring is a series of actions performed to prepare for and prevent damages when a company faces issues.

Dark Social describes the invisible social shares that happen through untraceable or private communication channels, such as messenger, email, and text messages.

Engagement refers to the activities that the audience take on social media to communicate with a brand. Examples of such are likes and favourites, comments, DMs, replies, shares and retweets, clicks, and mentions.

An influencer is a person with a large follower base on social media because of his or her authority and knowledge in a specific industry.

Keywords are the words that describe best what you want to find on social media platforms and the web.

Reach tells how many unique viewers or social media users have seen a piece of content (i.e., blog, video, etc.).

Share of Voice (SOV) is a term borrowed from traditional media, which refers to the number of times a brand is mentioned on the web and social media.

Social Media Mining is the process of extracting data from user-generated content on social media sites and mobile apps. Businesses use this to find patterns and trends that can get them a competitive advantage.

Social Mention refers to name-dropping a person or brand on social media. It can either be positive or negative and can share a public perception of a brand.

Social Selling is a strategy that uses social media platforms to establish rapport with prospective customers.

Social Sentiment describes the emotions behind social media. It is expressed through posts or comments on social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, and more.

Why Use Social Media Listening

Creating a solid listening strategy will help your business in many ways. It lets you connect with your audience, foresee and avoid disasters, monitor your competitors, find your tribe, discover new sales leads, and make your brand stand out.

1. Engage Customers

It is a rule of thumb for businesses to listen to what people say on social media channels. Thanks to social listening tools, tracking and gathering online mentions has become a lot easier.

By analysing brand mentions or online discussions, marketers can engage with customers and respond to queries immediately.

For example, a customer mentioned your brand on her social media post to raise an issue about your product. This instance allows you to address the concern. You can either reply directly to the post, share a tweet or FB post that clears out the misunderstanding, or do both.

Think of it as a long-term marketing strategy. If you keep your customers in the loop and interact with them, you encourage them and more people to trust your brand and take action.

2. Manage PR Crises

A positive social sentiment makes customer engagement easy to achieve. So what happens when people put your business in a negative light? Simple. The engagement also goes down.

It is good to be aware of any malicious content, spiteful social media users, and other negative mentions that could undermine your brand. And, social media listening can also help with that.

For example, you can create an alert “notify name@company.com if more than 200 negative posts circulate on social media in any given hour.”

Fake news and negative word-of-mouth can spread like wildfire on social media. With this crisis management solution, you can control potential crises and prevent a PR nightmare from happening.

3. Track Competitors

Monitoring your competitors is never a bad thing. It helps you identify the trends in your industry, check out similar products, and gain better knowledge about customer preferences, among other benefits.

And the best part? You can reveal their weaknesses and create better solutions that cater to the audience’s needs.

Such things are now easy to pull off thanks to social listening. The process lets you collect competitors’ data from social platforms and forums and find trends or useful insights.

Whether you want to know what events your competitions held or are holding, how attendees feel about the event, what type of content appeals to most people, and the like, social media can provide you with an answer.

Get meaningful insights and data out of online conversations and brand mentions. This strategy will never fail in making your name or products more attractive than your rivals.

4. Identify Influencers

Online personalities or content creators in social media, like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are now influencing consumer’s choices, hence the term influencer marketing.

Because of their engaging content and the trust they built with their following base, online audiences see them as opinion leaders and value their thoughts, product recommendations, and so on.

In fact, most people found influencers more realistic, more authentic, and easier to relate to than celebrities. No wonder more and more businesses partner with influencers to increase brand awareness, boost organic traffic and engagement, and generate sales.

If you’ve not engaged with an influencer before, social media listening can help you get started. This marketing process will help you gain insights into who are the important people to connect with, so you can establish a partnership with your natural brand advocates and look for opportunities to collaborate.  

5. Discover Sales Leads

Social listening also plays a significant role in discovering new sales leads. Once your online mentions are gathered and filtered, you can find the right audience and reach out to them.

Decoding your brand mentions allows you to join discussions as they happen, address the online public’s concerns, provide timely solutions, and most importantly—develop relationships with potential customers.

As the old business saying goes, “People do not like to be sold, but love to buy.” Customers hate being sold to right away. They want to feel in control of their purchasing decisions rather than having someone else tell them what to do.

This is where social media mining comes in handy. Such a process makes social media listening more effective as it helps uncover hidden patterns and trends from social media platforms.

When you understand people’s sentiments, you can nurture customer relationships and create an effective social selling strategy.

6. Improve Brand Image

As discussed, social listening does not focus alone on metrics or data analytics. Instead, it deciphers the sentiment behind every bit of data.

The fact that social media listening is two-fold means that it can help in establishing a powerful brand identity.

It provides an unbiased evaluation of audience preferences and needs, which can help in the following:

  • drive customer engagement;
  • develop lasting relationships;
  • learning trends for improvement;
  • managing online brand reputation;
  • optimising communication activities;
  • establishing a position in the industry

How to Get Started with Social Media Listening

Now that you know how following and interpreting social media conversation help your business thrive, let us look at the steps to creating a winning social listening strategy.

1. Define Your Goals

The first step in the process is to define your goals. Be clear on what you want to get out of social media listening.

Setting a goal will help plan all of your efforts going forward. It jumpstarts the whole strategy as it lets you choose the topics, brand terms, interactions, and keywords to monitor on social media platforms.

Here are a few goals that you could build your strategy around:

  • Drive website traffic
  • Manage your brand reputation
  • Understand your consumers better
  • Increase engagement with your audience
  • Create relevant content for your target audience
  • Gain more followers and retain your existing customers

2. Determine Channels to Monitor

Once you have your goals set, determine what social media channels you like to monitor. This next step informs you whether your goals are achievable on the platforms that your audience use.

For example, your goal is to drive more website traffic. Facebook and Twitter are the best platforms for this because they allow users to post links, unlike Instagram.

It helps to audit first each social media app or site. Know where most of your audience hang out and where they interact with your brand. In this way, you can keep a laser focus on social listening initiatives.

3. Choose The Right Tools

It is crucial to pick a social media listening tool that will enable you to discover your social media mentions, regardless of your company size or level of competition.       

Below are some factors to consider when choosing a social listening tool:  

  • Business needs. Check whether the tool meets your business needs—be it PR and marketing, customer service, security and compliance, customer research.
  • Pricing models. While “free” is a popular price point, free-trial tools provide limited functionality. It is better to opt for fee-based offerings that can best accommodate your needs.
  • User management. How many people will use the tool? Can people use the platform simultaneously? These are a few user-related questions that you should keep in mind before sealing a deal with a social listening tool vendor.
  • Software/ Tool features. Look at the tool’s features and compatibility. Does it have a single dashboard? Can it analyse a whole range of metrics, such as trending themes, media exposure, social sentiment, and share of voice? Questions like these can help you decide on selecting the right social listening software for your business.
  • Flexibility. A platform that allows integration with existing tools (i.e., Google Analytics, Hootsuite, etc.) is a must-have. It enables you to incorporate social media listening seamlessly into your business strategy and allows you to share reports with everyone.

4. Create Action Plans

The last step to creating a social media listening strategy is taking action. Use the insights you gathered in mapping out a series of activities that can help you achieve your goals.

For example, your primary aim is to improve your brand image. There are two things that you must do. First, make sure to respond to complaints and questions quickly. Second, take time to acknowledge and reply to positive mentions.

Bonus: The Best Tools for Social Listening

Keeping tabs across social media channels requires a great deal of time and effort. Thankfully, several tools can make social media monitoring more manageable.

Here is a list of social listening tools that you can use as reference:

  1. Awario
  2. BrandWatch
  3. BuzzSumo
  4. Falcon.io
  5. Hootsuite
  6. Keyhole
  7. Mention
  8. Oktopost
  9. Sprout Social
  10. Tailwind

The Takeaway

As more people turn to social media for product information and business research, the need for monitoring your social media channels increases.

It is indeed impossible to read the minds of your followers or customers. Thanks to social listening, you can now understand the mood behind their social activities. This process gives you access to what people are saying about your brand, industry, or even your competitors.

So, if you have not tried incorporating social media listening into your business strategy, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon.

2Stallions can help you get started, establish a better relationship with your target audience, and never miss a relevant conversation about your brand. Contact us today to learn more.

People now search the web for products and services, make online purchases, and transact with e-retailers. Since customers have gone digital, companies should create digital customer experiences too. 

The new market reality encourages businesses to step-up their marketing initiatives and take advantage of the digital media (i.e., website, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). Otherwise, they would lose their customers and revenues to more digitally savvy competitors.

What Is Digital Customer Experience

As the name suggests, digital customer experience (DCX) refers to the customer touchpoints while interacting with a brand online. It involves a series of actions, including information search, evaluation of alternatives, product inquiry, and most importantly—purchase.

The approach to DCX is different from traditional CX. In brick-and-mortar shops, the store’s ambience, customer service quality, security concerns, product display, and many other factors can influence customer satisfaction.

In the virtual space, there are several factors affect customers’ experience and buying decisions. These include website aesthetics and speed, mobile responsiveness, ease of navigation, language, information quality, and so on.

Digitized customer experience matters now more than ever before, especially considering the increase of in-home media consumption due to the coronavirus outbreak. People spend longer on social media and computers, listen to more streaming services, and watch or upload content on YouTube.

For these reasons, businesses should build a digital customer experience strategy to foster a satisfied online customer base.

Why Is It Important to Digitize Customers’ Experiences?

1. More Customers Are Going Digital

Customers adapt to and grow with technological advancements and market trends. They learn and embrace such things, not because of the fear of missing out (FOMO) but because they want to satisfy their needs.

Take Internet commerce as an example. Most people now find online shopping more convenient than in-store shopping. The steady rise of mobile apps and eCommerce websites has also made it easier for customers to shop for anything they want without leaving their homes.

According to UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study, consumers in the U.S., Europe, Mexico and Brazil have the highest satisfaction with their overall shopping experience. Online shoppers use a single channel like desktop or laptop, tablet and smartphone, or a combination of each.

The study also reported that smartphone users in Asia have the highest percentage of online purchases on their smartphones (37%) and using their smartphones for research (84%), compared to shoppers in other regions.

These research findings suggest that consumers prefer time-saving, no sales pressure, convenient, not to mention discreet shopping method. Shoppers are also getting smarter with their purchasing decisions, so if businesses fail to meet their expectations, chances are the business will not be able to regain the customer’s trust or loyalty.

If building an eCommerce website is not possible, many other digital platforms can come to the rescue. Facebook, for example, offers a great way to promote a brand and interact with customers. Users can also launch ad campaigns in this social media app to propel their marketing efforts and drive sales.

2. Digital Channels Uncover Customer Insights

In today’s digital era, customers will experience less brick and more click. The absence of human touch, however, is not a bad thing—it is the other way around.

While digital marketing channels lack face-to-face human contact and interaction, they allow companies to interpret sets of customer data easier than other traditional media.

Web performance, for example, can be measured by using analytics tools like Google Analytics (GA). Through this web analytics tool, marketers can examine website activities and understand customers’ behaviours.

Here are a few digital metrics for websites that businesses should take advantage of to create a positive digital customer experience:

  • Traffic: the total number of site or page visits in a given time.
  • Page View: the total number of pages viewed; it includes repeated views of a single page.
  • Unique Page Views: the number of visitors who have viewed a specific page at least once during a visit.
  • Average time on Page: the average amount of time users spend viewing a specific page or screen or set of pages or screens.
  • Bounce Rate: the percentage of single-page visits or the number of visits in which people left your website from the same page they visited

Google Analytics provides insights on the above metrics. The tool can tell what path site visitors or users take, how long they stay on a specific web page, what actions they take during the visit, and more.

3. Tailor Products or Services to Individual Users

Digital transformation is not solely about technology. It is about one’s ability to harness technology’s power in creating individualized customer experiences.

When businesses decide to integrate digital technology into their business operations, it becomes easier to address each phase of the customer journey. The advances in data collection and analysis allow marketers to implement personalized approaches tailored to customer’s specific needs.

Personalization is crucial in delivering a meaningful overall digital customer experience. It is the finishing touch to secure sales and generate brand loyalty. In fact, many studies have proven the link between personalization and customer satisfaction—and Gladly’s Customer Expectations Report is one of them.

Below are the other customer insights from the report:

  • 61% of the respondents feel that brands treat them as case numbers—not as people.
  • 75% of customers are more likely to purchase if given personalized recommendations.
  • Social media customer service chat messaging has increased by over 6% since 2017, and email has decreased by 18%.

These figures indicate that customer service and content personalization are marketing game-changers. Brands should tailor engagement across digital channels to earn and build customer loyalty.

Bonus: Tips for Digitizing Customer Experience

1. Combine Digital and Human Elements

Virtual customer assistants (VCAs) like chatbots are becoming increasingly popular in the digital landscape. These messenger bots can automate customers’ inquiries and enable personalized interactions.

H&M is an excellent example of a company that combined digital and human elements successfully. The multinational clothing-retail company used a chatbot to provide users with a mix of user-focused technology and highly-personalized human connection.

H&M, chatbot, men's clothing, messenger, chat

2. Provide Personalized Content

Thanks to digital analytics, it is easy to create a content plan that addresses customers’ interests and buying habits. By looking at the available data, businesses can share content pieces—be they landing pages, social media posts, blogs, newsletters, and infographics—that speak to them.

3. Optimize Mobile User Experience

Mobile usage statistics vary per study, but one thing is clear—the global mobile population is ever-changing and increasing. People around the world own smartphones and use them for a variety of things, including shopping.

Businesses should make use of this insight and focus on improving customer experiences on mobile. Some of the ways that can help them optimize mobile user experience include:

  • Keep layouts simple
  • Use easy-to-read text
  • Aim for a responsive web design
  • Use faster-loading image formats
  • Improve the search feature in the app

Final Thoughts

As the world becomes increasingly digital, the need for pairing digital tech with a solid marketing strategy also increases. Brands should treat customers’ online journey as a critical aspect and find ways to deliver optimum digital customer experience.

If you are thinking about developing a digital transformation strategy, 2Stallions can help lay the foundation so you can make the most out of digitization. We offer the right mix of digital marketing services, including search engine optimization, social media marketing, content marketing, and more.

Get in touch with us today to find out how you can further and improve all your digital marketing efforts. 

Despite being the tragedy of 2020, the COVID-19 crisis has driven a new wave of digital transformation and innovation approaches. Businesses learned to navigate the challenges of the coronavirus while addressing the needs of their employees, customers, and clients.

A study conducted by McKinsey & Company, a management consulting company, found that COVID-19 has forced many companies to accelerate their digital initiatives.

The research also reported that digital adoption rates during COVID-19 have increased compared to the previous surveys conducted in pre-crisis time.

These findings suggest that the coronavirus pandemic awakened businesses to the importance of digital technology. Most organizations have sped up their digital efforts to keep pace with changing consumer behaviour.

Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses

When COVID-19 broke out, businesses all over the world were impacted by a range of challenges: keeping employees and customers safe, maintaining operations, navigating government support schemes, and managing revenue.

Smaller companies, particularly start-ups, faced more devastating effects, including mass employee layoffs. In fact, small businesses had to lay off people in just a few weeks after the onset.

According to Startup Genome’s Global Startup Survey, a majority of startups saw a decline in revenue since the beginning of the crisis. The key findings from the survey include:

  • 41% of startups globally are threatened in the “red zone”—they have three months or less of cash runway left.
  • 16% of startups saw their revenue drop by more than 80%
  • 74% of startups have had to terminate full-time employees a few weeks after the onset
  • 39% of all startups had to lay off 20% or more of their staff, and 26% had to let go 60% of employees or more
  • North America is the place with the biggest share of companies reducing headcount (84%), followed by Europe (67%) and Asia (59%).

Also, micro, small, and medium enterprises’ (MSMEs) struggle to survive the effects of COVID-19 as the crisis lengthens.

In the ILO SCORE Global Covid-19 Enterprise Survey, survey results show that 70% of MSMEs have had to shut down operations. Nearly 9 out of 10 businesses are experiencing a shortage in their cashflow, affecting business continuity.

Another study  also found that the sectors with the most business closures globally were the following:

  • Travel or tourism agencies (54%)
  • Hospitality and event services (47%)
  • Education and child care services (45%
  • Performing arts and entertainment (36%)
  • Hotels, cafes, and restaurants (32%)

While many start-ups are moving closer to closure and bankruptcy, the pandemic has opened doors to many entrepreneurial businesses.

Entrepreneurs have pivoted to offer goods and services borne out of the crisis, such as face masks, commercial cleaning services, delivery and errand services, and so on.

Moreover, some businesses have managed to stay operational in the midst of COVID-19—and accelerating digital transformation has helped them a lot.

3 Ways Businesses Adopted Digital Technology During COVID-19

1. Reshape Remote Working

A vast majority of businesses across the globe have made an abrupt shift to remote work. Many have normalized the “work from home” model to protect employees, serve customers, and most importantly, establish business continuity.

Remote work and virtual teams also put a spotlight on the importance of technology.

For example, Zoom, a video conferencing application, emerged as one of the most useful tools during COVID-19. Organizations use it to collaborate with their team members, in real-time.

Other online productivity tools and employee-facing technologies have also helped employees to more easily operate at similar levels of productivity, despite working outside the office.

According to a Synergy Research Group study, cloud providers see aggressive growth amidst the coronavirus crisis. It only means that more businesses have moved to the cloud to support a remote workforce.

With COVID-19 making remote work the new normal, companies—small or large —should see cloud-based technologies as a digital transformation priority.

2. Adopt Technology-Driven Systems

The success of remote work setup during the pandemic depends on several factors, including digital technologies.

Small to medium-sized businesses, and most especially, larger corporations must invest in digital tech to manage remote employees and facilitate fast communication and collaboration.

However, the virtual work environment is susceptible to data protection and data privacy risks, requiring businesses to adopt a technology-driven system to allay the fears of security risks.

The latest Exabeam report finds that there has been a significant increase in enterprise adoption of cloud-based security solutions to support a remote workforce.

The data found that 44% of enterprises use cloud-based security products to protect corporate financial information compared to the earlier study, where only 12% were protecting corporate financial information in this way.

Additionally, about 90% of companies said they rolled out cloud-based security products at the right time for the business. Many deployed such software solutions to safeguard customer information while sending emails and sharing files.

Those who incorporated cloud technology have also seen improvements in monitoring and tracking of cyber attacks (21%) and accessing the software’s latest features (20%). These findings are evidence that digital transformation minimizes resources and overheads, allowing security analysts to complete tasks faster and focus on other projects.

3. Digitize Customer Experience

The virus not only changed the way people work but also the way people use the Internet.

With the lockdowns and limitations of activities, people seek out alternative entertainment and socialization. These include the uptake of the use of streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon,  and YouTube.  People are also connecting with distant friends on social media apps like Facebook.

Time spent online has increased, and so has how much money people spend online.

COVID-19 has driven changes in consumer behavior and put e-commerce at the forefront of retail. Pandemic-weary consumers are looking for new normal must-haves online from alcohol to hand sanitizers, face masks, cleaning supplies, skincare products, groceries, and more.

This new consumer behavior pattern has encouraged many businesses to digitize customer experiences using technological solutions like chatbots.

Short for chatterbot, this Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature helped retailers to bridge the gap in customer communications. The tool lets customers receive quick replies to their queries, eliminating the need for emails and long customer service wait times.

Use of live video streaming also spiked during the pandemic. Amazon, a big player in the e-commerce industry, entered into the live streaming space to add a human touch to internet shopping.

Facebook has got more involved with live streaming since many online merchants strive to provide personal assistance and in-store experience to their followers.

McKinsey & Company acknowledged the importance of elevating customer experience in the time of COVID-19. Engagement is a crucial aspect of digital transformation that businesses should not neglect to remain economically viable.

Final Thoughts

Businesses that embraced the digital transformation, adding cloud technology and digitized customer experiences to their arsenal, can weather any challenge, even a pandemic. They can innovate employee collaboration, protect sensitive data, and digitize the customer experience, among other benefits.

The role of marketing in this transformation is crucial. Companies should pair digital tech with a solid marketing strategy to create, drive, and deliver a customer-centric experience.

At 2Stallions, we provide digital marketing services (i.e. social media marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, etc.) that will help businesses understand and connect with their customers in today’s digital era. 

Check out our complete list of services at https://2stallions.com/service/digital-marketing/.

If there’s one overused cliché in content marketing, it would be “Content is King.” As cliché as it sounds, this phrase speaks the truth because any kind of content (i.e. blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.) can help brands in endless ways.

Words and visuals, in particular, are powerful communication tools. They help to establish your brand identity, build a connection with your audiences, boost awareness of your brand, and generate qualified leads among other benefits.

This is why every company should make content an essential part of its marketing arsenal. Businesses should utilise content marketing to improve awareness, leads, and sales.

If your organisation hasn’t developed a solid content marketing strategy yet, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon.

Keep reading to learn more about content marketing and how to make high-quality content pieces that work for your business.

What Exactly Is Content Marketing

In its simplest definition, content marketing is all about using relevant and valuable content to attract and retain visitors, eventually turning them into paying customers.

It aims to capture the interest of audiences and solve their pain points by creating content that serves these goals.

This blog you’re reading right now is a form of content marketing. That online survey you answered, the email you opened and social media posts you liked is also another form of content marketing.

Other types of content marketing include:

  • case studies
  • infographics
  • webinars
  • podcasts
  • videos

Why Content Marketing Works

Content marketing works wonders because of 3 major reasons: it delivers value to audiences, builds trust over time, and attracts the right target audience for your brand.

Think of blog articles as an example. These content pieces are written for a certain group of audiences to address specific needs, pain points, and desires.

When the readers’ problems are addressed and solved through your articles, your blog site establishes an authority. Readers will keep coming back for more, thus allowing your brand to engage better leads and customers.

Still not convinced that content marketing works? Take a look at these content marketing statistics:

Content Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign

You now know what content marketing is all about. You are aware on how it can help your marketing efforts. Let’s take a look at some successful examples that can inspire you into action!

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign

Coca-Cola company personalised its cans with 250 of the most common names and people around the world went crazy in search of a can bearing their name. The campaign was a major success because it appealed to human emotions, inspiring shared moments of happiness among friends and family.

In Australia alone, the soft drink manufacturer sold more than 250 million (that is 10 times of its population size!) bottles and cans within 3 months.

Coca-cola grew sales with share a coke campaign

Superdrug challenges beauty standards with the campaign: “Perceptions of Perfection Across Borders”

Superdrug Online Doctor is a website offering prescription and medical consultation services. The brand asked designers from 18 countries to retouch a woman’s photo according to their country’s beauty standard. The project aimed to better understand potentially, the unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how pressures on women’s bodies vary around the world.

The project turned out to be a success because of the body positivity message it left: there’s no such thing as the perfect body.  

These pictures quickly made headlines when they were first published and sparked lots of conversations online which boosted the brand awareness of Superdrug.

BuzzFeeds Tasty facebook page – Building a juggernaut with short video content

BuzzFeed’s instructional cooking arm, Tasty, is one of the biggest publishing brands on Facebook and it’s also the juggernaut behind the success of Buzzfeed’s video marketing.

Tasty successfully captured people’s interests by publishing recipes and other food-related content consistently. The brand also began the unique 60-second video format, making it popular on Facebook feeds.

In September 2016, Tasty’s main Facebook page was the third-biggest video account on Facebook with nearly 1.7 billion video views. Today, Tasty has grown into a multi-stream revenue model with over a 100 million followers, receiving an average of 300,000 views for each of its new video.

How to Create Content That Works for Your Brand

Remember, content is an essential piece of information. All the information presented in it can help you succeed at persuading and entertaining your readers. With that in mind, it is important to create a content marketing strategy that focuses on producing quality content.

There are 4 qualities to a great piece of content:

1. It Should Be ReadABLE

First things first, your content should be readable. It should be easy on the eyes.This means it should meet the following readability factors: font size, text and background colour, white space, and more.

You can’t expect your target audience to stay on your website if your content is written in tiny fonts. Troublesome colour combinations can also result in headaches, which can tune your readers out in the first few minutes of their site visit.

Also, white space should be your friend. Make sure the column width, vertical spaces between lines, and space around the images aren’t too tight for easier reading.

For content to be readable, it should also be easy to understand. Audience’s attention span keeps shortening over the years. That’s why you should convey your message simply to avoid alienating readers in the first few minutes or seconds.

Secondly, follow the KISS principle. Keep it short and simple. Steer clear of complex words and jargons to get your message across. It’s also ideal to reduce the length of your sentences.

While there’s no definitive rule on the ideal length of a paragraph, a great way to paragraph would be around ideas. Split your paragraphs into sections to make chunks of information easy to read.

2. It Should Be ShareABLE

The best content gets more eyeballs not only because it’s readable but also because it’s shareable. Oftentimes, content shareability depends on one significant factor: the topic itself.

If you want to get your content shared, come up with content ideas that resonate well with varied audience types. You can begin your topic research by looking into the following: emotions, trend, and identity.

Creating content that elicits emotions such as excitement, joy and awe can your make brand or campaign viral. Strike these positive chords to connect with your audiences emotionally and eventually attract more likes, clicks, or shares.

Finding trending topics and building upon them is another sure-fire way to make content shareable. Provide your target audience with content that speaks to their interests and this may help inspire discussion and connection among like-minded individuals.

Let’s say you’re targeting people who love to travel. This type of audience has various interests—destination, experience, food, and so on. You may write a blog article that features a list of vacation spots and activities in a specific location.

People are also more likely to share content on their social media profiles if they can relate to and see themselves in it. Try to understand what your target audience believes in and create a piece of content that affirms their points of view.

3. It Should Be ActionABLE

For a content marketing campaign to be effective, the content should not only spread information to a specific audience, but it should also prompt action and explain to the reader how they can achieve a certain objective. This is known as actionable content.

When creating actionable content, you must understand your prospect’s dilemmas or problems. You need to recognise these problems and provide answers, solutions or helpful advice.

So how do you actually create this kind of content?

First, you should focus on the ‘how-to’ element of your content. Instead of only presenting a list of ideas, explain how to execute them or guide readers on how to choose the right one.

Next, use visuals (i.e. images and videos) to explain your thoughts and ideas. The human brain is hardwired for visual content. Adding visual elements to your content will help your audiences process the information easily.

Also, actionable tips that are backed by real-life examples can convince your readers to take action. Include examples and statistics within sections of your posts to make your content trustworthy.

Lastly, use clear calls-to-action (CTAs). Keep them short and sweet but make sure you get the message across whilst evoking a sense of urgency.

4. It Should Be MemorABLE

Great content leaves your audience in awe. It lets readers hang on to your words or message not just for a moment, but for a long time.

Tapping into a single emotion such as happiness, sadness, anger or fear is one way to make content stick with your target audience. In a study conducted by Psychology Today, it was found that people respond to the emotional part of the ads than the text itself.

That is why tear-jerking and humorous campaigns tend to leave an impact on audiences. The strong emotions they convey help to engage, influence, and inspire people, making the campaign viral and memorable.

Apart from using emotional triggers, there’s another method to leave your audience awestruck- a cliff-hanger.

There are a few steps to create cliff-hanger content. First, begin with writing strong and magnetic headlines. Your headline should give readers a glimpse of your content’s purpose. Next, craft a promising introduction. Tell readers why they should care about your post and promise them a solution to their problems.

Then, leave them with a question that will make them reflect on how they can implement the knowledge you provided. The question should leave them wanting for more and clicking your call-to-action (CTA) button.

Back to You

Behind every successful brand, there are high-value content pieces designed to promote its business.

If you want to stand out or at least keep up with your competition, then develop content that’s readABLE, shareABLE, actionABLE, and memorABLE.

Fun fact: Those four words all end in ABLE. That means you have a bigger chance to achieve your goals if you’re able to create content that meets the above qualities.

Here at 2Stallions, we recognise the value of content marketing and uphold the above practices. If you need assistance with developing content that engages and sells, we would be happy to help. Learn more about our content marketing services here.

Have you been making social media campaigns, but your business still isn’t generating many impressions? If yes, then it’s time to do some social media tweaks.

Social networking platforms offer a wealth of benefits, from increasing brand awareness to generating leads, boosting sales, and more. However, it’s hard to reap any of these benefits without a vital element—audience engagement.

The word “social” in social media relates to interaction with other people, meaning social media without engagement is just media. Unlike traditional media such as TV ads and print ads, social networks are a two-way street that creates a connection between two or more parties.

This connection plays a pivotal role in increasing organic reach on Facebook and other social media platforms. Facebook posts, for example, that spark meaningful conversations appear high up in the newsfeed.

Here’s why the social media giant sees engagement as a crucial metric in getting more reach:

“Interacting with people is associated with a greater sense of well-being… On the other hand, just scrolling through your Facebook feed, passively reading or watching without interacting with others, tends to make people feel worse.” – Facebook

How to Tweak Your Social Media Campaigns for Better Engagement

1. Create Viral-Ready & Value-Adding Content

Companies should ride the wave of social media marketing and inject a little creativity into their campaigns. And, guess what? Your business isn’t exempt from this.

The reason behind this is because the number of social media users grows each year. Facebook, in particular, has reached roughly 2.8 billion monthly active users in 2020, up from 1.35 in 2014.

Since more people spend their time on social networks, it’s crucial to up your social media game and make some social media tweaks.

Update your old blog posts and re-promote them on your social media platforms. Revamp the content (i.e., update the statistics, discuss timely news, etc.) to retain your blogs’ usefulness.

It’s also a great idea to plan a full-blown viral marketing campaign. Viral posts have the highest likelihood of boosting engagement levels. Here are a few things that make a content viral-ready:

  • emotional triggers
  • relatable theme or story
  • displaying uncommon talent
  • provide a unique experience

Learn from companies that gained massive support from the online public and increased their social media following base.

Scoot Tigerair Pte Ltd or Scoot, the budget carrier of Singapore Airlines Group, is one example. The low-cost airline launched its “Minute to Wing It” campaign in 2016 to celebrate its second year in business.

The campaign included one-minute Q & A videos, and participants who answered quickly received SGD2,000 in travel vouchers daily. Those who won in all their short video campaigns received the grand prize of two airline tickets.

The “Minute to Wing It” campaign won the Singaporean Marketing Magazine’s “Agency of the Year Award 2017” for having the best digital campaign idea and best social media content during the time.

2. Discuss Current Trends, News, or Events

Engaging your customers in social media can sometimes happen naturally. When audiences relate to or like a post you share, it’s easy to engage in stimulating conversations and turn those conversations into followers and customers.

The term “engagement” covers a range of actions across all social platforms, including:

  • likes and favourites
  • comments, DMs, replies
  • shares and retweets
  • saves
  • clicks
  • mentions

These metrics measure the effectiveness of your posts. They gauge the level of engagement generated from your social media campaigns.

To ensure you get more likes, comments, shares or clicks, create content that resonates well with your audience. One way to that is by discussing or following a current trend, news or event.

If that’s not clear to you, then let these two brands/campaigns do the explaining:

Coca-Cola: Socially Distanced  Logo

coca-cola, social distancing logo, staying apart is the best way to stay united, coke, times square, billboard

Credit: The Coca-Cola Company

The beverage giant ran a billboard in New York’s Time Square, which showed each letter in its brand name separated. This logo tweak encourages people to maintain social distancing amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Berger Paints India: Dalgona Coffee

Dalgona Coffee, Berger Paints India, Cream Allure, Paint Your Imagination

Credit: Berger Paints India

Dalgona coffee has gone viral during the pandemic. The coffee recipe became popular on social media globally, and brands like Berger Paints were clever to incorporate the Dalgona trend into its campaign.

2. Livestream Your Most Important Events

Live streaming on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, is blowing up the scene. But what is live streaming anyway?

Image Source: Wikimedia

At its simplest, live streaming is a practice that lets people stream digital data, such as audio and video, simultaneously. The streamed data is broadcasted in real-time for viewers over the Internet.

If you haven’t discovered yet the potential of going live on social media, that’s enough reason to include it in your social media tweaks list. Start live streaming your events to enjoy a wide range of business benefits, including:

  • Diminish marketing costs. Facebook Live costs little-to-zero dollars. All you need is to show up on your live video and engage in a real-time discussion with your target audience.
  • Generate a bigger audience. Live streams have no geographical and physical restrictions and are accessible to a worldwide audience.
  • Develop direct engagement. Live streaming creates a direct connection to each viewer. When a social media user views your content, that person may see it as if he/she is interacting with your brand personally.
  • Create new business opportunities. A live-streamed event can provide new business opportunities. Integrating promotional offers into the live stream video, for example, can generate large numbers of sales.

Here are some live stream event ideas to consider:

  • Host a contest or Q&A
  • Raise money for a cause
  • Announce a new product
  • Do a live consulting session
  • Stream an inclusive interview
  • Take a virtual tour of your space

4. Write Personal & Intriguing Captions

Sharing your company blog posts or other relevant industry news across your social media profiles is a widely used marketing technique nowadays. When done right, it can help you get a positive return on investment (ROI) from your content marketing efforts.

So, how do you get more traffic and reach a wider audience from this tactic? Here’s a tip: make your captions more personal and intriguing.

Avoid simply putting the title and URL of your blog article. Your readers can already see your article headline, and doing it will appear like you’re putting less effort into creating social media captions.

Here are a few tips on writing engaging captions on social media:

  • Write the important stuff first and within the character length limit
  • Pull inspiring quotes or statistics from the content you share
  • Ask open-ended questions to prompt interaction
  • Include a call-to-action (CTA) in your caption

5. Use Hashtags Effectively

Social media presence and engagement are intertwined. Having a solid social media presence can drive better audience engagement. While driving a lot of engagement on social media can get your business in front of more followers or customers.

For this reason, it’s crucial to make your content or business discoverable for other people via hashtags. This tactic is one of those social media tweaks that you should prioritize, especially if you’re struggling with creating interactions around your brand.

Hashtags are an essential part of social media marketing. They’re a metadata tag prefaced by the hash symbol (#), which allow users to label content and find relevant topics, events, or conversations.

Since hashtags aggregate all content with that same hashtag, it makes great sense to incorporate them into your social media posts. Doing so helps improve your searchability and encourage people to connect with your business and other social media users.

Below are some tips for a successful hashtag marketing campaign:

  • Keep the hashtag relevant. Use a hashtag that is relevant to your content and company.
  • Make the hashtag brief. Avoid using too many words in a hashtag. Instead, use the most simple keywords or phrases possible.
  • Find the right hashtags. Find hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and see if other people are using them and if they fit your content.
  • Include trending hashtags. Adding a trending hashtag to your social media post can get your message seen by a larger audience.
  • Limit the number of hashtags you use. Don’t overuse hashtags. Here are the hashtag restrictions per social media channel:
    • Twitter: 2 hashtags per tweet is ideal because of the character count limit
    • Instagram: 11 hashtags offers the highest level of engagement
    • Facebook: 1 to 2 hashtags with 10+ characters work best

6. Respond to Comments

Have you ever sent someone a text and got no reply? If yes, how does that make you feel? Do you feel ignored or mistreated? Or do you regret the idea of trying to interact?

The same thing applies to how your followers or social media users feel when they leave a comment on your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram post. Their impression of you is put at stake when they had a negative customer experience while engaging with your business.

Social media engagement is a two-street. That’s why you must respond to comments, whether they’re questions, praises, criticisms, or negative feedback.

Here are some ways to do just that:

  • Establish a consistent tone. Always use your brand voice and be consistent across social channels.
  • Make personal responses. Avoid copy-pasted responses. Whenever possible, include the name of the commenter to make it more personal.
  • Remain professional. Maintain a professional stance, especially when replying to negative comments.
  • Respond quickly. A quick response shows that you care about your customers and their concerns.

Final Thoughts

Social media is a powerful tool for business marketing. With millions of active social media users, your marketing and advertising efforts have a strong chance of succeeding.

By taking note of these six social media tweaks, you can create a compelling campaign that can help you generate leads and improve your conversion rates.

2Stallions can help you boost your social media marketing efforts and establish a better relationship with your target audience. Contact us today to learn more.

Many companies have started developing an online presence for themselves. However, most still fail to unlock the numerous digital opportunities for their businesses. Why is this? The main culprit is poor persuasive copywriting techniques.

Your business website isn’t what builds your brand on the Internet. You can potentially reach millions of customers to visit your website, but once on your website, your profitable actions are driven by something else altogether.

Your compelling content. This is what builds your brand, keeps visitors engaged on your website, gets them interested in your products or services and ultimately drives them to buy from you.

The most successful businesses acknowledge the importance of high-quality web copy. Apple, for example, hires a large team of talented copywriters who continuously produce excellent copywriting.

The hype and craze around Apple’s products are a result of both high-quality products AND good marketing that is supported by effective copywriting. Apple copywriters know exactly how to generate hype for their products and convert visitors into buyers.

If you want to grow your business, learn how to sell with words as Apple does. Read on to find out how you can win over clients through persuasive copywriting.

What Is Persuasive Copywriting?

As its name suggests, it is the practice of writing compelling copy that persuades visitors to take the actions you want them to.

Copywriting is almost an art form. It requires creative thinking to enhance the value of a copy, and entice people to take some form of action based on reading it.

However, the truth is that there is also science behind turning words into money.

Brilliant copywriting relies on an important branch of science: psychology. The goal of writing copy is to trigger the brains of your readers and elicit a response to your message.

You should tap into core beliefs and human behaviour to better connect with your audience.

There are many psychological triggers that can help encourage visitors to click and buy, but the most widely used triggers tap into human emotions.

According to Gerald Zaltman, a Harvard Business School professor, 95% of our purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. This means people tend to make decisions with their emotions, not their logical brains.

If you are serious about growing sales, combine creative writing with persuasive psychological triggers for a winning combination to influence customers.

Before you integrate emotional triggers into your marketing copy, you should consider mastering the following copywriting techniques first.

1. Rhyme Makes a Copy Shine

We’re all exposed to the melodic beauty of rhymes from a young age. Nursery rhymes like “Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are.” are easier to remember because of the witty rhyming pattern.

The same holds true when writing copy. In the book To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink shares a study where participants are asked to rate two statements with the same meaning but written in different ways:

“Woes unite foes” vs “Woes unite enemies”

While both statements drive the same message, readers find it easier to accept the one that rhymes.

Rhyming statements can make content memorable. This copywriting technique can make your important points stand out, thus helping create a pleasant connection with your readers.

Bonus copywriting tip:

You don’t have to fill every nook and cranny of your website with rhyme-packed poems. A catchy rhyming phrase is best used when selling the benefits of your product or service.

Example:

The thinnest, lightest, fastest iPhone ever. (iPhone 5)

2. Repetition Catches Attention

Nursery rhymes aren’t the only offering from daily life for your copywriting lessons. Aspiring copywriters can also learn from mothers and grandmothers who share the same wisdom-filled lectures so many times that you never forget the words they speak even years later.

Repeating key points in your copywriting is a good thing. (Oops. Rhyme not intended.)

It is a tried and tested method of catching the reader’s attention and driving home certain points.

However, repetition of words or sentences isn’t always welcome. We’re even taught in school to avoid repeating words unnecessarily. Why else do we have the thesaurus?

Repetition becomes bad when it makes the copy redundant and full of fluff. It can tire readers if they have to go through the same thoughts over and over.

And then there’s good repetition. Repetition can be a powerful linguistic tool when used effectively. It can draw more attention to your overall message and form coveted long-term memory links, which is essential to converting a prospect into a paying customer.

If you don’t get what we mean, grab some inspiration from Apple’s watchOS ad copy.

Here, Apple did not repeat the phrase but reframe the idea to stress important points.

Bonus copywriting tip:

Use repetition purposefully. You can use it to emphasize the points in your copy or make the tone more convincing, more emotional, and more dramatic.

3. Sometimes, Less is More

It is true that long-form content converts. An article, for example, with more than 2,000 words, can drive high-quality search engine traffic and encourages a better conversion rate down the funnel due to the brand authority it helps to build.

This is not always the case though. We now live in the “instant age”, where a lot of people have short attention spans. Site visitors rarely read every word on the screen. In fact, they typically spend only 10 to 20 seconds on a website.

If your website copy (i.e. landing pages) does not grab your visitors’ attention, they are unlikely to stay longer. In the right instances, you should, therefore, practice keeping your web copy short, simple, and concise.

Just because long-form content converts does not mean you add filler to your copy. Instead of working with a view towards the length of your copy, focus on providing value in as few sentences as possible.

Check out at how Apple pulled off a concise yet catchy product page copy.

Apple MacBook, Rose gold

The headline can be read and understood in less than a second. With just three words, readers will know what’s good about the MacBook—it’s lightweight and has robust performance that will last for years.

Bonus copywriting tip:

Always break down long sentences. Turn them into short and memorable statements. Combine the text with visual elements to deliver the message effectively.

4. Cut Clichés from Your Copy

Ever wonder why people use clichés? There are two main reasons. First is because oftentimes, they turn out to be true. Second is the coolness factor of using such phrases.

While the latter sounds like a great reason to use clichés in your copy, abusing such phrases can hurt your credibility. Readers may perceive your brand as lazy and lacking careful thought.

Let’s look at a few common clichés that you hear in work settings and can mean many things:

“Breakdown the silos” could mean ‘share information,’ ‘work together,’ or ‘cooperate with each other.’

“Take it offline” – when put in layman terms, it means ‘let’s continue this discussion at the break,’ or ‘I’ll send a follow-up email with those details ASAP.’

With such phrases, there is always the chance of misinterpretation that hinders effective communication.

A common cliché also makes for a boring copy. Associating familiar or overused clichés with your brand could lead to it seeming unoriginal. Next time you consider clichés, come up with something unique for your brand instead.

Bonus copywriting tip:

Keep your copy fresh and real. Tell the story that only you can tell. Communicate with everyday language. Think creatively and stimulate new ideas.

5. More Active, Less Passive

Writing in an active voice is one of the most common copywriting techniques. Every writer sticks to this for a variety of reasons— make the text more concise, create a faster-moving narrative, and improve search engine rankings.

Here’s the catch: not everyone follows the rule strictly. Most of us use passive speech naturally, which makes it hard to avoid using passive phrases in writing.

There is always an exception to the rule though. You might use a passive voice when you want to be vague. For example, to deflect full responsibility, you would say “mistakes were made” instead of “I made a mistake”.

There are also instances where passive voice can be more concise. For example, Made in Australia. If written in an active tone, it would have more words – “Australia has produced…,” or “Australia produced this…”

The above exceptions are a great defence of the passive voice BUT active voice works better in most cases. Imagine the McDonald’s slogan “I’m lovin’ it.” written in a passive voice as “It’s being loved by me.” Not quite the same impact, is it?

Mcdo logo, i'm lovin' it

Passive writing adds unnecessary words to a sentence. It makes your marketing copy dull, clunky and hard to read, so avoid it when possible.

Bonus copywriting tip:

Almost every passive sentence has an active alternative. Rewrite your sentence and check if the active sentence form makes sense.

6. Forget About Weasel Words

No one bets on or trusts something that seems uncertain. Would you hire an event planner if she says “I think our team can meet your expectations.” You would rather love to hear words of assurance like “We will do our best to meet or exceed your expectations.”

The same thing applies to copywriting. Your copy should reflect your brand as a solid and stable company. In short, avoid using weasel words.

What is a weasel word? It refers to a term used to avoid making a direct statement or promise.

Fun fact:

“Weasel word” originated from weasels, an animal that is believed to suck the yolks from bird’s eggs, leaving only the empty shell. This belief is used to describe statements that have had the life sucked out of them.

Using weasel words can undermine your brand.  If your headline, sub-headings, and body copy consist of words like maybe, try, could, may, hope, it associates your brand with instability in your visitors’ minds.

Let’s say you run a courier service business. If your web copy states “We will try to deliver your parcel as soon as we can,” your customers will assume you are not getting many orders.

The statement is accurate in that certain deliveries might be delayed due to bad weather and calamities. However, the use of weasel words casts doubts about your overall business capability in the eyes of visitors.

Audiences today are sharper and wittier than ever. So shun vague words in your copy.

Bonus copywriting tip:

Establish confidence in your copy. Use specific examples or illustrations to instil confidence in your visitors. Like Nike – Just Do It. (-;

7. Limit the Exclamation Point

How often should you use exclamation points in marketing copy? More often if you want to sound like an overly excited child would be the answer! You will likely ruin the chance of getting prospects to click that buy now button!

Did the excessive use of the exclamation marks in the previous paragraph make you cringe?

We hope it makes clear our point about exclamation points. Adding the punctuation mark in sentences unnecessarily make it seem like you are shouting at your readers.

Back in the 90s, it was the norm to use an exclamation point with a call-to-action (CTA). “Sign up now!” “Order here!” Nowadays, it has been ditched for a more minimalist call-to-action method.

Marketers realize that using exclamation points is akin to adding pepper to a dish. Too much of it will overpower every other flavour and result in no one enjoying the meal.

Use exclamation marks only if they fit your brand voice. Avoid using multiple exclamation marks in sequential sentences—unless it is part of your brand identity.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “using an exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” Keep that in mind whenever you feel like using this particular punctuation to inject excitement in your copy.

Bonus copywriting tip:

There are many ways to draw attention to your marketing message besides adding an exclamation mark. You can underline, italicize, use all caps or highlight words to emphasize them.

Make Your Copywriting Shine

Instead of simply mulling over how to improve your copywriting skills, why don’t you simply get started?

The competition in copywriting is fierce. You cannot just wait for things to happen. Start writing copy and learn from mistakes along the way to online marketing success. Start with the copywriting techniques we have shared in this article.

Need copywriting for your company but can’t afford a bevy of talented copywriters like Apple? No worries. You can outsource your creative writing needs and hire professional content writers or content agencies.

At 2Stallions, we offer content marketing services to help businesses develop a brand voice and reach their target audience through more effective copy and content.

In today’s digital age, it’s interesting that some business owners still pose questions such as “Why do I need a business website” and “Do I need a website”. These questions explicate why many are still on the fence about creating a website for their business.

According to Clutch, 38% of small businesses choose not to invest in a professional website. The B2B research firm surveyed small business owners and found that cost, irrelevance to industry, and social media are the key reasons behind their decision.

In contrast, 64% of them built a website with the primary purpose of establishing brand identity and growing a wide customer base online.

These varying research findings show that not everyone realizes the pivotal role that websites play for business success and are missing out on the opportunities that a business website offers them.

How about you? Which category of business owner do you fall under? If you’re not convinced for the need of a website, read on to learn the 6 rewards that you can reap from a well-designed website.

1. Your Website Helps Build Credibility

Most customers look for information online to be informed about their purchasing decisions. They usually research a company on the web before deciding to buy a product or acquire services.

In fact, a Verisign 2015 research reported that 84% of consumers find a business with a website more credible than those with only a social media page. That means people are more likely to make purchasing decisions through a company’s website, not social media.

However, a professional website can only increase your chances of building credibility if you make use of that digital space wisely. That’s why your website, while focused on content such as your certifications and award-winning products or services to build trust, should also be modern, aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.

People are visually wired; they focus on elements such as colours, fonts and images. If your website uses visuals effectively, it would be easier to establish trust with visitors.

Also, your business website needs to be user-friendly. There are several factors of a user-friendly website—mobile compatibility, ease of navigation, loading time, information architecture and so on.

For example, visitors should be able to navigate your website via their mobile phones and PCs and have a similar, if not the same, user experience. This intuitive and comfortable overall experience will make your website more appealing for potential customers, thus boosting your online credibility.

2. Your Website Saves You Time and Money

Save Time and Money With Your Website - 2Stallions

Many business owners tend to take the “penny wise, pound foolish” approach when it comes to setting up a website. While a business website builder can be an option, it’s better to hire the services of web design and development company.

This lets you focus on your business growth while leaving your website creation to professionals. Of course, your content and branding direction will ensure that your ideal customers are still able to find the right information about your business, products, and services and resonate with your brand. Your investment will pay for itself as you start generating new leads or sales through your website.

Once your professional website is up and running, it will promote your business 24/7, with the potential to reach a global audience. You can also edit information on your website immediately. Contrast this with traditional flyers and brochures, which you mostly distribute locally and where a product update means re-printing material to contain the latest information. Over time, a business website leads to monetary savings.

Additionally, your business website can also save you time by answering repeated questions via an FAQ (‘Frequently Asked Questions’) section on your website. By directing customers and visitors to your FAQ to find answers, you free yourself to tasks that help your business grow.

Finally, your website can also facilitate instant customer feedback. A contact form or chatbox allows your prospects or customers to engage you—whether it’s a complaint, compliment or just general feedback – allowing you a quick avenue to correct issues, thereby saving you lost revenue and time.

3. Your Website is an Incredible Marketing Tool 

TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards are expensive traditional marketing options to promote your business. Today’s digital age provides new channels to spread the word about your brand at a fraction of the cost!

Your website should be central to your digital marketing efforts. Whether you engage in social media advertising, search ads, email marketing or generating organic search traffic, your audience should eventually end up on your website to look at your product information or to leave you their details or to make a purchase.

For example, if your website content is optimized for SEO, your business can become more visible on search engines, allowing potential customers looking for products or services you offer to find you.

4. Your Website Exposes You to a Global Audience

Go Global Digitally - 2Stallions

Retail businesses do quirky things to drive foot traffic to their physical store. Brick-and-mortar store owners put out unique window displays, decorate window walls, and use prominent or vibrant decors to increase walk-ins and attract in-store sales.

With the booming trend for online shopping, these strategies no longer guarantee retail stores results. Customers shop online for various reasons including convenience, competitive prices and more variety, amongst others.

According to a 2018 Statista research, there’s an estimate of 1.8 billion people worldwide who purchased goods online. This highlights that consumers have experienced a dramatic shift from visiting stores physically to visiting them digitally.

The smartphone has enabled people to research products online, send product inquiries, and make purchases without getting off their couch.

Nearly 90% of shoppers begin their hunt in digital channels and 57% of online shoppers have made a purchase from an overseas retailer. These statistics suggest that if your business has an online presence, especially a website, you will have higher chances of getting new customers from across the globe, only limited by your ability to deliver to them.

Put simply, a professional website opens up the entire world to your business. It helps you to reach users and be found by anyone looking for products or services that you offer through a simple search.

6. A Website Lets You Measure Results

Your marketing doesn’t end once your campaign is launched. Analytics installed on your business website can give you micro insights into how your campaign is performing, and what sort of results it is driving.

We’re not just talking about online results either. There are ways to measure results from traditional marketing channels such as flyer distribution by tracking visitors who scan a QR code from your flyer to visit your website.

Of course, if you use digital marketing channels, you can see the performance of these via your analytics and tweak your campaigns accordingly. Proper analytics set up on your website lets you measure your return on investment (ROI). You can start out with Google Analytics, a free tool that is the most widely adopted analytics tool around the world.

You can measure and get insights into social and visitor behavior data, amongst others, through analytics.

Social insights

Visitor behavior insights

6. A Website is Your Extended Business Card

A business website is an excellent networking tool that helps broaden your client base regardless of the time of day.

These days, an immediate reaction when sifting through business cards you collect is to look up the person and company online to see if there is a potential synergy to work together.

A business card fits only basic details (i.e. phone number, email, website address etc.) on it. Your website then becomes the source of the additional information – product data, customer stories, testimonials – that is needed to bring a conversation further.

A satisfied customer may share your website when recommending your services to family, friend or colleague.

If the reasons shared have you convinced, then carry on reading, otherwise let us know your doubts in the comments section.

How to Create a Professional Website 

As discussed, having a business website offers several advantages. However, you can’t expect to achieve all of them if you fail at making your website work for your brand.

Here’s a quick guide to creating a professional website:

  • Determine your goals. You can’t start with web creation without a fundamental goal. Be sure to set goals that are SMART— specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
  • Devise a branding strategy. Identify your target market (the individuals whom you want to reach and turn into paying customers). Then, research your competitors to get a feel for what the competition is doing. You also need to define your brand identity, which includes a logo, brand colours, style and writing tone.
  • Plan web design and pages. Use your branding elements consistently on your site. Decide on how you want your website to look and how many pages will your website have.
  • Prioritize user experience. Your website should provide a positive user experience. Ensure visitors to keep browsing by looking into these factors: navigation flow, website layout, content readability, and mobile-friendly design.
  • Optimize for search engines. Build your website with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. Perform keyword research, write every content piece following SEO practices, and pay attention to other elements such as meta tags, and alt text.
  • Test website before launch. Test your website on all major browsers before it goes live. Run compatibility testing to ensure plugins work well, double-check if all the URLs are correct, proofread the content, and check for any tiny errors.

All of the above are areas that a good web development agency would help you with, so if you’re looking for one, reach out to us. Visit our web and development page to learn more about our services and development process.

The Takeaway

The increasingly digital business landscape means you cannot ignore establishing a solid online presence for your brand. You must give your business every chance to be successful and your digital presence begins with building a professional website.

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