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At present, the Asia-Pacific region is leading in global B2C e-commerce, with the total retail sales surpassing Western Europe and North America markets.

In fact, countries in the region are reported to have the highest levels of e-commerce adoption in the world. Currently, there are approximately 260 million users in the SEA region. This makes SEA the 4th largest market in the world and the region’s B2C e-commerce market is estimated to be valued at US$770 billion.

According to GlobalWebIndex, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam are all ahead of the global average while the Philippines matches the global average at 75%. Singapore, however, comes in just below that average, at 73%.

The SEA market is also a fast growing market , expanding at a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 per cent. The growth is further accelerated with the onset of a pandemic which saw 400% sales increase for products such as groceries.

The phenomenal growth in e-commerce is also not just about big, established platforms such as Shopee and Lazada. 2020 also saw other rising players in the region, including Vietnam’s Sendo,  Tokopedia and Bukalapak in Indonesia as well.

With the increasing popularity of e-commerce, it’s no surprise that Southeast Asia has adopted the industry well. If you are transitioning to e-commerce and unsure how to maximise your digital potential, there is no reason to fret. Here are 3 Rising E-Commerce Trends that will inform your marketing decisions and drive your brand forward.

Rising Trends in the APAC/SEA Region

 Trend #1: Mobile-first connectivity

High mobile phone user penetration is one of the major drivers of e-commerce growth in Southeast Asia.

A 2018 GSMA Intelligence’s Mobile Connectivity report indicated that 33% of Southeast Asia’s population is now covered by a mobile network, with 82% of the population living within the range of a 4G connection.

The increasing availability of affordable smartphones and the rollout of mobile telecommunication services across SEA markets also play an integral part in the growing mobile penetration in the region.

When it comes to internet penetration, Southeast Asian countries also lead the way. As of May 2020, Brunei ranks first with 95.3% followed by Singapore with 88.4% and Thailand with 81.7%.

This growing mobile consumption and internet use in the SEA increases the likelihood of consumers making purchases via their mobile phones. Not only that, but this could also mean a higher probability of them researching product information on their smartphones.

How to keep up with this trend?

Given the Southeast Asians’ high mobile usage, you should optimize your website for mobile devices. Your e-commerce site must feature a responsive design—be it viewed through a web browser on a PC or a smartphone.

The loading speed of your website also matters. Most people prefer using mobile phones when they want an immediate response, so slow-loading products and sluggish checkout process might not help.

Building a mobile app is another way to keep pace with this trend. This will help you tap your customer base easier and engage with them faster.

Trend #2: Growing Number of e-shops

The rising demand for e-commerce has compelled many aspiring businesses to enter the industry.

Before, people are hesitant to buy things online. That is not the case anymore. Shoppers now prefer purchasing online primarily because it is convenient. Some online stores also offer a wider selection and better prices compared to physical stores.

This is particularly evident in today’s Covid-19 pandemic, wherein more people are turning to e-commerce to purchase items they might have otherwise purchased in person.

Indeed, the Internet has transformed shopping in Southeast Asia—and studies have proven it many times. According to a report by Hootsuite and We Are Social, 63% of the SEA population use the internet, putting the region ahead of Eastern, Central, and Southern Asia.

Internet penetration around the world has directly impacted the increase of e-commerce around the world.

Also, the SEA’s e-commerce big players—Lazada, Shopee, and Tokopedia—contribute to the growing e-shops in the region. It is no doubt that these leading platforms greatly impact the rapidly increasing popularity of e-commerce.

How to keep up with this trend?

Since more people are dipping their toes in the e-commerce field, you must take a step ahead in bringing your brand to life.

Learn to use technology to your advantage.

Incorporate tech features in your website to provide customers with a personalised shopping experiences. Many e-commerce stores have developed “virtual try on” for their products so that customers can shop in the comfort of their own homes.

  • Sephora’s Virtual Artist

Sephora’s app has a Virtual Artist feature which allows you to try on makeup without visiting the physical stores. It is a time efficient way for customers to shop on the go, and it also solves the problems of customers who need to see and test the product when they’re unsure of the actual effect and suitability of a particular product. 

Trend #3: Evolving Customer Journey

Business trends across many industries can change rapidly, and so do customer expectations. As customers’ shopping behaviour changes over time, it’s important that businesses models can capture and grow in tandem with these shifting expectations.

This is especially so for Southeast Asian customers, whose shopping journeys are becoming increasingly complicated. While most of them shop online, a significant portion of them also research offline before purchasing online.

According to Forrester, SEA consumers’ shopping journey is a mix of online and offline touchpoints. Xiaofeng Wang, Senior Analyst in Forrester pointed out that they frequently research products and services on mobile phones, compare prices, look up product info, read customer reviews, and scan QR codes, to name a few.

Examples of such significant offline channels that customers go through are telephone, coupons, loyalty card, click and collect scheme, and so on.

How to keep up with this trend?

With customers in the region using varied channels for interaction, it’s crucial to bring align the customer’s online and offline shopping experience.

One way to do so is to implement an omnichannel marketing approach.  This will help make your brand a most trusted product supplier or service provider. Doing this also further increases the possibility of getting customer retention.

The Takeaway

Southeast Asia is a part of the world where mobile phones and the Internet are no longer just wants but needs—and this could also explain why e-commerce is booming in the region.

If you’re thinking of starting an e-commerce business in the SEA, it’s not too late to do so. Getting into e-commerce could greatly benefit your business especially in times like a pandemic. Of course, you’ll ultimately need a strategy and a high-performance website or mobile app to stand out in a crowded field.

When it comes to web and app development, you can rely on 2Stallions. As a digital marketing agency, we can help to develop an instant e-commerce website that can market your business online and boost your sales. Talk to us today!

Did you know?

Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

As an inbound marketing tactic, content marketing is a budget-friendly method which will bring immense benefits for your business both in the short term and long run. It’s a strategy which is particularly effective for educating and nurturing existing as well as potential customers, targeting ToFu, MoFu and BoFu stages of customers. This is why content marketing is one of the core digital marketing strategies for bringing in traffic and encouraging conversions for any brand.

But what exactly is content marketing? And what does a content marketer do in order to reap these benefits?

Read on to find more about the job of Social Media and Content Executive Emily Ng, and discover what goes on behind the scene in an agency’s day of work.

Meet Emily- Social Media and Content Executive at 2Stallions!

Fresh out of university in 2019, Emily joined 2Stallions for her first full-time job as a Social Media and Content Executive. Since then, she has been with our agency for 1.5 years, specialising in copywriting and content creation for clients.

She discovered her passion for copywriting when she started an internship as a copywriter at a local start-up and has never looked back since. Over the years, she has written a variety of social media posts for different categories, from homeware, a fitness gym for little kids to insurance and healthcare.

A complete homebody, you will find her at home during the weekends picking up new skills such as video editing or baking. Currently, she is working on mastering a new language!

What goes on in the day to day job as a Social Media and Content Executive?

Well, as my job title suggests, I create content on a daily basis! The content I create ranges from blog articles, newsletters, copywriting (social media posts and ads), scripts for animated videos to infographics.

Emily worked with the creative team on this fabulous video for our client – Attonics Systems

However, other than creating the content, there’s actually a lot of preparation work to be done. This includes content research, planning, conceptualising content and social media calendar (up to months in advance), and keyword research. It’s also essential that I keep myself updated about the industry’s latest trends by reading up various marketing magazines and data reports such as Think with Google.

These are the foundational work needed to be done, to ensure I’m aware of the current trends to produce content that is engaging, interesting and relevant for our clients’ targeted audience.

As a content creator, I also get to work with other teams in the agency. Two teams that I work closely with include the SEO and Creative team. The SEO team ensures that my content has higher visibility in Google’s search engine. I also work with the Creative team to discuss and align the art direction for a particular project.

Another important aspect of my work includes conducting weekly brainstorming or meetings to refresh the existing content plan. All of these are essential to help our content remain timely and updated.

These weekly meetings also help us to review and incorporate clients’ feedback into our work. Our agency believes in putting the needs of our clients first. Therefore, I always ensure transparent communication and regular updates with the clients about our work.

Why do you think content marketing is important and relevant for businesses these days?

In my opinion, content marketing is extremely relevant these days.

Think about all the times we want to make a purchase or find a restaurant “near me” whenever I’m on the go. What is the first step we’ll do before making a decision?

We’ll almost subconsciously whip out our devices to do a quick search on the product or place that we are interested in. We’ll look up reviews, listicles and take a deeper dive into a particular company’s website. As a habitual instinct, conducting research is the first step we make before any purchase decision these days.

We’re so reliant on search engines that brands need to produce content around what people are searching for, such that you can increase awareness and generate leads for your product or service.

Was it difficult for you to work in a field that was outside of your degree specialization? Any advice for fresh graduates who’re open to exploring different career paths just like you did?

After my short stint in a copywriting internship, I knew marketing was a field I was passionate about. However, finding a full-time job in the marketing industry was a little challenging as my degree was not in communications or marketing.

Fortunately, I took on several internships and part-time jobs during my university days in copywriting. This proved to be beneficial as the internships helped me gained the experience that most marketing employers are looking for.

For those who are open to exploring different career paths, I definitely recommend going for internships to obtain the experience first. Make sure you do your research and find a company in the industry you’re interested in. Before choosing a company, it’s important to understand the company’s culture and work environment. The ideal internship should provide you with ample learning opportunities and good mentoring. Otherwise, it would be a wasted internship as you’ll obtain little value that could benefit your career pathway.

Other than internships, do also consider self-learning and upskilling. There are also many learning tools out there such as Google Skillshop or Udemy that can help you gain relevant and important skills. At the same time, you will also learn and understand the industry better.

You must equip yourself with the knowledge and skills as this will give you an edge during your interview process. Most importantly, don’t feel disheartened when you get rejected by a company. Take it as a learning process and never give up! (I also faced several rejections myself!)

As a writer and content creator, were there times when you experience content fatigue or faced writer’ block? What do you do to help yourself get out of the rut?

Definitely. During such times, I would remind myself to take a short break, walk around a little and try to stop thinking about that particular project. Alternatively, I would also browse through social media to take my mind off the project. Doing so helps me to refresh my mind which is great when you’re feeling overwhelmed or uninspired.

During the Circuit breaker period (working from home), I’ve also come to learn that taking timely breaks is extremely important. If you overwork by forcing yourself to produce content for… let’s say 5 hours straight, you are not going to produce quality work that you or your clients want. In fact, if you take small breaks in between the day to recharge yourself, you can produce better work as your mind is in an optimal state to think creatively and write effectively.

Is it true that an agency life is work without play?

Sometimes when you are handling multiple projects, it can get pretty time-consuming. However, agency life is really not work without play. At 2Stallions, we encourage everyone to work hard and play hard! We have a relatively young team, so it can be pretty fun in the office at times!

Our agency also emphasises on the well-being of its employees. That is why we have regular video calls to catch up with one another, to ensure everyone is coping well with the current situation. I’m grateful for my supportive colleagues who’re always ready to help whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed at work. When things get tough, I know that I will always have my team to fall back on.

Wrapping Up

Contrary to common belief, the job of a Content Creator goes beyond writing articles. Content marketing has moved past blogs and now encompasses so much more. With this article, we hope that you have a better understanding of what it’s like to work as a content creator . Feel free to connect with Emily if you’re curious to learn more the work we do!

Drop by our blog if you’d like to learn more about content marketing and content strategy. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated about all things digital.

Like every career, a creative designer’s job can be complex and full of challenges.

It’s a job that requires marrying the field of art with science. While a creative designer needs an eye for aesthetically pleasing visuals, he or she will also need to understand human psychology to know what attracts and retains a consumer’s attention.

It requires one to work with imagination, know the principles of good design and have a flair for creative ideas. A creative designer needs to understand the what and how of effective design, in order to create artworks that can successfully capture anyone’s eye.

As such, the job of a creative designer is extremely crucial to any marketing campaign. After all, any piece of ad, video or poster has only 8 seconds to impress and capture a person’s attention!

But what goes into the daily work of a creative designer? Where does their inspiration come from? How exactly does the job of a creative designer make use of art and science?

Curious to find out more? Let’s dive into the world of creative design with Ventina to learn more about the job of a creative designer!

Meet Ventina

Hi everyone! My name is Ventina!

I graduated from Institute Technology of Bandung, Indonesia in 2015 and my major was Visual Communication Design. Formerly, I worked as a Creative Designer and 2D artist in Qajoo Game Studio, CERI and Mekanuma clothing apparel for 3 years. I worked on different projects ranging from branding, illustration, pattern designs, game development to animation.

Ventina is a UI/UX designer at our agency

In 2018, I joined 2Stallions digital agency because I wanted to learn more about UI/UX. I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me and I was able to learn many things on top of UI/UX here.

Recently, I’ve been having lots of fun experimenting with different ads and graphic motion videos. I also have great colleagues that ensure I never have a dull day at work. We work collaboratively and consult with each other on design ideas. I find that working in a team is a  great way to bounce ideas off each other and create meaningful designs which impact real users.

What made you decide to start a career in creative design

Well, the decision stemmed from my love for drawing. Whenever my friends in middle school and high school asks me to draw for them, I often received compliments from them as well.

The hours spent immersing myself in the world of art was something that I find myself enjoying a lot . That’s when I started to think of illustration and creative design as a viable career path for me.

I always think that design have a greater impact on our lives than we imagine. From our physical surroundings, to the things we wear and buy, everything around us is embedded with design. So I think it would be nice if I can be one of the people that create them.

UI/UX design can be found in our everyday lives

 

What is expected of a creative designer?

Building a portfolio and growing your network

A common concern for most creative designers, and for those who are switching their career path to creative design, are worried about the need for a portfolio.

In the creative industry, having a portfolio will help a lot. In a way, your portfolio acts as your resume. A portfolio is used to showcase your best work and helps clients review and determine if your design style is a good fit for their company.

Before you can start making a portfolio, you will first need to have projects. Whether it’s personal or freelance projects, they are useful to help you gain hands on experience.

It’ll be easier if you had pursued a formal study in design. But if you can’t, you can always work on your software skills. You can start creating an online portfolio on Instagram or other social media platform, so people can notice your work!

Consider taking on freelance work and don’t forget to network with fellow designers and build connections with clients. Keeping excellent work standards and delivering excellent customer service will help you obtain customer referrals to spread the word of your designs.

Challenges in the field of creative design

Creative design is an ever changing field, so a creative designer must always research and be updated about the latest industry trends.

There will also be times when you are racking your brain the entire day for ideas and inspirations. Personally, I try to overcome this challenge by getting outside, taking care of my plants, playing with my cat and browsing designs created by other desingers. The important thing is to give yourself time to recharge and refresh your mind in order to think of better ideas.

Recently, the Attonics video which you’ve created has been featured on Bestdesigns.co. Could you tell us more about how you approached the project?

For this particular project, I took inspiration from Apple mainly because it encompasses really good visual elements that makes a good motion video and animation. Some of the UX trends in 2020 includes the use of futuristic colours and dark tones, and that was also the vibe that I was going for in this video.

Apple Motion Graphics

Visual design process

Step 1: Start with a sketch

A visual design process typically starts with a sketch. Usually, I will create the sketch with pencil, write a match script, note down the parts of VO (voice over) and have a rough idea of the number of images required.

The first step of a design process is to start with a sketch

Step 2: Add in details and create an artboard

The second step would be to digitalize the storyboard. I’d usually put the estimated time above each artboard.

Step 3: Obtain approval from the client

When done, show this to the client, and wait for their feedback

Step 4: Get started on the actual design and animation

After the client approve, go to the third step : start to animate them. I really love this part! Since I can always learn many new things such as transition, text animation, etc.

Step 5: Review, feedback and revise

This is when I’ll send the first draft to the client to obtain feedback and work on addressing them. Finalize the video and it’s done!

Advice to aspiring creative designers

It is also useful for creative designers to build on non-design skills. One example from my personal experience is communication.

Other than having the necessary software skills, you’ll also need to work on communication. It is important to be an empathetic designer who takes time to really understand the needs of the client. Remain open minded to the clients’ input and also convey your design approach clearly so that clients can understand your ideas as well.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of critiques. Constructive criticism are what helps you become a better designer. Only by making mistakes will you learn where to improve and how to be better. Never give up, continue practicing and continuously learn from your peers in the industry. Build and learn from your experience. Sometimes, we may find other people’s words getting to us sometimes, but remember not to take it personally and view it as a stepping stone to becoming a better creative designer!

Discover more with 2S Creative Service

When it comes to marketing, creative assets is a big part of every campaign or project, especially so for social media marketing and dynamic social ads. In this period where digital marketing is fast becoming the norm, companies will need  the combined expertise of content strategists, advertising specialists as well as a team of creative professionals to bring out the best of what their company has to offer

Even with a powerhouse sales or inbound marketing team to sell your story, you’ll still require the support from a team of creative designers to bring your ideas to life.

Discover more works done by our diverse team of creatives who’ll bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. If you’re looking for a branding and visual communications expert, don’t hesitate to contact us.

The world almost came to a standstill as most economic activities are halted. As countries keep people at home, cities go into lockdown mode and travel gets banned, everyone is affected in one way or another. Businesses and consumers alike have to come to terms with a new way of life during this pandemic.

Every industry is adapting to a new business environment during this pandemic. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus is forcing companies and organizations around the world to rapidly adapt and change their businesses models. 

Read on to learn how companies are doing so and how your company can adopt these practices in order to remain resilient even in the face of a recession.

7 Marketing Essentials for Your Business In Times of Uncertainty

1. Prioritise business challenges

Many companies slash the budget, cancel projects, retrench employees in order to save costs and continue operations during the outbreak.

During this period, your team like most other companies is likely to be inundated with many unprecedented challenges.

But you can’t tackle them all at once. To prevent your team from feeling overwhelmed, prioritization is key. Evaluate what are the aspects of your business within your control and manage them first.

Focus on projects that will drive the best short term impact. Strategize, take action and then move on to manage tasks that are less within your control.

Examples of challenges that companies can address first:

While you prioritize important tasks that are manageable now, you should also remember to be far-sighted. Plan and prepare ahead. Identify new business opportunities and work on them.

Also, even if clients withdraw their projects now, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be possible collaborations for you in the future. Stay connected with both your existing and potential clients. Offer your help if needed. Building strong customer relationships will pave the way for more business opportunities for you in the future.

2. Reallocate rather than arbitrarily cancelling your budgets

During an economic downturn due to a crisis like a pandemic, advertisers and marketers stop budget spend immediately as one of their first cost-cutting measures.  

However, it’s actually critical for brands to continue advertising amid times of changes and uncertainty.

The key is to focus on where you get the best results. Leverage channels that enable flexibility and be more specific with your marketing efforts, targeting audiences that show the highest purchase intent.

The importance of maintaining a strong brand presence

John Williams, founder and president of Logoyes.com and contributing writer to Entrepreneur said, “Your brand is your promise to your customer.”

Building and maintaining a brand that consumers recognize and trust are one of the best ways to reduce risk when the economy takes a turn for the worst. That’s why, in each recession cycle, companies with a strong brand presence have come out on top.

No matter your business size and industry, standing by your consumers in times when they need help is critical. Maintaining a strong brand presence is needed to convey your company’s credibility, value, and experience, especially in times of uncertainty. When it comes to marketing and advertising, those that have a strong brand presence will hold an enormous competitive advantage.

Companies can consider reallocating budget from paid advertisements to content marketing. Build on sharing your brand story and convince customers to trust in you. Show your customers that your brand is ready to help even in difficult times.  

For example, our agency recognises the need to pivot our marketing strategies for business continuity. Rather than cancelling our annual networking event (#SPEAKEASYASIA), we have switched it to a series of online webinars.

Doing so allows us to continue informing our customers about the latest market trends, provide marketing tips and keep our customers updated with the latest insights that could help them make better decisions for their business. By providing marketing tips into various aspects of digital marketing, we aim to help our consumers prepare for the digital era.

Dhawal sharing about website optimization at the 3rd webinar that is part of
#SPEAKEASYASIA edition 7

3. Research your customers’ behaviour

While it’s clear that consumers and businesses are going online amid this outbreak period,  consumer behaviour remains unpredictable.

The impact of customer behaviour on marketing strategies has become more pronounced during this pandemic. Panic buying, remote working and consumers re-prioritising purchases  are all reasons contributing to the inconsistent demand for different services. Some research experts even predict that these behaviour changes might remain even post-pandemic.

With a new economic climate, many businesses are left unsure of how they can adapt to these rapidly evolving consumption patterns. The best way to do so is to research and understand your customer base with tools such as Google Analytics or social media audience insights.

As you gain a deeper understanding of your customers’ search and consumption patterns, identify their new needs and wants. Develop customer personas to help you craft the right message to appeal to the right audience and improve conversions.

Elevate your audience targeting strategy with audience or customer segmentation to convert  groups of consumers with the highest purchase intent. A common strategy that businesses do is creating dynamic ads and dynamic retargeting ads. This allows companies to reap the greatest return on ad spend by advertising to groups of people with the highest conversion probability.

4. Analyse and track your marketing efforts closely

During periods of uncertainty, knowing exactly what kind of return each investment is providing and why it works will be your key to not just survival, but the growth of your business. That’s because companies cannot afford to waste any budget. More importantly, companies have to be smart with their budget allocation, only spending on areas which will most likely generate results.

This is when digital marketing comes in. In fact, 52% of marketers around the world have made digital transformation as their key focus for driving business growth.

Digital marketing has long been accepted as thebest low-cost, high-return marketing strategy, largely due to measurability and targeting capabilities.

An examples of using data to measure your marketing efforts:

  • A high bounce rate but long dwell time on your site could highlight that users are reading your content, but aren’t sure about the next step for their journey. Hence, customers are leaving your site without further action. In this case, it’d be worth to add a CTA button or use active voice to provide a clearer CTA.

Another advantage of digital marketing is also because companies can always track their progress and revise the strategy whenever needed. This helps businesses save time and money on their campaign to increase the effectiveness of a certain approach or strategy.

To learn more about digital marketing and how a digital marketing agency can help you manage budgets or campaigns, click here.

5. Focus on consistent communication

Keep your customers updated

We can see a shift in how brands communicate during times of crisis. Companies are making fundamental changes to their processes and communication, reflecting their evolving relevance in these unprecedented times.

One such change is the shift from physical networking events to online webinars. For example, just in March alone, there was a 330% increase in the number of webinars hosted on the platform ON24. Furthermore, the increase in demand for webinars and remote team calls have also prompted Microsoft, Google and Zoom to offer free video call services.

Email marketing and social media marketing are also communication strategies that are used to connect and engage with customers. During this period, consistent communication is critical to brand awareness. To keep your brand name at the top of people’s mind, you’ll have to make your brand known through regular updates on your social media or corporate blog. Create new customer networks by increasing “shareability” of your content.

Remember to be sensitive in your marketing messages. You must be mindful that this is not a business as usual situation. You’ll have to tweak your marketing message and tone in order to cater to the new business climate. One way to start is to send monthly newsletters and emails (marketing automation) to your customers. Show care and concern for your customers before anything else. Let them see that your brand is sincere about helping.

Support and motivate your employees through this critical period

Businesses should also not forget about their employees. These are the people supporting your business amidst a crisis, and they’re experiencing a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety as they adjust to a new working arrangement.  

As the leader of the company, you have to

  • Show empathy for your workers, acknowledge new challenges and provide support
  • Keep in touch with your team members regularly, give them words of encouragement to help boost morale
  • Make use of internal newsletters to provide positive news about the company and drive motivation among remote offices

Do not rush into task assignments and setting deadlines. Firstly, present yourself as an empathetic leader, recognise new challenges your employees are facing and make the necessary work adjustments to help them cope with remote working.

Every phase of transition comes with its own set of challenges and obstacles. During this period, don’t neglect the mental and physical health of your company’s greatest asset.

Tough times don’t last, but tough teams do. Stay connected and support each other as a team, and your company is sure to overcome any challenges now and in the future. To learn more about how you can boost morale for your team, read the full article here.

6. Omnichannel Is The Optimal Strategy

Digital marketing is the new norm in 2020 and should be a part of a company’s omnichannel marketing strategy.

Worldwide stay-at-home orders mean a large influx of customers moving online, igniting the rapid move to digital commerce  for B2C and B2B merchants. As people remain isolated and the need for essential goods remains high, they turn to online shopping.

To address this shift in customer behaviour, it’s essential to build an omnichannel marketing strategy that places customers as the central focus. That means understanding what your consumers need and meeting where your customers are-which is online across multiple touchpoints.

Companies should move resources to digital marketing strategies and switch an e-commerce model to keep their business running amid uncertain market situations. Marketers should also use different possible marketing channels like social media, emails and blog articles among others to drive consumers to their online stores.

To cope with the online demand, it’s also important to ensure your website are secure and optimised to provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers.  By fostering a pleasant buying experience for consumers, it will keep them coming back.

This will be beneficial for your businesses in the long run.

In fact, companies with well-defined omnichannel customer experience strategies in place achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organizations without omnichannel programs in place. As such, leveraging on omnichannel will cultivate strong brand awareness and brand loyalty in the long run.

Learn more about why omnichannel marketing is increasingly important now.

7. Revise and revisit your strategies

Just because one marketing strategy has worked doesn’t mean it’s fool proof. The most valuable lesson that this outbreak has taught all of us is the importance of adaptability.

Refine and evolve.

By now, you already know the importance of collecting data and analysing them for your future marketing plans. Once you’ve pulled the data each month, take the time to really look and reflect on the data. Think about what those numbers mean for your company, what it means for your customers and thus your content. Data such as web traffic, source of referrals, open rates for your EDM are good indicators of the success of your current strategy.

Once you give yourself the space to think about content performance, you’ll really start to think about how every piece is being interacted with. You can then feed that into the next pieces of content you create or go back to a piece that hasn’t done as well. Then think about how you can refine or switch it in a new format that could give you better results the next time.

Wrapping Up

Without warning and choice, brands and retailers have had to adapt to a pandemic that no one saw coming.

The most valuable lesson the pandemic has taught us is the importance of flexibility and adaptability, and how companies need to learn how to run campaigns that will reap results beyond this moment. 

It’s also important that we keep an open mind and be quick in our response in order to turn any moment of crisis into opportunity.

If you’re thinking of adopting a digital marketing strategy but unsure where to start, talk to us! We provide personalised digital solutions for clients and we’d happy to provide one for you too.

For the latest digital marketing tips, subscribe to our newsletter! 

Welcome back to another edition of #2S Team stories-a series of short and fun interviews that allows our readers to take a peek into an agency’s life. You get to meet the buzzing minds behind our projects and get up close and personal with members of the #2Sfamily! 

This edition, we have a conversation with our Senior UI/UX Designer, Kisy Kumala Sari. She’ll be sharing with us about her journey, of how she started as a freelance creative designer and eventually became a UI/UX designer at our agency. If you’re an aspiring illustrator or creative designer, you’re in a for a treat! Kisy has also shared with us some of her favourite design tools and guides that helped her grow and improve as a designer. Be sure to read on to discover what they are!

1. Hi Kisy! Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

Hello everyone, my name is Kisy, I’m a Senior UI/UX designer at 2Stallions Digital Marketing Agency. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Visual Communication Design from Maranatha Christian University back in 2011.

I kick-started my career with a retail company in Indonesia. My job then was to design creative assets, ranging from branding, promotional, marketing materials to creating the design concept for the storefront and retail furniture.

In 2015, I joined 2Stallions. Till this date, I’ve been with the digital agency officially for 4 years & 9 months. Initially I was working with a lean creative team. However, we managed to recruit more talents into our team in the recent years. I absolutely enjoy working alongside my colleagues Gita, Ventina, Fira and Antayra (our Head of Creative Strategy & Accounts)! I am pleased to witness how much the company has grown since then.

2. What made you decide on a creative designer career?

It started simply because of my passion for drawing and illustration. I chose to study design because it had an illustration aspect.

Many people tend to misunderstand that a creative designer’s job is simply about creating posters and brochures. But creative design is much more complex than that. It‘s a job that combines technology, design and psychology to create human centred designs in order to solve problems for real users in the world. The complexity and the freedom to exercise creativity was what made me fall in love with the job! I also love that creative design is something that’s constantly evolving and expanding, so there’s always something new to learn.

I am very blessed to work in a field that I am passionate about. Most of the time, work doesn’t really feel like work to me.

3. How or where do you get inspiration for your projects?

As a start, I’d usually look through the creative brief provided by the client. I would then research and check out what companies in the client’s industry favour in their design approach.  This helps me to understand what works and what doesn’t. As for visual references, I have a few go-to websites such as Awwwards, Dribbble, Béhance, Pinterest and Brandnew. After looking through these websites, I would collect a few of my favourite images or visual elements and create a mood board which I think would match the client’s requirement.

4. What are some of your favourite tools/guide books as a UI/UX designer?

Tools

For website: Sketch, InvisionApp, Avocode, Zeplin

For general design: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign

For animation: AfterEffects

For illustration: Procreate

These programs are not just tools. As a designer, we need to constantly upgrade our skillset to keep up with technology improvements. I’d recommend creative designers to continuously practice with these tools to become better at the craft of creative design.

UI/UX guide

Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think is still the best book out there if you are a UI/UX newbie. When I first started my career as a UI/UX designer, I also watched YouTube channel Flux to see what it was like to work as a UI/UX designer. UXpin also has a free e-book about UI/UX and basic UX design principle. For design beginners, I’d also recommend them to read articles from Nielsen Norman Group if they want a deep dive into UI/UX.

Design guide

For design guides, I like to watch TheFutur YouTube channel. To know about finding inspiration for design work, you can always count on Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. Lately, I’m looking to learn more about the psychology aspect of UI/UX design. I’ll let you guys know when I find something I really like in the future.

5. Can you recommend us 3 Instagram accounts you’re personally a fan of?

Jessica Walsh – for a peek into a designer’s life with vibrant visuals and snippets on mental health

Jessica’s Instagram feed is full of vibrant, playful and sometimes weird visuals that one cannot stop looking at them!  I love that she uses her platform to share her life as a designer, as well as advocate her thoughts on social issues and mental health.

Mel Robbins – for bit-sized tips on motivation and personal development

Mel Robbins is a no BS life coach who will tell you everything you need to hear. From self-love, tips on motivation to personal development, she provides bite sized information and simple tools to help people in daily emotional struggles. Her advice has gotten me through some of the difficult periods in my personal and professional life.

Chrisdo and The Futr – to become a better designer with a business mind-set

Both accounts are owned by Chris Do. He provides useful and relevant design tips  and teaches his followers how to become a better designer while developing a business mind-set for the creative industry. He used to host these live design critique sessions and uploads the recorded version onto YouTube. By looking at others’ works, it helped me discover my own flaws within my designs and know areas which I can improve on for my next design.

6. What are your hobbies outside of work?

Outside of work hours, I like to work on my illustration skills. It has always been my dream to become an illustrator and I’m keeping that dream alive.

These days, I’ve started drawing stylized portraits on a commission basis and I’ve also created my own drawing challenge on Instagram. I’ve also been taking online lessons about figure drawing to improve my illustration skills.

When I’m not drawing, I read books. My favourite fiction is The Strike Series by Robert Galbraith. My favourite non-fiction is  How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. This book gives me so many “Aha!” moments that I think everyone should read about too.

Kisys creation: A custom family portrait
Find more illustrations on Kisy’s Instagram doobeedoodle

Wrapping Up

Kisy’s passion for illustration and creative design is truly inspiring. Most importantly, we should learn from her the spirit of perseverance and continuous learning.

We hope you managed to take away some key learning points and learnt more about the world of creative design. If you’re an aspiring illustrator or creative designer, be sure to check out the tools and guide she has recommended!

Discover more works done by our diverse team of creatives who’ll bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. If you’re looking for a branding and visual communications expert, don’t hesitate to contact us.

In an era of digital acceleration, UI/UX are particular sets of design skills that are primed to be one of the fastest-growing careers. 

It’s a field that’s quickly expanding across organizations and evolving into the development of new niches. User experience design, user interface design, customer experience, and product design are all part of the larger landscape of building user-friendly digital content. They are responsible for an impeccable user-experience that is intuitive and leads to easy navigation.

Well-designed user experience and user-friendly interface make a website or app more engaging, trustworthy and accessible. That is why an increasing number of companies are looking for UI/UX designers who can transform the digital presence of their business through optimized interfaces and improved usability.

UI/UX designers tend to work as part of a wider product team, and will often find themselves bridging the gap between the user, the development team, and key business stakeholders. 

What exactly is UI/UX?

UI vs UX

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are different skillsets. The two roles have distinct differences in the problems they solve, the methodology used and the tools they adopt in their day to day job.

UX: User Experience

As the name suggests, UX designers focus on the user experience and are primarily “user first” in all the work that he or she does. They’re responsible for user-friendly apps and sites that are easy to navigate. This will help the user find information and take action (such as making a purchase or booking an appointment) easily.

The UX designer is concerned with content structure, otherwise known as information architect– a way of arranging information presented to a user as he or she scrolls through an app or website. This means that a UX professional will have to prioritize content and place different information strategically throughout a page, to ensure a user can find the information he or she needs easily.

Through user research, the UX designer will gather the profile of the users, and hence understand their needs and wants. The UX designer will then plan the content and site structure to align with the users’ needs and wants.

This process is also known as user flow, which is to create different ways a user is likely to navigate the site. The next step for the UX designer would be to sketch wireframes and create prototypes based on the wireframes.

Wireframes are part of the UX design process

Wireframes are the basic skeletal structure of a website or app. They allow a UX designer to outline and map out user flow. A prototype (a mockup of a site or app) is then created and tested with a group of users to collect feedback and fine-tune the product before the actual development.

Even after a product is completed, UX design doesn’t stop there. UX design is a never-ending process. Any app or website has to be refreshed from time to time to account for evolving search trends and ever-changing user behaviour. It’s important for the UX designer to account for the evolving needs of a customer and a business, in order to improve the platform for a better selling and buying process.

Think about the major social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Has your user experience changed and improved drastically over the years?

Source: CAMRO JUD
Apps and websites are continuously improved to provide a better user experience

UI: User interface

UI is a digital space where users see and perceive information. It specifically focuses on the visual design (look and feel) of a product. It is also concerned about the interactive elements such as drop-down menus, form fields, clickable elements, animation, button styling and other critical tools in UI design. These are elements that’ll guide a user’s engagement with a product.

UI designers take the framework and wireframes created by the UX designer and translate them into high fidelity, final visual deliverables before handing them off to a development team for production.

Source: ui.sia
A vs B: Image B uses gradient mixture to ensure the location mark can be seen better
Source: ui_gradient
UI designers have to determine which visual element to use to guide a user to take action

A career that blends tech, psychology and design

UI/UX designers are central to the creation of user-friendly designs. By understanding how different psychology principles influence human behaviour, UI/UX professionals design websites, apps and other products for a hassle-free browsing or shopping experience. Essentially, they’re responsible for creating human-centred designs for real users in the real world.

Although UI and UX have different roles to play, they’re often complementary. No product design (website or mobile apps) can do without either of the roles.

Let us use the example of a cup to illustrate the importance of having both UI and UX in any product design.

UI determines the appearance of the cup, giving it an animal form that is cute and appeals to a consumer who is looking to buy a nice cup for his or her use. The cup has a handle to signal to the person that there is where they hold the cup. However, a lack of good UX design failed to account for the animal ears which could hurt the person using the cup.

Importance of UI and UX: one cannot do without the other

UI and UX work hand in hand to ensure a product is useful and engaging, on top of being visually appealing. Good UI and UX design are critical for any product to deliver a delightful user experience.

Example of Good UI/UX – Zalora Mobile Shopping App

Zalora Group is a leading online e-commerce and online fashion retailer with operations in various Southeast markets.  As Asia’s leading online fashion destination, ZALORA’s localised sites offer an extensive collection of top international and local brands, as well as in-house labels across apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women. ZALORA aims to provide consumers in Asia seeking a shopping experience focused on their unique styles, trends and fit, hence its tagline ‘With Zalora, you own now”.

A seamless shopping experience on the Zalora shopping app

From the images, one can see that Zalora’s mobile app have multiple interactive buttons which are tailored to a mobile shopping experience. Buttons are placed at convenient touchpoints for those holding their phone with one hand. All the necessary information is also easily accessible on the same page. This prevents a user from having to enter and exit a page to find information.

How is UI/UX important across industries?

The most innovative and successful companies dedicate around 12–14% of their resources to enhance their design abilities.

From the Zalora example, we can see how humanized designs can provide value to their users.

This value will eventually trickle down to higher user interactions, engagement and customer satisfaction which further trickles down to an increased ROI (Return on Investment) for a business.

Research estimates suggest that every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return. That’s an ROI of nearly 10,000% increase!

Faster conversions with longer dwell time

Lower bounce rate and longer dwell time

Before a consumer can purchase from you online, your website or shopping app must first be usable and helpful to encourage a purchase on their end.

Good UI/UX design plays an essential role in achieving this goal.

If a user cannot find helpful information on your site or they face great difficulty navigating, they’ll leave your site within seconds.

Personalised shopping experience

Increasingly, consumers are looking for a personalized shopping experience. They prefer sites and apps which can predict and recommend products they like, so that they will waste less time finding the perfect product themselves.

Including sections such as “you may also like this…” or “related articles…”, a customer is constantly presented with more options that are tailored to their likes and preferences. This increases their dwell time and also increase the chance for them to find a product that is of their preference.

If you’re able to provide information that is easily accessible, the customer will also waste less time finding important information such as shipping and payment options on another page. Interactive elements such as clear call to action buttons (CTAs) helps the consumer to easily save a product to a wish list, share a product and add a product to cart. All these are factors which can motivate a customer to move from the consideration stage to the purchase stage.

Build your customer base and brand loyalty

Win confidence

Whether you’re a start-up or an MNC, good UI and UX design are crucial to form a pleasant and long-lasting impression with customers. A well-designed website speaks credibility and helps with brand recognition, thus improving your business reputation as well.

This is especially important in this digital age when  your business is competing with an influx of new competitors. Good UI and UX design is what’ll help your brand stand out and be the best among your peers, thus winning over customers. A helpful and pleasant shopping experience will also keep people coming back.

If the users are surfing your websites or using your applications, it is your UI/UX developers’ responsibility to navigate them to their predetermined target in the most efficient way. Hence, UI and UX Development have become a significant part of today’s web development. Overtime, UI and UX professions will help companies increase sales, retain customers and improve their brand value.

Creating Business Value with Good UI/UX Design

Customers are the ones paying your business and keeps it going. Therefore, designing a pleasant and intuitive user experience should be at the heart of every digital product. Failing to cater to their needs and their desired shopping experience will only lead to a loss of opportunities and conversions for your brand.

90% of users reported they stopped using an app due to poor performance.

86% deleted or uninstalled an app as a result of encountering problems with its functionality or design.

88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

If your business is going digital, it’d be wise to invest time and money into creating and building digital products (websites, mobile apps etc) that provide good user experience, in order to reap the immense benefits it can provide for your business ROIs.

Discover more with 2S Creative Services

We are a full-service digital marketing agency based in Singapore. From strategy to execution, we provide personalised digital solutions, including creative services for over 300+ clients ranging from MNCs, government institutions to local SMEs. Recently, we’ve also been featured as one of the 35 best creative agencies in Singapore.

Discover more works done by our diverse team of creatives who’ll bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. If you’re looking for a web design expert, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Do you remember when was the last time you saw an ad without any appealing design or images?

Well probably no.

That’s because it’s almost impossible to capture anyone’s attention without a catchy headline combined with colourful graphics or attractive visuals. This is especially so when the typical attention span of a consumer lasts only 8 seconds.

In a study conducted by the Technical University of Denmark, the results suggest that the “collective global attention span is narrowing due to the amount of information that is presented to the public”.

“As consumers are inundated with new content almost on a daily basis, it can exhaust their attention and increase the urge for a sense of newness, said Philipp Lorenz-Spreen of Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

With more things to focus on, consumers can only concentrate on certain things for short periods of time- causing their attention span to be short-lived.

Humans are 90% visual beings

To grab and hold anyone’s attention, image plays an important factor.

The human brain is designed to process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. As a dominantly visual being, people can remember images better and faster, processing entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds.

Picture Superiority Effect

In a similar time frame of 3 days, an individual can remember 65 % of information that is accompanied by images. Compared to information which only has text and/or audio, the same individual will only recall 10% of the information!

Hiring a creative agency

Given the importance of images in making a long-lasting impression on the human mind, companies cannot do without hiring a creative agency.

When it comes to marketing, creative assets Is a big part of every campaign or project, especially so for social media marketing and dynamic social ads. In this period where digital marketing is fast becoming the norm, companies will need  the combined expertise of content strategists, advertising specialists as well as a team of creative professionals to bring out the best of what their company has to offer

Even with a powerhouse sales or inbound marketing team to sell your story, you’ll still require the support from a team of creative designers to bring your ideas to life.

Still not convinced? Well here are some examples which are bound to change your mind after watching them.

Introducing the new iPhone SE-commercial by Apple

Apple is a prime example of what it takes to make an effective advertisement.

The video which lasts for less than minute can inform the audience about all the features of the phone without boring the audience. With a combination of fast-changing images, bold fonts, rhythmic beats and a mix of dark and bright colours, the ad is capable of keeping the audience wanting for more.

This is not the first time Apple has used such a style for its ads. Over the years, Apple has successfully acquired an advertising format that is uniquely recognised as Apple. This emphasises the critical role of a creative team which can make or break a brand.

Valentine’s Day Print Campaign for Mcdonald’s (Thailand)

Did you do a double-take when you first saw these images?

Released on Valentine’s Day for McDonald’s  (Thailand), these are printed ads which showed pictures of people supposedly leaning in for a kiss…with a burger! Ditching the usual family-friendly approach with McDonald’s  ads, the creative team behind this campaign decided to turn up the heat and bring in some romance. Toying with the idea of two people kissing, the pictures showed individuals leaning towards their favourite burger cleverly shaped like a person’s face.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, everyone can say “I’m lovin it” to these burgers!

Spotify My Year in Review Outdoor Ads

Another unforgettable ad campaign is Spotify’s outdoor billboard ads which sought to poke fun at its customers by revealing their weird listening patterns and creative playlists.

Driven by data and the use of humour, Spotify’s billboards success can also be attributed to the use of clearly defined branding elements. It’s almost impossible to miss their use of bright colours and bold fonts which is both attention-grabbing and memorable even among non-Spotify listeners.

The use of consistent tone and message also helps to pique and renew interest in the brand among existing and potential users. It creates conversations and keeps people talking about it which effectively spreads Spotify’s brand awareness. Consequently, it also builds brand loyalty as it unites the Spotify community every year to talk about these hilarious listening statistics.

Attonics: Spectroscopy from lab to pocket

Antayra (our Creative Strategy Lead) and her team created this fabulous video for Attonics marketing campaign. The campaign was recently featured on Bestdesign.co’s as one of the 10+ Best Marketing Campaigns Of 2020 (So Far)

Despite being an essential tool that many industries should invest in, a spectroscope is widely known for its high price and huge build. To address the lack of spectroscopy application in these industries, Attonics Systems created an extremely high-performance spectroscope at a price that is unprecedented by many. Unlike traditional spectroscopes, the Atto3 fits weighs a mere75g and a height of 6cm.

Our creative approach:

Since the spectroscope essentially generates high-quality colour measurements, our creative team played around with muted colours to match its function. Abstract images, heavy fonts and music-matched animations were added to give the Atto3 a modern and upbeat feel that attracts different industries

Spectroscopy from lab to pocket – Attonics Video
Campaign featured on Bestdesigns.co

Wrapping Up

By now, I hope you can see that visual design is a critical factor that can increase the success of any marketing campaign these days. To stand out from the myriad of ads online, a business will need the use of visually impactful designs. This is especially important since a customer’s attention span lasts for a mere 8 seconds today, and online ad formats are getting shorter and shorter. So, before you start your next campaign, remember to hire a creative agency that helps you create designs that can attract and sell!

Discover more with 2S Creative Services

We are a full-service digital marketing agency based in Singapore. From strategy to execution, we provide personalised digital solutions, including creative services for over 300+ clients ranging from MNCs, government institutions to local SMEs. Recently, we’ve also been featured as one of the 35 best creative agencies in Singapore.

Discover more works done by our diverse team of creatives who’ll bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. If you’re looking for a branding and visual communications expert, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Loes Vanhouttem made the big move from the Netherlands to join our agency for a six-month internship as a Human Resources and Marketing Intern. Driven by a keen desire to explore a different working culture and to gain experience working at a digital agency, she chose to work here in Singapore. She’s had quite a roller coaster ride in her six months here – moving to Asia, immersing in the Chinese New Year festivities, getting a post featured by LinkedIn Editors and helping the agency navigate the Circuit Breaker period.

With such an interesting journey, I was curious to hear more from her. As we entered Phase 2, I grabbed a chance to sit down with her over a cup of coffee to ask about her internship experience with 2Stallions and her adventures in Singapore.

Let’s dive right into what she has to say about her intern life here at 2stallions.

1. Hi Loes. Tell us more about yourself!

Hoi (Hello in Dutch)

I’m Loes and I am pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in HR at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences back in the Netherlands. As part of my degree, I have to do an internship, and I took this opportunity to go abroad. I enjoy working with people and assisting them to thrive in their jobs by creating and implementing the right tools. I chose to study HR because I think people can do so much for a company if you have a good foundation (that foundation being HR). 

During my free time, I love to travel. Getting to know different cultures, food and people is something that I enjoy a lot. Travelling to Singapore for this internship was also my first time in Asia! I had researched a little about Singapore online but I had no idea what it would actually be like to live here. Luckily this wasn’t my first time alone in another continent because I moved to Colorado to work as an Au Pair back in 2016-2017

2. What attracted you to 2Stallions?

I started looking for internships in Singapore because I wanted to understand Asian culture better. Up until February, I have never been on this side of the globe, but I have always been intrigued.

Finding a good company was a challenge. But after I was introduced to 2Stallions and had a conversation with Daniël, I knew 2Stallions would be a great fit. I have always preferred to work in a lean team, and 2Stallions amplified what makes such a structure so lovely. The culture is informal and very open. Everyone is friendly and passionate about their jobs. I’ve met so many team members who love to share their knowledge and are never hesitant to help whenever I ask.

What I value the most about this internship is that I could contribute and have ownership of the projects I work on. Together with Pauline (the HR Manager), I was able to implement many tools and even set-up a new HR system. The management is always encouraging and constantly come up with new solutions to improve the way things are done. 

3. How has Circuit Breaker affected your internship?

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on my internship. It highlighted a different side of HR and provided me with new challenges to overcome. Something that I value in this company is how flexible they are. Working from home was implemented quickly, and new ways of communication followed soon after. It included online team calls, sending out weekly internal newsletters and organizing online team activities.

4. What has been your favourite project at 2Stallions?

Organizing online team activities is a responsibility I took on. With everyone working from home, it’s important to stay connected with each other.  I made a pub quiz and a Kahoot game for the team since we couldn’t conduct physical monthly team outings.

We also implemented a new HR system that allows employees to write something about themselves on their profile. I used this information to create questions about all the employees. We had our India, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore teams join in on one big video call. It was great seeing all the different teams come together and have a great time together.

About halfway through my internship, I wrote about my internship experience on LinkedIn. As one of the few students left of my school to stay abroad during COVID-19, I thought it was a good idea to write a short piece about my experience. A couple of days later I found myself featured by the LinkedIn Editors in their news story “A disrupted rite of passage”. 

5. What would you miss most about 2Stallions and Singapore?

I think my favourite part about 2Stallions is the people that work here. Everyone is so kind and helpful. Even when working from home, everyone puts in the effort to stay in touch.

What I will miss about Singapore is the fantastic weather, beautiful nature and the unbelievable amount of food establishments. Food is a big part of Singapore’s culture and I enjoyed every single part of it! Before Circuit Breaker, my co-workers and I would walk over to Maxwell and they would show me new food every single day.

6. What’s next for you?

After six months at 2Stallions, it’s time for me to return to the Netherlands. I will start my final year of my Bachelor’s program in September and, at the same time, start my (pre) Master’s in ‘Learning and development in Organizations’ at Maastricht University.

The time I spent at 2Stallions has made me realize that I like working for lean teams like SMEs and startups. That’s because there is a sense of comradeship among a smaller team and everyone is always passionate about the job which felt inspiring to me.

The trust that the management has in their employees to come up with new ways to do things, is also something I hope more companies would do. The people that work for 2Stallions are not only ambitious experts, but they are also welcoming and kind to all who walk in.

During my short stint here at 2Stallions, I had a very happy working experience. I’m grateful to my team members for making me feel at home and giving me this opportunity to work with you guys. And a huge thank you to Pauline for being an exceptional mentor during my internship.

Wrapping UP

We’d like to thank Loes for her contributions over the past 6 months. It has been a joy having her around and we will definitely miss her bubbly personality in the office!

If you’re looking for an internship opportunity in the digital marketing space, feel free to drop us an email at recruitment@2stallions.com. Do remember to attach your resume, portfolio and tell us your internship availability period!

In the first part of our content marketing series, we discussed the what and how of content marketing. In this article, we’ll bring you through 5 easy steps to build a personalised content marketing strategy that works for your brand.  

By now, you already know that content marketing is essential to take your business to new heights. 

This method of attracting and nurturing leads has been proven to be one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways of establishing brand awareness, build trust with your target audience and even acquiring new customers.

When planned and executed strategically, content marketing can boost web traffic to your business site, increase social following and establish yourself as an industry leader.

An effective content marketing plan is strategic in both its production and delivery. Without a well-developed execution plan, your content would lose all its meaning. 

The difference between content marketing and having a content strategy

Content marketingContent marketing strategy
Content marketing is all about using relevant and valuable content to attract and retain visitors, eventually turning them into paying customers.Content marketing strategy is an overview plan you have for every piece of content related to your business. In other words,  it is the blueprint that maps out the production and delivery of content for your brand.

If you’re unsure of how you can start your content marketing strategy, look no further. In this guide, we will walk you through 5 simple steps that will help you develop a content marketing strategy that’ll drive results and grow your business.

5 Essential Steps to Help you Develop an Effective Content Marketing Strategy:

Step 1. Set Your Goals Strategically

Step 2. Understand Your Audience

Step 3. Streamline Content Process

Step 4. Distribute Content Effectively

Step 5. Optimize Content for SEO

1.     Set Your Goals Strategically

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible to the visible.” This inspirational quote from Tony Robbins, an American author and public speaker is what you need to remember when you kick-start your content plan.

To know what content pieces work for your brand, you need to first map out an overview of your strategy (setting clear and defined objectives), establish ROI targets and outline a clear direction for your business’ growth.

Here are some goals to help you get started:

  • Increase website traffic
  • Attract new prospects
  • Convert leads to customers
  • Gain influence and authority
  • Increase visibility in search engines

These are measurable and quantifiable goals which will help you measure the effectiveness of your content strategy in the long run.

Using tools such as Google Analytics will help you measure key metrics such as web traffic and top viewed pages. With these data, you’ll know what content works and what doesn’t. This will help you make informed revisions to improve your strategy progressively.

2.   Understand Your Audience

After setting your goals, the next crucial step would be to identify and understand your target audience.

This is important because a customer’s purchase decision is highly dependent on whether they find your content valuable and helpful. Therefore, content marketers have to keep in mind their target audience in order to create content that sells. Otherwise, you might fail at creating content that your customers care about.

If your content resonates well with your customers or you helped them understand what to buy, they’re likely to purchase from you.

Using data to segment your target audience

One way to can create the right content that reaches your customers is by collecting demographic data. Web analytics and social media sites are a reliable source of audience data. They often provide customer insights such as audience demographics, interests, education, income, and so on.

Here’s an example of how you can use Google Analytics to collect audience data to plan topics and create content that suits their interests.

To obtain these sets of data, go to Audience » Interests » Overview. In that page, you will see the market segments of your site visitors. Under overview, take note of the affinity categories (that are grouped by interest) with a greater reach (higher percentage). These are topic categories that most of your audience are interested in and topics that you should be creating.

Google Analytics can help you identify your audiences’ interests

Social networks also offer similar data. For example, you can get demographic information on your Facebook fans via Facebook Page Insights.

Facebook insights allows you to understand the
demographic of your audience such as age and gender

From these data, you can move on to categorise your audience into broader categories and create customer personas. Customer personas are extremely useful to help you identify the needs and wants of your customer. Knowing who your customer is will also will help you craft the right message that speaks to them directly, thus humanizing your marketing communication.

3.     Streamline Content Process

Once you’re done with the first two steps, you may begin planning your content production. This is where you will streamline your content marketing efforts to produce fast and efficient content.

Start your plan by defining the buyer’s journey. In most cases, you can base your strategy around these funnels: top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.

The first one is the awareness stage, where people seek answers to their questions through research. The middle funnel is known as the evaluation stage, where people conduct extensive research on whether your product or service is a perfect fit for them. Lastly, the bottom funnel or purchase stage is where people figure out what it would take to become your customer.

You should take these funnels into account when creating content. There should be content pieces (i.e. product guides, blogs, social posts, research studies, etc.) specifically designed for each stage of the funnel.

Next, you must plan an editorial calendar. Brainstorm content topics with your team and assign writing and editorial tasks to your key team members.

It’s ideal to keep all your content ideas in a spreadsheet. However, spreadsheets have their downside. They lack automation and commenting functionality. If you want to see everything in place and avoid missing deadlines, you can opt for content calendar tools such as Google Calendar, Kanban Flow, Trello, Contently, and more.

4.     Distribute Content Effectively

Content marketing isn’t only about developing high-quality content for your target audience. It also deals with the process of promoting and distributing your content through different channels.

If you fail to distribute your content effectively, it would be impossible to reach the widest audience possible. You’re also likely to fail your ROI targets such as driving traffic to your website, attracting new prospects and customers, gain authority, and more.

2 Common ways to distribute content.

1. Building an email list.

It’s important to have a mailing list because reaching out to people via email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

But how do you build an email list? Here are a few tips on how to encourage visitors to subscribe to your email list:

  • Include CTA buttons on every landing page on your website
  • Add pop-up images or slider on all your landing pages
  • Send out pop-up surveys while visitors are browsing
  • Add email captures at the end of your blog posts
  • Re-engage contacts inactive subscribers

To learn more about creating a mailing list for your business, click here.

Once you created your email list, you may proceed with content distribution. You can create a paid subscription model for premium content, send weekly newsletters and exclusive content (i.e. How-to videos, invitation, etc.), offer exclusive coupons or discounts, and more.

This will help you engage and connect with potential and existing customers at a lower cost (compared to paid ads to boost sales). Due to its greater outreach, conversion rates are also likely to improve.

2. Social media is another powerful platform for distributing content.

Globally, around 3.8 billion people use social networks including Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This means you should establish your presence on at least some of these channels in order to attract a greater pool of customers.

Here are some tips to curate content for your social media accounts:

  • Repurpose and curate your own content
  • Be consistent with your updates
  • Share your blog articles and other content on social media
  • Post engaging visual content such as videos, infographics, slide presentations, and more
  • Create content based on the latest trends or news and share it across your social networks (increasing “shareability”)
  • Create dynamic content or dynamic paid social media ads

5.     Optimise Content for SEO

Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are intertwined. The two might be different in concept but they are an essential combination for content marketing to generate results.

While the former focuses on creating and distributing content for a targeted audience, the latter helps to make your content visible in search engines. This combination is also known as SEO optimised content which will result in 2 main benefits for your business.

First, it will help your site rank higher on Google.

Quality content is what engages your target audience. As more readers pick up your content and shares it with their network, it creates greater engagement and traffic to your site.

With more engagement and clicks on your content, Google recognises your site to be relevant and valuable to users. That is because Google thinks online users are searching and liking your content, therefore prioritizing your page over others. Consequently, Google rewards your page with a higher position in their search results page (SERP).

After building a strong web presence with a higher site ranking, you will start to attract more targeted traffic and increase your customer base.

Over time, your brand can establish a strong brand presence online and become a reputable source of information when users search for content you posted about.

Secondly, SEO-optimised content like landing pages can prompt higher conversions.

SEO optimization is important to decrease loading speed of a page in order to provide a pleasant user experience for your audience.

When your webpages load fast, are easy to navigate, and optimized for desktop and mobile, site visitors may stay for a while and continue browsing for a longer time. In this case, you have a better chance of holding their attention and turning them into paying customers.

Optimizing content for SEO requires both the technical and content writing skills to ensure you enhance the effectiveness of your content for the search engines.

Search engine optimization typically involves the following procedures:

  • Perform keyword research
  • Write content based on keywords
  • Optimize content for main keywords
  • Build backlinks
  • Update links and keywords
  • Analyse rankings and traffic

To bring in more traffic to your website and achieve better results, hire a competent SEO specialist or SEO agency. SEO experts can help you to facilitate web results and monitor your campaigns.

The Takeaway

It will require some time before your content marketing strategy takes effect.

Nevertheless, you should still make your content marketing strategy the heart of your marketing initiatives. It’s crucial for building your brand identity and winning the confidence of your target audience.

Whether you’re new to building a content marketing strategy or you’ve been using the same approach for a while, it’s important to constantly revise your strategy to ensure it stays up-to-date, innovative, and engaging for your customers.

Make use of our 5 steps guide we’ve provided, and you’ll be able to develop a strategic approach to drive online visibility and growth for your business.

If you’d prefer an agency to help you manage your company’s content marketing, feel free to contact us.

With more businesses seeing the need to increase its online visibility, it is important for owners to act quickly to improve their company’s digital presence and stand out from the crowd.

Your corporate website or e-commerce store is likely to be one of the first touchpoints someone has with your business, making it a powerful marketing tool to build brand authority and generate leads. Therefore, a trusted and reliable website is central to any marketing strategy of a company.

Considering how critical a website is, we often recommend clients to conduct site analysis and website audits at least once a year.

With the help of a website audit, companies gain insights on the “health” of their website and can correct any looming problems an audit can detect. If left unattended, certain factors can greatly affect your website ranking on Google, thereby impacting your traffic and conversions.

What Is A Website Audit?

A website audit or site analysis is an evaluation report of your site’s performance. An audit check will let you know how well your site ranks on Google’s search engine results page (SERP).

Once an audit is completed, you will receive insights on what needs to be done to improve your site’s search visibility. It detects SEO tasks that may have slipped, check for technical problems and identify missed opportunities to convert customers online.

What Happens When An Audit is Conducted?

In a website audit, we provide a thorough assessment of three major factors that affect your web search visibility:

  1. Website performance
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  3. Content audit

Evaluating your website’s performance entails looking at the code and technical side of your website; making sure that it can be well-indexed by search engines. It deals with issues that affect user experience through performance and usability. Looking at your website’s SEO, on the other hand, ensures that each page of your website follows SEO best practices that allow it to rank higher. Meanwhile, a content audit evaluates the written content of your website to make sure that it is relevant, accurate, and grammatically correct.

A complete website audit includes other assessments such as a social media audit and a website security audit. If you’re interested to receive a FULL website audit, we’re offering a FREE and personalised audit just for you.

Three important assessments for a website audit

Why Are Website Audits Important To Your Business?

A website audit gives you the data that reflects your site’s current problems and issues. It also provides insights in areas like your website’s performance, SEO standards, and conversion points– all of which are important to helping marketers achieve their KPIs.

They also serve as a guide for your business to devise new marketing strategies to boost online visibility and eventually, improve conversions.

For example, a traffic report within a website audit will tell you where visitors of your site are coming from and the keywords they are searching for. This will help you determine the next steps you need to do to improve your content and identify the right keywords and links to include in it.

A website audit should also be the first step to your SEO strategy to increase your website ranking on Google’s SERP. On average, results on the first page of Google get 91.5% of the clicks, while second-page results receive only 8.5% of the traffic. Needless to say, a high ranking on Google will be a great way to get high click-through rates (CTRs) for your business.

Furthermore, SEO is one of the best ways to drive leads to your website. According to Smart Insights, a top rank position in Google can yield a CTR of up to 30%. Meanwhile, ranking 2 positions lower is enough to bring your CTR down by 12%!

Companies should, therefore, make an effort to conduct regular website audits and act on these improvements to secure top rankings on search engines.

Wrapping Up

Running a website or an e-commerce site is always a work in progress. Things are fast-moving on the internet and content has to be refreshed from time to time for a site to stay relevant. We have to make sure we conduct regular check-ups on the “health” of our sites and build a solid SEO strategy to adapt to any changes on a search engine’s algorithm. You may also learn more about other ways you can generate revenue and leads with your website here.

We are currently offering a FREE and PERSONALISED website audit for businesses. If you’re unsure of your site’s performance, do sign up with us for an audit check. We can help you identify issues on your site that you can improve on and get your conversions rolling in!

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