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There is no way of stopping the mobile revolution that is currently happening in our world. More people prefer using their mobile devices to surf the internet than the Desktop PC. This is most likely due to the convenience and also the growing sizes of our mobile phones.

Think about it, there are probably even times where you use your phone to browse the web even when you have a desktop PC available. This is because mobile phones are normally within reach and could be used anywhere that has a 3G or 4G signal. Plus, with the “phablet” era continuously heating up, mobile phones are getting screen sizes that make surfing the net easier than the past smaller models.

Numbers do not lie, and the statistics are saying that mobile is dominating the web. According to Stone Temple, 55.79% of internet users are using their mobile phones to surf the web. In comparison, desktop PCs, which used to dominate this statistic account for only 44.21% in the latest study.

The same trend is happening in Asia where a huge population currently resides. According to China Daily, the country of China has already exceeded 1.3 Billion mobile users in 2016. And a whopping 30 percent of those mobile users are 4G subscribers. To give you a good perspective of that surge, there are 386 million 4G users in China which are triple from the number of users in 2014. And if you think about it, this number does not even include users who connect through Wi-Fi with their mobile devices.

Another big example is India. According to the Economic Times, India will have over 500 million mobile internet users by 2017. The same article also mentions a recent survey that prepaid smartphone users spend about 72% of their time accessing online content and only 15% making voice calls. That definitely says a lot about how the purpose of mobile phones has changed over the past few years.

And this is the main reason why your company should be adopting a mobile-first strategy. The trend of mobile phones as the dominant device is going to keep rising as the years roll by. Phones are getting more powerful every year and are inching towards desktop PC-like power and response. Your company should start adopting a mobile-first strategy or risk getting left behind.

Not yet fully convinced regarding this phenomena? Well, to put things in perspective, Google has already announced that they are going to roll out a mobile-first index. This means that the biggest search engine on earth is going to prioritize mobile URLs in their ranking.

Steps to having a mobile marketing strategy for your company

Make sure that your website is mobile responsive

There is a good chance that your website is already mobile friendly. But did you know that you still need to make your mobile website adaptive to various devices? Mobile phones have varying screen sizes, not to mention the numerous tablet sizes that plague the market. Make sure that your customer is having a pleasant time on your website no matter what device he/she is on.

According to Activemedia, 38% of users will stop engaging a website that is unattractive and unresponsive. That should be enough to tell you how much customers can be lost just because a website is not responding well to his/her screen size.

Take advantage of mobile wallets

The boom of the mobile phone industry has made a lot of big companies re-think of a new idea of payment. Mobile wallets work by using near field communication (NFC) to transfer data from your mobile phone to the payment reader. This makes it fast and convenient for people dealing with their transactions.

According to CMO, mobile based payments are expected to reach about $142 Billion dollars by 2019. The biggest mobile wallet services like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are getting an increase in users as the years roll by.

In Asia, mobile wallets are already making moves. According to Business Insider, Singapore became the first country outside of the US to support all the major mobile wallets. It started with 20 retail locations and will most likely grow as time passes by. UnionPay, another major mobile wallet service, has already started entering the Chinese and South Korean market, this means that the rest of Asia is not too far behind.

Large companies like Starbucks are already using mobile wallets as a means for their customers to purchase. It would be a wise move for any company to start rethinking the way people can pay.

Start thinking apps

Mobile phones and apps come hand in hand, and plenty of companies have already taken advantage of this fact. This is because app usage is at an all-time high especially in places like Asia. Did you know that Asia is now the biggest market for mobile apps? According to lnternational Business Times, mobile app usage in Asia grew to 77 percent and has surged ahead of markets like the US in 2014 and 2015.

The main cause of this increase is the rise of shopping apps in various Asian countries. The same study found that usage in shopping and lifestyle apps have tripled in the span of one year.

With this study, it is pretty evident that e-commerce is booming in Asia. Companies are figuring out that apps help create a direct marketing channel between them and their customers. Apps can be valuable in creating loyalty programs, promotions, and an easier shopping experience. Asia’s top online fashion retailer Zalora, for example, has a mobile app that makes it possible for users to place coupon codes (normally found on their website) and enter that through the app.

 

If a company really wants to adopt a mobile-first strategy, then thinking about having an app might just be the best move to show commitment.

Mobile optimize your email campaigns

You might be wondering why you need to optimize your email campaigns for mobile. The answer lies with the current trend of email reading. According to Email Monday, 54 percent of all emails are read first on a mobile device.

Automobile seller, Auto Trader, figured this little fact out and decided to make their emails more mobile-optimised. This resulted in a 391% increase in click through rates since they redesigned their emails.

Making your emails mobile responsive is not particularly hard. First of all is to find out what email clients tend to use. Once you have that data, see if that email client can support various applications like video.

Phone screens are much smaller than desktop screens so make sure that you use bigger fonts in your email. Good mobile-optimised emails have fonts that do not need any zooming in from the reader. Check out the following image for a side by side comparison of a small font on mobile and a large font one.

Image by HubSpot

De-cluttering your emails from less useful links and long paragraphs is also helpful in making your emails more mobile friendly. Make your words shorter and your headlines more concise. People don’t want to be overwhelmed with so many things happening on a 5-inch screen.

Also, put touch friendly buttons on your emails. Don’t forget to utilize sharing buttons so you could take advantage of the power of social media. Lastly, use a single column layout to make it friendlier to the eyes of mobile users. Check out this great email design from Superthings that looks great on a mobile device.

Image by SuperThings

Don’t forget about SMS marketing

Despite cheaper online chat apps increasing in use, there are still companies sending us standard text messages with promos and ads. The reason is pretty simple – SMS messages has a whopping 82.1% open rate.

That makes SMS one of the most potent marketing tool for companies. Footwear retailer, Payless, still uses SMS to create awareness of their products through various promos. Below is an example of one of their SMS campaigns.

Sample SMS Marketing by Payless

Your SMS campaigns must have a clear call to action. For example, use simple keywords like BUYNOW or GETPROMO as what they should type before sending it to a number. SMS campaigns mostly fail because of unclear instructions which can cause users to leave your message quickly.

Keep in mind that you will need compliance before creating SMS campaigns. Check which entities govern the mobile industry in the country you wish to deploy your SMS campaign.

Take your company mobile in Asia

Mobile use in Asia is booming and marketers already started taking notice. There is no stopping this trend and it looks like companies are already taking a mobile-first approach. Emails, websites, and apps are just a few of the major things that a good marketer needs in order to be ready for the mobile-dominated future. With the rate of new technology and innovations, the next few years will be quite interesting in the field of mobile marketing.

Do you have any stories and experience about creating a mobile marketing strategy for the Asian market? Please feel free to write them all down in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Ever since man began selling his wares, the art of persuasion was never far behind. Marketing has always been at the heart of commerce, but it was in the Industrial Revolution where things really took off. The introduction of mass production heralded the need for more sophisticated methods to inform consumers about the new products being created. Thus the birth of the modern marketing tactics.

In the 1940s, competition amongst businesses started to intensify. Marketing suddenly became more sophisticated in a sense that various brands started dabbling with the idea of building customer relationships. To some extent, the bigger brands managed to foster some bond with their consumer, while the others that didn’t, typically failed and died. The race to build customer relationships was on.

Image by Azqoutes

The majority of marketing techniques used back then were based on pure instinct. This does not always yield the best results, because of this, businesses who could afford to buy and analyse data began using it. Suddenly, companies started targeting their customers with better precision and accuracy. Bigger brands were using these data not just to improve their overall marketing strategies but to strengthen their logistic operations as well.

Data quickly became a valuable commodity with multinational companies and companies solely offering data services were born. These companies help marketers see the complete process of events that leads a customer to purchase what you are selling and why they love your brand.

Data-driven Marketing By The Numbers

If you haven’t been implementing data into your marketing, then you are coming in a bit late to the party. According to CMO, over 78 percent of today’s marketers are using data when it comes to executing their marketing strategies. Furthermore, Media Math reported that 63 percent of marketers are spending more on data-driven marketing over the last year, with an additional 10 percent expecting to increase it even more.

But if you have started employing data-driven marketing tactics for your company, then good for you. In a recent survey by Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Winterberry Group, 40.9 percent of marketing professionals have reported a growth in revenue from data-driven marketing related efforts.

 

However, in the graph above, you will see that there is still a huge chunk of marketers that experiences no change in revenues. That means as a marketer, you should never be complacent with your marketing efforts to avoid being in a revenue slump.

6 Ways To Drive Your Company Using Data

Let’s take a look on how you can push your data-driven marketing efforts even further and finally hit the revenue you want.

1. Rethink Your Customer’s Journey

As marketing channels become bigger and mixed, data suddenly plays a significant role in making sure that the customer experience is as seamless as possible. A lot of times, someone goes into a department store and looks at their mobile device to learn more about a product on the shelf. The customer will then have the option to buy it right there or go home and purchase it online.

According to Marketo, 65 percent of consumers start on a mobile phone and out of those, 61 percent then continue their journey on a laptop. But that is not the entire picture when it comes to customer journey.

Algorithmic attribution is a model marketers can use to excellently measure the success of each point of the customer’s journey when purchasing a product. This is becoming increasingly important, especially in today’s world where customers jump from one device to another before buying something.

This attribution provides the marketer with a better insight on which stage in a customer’s journey is the most critical and which channel and content work best. This data can then serve as a basis for the company’s investment decisions

2. Use Data To Connect To All Your Customers

With the fierce competition, most companies experience today, relying on the general demographics to create your buyer persona is no longer sufficient. Creating content that will appeal to your customer and give you that coveted ROI is much more challenging.

Your customers are different individuals and have varying likes and dislikes. Marketers of today need to cast a wider net in creating content that is more personalised and fit their customers’ needs and wants.

Take Arby’s for example; they succeeded in using data to figure out what type of message and channel works well for their customers. They knew (with data, of course) that their customers use TV and Twitter connectively to watch the Grammy’s.

Arby’s social media director tuned in to watch the show too and waited for opportunities to engage himself in the conversation real-time. Check out the tweet below:

The Twitter world loved it and re-tweeted it 77,000 times. This an exquisite example of how you can use data to create content that will connect with your audience.

 

3. Email Provides Great ROIs

By 2020, there will be 3 billion email users worldwide, which is significantly more than the 2.6 billion users in 2016. Given that data, it is not such a bad idea to push this powerful marketing channel even further.

According to WordStream, email marketing is the most-used digital channel and Facebook, with its almost 2 billion monthly active users, can make email marketing even better. And here is where we’ll talk about Facebook Custom Audiences.

Posting something on Facebook alone is not enough and might not give you the results you want. Facebook Custom Audiences is where you can use email addresses and create a custom audience for your company. Facebook will then use the emails you’ve listed and match it with actual Facebook users. Just define your audience, and you now have the power to reach the people that matter to you.

See: Mailing List 101: Your Guide To Building A Mailing List

 

4. Measure, Test And Adjust Your Marketing Efforts Using Data

Think about this; you may have a great video paid ad running on one of those popular news sites. Your sales are up so without looking at your data you figure that the ad may have something to do with it. But after a while, you decide to check the data, and you find out that you are not hitting your target market with the ad.  Your sales increase was due to something else, and in this case, it was not the video ad.

By measuring your marketing efforts, not only will you know which one works, but you will also eliminate any need for guesswork. This is the beauty when your marketing relies on data, the need for any “gut-feel” type of marketing approach is considerably lessened, and everything can be backed up by data.

Once you know what works, you can allocate more resources to that channel, test it out, and gather more data. Through constant measuring and testing, you can continuously mould a personalised and highly immersive customer experience that cultivates a long term and profitable relationship with your target audience.

 

5. Integrate Your Online Platforms With Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of those must-haves if you want to acquire some useful data in your online marketing. If you have a WordPress site, you can easily add Google Analytics via this plugin. This will enable you to find out how visitors search for and use your website and it also uses universal tracking, which lets you track users across devices and platforms. Another nifty feature is page analytics, which helps you figure out which pages and sections of your website are getting more attention. All this information is in real time, so you can react and adapt quickly to different trends.

However, before going into any of that, you need to set up your account through Google Analytics. It will only take about three steps, and you are ready to go. You can also create multiple accounts if you have more than one website. A good tip would be to use services like Cyfe to efficiently manage your website.  This service allows you to monitor multiple websites and best of all – you can integrate it with Google Analytics for a more convenient way to track multiple data from various websites.

Once you have Google Analytics integrated with your website, you will be able to track or collect useful information like audience demographics, interests, location, language, and site visits.

As mentioned above, Google Analytics can also help you learn about the behaviour of your visitors. Lastly, Google Analytics can give you data regarding how many conversions your website has received and the path your visitor undertook to finish that conversion (i.e. how many landed on your website via your Facebook page.

 

6. Learn How To Automate

Marketing automation is one of the hottest buzzwords in the industry today. This is a software that helps put your marketing and sales engagements on autopilot. By doing the heavy lifting of sending out bulks of email and helping you prioritise your leads, marketing automation helps you generate more leads, close more deals, and effectively measure your marketing success.

A marketing automation software can send out thousands of emails automatically to your clients on a regular basis using a time that is set by you. The software can also determine which of your leads are ready to be engaged and which of them need a bit more time. This is done by the software recognising which of those possible leads are engaging your marketing efforts more.

Data is at the heart of this software – Marketing automation can also give you information on how successful your marketing campaigns are and where the leads are coming from. Without the need to do the heavy lifting of sending out emails and guessing which leads to pursue, the sales team could focus on closing deals with the hottest leads.

How efficient is marketing automation when it comes to determining the hottest leads? Simply put, the software can tell you when your lead is browsing your website in real time and will inform you through email that this will be the perfect time to call.

Marketing Automation software helps maximise the efficiency of your marketing and sales team. If you really want to have a data-driven company, getting a marketing automation software might just be your best bet.

Data Is The Future Of Marketing

There is very little doubt that cultivating a data-driven company is the future and the battle for the hearts of the consumer is bound to intensify in the years to come. It will still be up to the marketer to interpret information and turn it into a sound and effective strategy.

Data-driven marketing, however, is going to make marketers’ lives so much easier. It helps them focus on what really matters and create stronger bonds with customers that continuously evolves in the future.

Do you have any experiences regarding data-driven marketing? Let us discuss it in the comments section below – we would really love to hear your thoughts!

No matter what type of business you are in it is always a must to ask yourself one question – how much of the overall revenue should we put in marketing? And while there is not one definite answer to that question, there are a dozen blueprints from successful companies that you can use as a guideline to this question. Truth be told, even in the same industries, companies tend to have different budgets to their marketing efforts.

According to Chron, The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing if you’re company is doing less than $5 million a year in annual sales and your net profit margin is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range. However, this is just a guideline and there a lot of big businesses that do not even follow this number.

For these bigger companies (those falling in the $25 million and $11 million range) the magic number is about 9 to 10 percent according to Vital. As stated above, this stat does not refer to all companies. As a matter of fact, a lot of those big brands that we know and love are way off when it comes to marketing budget.

To prove this point, you don’t have to look any further than the giant tech company, Microsoft. Microsoft puts a huge 18 percent of its revenue in sales and marketing. That is about double what the recommended budget is. Shockingly, some companies are even taking it further than this figure.

The rise of digital marketing has a lot to do with this. As we go along, we shall learn more about this facet of marketing. First, let us first know more about marketing budgets of various companies and industries.

What’s In the Marketing Budget?

Marketing budget often varies per company and marketers are always playing the guessing game on how much their competitor is spending. The Wall Street Journal reported that marketing budgets actually vary by industry with consumer packaged goods leading the trail with 24% of their overall budget being spent on marketing.

marketing budget by industry

So, what does a marketing budget comprise of? It actually varies per company. According to the report, most companies put the expenses of their marketing employees in the general administrative expenses. But almost half of the companies that were surveyed include it in their marketing budget.

Another interesting thing to note is that majority of companies include direct marketing expenses such as trade promotions, direct marketing, and advertising in their marketing budget. This, again, varies from industry. Here’s a graph showing what’s in the marketing budget by industry.

marketing expenses by industry

Marketing Spending On The Rise

This year, the marketing budget average is expected to be at 12%, which is an increase from the 10% average budget most marketers had back in 2014. This is definitely good news to marketers who want to expand their reach and efforts. But why is the marketing budget climbing up each year?

According to Resonate, the largest factor affecting the increase in marketing budget is an increased need for technology. Particulary one that can expand influence by using precise, target, and people-based marketing. Companies are now aware that marketing in the digital age is more than just brand awareness. Marketing is the driving force in getting more revenue.

Most companies are realizing the important value marketing brings in. Buyers are now smarter when it comes to choosing products and have been interacting more with the marketing efforts from the company. Therefore, more effort is put it on customer experience and digital experience.

Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey found out that in 2017, website, digital commerce, and digital advertising will be the top 3 areas most companies will be spending their budget on.  The data shows 52% of marketers will increase the budget they spend on their websites. 61% agrees that digital commerce is a high priority in meeting their annual goals. And lastly, 65% of marketers will increase their spending on digital advertising.

How to allocate Budgets Across Channels

Given now the knowledge on what usually is included in a marketing budget and how it has recently been on the rise, the question about how to allocate your marketing budget must have come to mind.

Marketing budget allocation often factors in the nature of the business, competition, and customer behavior. However, here is an average on Marketing Spending in 2016.

marketing spend

According to Web Strategies, there is a decrease in budget allocation for traditional channels. This might be the case since in a separate study in 2014, it has been found out that the most effective marketing activities in generating ROI are email marketing, organic search, and content marketing. These activities together with marketing technologies and automation have proven to achieve remarkable results in the past years.  This year, marketers from around the world are predicting that content marketing, big data, along with marketing automation will continue to rise as the most important factor in boosting sales and leads. The graph below will show you an idea on where to allocate your digital marketing budget for 2017.

digital marketing techniques

Chart by: Business2Community

Rapid Digitalization in Singapore and SE Asia

As of January 2017, there are 320 million Internet users in Southeast Asia according to a report by ASEAN Up. In Singapore alone, a whopping 82% of its population are Internet users. 77% of them are active in social media. Here’s a quick glance on the digital population of Southeast Asia.

Asean Digital Population

In 2014, only an average of 7% from the total marketing budget has been spent on digital channels in Singapore. However, given the rapid increase of digitalization in the country, it is estimated that by this year, 34% of the total marketing budget is going to be spent on digital channels. According to SPH Magazines, the Internet is a vital part of the decision making process of a customer since 55% of Singaporeans conducted both online and offline product research prior to purchasing.

total advertising spend

Marketing to consumers has evolved over the decades and that has also changed how companies budget themselves. Consumers are a lot smarter. With plenty of options and competitors around, marketers have focused on other avenues for their efforts. With the continuous rise of internet users in Asia, companies have begun allocating much of their budgets into digital marketing.

This trend will continue to go up for the foreseeable future. With all of this information about marketing budget, now is the best time for you to create yours. Feel free to share with us how you tackled your marketing budget plan in the comments section.

 

Are you searching for strategies to improve your company’s regional presence? If so, you definitely want to focus on website localization to kick things off.

If you have a global or regional audience, digital marketing channels, such as your website, social media channels, and email marketing campaigns help you to reach out to them. However, you may find your concerted digital marketing efforts are not bearing fruit in the forms of conversions.

Why Localize My Website?

A big challenge is that most companies share a single marketing message to their entire audience, regionally or globally. This, in today’s digital landscape, does not work. Every digital user that interacts with your brand looks for a personalized message that resonates with them. This personalization can begin with localizing your website.

Internet users are booming – with more and more people coming online. They speak different languages and prefer consuming information in their native tongue. In fact, a survey evidenced that language can have a direct impact on purchasing behaviours.

Website localization does not end with translating your content into different languages though.

The goal of localization is to build up your branding in each locale to foster trust in the audience from there. This, in turns, leads to growth and success in that locale.

Website Localization Considerations

Let’s take a closer look at how you can achieve a localized online experience on your website for your audience. Effective localization entails the following elements:

1.  Branding

How potential customers perceive your brand matters a lot. If your website does not make an immediate impression, they are likely to tune out within a few minutes.

You may need to revise your branding message or tag line for different regions to connect emotionally with your potential customers there and establish your brand identity and awareness. A direct translation may lose its meaning, or even worse, turn you into a laughing stock.

Here are examples of popular slogans that fell into the direct translation trap:

  • Pepsi. Its slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” is translated into Taiwanese as “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead.”
  • Ford. The Ford Pinto failed to break into the Brazilian market. The term “Pinto” is Brazilian slang for “tiny male genitals.”
  • Mercedes-Benz. The luxury vehicle attempted to enter the China market under the name “Bensi,” which means “Rush to Die.” Later, the company changed its brand name to “Benchi,” meaning “dashing speed.”

2.  Cultural Nuances

Your localized website should communicate an understanding of cultural norms so that users can better relate to the information and feel at home on the site.

Culture-specific elements such as graphics, images, texts, and basic information like date, time and currency should be specific to that region.

For instance, you would not want to display or pun on hamburgers if your website is localized for India, where it is taboo to eat beef. The same sort of display would work perfectly fine in China and other parts of the world.

3. Transactions

E-commerce business sites offering transactions like product purchases or subscriptions should account for transactional elements like currency and payment options.

Your website should have an on-site price conversion to assist users in making purchase decisions, or even better, be able to accept the local currency.

Certain countries may have popular payment methods not found elsewhere. Being able to offer local payment methods reduces friction and results in greater sales.

For example, in Indonesia, payment processors like Xendit allow people without bank accounts or credit cards to complete transactions offline by paying in cash at over 10,000 retail outlets.

4. Communication

Communication plays an important role in engaging a local audience. A localized website should include trust elements such as local phone numbers, a local business address and in-language customer support capability.

Offering multilingual customer care unlocks sales opportunities. Foreign-speaking customer service representatives break through the language barrier issues, ensuring better service to customers and increasing trust in your brand significantly.

Benefits of Website Localization

1. Increase Brand Credibility

Websites that understand the linguistic and cultural distinctions across regional markets are more likely to receive customer’s trust and respect.

As mentioned earlier, in-language content can influence a consumer’s likelihood to make a purchase. This is because when you have a localized website with content in the local language, visitors perceive your brand with more trust.

Product or service information written in the widely-used native language could lead to increased profitable actions like product purchases or lead form submissions.

However, do note that you should probably hire professionals to translate your website. While automatic website translation via something like Google Translate is a lot more economical, the direct translation may lead to miscommunications via inconsistent brand messaging.

2. Effectively Cross Geographical Borders

While English is the most common language, only 20% of the world population or around 1.5 billion people speak it as their first language.

Website localization bridges the language gap and taps on a non-English speaking audience. This leads to increased customer reach within the specific region you are localizing for.

Over a period of time, this leads to stronger brand awareness in that region, generating increased word-of-mouth and better conversions for your brand.

3. Drive Better Results Online

Website localization also involves optimizing for search engines.

Local SEO optimization means your localized website has a greater chance of ranking on Google within that country for keywords that your global site would find difficult to rank for as your pages would not be as optimized for the local nuances.

For example, in the automotive space, trying to rank in both the U.S. and the UK – both English-speaking countries – is not that simple. See the table below for the nuances between the two. Your UK or US localized website would bridge that gap, allowing you to rank on search engines in both countries.

How Do I Localize My Website?

If you are convinced that you need to localize your website, here are five tips to adapt your website to a specific market:

1. Create Exclusive Content

You should develop exclusive localized content instead of doing a word-for-word translation of your existing website. The best approach would be to think of it as a new website when creating content, so you can use the appropriate terminology, expression and punctuation that is reflective of your target audience’s culture and society.

This will avoid misleading messages and drive better customer engagement and increase customer loyalty.

2. Localize Images, Symbols & Colours

You may need to tweak your branding guidelines slightly for different markets. Pay attention to symbols, colours and imagery being utilized on your website.

Colours have different meanings in different cultures. For example, green is a traditionally forbidden colour in Indonesia and represents death in South America as it is associated with dense jungles. In most Western culture, however, the colour represents luck, nature, and environmental awareness.

Same goes with symbols. Hand gestures, for instance, can mean different things in different cultures. In the USA, horn fingers signify approval or “Rock on” while in Latin countries such as Brazil and Argentina, it is considered an obscene gesture that their spouse is cheating on them.

3. Seek Help from Local Experts

Producing unique content for every market can get time-consuming. Look for local experts who can help not just with translations, but also produce unique localized content for you.

Individuals who speak the local language and understand the local culture better can help your content come across as more authentic and allow your brand to resonate better with your target audience.

4. Plan Your Multi-Regional Website Domains

Catering to multilingual audiences means you need to plan for a multi-regional website. You can localize your website domain in several ways to signal to search engines like Google to start ranking you within that country’s search results.

  1. Country-Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). This two-letter domain extension is fixed to a specific country (i.e. .sg for Singapore and .my for Malaysia). Using this domain name will help users and search engines identify a website as being focused on a specific geographic location
  2. Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD). This is a generic domain name ending with .com, .net, and .org. You can set up geo-targeting for GTLD websites by using a geographic sub-domain or sub-directory structure. For example, sg.yourdomain.com or yourdomain.com/sg and then informing Google about that via Webmaster Tools Geographic Target setting.

5. Add A Multilingual Navigation Option

Set up a global navigation system that allows visitors to select their specific localized version of your website.

One of the most common designs used is a drop-down menu, wherein users select their language from a list. You may also use a dedicated landing page that allows users to select their location or language.

Additionally, you can choose to immediately redirect visitors to a localized version when they enter your global domain by checking their IP address. This further reduces friction, resulting in fewer visitors dropping off.

Go Local If You Can Afford It

Website localization may be a complex process, but it pays off. It will increase the appeal of your website for audiences in your specifically targeted markets and result in better conversions – purchases or leads – digitally for your business.

At 2Stallions, we’ve managed and focusing on local SEO to achieve great results. If you are interested, browse our digital services suite to find out how we can help you and get in touch.

The continued growth of the digital world has changed the way that companies are marketing their products to consumers in Asia. Strategies have rapidly progressed throughout time and can be categorized to four distinct styles.

The Evolving Marketing Landscape in Asia

The first one is traditional marketing, which tackles marketing strategies that existed before the boom of the Internet. Marketing efforts utilize traditional media like mail, radio, television, newspapers, and outdoor marketing like billboards and events.

traditional marketing

Pre-1995

The next one is mixed marketing where companies try to implement web based marketing, usually a static website, to the traditional ones.

mixed marketing

1995-2004

Then we have web centric marketing. This is where web based marketing has greater priority than traditional marketing. Search engine optimization and pay-per-click (PPC) and email are more greatly utilized – with the website a central focus. Traditional marketing remains a strong presence as these companies understand the need for online marketing but aren’t ready to let go of the traditional formats.

 

2005-2009

Finally, we have what is called modern marketing. In this type of marketing, the use of social media outlets like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., are heavily prevalent and online marketing forms the bulk of the budget, with little reliance on traditional marketing. On the other hand, traditional advertising relied on diversionary tactics to get you to buy a company’s product, modern marketing aims to form a bond with their customers and companies engaging in modern marketing have already realised this shift in their thinking.

modern marketing

 

2010-onwards

As the digital space keeps evolving rapidly, marketing trends have emerged that could rapidly shift modern marketing in Asia even further in 2017, especially when it comes to consumer goods. Here are some of the big ones to keep an eye on:

Mobile Commerce

Large companies like Apple and Samsung have already launched their mobile payment services and for good reason. This is because 2016 has seen a huge spike in shoppers using their mobile devices to purchase goods.

Mobile-first apps like Instagram for example, is fast becoming the social media outlet of choice for businesses. According to Search Engine Land, this past year, Google has already announced that there are more searches done on mobile devices than on traditional desktop PCs. Mobile devices account for more than 60% of google searches.

Photo by Smart Insight

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and PayPal are continuously growing because of this recent boom. More businesses are going to implement “mobile-wallets” in their payment models this year.

Social Shopping

Social Media is fast becoming one of the best ways for businesses to reach out to their audiences. Various social media outlets like Instagram and Facebook are already gearing their sites to make it more optimized for businesses and consumers to connect easily.

In 2017, these platforms will most likely bridge the gap between online commerce and physical stores closer.

Chatbots

Chatbot technology is getting better and better and the results could be big for businesses. A lot of big companies like Facebook and Microsoft have already invested huge amounts in the Chatbot technology because of the impact it could have in the future.

Chatbots offer a more genuine and personalized approach with regards to the transaction process with customers. Chatbots can give that human responsive feel that customers really love.

According to Daze Info, around 80% of all companies want to integrate Chatbots by 2020. In the US, 37% of the population are already saying that they are willing to buy from a ChatBot. A good chunk of the population has also experienced interacting with a Chatbot. This is definitely a sure sign that Chatbots are here to stay.

Photo by Daze Info

Personalised retargeting

The boom of mobile commerce has also given online retailers a problem. A lot of customers are abandoning their online shopping carts because mobile shopping also decreases the user’s attention span.

Did you notice how many emails you get from Amazon reminding you of items that you looked at or added to your cart? According to Baymard, e-commerce cart abandonment has risen to alarming levels from 60% in 2006 to 78% in 2017.

Because of this, more retailers are using a tool called Personalised Retargeting which gives customers more follow-up emails regarding their abandoned online shopping cart items. This gained a lot of success in 2016 and will most certainly be used more in 2017.

Virtual Retail

Virtual retail is going to be huge in 2017. This technology will allow customers to merge offline and online environment for a unique shopping experience. For example, virtual dressing rooms will allow you to try on clothes and see how it will fit without leaving the comfort of your home.

According to Digi-capital, virtual reality will become a $30 billion industry by the year 2020. Virtual Retail will continue to grow with applications ranging from health and beauty to the medical space. The car company, Audi has already announced that they are going to use VR to create virtual showrooms for their customers. Feel free to watch the video below:

Augmented Reality

Just like Virtual Reality, one of the biggest hits of 2016 was Augmented Reality. The biggest reason for Augmented Reality’s success is the mobile-app game, Pokemon Go, where users can catch their favorite virtual monsters in the real world. Augmented Reality application is really young, but because of the massive success of Pokemon Go, 2017 will be the year that Augmented Reality will really boom.

According to Expanded Ramblings, Pokemon Go has over a whopping 500 million downloads to date and has generated over a billion dollars in revenue. Expect a lot of other tech companies to follow this massive fad.

According to Digi-capital, the Augmented Reality revenue share will dwarf virtual reality in 2020 by a whopping $60 Billion.

 

Photo by Digi-Capital

Live Videos and 360-degree video

More people, and customers for this matter, crave interactivity in this digital age of ours. That is why one of the most popular social media experiences of 2016 was live videos and 360 degree-video.

Customers who feel that they are part of the whole experience are most likely to form a bond with the company. Live Videos make customers feel as if they are really taking part with the event while 360-degree video allow them to feel that they are manipulating and holding the product themselves.

Dunkin Donuts is a good example of a company who took advantage of Live Videos. They recently did a live video for the Valentine’s season where they  showed their “test kitchen.” They ended the video with a sweet surprise – a giant donut-themed wedding cake. You can watch the Facebook live video here:

A lot of businesses in the tourism and sports industry have already fully utilized these tools to their advantage. 2017 is going to be no different when it comes to Live Videos and 360-degree video.

Consumer Goods Company going direct to consumers and cutting down on their retail channels

Fast Moving Consumer Goods typically have a gap with its customers when it comes to communication. Normally these type of products rely on their distributors and retail stores to talk and form relationships with their customers.

However, the advances in digital marketing has allowed these FMCG companies to directly communicate with their customers through social media. This will help companies of that nature to better understand their customers and gain new insights.

Dollar Shave Club used this tactic to compete with giants like Gillette and Schick. Men who wanted an alternative to this pricier razors wanted a much closer bond with their razor company. Dollar Shave Club used social media and viral videos. The company skyrocketed. Today they sold to Unilever for $1 Billion, which is five times more than they were actually worth. Check out their video below which currently has over 24 million views:

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Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is one of the best tools available for companies today. It is a type of software that enables business to put their marketing and sales efforts on autopilot by nurturing potential leads with highly personalized, useful content.

Marketing Automation has a huge amount of benefits as it can help a small sales team get invaluable insights into a business’ customer base to help them make data driven decisions. It also helps a sales team get focused on closing the deal by allowing the software to do the heavy lifting of sending up to thousands of emails per day.

When people hear of Marketing Automation, many actually believe that it is just a more complex Email Marketing. However, once your knowledge becomes deeper, you will realize that Marketing Automation has a huge advantage over an email service provider. Below is a chart that can show you the difference between the two:

 

Marketing Automation software like Infusionsoft can help businesses capture more leads and improve their conversion rates. These tools can easily manage the sales and marketing processes for business.

A good example of a business that will benefit greatly from Marketing Automation is Events Management. Imagine being able to send thousands of emails per day to clients. Especially if the company has a huge client database, Marketing Automation will greatly aid in getting those leads and keeping clients in the loop.

Marketing Automation can also have desirable effects like word of mouth marketing. By being constantly reminded of a company’s offerings, there is a great chance that he/she will refer that company to others. Keep in mind that 84 percent of people trust recommendations from people that they know.

Marketing Automation will also fortify a company’s repeat business because of efficient marketing. Selling to an existing customer requires less effort and results in a larger success rate than dealing with new customers.

By streamlining the sales and marketing process efficiently, Marketing Automation is going to be one of the hottest digital trends of 2017. Still think Marketing Automation won’t help businesses? According to Salesforce, Businesses using marketing automation experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.

Mobile Commerce, Social Shopping, Chatbots, Personalised Retargeting, Virtual Retail, Augmented Reality, Live Videos, Direct to Consumer, and Marketing Automation are going to be at the forefront of the consumer goods landscape in Asia. If you are in the marketing field or own a business, keep an eye on these trends.

With all these digital trends booming in 2017 and beyond, which one are you planning to use for your company? Let us know in the comments below which digital trend excites you the most.[/fusion_text]

The rise of social media has given small businesses an amazing opportunity to be discovered by engaged audiences that are too large to ignore. According to Zaphoria, there are 1.86 billion monthly active Facebook users while other social media sites like Instagram have a whopping 400 million active users.
Social media has allowed small businesses to get valuable customer insights, as well as a huge increase in loyalty and brand awareness. All of which can be done without breaking the bank.

While simply signing up and joining Facebook and the likes does not guarantee instant success, there are some small businesses that are ‘owning’ social media using various big-brand marketing strategies. There are a lot of examples of businesses that are social media success stories, here are some notable ones as well as tips on how your small business can start rocking social media.

Small Businesses Rocking Social Media

Cupcake Royale

Cupcake Royale is a small business that started out as Seattle’s first cupcake café in 2003. Their Facebook page is the perfect example of using social media as a real-time surveying tool. They keep their customers engaged by asking them questions on their Valentine Day slogan and their summertime cupcake preferences. This technique seems to work really well for them, with high engagement levels from their audience. A great example of this would be a post that they did for President’s day.

Cupcake Royale also has a blog that tells readers how they source their all-natural ingredients. This is a great tool to increase brand awareness and spread their story, as Cupcake Royale prides itself on using all-natural ingredients for their treats.

Coconut Bliss

Coconut Bliss is a dairy and soy free ice cream brand that utilised contests and promotions on social media to gain a big following. Visual storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in social media and Coconut Bliss certainly took advantage of this.

Coconut Bliss encouraged the public to submit their best and yummiest photos of people eating their ice cream. They accomplished this by starting out in-store taste-testing and building personal relationships with their customers. Eventually those people followed them on their social media pages and started participating and encouraging others – creating a snowball effect. This has grown their Instagram page rapidly, as well as opened them up to bigger partnerships with brands like VegNews.

coconut bliss IG

Coconut Bliss uploaded their first post on Instagram a year and three months ago. Today they already have over 14,000 followers.

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club had a pretty unique offer back in 2012 – sign up for a razor subscription for disposable razors delivered to your doorstep every month. It sounds like a great idea, but the challenge was to get their message across.

Dollar Shave Club overcame this challenge by creating a video that was both funny and focused and cost them only $4,500. I say ‘only’ because the results were mind-blowing and well worth the investment, with 4.75 million views in the span of just three months. Social media played a big part, as the video spread like wildfire through Twitter and Facebook. As of today, Dollar Shave Club is competing with the likes of Gillette and was last valued at over $615 million in 2015. Not bad for a ‘small business’ with a simple idea.

The 3 examples shared above have hopefully whet your appetite for the possibilities to grow your own business online through social media. While reading success stories is great, it’s only through taking action and executing that your business can grow. Here is a set of small business tips for you to implement TODAY to set you on your way to social media success!

1. Set Your Goals and Budget

seo budgetAny marketing, online or offline, that you do requires you to first set your goals. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine the aims for your brand and figure out what you really want:

  • Do you want more people to be aware of your brand?
  • Are you promoting a specific product?
  • Are you looking to widen your reach?
  • Do you want people to know where to find you?

Once you are able to figure out what you really want for your brand, you will be able to prioritise your goals. Focus on what you need most and the rest will follow. As soon as you have determined your goals, you will find it easier to set a specific budget for marketing. Your budget can be determined based on the expected returns on investment as well.

If you’re still having trouble with your goals and budget, we would be happy to discuss social media marketing with you through the comments. You can also look through our social media offerings here.

2. Create unique, but relevant, content

With all the competition out there, you need to stand out. But how? Well, if you want the quickest, simplest answer, you just have to be “follow” worthy. So, maybe that doesn’t really help you much.

What it means is that for your social media strategy to work, you have to create content for your page that captures the imagination of people and provides them immense value, enough to make them want to follow you for more. If you fail to do this, your page will sink into obscurity pretty quickly (yes, it’s harsh but the truth).

Here are ways to develop social media content:

  • Come up with an idea – if you have a shortage of creative ideas, check out tweakyourbiz as it can help you generate outstanding titles for your content. You can also check out other blogs (even in an unrelated niche). It may give you the boost needed to get your creative juices flowing.
  • Research a lot – this might be boring for some people but well-researched content goes a long way. It will boost your credibility and increases the chance of your post being reshared as a resource by your viewers.
  • Make it eye-catching – first impressions matter in the world of social media and reflect on how people perceive your brand. Visuals that are unique, creative, beautiful, and eye-catching that can also get people inspired. Videos are also great.

3. Try to engage your audience

Granted that you’ve already nailed down the “follow-worthy” content, it is time to make sure that your audience finds out more about you. To do this, you have to keep them engaged and wanting more from your brand. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Run regular contests on your social media accounts
  • Create and promote discussions on social media using a customised hashtag
  • Post a fan photo to recognize a follower regularly on your social media account
  • Encourage conversation and idea generation among your audience
  • Give away free stuff once in a while to loyal followers

There are so many ways to keep your customers engaged. If it gets overwhelming, just ensure you’re aligned to your goals when deciding on ways to keep your customers talking about your brand.

4. Use online tools to help you do the heavy lifting

Engaging your audience will require a lot of time and posting. One important aspect of a successful social media campaign is social sharing. This means that you will need to post important stories or links with regards to your industry. This will help you become more of an authority to your industry as well as open up possible important connections and networks. Getting lost with all the content floating around the internet is very easy.

One tool that you can use is called Drum Up. This service scours through millions of pieces of content across the web in real time. You can then sift through the content that you would like to post. The software also allows you to schedule important and influential posts.

Becoming an authority in your industry will get followers to flock to you. This will result in more engagement and, hopefully more business.

5. Start blogging

bloggingBlogging sounds tedious and you may wonder how it is relevant to social media marketing. As a small business owner, you sometimes need to showcase that you are as good as any other brand out there. Even if your business is on all the social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, you still need your own website for followers to learn more and make purchases.

Your blog posts can also be great sources for creating bite-sized content for your social media channels, connecting all of them back to your website as part of your online business strategy. Moreover, your customers will most likely trust you if they see how competent and well versed you are in your industry, yet generous with sharing your knowledge with them.

Blogging is also one of the best ways to build and cultivate your brand for people to connect to. If you have a blog that people follow, then there is a huge chance that those same people will also follow your social media profiles.

Here are 21 reasons why your business should start blogging if you’re unconvinced.

6. Keep networking digitally

Social media is the digital version of the real world. Similar to the real world, your marketing can get better if you keep on networking.  You can join chat groups and forums to meet different industry leaders, and people passionate about the same things as you. Here’s an idea from The Social Examiner that you can try for networking – host a social media event that focuses on your followers.

It is basically a digital party that you host and your followers can share links to their own pages on your page. It creates a community within your page, gets more people to follow you, increases your news feed visibility, generates more business, and get to know more people that can help you.

7. Focus on your landing page conversion rate

conversion rateYour landing page can make or break your business. It is where a visitor gets converted to an actual lead or even customer. According to a report by WordStream, conversion rates vary by industry but the best advertisers have conversion rates at 10% or higher.

Focusing on your landing page conversion rates raises the return on investment from the money, time, and effort you have spent on your social media marketing campaign. If you find that your conversion rate is poor, you need to work harder on your copywriting, your offer, your call-to-action and also determine if you’re targeting the correct audience.

Keep in mind that if you are getting a lot of followers on social media but most are not turning into customers, it may signify something is missing or wrong with your marketing strategy. According to Sharon Drew Morgen, “Marketing is searching for and cultivating leads who are likely to become your customers at some point.” Therefore, your landing page conversion rate is the best way to check if your social media marketing effort is a success.

Not sure what conversion rates are and how to optimize them? Read our article on turning visitors to customers with conversion funnels for a quick primer.

8. Analyse and tweak your social media performance

Not everything is set in stone and although social media marketing is an effective tool, it does not give results overnight and may not work for everyone. Successful campaigns are regularly measured and tweaked accordingly. Your ability to know what is working, and actually being in tune with your audience, will greatly affect the outcome of your social media marketing.

If you are looking for ways to manage your social media statistics, BufferApp made a list of free tools that you can use.

It’s a wonderful age to be a small business as you can finally go head-to-head with bigger brands using social media, without needing a mega-budget (although having that surely doesn’t hurt). If you are willing to take the time to research and execute the various tricks and tools that can help you manage your social media marketing, there is a good chance that your social media performance will be satisfactory. A well thought out plan, together with perseverance, should reap you great results from your social media marketing.

If you have tried out any of these eight tips or have other tips you’d like to share (remember that sharing is the spirit to adopt for social media!), then do leave us a comment below.

Business owners and the marketing community are usually up to their eyeballs with work on a daily basis that requires their pressing attention. This is probably the main reason why many do not do the one thing that would help their business grow significantly in a short time span– build a customer persona (or a buyer persona). This is something you should be doing before you even get into building an online strategy. After all, your entire business depends on customers so it’s important to thoroughly understand who you are selling to.

What is a customer persona? To simply put, it is a depiction of your perfect customer(s) based on the solid data gathered from your existing customers (good and bad) and prospects. Before we go into the steps of building customer personas (yes, you can have more than one), I’m sure you’re curious as to WHY you need a customer persona.

5 Reasons For A Customer Personacrafting the right messaging

1. Crafting The Right Messaging

Some of the ways your business or company attracts traffic online may be through content marketing and paid advertising. You create these pieces of content or adverts with the aim of connecting with your ideal prospects. A customer persona would ensure that you can do that by providing you with the relevant information about WHO you want to reach as well as their motivations and challenges. This allows you to speak to them in a language they understand, and if they ‘get’ what you’re saying, there is a higher likelihood of converting them to paying customers.

2. Focused Company Communication

If your business is more than a one-man show, chances are, everyone in your company comes into contact with clients on a daily basis. Having customer personas helps everyone in your company align to consistent messaging that provides a more cohesive front. If you are a one-man show that’s looking to grow in the future, then a customer persona will help recruits get on board quicker.

3. Humanizes Marketing

When you build a customer persona, it is backed by solid research and you’re creating an actual person who you wish to work with. When you’re planning your marketing, writing messaging specifically for this person is going to be much easier as you can put yourself in the shoes of your single customer persona.

4. Positioning For Sales

A customer persona will aid your sales staff when they are out prospecting by letting them know the type of potential clients your company is looking to attract.

5. Improves Your Sales Funnelimprove your sales funnel

With a detailed customer persona, your business will have a greater understanding of the concerns your clients have when deciding on hiring you or buying your products. By addressing these concerns in different parts of the sales funnel, you will be able to improve your conversions and therefore, increase your revenue.

If you need more reasons, read 31 business building benefits of buyer personas.

I’m Sold. How Do I Build A Customer Persona? If you’re still interested at this point, that’s great! Let us show you how you can go about building customer personas for your business. You can have more than one (and most businesses do), but start small, especially if you’re still getting your feet wet in online marketing (actually, personas work great for offline marketing as well – as highlighted by our reasons above).

 

Download The ARTICLE BONUS Now!

 

3 Steps To Your Ideal Customer Persona

A customer persona requires you to answer FOUR main questions about your ideal customer: WHO, WHAT, WHY & HOW.your ideal customer persona

Step 1: Collect Initial Data

The easiest way to do this is to go through your existing client database. If you have a website with analytics set up, that’s also a great place to collect data from. Try to sieve out the background and demographic trends – location, age group, sex, and education level, as well as the professional title, and revenue generated. Note down customers that fall in specific segments to form a large group. Also, think about the ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ customers. If you enjoy working with one segment over another, you may want to concentrate on building up the ‘good’ segment as your customer persona for the future. Don’t forget to note down why you found it easier to work with that segment as these identifiers will prove useful for future prospects.

Understanding the demographic of your existing customers will help you build up the ‘WHO’ portion of your customer persona.

Step 2: Set Up Interviews

Now that you have your WHO, it’s time to call up some of your existing customers to ask them for some of their time for an interview. Set up at least 3 interviews. There is no rule on how many interviews you need to conduct. Once you find yourself answering the questions you ask correctly, it’s probably enough. Don’t limit yourself to just existing customers. Talk to prospects as well as those that chose NOT to work with you.

The interview data will form the bulk of your customer persona so pay careful attention. What kind of questions should you ask?

For the WHAT section, you want to concentrate on the goals and challenges of your customers as well as what your business can do to help them. What are their motivations at work and how can their lives be easier? Always ask why these are their goals as well. For example, someone might tell you their goal is to ‘Meet 30 prospects each month’. Asking them why may reveal that as their base KPI at work or that usually from 30 prospects, they are able to close enough deals to meet their targets. Probing will allow you to build a more in-depth persona that will help you.

For the WHY section, you should note down specific quotes and objections that these interviewees have. This is to build up an understanding of their language and help your sales staff understand common issues that may stop future prospects from converting.

The HOW section is for your company messaging – what is the best way to approach your ideal customer? How can you describe your products to them in a way they can understand. Craft your main marketing messages here for this customer persona.

Step 3: Put It All Together

When you create your final buyer persona, remember to give him/her a name and a face. A standard practice is to have their job title and a rhyming name to make it simple to recall. For example, you can have HR Harry, Marketing Molly, Sales Sameer. Find a stock photo online of someone that represents your persona so that everyone in your company can visualize this person. You can create multiple personas for your business if necessary. Most companies have at least 2, which is quite alright.

So now that your customer persona is done, you can expect your marketing strategy to be more targeted and hopefully, effective. The domino effect of this focus are greater conversions on your website (where your messaging will be aligned) and increased revenue!

To make it easy to build your first customer persona, we’ve created a FREE customer persona template for you to download.

We’d like to end this article with a word of caution through a story that has stuck with me:

A research company conducted a focus group research for Sony boom boxes, and during the interview, when asked about boom box colour preference between yellow or black, almost all the participants voted for a yellow boom box. At the end of the focus group, the participants were offered a free boom box to be picked up on their way out. Despite both options available for them to pick, almost everyone took the black boom box over the yellow.

I read this in ‘The User Is Always Right’ (a fabulous book for those looking to understand persona-building in depth) with the takeaway that although interviews may provide you with insights, it’s also extremely important to observe the actions of your customers. So besides just noting down the words, focus on the actions of your customers to have a holistic understanding of them.

If you have built customer personas, have insights or questions regarding the process, do write in the comments below or in our forums!

Additional Resources:

Marketing Personas: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

How To Create A B2B Buyer’s Persona

 

Get your Customer Persona PowerPoint template.

You just started a consumer-facing business (Congratulations!) and you’ve heard the Internet is a great way to gain traction and get the masses flocking to your place of business. Without any online business strategy, though, you are likely to jump into the following scenario:

You decide to start small and ‘simple’ – with a Facebook page. After all, almost 1.5 billion people, including all your friends, use this platform. You set it up, and invite your friends to like your page to get the ball rolling.

And then… your business loses its way online.

You post regularly on your page but can’t seem to get anyone apart from friends to like the posts – and even their enthusiasm wanes quickly. You discover that those 1.5 billion people you hoped for are only accessible with a fee. So you pay to promote each post and get more likes but it does not translate to more business in your store.

After a while, you choose to cut your losses and let it slip into oblivion. You decide that you are going to do things ‘old school’ instead and convince yourself that you are not losing out.

You are not alone in this state of denial – plenty of business owners sabotage their online business presence through the lack of foresight and investment in professional guidance. Here is how you can start formulating a foundation for a successful online business strategy.

1. Know Your Motives

It is extremely important to first know WHY you want an online presence. Is it to increase brand awareness? Provide alternative means for customers to make purchases? Generate leads for your business? Or something else?

This motive will aid in determining what assets you need for your online business strategy.

2. Understand Your Customers’ Online IntentCustomer Intent Online - 2Stallions Blog

In order to know what sort of online presence you need – you must understand your customers’ intent i.e. how they find you and why they use a particular online platform.

How: Google conducted a study, which found that 4 in 5 consumers conduct a local search on search engines for product information, directions and operating hours of businesses near them. Speaking to existing customers of yours will also help you answer this question.

Why: The table below shows you the user intent behind using search engines and social media – the two areas in which consumers spend most of their online time.

INTENT ON SEARCHINTENT ON SOCIAL
Navigational: user wants to go somewhereSocialize: user wants to find out what friends have been up to and communicate with them
Informational: user wants to know about somethingDiscover information: user has information – photos, videos, articles, news, brands – fed to him based on his likes and what his network likes
Transactional: user is looking to buy somethingShare: user posts information on products/services/articles that interest them
 

The user intent explains why Google Adwords – Google’s paid advertising offering – is booming. Businesses know that visitors coming through search will likely turn into customers because they are actively seeking a solution. For social media platforms like Facebook, however, although 66% of marketers claim that social indirectly impacts their business performance, only 9% claim it can be directly linked to revenue. This is probably because users on social media don’t actively search for things – they tend to discover them through their news feed.

3. Your website is the key to an online business strategyKey to an Online Business Strategy - 2Stallions

We came up with 11 reasons why your business needs a website but to go a bit deeper (it gets technical here), it is to have your content appear in search results.

Facebook does not allow Google to look at the content on their Facebook pages (yes, they control your content on their platform) so the content you produce on your Facebook page cannot be found via Google search. This means you lose out on opportunities to be found organically by users looking for your products or services if you do not have a website. Whatever online business strategy you adopt, your website needs to be central to it.

A website is like your physical storefront. Build it according to your brand guidelines but understand that making it look pretty does not guarantee you any “footfall” or traffic. What helps you get traffic? Marketing, of course. Getting your website indexed by Google so that Google knows your website exists, is just the first step in a long journey to online success. The results on the first page of Google get 71.3% of the clicks for all search results. In a nutshell, if you’re not on the first page of Google, you’re not going to get much traffic.

4. Online Marketing To Attract Your Target Audience

So, how do you get on the first page? Focus your online business strategy towards Search and Social media once your website is up.

4.1 Search

Your options for search are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term approach which helps your website to rank organically, without paying for it, on the first page of Google and Bing! search results. The white-hat technique recommended for improving your SEO is content marketing. Write articles on topics within your business domain that users would search for or find interesting. Share these on your social media channels.

Use traffic drivers like guest posting on ‘authority’ blogs in similar domains to get a backlink and engage an interested audience. Other traffic drivers include YouTube (for videos) and Slideshare (for slide decks). All these pieces of content would end up ranking for a myriad of keywords that drive targeted traffic back to your site from search.Search and Social Media - Online Marketing - 2Stallions

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) provides an immediate possibility of showing up on the homepage of Google through paid advertising. Besides Google, your advertising can also show up on related sites on the network of sites that use Google Adsense.

4.2 Social Media

The number of social media platforms out there means the options here are astonishing. There is Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Reddit just to name a few. What you need to understand is that not all of these are relevant to your business and you should choose what suits your motives best.

For example, Facebook can be a great way to provide customer service and increase brand awareness and that may be the only tool you need. However, an eCommerce brand with product photos could be better off including Pinterest and/or Instagram to their online business strategy.

5. Putting it together for a robust online business strategy

Your strategy needs to frame every platform you are targeting and cover the basics: how, what, and when. All your online assets should have key performance indicators (KPIs) that would be analyzed every period of your choosing (usually monthly or quarterly) and tweaked accordingly.

The following infographic titled ‘Ins and Outs of Web Traffic’ shows how your online actions will drive traffic back to your website. This should give you a clearer understanding of how your online assets rely on each other for the overall benefit of your business and aid in the formulation of your own strategy.Ins & Outs of Web Traffic - Infographic - 2Stallions

The online business strategy you develop serves to keep you focused on your motives. However, it is also important that it remains a flexible document which adapts as you discover things that work or don’t work for your business.

Want to find out more about how we can help refine your online business strategy? We’re happy to have a chat… Have questions or additional insights? Share with us via the comments below!

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