Friday, 7 January 2022

How to Turbocharge Your TikTok Strategy

 By early 2019, TikTok had already chalked up more than a billion downloads from the world’s two biggest app stores. Today, it’s the number-one social media app on both by a clear margin.





TikTok is renowned for its viral marketing potential, attracting the attention of small and large businesses from all over the world. But with such a frenzy of competition from all corners, running a successful TikTok strategy is far from a cakewalk.

Ultimately, it is the quality and relevance of the content you publish that will determine the outcome. Other than this, the following tips and guidelines could help you take your TikTok strategy to the next level:

#1 Use the Right Hashtags

The hashtags you attach to your videos will play a major role in determining which viewers are sent your way. Your job is to find the right hashtags to represent your content - i.e. those that are both relevant and trending at the time. Avoid the temptation to overuse hashtags, or use those of questionable relevance to your content. Tactics like these will only ever prove counterproductive.

#2 Research Your Audience Continuously

The key word here is ‘continuously’, given how the preferences and habits of all social media audiences are constantly shifting. Irrespective of who you are targeting on TikTok, you need to develop the deepest possible understanding of them. Never view audience research as a one-time-only task, but as a continuous and cyclical process.

#3 Keep it Casual

TikTok is not the platform people head to for anything too serious. Instead, it’s with a head for cheap laughs and casual entertainment. Keeping things casual and light-hearted is therefore the way to go. Unless, of course, doing so would be inappropriate for the topic/video in question.

#4 Keep it Concise

Likewise, TikTok is also not the kind of place people go for long-form content. Instead, it is where they head with instant gratification in mind. The most engaging and shareable videos on TikTok are those that get the job done in a matter of seconds. The quicker you can get your point across and hook the viewer, the better.

#5 Prioritise Authenticity

Avoid the temptation to jump on every bandwagon that comes along, simply because it is trending at the time. Everything you share on TikTok needs to be authentic for your brand and relevant to your audience. Or in other words, be true to the genuine voice and personality of your brand, rather than putting on a fa├žade in hope of influencing TikTok audiences.

#6 Reach Out to Influencers

Last up, even a brief mention from an established influencer can be all it takes to hit the big time. However, influencers are not in the habit of chasing down potential partners to recommend and represent. If you want to get influencers on board - which you should - you need to do the legwork and outreach.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Email Marketing FAQs: Key Questions Answered

 An effective email marketing strategy has the potential to deliver an ROI that goes beyond any social media marketing campaign.


In this post, we’ll be taking a look at a series of frequently asked questions on the subject of email marketing, which may prove particularly helpful for smaller businesses starting out for the first time:

Q1. What rules do I need to be aware of regarding the legality of my subscription list?

Different rules apply in different parts of the world, so you need to ensure you comply with the corresponding regulations accordingly. A few examples of which include:

• United States: CAN-SPAM Act

• Canada: CASL

• European Union: GDPR

• Australia: Spam Act 2003

Q2. How often should I review my email marketing list?

Ideally, it is advisable to conduct an email ‘scrubbing’ exercise at least once every six months. During which, you should take steps to identify inactive subscribers in your list, found out why they disengaged with your brand and attempt to re-engage them. Those that cannot be brought back should subsequently be deleted.

Q3. What do I need to do to ensure maximum engagement with my emails?

A strong and appealing subject line plays the biggest role in determining whether or not your emails will be opened by the recipient. After which, dynamic content of genuine value that feels personal to the reader is essential. Keeping things brief is also advisable, as an email with too much content is more likely to be ignored than a concise communication.

Q4. Is it a good idea to send attachments?

The short answer is no, for the simple reason that they are commonly associated with malware and viruses. In addition, emails with attachments are often automatically blocked, or sent to spam folders. Where possible, attachments should be avoided.

Q5. How about including a video clip in an e-mail?

This can be a much more effective strategy. Estimates vary, but some studies have shown that video content can reduce unsubscribe rates by as much as 75%, generate 96% higher click-through rates and significantly boost the amount of time a person spends viewing the content of an e-mail.

Q6. Is email automation a good idea?

To a degree, but it is essential to ensure that automation does not completely erase the human aspect from your strategy. Every mail needs to be interpreted as personal, relevant and of some kind of value to the recipient – not something automated, generic or bot-generated.

Q7. Should I bother with an unsubscribe message?

Yes, but not necessarily for the purpose of attempting to convince the subscriber in question to stick around. The biggest benefits of an unsubscribe message is the way in which it offers invaluable insights into why people are choosing to leave your email list in the first place.

Q8. Is it worth buying a mailing list from an email scraping service?

In a word, no. The use of harvesting bots not only tends to produce epic lists of spam email addresses of no value, but email scraping is actually against the law in some countries. Making use of such services could therefore pose a risk to your business that really isn’t worth taking.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Ecommerce Operators in the UK Bear the Brunt of Brexit


It was never in any doubt that Brexit would bring devastating economic consequences for many businesses across the UK. Cross-channel export and import complications are already hitting merchants hard, and experts believe the worst is yet to come.

One of the hardest-hit sectors of all is ecommerce, with a full 94% of online brands in Britain saying that Brexit has cost them customers in the EU. This suggests that since the transition period ended on December 31 last year, at least nine out of 10 UK ecommerce businesses have seen a fall in sales.


 

Ecommerce platform ChannelAdvisor junction with research firm CensusWide reached out to more than 300 UK businesses selling products online. The aim was to assess the extent to which Brexit had disrupted cross-border sales and customer relations, along with potential issues regarding additional tax obligations and shipping delays.

The overwhelming majority (94%) said that they had lost some customers in the EU, while 66% said that EU customer numbers had fallen ‘significantly’ due to Brexit.

An Uptick in Domestic Ecommerce

The UK High Street was devastated by three consecutive lockdowns, resulting in thousands of stores and established chains closing down permanently. Meanwhile, ecommerce operators thrived during the COVID-19 crisis, as the UK public was given little option but to shop predominantly online.

Consequently, 92% of the businesses surveyed said that customer numbers had increased significantly since the Coronavirus pandemic hit. In addition, 82% said that overall sales are currently higher than they were before the pandemic, with 27% reporting a ‘significant’ increase in sales volumes.

Conversely, only 16% of the retailers surveyed said current sales were the same as those early last year.

Reassuringly, 93% of the CMOs polled said that they are more confident in their brand’s future today than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. But while the domestic picture is predominantly reassuring, Brexit has had a dramatic effect on the ability of UK ecommerce brands to do business overseas.

A Significant Drop in International Sales

When quizzed on the effects of Brexit, 68% said that they had experienced a fall in international sales. Meanwhile, a further 22% said that international sales had fallen significantly, as a direct result of Brexit.

Only 15% indicated that international sales volumes had improved since Brexit, with 17% saying there had been no specific change in either direction.

Issues shipping items to shoppers overseas were the most commonly encountered problem among UK ecommerce operators (73%). Around a third also said that complications at the border had significantly extended delivery times and affected their operations.

“UK brands are enjoying a phenomenal period of growth and will no doubt play an integral role in the country’s post-COVID recovery. However, the last few months of Brexit disruption have caused a significant headache for the vast majority of these firms, thanks to delays and complications at UK-EU customs. Brands rarely become e-commerce giants without strong international sales and finding a solution to this border disruption will benefit all sides,” commented Vladi Shlesman on behalf of ChannelAdvisor.

“Leveraging expertise like a third-party logistics provider can overcome fulfilment challenges, or looking to new sources of demand could help plug the gap in demand. In the meantime, it’s inspiring to see that brands are enthused and confident about the coming year. After such a transformative time in the industry, I hope they continue to reap the rewards of e-commerce.”

Friday, 9 July 2021

Five Ways You Could Be Stopping Journalists to Publish Your Stories

Whether planning an outreach campaign or already in the midst of a PR distribution strategy, here are five more mistakes to avoid when reaching out to journalists:


1. Thinking You Have Creative Control

The moment your press release lands in the journo’s mailbox, it technically becomes their property. Not in the sense that they can alter the facts or general subject of the PR, but they’ve full creative control with regard to how the information is subsequently presented. This is where outreach campaigns often go wrong – those behind them attempting to take full creative control. Avoid the temptation to tell journalists how to do their job – trust them instead to do their thing.

2. Bugging Them with Reminders

Do journalists and publishers lose and/or forget about PRs on a regular basis? Of course they do. Does this mean bugging them with reminders is a good idea? No way. If it’s a time-critical story/announcement and the deadline is fast approaching, there’s justification for giving them a gentle ‘nudge’ at the right time. If there’s no real hurry and it’s only been a day or two, hold off a little longer. It could simply be that your PR is at the bottom of their list of priorities – reminding them it exists won’t suddenly inspire them to prioritise it.

3. Creating a False Sense of Urgency

Most experienced journalists know every trick in the book and aren’t in the habit of falling for them. In this instance, we’re talking the classic “I’ve also pitched this suggestion to X and Y outlets who are very interested, but I wanted to give you first refusal” or something along similar lines. You’re basically saying “take my fantastic story before somebody else beats you to the punch.” And it’s a tactic that doesn’t work – it simply screams of desperation and won’t work in your favour.

4. Failing to Refuse Rejection


Where a media outlet refuses to publish your story or content, it’s for a valid and obvious reason in their minds. In which case, attempting to persuade them otherwise is a waste of time. It’s also likely to cast aspersions on your credibility, while at the same time making it unlikely they’ll consider your future requests. Where faced with a rejection, it’s best to thank them for their time, walk away and approach them at a later date with something more relevant.

5. Going for the Hard Sell

Last but not least, any press release or piece of outreach content that smacks of pure promotion for your products, your services or your business isn’t going to work. Press releases are supposed to be informative in nature and in some way relevant/valuable to the recipient. They don’t exist simply as a means by which to sell your products and services without paying for conventional advertising space. If you want all future requests to find their way straight in to the trash, try pitching a post that’s all about the hard sell.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Is Influencer Marketing Still a Worthwhile Investment?

 The more widespread a marketing tactic becomes, the lower its subsequent influence on its target market. Consumers these days are savvy to the attempts of businesses to convince them to act on the basis of marketing messages and associated materials.

When any given approach to marketing is more or less done to death, it becomes ineffective and loses its appeal.


In which case, is influencer marketing still a worthwhile investment in 2021? With approximately 80% of companies now investing in influencer marketing, does it still have the same impact and appeal it had in previous years?

The Mechanics of Influencer Marketing

In terms of logistics, the basics of influencer marketing have not changed over the years. It is a simple yet effective strategy that involves hiring (or convincing) an influential individual to speak to a targeted audience on your behalf.

Rather than attempting to sell your products and services directly to customers, you do so via a proxy. One that has significantly more influence over your target audience than you do, and is therefore more likely to be heard.

Increasingly, consumers are expressing near-total distrust for the brands and businesses they come into contact with online. Guilty until proven innocent, you can expect everything you say to be scrutinised or ignored entirely - unless your claims are verified by someone your audience trusts.

This is where the power of influencer marketing lies - more than 90% of all consumers act upon the suggestions and recommendations of those they consider trustworthy.

The Influencer Marketing Landscape in 2021

On one hand, you could argue that yes - consumers are not oblivious to the fact that businesses are using influencers to target them. Nevertheless, this is having no bearing whatsoever on the potential value and impact of an effective influencer marketing strategy.

In fact, the influencer marketing landscape is only set to continue growing and diversifying indefinitely.

For one thing, influencer marketing almost always leverages the reach and popularity of social media. During 2020, estimates suggest that the total number of social network users worldwide once again increased by more than 10%.

This equates to another 375 million people becoming active on social media, on top of the 4 billion already hooked.

As a result, nine out of 10 marketers said that influencers were brought into their marketing strategies and will continue to play an important role in their activities going forwards. More importantly, around two thirds of businesses (65%) have indicated their intention to spend even more on influencer marketing throughout the course of this year.

All of which suggests that not only is influencer marketing still a worthwhile investment in 2021, but that its relevance and appeal are both at an all-time high.


With popularity and appeal at an all-time high, more businesses than ever before are planning to increase their influencer marketing spend in 2021.

But what are the major influencer marketing trends set to dominate the landscape over the next months? If planning a new influencer marketing venture or intending to diversify your existing strategy, where should you be allocating more of your money for the best possible ROI?

Trend 1. Micro Influencers

Increasingly, major influencers with enormous audiences are losing their impact and influence over their followers. The most obvious example of which being a major celebrity, who can most likely be persuaded to say anything and promote anything - if paid the right price.

This is why celebrity endorsements are heavily scrutinised and often interpreted as unrealistic, inauthentic and impossible to take seriously. By contrast, micro influencers with much smaller audiences are far more likely to curate trust among their followers.

The bigger the audience, the lower the overall engagement rate - influencers with fewer than 5,000 often achieve the highest engagement rates of all. As an obvious added bonus, working with micro influencers typically tends to be exponentially less expensive than bringing major influencers or celebrities on board.

Trend 2. Forging and Maintaining Long-Term Partnerships

Joining forces with an influencer for a one-time-only promotional campaign can certainly have the desired effect. However, these one-off promos are nowhere near as effective or lucrative as long-term partnerships.

To develop and maintain long-term relationships with influencers is to effectively boost the appeal of your business with an influential brand ambassador. The longer and deeper the relationship, the less it looks like you are simply paying an influencer to say what you want them to say.

Particularly with smaller-scale influencers, building and maintaining long-term relationships is more about earning their interest and respect than paying them for their services. You’ll undoubtedly still be expected to pay a fair price, but they are only likely to support and represent a brand long-term if they genuinely believe in it.

Trend 3. Short Video Clips

The third biggest trend set to dominate the landscape in 2021 is the use of short video clips to send powerful marketing messages. Video content has been growing in popularity and influence for some time, though has really come into its own in the age of TikTok.

Instant gratification culture has taken over the world, resulting in a new generation of consumers that expect to be entertained and engaged in seconds. Whereas a five-minute product review video would once have done the trick, you now need to pack the same message into a 30-second clip to have the desired effect.

Short, punchy and impactful video clips from relevant influencers can be more appealing and effective than anything you could create and publish in-house. They can also be comparatively cost-effective, given the relative simplicity of producing them.




Friday, 12 March 2021

Some eCommerce Promotion Ideas to Boost Your Online Sales

 For reasons we don’t need to go into, it’s a pretty mixed bag right now for ecommerce businesses worldwide. Online retail in general is booming, but we’re slap-bang in the middle of a period where people are hesitant to spend their money.





Hence, anything you can do to boost and market online sales during this difficult time is something you probably should be doing.

For those willing to do what it takes to weather the storm, here’s a brief rundown of just a few ecommerce promotion ideas that are guaranteed to boost your online sales:

1. Contests and giveaways

We’re all powerless against a freebie - especially in times of financial turbulence. Organising a contest can be a great way of nurturing engagement, boosting interest in your products and attracting new customers. Even if the prize isn’t particularly lucrative, contests and giveaways never fail.

2. Flash sales

This is where you host a strictly time-limited sale with the kinds of major deals and discounts you wouldn’t normally offer. Perhaps for one day or even just a couple of hours, you make limited quantities of certain items available at seriously low prices. Again, a great way of pulling in the punters and attracting new customers to your store.

3. Free samples

If anything you sell is perishable and is at risk of expiring in the near future, it’s far better to give it away than to allow it to go to waste. This can be made an ongoing element of your sales and marketing strategy, offering free samples on a first-come, first-served basis to the customers in your mailing list.

4. Introduce multi-purchase deals

One of the most effective ways of maximising the size and value of every sale is to incentivise heavier spending. More specifically, through the introduction of multi-purchase deals - ideally on a long-term basis. You buy three products, you get a fourth item for free - a tried, tested and trusted approach to boosting sales.

5. Stop charging for shipping

With more online retailers than ever before offering free shipping as standard, you cannot afford to continue charging for shipping in the current climate. Feel free to impose a modest minimum spend to qualify for free shipping, but make sure free delivery is one of your online store’s key selling points.

6. Assemble product packs or bundles

This is more or less the same as a multi-purchase deal, only in this instance you decide what goes in the package. You group a bunch of similar or relevant items together, you package them in an attractive bundle and you sell them at a lower price than the combined individual product costs.

7. Improve your loyalty scheme

More importantly, think about introducing a loyalty scheme if you don’t already have one up and running. And don’t make the mistake of offering lame or low-value incentives in return for loyalty - make sure repeat business is rewarded fairly and generously.

8. Leverage user-generated-content (UGC)

Last up, now could also be the perfect time to begin leveraging the value and appeal of user-generated-content. Along with being more impactful, influential and memorable than any brand-created content, it’s also 100% free of charge! Ask your customers to submit content you can publish (perhaps on the basis of a modest incentive) and they’ll usually be more than happy to do so.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Key Video Marketing Trends to Watch For in 2021

In terms of popularity, impact and appeal, video continues to go from strength to strength. It’s been the most influential marketing and promotional medium for some time, and is expected to continue its meteoric rise throughout 2021 and beyond.



 

According to a recent poll, content creators who concentrate on YouTube are seeing up to 30% more views right now than a year ago. More broadly, research suggests that around 56% more people are watching video on social media today than during the same period in 2019.

Live streaming in particular has seen a stellar spike in popularity last year – up as much as 70% on platforms like Instagram.

It’s therefore clear at a glance that video marketing is set for another incredible year in 2021. As for the most notable trends to watch for, the following are widely predicted to rule the roost over the coming 12 months:

1. More Interest in Webinars

It’s taken a while, but Webinars are finally beginning to hit their stride in terms of popularity and influence. Simple yet effective, these ‘web seminars’ are essentially enhanced and extended tutorials, which can be published for a variety of purposes. Education, industry insights, basic entertainment – a webinar can be anything you want it to be. It can also be a seriously powerful and impactful marketing tool, when engineered and distributed strategically.

2. Greater Emphasis from Google

Roughly translated – Google is showing preference to websites and publishers that include high-quality video in their content strategies. Traditionally, video hasn’t had a huge impact on SEO as its content cannot be crawled and assessed by search engines like Google. Today, increasingly sophisticated algorithms are giving video content the respect and consideration it deserves. Of course, the fact that Google owns YouTube also plays a major role in its preference for quality video content on web pages and sites.

3. Live Mobile Video Streaming Growth


Sophisticated mobile technology combined with 4G and 5G networks is making live HD mobile streaming more popular and accessible than ever before. Some of the world’s most popular social platforms now make live streaming literally as easy as touching a button. All of which has spurred meteoric growth in the popularity of live mobile streaming – both with publishers and consumers alike. Live streaming is often considered to have more appeal than conventional and video content, in that it’s unfiltered, unedited and ultimately more ‘real’ by design.

4. Multichannel Video Content Distribution

 Last up, it’s becoming increasingly rare for publishers to dedicate themselves exclusively to just a couple of channels. These days, you’ll usually find out when a video has performed well on Facebook, it’s also been published on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit and elsewhere. The fact that so many social platforms have such massive global audiences makes the whole omnichannel distribution thing something of a no brainer. Even if your audience is primarily on Twitter, there’s no harm in promoting your content to audiences elsewhere