Become a rock star in the digital crowd

digital-marketing-stand-out

How can you stand out amongst the digital noise?

The digital space is awash with content, giving your audience more choice than ever before when it comes to spending their time online. With more content being produced every single day,  how do you make sure your content doesn’t get sucked into a publishing nirvana, or more importantly how can your business stand out amongst all the other digital noise?

The amount of digital content produced on a daily basis is mind-boggling. You only have to log into your favourite social media account to see the sheer volume of content that is being constantly pumped out. Facebook and WhatsApp alone are said to publish in the region of 60 billion messages every single day, and that’s just two platforms.

In the other key social media channels, such as Instagram and Twitter, and then all of the newspapers, magazines, blogs and vlogs around the world, plus routine marketing information from companies vying for a slice of this digital pie, you soon begin to see that identifying, engaging and keeping your audience can be a challenging task.

How digital has changed the way we do marketing

In the past, a company could be fairly certain about its marketing approach. Alongside today’s online scrum, it seemed pretty straight forward. Pick a channel on which to market, for example, the local newspaper, and execute a campaign. You would roughly know the circulation of said newspaper, the areas of the country or region it was most popular, and potentially which pages are likely to get most eyeballs.

The arrival of digital totally disrupted the world of marketing and its growth quite simply means you have to be in it to win it.  It’s hard to imagine a business succeeding without the support of a high-quality website, those that have coped in the past gradually get swallowed up by forward-thinking competitors.

One of the difficulties facing businesses is that there are so many platforms and channels to select from, each bringing different advantages and disadvantages to the table. Then there is the type of content you should be considering publishing.  Your historical choices for an old newspaper ad may have included whether you run an ad (and what size), or create an advertorial or perhaps sponsor a feature.

One of the difficulties facing businesses is that there are so many platforms and channels to select from, each bringing different advantages and disadvantages to the table. Then there is the type of content you should be considering publishing.  Your historical choices for an old newspaper ad may have included whether you run an ad (and what size), or create an advertorial or perhaps sponsor a feature.

In digital, you can still find banner ads as one of many options. You’ll need to pick the site, the pages, the position and possibly even the weighting of that banner ad.  However, these banner ads are only a micro segment of the digital world. But what about selecting the type of content that works for your audience? Do you go written, image-led, opt for video, perhaps even try audio? The choices are endless.

Then you need to make perhaps the biggest decision of all – where should you market digitally? What channels are going to work the best for you.  With so many options from SEO and Adwords to Email and Affiliate Ads, it’s easy to get confused.

Dinosaurs-refuse-to-accept-digitalWhy understanding your audience is vital?

To make a truly informed decision about where your marketing effort should lie, first of all, you need to know exactly who your audience is and understand their online habits. If you have a demographic of 40-50 years olds, it’s bordering on pointless to be producing marketing collateral and investing efforts into Instagram, for example.

Your audience will congregate in different places. Different social platforms appeal to different age groups and different geographic markets. There is no longer a ‘one-size fits all’ approach. The key is to use audience insights available from a variety of platforms now. Google Analytics will get you on your way in terms of seeing who is using your website and the channels they are being driven from and you can then use metrics from social media to find the platform which is producing the most engagements and which is benefiting from an audience closely matching your target market.

Having this audience insight will help you review which social networks or digital media channels that you should use for your digital marketing.

Make your content work for your audience

A very important consideration when trying to streamline your digital marketing into something much more targeted is to make your content work on the devices that your target audience use. Again, research can give you these insights, many of the tools which can give you this information are free.

You then need to use this intelligence to your advantage. If your target audience consume digital information primarily on mobile, for example, it goes without saying that your marketing should be accessible on these devices. If you are running mobile ads, have you looked at ‘mobile only’ ads rather than trying to serve those you originally built for desktop views.

It may mean more than simply ensuring your website is responsive, but in fact, consider engineering your website from mobile upward rather than the opposite way around.  Google announced back in 2016 that the mobile algorithm is now acting as the primary one.  Optimise performance and user experience for those devices your audience use – this allows you to have absolute confidence that they can easily access and consume your content on their favoured device.

If you’re producing regular blog content, should you consider implementing Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to really optimise the user experience on mobile?

Ultimately if you are looking to drive people to your website the landing pages need to be built with clear calls to action in mind, this could be to register for an event, download a document or buy a product for instance, what ever it is, make sure it is clear and you are ready to track activity and results.

website rockstar

Using your audience and influencers to increase your reach

Now that you have established which platforms and devices you should be investing your marketing resources into, it’s time to further cut through some of the noise and get closer to your audience. The key goal, as with most forms of marketing, is to increase the reach of your marketing.

In previous blogs, we have covered the importance of speaking to your customers on social media in a human way. Always be conversational and interact, join in relevant conversations. Do not constantly feel it necessary to push sales pitches out on your social channels, or use them solely for advertising products.

Engage naturally wherever you can, and if possible, try to build some buzz around your business. User-generated content has come to the forefront of digital marketing in the last year, and so investigate ways in which you may be able to engage with your audience by using some of their content to promote your product.

Let’s take clothing, as an example. Using a campaign on social to get your audience to submit images of them wearing your clothing can really increase engagement, and show products off in a real-life scenario. After all, social media is also the perfect place for people to show-off their new purchases to friends and family, they may love the idea of including the brand in that.

Also, pay particular attention to influencers within your sector – that is, traditionally this is personalities that are popular with your target audience. These may be some sort of celebrity or sportsman, but increasingly it’s a lot more real. Bloggers, Instagrammers and vloggers are the new influencers, and there is great value in engaging with these people and exploring possible collaborations with them. This can lead to great exposure with your target audience and a real growth in marketing reach.

It may be more effective for you to find and target what are known as “micro influencers”, those with followings on social media of around 5,000 to 10,000. These are often authentic followers and ones with a greater influence than some with a following ten-times that amount who have just purchased a fake following.

Finally whatever you choose to do with digital for your business, now is the time to take action to reevaluate your activity, your tracking and your results.  Just because something works in one period does not mean it will do in the next, be prepared to adapt change and become a rockstar in the digital crowd.

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Zak Jacobs

About Zak Jacobs

Zak Jacobs is the Director of UK search engine optimisation Agency Red Alien. An experienced digital marketing professional, passionate about online integrity, user experiences and optimisation strategies. Connect with Zak on Google+ here or Twitter here