Mobile Marketing

Influencer Marketing: Is it Right for Your Business?

CWM Aug 1We all know that in the digital world the only thing constant is change. It seems that every day I hear about a new social media platform emerging and with it a new “superstar”. These “superstars” are not famous for anything except their ability to influence online buyers making them in some ways just as or more powerful than that of actors, actresses and athletes. They have millions of followers on various social media platforms who hang on their every word and accept what they say as gospel. Leveraging these influencers to promote your product or service can be extremely lucrative for your company, but is it right for your business? I’ve outlined below some information on influencer marketing and a few tips to get you started.

What is influencer marketing?

If you are wondering what is influencer marketing; it engages key individuals with large followings to leverage influence among their followers. In essence it’s about having a person of influence drive your brand’s message to a larger market in a way that’s perceived to be authentic and organic. As people ignore traditional ads in ever increasing numbers, the most lucrative opportunity for companies looking to drive brand awareness and sales is influencer marketing.

Does influencer marketing work?

When an influencer speaks about a product or service it comes across as a genuine recommendation, not an ad or marketing campaign. It’s believable and people respond.

  • 94% of those who used influencer marketing believe the tactic to be effective (Lingia’s State of Influencer Marketing Survey)
  • Influencer marketing’s top benefits entail creating authentic content about their brand (87%), driving engagement around their brand (77%) and driving traffic to their websites or landing pages (56%) (Lingia’s State of Influencer Marketing Survey)
  • Marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising. And of those that were acquired through word-of-mouth had a 37% higher retention rate (McKinsey)
  • Twitter reports that 49% of consumers seek purchase guidance from social media influencers
  • 40% of Twitter users said they had made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s Tweet
  • 20% said that a Tweet from an influencer inspired them to share their own product recommendation

Now that you know what influencer marketing is and that there are solid stats to support that it does work if done properly, stay tuned until next blog when I’ll outline a few tips on how to get started.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the power of influencer marketing contact us today!

You Have an App, Now What?

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 8.45.09 AM.pngMobile apps have increased in popularity over the last few years, to the point where it seems like everything and everyone has an app. The growth in this industry has been so extensive that we are now ordering and paying for our morning coffees from our phones, paying for parking and even tracking our nutritional information with apps.

With the widespread knowledge and availability of the app industry, developing the app isn’t the challenge anymore; it’s attracting users and getting them to engage with it regularly.

In my experience, attracting and engaging users to sign up and continually use your app is the main challenge facing many businesses using this digital marketing tool. I’ve outlined below a few ways you might consider to help you increase and retain users for your app:

  1. Attracting the Audience

Incentives in the form of a referral program, for example, are great ways to spread awareness of your app. When a current user refers a friend, both of them get a reward, which may be anything from a gift card to app credits. For apps, referral programs really work. In the digital age, referral programs for your app could cause a ripple effect and before you know it, one referral has turned into hundreds if not thousands of new users. Invest the time to understand your target audience and create the “right” incentive program because they have to value what you’re offering.

  1. Building Partnerships

You may not have considered this, but partnerships with other apps (particularly those that have users that would not necessarily be interested in using your app), seems to be building strong alliances and benefits for users. For example, the MyFitness Pal app has partnered with Pedometer and other distance calculating apps, making it easy for people to integrate their physical and nutritional data and great for the app owners who have been able to extend their user base.

Finding relevant partners that would work for your app is key to making this a success. It is important to again invest the time to think about what apps would give you the perfect symbiotic relationship that would benefit you, them and your users.

  1. Leveraging Social Media Sharing

Your current users are your best brand ambassadors, so treat them as such. Happy customers share their happiness with their friends, so think about implementing a sharing program on the app. Is there an easy way for users to share their experience on the app to their social channels? For example, if a user is using an app to record their morning jog, can they issue a distance challenge to their friends via Facebook? Allowing this capability on your app will expose the app to your current user’s network, multiplying the exposure of your brand. In a culture of sharing, users are happy and proud to share what they’ve done, so think about what aspects of your app can be easily shared to networks like Facebook and Twitter, as the reach here is endless.

Whether your app is aimed at B2C or B2B, these suggestions are sure to provide you with valuable direction for increasing user acquisition.

4 Tips for SMB In-App Advertising

adhereiphoneAs a SMB, you may not have considered advertising on an app (in-app advertising) because at first glance, it may seem complicated or far removed from the services you provide. But with the average user spending 198 minutes in apps while on their smartphone each day, compared to just 22 minutes on the mobile web, it’s time to consider this area of advertising for your business.

One of the reasons I feel in-app advertising is growing is because it provides a better solution to capture targeted consumer attention and entice them to interact without interruption. Here are my tips on in-app advertising for SMBs:

Research

Invest the time to do your research as to which app might make the most sense for your service or product. Look at what apps could be relevant to your audience and what type of advertising would be a good fit for this medium e.g. do you want them to download something, watch a video on a product, or answer a poll?

Information

When using an app on your mobile device, a pop-up usually appears asking you to share your location information. This location information is one of the reasons why in-app advertising works because it uses this data to understand and engage with your audience. Think about how this data can help you get a complete picture of what is going on at a certain location in real-time and how combining it can help you to find the right audience for your message.

Format Options

In-app ads, like banner ads, have various placement options. Apps offer banners that appear at the top or bottom of popular games, as well as more advanced social media auto-play videos and sponsored posts.  Depending on your business and marketing goals i.e awareness vs. click-through offers, you’ll need to test which ad placement and format works best for you.

Creative

There is no doubt that to get the attention of your audience, you’ll need to step up your “game” on your creative approach. To get noticed, you will need to create relevant, non-invasive and compelling ads that are uniquely targeted to your audience.

I encourage you to take a look at in-app advertising because not only is it more targeted, it has proven to perform 11.4 times better than standard banner ads, making it almost as effective as Google searches.

 

3 Ways to Leverage Instagram for Your B2B Business

1115_instagram_365_244colo-24-42-70-10Over 400 million people are on Instagram these days. This creative, visually led social network is rapidly becoming a place where people engage with brands and share content. Yet, many B2B companies dismiss Instagram as not being right for their brand. Instagram doesn’t immediately come to mind when you think of B2B marketing, but there are huge opportunities to promote your brand values.

Storytelling has become a great way to give B2B brands a personality. Storytelling is about connecting with your audience and moving away from the self-centred, sales-orientated advertising that just doesn’t work for B2B brands anymore. The key to leveraging Instagram as a marketing tool for B2B brands is to not think of it as a marketing tool at all.  Instead, you want to think about Instagram as a way of telling your story as part of a larger online marketing strategy. Here are three ways that Instagram can help you tell your brand’s story:

  1. Establish long-term connections

B2B brands need to embrace the fact that marketing on Instagram is less about selling the benefits of your products and services, and more about establishing deeper connections with people including industry thought-leaders, employers, and prospective clients. Instagram is about building and maintaining awareness of your brand. Think of Instagram as a way to grab the attention of industry influencers and potential clients at a time when they’re not really in work mode, as they’re not going to be interested in being sold to.  This is your chance to seamlessly integrate your brand values into their Instagram feed.

  1. Humanize your brand

Another way you can give people an insight into your company culture is to use Instagram to offer a behind-the-scenes look, as people love seeing what goes on in other offices. It can be as simple as snapping a quick photo at your company’s event, or taking a photo of one of your employees to publicly wish them happy birthday. B2C brand’s social media channels thrive on being relatable and yours should be too.

  1. Contribute to the conversation and be part of the community

As well as interacting with clients’ photos and comments, responding to big news stories, industry developments and trending hashtags can be a great way to engage your followers and show the world that you have your fingers on the pulse. Give your brand a personality through comments and thoughtful posts in the public space.

Take the time to understand the benefits of using Instagram to communicate your brand’s values to potential clients and industry influencers, if you’re looking for new ways to engage with your B2B community.

This visually led social channel might have its roots in B2C marketing but, with over 400 million subscribers, you might want to take a look to see if this platform is right for your B2B business.

Predicting 2016 Marketing Trends

digital_marketing_predictionsAs we near the end of the year, customers often ask me for my predictions for the year ahead and the latest marketing trends: “What’s Hot?” and “What’s Next?”

In this post, I’ll look at what I see as the latest trends in marketing and specific questions for the smaller business owner looking to be a part of the trend in the coming year.

Here are my top 4 predictions for marketing trends in 2016:

  1. Content Marketing

70% of surveyed marketers say they are creating more content than they did a year ago.

Writing engaging content will become the central component of all marketing campaigns. Look for terms like “content optimization” to be popping up everywhere as marketers look to content as critical to their strategic success. You should strive to provide readers with information they likely haven’t seen elsewhere, information that’s shareable and keeps people invested from beginning to end. Do you have a professional content writer on staff? If not, where will you go to generate content for your marketing materials? The creation of consistent, high-quality content is a must for any successful content marketing plan.

  1. Big Data (including market and customer insight and predictive analytics)

65% of business executives from global brands say they embrace big data to stay competitive.

This is a term used to describe how companies can target the right message to the right person, at the right time for the right price. The message is delivered once consumer behaviours are captured and analyzed to determine what is the right message, who should it go to, when should it go to them and what is the right price point. Big Data often assumes your company has the appropriate IT hardware/software infrastructure in place and personnel to manage it, but for a smaller business, Big Data could simply mean tracking downloads, social media, e-blasts, customer calls, clicks on PPC advertising, and conducting some customer research.

  1. Mobile Marketing (Mobile advertising, site development and apps)

70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour.

According to Forrester Research, mobile is predicted to be the fastest growing channel among all digital channels, so make sure your campaigns are mobile or involve a mobile component. It goes without saying that your website needs to be mobile-friendly if you hope to engage an audience that is using this platform to engage with your brand. App downloads surpassed Facebook friends and Twitter followers for most brands in 2015, and they continue to do so in 2016. Expect for brands’ mobile apps to replace their social communities as the tag of choice on advertising, including TV. For the smaller brands, as mobile development has become more mainstream, think about whether there is an opportunity to develop an app to help interact or support your customers.

  1. Social Media Marketing

46% of web users look to social media when making a buying decision.

Most platforms are moving towards “buy” buttons which allow consumers (FB app or Twitter app) to buy a product instantly without leaving the app. The goal of most of the social media platforms are aimed at keeping consumers in their apps which is a good opportunity for marketers to advertise directly to their customers via PPC campaigns. If you are a smaller business, you might want to consider “owning” a specific social media channel that speaks to your targeted audience instead of spreading your budget across multiple platforms. Instead of being the small fish in the big pond, if you pool your financial resources you can be the big fish in a smaller pond.

 

I anticipate we’ll see these trends pop up and continue through 2016. Be prepared to make some changes to step up and beat your competition to the punch!

 

 

5 Tips to Evaluate Whether an App Adds Value to Your Brand

CWM_Sept 22When we talk about apps, we often focus on the consumer application. Without a doubt, apps have provided a lot of value in the B2C market, but as a business owner who deals mainly with B2B clients, I wanted to address the value of utilizing an app for the B2B market.

If you’re a B2B owner thinking of creating an app for your business, in addition to asking yourself if there is something specific that you can accomplish with a mobile app that you can’t with your website, you’ll want to evaluate the need for an app in terms of adding value to your brand.

I’ve outlined below a few areas to consider when evaluating whether an app will bring value to your brand:

  1. Provide a direct marketing channel

A mobile app essentially narrows the gap between you and your customer. It reduces the steps that your customer has to go through to reach you. You can use an app to make it easier for customers to pay bills, place orders, book meetings, or get rewards.

  1. Showcase products and services

You can use an app to showcase your products and services. This would be especially useful if you have a comprehensive product offering. Customers can shop for parts, accessories, and features through the app. The great thing about apps is the ability to send notifications to the user’s smartphone or tablet device. The benefit of that is that you can increase the likelihood of your customers discovering featured products and services.

  1. Customer service and support

An app can also be used to provide customer service and support directly to your customers. You can build a messaging feature that allows customers to reach you directly. You can also offer resources, such as instruction manuals or help guides, which can help your customers access your products or services.

  1. Brand extension

Increasingly, mobile phones and tablets are becoming the primary tools for accessing the Internet. The change has been most profound in the consumer market, but as these mobile computers become more powerful, businesses are increasingly relying on them to do work. An app can extend the reach of your brand by making it easier for these mobile users to access your business.

  1. Stand out from the competition

Mobile apps at the small business level are still rare. If you can add value through the app, then the app can be leveraged as a point of differentiation from your competitors.

The greatest benefit of an app in the B2B space is the ability for customers to engage with your brand by offering them a benefit that they then tie to your value proposition. An example of this is through reward apps. Reward apps allow businesses to know more about the buying habits of their customers by giving them reward points towards free merchandise or services. If there is a perceived value of your app by the customer (i.e. reward points), then there is a greater likelihood that it will succeed!

Do you see the value of creating an app for your business? If so, will you take the next steps to creating one? If not, what is holding you back?

The Rise of Digital Marketing

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 1.26.20 PMThe digital world is tied directly to data, and data is everywhere. When it comes to marketing, data informs marketers about audiences, their interests, intentions, and where they choose to interact. I believe that being able to analyze big data, create original content and having a sound digital strategy are three key factors a company should consider while aiming for success in the current digital climate.

Big Data

Because of the rise in available data, digital media has become an incredibly integrated part of consumers’ daily lives, and digital platforms are constantly updating themselves in order to provide the best user experience.

Being able to analyze and report data is a key component to any marketing strategy (at least it should be). Everything will be enhanced by the growth of big data – get ready!

Content

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “content is King”. When content is relevant and interesting, consumers cannot wait to read and share your brand’s content. This includes video content too (Instagram recently introduced a looping feature on their videos!).

Also, blogs are making a comeback because SEO matters now more than ever, and you need content to post on your social media sites – what better content than your own, right?

Digital Strategy

The changing digital landscape means digital marketing is constantly evolving, and marketers, like myself, are forced to learn how to use new software, how to use different platforms (including mobile), how to apply new techniques, and how to manage and optimize marketing efforts.

Location matters more now too. As the Internet grows at an incomprehensible rate, users are looking for more local experiences. We’ve seen the emergence of companies, like Uber and UberX, providing local goods and services at the push of a button. Being able to offer customers a local experience (that’s easily accessible via their smartphone – think convenience) keeps you relevant. This means we should see a rise in the amount of geo-targeted advertising, and social content created.

Content creation, SEO, and social media, shouldn’t be treated as specific departments, but rather as skills that exist inherently within your marketing agency (or internal marketing team).

What does this mean for businesses today?

Before you, or your company, settle on a marketing budget, I recommend you look at the latest trends and technology, and understand which of these your customers use so you can create a plan that leverages all available data. The success of today’s marketing campaigns largely relies on sound marketing strategies that have adopted new digital technologies.

If you’re unsure of where to start or if your marketing strategy is outdated, please contact me at info@creativeworksmarketing.ca to see how I can help your business.

Does your company have a digital strategy in place? What are your biggest challenges with digital marketing? Comment and share your thoughts with me!