The 7 Golden Rules of Digital Marketing

These seven golden rules are the summation of our collective experience in Digital Marketing. Based on the success and failures of our work across social, content, web, email and search these rules stem from the patterns and behaviours that make for great digital marketing campaigns. Use these rules to help your marketing team model activities and achieve winning results.
 

Tell great stories

It’s no secret that great marketeers are great story tellers. The best stories of all time have endured centuries of change and conflict, and remain today as much-loved myths, fables and legends that we continue to re-tell. However you’re presenting your brand – be it through words, video, audio or image – wind it with a story and it will engage and influence your readers and audience.
 

Give a little

It’s now an online norm to give in order to receive. And what’s today’s most-loved commodity? Knowledge. There’s a reason everyone is trying to teach you how to better, faster and richer with free webinars, infographics and downloads. And that’s not all. Free trials, discounts, soft toys and accessories are frequently used in consumer markets to tempt buyers.
 
Giving something of high value to your audience and low cost to you will demonstrate value and build authority. It can be a sign of great generosity – a useful brand value to leverage.
 

Love a lot

Trolling is so 2014! Showing compassion towards your audience, nation and world, connecting with a charity or good cause – these are the markers of a brand that knows how to reach out and connect with its audience. It works incredibly well online and this rule transcends into how you manage customer service and social media. Show understanding, reward the loyal and hero other people and you’ll build a following of loyal, connected customers.
 

Experiment

Because there is no better place to track results than online. Online is the marketeer’s chemistry set! More responsive than offline, and in many ways carrying lower risk, online is the most incredible opportunity to experiment with new ideas. It won’t cost you 10,000 printed flyers, a few dozen trees and a several thousand more follow up calls to find out if your new headline works. Simply publish a new blog post and you can start monitoring results. This golden rule is about having fun, wondering ‘what if’ and exploring possibilities – there is nothing better for nurturing creativity.
 

Never stop learning

Digital marketing evolves so fast, marketeers absolutely cannot afford to stop learning. This is about curiosity. Nosiness is now a good thing! Ask questions, seek out new knowledge and spot new opportunities for your brand – it will prevent you going stale online and give you an edge over the competition.
 

Keep connecting

As fast as digital marketing changes, your audience will too. Staying connected to what makes them tick will ensure your communications continue to resonant. Keep connected to social media, keep connected to the pulse of technological development and keep connected to your team – all these things make for great team work that’s relevant, timely and well received.
 

Be super clear about your direction

Digital marketing is an unstoppable storm of creative, social and technological development. To ensure you don’t get knocked off course by all that’s going on, be very clear about where you’re going and what you want to achieve. This will enable you to create marketing campaigns that make sense for your brand and business, not just the the latest marketing trend. Putting reason, focus and targets behind every digital marketing move helps maintain that direction and achieve your goals.

 

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Email Marketing: Start Using It as Part…

Email marketing is one of the easiest ways to communicate your products, services or expertise to both current and potential prospects as it lets you start the conversations going which help to develop the kind of relationship that eventually lead to sales.
 
Using email also allows you to deliver relevant, timely and personalised content to your contacts to ensure you’re nurturing a positive relationship, and it’s great for supporting other marketing channels – like social media – as well as warming up potentially cold leads that you plan on chasing.
 
The death of email rumour mill likes to churn out stories of email no longer having clout in the modern marketing world, but we beg to differ. While solely relying on email may not be the best course of action for businesses nowadays, email certainly still has a place in a multi-channel strategy that plays to its advantages.
 

So what are the advantages?

It’s inexpensive. 
 
Simple really – email marketing is one of the cheapest channels for keeping in touch with your customers because you can broadcast to a lot of people at a relatively low cost.
 
It’s easy to track the stats.
 
Using email marketing gives you detailed statistics about the people who engage with your email sends. Not only can you get a general overview of how your campaign does as whole with key information on how many people opened your email and clicked on a link, most email service providers let you see exactly who has opened the email, what kind of device they were using to view the email in, and which specific links they clicked.
 
All of this is invaluable for informing your content and marketing strategy as it allows you to figure out if the content of your email is reaching your intended audience and whether they’re responding in the way you’d hoped. It also helps you to plan your targeting for your next marketing efforts as you glean valuable data from what email allows you to discover.
 
It drives traffic to where you want it to go.
 
Email can act like a funnel to direct consumers to exactly where you want them to go. It could be to a specific page on your website, it could be to an important post on your blog or it could be to your social media pages to increase engagement on those channels and cross-market across different avenues. While we’re big fans of social here at TMO, things can easily get missed in endless feeds, making email a great option for ensuring your content is noticed as well as easy to come back to.
 

And what about the disadvantages?

It can be hard to be seen.
 
We know, we know – we’ve just said that email marketing can help to get your business seen, but we’re all too aware of how many emails are sent and received in a day.
Email is a saturated channel and people will have multiple email accounts for different purposes that they use daily. It’s very possible that a prospect will simply give your email a cursory glance or even delete it without seeing or retaining any of the information it contains. 
 
But helping your customers and potential customers to know that you’re there, that you exist, and that you can help them, is one of the key aims of all marketing, and so there’s a good chance that any emails you send will be – at the very least – seen arriving in a prospect’s inbox and that alone can help people remember your business when they’re ready to make a buying decision.
 
It can take time to execute.
 
Whatever business you’re in, you need to give time to planning, executing and managing your email marketing campaign – or have someone else do it for you. Design and content can be the most time-intensive part of a campaign, but once you’ve got a template designed and ready it can be much easier and quicker to prepare, test and execute your send.
 
But you’ve also got to consider optimisation – are you targeting your emails at the right people? Do you need to create two designs for different demographics? These kinds of questions and their subsequent implementation can develop through your email marketing efforts so you need to consider the time needed to execute.
 

How can email be used to generate leads?

There’s a definite balance that should be struck with your online marketing efforts, and knowing where to invest your time and energy will come through trial and analysis, but there’s definitely room for some email marketing for most businesses in supporting the generation of leads. At the very least email marketing gives you valuable data in order to nurture the buyer journey and enhance the relationships you have with current customers to encourage sales and increase loyalty.
 
Overall, email campaigns can be a great tool in your marketing kit to boost the effectiveness of your campaigns and generally provide additional support to your other marketing efforts. While email campaigns can have their drawbacks and limitations, for the most part the benefits the channel has for supporting and developing your marketing outreach are worth making it part of your multi-channel strategy.
 
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The next step in mobile payments: Facebook…

The mobile payment trend is growing at a rapid pace, with Forrester Research estimating that this will nearly triple in volume from $52 billion last year to $142 billion by 2019. With such a vast potential, it may come as no surprise that Facebook has made the move into this space, complete with half of its users (745 million people) sign on via phone or tablet.

The social network giant announced on Tuesday the new feature for Messenger that lets users send and receive money, which will be rolled out to users in the US over the coming months across iOS, Android and desktop.

PAY YOUR FRIENDS VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER

The way forward for payments?

It’s been common practice for people to pay each other for things like splitting the bill when eating out or paying rent, “so why don’t we finish those conversations in the same place we started?”, reasoned Facebook’s payments program manager, Steve Davis.

This makes sense, but how does it work? Users of the platform can add their debit card information (rather than credit cards, a decision made to help minimise fraud and avoid fees) in Messenger’s settings, then send payments via messages with friends. By selecting the ‘$’ icon in the row about the software keyboard, users will be able to tap ‘Pay’.

Those on the receiving end will open up that message and accept the payment went prompted – this make take up to three business days to process, as with bank deposits.

Up against tough competition

All this sounds very well but let’s not forget mobile payment is becoming a crowded space. Snapchat launched Snapcash in November, which lets its users pay each other inside the app, while Venmo is a Paypal-owned app that is particularly popular with teenagers and those in their early twenties. Barclays PingIt is another mobile payment service allowing people to send and receive money just using a mobile phone number…it’s all becoming so accessible.

Then there are the concerns about sharing banking information, particularly within a network used for sharing amusing videos and mundane statuses. However, the software and equipment are PCI compliant, the same security standard applied to credit card transactions. An anti-fraud team are on hand to track payments for any suspicious or fraudulent transactions, while user information is stored in a secure environment separate from the rest of Facebook.

Facebook’s gains with new move

The approaching payment feature is set to be a boost for Facebook, particularly as, compared to its ‘competitors’ in the market, none of those have the social network’s potential reach and scale. Being the second-most trafficked site domestically and globally (after Google) and with US adults spending an average of 21 minutes per day on the channel (6% of their time online), according to eMarketer, this addition will certainly encourage users to stay on the site for longer periods of time, making it more ‘sticky’ and going beyond simply just a communications tool.

In fact, this could put Facebook ahead of its competition if users are less likely to resort to outside services . Potential opportunities for generating revenue will also be opened up as a result of users sharing their payment information within the platforms, which brands and marketers should be aware of.

As always, time will tell whether the ability to send and receive payments on the same platform users share updates with friends and family will take off and be a success. We see it as another innovative move in the market, allowing payments to be even more accessible at our fingertips. However, is this a step in the too ‘social’ direction? Tweet us and let us know your thoughts!

Net Neutrality: Ensuring a Level Playing Field

In a landmark victory for proponents of internet freedom, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on and passed strict new rules to regulate broadband Internet service and ensure a level playing field of net neutrality for American homes and businesses.
 
A press release from the FCC told how the: “FCC has long been committed to protecting and promoting an Internet that nutures freedom of speech and expression, supports innovation and commerce, and incentivizes expansion and investment by America’s broadband providers”.
 
In a 3-2 vote in favour of the new rules, the release showed that: “the Commission—once and for all—enacts strong, sustainable rules, grounded in multiple sources of legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the economic, social, and civic benefits of an Open Internet today and into the future.”
 

What’s the deal with net neutrality?

In basic terms, net neutrality rules create an open and free Internet, ensuring that all information and services online should have equal access to the Internet.
 
Net neutrality has been a subject that has been debated for a while. Without net neutrality, certain sites – in particular, those that could afford to pay a premium – would be given preferential treatment by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), by being allow to run at the speed they currently run (but marketed as “fast track”).
 
Sites that weren’t able to pay the price of premium would get their site speeds throttled, making it unfair to many smaller businesses. This would adversely affect their business because let’s face it, no one likes a slow-loading website, meaning many users end up going with faster sites simply because consumers don’t like to wait.
 
Without net neutrality, ISPs would also have the ability to discriminate. This means that sites that meet their agenda would be given preferential treatment, and those identified as competitors or producing content which goes against their agenda could be again throttled into (near) oblivion.
 
Like consumers, web sites, video- and audio-streaming sites—as well as other web services—also pay ISPs to be on the Internet. They pay their ISP for nice, super-fast speeds so that everyone who wants to access their content gets a nice, fast experience.
 
As a consumer, you have an expectation to be able to reach any content provider at the speeds for which you’ve paid. Many consumers opt to pay for fast speeds so they can stream videos or online streaming services—such as Netflix—at a good quality, or to just have a generally fast web-browsing experience. Net neutrality means that consumers get the access they’ve paid for to all—not just some—of the online sites and services at the speeds for which those sites and services have paid their ISPs for access.
 
Essentially, ISP’s wanted to be able charge the sites and services a fee to let consumers through to their service. If the sites and services didn’t pay that fee, then consumers would get only slow access to those sites and services. Net neutrality says that the ISP cannot slow down access any content providers.
 

So what does the ruling mean?

The FCC ruling means that broadband providers will be banned from creating any of the so-called “fast lanes”, or blocking or slowing traffic online, ensuring that net neutrality is upheld. The Internet has always been neutral, and this FCC approval ensures that it stays that way by preventing unfair practices from stifling competition.
 
The FCC also voted to adopt a “general conduct rule” that will give them to authority to monitor future developments of the Internet and to challenge unforeseen barriers broadband providers might create as the Internet develops.
 
It’s also reclassifying Internet service as a Title II telecommunications service, a regulatory designation akin to that of a utility, essentially declaring the Internet as a public utility and ensuring equal access. This ruling will “preserve the Internet as a Platform for Innovation, Free Expression and Economic Growth”, helping to give start-ups and smaller, local businesses a chance of success by ensuring access and keeping rates the same no matter who they are or what they’re using it for.
 
It’s certainly not the end of the matter as far as ISPs are concerned; they’re certainly not happy about how the vote went down. Plus, the 3-2 vote means that the FCC itself is still somewhat divided on the issue.
 
For now, though, the ruling remains a historic move in ensuring the Internet remains an open forum for everyone, with thanks and congratulations coming from all corners of the web, including POTUS himself for all of the help that Redditors gave to the cause:
 
obama-net-neutrality-thanks
What are your thoughts on the matter? Let’s start a conversation over on Twitter!

INFOGRAPHIC: Get ahead with your brand’s visual…

Standing out on social media can be a challenge for a brand. With image-based platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat growing rapidly, the power of visual content is becoming increasingly important and as a result, a crucial part of marketing activities.

 

By adapting to and leveraging a visually driven approach and implementing this into your social media brand strategy, both new and established brands can benefit from the opportunities this avenue offers.

 

From generating a better understanding, increasing engagement and grabbing consumers’ attention, our infographic explores the key elements of incorporating visual into your social branding and strategy to encourage success.
Get-ahead-with-your-brand’s-visual-voice-on-social-TMO-Infographic