Earlier this month, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce hosted its first digital Kent Conference Live event, a curated series of presentations delivered on Zoom across a full day, from sector-specific advice to workshops on topics like digital marketing.
Pillory Barn was proud to get involved and share some of our knowledge with fellow Kent businesses. With digital becoming an even bigger and more relevant channel in a world irrevocably changed by COVID-19, we focused our talk on how businesses can market themselves effectively online. We are always keen to make our presentations practical for attendees, so we included plenty of hints and tips to create successful online campaigns.
Creating the content was a real team effort, from creation of written and visual content, including the new addition of some video tips from Mark, Mark, Lee, Zoe and Nicole to change things up a bit, and Coralie leading the delivery of the presentation. We were delighted to welcome 22 attendees to our talk – if you couldn’t attend, you can read our takeaways now.
1. Ask yourself the right questions
Before jumping headfirst down the digital rabbit-hole and wasting your time and money, ask yourself a series of questions to define your approach.
- Who are you talking to?
- Where can you catch their attention?
- What are your objectives?
These three questions not only help you understand your audience, but they also help you create the right content for them and your business goals. In fact, if you want to attract businesses to your restaurant, the content you create, the platform you use and your goals will be drastically different to an IT support business who wants to generate enquiries through their website.
We recently applied this thinking to one of our construction clients, who wanted to promote a new development to property investors in the Middle East. Whilst we have delivered strong results using more traditional channels, such as Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, we also wanted to challenge ourselves and try a new channel for their audience. We know Snapchat is a huge platform in Saudi Arabia and thought this could represent a hidden opportunity to reach out to new audiences. In order to assess results, we ran an initial trial campaign, alongside Twitter, to see which channel would drive better results.
By asking who our audience is, we were able to identify key terms to use to grab their attention straightaway on the platform and get them to swipe up early.
We created a vertical video for Snapchat (a top tip – for Twitter and LinkedIn it’s landscape), using images of their development and including our keywords at the beginning. We also included a strong call to action at the end to drive enquiries to their website. For Twitter, we used a landscape format, and made the most of the 260 characters allowed to share some extra information.
After running both campaigns, we analysed results and discovered that Snapchat had driven six times the amount of traffic and four times the amount of conversions for our client, making it a much more effective channel to market them.
By asking these three questions, you can easily replicate this success for your business.
2. Think ahead
Once you know who you want to talk to, and on which channels, it is just as important to identify key moments when you can maximise returns. For a tourism business, promoting yourself when people are planning their next vacation will be essential, whilst a retail shop might want to go all out around Black Friday, Cyber Monday and before Christmas. On the contrary, a B2B agency might want to look at September and January as key moments.
You will be able to plan your campaign and create it ahead of time, ensuring you do not miss on new opportunities.
In the same vein, take some time every week or every other week to create organic content and schedule it. This will save you a lot of time in the day-to-day running of your business. To support this, you can use free schedulers such as Buffer and Hootsuite, which offer great free versions.
3. Create high-quality content using free tools
Creating content can be a dreaded task if you think you don’t have the right equipment, or the right knowledge. But in today’s world, it’s easier than ever to create great visuals! Your smartphone, for example, will take high-quality images and videos, which you can then edit using a range of free apps!
Check out Facebook’s Mobile Studio, where you can download plenty of free apps, such as Boomerang or Mojo. Use Snapseed to edit your image straight from your phone, Unfold to create engaging Insta Stories templates or Canva to great compelling visuals for your social media channels.
All you need is a bit of time every week or every other week to get your content together.
4. Leverage the power of paid social media
It’s something that digital agencies discuss at length… Social Media channels are done with giving away free, organic reach. Nowadays, they want to increase their advertising revenue, and the best way to do this is to encourage businesses to boost updates by decreasing their organic reach.
Whilst this can be seen as problem, paid social media can represent a fantastic opportunity! Chances are, friends and family follow you on social media and engage with your content, maybe even more than potential clients… By boosting your updates, you will be able to target your audience using relevant criteria, such as location, age or interest. You can therefore talk directly to your audience and drive results quicker.
This doesn’t have to be expensive either. Run a small split test, like we did for our construction client to identify which channel would drive better returns at the lowest cost, then focus your efforts on this channel at key moments. This will help you stay on track of your spending and ensuring good conversions.
5. Team PB Takeaways on branding, website conversions, content and PR
- Branding: the first step to define your brand identity is to look at what makes you unique. What are your characteristics? How are you different from your competitors? This will help you identify key elements of your brand.
- Website: Make sure you have strong call to actions throughout your website to drive leads and ensure your website works hard for you.
- Make sure your content is meaningful, flexible and responsible. You don’t need a big PR stunt, what you want is an empathetic story that will resonate with your audience.
- Read the publication you want to be featured in. Analyse their style and identify the type of stories they publish. This will ensure you know how to write your press release and increase your chances of getting published.
- Before publishing a story, read it out loud. This will help you see if your content makes sense!
- Focus on your journey. What is your business about? Who are you? What’s your story? Sharing who you are, your values and your journey is as important to create a meaningful connection with your audience as the products you offer.
If you have any questions, pop up a message on social media!