Digital Content Marketing: Surviving the Changing LandScape
Digital content marketing is always changing… here are some tips for coming out on top.
celebrate sales Andy Warhol once said that “in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” What fewer people know is that he later said, “I’m bored with that line. I never use it anymore. My new line is, ‘In fifteen minutes everybody will be famous.’”
He may have been talking about the nightclub Studio 54, and he probably had his tongue firmly in cheek, but he could easily have been talking about digital marketing. The sheer unbridled power of the internet is perhaps best embodied by the idea of “going viral”, even if the latter seems like an unattainable for many content creators.
It is possible to engineer, if not virality, then solid growth. It just so happens that virality is often a side effect of sustained growth, because there are more and more people to seed your content.
In order to harness the power of digital marketing to fuel growth, however, you might need to do a few things that seem counterintuitive. They might even sound a little crazy. In this post, we’ll be walking you through some of our favourite pointers and tips for growth.
But first, our core values that we keep close to every decision that we make.
CHANGE IS OPPORTUNITY – We’re a technologically forward thinking company, we embrace change, welcome it, and always look for the opportunity in every change we see happen; whether that be emerging technology, shifting markets or consumer behaviour patterns, we seek opportunities to give our customers competitive advantages and to further refine our business.
DELIVER WOW – We’re not happy with OK. We always aim to deliver WOW to our customers, whether that be with our value for money, intuitive software, or with great customer service.
BE CRAZY – To innovate we need to be a little crazy, think out of the box and be agile. Don’t be afraid to fail – fail fast and learn quick, to find the best solutions for our customers and business.
HAPPY PEOPLE – We are all one big family; founders, employees, contractors, suppliers, and customers. To be happy, we all need to be happy. Don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun at work, play hard, work hard and spread the love to your family members.
GET SHIT DONE – Progress is important, procrastinate at peril, deliver deliver deliver. We strive to deliver, make progress, go live and keep moving forward.
So… Think Less About Your Competitors
When you’re first starting out, people often tell you to look at what your competitors are doing. To an extent, that’s a good idea. It will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t, right? Maybe.
Let’s say that a competitor of yours is advertising on TV. Unless they’re VERY transparent, like Groove, and end up writing a blog post along the lines of “Why our $250,000 TV campaign was a total bust” then you have no idea whether or not joining them on the small screen is a good idea.There’s always a different way to market yourself, without blindly following your competitors. Click To Tweet
Etsy is a great example of this; despite, on the surface, being very similar to eBay they took a very different approach to marketing.
Signing up influential crafters, and even appearing at craft fairs to recruit sellers, was key to Etsy’s early growth and actually helped to distinguish them from eBay’s impersonal scattergun approach to marketing.
We aren’t saying not to pay attention to other businesses; in fact, there are many quick wins to be made from competitor analysis. But don’t use it as a justification for your business decisions.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison
An extension of the above section on differentiating from competitors is that you can’t be afraid to think outside the box. One of the reasons that there’s so much noise out there is that many in the marketing and PR space simply act on and rehash everything they read, gone are the days of creative marketing.
Take AirBnB, for example. With a tight budget in their early days, they didn’t have the cash to fund large scale advertising or social media campaigns, so they focused on hustling via Craigslist. In a nutshell, this allowed AirBnB users to crosspost to Craigslist automatically. They also emailed Craigslist users directly encouraging them to list properties on AirBnB.
Was this a grey area? Sure. Is it spam? Absolutely. Would trying to repeat it get you banned from Craigslist? Very possibly. But it worked.
Then you look at those PR stunts that were so prevalent in the early days of the digital era, definitely risky, but they’re also a way to make you stand out. This doesn’t entail at 23 miles above the surface of the earth or hijacking a press launch with a blimp, instead take the time to assess every idea that your team has.
Don’t Fixate on (or Be Afraid of) Passing Fads
It’s way too easy to read a blog post – or fifty… – about how something is “the next big thing” and start searching frantically for ways to include it in your business. In many cases, however, this ends up being a waste of time.
Although Google Trends data for QR codes is way less depressing than we thought it would be…
Source: Google Trends
…the QR code is still a nice example of something that was touted as being the next big thing but never really caught on in mainstream British and North American culture. Unless you count Snapchat’s Snapcodes, of course!
But there are times when capitalising on trends can be useful. When Pokemon Go was well on its way to becoming the 3rd most downloaded app of 2016 (Snapchat and Facebook Messenger took #1 and #2), we KNEW stats about the app would be in demand. So, we created something that tracked revenue and downloads in real time and used it in our marketing strategy for link building.
The tracker may not receive as much traffic now as it did last year. But it has almost 7,000 shares. Crucially, we got a tonne backlinks from news outlets, review sites and so on that are authorities in the mobile niche.Pick and choose based on what actually could benefit your business. Click To Tweet
The lesson? Pick and choose based on what actually could benefit your business. In essence, don’t run your marketing strategy based on marketing tips posted on a popular blog.
Don’t Scale at the Expense of Service
Ask any startup founder what their objective is, and they’ll probably tell you that it’s growth. Often at any cost. But growth that’s TOO rapid (blasphemy!) can result in people losing interest in your product or service.
If your users love the fact their support queries get answered in 30 minutes or less, or rave on Twitter that they get a handwritten card every year from the CEO on the anniversary of the date they signed up, then you need to find a way to keep that going.
The point is that, while rapid growth is exciting, it’s much less valuable if those users don’t get the same experience that turned your early adopters into brand advocates. Big brands like Sainsbury’s have taught us that you’re never too big of a company to lose your voice with your customers, and you might even end up in the national press if you do it right.
Take a Step Back!
Startups often fixate on generating large amounts of traffic and getting potential customers to their website or app store listing. But this is only one route to high levels of growth, and it isn’t even the most effective one.
With tools like Optimizely, VWO and MailChimp all offering options to A/B test content, it’s safe to say that conversion optimization is now very much a mainstream concept. But there’s so much more to optimization than just changing website headers or button colors.
Even the tiniest copy tweaks – e.g. offering a phone call to help set up an account in an onboarding email rather than inviting users to email if they have any problems – can have a huge impact on conversion. Onsite calls to action, landing pages and “thank you” messages are also great places to test out conversion related inklings.
Taking a step back is great to think about more things that you can tweak and change to improve your chances of getting conversions and increasing revenue. It isn’t all about how many people you reach with your brand, it’s about how many of those people become your customers.
Trying New Things Often Leads to Failure, but on Occasion It Leads to Success.
In each of the above sections we’ve tried to provide some specific examples and case studies, but they each have implications that reach far beyond explanation in a singular article.
One point that appears time and time again throughout this article is the importance of embracing change. Much of the above, despite sounding quirky, advocates getting back to the basics of good business:
- Outstanding customer service, no matter what your size
- Willingness to go against the grain and demonstrate your USP to customers
- Stay true to your roots, rather “keeping up with the Joneses” or succumbing to trends
- Being proactive, constantly developing your marketing strategy
- Throw caution to the wind and fail fast, then learn from your mistakes (or win really big)
Digital content marketing may always be changing, but the common sense growth tactics behind it are the same today as they’ve always been. But one final actionable thing to take into consideration….
“Growth isn’t complicated, nor do you need decades of experience in business. It’s all about exploring every possible eventuality for every facet of your business without fear of failing.”
What digital content marketing philosophies do you believe in? Let us know in the comments!