5 Tips for Digital Marketing in 2015

As the first month of 2015 winds down, we thought now would be a great time to talk about some of the incredible opportunities you have to make a meaning impact on your online strategies in 2015. We’ve all heard it over and over, “mobile is the future,” “digital is where everything is going,” “you’ve got to be on social media.” All fantastic things to say, but what does it all really mean? How do we accomplish those goals, or should we hire a marketing agency to magically handle it all, and is any of this actually important?

The long and the short of it is that there is no blanket statement for every client or business. Some business can benefit by working with an agency, others would suffer due to budget, or other constraints. The point of this post isn’t about what’s right for you, the best way to do that is to get an experts opinion, and any agency would happily talk with you for free. Instead, what I want to focus on here are some of the great opportunities you might not have heard about, thought about, or just have some additional questions on.

1. Promotions and Branding Should go Hand-in-Hand

This sounds odd to some people, but promotions shouldn’t be about earning a bunch of cash. Coupons, discounts, and the like actually hurt brands in the long run. Why? Because those customers you brought in saw the discount you gave them, and next time they are far more likely to expect an equal or greater discount to earn they $$. Instead, focus on the promotions you can do to build customer experience and boost the perception of your brand, especially if you can hit their emotions.

Sounds impossible right? It’s easier than you might think. Is there anyone you can partner with, cross-sell services/products and create a win-win scenario? Have event or meeting space for rent? Why not run a promotion or “package” with a local caterer or DJ, where the customer gets in all in one place. They still pay full price, but get the convenience and peace of mind that it’s all taken care of in one price. Have a retail store? Partner with an ice-cream shop in the hot summer months to sell their product inside or outside your store. Customers are still paying full-price for both your services and theirs but the event gives you something to talk about and added interest in what your brand is doing. Remember, promotions are intended to promote your brand or business, not just sell things at discounted rates.

2. Make your business focus on Social

We’re not just talking about social media, or getting your business found on social media. There is good reason social media has become an important tool for businesses, and it’s not being found. It’s the opportunity to have your name shared to friends/family of your customers and have word of mouth spread like wildfire. But let’s be honest, very few people care about what your business is, unless they can relate to it. Your ads, posts, and tweets should be easy to spot, friendly, and something worth sharing.

What’s worth sharing? Think about what you would send to your best friend. Is it a joke? Interesting statistic or quote? Possibly and event that’s upcoming? Most customers could care less about the product you have, and even if they do they are much less likely to share it if you take a “business first” approach. Showcase your product in a funny way, make the image sell the brand, product, service without any words. Not that words are bad, but in social media feeds an image is much easier to pickup on than forcing the reader to actually read through something.

Here are some great examples of social ready posts for businesses:

Chipotle - Great Post Example
Simple imagery, displays the brand and the message without saying a word.Skittles - Great post Eample
Colorful and eye catching, relays what the post is talking about without the need to read or click on anything.
Caribou Coffee - Great Post example
Perfect post example, great imagery and plays on people’s emotions. Those that want to be their share with their friends that can relate.

3. Making Social a Customer Service Platform

What’s the easiest way to get in touch with a company? Going to their website, emailing them, or calling them perhaps? No, the easiest way is to connect with them by doing something you already do in your daily life, and this is where many businesses are making or breaking in today’s world. Social media is personal, and having a business connect with you personally about an issue you’re having goes a long way with customers. The biggest mistake you can make in 2015 is ignoring your online interactions.

So how do we do this?

  • Get a team together. Don’t neglect this, have people in place that regularly monitor social media accounts as part of their daily routine. If you’re small you don’t need a dedicated staff person to run the whole show, but make sure it’s part of someone’s job description.
  • Stay on top of it and keep on it. Social media can be a viral burst of acclaim and renown, it can also be an infection that festers the longer you wait. Someone leaving a scathing review with no response from the company reflects poorly on the business as a whole, their professionalism, and how they treat customers. A bad review is actually the best opportunity to win repeat business when handled well.
  • Keep positive, even when the customer isn’t. Want to see (in my opinion) the best in the business at this? Check out @McDonalds — they are constantly hit with negative criticism with every single post they make. I’m not saying it’s unjust, but their social team responds very well and attempts to make things light and happy, instead of getting stuck in the muck
  • Be ahead of the game. Get out there and be proactive about your updates good and bad. If there is a chance something will be news worthy, let your accounts be the first to announce it. You’ll look on top of your game, transparent, and more trust worthy for your honesty.

4. Try Selling Online

These days it’s pretty easy to get products sold online, and the returns could be much larger than you expect. For a retail shop the ecommerce angle is pretty self explanatory, but for other markets and services it might seem like more of a challenge. For Spa’s, Gyms, Yoga studios, think about selling some products you keep in stock for your services ( with a mark-up ), or partner with a wholesaler to take orders for products your customers might be interested it. Hotel’s and resorts can also benefit from this, by putting their gift-shop online, or selling rentals directly to the general public instead of to guests only (depending on your area/market).

5. Create useful content

Don’t just focus on what you do or sell in 2015. Events are great, but what really get’s people’s attention is useful ideas that help them out. Sell skiing equipment? Write some content with tips to improve someone’s skill at skiing, or how to properly care for the equipment. Run a hotel near a ski mountain? These tips and useful information posts become all the more important. You’re creating brand awareness without even trying. When you can build an audience that is interested in what you have to say, they will be much more interested in what you have to offer.

These are just a few simple tips for 2015, none of them should be too challenging or difficult to maintain, but all worth looking into more detail for your business. With digital trends changing and growing, the most important things you should do in 2015 are to be flexible, and be informed. Just a few minutes per week checking out blogs like this one can go a long way to helping you keep a good finger in the air for atmospheric changes in the digital marketing industry.