What is thought leadership marketing and why is it valuable?

 

If done right, thought leadership marketing can be the strongest form of content marketing you can produce. But what is it and what does good thought leadership content look like?

Thought leadership is a term you hear a lot in marketing circles, so much so that its meaning has become fuzzy. The world is saturated with messaging, telling you to look at this, so how can you stand out and grab people’s attention in the right way? Hidden amid the mass of marketing messages, is a style of content marketing that is authentic, credible, and really works.

So what is thought leadership marketing?

Thought leadership marketing is not a type of content but rather an approach to producing meaningful content. Its an approach to planning how you want to be perceived by your industry as a whole. For example, I want my company/brand to be seen as an authority on a subject, or I want my audience to see our company as a source of insight and value.

In short, it is sharing your knowledge or expertise for free, to your audience in a way that creates the desired perception. The ideas do not have to be completely original, but for it to be effective, the content needs to be authentic and belong to you and your brand in a way that is recognizable.  Content marketing is not obvious promotion, but rather content that shows you know what you are talking about and demonstrates your ability and your authentic value in your field. By doing this right, you are in fact promoting your company and brand in a much more powerful way.

So how can I create good thought leadership content?

Share your experience:  There are many sources of great thought leadership content. One of the most valuable is your earned perspective through your experience. Sometimes you do something and learn from it, so you have earned experience. And sometimes you just see something nobody else does, and that is no less valuable to share. Great thought leadership can simply be in the form of sharing your experience and what you have learned.

Analysis: Another great source of thought leadership content is analysis. Analysis on the industry and world around you. If you are truly a player in your industry, you will have an authentic opinion and voice. What is happening, what is working, what is not and why do you think so?  These are topics that, if authentic, will find an audience and provide value to readers in a real way.

Counter-narrative opinion: If you have a counter-opinion to an established narrative, this can also provide valuable thought leadership content. For example, if you hold a real opinion that you can stand behind, that is counter to a popular opinion, there will be an audience who want to find out why.  It’s not enough to simply be contrary or provocative, but if you have a real point to make, this can make for great thought leadership content.

In short, thought leadership is sharing real genuine advice, experience, or opinion, and that is difficult to fake. Because it comes from a real place, it holds substance which adds an organic credibility to what you are doing. Think of stories, points of view or opinions that you might have to share about your industry or the world around you, it is more valuable than you think.

Need help writing some of your own thought leadership content?  Get in touch with us today to find out about our copywriting services!

Are you ready to do business post-lock down?

 

With lockdown still very much a reality for us all, it is clear that things will never be the same again. The way we interact will forever be changed, and the way we do business is no exception. So what have we learnt?

If you’re not communicating digitally are you communicating at all?

For those companies who thought digital communication was not for them, this lockdown has been a huge wakeup call. Hopefully, a wakeup call that will lead to positive self-improvement. having digital communication channels ready at your disposal is essential for businesses and even more so post lock-down. Yes Zoom, Skype, Teams and others are a part of this, but a company’s social media and website are a primary part of this. Being able to communicate to your audience is essential during a crisis but it’s equally as important outside of a crisis to build and sell your brand. Lockdown or not, consumers are savvy these days and look to the internet and social platforms to reinforce their purchasing decisions.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

The lock-down has served as a magnifying glass for many businesses. Magnifying bottlenecks or inefficiencies that weren’t clear before.  For many companies it would have become immediately clear that they were casting their next too narrowly in their approach to selling and marketing channels. The lockdown closed many sales channels at a moment’s notice leaving companies completely stranded.

Having a multifaceted approach to selling in this time gives companies options. A shop who also has an online e-commerce store can take orders to fulfil later. A business that can provide services online rather than merely face to face can remain open during lockdown. This can save a business, and keep essential revenue coming in.

Be prepared

The lock-down won’t last forever, and before long it will be business as usual. But want we can be sure of, is that the expectation of consumers will have changed. This experience has provided a rare opportunity to take stock. It will be essential going forward to from this to be prepared. This means having processes and systems in place to deal with the changing demand.

The good news    

The good news is that the tools are right at our fingertips. Social media, digital marketing and online selling are established fields now and the tools needed to get there are becoming cheaper easier to use. With the right guidance you too can take advantage of the same systems and techniques that large businesses use successfully.

So if we have learnt anything in this time, it’s that businesses need to take advantage of the tools available to them to ensure success, lock-down or not. Take the time to make sure these channels are in place and working for you, ready for the post-lockdown RUSH!

If you are unsure where you stand on your own digital marketing, click here to follow the wordsmiths digital marketing DIY series. Click here to follow the wordsmiths digital marketing DIY series.

Part 1 – Marketing your business during lockdown: Use this time wisely and come out ahead

 

The Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lock-down has in various ways been a wake-up call for business in SA. In many instances we have been slow to adapt, innovate and change to a digital world that poses many threats but also many opportunities. Like the famous story of the frog slowly getting boiled because the water around it heated up so slowly, we as business are also often reluctant to change when it’s “business-as-usual” – we don’t feel our environment changing although it does as surely as the frog’s water was slowly killing it. In a way the Covid-19 pandemic is shock to this system – like suddenly pouring some boiling water over the frog and he immediately takes action and jumps for safety. The boiling water (Covid-19) is certainly unpleasant but if long term sustainability of your business is a priority, this crisis could be the wake-up-call so many of us needed.

What do the following businesses have in common – Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest and Whatsapp? They were all started during the previous worldwide recession (2008-2010). Research has shown (McKinsey published a study) that brands that act effectively in a crisis become disproportionately stronger afterwards. Now is not a time for procrastination or slowing down – it’s time to look critically at every aspect of your business and see how it can be improved.

Time to take stock 

Increased accessibility and download speeds have made the internet the single biggest driver of change in human behaviour in our lifetime (yes, in SA as well) – think online streaming (Youtube, Netflix), social media, video conferencing, ecommerce, e-sports, job searches, travel and the list goes on. Where people congregate opportunities always abound. Simply put, every business needs to find ways to use the internet to their advantage – whether operationally, internal systems or marketing. As Wordsmiths Marketing we also had to look at how to change the way we do things – we now use Microsoft Teams and SharePoint to work remotely, Zoom for video conferencing and various other software packages that have completely streamlined our daily operations. What we would like to share with you here however is how to take stock of your digital marketing assets – the tools you use to communicate your brand to the vast digital world – and show you how you can make changes that will have lasting benefits for your business. We have put together a practical guide that will help you to look at each item individually (starting with your website) and make changes.

Auditing your digital marketing assets – Websites

Your website is an extension of your brand but more importantly the worlds window to your business. Websites need to be easily navigable by users, and ultimately work to serve your goals. This could be to sell, generate leads or provide valuable information.

Type your website address into the browser and press enter – now look at it as a first-time visitor would. Consider the following:

1.Speed is important:

Quite simply, websites that load between 1-3 seconds earn most of the traffic from Google. Research done by Google themselves reveals that 90% of users will leave a website that take longer than 5 seconds to load. This is disastrous for businesses that rely on their website as a primary sales tool.

Audit tools:

Go to https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ put in your website URL and click analyse. Google will give you a summary of how fast your website is and all the things that you can do to improve the speed of your website.

(Note – Most, if not all results will have a task called “reduce server response time” please note that this is not a website performance issue but rather a server issue. In order to improve this, you will have to speak to your hosting provider and may have to upgrade your hosting or even change to be a better hosting provider such as Xneelo).

2.Landing page content

Content is king, people are searching for answers to their problems, or they are looking for services and products they need. For your website to perform well you will need to get your message across – what is the first time visit most likely searching for/ is that clear and easy to find on you home page? Your home page must be concise and eye catching. Make sure you think about the following:

  • Your call to action buttons are clear and stand out, this will raise the likelihood that they will call or buy from you.
  • Use bold statements to get your message across clearly and in as few words as possible
  • Use professionally designed images, banners, and videos to engage the reader, the longer they stay on your website the better.
  • Most of all keep it simple and clean!

3.Is your website easy to navigate?

Successful websites are easy to navigate. Visitors must find everything they need quickly and easily. If users find your website confusing or if they find it difficult to find what they need they will get frustrated and leave. Consider the following when designing your website navigation:

  • Plan your navigation. Prioritise your pages that will lead customers through your desired “sales funnel” leading them to pages where they can buy or contact you.
  • Limit the number of items in your menu to pages that you think are important to your customers – less is often more.
  • Stick to conventions. Being creative is great but try to stick to norms that people are used to. This will make navigation easier for most people. For example: Always link your logo back to your homepage as this is expected.
  • Make sure that users can reach any page from any page. This will avoid users having to go back to find pages. One way to do this is to install a “sticky menu” which is always visible no matter where on a page a user is.
  • Depending on the size of your website and the amount of content, you might consider implementing a mega menu, also known as uber menus. These types of menus go beyond the typical drop-down menus by allowing you to organize content in your navigation bar using columns. These are widely used on E-commerce websites like “Takealot” for example.

4.Does your website work on a smartphone?

  • Did you know that Google now ranks websites for mobile usage first? The reason for this is simple – around 70-80% of online traffic is now coming from mobile devices. This means that without a mobile responsive website, your site will rank below your competition. It also means that customers finding your website on their phones will not be able to navigate correctly, losing you valuable business. How do you test this for your own website? Start by browsing your website on your smartphone – does it look right and function as required?

Audit tools:

  • To test if your website is mobile response go to https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly put in your website URL (address) and click Test URL. Google will give you an indication of whether your website is mobile friendly or not.If your web page is not mobile friendly, you can then click on the page results which will be available after running the test and Google will show you what issues there are and how to fix them.

5.User experience or “UX” and User Interface or “UI” Design:

UX stands for “user experience” and UI for “user interface”. Most people ignore these two essential practices when creating their website. For your website to work well for you, you will need a good user interface for people to interact with and a good user experience to keep users coming back to your website. So how do you know implement this on your site?

  • To achieve a good UI/UX design, keep the flow of the website simple and to the point, make sure everything on the website works, this is mostly important for people running ecommerce websites, there are many times when a user is ready to buy on a website but are forced to abandon cart and leave due to a malfunction.
  • Test the flow of your website constantly by interacting with it as a normal user would. Do user testing by asking your staff or a group of people to use your website and provide feedback on improvements and then enforce those improvements.

6.Tracking your website’s Performance

Marketers and business owners should always be analysing their websites performance. They should also be analysing user behaviour on their website. The following are common things that marketers will analyse on their website; these can be interpreted in many ways.

  • Bounce rate: This is how many times a user leaves the website having only viewed one page – the higher the percentage the worst the site is performing for this metric (the more people leave after just viewing one page). This can indicate a lack of engaging content.
  • Unique website visitors: This is how many new people viewed the website for the first time in a given time period. This can be a positive indication provided these new visitors stay on your website and end up contacting you or buying from you.
  • Visitors to your website: This is total visitors to a website in a given time period. This is an area to analyse the overall traffic, this can be driven through other channels like social media or advertising.
  • Page views per session: How many pages does an average user look at in a session. If you have a website that is engaging and flows well, your page views per session should increase.
  • Average time on a page: The average time on a given website page. If the time spent is high, it could be good or bad depending on what you sell and who your customers are. This is something for you to analyse.
  • Best landing pages: The most popular website pages. This is critical in analysing the type of message your customers are responding to. Use this to your advantage.
  • Exit pages: Pages that most users viewed last before leaving. This could indicate pages that lack good content but could be a positive indicator if the exit page is a contact us page.
  • Conversions: The number of times a visitor to the website carried through to a given action. For example, made a purchase or filled out a contact form. Your goal is always to increase conversions.
  • There are many more key performance indicators which are important in knowing your customer.

Audit tool

To make this all possible, you will need to connect your website to Google Analytics. This is something you can do yourself if you feel confident enough. Follow the steps here. Alternatively, a digital agency could assist with this.

Part 2 – Social Media

Part 3 – SEO 

Part 4 – PPC 

Part 2 – Social Media D.I.Y Audit

 

Examining your digital marketing assets – Social Media

 

Apart from a few very niche industries, it is crucial for most businesses to be active on social media. You can now have conversations with your customers, know exactly what they want, and cater and respond to those ever-changing needs. Simply posting randomly on social media is not an effective use of these platforms and can in fact do more harm to your brand than good. To be effective on social media it will require 1) time and 2) to some extent monetary investment (point 11). Like any investment social media must be planned and goals with time frames set. So what does a good strategy look like, how do you know if it is working and where do you even start? Here are a few handy guidelines to get you started:

1.Have a strategy / set some goals

A good social media strategy is one that structured around meeting your goals. A good start is to decide on your target audience, and what your goals are. Are you trying to drive traffic to your website, are you trying to sell directly or building brand awareness and loyalty?  Once you have your goals set, you must set some time frames for achieving these and measure your progress continually against your goals (see point 9). Remember that social media is a powerful tool that connects with people in their personal (social) space. It can therefore be used to build deep trust and relationship with your potential client – and this is what sells in the short and long run. Your social media must create and build the desire for your product or service while instilling trust.

2.Use the right platforms

So what platform is right for my business? Not all services, companies or products necessarily suit all social media platforms. For example, Facebook and Instagram can be used for both B2B and B2C, but LinkedIn is predominantly a B2B platform. To decide you can look at what businesses in your industry is using in Sa and indeed abroad. Look at the age group, demographic and income level of your potential clients. Then look at which social media platforms that they predominantly use. Remember it takes time and monetary commitment to run a sustainably successful social media campaign – therefore also consider your resources and rather do one or two top platforms well than five only half good or bad.

3.Headlines are Key

Social Media is saturated with messages from all over the world, so how do you get noticed?  People will spend maximum two-to-three seconds evaluating your content to decide whether or not to read more. Use eye-catching and engaging titles that would make you want to click through. A good way to do this is to put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What would your desired audience want to read?

4.Use Great Visuals

Use images and video content to increase your engagement. People respond to images and video more than they respond to blocks of text. The more visually appealing your content is, the more likely people are to interact with your social media post. Like stated before, put yourself in your target audience’s shoes – give them what they need to know, to the point and without waffle.

5.Make Use of Hash Tags

Hashtags are a great way to link your content to other similar content in the world. For example #Ballito will bring up great content by other content creators who are also involved in the Ballito are or lifestyle. Using hashtags is a great way to gain new followers by getting new people to see your content.

6.Be “On Brand”

Don’t just post anything that is trending, make sure the content you post is in line with your brand and speaks to the type of user you want to attract. Make sure you are constantly reinforcing your own brand by staying true to your identity.

7.Complete Your Profile

This may seem silly, but many companies have incomplete profiles and it doesn’t look good to your audience. Make sure your page is set up correctly and that you take advantage of all the available free features. Change your header image every month or so, make sure your call to actions buttons work, update your profile information and the introduction text. Having a good business page setup will make it easier for your audience to interact with your page.

8.Humanize Your Content

People buy from people, and that goes double for social media. According to Facebook, content that shows people is more widely viewed than content that doesn’t. Try creating content that shows your products and services being used out there in the real world by real people. This will be more effective than merely running specials.

9.Track your performance

It is always a good idea to know how you are performing. Most social platforms provide easy to use tools to track performance. This will tell you if you are reaching the right audience, how your following is growing and more.

  • Click on the insights tool on Facebook or LinkedIn to view data of how well your social media is doing
  • Facebook and LinkedIn will show you who your audience is and their demographics such as age, location, gender etc.

If the results are not what you thought, then try to alter your content to suit the desired audience. If it is on track, then keep doing what you are doing!

10.Engage with Your Audience Directly

Social Media platforms provide a unique opportunity to engage directly with your customers, or audience. Showing that you are a real person behind a brand will help to build trust. Use this to you advantage by engaging in positive conversations and using this space to go beyond what is expected and be creative.

(BONUS POINT) Spending on social media

Many businesses like the idea of social media because they see it as a free way to advertise their business. The simple truth is that all social media companies (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok etc) are also businesses and have shareholders wanting a return. For this reason, they severely limit the success you as a business can have advertising organically (without paying) on their platforms. On the other hand, they have a vested interest to make the campaigns of paying clients work on their platforms to bring them back next time. This is not to say you cannot run fairly successful campaigns organically but from our experience you will never be able to get as much from the platforms as when you invest monetarily into them. Like you would pay for a TV, newspaper or radio advert, view it as part of your marketing budget. There are also various ways to track the return on this investment (ROI) – as after all it is exactly that, an “investment”.

We at Wordsmiths Marketing can help you to set up effective marketing campaigns and create engaging content for any social media platform. We always work towards clients’ set goals and track progress against these and tracking ROI. Let us know if you have any questions – we are always happy to assist.

Part 1 – Websites

Part 3 – SEO 

Part 4 – PPC 

 

Part 3 – Reviewing your digital marketing assets during lockdown – Search Engine Optimisation or “SEO”

 

With lockdown extended, companies and business owners are looking for ways to spend this time productively. That is why we have released a 4-part series to help you audit and improve your digital marketing from home. Over the past week we looked at websites and social media, and today we look at a few simple steps to auditing your search engine optimization or “SEO”.

In short, SEO is the art of optimising your website’s content to ensure a higher ranking. This is a critical part of digital marketing and can result in higher volumes of good quality leads for your business. Unlike paid Google advertising, the “organic” top position of page one on Google cannot be bought. Yes, it is true that paid advertising can appear above organic listings, but being ranked on page one organically gives your brand much higher credibility and will be perceived as a good quality listing by search users. The goal of SEO is to strengthen your organic ranking. Good SEO increases the visibility of your website and ensure that you are the first company to be contacted.

But how do you know where you are raking on Google? And how do you improve your ranking? Follow the steps below to find out.

1.Know your rank

Type keywords you would expect to use to find yourself on Google. Use phrases that describe your products and services. You can do this and ask your friends to do the same. Then when the results come back, count how many listings are ahead of you on Google. Do this with multiple phrases that you would be sure your target audience would use and record the results. Are you on page one?

2.Audit your existing key words/phrases  

But how do you know what keywords your existing website is raking for? You will want to know this so that you can make sure that the phases you used above are included, and if they aren’t you will want to make sure they are in future. An easy way to find out is to use the following link – go to  https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/ and insert your URL, change the country to South Africa and click search. This tool will show you all the keywords your websites ranks for and the average ranking position on Google. Do the words and phrases match what you used in step 1? If not, then you will need to rethink the key words and phrases that you want your website to rank for.

3.Do a Key word/phrase exploration of your own

Once you have an idea of what your website is ranking for and their positions, it’s time to find keywords to add to the mix  to better match your offerings. To do this, start a list of all the words and phrases that you think best match what you do. And include industry phrases and phrases that you know your target audience use.

4.What about word you may have missed?

Now that you have a good list, you may be worried that there are words you have missed or are not aware of. To do this go to https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/ and fill in a keyword that you feel most describes your business, if you don’t know what to search for, fill in one of your competitors URL’s and the tool will show you all the keywords they are ranking for. This will give you a good idea of the total good quality key words for a business like yours. Once you find the maximum of 10 keywords you would like your site to rank for, you are ready for the next step.

5.Implement your key word/phrase strategy

Now that you have a good idea of your key words and phrases, you need to include these in your website content. But there are good and bad ways to go this. Cramming all the keywords into the content will have a negative effect on SEO and will drop your ranking on Google. Your keywords need to flow with your content and be easy to read.  In order to rank on Google a good formula to follow is to include your string keyword or phrase in your page title, headings, descriptions and in the content as well. So, make sure that you implement this rule without compromising the way the content reads.

6.Use the latest apps to help

If you’re website is built using WordPress (Check with your web designer), there are helpful applications that you can add to help you improve your SEO. “Yoast” and “Rank Math” are useful applications. Ask your web designer about how you can use these plugins. They provide easy walk through wizards that will help you set up your SEO on each website page.

7.Analyse the results

Once you are done adding in your new keywords, allow for 24-48 hours for Google to reference your website for the new keywords.

8.Repeat!

Good SEO is never finished. As the world changes so does your given industry. Even Google changes the way it ranks websites on a regular basis. So, you will need to repeat this process on a regular basis to make sure you are up to date and ranking in a good position.

9.Get help if you don’t have the time or expertise

Implementing a string SEO strategy can be time consuming and rather technical at times. SEO if done well can result in more business and a higher turnover, so paying for good SEO will most likely end up paying for itself. Consider outsourcing this to a digital agency if you don’t have the time or expertise inhouse.

Organic SEO can take months before you start to see significant results, which is why for new websites we recommend pairing your newly done SEO which Google Ads. The more traffic driven to a website, the higher the website will start ranking on Google and the fastest way to this is to run Google ads. We will cover Google advertising in the next (part 4) of this series.

In case you missed it, click on the links below for previous articles in our Reviewing your digital marketing assets series:

Part 1 – Websites

Part 2 – Social media 

Part 4 – PPC 

 

Part 4 – Reviewing your digital marketing assets – Pay Per Click Advertising or PPC

 

 

Welcome to part 4 of our digital marketing DIY Series. This series is aimed at helping business owners make good use of lockdown, by proactively auditing their digital marketing strategy from home. Today we are focusing on PPC or pay per click advertising, also known as google advertising.

Effective pay-per-click advertising campaigns are important in helping you reach audiences that are interested in the products and services. PPC advertising is basically a way of paying Google to show adverts when a certain combination of words is searched for on Google. To start with you will need to know what combination of search terms best describes your business. Our last post focused on Search engine optimization and keywords if you missed it, click here to find out how to get the best keywords for your website, these will be the same word combinations you will use for google advertising. So how do I go about planning my google advertising?

Setting up google adverts can be rather technical, so the following guide covers the summarised steps to planning and implementing a good PPC strategy.

1.Know your goals

Do you want to increase sales, sign-ups, or inquiries? Be certain about your goals before you start or you risk wasting money on a campaign that doesn’t provide a clear-cut path to ROI.

2.Know your budget

Deciding how much you can afford to spend is a vital initial step. There is no minimum investment so you can test the market with a small campaign and increase the amount as you see fit. Google lets you set a limit on your spend, so don’t worry about going over budget. And remember you only pay for clicks. At first, its a good idea to set a rough budget, then once your ads have run for a period of time, you will have a better idea of what your budget will be for the goals you have set yourself.

3.Make a keyword list

PPC ad platforms such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads rely on the use of keywords. Choosing the right keywords for your business is critical to your success. Tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner or Wordtracker can help. Our last post focused on Search engine optimisation and keywords, if you missed it, click here to find out how to get the best keywords for your website, these will be the same word combinations you will use for google advertising.

4.Bid on keywords

PPC advertising works like auctions in that you bid on the chosen keywords. That can be an expensive proposition depending on the competition for the same terms. Keyword Planner and another tool, SEMRush, can give you insights into what competitors are paying, enabling you to adjust your bid. The expensive words are expensive for a reason, and that because they are high competition, and therefore will have a higher search value. So, decide for yourself whether you will bid for high, medium or low competition words.

5.Set up different keyword campaigns

If you use a mix of keywords for different products or services, divide them into separate campaigns, to make your targeting efforts more effective. Once the ads have run for a period you will have a better idea of which combinations are working, and you can start to focus more on these.

6.Write keyword-optimized headlines and ad copy

Prospective customers use keywords in their search for the types of products and services you sell, so don’t get too creative when writing headlines and body copy — opt for keywords instead. Next, focus on one or more distinct benefits and include a relevant call to action.

7.Create unique landing pages

Whatever you do, don’t send people to the homepage of your website. Rather, create a unique “landing page” This is just a new website page that uses the same keywords as your ad.

If you sell products, send visitors to the product page associated with the ad. If you offer a service, create a page that outlines the benefits with a form where prospects can request more information or another call to action.

8.Analyse the results and refine your ads

Once your ads are running, you will need to check in to make sure that you are being found on the correct terms. Google provide mechanisms for you to exclude random searches that served your advert but weren’t a good match. It’s important that you constantly tweak and refine your ads to ensure maximum ROI. The price of words will also change, so you will need to ensure that your bids for words are up to date to be shown on page one.

9.Consider seeking professional assistance

This is a good way get started if you have never advertised on google before. This will give you confidence in the beginning and give you a starting point to measure from.

In case you missed it, click on the links below for previous articles in our Reviewing your digital marketing assets series:

Part 1 – Websites

Part 2 – Social media 

Part 3 – SEO

 

Building Solid Client Relationships

The success of any company depends largely on strong client relationships, whether you are a small business or a large corporation. Exceptional client service embodies a core value for your business and the code of ethics is vital in being successful. A positive attitude goes a long way to building client relations. Most people want to deal with confident people and a negative attitude is off-putting.
Forming solid business relationships take time. Be patient when building new relationships, remembering that gaining your client’s trust is paramount. Minimise personal chit-chat, as it can be seen as being unprofessional. Rather take the time to get to know your client and share a little bit of yourself. Very important to remember is that your work is key to building a long, productive relationship. At the end of the day, no amount of personal association can substitute for great work.


One of the first steps is to familiarize yourself with your client’s company as well as their industry. You don’t have to be an expert in that field, but this will help you speak to them with knowledge, understand what makes them tick and offer your services accordingly. Even if you have minimal knowledge about their products or services, it impresses that you took the time to find out and that you are serious about taking them on as a client.
Although it is not always possible to go the extra mile with all of your clients, as you grow your business and your client relationships there might be times that you’ll have to make a decision to customize a service uniquely to them. The advantages of offering customized solutions to your clients makes them feel secure and valued and it may also create new avenues of product offerings or services you had not previously considered for them.
When a prospective or existing client emails you, respond to the email as quickly as possible. Even if you do not have the solution they are looking for at that time, they will feel secure simply by you acknowledging their request and by communicating that you are working on it. This may seem like common sense, but with the hustle and bustle of a busy day in the office it is possible that it slips your mind and disappears into the sea of emails in your inbox.
This is easier said than done: “Treat every client as if they are your only client,” but the reality is that happy clients are more likely to make referrals and boost your business just by word of mouth. Whether the client is a small start-up business or a large corporation, it is vital to treat them equally as you never know who your clients may know or to whom they will refer you. Just as importantly, when they change jobs, either within their company or to a new one, you would want to be the supplier or partner they recommend to their new team. It is also important to remember that today’s small companies could be the big companies of tomorrow and to know that you were part of the transformation is a rewarding feeling.


In my opinion, when it comes to first-time client communication, the personal touch is always a better option. Phone your client, introducing yourself and your company and arrange a meeting to meet face to face to discuss their requirements. Email communication can often be misconstrued or ignored, which might end up costing you a great client. Once you have spoken to your client on the phone, then dropping them an email with a meeting proposal or a quotation will then be seen as prospective business and is taken seriously.
Meeting with your proposed client for the first time can be unnerving at times. Being punctual is always a great start. Be prepared with information you think might assist you and pay attention. A good solid handshake and eye contact is the beginning of a good working relationship. During a meeting with your client, take notes of their requests so that you can deliver precisely what they need, as well as a realistic timeline to meet those requirements, this way, you both know where you stand at all times.
And lastly, I constantly have to remind myself of this… “listen more and speak less”. That way you learn a lot more about your client and their business needs.

First Impressions Matter

Graphic design is an important tool that enhances how you communicate your company or brand to your customers. It serves to convey your ideas in a way that is not only effective, but also eye-catching. You want your company image to promote a strong and memorable brand for the business its attached to. It takes only a few seconds to portray and feel a sense of connection to a brand, logo, or design. This makes the creative elements highly crucial to your business and its objectives. The first impression that a design makes on other people is of crucial importance in drawing their attention towards a business.

Consistency is also vital in ensuring that your customers recognize and remember your brand, and make sure it stands out from the hundreds of other companies offering the same products or services. Graphic design communicates more than just words to your audience. Even simple design elements like font choice and color scheme can help to portray an emotion or feeling that supports your message.
Design is more than just aesthetics, it is a form of communication between your business and your audience. Businesses use graphics in every stage of the marketing process to inform, impress, and eventually persuade to your potential customers to take an interest in what your business has to offer.
Professionally created logo designs help make a good impression on potential clients. Clear, imaginative, legible designs are important for any business wanting to make a positive, lasting impression. The first time a customer interacts with your brand will set the tone for the rest of your business relationship.
The first business graphic a prospect encounters may be a business card, a sales page on your website, an online ad, a flyer, the branding on your vehicle, your latest social media post, or even your product packaging. When a customer hears about your brand for the first time, they are most likely going to do some preliminary research on your website before making a purchase. Does your website give your audience the impression of your business being professional, genuine and unique?


When designing content for a brochure, website, or advert, infographics are a great way to summarize information that your audience would otherwise skim over (or skip reading completely). Generally, people are influenced by visuals; adding relevant graphics to text can deepen our understanding and recollection of information. Try incorporating infographics instead of blocks of text to explain information. Turn it into an easy-to-follow infographic. To stay ahead of competitors in the marketplace, you’ve got to get creative.
Above all, graphic design is important for any business to tell their story. Whether you’re a small solo business or part of multi-million Rand e-commerce operation, your business has a story to tell.

Experiential Marketing to ‘Gen Z’

We live in a time where instant gratification has become the norm among many of us. Whether it be online or in person, people desire experiences and fulfilment without any delay.
If your business aims to attract what marketers like to call the ‘Gen Z’ and ‘Millennial’ market, then this is a gentle reminder that you need to broaden your marketing horizons and include experiential endeavours into your marketing strategy. Simply put, ‘Gen Z’ refers to people born in 1995 to 2015 whereas ‘Millennials’ are born in 1980-1994. One may think that directing marketing efforts to Gen Z are a complete waste of time but the first wave of Gen Z has by now entered the job market and have money to spend and invest, making them quite powerful.


Millennials and Gen Z are reshaping the consumer market. Gen Z prioritizes experiences and are very tech-savvy. They are also very purposeful with the content they consume, Gen Z watches on average 68 videos a day from platforms they engage most with such as Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube (Kasasa, 2019). Isn’t is worth an eyebrow raise that Facebook barely made the list?
Digital marketing on these popular platforms means only half the battle is won, it’s time to expand marketing efforts and think about what is really making a bigger impact these days. This presents experiential marketing, a form of marketing that allows brands and consumers to connect on a more authentic and emotional level, it engages consumers and provides memorable experiences that lead to effective sales. Gen Z and Millennials love events and experiences that they can capture and share on social media as well as receive instant gratification from. They are the market driving a brands online presence and influencing their connections about whether or not to support a cause.


ROI (return on investment) with experiential marketing can be easily driven and measured. If you are a product-based business – pop-up shops and exclusive product releases are right up your alley. Brands looking to build digital impressions can do so by hosting an event that is socially driven. Another great benefit about experiential marketing is collecting real time feedback about what you are selling, rest assured it is coming from the most honest and transparent audience who aren’t afraid to speak their mind.
Gen Z and Millennials are often misunderstood by brands because they don’t respond to traditional marketing strategies. This brings us back to instant gratification and the competitive edge you hold by offering it. Experiential marketing isn’t just a trend, it’s here to stay.

Meaningful Content

Great content is about storytelling. But, and this is important, do not make everything about your brand.
To connect with your audience you need to learn how to tell meaningful, creative and authentic stories and avoid the norm.
Building authentic relationships online is tough but getting to know your audience is crucial if you want to get through to them and connect.
The way to do this is to listen, respond to the comments they leave and make note of which stories or posts they share the most.
These trends and commonalities can help shape your social content.
Using video content is one of the most effective way to engage with your audience.
In saying that, it does not mean that the power of unusual and authentic visuals should be underestimated or tossed aside but it is important not to always use stock images we have all seen a million times before.
The right image with a great caption and a #hashtag can encourage your audience to react and give you the desired emotion, which you want to evoke out of them.

To build affinity you must be authentic and put out what is best for your targeted audience. A good starting point is to bear these questions in mind:
• Do I know my audience?
• Does my content resonate with them?
• Moreover, are you sharing something which is unique, interesting and informative?

Most importantly the rule of thumb is go with something that your audience will gain the most value from.
Your brand is not about you it is about how you make your audience feel.
By doing this you will not be limiting your brand only to people who are loyal and are already following your brand.
Open up yourself to new avenues as this will enable you to attract new customers.
Knowing your audience effectively is also about understanding their culture.

Do not try to engage a community with particular content in the midst of just trying to connect.
For instance, without understanding influential figures, trends and the language that they use such as slang and relaxed tones of being colloquial.
Audiences will catch you out and see you as a brand that is just pushing out content, of which it is clueless about.
Effectively you cannot appeal to everybody, which is why it is important to research your audience.

Let your audience’s insights guide your content making your brand relatable.

When Marketing Makes You Nervous

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You know your business needs marketing but you don’t know where to advertise or how much is the right amount to spend. That’s when you are most vulnerable and that’s why cold calling has continued to work all these years. Perfect timing when the rep calls and says ‘we have a special going at a 20% discount’ we reply ‘Wow, that’s great! I’ll take it.’ and then we tend to tick off our marketing job DONE! However, next month… same feeling, same sales, same place, but no idea of past advertising ROI (return on investment).

So where does that leave you the next time you need to make a marketing decision? What position does it have you in next year when the same event comes around and you still don’t know if attending or sponsoring last year was a success? Many business owners struggle to link their marketing expenditure to actually form part of a marketing strategy as a whole.

Hopefully these marketing tips can help ease the nerves a bit:

1. Marketing needs to be target based.

When I say target based marketing, ask yourself ‘will the person that needs my product or service see or hear or read this?’ ‘will they care to listen to what I am saying to them?’ Target the playground of your perfect customer. What is important to you won’t necessarily be important to everyone. For example, you would launch a new alcoholic drink at a restaurant or bottle store, not a school fete.

2. Strategy driven.

Strategy would require knowing specifically what you hope to achieve through the advert, launch or flyer. Start with why you want to market in the first place. Do you want people calling in, emailing or coming in to your store? Are you trying to increase your average spend, up-sell or cross sell for an in-store promotion?

3. Did it work?

What were your objectives and what will your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) be? After each marketing activity, you need to be able to answer these questions or you’re definitely shooting in the dark. Can you afford that?

4. Be clever.

Most business owners I consult with don’t see the importance of communicating price out in the open. They would take a full-page advert and it would consist of their mission, goals, values, business hours, premises, products/services and on and on. What in that advert is there about the customer? What is in it for them?

5. Still unsure?

Consult with a marketing professional to help you put a plan together for 6 months ahead, then you will start to bring your objectives into play. With the right amount of advice and planning, you should start getting to know what works for your business and then, hopefully you will have nothing to be nervous about.

Get yourself going quickly with these marketing tips:

Print out a calendar

What’s happening in the coming months that can be taken advantage of? Meat markets can leverage off Heritage Day/Braai day or punt ordering early for
Christmas time, nevertheless, so can an events company where you can take a Braai Day event over for a company that doesn’t have time or hands to do something and the same applies for their year-end events.

When you set out a calendar at least 6 months ahead, you can plan these things accordingly and not always be caught in the last minute.

Attack your brand

Use one graphic designer so you speak one language. If you book and advert online or in print and it comes with free artwork, rather still use your own graphic designer that already knows your corporate identity and what your advertising objectives are. The incorrect artwork and message can waste your money as fast as words could fly. Trying to save a buck like this could very well be cutting off your nose to spite your own face.

Choose one Social Media platform

This will be the personality of your brand. Have at least one social media platform (the one you’d find most of your clients on) and run it well. Your calendar will help with this. Be at least 2 months ahead of schedule with this. This will include your copywriting, artwork and linking the same message up with other online platforms you have i.e. A website and email banners or promotions.

Website

Anchor your marketing portfolio here. Websites are the new ‘sounding board’ for target audiences when deciding to use you or lose you. Here they should see any community initiatives, staff on board, upcoming events and achievements or affiliations etc. Think of your website as how the public will relate to your company.

Did these marketing tips help you? Let us know in the comments section.

What is Emotional Marketing?

Emotional marketing has become more popular over the last two years as brands move more towards connecting with consumers through their advertising campaigns. These marketing efforts make use of emotion to make their audience stop and actively engage with the advert, which then results in a higher chance of converting those individuals into customers. Emotional marketing typically taps into a singular emotion such as happiness, sadness, anger, or fear.

Before you decide on the emotion to evoke, you need to know who you are talking to. Which emotion would they respond to best? How will their response benefit your business? The emotion should resonate with their pain points or general dreams and desires. So do your research before setting out the campaign.

Believe it or not but colour plays a big role in evoking emotion. Have you ever walked into a room an immediately felt a certain way? Or as soon as you see a certain colour a memory of a specific brand is triggered? That’s not coincidental. Either use your business colours prominently or do some research on colour psychology.

In order to draw your audience in and allow them to feel the emotion intended, you need to tell a compelling story. A good example would be Nike’s recent aspirational yet controversial campaign which sparked mixed emotions from the public, depending on the individual’s values and political standpoint. It started a worldwide conversation which has proved to be incredibly successful for the brand.

Nike has begun moving towards creating a movement in a political space – a space most brands are not comfortable to play in. By creating a community around the brand, the “bandwagon effect” effect kicks in as people are always intrigued by “what the crowd is doing.” This sense of excitement and belonging have the ability to turn casual customers into brand loyal ones.

Although aspiration isn’t an emotion, it definitely creates feelings of joy, elation and hope because it taps into everyone’s desire to meet a goal, a dream or a vision. Nike’s recent video advertisements feature intense moments with real athletes facing real problems. It is authentic, and that’s what is so appealing. That’s what makes people stop, listen and watch the ad all the way to the end. And then still think about it afterwards.
So think about what would work best for your business, and what your story line you would follow. From there, put together a campaign that has a combination of pictures and video and make sure you test it on an audience before putting it out to the public. Do this right and you’ll find that emotive marketing will yield you some of your best results.

Website and Email Hosting – What You Need to Know

Web hosting is the most vital foundation of any business that wants to succeed online. If you currently have a website, or are thinking about it – a good web hosting provider can make or break your business. 

Cheap, slow hosting will do more harm than good to your brand, and no matter how slick your website is, if its slow it will cause visitors to become frustrated and leave. So how do you know if your hosting package is doing your website justice? 

It all starts with a domain name. Your domain name is your address on the web which, once registered, is gone for good. Registering the right domain name is very important and can also be extremely valuable. For example, the domain name CarInsurance.com sold for almost $50 million! It should be the first thing you secure after your company documents are finalized. Domain names are initially registered and then renewed annually. 

Okay, so you have secured your dream domain name, what’s next? Hosting! 

A domain name without hosting is merely just a reserved name on the internet. Hosting is what gives your domain name email account functionality and a platform on which to build your website. People are more likely to trust businesses that use their unique domain names for their email addresses – so it’s definitely time to ditch those “business” GMail accounts!

In a very basic sense, when you pay for hosting you are renting space on a computer (server) that is always linked to the internet. Using a host as close to your visitors geographical location as possible – this reduces website loading time and increases your organic search engine ranking. 

The more storage space and traffic allowance (based on the amount of visitors you expect to land on your website each month) you require, the higher your hosting monthly cost will be. Email and web files are generally combined in a hosting package and emails generally contribute towards that storage more than your website files. A great 5 page business website with high quality images only uses around 200MB at a maximum, so go easy on those big email attachments to save on having to upgrade your hosting plan at a later date – rather share large files via a website like WeTransfer or Dropbox. 

At Wordsmiths Marketing we have partnered with experts to bring you premium hosting packages at a reduced rate. If you sign up to one of our hosting packages before 31 December 2018 and you don’t already have a website, we’ll throw in a “coming soon” landing page for you at no additional cost.

What do you get? 

  • .co.za domain name registration
  • 1 Year hosting which includes:
    • 5GB disk space on the latest SSD Drives. 
    • 5GB Bandwidth  / month
    • Business email accounts with spam filter 
    • Website-Ready (we won’t get technical here) 
    • Local Servers for faster access within South Africa
    • Free SSL (website security) for when you build a website. 

Video Storytelling with a Strategy

Don’t take a shot in the dark. Every business, whether you’re a start-up or not needs an effective and measurable video marketing strategy. 

Video has quickly become the easiest and most preferred way to connect with consumers and thankfully doesn’t always have to break the bank to be of an exceptional standard. 

Lights, camera, budget? First thing to note is the amount of money you are willing to spend on a video campaign as this will influence the magnitude of the project. You’d want to invest your time and money with an agency that’s affordable and doesn’t compromise on quality. 

Next order of business would be to craft an extraordinary concept that will centre around a marketing message that you want people to be aware of. They say bigger, the better? While that might be true in most cases – we’d say, less is more and as long as your story concept is captivating, the call to action in your video would speak for itself. Optimize your video for measurable conversions which will depend on whether your objective is leads, sales or just starting a conversation. Also, remember that your marketing message needs to be clear, educational and have your exact target market in mind. 

Now that you’ve established exactly who your target market is, where do they spend most of their time? Selecting platforms on which your videos will be marketed could either make or break your campaign. Audience retention is key, you want to captivate your target market all the way to the very end of the video. Five-minute videos are highly recommended for YouTube whereas five-minute videos on Facebook are too long. Based on this in-depth target market research, you should tell which format and duration is ideal for your video campaign. 

It’s time to measure how well your video campaign worked for you. Key indicators will include the view count, engagement rate, play rate and feedback but also track the number of conversions that were a result of your bold call to action. Interestingly enough, view counts work differently on social media platforms. Take YouTube for instance, it’s only considered a view when someone watches your video for more than thirty seconds whereas a mere three seconds equates to one view on Facebook. 

Once you’re cognizant of the demographics of viewers, use this insights tool as a basis for video retargeting. This is obviously people who have a keen interest in your campaign and are most likely the ones that will result in conversions. Dream, create and record!

Interested in bringing your brand to life through video production? Let’s make magic! Contact Wordsmiths Marketing on 032 946 0276 or email: connect@wordsmithsgroup.co.zaand we’ll take care of the rest. 

Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Tips

The restaurant business is ruthless, especially in Ballito. Not only is competition fierce, a restaurant loses an opportunity they cannot regain every time there’s an empty table during a service. So how does one limit these missed opportunities? Through implementing effective restaurant marketing tips.

1. Professionally photograph your dishes

Example of enticing food photography taken by the Get It Magazine Ballito/Umhlanga team.

One of the most important things you can do is take professional, drool-worthy photos of your menu items. Online visual content is king, especially appetizing food to hungry eyes.

2. Welcome online reviews

Next is to make sure you have set up a TripAdvisor and Zomato account and have someone constantly manning these. Include as much detail on your restaurant as possible on these platforms, including your location, store hours and menu. Make sure that when reviews start coming in that they are appropriately handled. Always answer politely to negative feedback and promise future improvement. It may even be worth contacting the reviewer privately based on the nature of the complaint and possibly offering them a complimentary meal. Reviewers appreciate this interaction as they then feel like their opinions are valued by your restaurant.

Example of a review on a Ballito restaurant on TripAdvisor

3. Become discoverable on Google

Reviews can also be done on Google. Make sure you open a Google + and Google Business account. Having both these accounts increases your search ranking immediately as Google has more access to information about your restaurant. Once set up, when your business name is ‘Googled’ it will not only come up in the search results, but appear in a block on the side of the search results with your location on Google Maps, your trading hours and Google reviews – all for free. If you are unsure, get someone to set it up for you.

What appears when you search ‘Wordsmiths Marketing’ on Google – drawn from the Google Business account.

4. Set a Google Alert for your restaurant name

When you activate Google Alerts, it notifies you of any online content which speaks of your restaurant. This makes it a lot easier to stay on top of what is being said about your business online.

Google Alerts

5. Create geo-targeted ads

The key to great restaurant marketing is to target local. More often than not, someone is looking to eat out somewhere that’s fairly close to home. For example, try targeting your adverts to the Ballito region instead of a broader, KZN reach. Investing in local geo-targeted adverts is more likely to result in a return on investment opposed to ads targeting large regions. This form of advertising is available on Google and various social media platforms.

What geo-targeting looks like on Facebook 

6. Use social media and monitor it

Another tip for restaurant marketing is to use social media – and use it a lot. Use those mouth-watering images to draw customers in, but also post content which will be of interest to your target market. Use it to advertise any specials you may have, or to run a competition for more exposure. It is restaurants with a strong social media presence which often fair best in the industry.

7. Food blogger outreach

A strategic way to get your restaurant’s name out there is to invite press to come and dine at your restaurant. Ask whether they would share their experience as this cannot be assumed. You also cannot guarantee that the review will be positive – this is up to them. The only way to have any control over this is to ensure your food, ambiance and service are all top notch. ‘Unpaid’ advertising such as press reviews and articles are always more trustworthy sources of information to customers than paid advertising.

8. Share positive press

If and when your restaurant is positively mentioned by the press – share it! Show it off on your website and on social media. This will help the positive reviews reach more of your current customers and potential customers and will encourage word of mouth. More people are likely to visit your restaurant if trusted sources are giving it praise.

9. Promote user-generated content

This is one of the best ways to engage with your customers online. Encourage customers to share their personal photographs of their experience at your restaurant with the possibility of featuring on your social media platforms. Another way to gain user-generated content is to host a photo-sharing competition.

10. Have the ability to reserve a table online

One last restaurant marketing idea is to consider getting an online reservation tool set up on your restaurant’s website. The more convenient it is for your customers to book, the more likely they will.

Want us to handle your restaurant marketing for you? Contact us on hello@wordsmithsgroup.co.za for a free quotation.

Tips to get your Holiday Letting Social Media in check

Ballito is renowned for being a holiday destination, so it is no wonder that competition around holiday letting is rife in our “little” town. With so many avenues to advertise your holiday letting on, it’s important to ensure whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it well.

My first advice would be to promote Ballito, as well as your holiday accommodation. Give your audience a rich understanding of what to expect by providing information on what amenities and activities are available to them around the area. Good places to look for local content would be XX, XX and XX.

Make sure you capture your business’ personality in your social media copy and content. If the copy doesn’t ring true, it will fail to give your clients a sense of who you really are. It’s also a great way to open a dialogue with a possible guest before even picking the phone up. 

The content should also be of interest to both you and your audience, and not just you. This is where a lot of businesses get it wrong. Social media is more about listening and less about talking. Ask questions and gather the information they provide. You might gain some valuable insights into what your audience is looking for.

The internet is all about instant responses these days, so be prepared! Make sure to check all of your platforms daily to ensure no query goes unanswered for more than 24 hours. The longer you leave a query unanswered, the more time you’re giving your competitor to swoop in and steal the heart of your potential guests. 

Responding to your guest reviews (both good and bad) is not only courteous, but it also lets potential guests see how you handle praise as well as criticism. Keep in mind that Social Media has its fair share of cyber bullies, so be prepared to deal with some very unrealistic remarks. Just take it in your stride and handle them as politely as possible. At the end of the day, typing angrily in response to them is going to do nothing more than scare away future guests. 

Keep with the trends and start introducing video to your strategy. According to HubSpot, more than 45% of people watch more than an hour’s worth of Facebook or YouTube videos a week.

Shooting a video of your holiday accommodation gives people another way to interact and experience your space before finalizing the booking. It often aids as a final push for people to click “book now” or send an email.

A post, link, photo, or tweet on your profile might look nice to you, but it means very little if it doesn’t resonate with the people who are following your page.

Lastly, make sure you keep connecting with previous guests via Social Media and email marketing campaigns. Doing so will allow you to create a strong database for remarketing, as well as a network of people who can vouch for your services. At the end of the day, your followers might prove themselves to be your strongest holiday rental advocates.

The Power of Viral Video Marketing

How far are you willing to go – to take your brand to the next level?


With the introduction of new trends and techniques in the marketing space almost every week, it can be a little overwhelming to think about moving into video production especially if you’re a small business on a tight budget and unfamiliar with the concept. Great news! It’s easier than it looks and it’s a lifelong investment because video marketing is here to stay. In fact, viral video marketing is the future! Ever scrolled through social media and came across a video that made you laugh out loud and want to immediately share with your friends? That’s exactly the power of a video going viral overnight. It’s incredible to know that nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store and 90% of customers prefer videos as it helps them make decisions. Now imagine showcasing your brand and all its offerings in a tasteful yet viral manner to over millions of people on social media? Not only are you gaining brand exposure that’s unmatched from the thousands of people watching and sharing with others, your brand is communicating a very important message – likability and relatability. There’s nothing quite like having your brand become a household name and for all good reasons too, besides we’d pick exciting and innovative marketing over same old boring, any day!

So how does one go about viral video marketing?
When it comes to your brand, there’s no shortcuts – which means you want to invest in good quality equipment, scripting and acting talent so your video doesn’t just leave a lasting impression that will psychologically influence a consumer to shop at your store but also speaks volumes of how top notch your brand is.


It’s okay to not play it safe and think out the box, but it can be a little tricky if you opt to dabble with controversial topics surrounding your brand. A vital part that comes into play when executing a video campaign is to always ensure it isn’t offensive to anybody and doesn’t misrepresent your brand and its values. One of the most talked about undertakings from popular social media vloggers, influencers and even celebs that incorporate brands so well – either subliminally or directly are trending #challenges. Think to the recent “Keke” challenge or even the ice bucket challenge. What started off as just one video sparked a trend amongst the world. From your average news headline about petrol to something local like bunny chows or koeksisters can incite quite a frenzy when carefully and cleverly positioned around your marketing message. Never underestimate the power of viral video marketing and the limitless wonders it could do for your brand awareness, sales, website traffic and overall image.

Did these marketing tips help you? Let us know in the comments section.

The Power of Promotional Products

Have you ever wondered what return your business is getting from handing out your branded promotional products to clients? According to Brandwatch, there’s evidence that distributing these promotional gifts increases brand recognition as well as sales. In some instances, certain items resulted in a better return on investment than radio advertising. These statistics are true for items such as branded USB sticks, pens and diaries.

One of the main reasons consumers keep corporate branded items is because they are of use. Brandwatch believes that if you gift a quality product, the receiver is likely to keep it for longer than a year, with mugs being the longest kept items of up to four years! I happened to mention these statistics to a colleague of mine in the Wordsmiths Marketing offices. She went on to tell me that she knew someone who has kept a promotional Nescafe’ cup for over 6 years. Here’s what it looks like now:

This promotional Nescafe’ mug has definitely served its purpose.

Her son happens to have an attachment to the same promotional Nescafe’ cup. His is just in better condition:

A branded mug which has stood the test of time.

Nescafe’ has clearly done something right.

This example is a clear indication that the best performing promotional products not only are useful, but also link well to the brand. With Nescafe’ being a hot beverage brand, a coffee mug was a no-brainer.

Other than brand recognition and an impressive return on investment, a strategy built around promotional items also makes the consumer feel positively toward a company. Incorporating your branded items into campaigns like “get this free gift when you make a purchase” has proven to get consumers to switch brands in return for the reward. So next time you’re wondering how else you can attract and retain customers, consider incorporating branded promotional products into your marketing strategy.

If you are interested in ordering branded promotional items, email admin@wordsmithsgroup.co.za for an obligation-free quote.

The Insta-Future

Ever heard the term “do it for the gram”? You’re not alone! Like you, so many people have now taken to Instagram to live their best life.
Whether it’s posting a selfie or stalking your favourite celebrity, Instagram has become wildly popular for fashion, food, photography, keeping up with friends and family and getting your brand featured on a very influential platform. Want to look up a restaurant or makeup hack? So does 60% of users whom vouch for hearing about a product or service on Instagram.

Instagram is such an exciting and extremely powerful way to connect with your target market and get everybody buzzing about what you’re offering! But before you even think about global Insta-domination, there are a few bases to cover which will get you there in no time.
Your profile information is the first thing someone will see, so make sure it speaks to your brand and has all the necessary details for a call to action, such as visiting your website or directions to your physical store. Showcase what you do in a creative and innovative way. Promoting the solution your brand provides instead of the products you sell communicates the true value to a customer and having visually appealing content whilst doing so is a major advantage.

From GIF’s, boomerangs, time lapses, stories or just really great photography – the engaging content ideas for people to interact with your brand is pretty amazing. Get your brand trending by leveraging hashtags and have it form part of your brand identity by using one uniform hashtag of your business name on all your posts. This makes it easier for people to find content that is related to your brand and even expands your reach.
If you’re feeling a little generous then giveaways and competitions are a fantastic idea! It creates a major spike in your following and engagement and with a new trend on the block (loop giveaways) there’s so much potential to be harnessed as this connects you and other businesses in your industry with access to a greater online community – now that’s a win-win situation.

On the right track?
Sometimes it’s not about the size of your audience, but the degree of their involvement with your brand’s content that matters most. Key parameters that will indicate whether you’re on the right track are: How quickly you’re gaining new followers instead of the number of followers you have; the number of likes and quality comments your profile receives and the willingness of people reposting your content and sharing it with their friends.

All seriousness aside, it’s an innovative and highly interactive platform which allows you to be playful – so don’t focus too much on the numbers all the time and have a little fun. Get to know your audience with polls, theme up your feed with a trendy aesthetic, go all out with emoji’s and have your personality shine through those light-hearted captions.

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a brand online that’s unconventional yet brilliant at their social media marketing. Instagram may not be for everybody but with just over 3.6 million South African accounts at your disposal, it’s hard to ignore.

Social Media Content Matters

With ever changing social media algorithms decreasing the chances of your content being seen – how are you as a business planning ahead? 

In case you aren’t familiar with the recent updates by Facebook and Instagram, let’s get you caught up. As of May 2019, Facebook who also owns Instagram updated the way in which your favourite social media apps process posts and decides which you see first or at all. Facebook and Instagram will now be prioritizing and ranking content on your newsfeed based on a metric of relevance or trust. 

Content from friends, followers, pages or groups will now be classified and ranked by the number of meaningful interactions it receives and how likely you are to be interested in the post based on your previous engagements. This new algorithm has made it very challenging for businesses using Facebook and Instagram as a means of marketing and advertising to reach an audience and get the desired results.  

Not all hope is lost, there is an opportunity for advertisers to understand the algorithm and optimize its content. Now with an even smaller chance of someone engaging with your post, it’s that more important to seize the moment at every chance you get. 

Consider curating content that starts conversations, prompts the reader to pause and positively interact with your post either by tagging a friend, liking, commenting or sharing. Always keep your target audience in mind when strategizing the direction and format of your content, depending on the nature of your brand, would a tutorial or lifestyle imagery suit your ad better? Observing organic performance of content after a reasonable period of time should give you an indication of whether it needs to be promoted. The paid promotion will piggyback of the organic success of the post and reach even more people that way. Analyse and measure what worked well and what could do with some improvement, this will only help on your quest to optimizing content like a pro. 

Content marketing should be viewed as a tool to craft an ongoing relationship with a customer beyond making the initial purchase. Content marketing magnifies the way a customer interacts with your business, beyond sales, requiring technical or customer support. The marketing of good content on a regular basis extends the longevity and quality of this relationship. Just remember that your content should follow the criteria of being valuable, informative and entertaining so you never have to worry about battling it out with the frightening algorithm again.  

Content is king, there’s simply no two ways about it. The opportunity lies in how you use this effective marketing tool to reach your target audience against all odds. 

Should you hire a marketing agency?

Hiring a Marketing Agency – The big thought

Over the last few weeks, Wordsmiths Marketing has been sharing valuable information and methods for you to use when it comes to marketing your business. Some of the feedback we have had is ‘how do you decide if you need to use a marketing agency?’

Many business owners feel that their marketing efforts are OK, but also lie awake at night knowing it could be better. By unpacking three different options, we will help you simplify the decisions you face when it comes to hiring a marketing agency or not. What you should be asking yourself is: is your marketing working for you and do you know how to measure it? We’ve created this quick guide to help you compare your options along with their pros and cons:

OPTION 1 – Do it Yourself (DIY)

The DIY approach is favoured by companies that are younger or have a limited marketing budget. Usually there is a “someone has to do it” mentality, and the marketing ‘task’ is then often left to the business owner, an IT person or someone in administration.

PROS: 

– You don’t have to hire anyone new or pay an outside contractor.

– You have full control of your marketing.

 CONS:

 – There is likely a high opportunity cost for you doing these activities in-house.

– Marketing quality and strategy will be sacrificed.

– You are probably not a marketing master?

– Last minute decisions get made that don’t necessarily support the marketing objective.

– Marketing only gets done when there is money and is not part of a long-term strategy.

OPTION 2 – Employ Someone

Hiring a dedicated marketing coordinator/manager or an internal designer/developer is the popular option. Budget-wise, you are looking at spending R20k to R60k in salary and will have to budget for additional marketing spend.

 PROS:

– Hiring a dedicated marketing professional allows and your team focus on core business priorities.

– It will ensure that a trained, experienced professional is handling your marketing efforts.

– You are able to increase the quality of your marketing materials and create more marketing momentum.

CONS:

 – Hiring one marketing person will generally leave you with fairly narrow capabilities. i.e.: one person to be your marketing coordinator, designer, developer, copywriter, researcher, social media strategist, blogger and more… The many roles for one person leads to inconsistent results and, often, the need to still outsource specific marketing activities (graphic design, etc). This can get pricey.

– The person in charge of marketing your business can easily become your (very dangerous) tool for ‘measurement’.

OPTION 3 – Outsource to a Marketing Agency

A marketing agency can provide you with services that cover all stages of your marketing cycle including research, branding, marketing plan development and design/production services to create professional marketing material. Their involvement in your business can range from the occasional once-off campaign to the full management of your marketing profile and all touchpoints. Cost will depend on the range of services selected.

PROS:

-You will have access to a team of specialists including strategists, writers, designers, web developers, email/social media experts, media planners and public relations specialists to help you execute your marketing professionally.

– At all times, help is only a phone call away.

– You can set a monthly budget to work within that the agency must manage.

– An agency managing your marketing ensures that your plan is based on facts, skill and experience – not gut instincts.

– Ensures that your marketing efforts remain consistent when you and your team are busy running your company.

– Agencies get better prices (and better deals) on media platforms in your area as well as nationally.

– A good agency can at any time give you a report on your marketing ROI (Return on Investment).

 CONS: 

– Outsourcing your marketing to an agency can be costly. However, the costs can be on par with option 2.

– Opportunity costs to options 1 or 2 are often higher and should be considered.

– Most agencies ask to be on a minimum 3-month contract to start with.

– If you are not in regular contact with your agency, you can lose touch with your company’s marketing efforts.

– You might use an agency that does not understand your brand.

Your budget, marketing goals and the skills of your staff will all come into play when making this important decision. Remember, nothing measured is nothing gained.

How to Generate Leads from your Facebook Business Page

1) Make your Facebook Posts link directly to a lead-generating landing page.
This could be a form that needs to be filled out, or a compelling blog post which may drive an action from your audience. Send people directly to these landing pages by posting the link and ensuring that Facebook pulls a captivating feature image from your website. In order to ensure the image you want pulls through, make sure that it is the first/main image on that landing page. Make it clear in your post copy as to where you will be sending your reader, so they do not feel like they have fallen victim to “click bait.” The topic and title should be intriguing to draw your audience in. If you are going to use a blog post, I suggest including your call to action as a link within your first paragraph of your post. Including it sooner than later in your post has been proven by Hubspot to drive more leads.

2) Use video on Facebook to generate leads.
The organic reach on Facebook has dropped by 52% since 2017, and based on trends is likely to continue to drop. However, video seems to be the answer to your Facebook woes as the Facebook algorithm favours video content. It has proven to have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. It is ideal to verbally include your call to action in your video, as well as in the text of your Facebook post.

3) Pin posts to the top of your Page that will drive leads.
By doing this it allows you to highlight the post, as it appears at the top of your Facebook Page regardless of how old the post is. You can identify a pinned post by a little pin in the top right corner of the post. You can pin a post to the top of your Facebook Page by clicking the three dots on the top right-hand corner of your post and selecting “Pin to Top of Page.”

4) Add a call-to-action button to your Facebook Page.
This button is simple but powerful, and it can help drive more traffic to your website from your Facebook Page. You can choose from a variety of options such as “Book Serves,” “Contact Us” and “Download App.” Some marketers choose to keep the call to action the same whilst others change it up every few months or so. This will depend on your marketing strategy and whether you have many lead generating avenues

5) Create hype through extreme specials or a competition.
People respond well to hype, especially if it involves winning something. This creates interest for your audience and encourages them to engage with your business, thus growing your reach and therefore your leads.

6) Create lead-generating adverts on Facebook.
Facebook has now included a form which you can add to your paid Facebook post, allowing your audience to fill out a form on Facebook instead of having them click through to your website. This makes it more convenient for your audience and therefore will enhance the engagement on your paid post.

It is particularly useful for mobile users who do not wish to click through to another site. What makes the form even more useful is that Facebook auto-fills the forms for users (such as name and email address) thus requiring them to only press “submit” should those be the only questions you ask. You can even customize the questions based on the information you require through your lead generation.

If this seems too complicated, you can either choose to go with Tip 1 or contact us on hello@wordsmithsgroup.co.za for a step-by-step guide on how to use Facebook Lead Generating adverts.

Digital Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2019

The world is changing a mile a minute, it can be a little be a little daunting to differentiate your brand and stay ahead of the game. 

What marketing trends will be most important to you and your business in the year ahead? Let’s delve into where we are headed and what you need to take advantage of. 

1. Chatbots

You may be wondering what a chatbot is but you’ll be surprised to know that you may have already interacted with a few already. This artificial intelligence-based technology uses instant messaging to chat in real-time, day or night, with your customers or site visitors. It’s an exciting area in the conversational interface as it facilitates engaging conversations with customers, helps overcome the admin of simple frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) and is a pivotal tool in lead generation. Chatbots can set up appointments, call a cab, check in flights, assist with purchases and even send money on your behalf. These virtual assistants offer stellar customer service and allows you to efficiently use your time on other matters of business. Interesting fact – customers prefer interacting with chatbots as they are responsive, give answers promptly, accurately recall your entire buying history, and never lose patience. 

2. Voice Search and Smart Speakers

Does Siri, Google assistant or Alexa ring a bell? The increasing use of voice search now has made it very important to think about in 2019. Voice searches provide all the necessary information you need through audio content and it makes complete sense because it allows you to multi-task like never before. Whether you are unable to type while cooking or remember that last minute item you need to order while driving, say it out loud and instead of typing and you’re one step closer. Many brands have incorporated voice search in their digital marketing strategies to deliver value-based content effectively to their customers. Smart speakers like Alexa are set to include ads in their video content which will allow you to purchase voice ads from Google AdWords. Keep in mind for all voice technology to write in a conversational tone, focus on getting featured snippets on Google, and think about keywords that people will speak rather than type.

3. Visual Search

Google and Pinterest have outdone themselves with this one! Both platforms introduced “Lens” which is a visual tool that allows you to take photo, find out where to buy it online, search for similar products and even with Pinterest whereas Google allows you the opportunity to take a snap of a business card and save the phone number or address, book you can get reviews, building you can get details about. Isn’t that an amazing way to get on the competitive bandwagon to draw customers in and serve the them with your product or service. 

The key goal is to never lose sight of acquiring and maintaining your audience’s attention and knowing exactly what to leverage to get you to that point. The year ahead proves to be so digitally innovative, that we can’t miss a single beat. Don’t think, slow and steady but rather swift and innovative wins the race!

Speeding or slacking?

digital marketing

When it comes to the World Wide Web, a few things matter, like how easy it is to hop on to your favourite search engine and look for a plumber, new place to eat at or even your dream job. Have you ever thought about how frustrating all this would be if it took minutes or hours to get your desired search result? 

With only so many minutes in a day to get things done, we’ve all become accustomed to instant gratification. Take a look at your social media, how many competing ads do you notice fighting for your attention? Ultimately one wins over the other because they successfully cut through the noise and captivated your interest efficiently and effectively. 

Similarly, when it comes to websites – the idea is to have your brand represented beautifully with ease and smooth functionality. What’s a user’s experience when they visit your website? Is your Unique Selling Pointshining through on your website?  Do they have to wait minutes for a page to load? Is your website mobile friendly? Does half of your website load before the other does? Is the text and layout inconsistent and screaming for help? These are all very important things to consider when creating or revamping a website as it is the first point of reference when a customer is searching for your business after all. One of the most important factors to consider is the speed of your website and its domino effect. 

In 2018, Google made it official when they announced that website speed is a ranking factor on both desktops and mobiles. When a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there and faster sites don’t just improve user experience but recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. On an even more important note, web page speed affects conversion rates – 40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Shocking isn’t it? This relates to most but specifically alarming for e-commerce websites. Imagine losing a potential customer just before they checkoutbecause of terrible website speed? 

As page load time goes from 1-3 seconds, the probability of bounce increases by 32% whereas load time from 3-10 seconds increases the probability of bounces by 123%.  An industry benchmark report conducted recently found that an average website takes 15.3 seconds to load, making website speed still a very significant concern.

Quite interesting to know – 80% of a page’s load time is spent rendering all the different coded elements on a page. This includes images, style sheets, scripts, plugins and anything else that makes your website what it is. If you want to speed up your page load time, consider looking for and fixing the number of redirects, slow server response time and number of plugins as a start. 

A website design could be damaging if it isn’t completely optimized for website speed. Give your website the boost it needs to be seen and enjoyed.

What is SEO and am I doing it right?

There’s a general understanding of what Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is – it’s the magic you do to your content on your website so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) organically. You just pick a couple keywords and BANG. You’re done. Right?

Wrong.

SEO algorithms are constantly changing, so make sure you (or whoever is managing your website) remains up to date with these. Here’s a breakdown of the basics you should know to maintain a good listing on Google.

The original understanding that you need to focus on a few keywords on your website still rings true, but it does not stop there. This includes your title and image tags, inbound links etc. Search engines also look at your website for elements such as structure, design, visitor behavior and user experience (UX).

Be careful not to focus on too many keywords though as this will do more damage than good. They should appear in your content in a natural way, not listed unnaturally in a paragraph. I would suggest rather focusing on the intent of your copy rather than your keywords, and then work them into your copy afterwards. This way you appeal to your intended audience as well as keep your SEO on point.

Social media can play a role in increasing your organic website traffic as SEO now considers your social media activity. This therefore means that when you’re thinking about your SEO strategy, think about your social media strategy at the same time.

But even if you ranked well for a term, does that actually mean you’re going to see results?

If you rank well for terms not ideal for your business, then no. If you have a high bounce rate (people clicking onto your website then immediately leaving it) then this could be one of the reasons. If you do not correct this issue, the algorithm will pick up on the poor performance of the click throughs which will not only affect your SEO ranking but business conducted on your website

Another change which is in the pipelines is to penalize websites which appear too template-dependent or appear to produce content (such as blog posts) purely for SEO purposes. 

Email Subject Line Hacks that will Help Increase your Open Rate

Email Marketing is still one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses to date. Not only can you personalise emails to your email recipients, but such campaigns tend to generate quality leads. This is because you are communicating with people who’ve already shown a vested interest in your company and what it has to offer.

The only tricky part about email marketing though is to get your recipients to open them in the first place. I personally receive on average 5 marketing emails daily and I very rarely open them all. This is true for many, resulting in the 20% industry average open rate of a marketing email and according to Vibrant Media, the average open rate drops by 1.8% year-on-year. 

One way to break through the clutter and grab your audience’s attention is to have a captivating email subject line. I’ve summarised a list of simple hacks to assist you in doing just that:

1. Make your subject line short and sweet.

You have a limited amount of space to say what you need to say, so make it count. Although email marketing platforms usually let you write up to 100, I’d suggest sticking to between 60 and 70 characters with emphasis on the first 3 words. Desktops on average display 60 characters whereas mobile phones only display half of that. 

2. Include numbers in your subject line.

Numbers are your email subject line’s best friend. Campaign Monitor did extensive A/B testing on email subject lines, revealing that those with numbers had a 57% better open rate than those without. If you are listing steps in a process, the lower the number the better. However, if you’re providing a list of benefits, the number can be higher (but obviously not unreasonably high).

3. Use the following high click-through words.

These “power words” have been tested and have proved to entice people to click on an email more than most. Variations of the below can be used throughout your email marketing campaigns in order to increase their open rate. The words are as follows:

1. thanks

2. golden

3. breaking

4. advice

5. course

6. exclusive

7. review

8. top stories

4. Avoid using any of the following words.

In the same study that revealed the “power words” for subject lines, a list of words that produce the lest click-throughs was also created. These are the words you should avoid like the Plague:

1. get rid of

2. secret of

3. shocking

4. what you need to know

5. won’t believe

6. quickest

7. aim

8. call

9. put

10. 2 for 1

5. Create your own A/B test for your email marketing campaigns

What may work for one company does not necessarily mean it works for all, so I suggest you do some of your own research. Bulk emailing platforms such as Mailchimp allow for A/B testing (for example – you send out an email whereby 50% of your subscribers receive the one subject line and the other 50% a completely separate one). The results of such tests will help you narrow down exactly what works for your unique audience and what doesn’t.

If you’d like me to review your email subject line for your business’s marketing campaign once you’ve applied the above suggestions, just pop it in a mail to connect@wordsmithsgroup.co.zafor feedback.

Longevity of Corporate Gifting

As a business, you are sleeping on a huge opportunity if you have never had branded items made up for staff or clients. Your business can benefit immensely and even become part of your customers’ routine (for
example, carrying your notebook to meetings with them). When customers use your product several times a week, your branding lands in front of new people. This is additional brand exposure makes the ROI of investing in branded items worth it.

Truly understanding your customer’s needs better makes it easier to leave a lasting impression that keeps your business top of mind. This can be done through giving gifts that add value and which have a positive impact on their recipients. Their increasing popularity stems from the fact that they’re simple and versatile, yet extremely effective. Longevity promo products which are non-name brand items are also starting to emulate the retail look and feel when it comes to product design. This is due to the fact that consumers demand more from these products to be high performing and high quality. This trend is due to valuable brand recognition, because when you gift your clients quality promo gifts, they are more likely to use them on a regular basis. Taking them everywhere they go which creates more interaction for your brand. Examples of eye-catching promotional gifts are personalized notebooks, water bottles and travel mugs.

Branded gift sets are all about creative presentation. The goal is to curate several high-quality promotional items that represent your brand or event, then package them in a way that adds value and brings the whole set together in a cohesive way. Items that are selected for a gift set should be items that will be used on a day to day basis by your clients. When it comes to who you should gift, don’t forget your staff. Your employees are brand ambassadors, and what better way to facilitate that than by stocking their desks with cool
company stationary such as mouse pads, tote bags, note books, key chains, phone stands and desktop speakers, for example. These few items are simple but highly effective in creating brand exposure. You can take it to the next level by personalizing their branded items with their names. This adds an extra level of professionalism, especially when they take these products with them on client visits.

Gifting pens is a popular one, so when considering this option rather go for the “soft-touch,” which refers to a particular finish on certain items that makes them silky-smooth to the touch. Not only is this finish more comfortable
to hold than more traditional plastic, but it adds the perception of higher quality. You can also choose to be more eco-friendly and gift trendy coffee eco cups which would also show your clients that your company is environmentally conscious. When implementing a corporate gifting strategy, always remember that longevity is paramount. The longer a promotional product is kept, the more impressions it makes on the recipient and anyone else that sees the recipient using the promotional product and the better your ROI.

How to take great photos for your business using your phone

With the evolution of the smartphone, some of the newest models have such high-quality cameras fitted that you’d have to have a keen eye for photography to spot the difference between a photo shot on the phone and one on a DSLR.

Knowing how to use your phone’s camera, how to line up your shot and how to tastefully edit your images will result in you rarely needing to fork out money for a professional photoshoot. The easiest way to start improving your phone photography is to turn on your phone camera’s gridlines. This will help you shoot your picture based on “the rule of thirds” – a principle stating that an image should be broken down into thirds (horizontally and vertically). The theory suggests that if you place points of interest on the intersections of the gridlines or along the lines, your photo will naturally appear to be more balanced.

To switch the grid on …

iPhone: Go to “Settings,” choose “Photos & Camera,” and switch “Grid” on.

Samsung Galaxy: Launch the camera app, go to “Settings,” scroll down and switch the “grid lines” option to “on.”

The next tip would be to set your camera’s focus. If your phone does not automatically focus where you need it to, tap the screen where you’d like the area of focus to be to adjust it. Spend some time putting some thought and effort into the setup of your shot. Your subject does not have to fit the entire frame – sometimes some breathing space around your subject can make it stand out even more. Embrace the negative space.

Try making your images more interesting by finding unique perspectives to take them from. For example, try taking a photo directly upwards and using the sky as negative space, or play with reflections.

In some photos, there’s a line that draws the viewer’s eye toward a certain part of the frame. Those are called leading lines. Leading lines are great for creating a sense of depth in an image, and can make your photo look purposefully designed.

Colour blocking and looking for lines of symmetry before snapping the picture are also ways of creating images that are pleasant on the eye. Look for repetitive patterns and bold colours that somehow tie up with your brand.

When setting up the shot, avoid zooming in and try as much as possible to use natural light. Both zooming in and unnatural light reduce the quality of your photo. If needs be, crop your image once you’ve taken the shot to bring your focus area closer in.

Lastly – make sure your phone’s camera lens is clean! 

Happy snapping.

Have you humanized your brand?

Welcome to the age of humanizing your brand, say goodbye to traditional and rigid marketing efforts and embrace connecting with people instead. First off, you may be wondering – what’s the need to change the way you are currently doing things? 

Humanizing your brand is quite possibly the most important aspect of any and every business. Take a minute to think of your brand from a customer’s point of view and answer this question honestly. Do I trust this brand and connect with their vision and efforts? Well, if you aren’t able to answer, how will a complete stranger?

There are a few tips to implement in your social media marketing strategy that are a sure-fire way to win over even the toughest of critics. Start off by letting your brand’s personality shine through captions and engage in conversations. Avoid formal industry jargon and adopt a conversational approach, it’s all about connecting with a user on a human level and coming across as relatable. Responding to comments and continuing the conversation makes users feel like they matter and this in turn can create a loyal relationship. 

Use humour in a context that is appropriate to the nature of your brand. It shows people that you don’t take things too seriously to have a good laugh. Tongue in cheek references work really well for audiences and creates an atmosphere for interaction. Nando’s is a prime example of having a distinct personality and tone that’s well portrayed in their marketing campaigns and gets everybody talking.

Why stop there? Reposting user generated content not only gives customers a glimpse to others real life experiences with your product or service, it’s exciting to the user who gets his or her photo featured on your social media feed. Second, it shows other consumers that you have great relationships with their peers and that those people already enjoy your products. 

You’ve got to solidify all credibility with social proof, promoting reviews and testimonials from happy customers is gold, you want to show potential new customers that they’re missing out, plus its great publicity. It’s all well and good to have an amazing offering but let’s not forget the people that make this possible. Showcase your employees and the role they play in your business, these are the first points of interaction with customers, they are the representatives of your brand and often are the first reason why a customer connects with your product or service. 

By adopting these strategies into your social media marketing plan, you can expect your brand to catapult and earn a memorable spot in the customer’s mind. You’ll find people gravitating toward your brand and are loyal because they connect with it in every sense. Sometimes, it’s all about removing the layers and giving people an inside look to the very core of your brand, its success and even failures – it’s worth it, you’ll see.

Did these marketing tips help you? Let us know in the comments section.

Google AdWords: The most searched Ballito-related terms

It is no doubt that over the years the Dolphin Coast has received increased attention – from people looking to move, to people looking to vacation here.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the term “Ballito” comes up in more than 18,000 Google searches monthly, with the top search terms being “Ballito accommodation” with 8,100 monthly Google searches and “Ballito restaurants” with 2,900 respectively.

What is surprising is the lack of competition on Google from local businesses in an attempt to take advantage of these search terms. When searching “Ballito accommodation” only one Google advert features and absolutely no adverts come up for “Ballito restaurants.” These are opportunities that local businesses are missing out on daily.

So now what? How does your business take advantage of all these Ballito-related searches?

Firstly, make sure that the content on your website is search engine optimised. In the case of wanting to feature in the Google search results for “Ballito accommodation,” make sure your content contains the term “Ballito accommodation” and synonyms of this term feature frequently in your website copy. Featuring on other websites with a link to your ideal search term will also increase your Google search result ranking. For “Ballito restaurants,” having an active TripAdvisor presence is strongly advised.

Another way to take advantage of search terms is to make use of Google AdWords.

Google AdWords is what is used to bid for the top spot on Google’s search results based on your ideal search term. You control how it appears and what page of your website it directs people to. If your bid is the highest, it will appear at number one with a little “Ad” icon next to it.

Right now, the competition for the biggest Ballito-related search terms is minimal, so I encourage you to do your research and get a strategy in place as soon as possible.