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.

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

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.

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!

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.