The evolving digital landscape for New Zealand businesses
So where should I be allocating my marketing budget in 2017?
As a digital marketer, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside a lot of Kiwi business owners and help guide them through the complex digital landscape that’s evolved over the last couple of years.
One of the main questions I often get asked is, where should we be allocating our marketing budget to get the greatest return on investment? Whilst it’s true, some traditional forms of advertising still work well, let’s face it, focusing your efforts on digital is going to give you the greatest return and exposure for every dollar you spend. To quote one of my favourite speakers Avinash Kaushik from Google – “A lot of people don’t understand, that only the dog is watching TV now”.
For many years, all of us in advertising have been touting the fact that digital was the way of the future and businesses needed to move with the times or get left behind. Fast forward to today and the future is finally here! What an exciting time to be in marketing and communications! It’s never been easier or more cost effective to get your message in front of the customer and the best part is everything’s measurable!
I think it’s important to take a moment to understand the transformation that’s happened to New Zealand’s advertising industry over the past 10 years. If we go back to 2007, platforms like Facebook, Google AdWords and YouTube were only just starting to be seriously considered and adopted as part of your typical marketing strategy. Apple had just launched the iPhone triggering the smartphone revolution and the Yellow Pages print directory was still the primary form of advertising for most Kiwi businesses.
In amongst this, there were a few innovative companies such as Air New Zealand that dared to challenge the status quo. Some of you may remember Rico, the cheeky puppet character who made his debut appearance in 2010 leading a highly successful digital campaign on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. This was one of the great digital success stories that proved digital was the way of the future and it helped pave the way for smaller businesses to consider digital advertising strategies over traditional options.
Since then, we’ve seen the launch of some amazing new tools and platforms which provide endless opportunities for creativity and innovation to drive a compelling digital marketing strategy. The power of the Internet allows you to experiment, modify and change things on the fly to maximize your return on investment. With so many options out there, this brings me back to the question…
“So where should we be allocating our marketing budget anyway?”
Well to answer this question, we first have to understand a fundamental shift in customers buying behavior. Shoppers have become less dependent on the knowledge and expertise of retail staff. Information has become more widely available and accessible online through the use of mobile devices. Customers now have ample opportunity to educate and inform themselves about products and services that they’re interested in, without having to talk to anyone.
The fact is, the purchase journey starts online and it usually begins with a Google search. Find a plumber near me, best laptop deals, fun things to do this weekend, cheap accommodation. These are just some of the key phrases that get entered into Google each day, each search resulting in a list of relevant businesses or services that are likely to appeal to the searcher. If you’re not part of Google’s search engine results when a customer goes looking for you, chances are that the sale will go to one of your competitors who are. With this in mind, it’s a no-brainer that you have to have a strong online presence that’s been well optimized so that Google can find and rank it as high as possible. Here’s three great marketing tips that I’d pass onto any small business owner looking to embark on the journey to digital.
1. Investing in your website leads to more conversions.
Your website has become the new shop front for your business. It creates a first impression about you, good or bad, and is the first opportunity for them to get a sense of who you are, and the products or services you offer. In most situations, your primary website goal is to generate more leads or sales. To achieve this goal, you’re going to want to design a website that provides a great user experience on desktop, tablet and mobile devices. It should be easy to navigate and provide enough information so that visitors feel comfortable completing a purchase or making contact with you. In digital speak, we call these conversions.
2. Content is king.
Bill Gates describes the internet as the multimedia equivalent to the photocopier. It allows you to create and publish whatever content you want, and globally distribute it to millions of viewers, across thousands of websites within seconds. With over 1 billion websites now on the Internet, the challenge for business owners is to get their voice heard over their competitors amongst the whitewash of background noise and distraction vying for your attention online.
Compelling, interesting and engaging content is what drives traffic to your website and keeps them there for longer. Google even has an algorithm which looks at the quality of content and how you’re presenting information online. This gives you a score that directly reflects your rank in their search results.
The quality of your content influences how a customer perceives your brand and great content is likely to be picked up and shared by others across the Internet. Better content gives you wider reach and more opportunity to access a customer market that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
So what does all this mean?
Simply, take time to understand the types of content that your customer is likely to be interested in, and invest in creating and positioning great content that connects with your audience. Investing in your content is one of the best decisions you can make, and it creates a foundation for delivering successful digital marketing strategies and tactics through your various channels.
3. Make use of data analytics to measure your performance.
Finally, in this digital world we now live in, everything is measurable and quantifiable! That’s fantastic! You can now see exactly what’s happening on on all your digital marketing collateral and how your audience is responding. You can run experiments, see what works, what doesn’t, and make changes and amendments to your content giving you the best cut through possible.
With all this data available you can truly understand who your customer is and how they’re interacting with your brand. You can harness all this amazing analytics data and if you’re smart, you can use it to continually refine and improve your approach, giving you the edge over your competitors.