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Marketing your business vs conscious consumption

Marketing your business vs conscious consumption

Am I the only one feeling bombarded by marketing and sales offers at the moment? My inbox and social media feeds are littered with year-end specials and its not pleasant. The holiday season generally brings an influx of offers, and to add to the usual annual mass consumer frenzy, we now also have the Black Friday phenomenon to contend with.

Stop the consumption train I want to get off

As a marketer, I feel very conflicted about it all. I understand that the market expects special deals at this time of the year. And that for a lot of businesses it is the time of year that they make the most money. Yet, many businesses create special offers purely to be seen as having a special offer. Quite often it isn’t a “special offer” at all. Or it’s only offered because their competitors have a special deal and they don’t want to lose customers – not the best business strategy. The problem is that it all feels forced … everyone’s out to make a quick and dirty buck – ethics be damned.

Un-conscious consumption

Asides from online offers, the in-store sales also seem to bring out the worst in customers. We’ve all seen the scenes with angry shoppers fighting over the last item in a sales bin. Very often the quality of the items purchased reflects the discounted price – they’re cheap. They’re bought purely to get a “bargain”, not because there is an actual need for the item purchased. As these items are considered “cheap” they are not valued and easily tossed in the bin and ultimately end up in the landfill. Surely there’s a better way to cater to the market demand for special deals while maintaining a more conscious set of values? Well, yes there is. We need to embrace conscious marketing to conscious customers and this requires a little more creativity.

What is conscious consumption?

To best explain conscious consumption, consider the quite normal process of buying a T-shirt. The norm is to consider personal preference, price and convenience. However, the conscious consumer will base their decision on a number of different factors. They’ll want to know what it’s made of. Is the fabric natural, is it an ethically farmed material, is it made locally or in a foreign sweatshop by 10 year old, will it biodegrade? etc. All of these things influence the decision whether to purchase the T-shirt or not. How do you embrace conscious marketing? All it takes is a little creative thinking to come up with some conscious marketing concepts to use in the holiday season. Here are 5 conscious marketing examples for you to try
  • If you’re a small business, rather than competing with big shops on price, try a personal touch. Offer custom complimentary gift wrapping in order to make a memorable shopper experience.
  • You could also offer a free small sample product with every purchase. This gives customers a chance to check out your other products at the same time – and if they love it they’ll be back to buy.
  • Promise to donate a portion of each item sold on black Friday to a local charity. A 2015 Nielsen report found that 66% of consumers said they would pay more for products from companies committed to having a positive social impact.
  • Try a swap to shop promotion. Offer a discount on your products to people who bring in used items. Then donate these items to charities.
  • Offer something very exclusive for the holiday period only. In 2018, the shoe brand Allbirds created a limited-edition sneaker that they only sold on Cyber Monday. It sold out fast.

Offering your holiday customers a great deal doesn’t have to mean a discount. Try come up with some unique ideas like giveaways, shopping tips, charitable contributions, and holiday-themed social events. Be creative and have you’ll be well on your way to being a conscious marketer.

We also have a Non-Tech Guide to Technical Website Terms to help explain the technical jargon used in web design. Download our guide and you’ll soon be able to throw technical terms around with the best of them.

I'd like a copy of the Non-Tech Guide to Technical Website Terms

What do you mean boosting posts on Facebook is a waste of money?

What do you mean boosting posts on Facebook is a waste of money?

Let’s look at Facebook Boosted Posts vs Facebook Ads. Within Facebook there are 2 different ways for you to promote your social media efforts. These are Boosted posts and Facebook ads.  But which one is the best value for money? Well, they are both effective, you just need to know which one to use when. Let me break it down for you.

What are Facebook Boosted Posts?

The boosted post option is essentially a less complicated version of an ad, and it looks like a regular Facebook post. So, if you are used to creating posts it’s quite easy for you to move on to boosting them. Boosting your post means that Facebook shares your post higher up in the news feed of your existing audience. It will also display your post to similar users who aren’t yet following your business page.

What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads are just that, ads. They appear within Facebook on the right-hand side on a desktop and within the news feed on mobile and desktop.

When is it best to use a Boosted Post?

The Facebook Ads Manager tool can be daunting and overwhelm new users with all the tools and features. So, if you are starting out with promoting your business on Facebook it is easier to use the Boosted Post option. All you need to do is select a target audience, a budget amount, and the duration you want it to run. Boosting posts is a good way to test out a strategy before you put together an entire campaign. They tend to drive engagement and give a good ROI as they stay on your timeline once the promotion has ended. Whereas Facebook Ads are removed completely once the promotion has ended.

When is it best to use a Facebook Ad?

Where the Boosted Posts option only boosts a single post at a time, Facebook Ad’s allow you to create full-blown, multi-faceted ad campaigns.  All your campaigns are stored in one location and this allows you to get more strategic with your campaigns.

So, if you need things like,

  • language and behaviour targeting
  • multi-audience channelling
  • A/B testing with different content and images
  • Ad Scheduling
  • Optimised bidding

then Facebook Ads is the best option for you.

Both options have their own set of benefits. If you want quick exposure for your business, or to reach new audiences a boosted post will work. While, Facebook is a powerful tool that allows you to create complex, targeted and specific campaigns.

Ideally you should consider combining the two formats. Boost a few posts to see which ones perform best, and then turn that content into full new Facebook Ad campaigns.

If this is still unclear or you need some help with promoting your business on social media, get in touch with your questions and we’d be happy to help answer them for you.

We also have a Non-Tech Guide to Technical Website Terms to help explain the technical jargon used in web design. Download our guide and you’ll soon be able to throw technical terms around with the best of them.

I'd like a copy of the Non-Tech Guide to Technical Website Terms

A non-tech guide to website hosting

A non-tech guide to website hosting

One of the first questions our new website clients usually ask is about web hosting. What is it, what’s the best option, how does it work? It can be a little difficult to wrap your head around, so we thought we’d explain the basics in a non-technical way.

What is website hosting

Basically all website hosting does is share your website files with the rest of the world. A website consists of a bunch of files that sit on a webserver somewhere – just like the files you have on your laptop. The only difference is that you are (hopefully) the only one able to see the files on your laptop. Whereas files on a webserver are shared with the entire www.

How does it work?

Well website files are stored on computers called webservers that are owned by hosting companies. So you “rent” space on a webserver to store your website’s files. The space on the server is one part of the hosting providers role, the second is bandwidth. Bandwidth is like a highway and you get to choose the number of “lanes” (GB of Bandwidth) that traffic can travel on to reach your site. Just like with a highway, the more bandwidth (lanes) you have the more traffic will be able reach your site. Also consider the highway analogy if you have a slow website. It may be that your site doesn’t have enough bandwidth to support the amount of traffic you are getting. So you are ending up with a traffic jam that slows everything down.

Normal features of a hosting plan explained

Most hosting providers provide plans or packages that vary in price. These plans generally consist of:

  • Storage in GB – This is the space you rent on their webserver
  • Databases – Most CMS websites like WordPress need a database to run. So if you intend to use a CMS you need to have hosting with a database
  • Mailboxes – Email accounts are a common feature of hosting, especially if you are hosting a domain. You get to use a name@yourdomain.co.za email address instead of using your Gmail account for your business
  • FTP accounts – FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and this allows you to securely transfer files to your “space” on the webserver

Has this cleared things up for you a little bit? I hope so. But if you have any more questions about website hosting please get in touch and we’ll happily answer them for you. 

We also have a Non-Tech Guide to Technical Website Terms to help explain the technical jargon used in web design. Download our guide and you’ll soon be able to throw technical terms around with the best of them.

I'd like a copy of the Non-Tech Guide to Technical Website Terms

Do you think email marketing is dead?

Do you think email marketing is dead?

I’m sure you’ve heard that email marketing is dead, I know I definitely have. “No one uses email anymore”, right.  Well recent reports that email marketing is dead are “fake news”. Email marketing is very much alive.

There are many ways to reach your prospective customers. Think about where people spend their time, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.  While these are all very effective channels to use in your marketing toolbox, none are as effective as email marketing.

Based on 2018 data, email marketing is still ranked as the most effective marketing channel, outpacing social media, SEO, and affiliate marketing.

Here are some email stats for 2019:

  • the number of global email users is at 3.7 billion users (Statista, 2019)
  • with 293 billion emails sent and received each day (Statista, 2019).
  • mobile opens accounted for 46% of emails opened
  • 35% of business professionals check their email on a mobile device 
  • 99% of email users check their email every day 
  • and in case you think email is for old people – 73% of millennials prefer to have businesses communicate with them via email

So why is email marketing effective?

Users are in control. Unlike social media posts or banner ads, email users opt-in to receive your emails. This means they’re more likely to a) Notice and b) Show interest in your email when it arrives in their inbox.

It’s targeted and personal. With segmented email lists you can send emails based on the specific needs and interests of your customers. Personalised messages for each customer can lead to higher conversion rates.

It’s important to do it right

Getting your emails into someone’s inbox is like being invited into their home. If they ask you to take your shoes off at the door, you might think they’re a bit odd – but you’d take your shoes off. It’s all about showing respect.

Here’s a checklist for you to follow to make sure you are doing it right:
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First get people to opt-in

There are lots of ways to get people to opt-in to your email list. You could give away a freebie in exchange for their email address or simply offer a newsletter. You get to choose which is the best incentive for your business. It is however important to have a clear purpose when asking for an address.

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Make sure you live up to their expectations

Make sure you send out great content and if you promised to send one email per week make sure you do that. You’re there to engage customers and make sales so it’s a good idea to think in advance about your sales pitches. You don’t want to surprise them with a pitch out of the blue, so include subtle pitches in your regular content, then build up to a full blown one.

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Segment and send targeted emails

For example, with segmentation, you can send an email to those who didn’t open your last email and ask them why. Or email those that showed interest with a second pitch. You can also do some split test messaging with different groups to refine your sales pitch.

So how do you feel about email marketing now? If you’ve been ignoring it, now might be time to re-evaluate your strategy and get started. It doesn’t have to be too complicated.

Have some fun with the Creative Type quiz

Have some fun with the Creative Type quiz

What do you think about personality tests? Like “Which Game of Thrones character are you” or “Which Modern Disney Princess Are You?” They are fun right (aside from the dodgy data farming practices – but that’s a another blog post). How about the more serious personality tests like the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram tests? It can be interesting to learn a little bit about yourself and how you appear to the rest of the world.

My Creative Type

Well, whether you’re a creative or not, you’ll love Adobe’s Creative Types test. Developed by Adobe in partnership with Anyways Creative and writer Carolyn Gregoire. It’s based on psychological research and assesses “basic habits and tendencies…how you think, how you act, how you see the world”.

About the test

The test is only 15 questions long and some of the questions are quite quirky, such as “I’d rather be in a cocoon or a beehive?”. It is visually fun and interactive and there are interesting animations between each question that coincide with the answer you give. Personalities are mapped across three broad metrics, including basic temperament, thinking style, and action style. These metrics measure how introverted or extroverted you are, whether you’re driven by intellect or emotion, and if your activities are driven by ideas or action.

Once you are done you are assigned one of the 8 types of creatives: the Artist, the Thinker, the Adventurer, the Maker, the Producer, the Dreamer, the Innovator, and the Visionary. It’ll help you to understand not only your own creative style, but who you are best suited to working with.So, whether this test is “legitimate” or not, it really is a fun and interactive way to learn a little bit about yourself.

If you want to spend a fun couple of minutes finding out which of these eight types describes you best, head over to the My Creative Type website and take the test.

I’m a Dreamer, what type of creative are you?

Do you tell stories?

Do you tell stories?

If you are of a certain age I am sure the words “It’s not inside it’s on top!” will mean something to you. Yes, it’s the famous line from the 80’s Cremora ad and even if you weren’t around in the 80’s you’ve probably heard your parents refer to it or have seen it on Youtube. Why was this ad so successful? Because it tells a story, a story that makes us laugh, which is one the most powerful ways to engage an audience.

We all love stories. Growing up, it’s how we learn important lessons. In the past, fairy tales and fables taught us memorable life lessons and now children learn these from one of the most influential story tellers ever, Disney.  Stories capture our attention from the beginning to the very end and this makes it an incredibly powerful content marketing tool.

Here’s an example of the power of story telling – we’re selling a pen for Fathers on Father’s Day.

“This pen is the best one on the market, it’s refillable with any size or colour ink refill and it has a twist-action mechanism that smoothly retracts the pen tips. “

VS

“Inspired by radar invisible technology used in state-of-the-art military aircraft and originally crafted in 1963, the precise engineering of the barrel and internal mechanisms, allow the nib to disappear completely when not in use. A dependable and trusted writing instrument that has withstood the test of time. “

Would you be more interested in the first one or the James Bond-spy gadget sounding one?

So how can you use story telling in your business? Consider it a way to add more meaning to the information you want to provide your customers. The features and advantages of your product are important, so you want to present them in a way that your potential customers understand them without having to read dry facts, features and product descriptions.

Share a real customer experience.

We all like to hear about other people’s experiences of a product/service before buying. Telling customer stories gives potential customers more than just features and facts – it allows them to understand why they need your product/service.

Highlight your uniqueness.

Your products/services may have unique features, but the thing that will really distinguish you from your competitors is your story. Make it messy, human and relatable and your audience will remember your brand and think of it whenever they need the services or products you offer.

Don’t be sales-ey.

When you’re just sharing an experience and subtly promoting your brand through a story, you’re leaving the decision in your customers hands. Customers will be much happier to make a purchase when they feel like they are the ones in control.

You can use these tips to tell your stories through images, videos, or blog posts. How are you using story telling in your business?