Updated: Jun 2
It doesn’t matter if you’re a tech startup or a product in retail competing against the ‘big brands’ because implementing the three strategies below well and cohesively is powerful.
Note: This is an account of what we did and are still doing for a multi-national fashion brand—the same results are not guaranteed.
...if you’re working with a limited budget, the key is to focus those dollars on the right platform in the right way.
You’re likely in brick and mortar as well as online. If not, your approach is going to be different based on where you sell. For example, the brand we’re using as an example in this article is a fashion brand with a product that has many different styles, pieces, and accessories that are possible—in other words, they have many SKUs. Currently, they only sell through authorized retailers—which happens to be about 1,000 locations right now. Our objective is to drive online traffic to either the physical locations of the retailers or to the retailers' websites to purchase products online. Not only do we see evidence that what we’re doing is working (millions of dollars through leads), they also reported that they doubled their sell through year-to-date. They couldn’t be more excited.
The Trifecta: a Multi-Pronged Approach
A combination of SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, and digital advertising is what we call our 'trifecta'. The trifecta led to greater brand awareness and more sales. Since the trifecta is exclusively online, the performance of all of these methods can be tracked—unlike a billboard, which may only have an estimated amount of impressions and an unknown amount of conversions. Billboards and print marketing can be a great part of a strategy, but we really only suggest this if your budget is large in order to use all of the strategies together. However, if you’re working with a limited budget, the key is to focus those dollars on the right platform in the right way.
...if social media is done right, it leads to sales.
For our client, we used social media to grow brand awareness and to create genuine ‘fans’ of the brand. Naturally, we also gained leads and sales from social media too. While the aim of social media is to create brand awareness and connection with the consumer, if social media is done right, it leads to sales.
We created original content for the brand since stock photos aren't going to cut it for a product. The content had to capture the essence of the brand’s aesthetic and where we were headed with them—not just where they currently were.
Don't forget the hashtags! For a platform like Instagram, the ability to use up to 30 hashtags to reach people following those hashtags is a marketer's dream for organic reach. Take advantage of a platform's organic reach, but learn the rules (important!) so the algorithm doesn't think your content is spam.
A quick breakdown of the platforms and their organic reach in our opinion (you'll need to keep in mind the demographics of the platform and your target audience):
• Instagram: good organic reach (although at the time of writing, there has been a drop in organic reach), cheap advertising reach with some targeting abilities.
• Facebook: terrible organic reach, great advertising reach (cheap). We don't recommend posting on Facebook as a business unless the post is going to be 'boosted.' Consider 'Facebook Watch' to post videos at least 3 minutes for improved organic reach (Facebook is essentially competing with YouTube and trying to boost this feature). The ability to target your ideal audience is what makes Facebook our go-to for advertising--especially if the budget is limited.
• LinkedIn: great organic reach, very expensive advertising reach. Good articles and videos can go a long way. Great for B2B audience. • Twitter: pretty good organic reach, pretty cheap advertising reach (not a lot of competition yet). • Snapchat: terrible organic reach, pretty good advertising reach. Limited targeting options.
• YouTube: organic reach is possible, but it's hard. A lot of things have to be right with the description, metadata, and the quality of the content. Also, the long-form content (at least 3 minutes) is best to keep people on the platform (those accounts get rewarded by the platform). Advertising costs vary. Good for impressions and brand awareness, but may not lead to leads or conversions. The great thing about YouTube advertising is that people can be targeted based on what they've searched (since they're Google-owned). There is great power with using a Google-based company when it comes to detailed targeting for your customer.
...just add value—it’s good for your brand.
Get Found on the Internet. Be Consistent.
Our SEO strategies resulted in strengthening the brand’s domain that included things seen by customers as well as things unseen. Ultimately, our goal is to make Google happy. Domain strengthening, solid content writing (blogs), strategic use of keywords (not just what we want people to search for but also what they’re already searching for), and more, led new customers to find our client through web searches. The visits to their website increased from 1,000 a month to nearly 7,000 a month within 6 months time. Their ranking on Google continues to increase every month, and the impressions and click through rate have also steadily increased month over month. Again, most importantly, sales have also dramatically increased.
Even if you're not a professional, the key for anybody is to just be consistent. No matter your experience level, we suggest setting schedules for writing, approval, and publishing content (blogs, etc.). Speak to the audience you want to reach and publish the content close to the same time every week. Being consistent like this can help your audience know what to expect.
The blogs specifically are going to help you be found by people looking for answers. A key point here is to add value. Add an extreme amount of value. How can you add value to your audience? Can you provide valuable knowledge on the latest happenings in your industry, how your product or service is helping people (soft sell) (i.e. software for organization can give people more time with their families). Remember, just add the value without worrying too much about what you receive from it. Sure, you can offer your product and such, but we can’t stress enough: just add value—it’s good for your brand.
Furthermore, we highly suggest connecting your social media audience to your blog. This can allow you to put the link to the blog in your Instagram bio (for example) and tell the audience to check it out by following the link.
Ads need to be a relevant, tailored experience.
Get Specific With Your Target
Lastly, the final piece is digital advertising. In this case, for us, this was running Facebook & Instagram ads. Since all of the content was original (meaning we shot and edited everything), we were able to customize each ad for the audience we were targeting. For instance, the 50+ demographic usually has a different message and tone that needs to be communicated than the message to the 20 somethings. Ads need to be a relevant, tailored experience.
The point is to get really specific in who you’re advertising to. We have found that this specificity converts to leads and those leads convert to sales at an astronomically higher percentage. Why is this? Because people want a curated experience. People want their music streaming to be tailored to their preferences just like they want ads for their clothing tailored to their desires and preferences.
When ads are tailored to specific people in mind, it creates a happy experience for the consumer. To properly test ads for audiences and target at least one desired demographic, we suggest that you should expect to spend at least between $500 and $1,000 per month per platform—at least! Some companies spend more than this in a day. Not all companies are the same and not all budgets are the same, of course. You (as the business leader) should know what a realistic customer acquisition cost (CAC) should be and what the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer is. Reading this will help you start determining how much you should invest into your ad budget to get the return on investment (ROI) that you want.
You can do each of the 'prongs' of the ‘trifecta’ separately (SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Digital Advertising), but the best results come from using them together because there is a lot of overlap--meaning they mesh really well and feed off of one another.
For example, you could just run ads on Facebook without ever actually making any posts or having any other social media profile. This could lead to two potential issues. For one, the audience that is ad fatigued is going to keep on scrolling and you'll miss opportunities. Secondly, if an audience wants to look more into your brand (which many people will if they don’t know you yet), they will check out your social profile. So, if that’s lacking or looks unprofessional, they’ll move on and likely won’t become customers. That disconnect doesn’t provide a lot of trust. The trifecta is powerful.
The plan for the budget included a few Instagram posts per week targeting their desired audience, weekly work done on their website and through blogs for SEO, and multiple ads ran for their targeted audiences on Facebook and Instagram. The results of our marketing strategy led the brand to be able to expand their team by hiring more people, they were able to invest back into their company and increase their growth even more.
• Build brand awareness through a great social media strategy. Post often, consistently, and add a ton of value with photos and video that represent your brand vision.
• Capitalize on the vastness of the internet by getting found through search engines. SEO is a long-term strategy and shouldn’t be stopped. Your SEO strategies may change and adapt, but continuity is rewarded by Google and other search engines.
• Create an advertising budget based on a realistic customer acquisition cost and the lifetime value of a customer. Knowing these numbers will allow you to see on paper what you can actually afford and expect by the investment in the ads that are created. Don’t forget to make your ads specific to the demographic you’re targeting—less ‘vanilla.’
We transformed the brand in this case study from being a ‘product company’ to a lifestyle brand that translated into loyal followers and more sales. It's been a great journey. We understand this information could seem overwhelming to execute or even apply as a busy business owner yourself, and that’s why we exist. You can head over to this link here to discover opportunities for marketing your business. Now, go boost your brand awareness and get more sales!
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