Empowering Through Digital Marketing
A 2-day initiative by WBN, #iEmPOWER Digital Marketing Workshop, happened on 10 and 12 August 2020 via Zoom. Its programme aimed at honing the digital marketing skills of entrepreneurs. Here’s a summary of both virtual workshops.
About the Workshop: The virtual workshop series of WIEF WBN #iEmPOWER happened in two parts. Themed Developing Content Strategy for Digital Marketing, the programme was designed to help reset business strategies. The sessions went online on 10 and 12 August 2020, via Zoom. Their content was looked upon as an architect of a marketing game plan and avenue for the process of content creation, strategizing and marketing in order to monetise the digital platform. Both sessions attracted 144 participants from 12 countries who discovered ways to generate more leads and more traffic to grow their business in a more sustainable manner. Both sessions were manned by one trainer.
About the Trainer: Angeline Ann Samuel, is CEO and founder of A TECH and a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) as well as Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). Her company is a digital marketing firm in Malaysia specialising in professional development and digital marketing. She has experience in strategic planning, managing and leading teams in diverse roles such as digital marketing and business development initiatives. She has worked with multiple organisations such as hotels, banks, energy, as well as oil and gas.
PART 1: Developing Content Strategy for Digital Marketing
Remember this: content is king. Next, what content marketing is about, is layers of content. Part one of the workshop covered what content can do for your business and the importance of having good content. Also, current trends in content marketing and content ideas. Trainer of the workshop, Angeline Ann Samuel, goes through the content ideas and trends that are currently out there.
What is Content Marketing?
Previously, traditional marketing used brochures, flyers and websites. Now, it’s more strategic plan-integrated and customer-oriented. That’s what is happening right now in terms of content marketing. According to Angeline, ‘The sweet spot in content marketing right now is meeting our goals. The intent of your marketing the preference of your audience, what kind of audience and what are the narratives you want to build for your audience.’
Why is Content Marketing so Useful?
According to Angeline, content allows consumers to differentiate good from bad services or products. ‘Showcase your content everywhere possible,’ she says. Which brings it to what channels to leverage on, online? ‘Be smart in terms of content development. Optimise your content and make sure it has good returns in terms of traffic to your website,’ she advises. Furthermore, content increases traffic to websites and in turn increases consumer interest which sell more products and services. Content is shareable. This trait allows consumers to share your content and thus, attract potential consumers of your products or services.
How to Build Content?
Begin with information on your website. All information there should answer all questions regarding your company, products and services while your search sites are ubiquitous in various channels. Then, showcase your passion by telling a story. Content, adds Angeline, shouldn’t be too corporate. Instead, the passion you may have for your business or industry should exude from your content. ‘Showcase the great stories of what your company is about and yourself as its founder. How did you develop the idea for the company? Why did you start the company? What are you currently working on? What are your goals for the next five or ten years? Also, tap into your customers’ dreams, their expectations and their goals when you’re developing content,’ she continues. ‘Use icons such as celebrities, inspire people and maximise all the senses of your consumers.’
Videos, Angeline reminds, is an effective way to showcase your products or services. ‘Get the CEO or market leaders to talk about it and elaborate on it,’ she says. This is a way of influencing consumers’ senses and making your products or services tangible, as well as appealing to potential customers. ‘This is because through video, you’re actually giving consumers a peek at yourself from a different perspective,’ she explains.
The fundamental difference between emotion and reason, according to Angeline, is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusion. ‘So, every time you’re going to develop content, remember to get in touch with your emotions, rather than just a logical point of view,’ she reminds and adds that this is because content marketing revolves around experiences and people take action when they’re able to connect with products or services in terms of emotions as well as reasoning.
Six goals of building content:
1. brand awareness
2. lead generation
5. customer retention and loyalty
6. up-selling and cross-selling
For a more corporate feel, showcase employer and employees’ profiles, as well as the making of your product in images and videos. Perhaps, feature employee of the month, testimonials from your consumers, tutorials that include tips of your products, activities you’re doing, how you can be effective to consumers, as well as products and services that you think are popular at the time. These are a few examples of how consumers can be interested in your products or services, and follow your content.
How to Use Multiple Channels for Content Marketing?
Websites, blogs, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Angeline explains, are channels to market your content. ‘It’s essentially where others talk about you,’ she adds. Also, included are group pages and paid media such as YouTube as well as Facebook advertisements.
Using multiple channels require adapting one concept by changing its content such as graphics, background and images. For example, instead of an image, use a video. This is where you’re repurposing for maximum effectiveness. ‘Add your experiences as well,’ Angeline reminds. How? By adding what you feel and think about your products, as well as what you get out of it. Tell your story on why did you create the product, what is it for, how did you build your company or even on the current trends.’ In short, make your products or services relatable, as well as relevant to the consumers.
How to Sell and Promote?
Keep to the 80-20 model. According to Angeline, always keep in mind to talk 20 per cent of the time about the products, services or discounts and 80 per cent about your company. The latter, she adds, is when you sell a dream to the consumers, ‘80 per cent of the time it’s all about the content that has nothing to do with discounts nor services and products. Instead, it’s something that educates, gives consumers value and make them interested in your products or services.’
How to Create a Community, Trust and Value?
‘A community is a business page where everyone comes in and talks about your products or services, and asks you questions,’ Angeline explains. ‘Act like a group where you’re able to educate your consumers. You bring value to them. Through this, you create engagement and engaging content. When you create a community, you create empathy and that’s when they’ll care about your products or services. Part of the result is that you’d look like a thought leader and people will follow you.’ Accessible connectivity between businesses and consumers, create a certain degree of value and trust.
PART 2: Developing Content Strategy for Digital Marketing
What is the Story of Your Brand?
In short, a brand story is the history of your brand. To go deeper, a brand story expresses the heart and soul of your brand, thus emotionally connecting you with your consumers through content that connects your business with your consumers. Angeline used the brand Nike as an example. ‘It’s one of the most successful manufacturers of sports gear but it doesn’t just sell sports gear. It has a persuasive, emotionally rich story – it’s all about hard work, perseverance and doing your very best. It really motivates you. That’s why Nike has a community that follows it. Why you need a brand story is because you can then create content that actually make people understand and care about your business. They have empathy for your brand and be loyal to it.
How to Uncover and Tell Your Story?
The art of storytelling, which is a way to uncover your story, can begin with a little bit of a teaser of what’s coming. Intrigue the consumers, says Angeline. Make them curious and excited about your products or services. Then, get your company’s values across to the consumers: what is it that you value most? What is your brand and company about? Are you innovative, quirky, fun or you just really believe that your product or services are good? Define what makes your company.
A story, says Angeline, has to have a beginning, middle and an end. Set up the middle of your brand story with who, what, why, where and when. Present a conflict or dilemma, followed by a solution. The end should be a happy ever after – this is where you pass on the message that through your services consumers will actually be able to have a better life.
‘The next step is to use the appropriate format,’ says Angeline. ‘Remember, stories don’t have words alone they have pictures, videos and infographics. Make it entertaining. You may want to start with an image and then the next social media post can be about your video. It could also be infographics or a live video. The next thing is, to leave people wanting more. This is very important because you want them to come back again and again. So, you need to give them a reason to come back for more. How? Through content that intrigue them. Ask the questions: what else could you provide for them?’
Angeline states six questions that will guide the creation of your brand story:
1. What’s your reason for selling the product?
2. Why did you start?
3. Who are your staff?
4. What’s your corporate mission?
5. What have you achieved?
6. Where are your gaps?
Through these six questions, Angeline believes that you’ll understand your company better and thus, understand your brand story behind it which will enable you to create content that will intrigue the consumers.
How to Strategise for Social Media Content?
You’ll need a social media content strategy because, according to Angeline, ‘A strategy helps you save time and help you understand why a social media marketing plan works or otherwise.’ There are three questions you should ask that could help achieve better strategy for social media content:
1. Who is the content for?
2. How does the target market benefit you?
3. How do the consumers benefit from your products or services?
Next, analyse social media channels and choose ones relevant to your business. For example, Facebook is news and entertainment that is also a useful platform for videos. While Twitter is a news platform, LinkedIn is a professional network and Pinterest is a visual-based platform.
Finally, do an audit of your business and a competitive inventory:
– Who’s your competition?
– What do you understand about your competition?
– What is different about their social media content compared to yours?
– How can you outdo your competition?
– How can you do better in terms of social media platform?
To answer these, Angeline advises, first understand your unique selling point, what is it that you’re good at in social media and how are you different from your competition.
How to Better Understand Your Business?
Angeline stresses the importance of understanding your consumers or target market. Write down the age range of your target market, where they live, language they speak because you then create content according to their preferred language, their interest and challenges they encounter daily because your products or services should be able to ease their burden.
Monitor your social media success by applying social media marketing measurements. Angeline explains, for example on Facebook, it’s all about likes, shared comments, click engagement rate, referral traffic and video views. While on Twitter, it’s likes, retweets, replies, referral traffic and conversion. Instagram is based on follower counts, likes, comments and referral traffic.
‘Configure your Google Analytics to track social media traffic and conversion. You can check it on your Facebook analytics, Instagram and YouTube have analytics as well,’ says Angeline. ‘Post stories every day. Then track your 90-day progress for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram page likes as well as followers. List it down to growth – how much have you grown in percentage referral traffic and how much effort traffic? Do you have any conversion? Create a table and monitor your 90-day progress.’
Angeline advises that through competitive analysis, you understand your goals and your business, as well as your social objectives. She advises that you understand what is the strategy you’re currently using and if it’s working. Understand who are your consumers and their buyer persona. Next, know your goals and establish your brand by increasing visibility. Generate more traffic to your website by ensuring that every single social media platform you use has a link to your website. She believes that through storytelling you can win empathy and loyalty of your consumers.
Main photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash