Social Media Marketing Simplified: How Can it Help Your Brand?

Ever met anyone who doesn’t know (or use) social media? Whether you live in the city or in the suburbs, you surely heard of the far-reaching and almost omnipotent “social media” and its many faces. It is no stranger to you, to that random kid crossing the street, or to its 3.8 billion active users, making it the perfect avenue to deploy your marketing strategy.

And it doesn’t stop there. According to research, social media also has a huge influence on purchase decisions, with more buyers browsing on these sites for product research as compared to other platforms. So if you want to build brand awareness, drive traffic, and increase conversions, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get extra social.

A Closer Look at Social Media Marketing

Humble Beginnings

Despite the rise of other social media platforms, statistics show that Facebook still leads the race when it comes to the number of active users with its figures peaking at 2.5 billion last April 2020. But while it serves as one of the best platforms to engage your segmented audience, social media marketing (SMM) didn’t start there.

Based on this infographic, social media began in the early 1970s, when the very first email was created and sent. This signaled the beginning of a new era: digital social interaction. And as far as businesses are concerned, interaction is always a great stepping stone towards spurring engagement and curiosity.  

Social Media Marketing in 2020

Today, social media marketing bridges your business to a targeted audience and enables you to attract engagement through your unique products and services. Most top-ranking platforms were designed with built-in analytics tools that help you filter your audience, streamline your content, and monitor the success of your ad campaigns.

And instead of just tracking sales and post “likes” and “shares”, these tools also give you the power to learn about how your audience perceives your brand by allowing you to take a peek at product mentions and conversations, which you can also respond to. Track progress and communicate with your audience–you can do both and a whole lot more by creating an SMM technique that helps you boost product awareness and show the world that your brand is reachable and personable.

But while it may sound simple, there are a lot of strategies that you should learn to keep you closer to your short and long-term goals. A great way to start is to use social media advertising and analytics tools, which act as a pathway towards different end-results.

But to simplify, if you want to:

  1. Target a segmented audience, turn to social media advertising, where you filter your audience as you run different ads and campaigns
  2. Track your post’s reach, level of engagement, and conversions, use analytics tools

Social Media Marketing and Demographics

Social media marketing is an umbrella of strategies that help you encourage brand awareness, boost sales, build strong relationships with consumers, and learn from your competitors. We can pick this all up from our short overview earlier, but how so?

These platforms cater to specific audiences, which are all reflected in their demographics. Based on Pew Research Center, young adults were the earliest to adopt social media use, but the older generation is also getting more active on these sites.

The study also shows that only a minimal percentage of users who are 50 years old and above use Instagram and LinkedIn. Now, how does this affect your marketing strategy? Let’s analyze:

Let’s say you own a brand that sells a special shampoo for the elderly. Putting these statistics into account, it isn’t hard to tell that even the best campaigns won’t help you hit significant sales if you run it on Instagram or on other platforms that simply don’t have the market you are targeting for. It’s basically like writing a really good book on a deserted island. The book is packed with value, but no one is there to read it.

Demographics, along with other social media tools, can help you create an efficient, timely, and targeted marketing plan that speaks to your audience in a platform most familiar to them.

Basic Social Media Marketing Dos

1)    Create a Strategy and Commit to it

There’s one thing that takes winning brands away from mediocracy: commitment. Your commitment to know and understand your audience and create a campaign that can strike their interests. Your commitment to post quality content with consistency. And your commitment to set and follow deadlines. 

When creating an SMM plan, commit yourself and your time in creating a strategy that really works. Set your goals, identify and segment your target audience, and choose a marketing persona that will speak to them.

2)    Create and Publish Content

Publishing marketing content is now easier, thanks to social media. Just like posting content on your personal account, you just have to upload or create a post and publish (or share) it like you normally would, except this time, you need to take social media algorithms into consideration.

To start on the right foot, ask yourself these questions: Is your post relevant enough? Does your post have the potential to rank well? Did you use the right hashtags? Did you tag the right people? When advertising, don’t just publish content. Do so with great content and intent.

3)    Target Audience Engagement

Selling on social media without listening to your audience is like arguing with your VERY angry mom: it won’t make sense and it won’t make any difference.

It’s the same with running a marketing campaign with two ears shut. When you don’t listen or engage with your audience, you won’t get to understand their needs, and you won’t be able to make marketing tweaks that can help your business gain leverage.

To simplify, in SMM, you get what you give. You listen to understand. You listen to amplify your brand’s voice. Do so proactively and your audience will sooner or later do the marketing for you by sharing/retweeting your posts on their own feed.

4)    Use Social Media Marketing Tools

How is your campaign doing so far? Is it reaching the right audience? Are you getting the level of engagement you first targeted?

Social media analytics tools accurately measure the success of your campaign. Use these to your advantage by looking for areas for improvement and making adjustments where possible.

Social media marketing is an ocean of possibilities. But instead of trying to catch the biggest fish with a net, you can use digital tools to guide you through creating ads that work for your brand. Maximize these tools and you’ll be staring at your goals at the nearest horizon.

What is Content Marketing?

Your brand is just as good as your content marketing efforts. But what do we really mean when we say “content marketing”? Are we simply joining the bandwagon? Is it all just a hype?

Let’s try to nibble this into tiny, digestible pieces. Ever heard of Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” campaign where they blended a brand-new iPhone as a test of durability? Smells electrifying! Or maybe you gave in to Coca-Cola’s Share-a-Coke experience and even uploaded a personalized coke bottle on your IG feed?

These two, along with other iconic ads, are content marketing in different forms. And they’re not the first ones out there, either. In fact, some even suggest that the very first sign of content marketing date back to the time when our ancestors used cave paintings as a form of communication and self-expression. Other experts argue that it was in 1732 when Benjamin Franklin published the Poor Richard’s Almanack for promotional purposes that content marketing became a real concept.

Regardless of the time and its real origins, one thing stays the same: content marketing has been with us over the centuries, and it is not just a passing trend.

Content Marketing Defined

Ask content marketers and they may have varying concepts and definitions of “content marketing”. Same word, different connotations, but with the same end-goal: to add value to targetted consumers to attract brand engagement and loyalty. How? Well, the “how” is where marketers usually need to think, conceptualize, and re-align their purpose with their strategies. 

Wait, what? Can we be a bit more specific? To better understand content marketing, let’s talk about how it differs from the traditional marketing strategies you often see on TV. Traditional marketing is basically an interruptive form of marketing. When you click on a trending vlog, for instance, an advertisement usually pops up. That advertisement–which causes “disruption” on your end as a user–is traditional marketing. It directly asks the audience to buy products via rented platforms and spaces like television, YouTube, billboards, and the likes.

The vlog you clicked, on the other hand, is what you call content marketing. It adds value to you as a user without causing interruption (while promoting a product or brand). Unlike traditional methods, it doesn’t directly ask you to buy a certain product, but because the content is valuable and engaging, you slowly build brand loyalty and patronage.

Sounds clear? If it isn’t, think of it this way: traditional marketing involves old-school strategies (think TV commercials, radio stations, posters, print ads), while content marketing is the younger, more innovative version that mainly revolves around Internet use, but is also “old school” in a sense that it uses “courtship” to get a targeted audience’s trust.

Traditional vs Content Marketing in a Nutshell:

Traditional ads: Focuses on product benefits

“Level up your football game while keeping injuries at bay with our super reliable knee pads!” 

Content marketing:  Focuses on a targeted audience’s specific needs and wants

“Subscribe to our newsletter and get FREE daily updates about our local football league.”

3 Timeless Content Marketing Strategies

Content marketing is continuously-evolving. It leaves you enough room to be creative and to play with different mediums where you can streamline your promotion. But to narrow down the content marketing road, below are some of the best practices you can use as you start this journey: 

Use Tools to Know Your Audience

The success of ANY marketing strategy starts with knowing your audience. By understanding how they think (and move), you can craft a content marketing plan that is 1) timely and 2) valuable to them.

Thanks to online tools, you don’t need to shoot in the dark anymore. Google Trends, for instance, helps you compare the volume of keyword searches, so you can use the best-ranking ones to gain better visibility. True to its word, this handy tool allows you to “Explore what the world is searching”.

Start Curating Adaptive Content

Pushing aside traditional marketing techniques, who do you think should be the main core of your content marketing plan? What segment of your market would most probably have access to all the content you’ll generate?

Based on research, 9 out of 10 millennials use a smartphone, making this generation a significant part of any marketing strategy. Plus, another study also suggests that millennials are becoming a huge part of the global workforce and that most of them value meaningful experiences over products. Put these two factors together and you’d know there’s one huge piece that can complete your content marketing puzzle: adaptive content.

And by adaptive, we mean content that can be accessed via laptops, desktops, tablets, mobile phones, and just about any digital tool you can think of. Content is a powerful weapon. But it can only have power over those it can reach.

Focus on Value

Picture this: You’re in a mall and you see a promo guy demonstrating the uses of product Z. The product looks promising but, at the back of your head, a small voice is whispering, “He’s just trying to win you over. Don’t fall for it.”      

See the problem? Trust. If there’s one huge challenge most content marketers face, it’s building a fruitful, lead-generating relationship with consumers like you. And now that the focus shifts from creating actual products to providing valuable experiences, the only way to up your game is to focus on quality and value.

Before choosing the perfect platform to encourage brand awareness, ask yourself: How am I going to add value to my segmented audience? Is my content good enough to tap the interest of audience X? Nothing is worse than having access to a huge network but not having the content that sends the right message, so always focus on quality. Trust us, search engines would reward you for it, too!

Final Words

Although there can be drastic changes in content marketing trends and strategies over time, there’s one fact that will never change: content marketing is never about you or your products. It’s about your audience. Their interests. Their challenges. Their needs.

Give them value and they will return it to you ten-folds.

Essential Digital Marketing Terms

Here is our definite list of key terms in the world of digital marketing. You may have come across many or all of them before but not have an idea of what they all mean. To help build your repertoire of marketing terms here are 50 to get you started.

A/B Testing

Also known as Split Testing, this is the process of comparing two variations of a single variable against one another to determine which performs better. Landing pages, email marketing and contact forms are all commonly tested in digital marketing. Examples of tests carried out are the call-to-action, colours and text. This takes out the guesswork of your optimisation to enable data-based decisions often with the aim of increasing your conversion rate.

Analytics

The collection of raw data to allow the user to discover and create meaningful marketing decisions. It is something that most digital marketers can make use of in today’s data-driven world. Google provide a popular, free tool in order for you to start tracking your visitors and collecting valuable data. This is particularly useful in the digital marketing world when it comes to working out where your leads come from in order to make adjustments to strategy and budgets accordingly.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Eliminating the process of humans sifting through and analysing big data, this process can now be done by computers, machines, or software systems to mimic certain aspects of human intellect. The evolution of analytics has made it possible for digital marketers to see a clearer picture of their target audience. Machine learning can be used to anticipate a customer’s next month and improve their journey.

Business-to-Business (B2B)

A transaction between two businesses. One example is a manufacturer and a retailer. This is referring to business conducted between companies rather than business being conducted between a company and an individual consumer.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

A transaction between companies that sell directly to individual consumers. This term grew in popularity during the dotcom boom of the late 1990s, referring to online retailers selling products and services to consumers.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of people who exit your website after visiting just one page; not navigating to any other pages on your site after landing on it. A high bounce is generally considered to be a poor performance as it suggestions you are likely to have poor conversion rates as none of your users are staying on your site to view/purchase products and/or services. Bounce rate can is not just for your website though, it can also be used to measure your newsletter and email campaigns to work out whether your list are opening the links within your message.

Branding

The marketing practice of creating a name, logo and/or product that is identifiable to a specific company. Branding is very important in marketing, not just to make a memorable impression to the target audience but to make a business successful. Sometimes how one distinguishes themselves can be the sole difference between one company and its competitors.

Buyer Journey

The process a consumer goes through from research to purchase of a product or service. This usually consists of awareness, consideration and decision. It is an especially important framework to help improve sales, sometimes drastically.

Buyer Persona

A fictional representation of your ideal customers created from either, or a combination of, market research and real data about your customers. This is important in helping marketers define their target audience to help increase sales. A successfully crafted persona can aid the marketer in creating effective content to better target their ideal customers.

Call-to-Action

The button, text link, image or a form of web hyperlink that encourages a user to move from being a visitor to your business to become a lead or customer. Common call-to-actions include ‘Click Here to Buy’, ‘Purchase Now’ and ‘Subscribe’. An enticing offer in these messages can help increase the conversion rate of your landing page or website.

Case Study

Analysis of work carried out by a company for a client or customer, highlighting the targets, processes and results achieved. These are widely used in digital marketing for lead generation.

Competitor Research

An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of competitors. This is to help the marketer identify opportunities and threats. Competitor research can help with determining who both your competitors and ideal customers are, identifying strengths of your own business and where improvement is required.

Conversion Path

A series of steps taken by a website visitor towards the desired end goal. With Analytics able of providing the users’ journey, a marketer can use this data to make changes to the website content with the aim of increasing the odds of converting a higher percentage of users.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of users who completed the desired action on a web page. For example, this could be completing a purchase of filling out a form. A marketer’s goal is often to increase the conversion rate of their clients’ web pages and website. This could be changing the on-page content, the call-to-actions or improving the quality of the visitors through their marketing and advertising.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

The process of improving the desired actions on your web pages andwebsite. This could be accomplished by using different design techniques, the call-to-actions or improving the quality of the traffic through marketing and advertising methods. CRO is most commonly referring to websites, but it can also be applied to email marketing, social media,and other parts of your marketing.

Cost-per-Lead

The cost of your marketing to acquire a lead on average. This is a very common and often very important key performance indicator. It can be used as a pricing model where the client pays their digital marketing agency for a desired goal from consumers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Software to help manage a company’s interaction with their current and potential clients or customers. This can include storing marketing and sales activities, keeping contact information, tracking emails, deals etc.

Demographics

Segmentation that can be according to age, gender, ethnicity, income, and education as well as other considerations. This can be used to help marketers define their strategies.

Email Marketing

Using email to promote one’s services or products with past. current and/or potential customers. Email marketing can be used to develop relationships between company and the potential consumer, as well as educating your audience on new products, services, discounts and other offers you may have. It is a form of direct marketing that can play a pivotal role for your business.

Engagement Rate

A metric used to track the user interaction on your content. A popular statistic used for social media in particular; tracking the number of likes, shares and comments are a good example.

Evergreen Content

Content that remains “fresh” forever, continuing to provide users with value regardless of when they come across it. The evergreen tree is a symbol of perpetual life and this term refers to content that can be referenced and remain of value long after it was originally published.

Google Search Console

Another free service provided by Google to help a marketer monitor and troubleshoot a site’s presence in Google’s organic results. This tool helps the marketer fix indexing issues, view traffic including keyword data, and help with mobile usability among other factors.

Inbound Marketing

A technique to draw visitors to your website or product and services, which could be via branding, search engine optimisation or social media, among other methods. The idea is to make the client as easy to find online as possible, putting them in front of their target audience by creating interest through content.

Inbound Link

A hyperlink pointing from an external website to yours or your client’s. These can be obtained naturally or via link building. This has been a big service in the digital marketing world since early this millennium as they have been important to rank websites and individual pages higher in search engines, for specific search terms.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A measurable value to judge how effective a marketer is achieving key business objectives. These can be used on multiple levels to evaluate the success of targets. In digital marketing this could be the number of sales, leads or inbound links.

Keyword

These refer to the search terms that your website and web pages appears for in search engines. In link building they are often used as anchor text, as this has been important in helping to rank higher in search engines such as Google since the start of the millennium.

Long-tail keywords refer to terms that are have smaller search volume but are considered less competitive to rank for. You can see which keywords and the positions your website ranks for within Google Search Console. You can see the monthly search volumes of these by using Google’s Keyword Planner.

Landing Page

The web page in which a visitor lands on when first entering the website. In digital marketing, you can send users to specific landing pages by ranking them in Google Organic results, or other methods such as a newsletter or referral link. In these situations, the landing page often has the intention of converting the visitors in some way, such as a purchase or sign-up.

Lead

Someone who has registered interest in your product or service in some way. This could include completing a form, subscribing to a newsletter, or leaving their contact information with you. Optimising a website to increase the conversion rate to produce more leads is part of a modern-day marketer’s role.

Lead Generation

Generating leads is a crucial part of a marketer’s job for their company or client. It is the start of a potential customer’s journey.

Lead Nurturing

After a digital marketer is referred leads to the website, the next part of the process to develop those. This can be done by a series of communications, such as phone calls or emails. The intention is to qualify the lead and keep them engaged with the intention of turning them into a client down the line.

LinkedIn

A business-oriented social network. More than 400 million registered members that is mainly used by professionalsfor several different purposes, such as recruiting business or staff.

Lifetime Value

An estimate of the net profit a future customer will provide. This is usually calculated by revenue from existing customers during a certain period of time minus the cost of marketing.

Margin

This is the profit gained from the sale of a product or service after subtracting the marketing fees to recruit them.

Market Research

Analysis to determine the viability or a new brand, service or product through research conducted directly with the target audience and potential customers. The aim is to get their opinions and feedback to garner a consensus of the overall interest. This can be conducted in-house or by a third-party company who specialises in this service.

Mobile Marketing

More searches take place on Google from smartphones than desktop computers these days and mobile marketing is a designated service to this audience. It is the practice of optimising your company or client on mobile devices with the intention of attracting potential customers.

Mobile Optimisation

Designing a website to make it work on a mobile device. With Google’s index now being mobile-first it is more important than ever for your website to be functional and attractive on a mobile device. This includes a responsive design, site speed and ranking higher in mobile web results among other metrics.

Niche Business

A specific segment of a market in which a specialised product or service can be sold. The benefits of discovering one of these is reduced competition, establish a stronghold and the ability to provide expertise before the market becomes more popular.

No-Follow Link

A hyperlink from a website not wanting to pass search engine authority to its target destination. This tag was originally created by Google to combat link spam in 2005. It tells the search engines’ crawlers not to pass credit onto the hyperlink in question, thus having no significance on that page in the organic results.

On-Page Optimisation

Refers to all actions taken to improve the performance of a webpage or website in the organic search results. This can include changing the content on the page, the HTML, and tags. Numerous tests and edits can be made to improve performance, such as structural text elements, graphics, videos, internal linking, URL structure and file sizes among several other factors.

Off-Page Optimisation

The process of obtaining incoming hyperlinks and other factors to impact how a webpage or website performs in organic search engine results.

Page View

The loading of a single web page by a user. The data collected helps marketers analyse their business’ performance to help determine a strategy to improve performance.

Public Relations (PR)

The practice of intentionally managing the spread of information from a company to the public. This is often done to gain exposure in front of their target audience to increase public interest. The aim is to create or obtain free coverage for the client to help increase branding and/or sales, rather than directly paying for marketing or advertising.

Qualified Lead

Someone who has opted to receive communication from your business, showing keen interest in your product or service.

Return on Investment (ROI)

A performance metric used to evaluate the profit or loss from marketing spend. The aim is to directly measure the amount of return in relation to the cost of investment. The calculation of the return on investment is the investment divided by the cost of the investment and is usually expressed as a percentage or ratio.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The practice of improving a webpage or website in organic search engine results. This can be done in many ways, with the more common being on-page optimisation and link building. In all there are numerous components that make up the overall practice, both on-page and off. It has become a huge industry within digital marketing this millennium, worth millions.

Top of the Funnel

The first stage of the buying process. Imagine a funnel, where the wider part is the top and the spout is at the bottom. At this stage, the user entering the funnel may only be looking for more information at this point.

Unique Selling Point

The factor that makes your product or service stand out from your competitors. This could be the quality, experience, or unique features for example.

Unique Visitor

This is a user who visits a website for the first time within the period of the cookies time. A user who visits a webpage on 10 occasions is classed as having been one Unique Visitors but 10 site visits.

User Experience (UX)

The experience a user has with a specific website or business. This can be from discovering the brand all the way through to purchase.

Whitepaper

Content that is aimed at educating the audience and potential audience by providing in-depth and valuable information, analysis and/or research about the topic in question, on which the company has expertise in.

Word-of-Mouth

Essentially free advertising provided by consumers to potential customers, often as a result of having an excellent experience with the company or product.

A Complete Guide on Email Marketing

 

Even though is often characterized as spam, email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools. It can be used as a direct way of communicating with your previous, current, and potential customers and a perfect channel for building a strong customer relationship. 

You probably already know that email marketing has the highest return of investment of any other marketing channels. By knowing this, you are probably eager to use its advantages and start driving more sales for your business. 

But from where to start? What is the best strategy for email marketing, what service to use, and how to be sure that your campaign will be successful? 

In this short but detailed guide, we will explain all the necessary means for an outstanding first email marketing campaign.

What is exactly email marketing?

Email marketing is one of the direct marketing channels that enables your business to directly communicate with the end customer using techniques such as email newsletters. An email newsletter is an electronic commercial message that is sent to a group of people (on a subscriber list) using an email service/platform. 

Such type of emails must have quality and useful content that can be informative, promotional, sales, or educational. We’ll get more to that later. 

But how did the whole email marketing even start? Before the Internet and numerous email providers, marketers relied on traditional mail for distributing advertisements in the form of flyers, catalogs, and promotional letters. 

The first email was sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson and by 1978 first email blast was sent to 400 Arpanet advertising machines. In the late 90’ first email services launched such as Hotmail and Outlook. Over the last decade, emails have become so much more than messages filled with general text.

Thankfully, email marketing has transformed the way people and businesses reach their customers, turning what used to be a distribution channel into a swift click of a button.

What is a newsletter and how does it all work? 

There is no big secret behind any sent newsletters and the logic is pretty simple – users/consumers that wish to receive your email newsletter will enter their email address in the provided field – on your website.

The email addresses you now received are stored in your database and now you have your own “mailing list”. If you use any of the ready-made email marketing services such as MailChimp, you are creating and designing your newsletter in it.

Once you are done and satisfied, you send it to your specific list. After sending, users receive your newsletter in their “inbox” – whether on their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. 

If you think that your work here is done, you are wrong. This is only the midway to a successful email campaign. After receiving it depends on the quality of your newsletter whether the users will open it or not. 

Supposing that your newsletter title (subject) is interesting and striking enough to make people want to open it, and if you have appealing content and good CTA (Call-to-Action) links, the clicks will go high in the sky.

Then, and only then, your email marketing goal is completed. The rest of the story belongs to landing pages, which again have to be so good user makes a certain conversion on them, that is, to buy your product/service.

Basic advantages of email marketing

Wondering why you should start using email marketing? Here are the four convincing reasons:

1. Driving traffic

One of the obvious advantages is that newsletters are a perfect way to drive traffic to your website, social media, or any other type of content you want. By sending regular newsletters you can show off your content, products or special offers to already interested consumers. 

2. Communication with your customers

You probably already know that it is very important to keep in touch with your audience and what better way is there than through emails. With email marketing, you can reach your audience directly and easily. And with that, you can build an army of customers who willingly give their email address and information directly to your brand or business.

3. It’s cheaper and faster

Producing email marketing campaigns is significantly cheaper and faster than the classic forms of direct communication. Moreover, email campaigns, unlike traditional marketing channels, don’t take much time to make. You can even produce and send a newsletter in one day.

After all, time and money are always key points for any business,  and that’s why email marketing campaigns are more efficient, while also generating ROI. 

4. Great way for building loyal customers base

Email marketing campaigns are a great place for building and retaining loyal customers. How? By adding value to your brand even when there is no shopping form your customers.  

You can regularly remind your customers about the latest trends in the industry or even personalize every newsletter targeted directly to their interest.

In that way, you can stay close to your customers and create a relationship beyond profit.

Which email-marketing platforms to use?

Ok, now you know how and why you should use email marketing. You want to start with sending newsletters – but how?

There are several email marketing platforms that make email marketing a lot easier. They can be divided depending on what you want to achieve with email marketing, how much time and knowledge you have to prepare the newsletter, and of course according to the depth of your budget.

Here are some of the best:

MailChimp

MailChimp is definitely the most popular email marketing platform. You probably have received dozens of newsletters sent from the MailChimp platform – whether you noticed it or not. 

The platform is so popular because – it’s free if the number of your email subscribers doesn’t exceed 2000 and it’s all in one platform with drag and drop system that is simple to use. 

Also, it has email templates that you can use for free and created different kinds of newsletters targeted to different customer segments. For example, when you have a new sign-up to your newsletter, you can send an automated welcoming email. 

GetResponse

GetResponse is a powerful, well-rounded email marketing platform suitable for small to medium businesses. GetResponse has a simple interface with drag and drop options and lots of templates that you can use for free when creating a newsletter.

Additionally, GetResponse can send emails for you and in the time that is most suitable for your audience. According to the behavior of subscribers, GetResponse determines when is the best time to send a message your subscribers will open.

Get Response is indeed easy to use, but it is not free. You can have a period of 30 days of the free trial, afterward, the cheapest option is 15$ per month for 1 000 subscribers. 

Constant Contact

Constant Contact, like the previous two email marketing platforms, offers a whole package of services. From newsletter templates, email metrics to an event management tool – constant contact has it all.

The interface is user-friendly, and the best part is their integration system that lets you integrate any other apps or services that you currently use. 

This email automation software comes with a 60-day free trial after what the prices start from 20$ per month.

How to build an effective strategy for your email marketing campaign

Now that you know what is email marketing, its advantages, and service providers it’s time to learn how to start building an effective strategy for using it. Without a clear strategy that reflects your brand/business the emails you send will get lost in a crowded inbox or even recognized as spam. 

  1. What are your goals?

Before doing anything else, you need to know what you want. What are your marketing goals and what do you want to achieve with sending emails? Is it to drive new signups, new leads, or only driving traffic to your website? The answers to these questions will control everything else regarding your email marketing strategy – from who you need to target, what content to include, and what type of emails to send. 

  • Define who is your audience

This one is the basics of marketing – for creating an effective strategy you need to know whom you are talking too? Start by creating your buyer persona, understanding their behaviour, their wants, and need. From there you will know how to tailor your email campaign. 

  • Create options for people to sign up 

When you establish your goals and your audience, you need to have an email list so you can actually send the newsletter. As we mentioned, the email list is a group of users who have given you their consent to send them your content.

However, to actually start building that list, you need a few ways people can choose to give their information in exchange or your emails. For example, you can have a basic newsletter registration option on your website or you can give a 10% discount if the users sign in for receiving newsletters. 

It can take some time to build an email list but be dedicated and with your goals in mind, and you’ll soon start to see your email list grow.

  • Decide on the type of campaign

There are different types of email campaigns and deciding between them can sometimes be too much. You need to decide what type of email campaign the best reflects your business and your audience – is it a weekly newsletter? Only product announcement or sending your blog posts?

When you decide, you should make different lists for different types of emails, so users can sign up for only the emails that are relevant to them. 

  • Make a plan

Now that everything is set, you need to make a plan for your email campaign. How often to send your newsletter, on what days and what time, which type of content, and so on. Making a schedule is one of the top priorities for email newsletters to function – it builds trust and your audience won’t forget about yours.

Measure your email marketing results

When you decided to launch your first email marketing campaign you must feel very happy after following all of our previous steps. Nevertheless, after sending the newsletter, your work is not done yet. We could say that the hardest work just begins – and that is tracking, measuring, and analyzing your marketing campaigns.  

The most important metrics to follow are definitely Open Rate and Click Rate, so let’s dive into these two:

Open Rate

Open Rate is the percentage of those people who opened the newsletter in their “inbox”. To ensure you have the highest possible open rate, play with your subject line to entice people to click on your email. Moreover, make sure to track the metrics and try to adjust the time and day that you send your email to see what works best.

Click Rate

Click Rate is calculated as the percentage of those who clicked on one of the links in the newsletter. For improving your click rate, rewrite your copy to make sure that it’s clear what you want from the reader. Also, try different CTAs, e.g., graphic vs.inline copy, bold vs. subtle and similar changes.

Tracking of these two gives you an idea of the kinds of content your subscribers respond to, which can affect future campaign decisions. 

In addition, you will definitely keep track of the number of those who have unsubscribed from the list (Unsubscribed) from which you can also calculate the Unsubscribe Rate. 

Quick Tips & Tricks

  • The “From” and “Subject” fields are extremely important. Make sure they include your company name, to remind the recipient from whom and why they are receiving the newsletter. This will make it easier to “recognize” you so your email will not end up in the spam folder.
  • The content of the “Subject” field (title) is crucial in the decision of the recipient and its quality depends on whether your email will open – invest your time and creativity in it.
  • Stimulate subscribing to your newsletter by offering additional benefits. Don’t just sell your products/services, offer them discounts, promotions, and educational content.
  • Create a “mobile-friendly” newsletter using Responsive design.
  • Test your email newsletter regularly before sending (From and Subject fields, links, grammatical errors, different browsers, etc.)

A Complete Guide to Sports Marketing

Ever thought about how big the sports industry is? Maybe you’re not a sports enthusiast, but it doesn’t even take one to know big names like Lionel Messi, LeBron James and Tiger Woods.

Clearly, sports isn’t just a passing trend. It is a billion-dollar industry that capitalizes on skills, talent, and determination–and, of course, on-going mass patronage, which is further intensified by strategic, thoughtful campaigns.

And I didn’t exaggerate when I said ‘billion dollar’. In fact, the New York Times  rolled out a statement regarding the estimated earnings of the 2018 Fifa World Cup, which reached a whooping $6.1 billion.

What’s more, research shows that the value of the global sports market ballooned to almost $488.5 billion in the year 2018, with compounded growth rates of around 4.3% per annum starting 2014.

Add to that, the sports marketing landscape is constantly changing and evolving, thanks to digital platforms that don’t just drive people together, but create a strong, interactive community, too–something that small and big brands can use to their advantage.

But the real question is, how do you actually stand out in a sea of sports marketing giants? How do you cut across barriers and get connected–and hopefully, known–to an already wide fan base?

The sports industry is already a crowded space, and you don’t want to be just another number. So today, we’ll talk about the proven-and-tested strategies that I, along with my decade-old team, have used to create campaigns that really work and sell.

But First, What is Sports Marketing?

The concept behind sports marketing isn’t difficult to grasp. As the name implies, it uses sports (or anything related to sports) to help raise brand awareness, which can in turn increase service and product sales.

From alleyways to stadiums to your personal news feed, you’d see sports marketing in different forms every single day–proof of how far-reaching the industry is. Do you see live sporting events on social media sites? That’s sports marketing, too! So to say that sports marketing should be limited to just one channel is to say ‘no’ to multiple opportunities that can help you solidify your brand.

To simplify, sports marketing is a long-standing strategy that thrives on diversity. It’s not just about selling products. It’s about telling a story and, in the process, selling a lifestyle.

Challenges Faced by Sports Marketing

Sports is everywhere, so marketing is already half done,” says the newbie marketer in the block who’s completely unaware of the odds that are against her.

It’s easy to get excited about diving into sports marketing without a life vest on, but this huge industry can drown you deep into frustration if you aren’t prepared for the challenges you might possibly face.

The key: preparation. Experience is and will always be the best teacher, but you don’t have to go through the complete roller coaster of highs and lows if you’ve prepared yourself both mentally and emotionally. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it took us a lot of trials and errors before we were able to distinguish what works and what doesn’t.

To help you avoid mistakes before they happen, below are some of the challenges you need to prepare for when creating any sports marketing campaign:

Age Groups and Multimedia Mix

Sports, along with its fan base, knows no gender or age, making diversification an essential element in creating any sports campaign. As you might already know, there are huge differences in an audience’s perception in entertainment, depending on factors like age and individual preferences.

While the older generation continues to turn to traditional media channels, younger ones (or what we call the Millennials and the Gen Zs) crave for a more immersive experience, which social media platforms and other digital tools can provide.

And statistics strongly agree, too. Last 2018, the total number of social media users hiked to 3.196 billion, thanks to 11 new people who subscribe to these channels per second.

This leaves us to an important question: is your strategy able to touch important points that are relatable to both the young and old generation? Is your ad capable of making your audience feel connected without sacrificing factors like accessibility and usability?

Selling Sports as an Experience

Sports marketing is an umbrella of strategies that don’t just sell tangible products, but sports as a whole, making it extremely challenging to control random variables that can widely affect consumption patterns.

These variables include sporting facilities, injuries, and performances by athletes, which are all experiential in nature. We can’t control today or tomorrow’s game. No one can. And sometimes, it just takes one ugly experience to turn an avid fan into a critic.

With this in mind, how do you actually control the uncontrollable and improve the quality of a sporting experience as a whole? How do you directly (or indirectly) persuade your audience to 1) try watching a live sporting event, or 2) go back to the stadium for the 2nd game?

Live interaction is always a gamble, and knowing how to create fast, impromptu solutions is what separates a good sports marketer from the rest. Believe me, you don’t want to be a part of ‘the rest’.

Sports is a Unique, All-Encompassing Industry

Filling an entire stadium may be the holy grail for most marketers, but it doesn’t stop there. As a sports marketer, you have to continuously work on creating a brand that’s relevant, timely, and unforgettable, and you can only do so by adding other strategies into the equation.

What happened to your target audience after that sold-out sporting event? Did they purchase your new product line? If so, how did your products add value to them as a user? While live sports is all about the thrill and the action, quality always comes first when it comes to marketing tangible products.

Hence, sports marketing demands a perfect concoction of strategies that can solidify your brand as a whole. It requires creativity, dynamics, and a cohesive approach that can help your brand survive and rise above the competition.

The Demand for Connectivity

Live social media streams where fans can comment and become more integrated into their favourite athlete’s life behind the arena is also a huge challenge on the part of marketers who promote live gaming events. Why do they even need to buy expensive tickets when they can get a rich, participative experience online?

Also, athletes, who have involuntarily become modern-day influencers, are gaining a lot of attention from the media, which can be hyper-focused on negative stories that surround their lives. So solely putting the future of an ad campaign in the hands of one athlete is a risky business.

Simply put, sports enthusiasts getting too involved in the lives of athletes is a sign of strong patronage, but with consequences that affect live events and brands which their respective athletes promote. As in all types of marketing, positive imagery plays an integral role in keeping a solid fan base.

The Unpredictable Nature of Sports

Ironically, the only thing constant about sports is its unpredictable nature. You might be betting on the winning team today, but things can turn around next season. Remember that sports centre you visited last year? Heard a new stadium is under construction and is a huge threat in the area.

It’s easy to market and sell when you’re on the winning end, but what strategies can you put on the table when the boat gets rocky? How can you rise above failures and still effectively market your brand when you’re at an all-time low?

The Three Divisions of Sports Marketing

Sports is an infinite space, and it can be so easy to take wrong turns when you don’t have a clear vision of where you need to go. While it’s hard to set boundaries because all the branches in sports marketing are interrelated, you’d only be able to set clear goals if you concentrate on one area and work on it until you produce actual results.

Let’s divide sports marketing into three areas:

Advertising Sports

Marketing sports greatly impacts the two other sports marketing sectors. Who will buy products or attend live sporting events if no one is interested in the sport itself?

The ultimate goal behind sports advertisement is to increase audience engagement and participation across genders, age groups, and social statuses.

Advertising Teams

We all have our favourite teams and athletes, thanks to the influence of our family, friends, and social media channels. But while loyalty is a huge factor in gaining patronage, advertisements are also a major player in developing and intensifying team engagement.

From live on-game streams to random tweets and updates from famous athletes, strategic team advertisements keep fans glued to their favourite sport. So if you’re making a team campaign, it always pays to look for new ways to make connectivity more experiential.

Advertising Products

Sports product advertisements are literally everywhere. You don’t even have to go out to see good old logos and tarpaulins that promote sports-related products because they’re just there on your Facebook and IG feeds. And they’re selling like hotcakes.

Even better news: sports marketing isn’t just restricted to just selling sports-related goods because even other industries can profit from this huge fan base. It’s all in how you place your products and how you use sports–or sports personalities–to gain brand favorability.

Winning Sports Marketing Strategies

It’s 2020 and there’s an ever-increasing number of female sports enthusiasts. As evidence, Forbes released a report-based revenue projection of the 2019 Women’s World Cup for a four-year period. According to financial reports, the sporting event is expected to earn $131 million from 2019 to 2022.

But aside from that, traditional gaming channels are now submerged in the mix of innovative mediums that have completely changed the way we perceive sports. These days, get-togethers and sports marathons are being replaced by live streams that offer both entertainment and engagement. Sports is not just sports. It’s a lifestyle that you need to sell. And the earlier you get this, the better.

Now, while sports trends may come and go, it’s still important that you listen to your audience and create strategies that evolve simultaneously with their needs.

I’m not telling you to ditch timeless, proven-and-tested marketing strategies either because it would be foolish to do that. But at this time (and at all times), you need to create a sense of balance by mixing old and new techniques that can help you create winning campaigns.

Extend Your Reach by Going Digital

Everywhere you go, you’d see a cellphone, a laptop, or just about any gadget that connects you to sporting events and athletes. The global market is going digital, and so should your strategies. There are many ways you can do this, but for now, let’s stick to the essentials:

Explore Social Media Channels

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels are the perfect avenue to increase audience engagement and brand awareness. If you’ve been reading through this guide, you’d know by now that a huge percentage of sports fans are more inclined towards following their favorite athletes and watching live streams.

More so, according to a report, Millennials and Gen Zs engage even in non-gaming content where they can be a part of the narrative not just by following and supporting athletes, but by sharing and creating content themselves as well–and I can’t say this isn’t an advantage marketers should grab.

Social media makes athletes more reachable and personable, making it an efficient marketing tool. It gives fans a sneak preview of who athletes are as real people, which eventually creates new interests.

As connection intensifies, sporting and non-sporting brands are now putting these platforms into good use by using influencers to develop brand recognition.

But, of course, social media marketing isn’t just about posting new updates everyday. Since it’s a world full of visuals, the focus shouldn’t be just on relatability, but on playing with graphics and creating feeds that spark creativity. And, let’s not forget to keep track of key performance indicators (KPI), which measure the success of ad campaigns via metrics like engagement, social interactions, and traffic conversions, too!

  • What You’ll Need: Regular KPI monitoring, consistent posts, and graphic design

Create Engaging Content

Nothing beats timely and relatable content not just in sports marketing, but in other niches, too. And when we say content, you’re not limited to just articles, blog posts, and newsletters because you can also dive into other types of content like photo and video production.

Content creation is a huge industry with endless opportunities. You just have to find the right voice to keep your target audience engaged and excited–speaking of which, did you know that over 70% of sports fans look for pre-game content to fuel their excitement? Quite a great start to build connections and engagement, if you ask me.

But just like in other digital platforms, the competition is also stiff when it comes to building a sports website. It doesn’t matter how great or how timely your content is if it’s not optimized and visible to your target audience. You want your content to rank well so it would appear on the first page of Google’s search pages!

Needless to say, content generation is not just purely about finding the right content, but putting SEO strategies into practice. Get this powerful combo and your site is going to soar.

  • What You’ll Need: Timing, great content and timeless SEO practices

Check Out eSports’ Growing Potential

eSports is a multi-million dollar industry that just keeps on growing and giving, making it an important arena to explore. In 2017, its total revenue climbed to an astounding $696 million, and it is projected to hit its billion-dollar target by the end of 2020.

Starting off on the right foot is League of Legends, which created a massive eSports campaign by bringing the video games to mega-arenas where gaming enthusiasts gathered to cheer for their favorite teams.

Add to that, more and more brands and athletes are sealing partnerships with eSports leagues and tournaments, and it would only take so long before eSports continue to reach more fans at a global scale.

Be Interactive

Match days are the ‘Fridays’ of every sports enthusiast. Live and interactive, these digital sporting events use Facebook and Twitter as a platform where fans can meet, cheer, and cry for their favorite teams. So if you want to gain brand recognition within an extremely engaging environment, this is a sure win.

Budweiser used this as a marketing tactic when it agreed to be the 2016 European Championships’ Tweeter sponsor. The sweet deal: Budweiser’s advertisement pops up everytime game sneak previews or ads were published on Twitter’s feed.

Mix Old and New Multimedia Channels

Reaching a huge fan base requires a holistic approach, and by that, I mean that you need to be more explorative and creative when it comes to where and how you advertise your sporting products.

While TV advertisements have been dominating the marketing industry for years, statistics show that the spending on these traditional ads has been plummeting as marketers capitalize more on placing advertisements on social media platforms like Youtube and Facebook. What caused this shift? Let’s ask the Millennials and Gen Zs.

But then again, to say that TV advertisements are a failing approach is a huge lie. Many sports enthusiasts are still tuning in to this channel, making it wise to rethink strategies based on your target market’s behavioral pattern.

Let’s take studies on two sporting events as an example. The highly-renowned Super Bowl is considered one of the largest events on TV, with ratings peaking at 46.1% in 1996. Although this figure dipped to 40.7% in 2005, there’s still no denying that this sporting event, along with the Olympics which once drew 3 billion viewers worldwide, offers you a great opportunity to advertise.

So if the budget permits and your aim is to reach a huge fan base, why not mix both traditional and contemporary channels?

Take Advantage of Incentive-Based Sponsorship Models

Gone are the days when small and big brands need to bet on athletes with their blindfolds on, thanks to social media, which completely changed the sponsorship landscape. Now, marketers can use different metrics to gauge returns of investment via data that includes engagement and conversion rates–which are, frankly, some of the only figures that matter.

Through the incentive-based sponsorship model, brands can set clear targets and pay athletes based on the pre-agreed goals they have met. This way, it’s easy to set winning and losing campaigns apart, and make adjustments where necessary.

This is no different with the pay-per-performance sponsorship model, which was rolled out by Anheuser-Busche in 2018 in an effort to maintain sustainability in the sports marketing industry. The idea is simple: incentives are built based on an athlete’s on-field performance, along with metrics that can trigger bigger investments.

In-game or on social media, this partnership model can help you make incentives where needed and create an educated, results-driven approach to sports marketing.

Capitalize on Authenticity

Odd it may seem but sports enthusiasts crave for authenticity as they continue exchanging live, in-the-flesh sporting events for social media channels–proof that real-life and real-time experiences still matter even in this digital age.

So what do you need to do? Give them exactly what they want by exploring these strategies:

Focus on User-Generated Content

Content generated by fans for fans–if that doesn’t speak authenticity to your target audience, I don’t know what will. User-generated content (UGC), which gains user trust by 92% more as compared to other traditional marketing methods, is a timeless approach that can help you identify consumer patterns.

The great thing about UGC aside from its rawness and authenticity is its strong potential to gain engagement from fans with common grounds. Through UGC, you can reach out to your target audience and understand their needs and priorities as a consumer.

What makes them excited? What draws them into buying a product? How can they say that a product is adding value to them as a user? You only need UGC to figure it all out.

Learn from Analytics

Nowadays, it’s not just content generation that matters, but actual feedback from consumers. What is the best time to post content? When is your livestream gaining the most engagement? Are your UGCs fairing better than other types of posts?

Fortunately, you can use in-depth social media analytics to pinpoint strategies that work and those that don’t–and differentiating between the two depends on the goals you have set for a particular action.

For instance, based on a report by Sprout Social, around 70% of marketers who use social media as a marketing vehicle aim to intensify brand awareness, while 59% target sales. The chart also reveals that 72% of marketers define engagement through the number of post likes and comments, while around 60% use shares and retweets as a parameter.

By using these metrics and studying behavioral patterns, you can make changes where applicable without soaking up too much on strategies that don’t work.

Build Campaigns that Hit the Heart

Real story from real athletes–that’s what makes Nike standout in the sports marketing industry. More than selling sports gear and apparel, Nike’s heart for honoring athletes is a timeless approach that’s hard to beat.

And, of course, who would forget Always’ #likeagirl advertisement? Removing the stigma behind how to play sports ‘like a girl,’ which implies that girls are the weaker gender, the advertisement hits the nail in the head by leaving audiences a very inspiring message: girls and boys have equal abilities even when (and especially when) it comes to playing sports.

Although these brands belong to different industries, they both have one thing in common: their marketing campaigns hit the home run because they come straight from the heart.

Stay Relevant by Listening to Your Audience

If there’s one important lesson I’ve learned throughout my sports marketing journey, it’s to never argue with statistics. More than just figures, studies and poll results are your audience’s voice, and that’s where you need to base your strategies from.

For instance, while it’s true that mainstream fans are going digital, a recent poll suggests that majority–around 60%, to be exact–are either excited or interested for livesports to make a comeback, thanks to Covid19.

Quarantine may have emptied seats in sporting arenas for now, but, more than anything, it has fueled sports fans’ excitement and hunger to smell sweat and to see athletes live in action, making it highly likely for sports marketing strategies to change when the pandemic ends.

Final Points

A mix of the old and the new, a dash of creativity and story-telling initiatives, and a whole new world of engagement driven by authenticity–that’s what sports marketing is and always will be. Channels may have taken new forms, but it’s your heart and your ability to adapt and embrace new changes that can help you leap towards your marketing goals.