Author, Azleen Abdul Rahim
No, digital marketing isn’t from another planet. All you have to do is to simply open your eyes wider and see beyond what you’re seeing in it. To learn this lesson well, just spend a little bit of time and observe how large brands are doing it. Observe their game plan from the perspective of a customer.
But they are using all the high tech stuff, you say. Of course they are, no doubt about that. But we don’t have to follow them. They are definitely using those tools to capture many things for their reporting purposes, for better decisions and to ease their operations. Yet if you realise, these are all heading to one single objective – acquiring more and regular paid customers.
Marketing formula is straight-forward. If you’re desperate and has a limited time to achieve your objective, then you are going to need money to shorten the cycle. But if you’re not desperate to achieve your objective within a short period of time, then you don’t need to spend a lot of money on it.
Since you are a small business owner with less than 3 people or perhaps you’re recently starting the entrepreneurship journey as a solopreneur, you don’t actually need to spend obnoxious amount of money on tools to acquire paid customers unless you have a deeper pocket and really want to spend the money on it, then please by all means. But if you’re just like me, running a small to a medium-sized organisation with a limited budget to work on to run end-to-end marketing initiatives, then worry not. There is always another way.
By keeping it simple. But then why there are people out there trying hard to complicate it? Believe me, there are many reasons for this but I personally noticed a couple.
- They want you to buy their products or services
- They are as clueless as you are.
Digital marketing is exactly like other modes of marketing. The only difference is, the nature of it is that it is using online channels. And, there is neither right nor wrong in any strategy that you’re planning and executing. In fact, the best marketing channels are all channels anyway. Yet, in each of these, there are best practices.
In order for you to see best practices when it comes to digital marketing is by really observing what those large brands are doing on the internet, be it on their website and social channels they’re in. Observe every single thing that they do there. Observation is extremely helpful since there is a huge influx of fake news, fake digital marketers and digital marketing gurus out there, and it helps to validate these jokers’ theories too.
Come, I will make you see what I see on how to take advantage of the digital marketing tricks to generate leads. It’s not that difficult actually. It is all about common sense and you don’t have to be a freakin’ digital marketing expert to understand the logic behind these.
If you noticed, large brands out there don’t sell. It will make them looked cheap. Instead, they make people buy. And they don’t simply convert strangers either. Sure, they might bring strangers closer but not really making them buy. The ones who they’re aiming for is their community. These are a group of people who already trusted the brand, believe in it, believe in what the brands are believing in and believe in their vision. In other words, whatever the brands say about something, these people will still believe. These are the people who will recommend you to their friends and the first one in line to defend you when you’re under attack. Community is the group which you can convert into paid customers easily. Now, that’s how you make them buy. The question is, how do you plan to create this community of your own?
You need to create a community. Without it, you will find it hard to find paying customers that keep on coming to you regularly. Well, to tell you the truth, this is one of the toughest parts of Marketing. To prevail, there is only one way. Establish trusts and continue to strengthen them. Question, why are we close to our parents, siblings, friends, spouses and children? The answer is we talk to them regularly. We text them every day. We meet them often. As far as social media is concerned, establishing trust works the same way too – by being proactive and continue to engage the followers in conversations. From replying comments, giving out comments and engage them privately.
To hunt for followers, you need awareness. Loads of it. It doesn’t quite matter where they’re going to follow you but it matters to get the right people to follow you. Who are they? Find 3 types of people on social media. First, potential buyers. Two, those who know them. And three, the media people. Avoid randomly add people, you need to be strategic here. The other way of creating great awareness is by making your brand searchable. This is through the search engines of course. You may want to prioritise Google in this case since they’re being utilised the most.
To be searchable on search engines, you need to be ranked and to be ranked you need a website. Not just a website, but a regularly updated website. Search engines will rank your website based on the keywords you’re using consistently, how beneficial and authentic your articles are and the number of backlinks you’re getting from other websites that seeing you as a reference point. There are more actually but I just want to highlight the key ones here. If you don’t even have a website as a home, then you’re not searchable so start with that first.
What to share on the website and social media then? Calm down. Starts with something beneficial, something that people can learn from that can be applied to their personal or professional life. You may also share ideas, stats, trends and opinions. Yeah, jokes too. You can also ride on the current issues if you want. That said, two things to remember. One, the way you share those content must be from the angle of emotions – in a way that makes them think, laugh, sad, angry or a combination of these. That’s one. Two, it has to be in a controlled environment. You mustn’t overdo it, instead, you must bring every single content you’re doing back to a purpose – a brand message.
What on earth is a brand message? We are living in a very noisy world. The late Steve Jobs said this before, and heck he is right. It’s a bit difficult to explain what a brand message is to you but I can give you an example. When I say this brand, Apple, what comes directly to your mind? How about when I say Spotify or AirAsia? In your mind, you’re processing that the value of that brand and resonate it with what they do, why they are the authority of the industry they’re in and why you must buy or subscribe from them isn’t it? Personally to me, if you can answer questions like these, all your answers here will be your brand message.
How to make strangers to notice your brand? Of course, having an eye-popping graphic design, posters, infographics and videos, or perhaps nicely written articles and insights may help turn heads on social media or via a website but these are just half of the story. The other half of the story lies in the authenticity and the substance of those materials. People wish to know and deal with credibility. People wish to avoid dealing with fake news. These are the questions that keep on playing in their head; How the people really know what you can really deliver the job? How good are you? Is there any element of copy-paste in your work? So, besides showing a cool version of your videos or great articles written, you need to show them that hey, I am real, I am very good at what I do, I can deliver what I said and here are the proofs.
What is good branding? There are so many freakin’ version out there on this, but one really prevail. Good branding is when people think of your brand first when they want to buy something that you have. Figure out how you can do this well so that they will remember you.
Marketing, be it a digital or traditional one will only work wonders if your product is quality and the user experience is positive. Without both, all your shouting out efforts won’t be sustainable.
So yeah, that’s it. So stop losing sleep in search of the magic bullet, there’s none. If you focus on these key areas, use a little of that creative juice in your brain and have faith in yourself, you will go much further. Well, I did. Don’t believe everything you read, validate it through observation. Again, it is all common sense.
You see, digital marketing may not be easy but really, it is much simpler than you think. And all of those elements I shared earlier are related to one another.
Azleen Abdul Rahim is the Co-Founder of NSE