When it comes to the art of digital marketing, we often work clients who haven’t heard of the terms we use and don’t necessarily know how to leverage each step of the customer experience to drive sales.
We have created this blog not only to explain why every step of your “funnel” needs to pack a content punch, but what it all means – and why it’s enormously valuable for you to understand as a business owner.
You hear a lot about content creation, particularly in this visually focused age where innovative graphics are the norm, however content isn’t just for marketing and sales. It’s also about building relationships and trust with your customers, establishing yourself as an expert in your field, as well as encouraging engagement and growing brand advocates.
Why a Content Strategy is a Secret Business Weapon
To kick things off, we’d like to introduce the concept of a content strategy. It sounds pretty serious, but doesn’t have to be mind-blowingly complicated, and you can start with a short-term calendar of content and build on it as you go – or dive right in with a strategy that covers the next 12 months!
Strategising is the key to all great marketing.
What do you want customers to think of when they think of you?
What values does your brand stand for?
Who is your key customer, and what sort of content resonates with them?
Where do they look for information? What mediums will help you meet your customer on his or her own terms?
In essence, a content strategy means that you have worked out your key business priorities, and put energy into fleshing out those objectives to identify how you’re going to go about content creation that will help you reach your audience, step-by-step. But, circling back, you can’t create a content strategy until you have established your funnel!
The word “sales funnel” always sound a little cold. Still, the reality is that every brand, every business, every company that engages in any sales and marketing does have a funnel; even if they don’t realise it!
The funnel is the journey your customer goes through, from first hearing your name, to becoming a loyal follower. This theoretical funnel is made up of specific steps that your customer will move through, but the key is to focus on each step individually and for the purpose of content creation, create content to nurture and move your customer on to the next step in the process.
How are Funnels Essential to Driving Business Growth?
As an example, we’re going to work through a sales funnel, to illustrate what that customer experience might look like.
To start with, we’re not going to try and force a customer into buying a product (nor would that work!). Instead, we’re going to introduce ourselves, establish a presence, and get our name out there to build awareness.
Next up, we want that customer to consider us as their next port of call when they need something. Alternatively, we tell them what problems we solve, and establish ourselves as the expertswho can help.
Yep, that’s right; all businesses are real people, with real personalities, and real thoughts. Engagement isn’t just telling people who you are, but listening to them! Ask your audience what they like, what they don’t, what they think, how they feel – get a conversation started that values any contribution they would like to make.
So, you’ve connected with a customer, and they’ve bought a product. Great news! The next step is just as important as everything that’s come before – retention. You don’t work this hard to sell one product, or one service, to one person. You want them to rely on you to deliver the good stuff and keep coming back for more.
Once you’ve reached this stage, it’s essential to retain that customer and to connect with them at the right level to cement your relationship. This stage is about your customer becoming your advocate, and being happy to share their positive experiences with other potential new customers; who start right at the beginning of your funnel.
So, this is a very brief rundown of the critical steps in the funnel, and why you need to build up through the stages to secure sales.
Why Skipping Content Creation at any Funnel Stage is Disastrous
You probably see where we’re going here; EVERY step of the funnel is fundamental.
Content creation doesn’t solely mean videos, website content, newsletters, follow-ups, messages, social media images, blogs, emails, marketing ads. It is all of these things, working cohesively to engage with your ideal customer base, and showcase what you have to offer.
Once you have established your funnel, what you’re doing is breaking down the steps that every customer will take before they decide to spend their hard-earned cash with your business, and then afterwards too. Your content creation strategy should be built around your funnel, and the funnel provides you with a good framework from which to work and help you to make sure that you deliver valuable, interesting, engaging content at every touchpoint.
How to Create Great Content at Every Stage of Your Funnel
It’s easy to use phrases like ‘content strategy’ and ‘sales funnel’ – but for a lot of businesses, particularly SMEs who perhaps don’t have a marketing guru on their team, it’s not always quite so obvious or straightforward.
This information is to help you create a standout content strategy and guide you in your content creation, so let’s work through each step of the funnel, and think about what content we might create that would help us work towards those overarching objectives.
The top of the funnel – ATTRACT – Build Awareness
Building awareness means you want to increase the visibility of your brand. This is not a step for pushing sales, but rather for introducing your business, sharing advice or solutions, and generating leads.
Publish blogs to educate, guide and provide solutions to problems
Share social media posts with tips or info
Share ‘how to’ videos
Create downloadable guides with lead generation forms
Share a signup for your newsletter with lead generation forms
Step Two – CONVERT
In this step you want your customer to consider using your brand. It establishes you as the business that can solve a problem (even if it’s a problem they didn’t realise existed!).
Make good use of CTAs (Calls to Action) – make it easy for your customer to ask you a question, learn more, download a guide, and send you a message. One-click is ideal!
Focus on your website, populating it with relevant, informative content.
Think about SEO, and optimise every element of your digital presence to make it easier to find, and higher ranked
Invite customers in the door to get to know you, with blog posts that explain what you can offer
Keep creating engaging social media posts
Step Three – ENGAGE
Now we’re in the conversion stage of the funnel – you’ve worked consistently to reach this point, so let’s keep going!
Here we need to solidify everything your customer knows about you, and leave no doubt that you’re the business they need.
Concentrate on your website UX (user experience) – how many buttons do they need to press to add something to their cart?
How quickly can they find the information they need?
Do you have a published FAQs page with all the critical answers about delivery lead times, packaging, payment terms and anything else relevant to your business?
Do you make it easy for a customer to sign up, register, or buy? Use CTA buttons, instant links, and make sure the content and pop-ups at every stage of that process are perfectly aligned with the brand image you have created.
Do you have a mobile optimised version of your website? Can customers buy something from you with one-click through social media?
Can customers purchase directly through social media – are you set up for social commerce?
Step Four – SELL
Here we’re building on that established relationship and creating brand loyalty
Make sure your customer is happy with their purchase. Send an email, pop them a message, or give them a call (depending on your business and what makes sense!).
Request feedback or a review – everyone likes to be asked for an opinion!
Use email marketing to stay in touch, and allow your customer to connect with you again.
Keep on delivering useful content; think about blog posts, new product or service launches, sharing interesting social media content, and keeping that interest alive.
Always pay attention to reviews and feedback you receive. Be honest, keep it public, and never be tempted to brush off a bad review because how you react will define whether you reach the next stage of the funnel.
Step Five – CONNECT – Customers That Advocate for You
Once you’ve turned a potential lead into a customer, you then want them to become an advocate, and cement their brand loyalty.
You want your customers to love what you do, and to be proud to buy from your business. Delighting customers is an excellent way to expand your reach and connect with more like-minded people.
Think about customer loyalty; do you add value to their experience, by sharing content, links or opportunities that you think they’ll be interested in?
Can you build a community that will make this customer feel that they’re a valued part of something?
Use emails and social media to keep them informed, continue to engage, and perhaps create special offers or exclusive services that only your established loyal customers receive.
Reward customers who share your products by using giveaways or competitions, ask them to share their experiences and be sure to give them something back in return.
What’s interesting is that, at every step of the funnel, the goal isn’t brand marketing. It isn’t pushing products, selling at knockdown prices, or piling a budget into digital ads (although all of these things have their place on the broader marketing framework!)This is about content creation and engagement that sings for your brand, makes customers want to buy from you, and establishes your position in the market as a reliable, personable, expert brand.
For more information and advice about creating a killer content strategy, and making every step of your funnel work hard for its place, contact the Woya Digital team.
As the exponential growth of social media and its presence in our everyday lives continues on a sky-high trajectory, the question we’ve heard asked many times over the past few months is – how long can it continue?
2020 has been extraordinary in many ways. As our cultures shift to adapt to remote working processes and social distancing, the role of social media has become even more integral to how we interact.
Let’s look at what 2021 holds in store for social media as a communicative and marketing tool; and whether businesses should think about adopting a new strategy as a fresh year brings about different opportunities…?
How Social Media Became Our Digital BFF
So, we all use social media. Or, at least, 3.6 billion of us do, predicted to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025 (that’s 56.5% of the entire world!). There are lots of reasons we download apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat – and why those same apps have become more important to us:
We can chat, share images, and talk face-to-face via digital apps even when social distancing and COVID-19 movement restrictions mean we can’t meet in person.
Social media breaks down borders and barriers, creating an international community where you can talk live with people, watch broadcasts, and share information.
Keeping in touch with our nearest and dearest has become highlighted in the international consciousness, as a direct impact of the global pandemic.
Shopping is easier, faster, and more convenient – and also essential via online apps where retail sectors have been forced to close.
These are a tiny fraction of the reasons social media has continued to evolve this year, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
As younger generations start using smartphones, app providers derive new social networking platforms to cater to their needs and cultures (TikTok is a great example!). Mainstream sectors such as news, politics and healthcare are all becoming savvy to the vast reach of social media to deliver information and drive engagement.
There is no doubt that all the action is happening online. So, for businesses, the importance now is understanding which social media trends to invest in, and which platforms are the best place to target your ideal customer demographic in a medium they respond to and enjoy.
Our Top Ten Social Media Predictions for 2021
The Woya team has gathered together all the most prominent social media trends predicted for next year – from the likes of HubSpot, Falcon.io and Social Media Today, and coupled these with our own expectations.
We work with clients across the country, and the world, creating digital marketing strategies that deliver; and it’s never been more crucial to stay at the front of the market given the speed at which new trends develop, peak, and then decline. There are opportunities to use that immense audience for instant mass publicity – but in others, it can be a bad waste of a good budget, so it’s essential we know where to focus our energy!
Here are our top ten predictions for 2021 social media trends:
Quality Content Will Remain King.
Valuable content is always number one. On any social media platform, with any digital presence and for any brand or company.
Content that educates, or answers a question, and is genuinely useful will always be better received than even the slickest ad. Sharing knowledge doesn’t ‘give away’ free resources, but positions you as a market leader who has the expertise and authority to answer common questions.
Add a FAQs section to your website, write blogs that are a valuable source of information, share data and statistics, and link info to your social media pages – but always make it useful!
Customers share posts they find funny, useful or interesting. So by taking the time to create a great content strategy, and think about the added value you bring to the customer experience, you can multiply your exposure many times over.
Brand Voice Matters – and Tone of Voice will become more Vital.
Gone are the days of cynical marketing strategies aimed at tapping into vulnerabilities, or using fear tactics to make customers feel that they’ve got to buy something urgently!
People are savvy, they’re used to social media ads, and they know the difference between a paid advert, a targeted post, or something they’ve come across organically. Therefore, your brand tone is crucial. Every brand has a voice, and while we know it can be a challenge to drill down into what you stand for, and what emotions you’d like your customers to feel when they think of you, working on this is essential.
Brands should be real, authentic, and relatable to their key demographic.
Whether you’re authoritative and serious, funny and quirky, cool as a cucumber; you need to know your brand personality inside out, and apply it to the tone of everything you post.
Video and Multimedia will be Key to Engagement.
Do you remember the early Facebook days when most posts were plain text? It started with Emojis and then evolved into posting (enormous!) photo albums.
With digital photography came more social media image sharing, and then as smartphones provided better and better cameras, and then video software, the nature of the content we share on social media has too evolved. These days, video content has far higher engagement statistics than the vast majority of static images; and quality videos are more widely shared, saved and re-watched than any single photo.
Look at the growth of apps such as TikTok and Instagram as a simple example; what were once single images are now highlight reels, 24-hour stories and live feeds.
It’s a trend that is still growing, so if you can replace static content with live videos, funny captures or engaging content that backs up your brand voice, it’s a great way to connect.
Digital E-Commerce will continue to Grow Through Socials.
The way of the high street looks as dire as ever, and while lots of people lament the closure of shops and department stores that have been the backbone of the British high-street for generations – sadly, bricks and mortar are a declining trend.
Much of this is to do with convenience. People can purchase something instantly on their phone, and get it delivered to their door in a day or two. There’s no need to draw out cash, no safety concerns, and with mobile payment apps with inbuilt security, it’s just an easy way to buy the stuff you want.
Digital e-commerce is also now moving on from just websites and turning to social shopping.
Influencers tag the brands or products they’re wearing, you can link to a checkout box in one click, and showcasing your products on social media platforms with seamless user experience is now the fastest-growing way to boost online sales figures.
Social Media will Focus More on Collectives and Communities.
Building a community around a brand is an excellent way to engage. For people who have been living with intense movement restrictions, and survived a global pandemic, community means a lot more than it perhaps did a year ago.
Communities don’t just have to be about focus groups and feedback; it means using your position as a brand on social media to connect like-minded people, as another value-added service that brings a fresh perspective to what it means to do business with you.
Create private groups, chat groups, open forums, anything where people can come together to share their experience, discuss thoughts, and be a part of something more than the sum of its parts.
Platforms will Improve Inclusivity by Highlighting Causes and Movements.
As well as many other changes, 2020 has brought about a considerable change in social consciousness, how we share causes and campaigns, and how social media plays a pivotal role in those movements.
Think about all the events of this year, protests, demonstrations, social media campaigns, and you can see how platforms don’t just allow people to talk about causes, or share information. They can also be a key element in coming together as a collective to show your support or lobby for change.
Social media has become a powerful resource for people with a message, and as we have seen, is a forum where a movement can reach millions of people in seconds – with profound impacts.
Content Creation will be Around Positivity, Togetherness and Support.
What do you hope to see when you log in to a social media account or open an app on your phone?
You want to smile; you want to feel happy or excited or enthusiastic! The days of practised cynicism, too cool for school brands and digital bullying are way, way gone – customers want to engage with brands that promote the values they care about.
Positivity looks set to be a big buzzword for 2021 social media – as we all reflect on the year just gone, and look for ways to build on the sense of community and collective strength that has defined much of the response to the challenges of 2020.
Supporting each other, showing solidarity, and creating a sense of togetherness and unanimity will continue to be vital in 2021, and brands that can deliver that climate of positive thinking will go a long way.
User-Generated Content will increase in Volume and Value.
Let’s be honest – even the most reputable of brands is still a business. People trust other people, and if you embrace the potential of user-generated content, you’re establishing your position as an open, transparent, and even vulnerable brand.
There are lots of ways to do this:
Ask customers to share videos or photos of your products.
Reward loyal customers who tag you, or hashtag you in their posts.
Welcome reviews and customer feedback, and make it public.
Provide free brand decks, or create an Instagram GIF, so customers have easy access to add your branding to their posts.
Recruit ambassadors, send out free trial products or run competitions where customers share your posts or feature your content in their social media accounts.
User-generated contentis a great way to expand your reach, and achieve better brand exposure without having to lift a finger – so the easier you make it, the better!
Marketing will Lean Towards Nostalgia and Feel-Good Vibes.
Well, this feels like a no-brainer; if we had to think of one phrase that has been uttered more often this year than ‘unprecedented’, we’d be hard-pressed!
What that means in action is that 2020 has been seriously tough for a lot of people, and in a lot of ways. When things get tough, we respond to positive marketing that makes us think of better times.
And thus, 2021 is set not just to be the year of upbeat social media, but also of nostalgia. When you link into a feel-good emotion, you communicate with your customer in a way that makes them feel safe – the gold standard of excellent customer engagement.
This phenomenon isn’t unique to 2021 but is a tactic that works whenever there has been a difficult time. It means that you do your bit to lighten the load and reflect on happy memories that evoke warmth and comfort.
What’s important here is to consider your key customer. Nostalgic content that reaches back to, say, the ’80s will resonate perfectly with customer bases in their 30s and above, who would have been kids at the time. Videocassettes, tape recorders and Fisher-Price phones will always generate a smile!
However, if you’re targeting teens and audiences in their 20s, you’re going to need to look a little closer to home for that hit of happy nostalgia.
Online Experiences will Become More Personal, Driven by Conversational Marketing.
If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase ‘conversational marketing’ – you will almost certainly have experienced it! Marketing in the digital age isn’t just about putting together an advert or selecting some fancy graphics. Engagement is the key, and conversational marketing is all about creating a personality for your brand, listening to what your customers think, and building a relationship with them that they relate to, and enjoy.
This year, with the world thrown into panic and chaos, conversational marketing has stood out as vital to brand awareness. Brands who are human, authentic, and own up when they get stuff wrong are simply more relatable, and trustworthy than corporate machines which operate without any mindful acknowledgement of their customers.
How do you do it?
Listen to feedback, and take the time to respond.
Care what your customers think, and welcome their suggestions.
Focus on your customer support and how it links in with your brand voice and marketing strategies.
Use outreach to ask questions, seek feedback, and engage your customers in the way you develop your brand.
Highlight your values, who you are, what you stand for, and what value you add to the customer experience, the wider world, and the communities around you.
We hope these insights give you a bit of direction whilst crafting your social media strategy for the New Year – and also get you excited to experience what 2021 has in store for us!
For further support with your new year digital marketing strategy, content creation, or with establishing a brand voice to make you stand out from the crowd, get in touch with Woya Digital today.
There’s no time like the beginning of a fresh new year to look back at where you’ve come from, and plan where you’re going to next. From time to time you need to take a step back and review what’s happening within your business, not least how your digital marketing is performing and whether changes or tweaks are required in your digital marketing strategy.
If you run a small business, this type of general audit is required every 4 to 6 months and will help you guide your business marketing through growth and expansion.
For a good overall digital marketing strategy audit process, make sure you cover the following steps:
1. Review Your Business Objectives
Before you can begin to take a look at the future, you need review what’s happened in the past and where your business objectives now stand.
There may well be some goals that have been reached, changes you’ve made over time which have led to better productivity or results. There may also be plenty of things that you haven’t achieved and which need to be given greater focus.
Everything you do must be actioned with your business objectives in mind.
2. Identify and Establish Your Business Goals
The next step is what you want to achieve for your small business over the ensuing 6 to 12 months. You will have goals that you want to achieve in the short term but other, longer-term goals that you want to work towards too. These goals need to align so that you deliver a comprehensive strategy for your business where the goals support each other to help growth.
Short term goals may need to be achieved in order to enable you to reach a long term goal.
3. Identify Who Your Customers Are
As businesses develop and grow, often their customer and target markets change and grow too! Your product or service might now appeal to a wider audience then when you first started out.
Carrying out a review of who your customers are will help inform your future marketing choices and dictate the kind of content and platforms you are going to use.
4. Identify Which Digital Marketing Platforms to Use
Establishing first who your customers are and what your business goals are will help you identify which digital marketing platforms are going to work best for your business marketing.
This might include, for example, reaching out more on social media or employing a strategy of email marketing to existing customers. If your target market is individuals, then Facebook and Instagram may be where you want to focus your efforts, but if your target market is company directors, then you may want to focus your efforts on LinkedIn.
5. Recycle Existing or Create New Content
One thing many businesses don’t do is review existing content to see whether they can use it again as it is, or tweak it slightly for re use. You could have a large archive of existing material which can easily be brought up to date with minor tweaks or changes and reused, instead of creating all new content in the new year.
Blogs may need to be updated to make them more current. Content can be repurposed to give it new life. This can save you a lot of trouble trying to come up with new content ideas while still keeping your marketing current.
6. Invest in Scheduling Software
Fabulous modern scheduling software is invaluable in supporting us to cope with the demands of consistent and regular marketing. Scheduling software enables you to bring different marketing campaigns together and form a full and informative picture of what is currently going on with your strategy. If you don’t currently use scheduling software or your existing provision isn’t delivering what you need, then there is no time like the present!
Do You Need Support for Your Digital Marketing?
As small businesses grow, their owners have more and more to do, and their focus is directed in many more directions. Digital marketing requires dedicated focus, planning and lots of time.
Have you reached a point where you realise that you would be better off employing the services of a digital marketing agency to support your marketing efforts? Woya could be the solution for you!
At Woya, we understand that small businesses and start-ups can struggle with their digital marketing. Our aim is to make high-quality digital marketing support more accessible and affordable on a budget. We don’t require any upfront investment that will impact on your bottom line and we deliver a range of pay monthly digital marketing packages that are designed to give you exactly what you need.
Find out more about us and what Woya has to offer your small business.
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