How to design marketing content without being a designer

A decorative banner displaying the blog title, reading How to design stunning marketing content without being a designer

Designing professional-looking content may seem like an easy task on the surface, but many of us realise very quickly that it is a lot hard than we think. Equally, some of us may have a knack for design but just can’t get their designs to have that last bit of finesse. Personally, I’ve seen this quite a lot, elaborate pitch slide decks that are so close to perfect but lacked that one design principle which would have taken little to no time to fix. Or social media marketing content that was too cluttered to understand what was being said, resulting in me ignoring the post.

For many small businesses and startups, the visual design of assets is often left to the marketing team who may not have any design training. Being a digital marketer means being able to create content in order to promote your brand, product or service. Balancing planning content to put out and making content can be a struggle for many marketers, and many may not have the time or interest in committing to graphic design courses. Whether you are a designer or not shouldn’t be a barrier to creating stunning content!

Why are visually aesthetic and presentable assets so important? Well designed assets communicate a professional brand. Humans are visual creatures and aesthetic designs actually can subconsciously make us like content more, regardless of how valuable or invaluable the content actually is; this is called the aesthetic usability effect.

Leveraging this effect in your digital assets can make worlds of difference to your social media game, or even give you the edge in a sales pitch. The bottom line is that visual design is what creates the first impression of your brand.

Top down view of a desk with a designer working on logo designs, stationary is lightly scattered on the desk and different print outs of logo variations are overlapping eachother.
Image from Shutterstock https://www.designinc.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/shutterstock_1194925357-1920×1230.jpg

The basics

Let’s start with the basics. Here are some general rules that your should follow when designing and sort of visual content for your marketing campaigns, whether that is social media posts or an email campaign.

Fonts

You should never use more than 3 fonts in a design.
If you don’t have a branding guideline limiting your typeface, then you should ideally choose 2 fonts that complement each other and use them consistently. One font would act as your title font and the other one for your body. Equally, you could choose one font family and choose a heavier weight to use as your title font, this will guarantee that the font will match and is less hassle. Approaching fonts in this manner will prevent your content from looking too overloaded, and balance the reading hierarchy- guiding the reader’s eyes through the content, and increasing readability.  Note that even if you are only using one or two fonts, you can still overload it by using too many font weights. Finding a balance is key.

There are also fonts that you should never use under any circumstances, some of these include, but are not limited to; Comic Sans, Papyrus, Kristen or Bradley Hand. If you want to be taken seriously as a brand you should not use fonts like this.

While looking for your fonts you may come across “display fonts” these are fonts that should only be used for main titles which aren’t too long, never for body text. Display fonts are a great way of drawing attention to your content as well as making them modern and unique. 

Colours

Your choice in colour can really make or break your designs. Choosing complementary colours are really important for making your content easy to look at. Incorrect use of colour can be jarring to look at or even impossible to read, driving impressions away from your content in seconds. There are plenty of online tools you can use to create great palettes such as coolors.co or Adobe colour wheel.

You might be limited in your choice of colour by a branding guideline, in this case, why not try to experiment with different transparencies or play around with some tasteful gradients?

Assets

One major life hack in creating eye-catching designs lies with the assets you use. Adding images, patterns or illustrations to your designs can really take them to the next level. The only roadblock with this is these often aren’t free. You can get started by playing with assets like these on a platform such as Canva.

Advanced Tips!

Now for the juicy tips! Maybe you have got the fundamentals down already and are looking for a way to improve the content you have already.

Spacing

Something I see too often is a lack of margins. Your margin is the invisible frame that sits on your canvas. All text, images or whatever content you are displaying will sit inside these margins. Margins stop anything from getting too close to the edge of the canvas, framing it, making it easier to read and more presentable. Where I see this go wrong is when they aren’t used or used incorrectly. The margins should be even on all sides from the edge of the canvas, like a frame and everything must stay inside it! This also means that appropriate content should sit/ touch the margins. This is what creates the illusion of the frame- the content frames itself. For example, left-aligned texts should start at the left margin, touching. Logos in the bottom-right should touch the bottom and right margin in the corner.

Having too shallow or too wide margins is problematic too. Too wide and there isn’t enough space for the elements, too shallow and it looks crowded. Finding a happy medium is the key.

White Space

White space on the other hand is what draws attention to certain elements of a design. White space is the ‘breathing space’ in between elements such as a block of text of an image. Increasing the white space around an element draws attention to it as it sits in isolation, whereas decreasing it takes the attention away as it starts to group with other elements. If you want an easy to read a piece of content, you should keep the white space even. This creates an even flow to the composition, making it easy to read.

Hopefully, you learned something new from these tips and can use them to improve the quality of your visual marketing content! If you want to be updated on more blogs like this, why not sign up to our mailing list for updates? Don’t worry, we won’t spam you! If not, why not follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn?

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Basic Marketing Principles 101

Basic Marketing Principals: Product, Place, Promotion, Price (The 4 Ps).
Basic Marketing Principals: Product, Place, Promotion, Price (The 4 Ps).

As a digital marketer, it is essential that to understand how to apply basic marketing principles for each and every job role/client. Whether you’re a digital marketing apprentice or just looking to brush up on the basics, read on.

Basic Marketing Principles: The Marketing Mix

The idea of the marketing mix was initially brought about by Neil Borden. Professor Borden first conceptualised the idea of the “4 Ps” in the 1950s, and ever since it has been adapted and adopted into everyday marketing efforts. Recently, 3 more Ps have been added to the mix, which includes People, Process and Physical Evidence. However, we will focus on the initial 4 here.

It has fluidity, which means marketing apprentices and gurus alike, can focus efforts on individual aspects of the mix.

Product

Product refers to what a company sells, whether it be a physical item or service. It should serve to fill a gap in the market, and supply a demand. Marketers can be innovative, and create demand if the supply is already there. For example, Coca Cola moved into the UK bottled water industry with Dasani. An already pretty saturated market, Coca Cola marketed the water as “one of the purest waters around”. Coca Cola didn’t take long to withdraw the product when it was found to contain bromate, a substance linked to cancer.

Marketers need to understand that products have a life cycle, it just so happened that Dasani water met decline faster than it should.

Alternatively, Apple was the first to develop a touch screen phone, capable of playing music. The iPhone launched in 2007, and the company has since sold over 2 billion units. The iPhone is now said to be in the maturity stage of the product life cycle. To find out more about the product life cycle, visit this page.

Place

Place dictates where the product or service should be supplied. The aim is to get the product/service in front of as many potential customers as possible. This may be placing a product in certain shops, or even product placement on TV and films. For example, the James Bond movie GoldenEye was the first to feature a BMW Z3 as the iconic Bond car, even before the car was released. BMW received 9,000 after the film launched.

Promotion

Promotion encompasses how the product/service is to advertised as well as public relations. Basically, why should someone buy into the brand’s product or service? Promotion and place tend to go hand in hand in this respect. For example, where does a product feature on a website, and how will this be promoted towards a specific audience. For digital marketers, SEO is a particularly important component to how well placed and promoted a product or service is on the internet.

Price

How much will the public be willing to pay for a product or service. In this element of the marketing mix, it is important to conduct market research. What exactly is the real value of the product or service, and what is the perceived value (also in comparison to competitors) is very important. Marketers have raised prices of a product to raise the perceived value, however if this is overdone, the product/service can see a vast decline very quickly if this is found to be the case. The Coca Cola example featured above is also relevant in this case.

Conclusion

The marketing mix will be incorporated into marketing strategy for decades to come. Even expect more adaptations! However, if you are a marketing apprentice looking to cover the basic marketing principles, we hope this article was to your satisfaction.

For more blogs, visit our latest blogs section!

Top Customer Relationship Marketing Tips for Digital Marketers

alt= Happy customer image

What is Customer Relationship Marketing?

Before I can begin explaining the strengths of Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) in digital marketing, its crucial that you understand what it actually is first!

As an apprentice on the digital marketer standard, you must be able to understand the benefits, limits and constraints of relationship marketing.

Customer relationship marketing is a marketing strategy that cultivates deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers to ensure long-term satisfaction and brand loyalty. It is comprised of strategies to build client support for a business and its offerings with the aim of increasing brand loyalty.

So, why is it important in digital marketing?

Customer Relationship Marketing is essentially the building blocks for a successful digital marketing campaign- it creates a strong base for promotion of a brands products, services, values, etc. A brand may succeed in the short-term without investing in strong customer relations, however they won’t be able to retain those customers for a very long period of time. By focusing on building a strong customer relations base, a brand will develop meaningful connections with their customers which will in turn lead to loyal, long-term stability.

If a customer experiences bad customer service, they will be unhappy. This will most likely lead to bad reviews spread about a brand which can damage their reputation immediately. If a customer experiences good customer service, they will have a good experience of your products/ services which will lead to them leaving positive reviews and feedback about your brand. It doesn’t matter what industry a brand is in, CRM is equally important and the pathway to success because the most effective way of building good brand reputation is through happy customers!

Top Tips for CRM

  • Respond in a timely manner– set a specific time goal for your response time (aim for around 12-24 hours maximum), communicate this clearly on your channels and be sure to stick to it
  • Align your objectives with the customers objectives– even if this means compromising your own goals or plans, the customers needs come first
  • Make your response personal and tailored to them– let them know you are human, you are understanding and adapt a friendly tone to settle them with their enquiry
  • Don’t copy and paste responses– yes, you should follow a good structure with responses to ensure consistency, however they will notice if you have just copied and pasted your response. This will have an even more negative effect than no response at all!
alt= customer with love heart to show brand loyalty

Benefits of CRM in digital marketing:

It’s clear that customer relationship marketing plays a crucial role in digital marketing and determines the success of campaigns. Some of the key benefits of CRM include:

  • Strong return on investment (ROI) when CRM has been applied and demonstrated correctly
  • Positive reviews that create a good image for the brand
  • Descriptive feedback that gives customer insight, giving the brand ideas on how they can improve further
  • Word of mouth spread, increasing awareness of brand
  • Ease of cross-selling and potential change (loyal customers are invested in the brand and are more likely to stick by you through adaptations)
alt= Ticking clock to show long term strategy takes time

Limitations and constraints of CRM in digital marketing

Despite the endless amount of positive implications when a brand focuses on implementing great customer relationship marketing, there are also some limitations that come along with it…

  • It’s expensive- not only is the customer service pricey, promotions can realistically fail to create loyal customers, which leads to loss
  • It doesn’t work for all types of businesses- if you have a one time buy product, this strategy would see the opposite effects
  • Can focus too much on current customers, leading to neglection of new and potential customers
  • Bad reviews can damage reputation
  • This is a long term strategy and therefore it takes longer to see the positive effects than a short term strategy

Conclusion

The key to success for a brand is customers. Without customers, there is no brand. Customer relationship marketing is the best way for a brand to build their strong customer base, however it may not always be the best option depending on the product/ service offering. This is why understanding the pros, cons and top tips of CRM is so crucial for the strength of a digital marketers understanding and capabilities.

If you found this article helpful, leave a review on our LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page today. We would love to hear your feedback! 🙂

To find out more technical knowledge, read through the digital marketing standard or occupational brief.

A guide to digital tools for your Digital Marketing Apprenticeship

A computer screen showing editing software

The term “Digital Tool” in your apprenticeship will refer to any software program, online resource, or website which helps you in your role as a Digital Marketer. For a quick guide on the types of digital tools and how they can benefit your Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, read on!

What is a digital tool?

These are tools that you use for:

  • Content creation,
  • Content scheduling,
  • Sending email content,
  • Web metrics, analysis, and reporting,
  • Communication,
  • and more.

Digital tools for content creation:

Content creation spans across text posts, such as status updates and blogs, graphic and infographic content, animated graphic video content, filmed video content, pdf content, email content – essentially any kind of visual that you see online.

Canva

Canva is an online digital tool for making graphics and videos. They have both a free and paid plan available. Canva has a huge library of templates, icons, animations, royalty-free images and music that you can use for your business. It’s a must-have for any digital marketer looking to create infographics, videos, or dynamic presentations with a bit of extra eye-catching content.

Herefish and MailChimp

Herefish and MailChimp are both digital tools for creating templates for email marketing newsletters. They both have a library of pre-existing templates, and the option to create your own from scratch, adding in your company branding.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is a library of content creation programmes. There are many different ones available, but here were we’ll discuss;

Photoshop

Photoshop is used to create original images, or edit existing images and photos. You can remove distracting objects from a photo, adjust the colours of an image, or create GIF content. Content created in Photoshop has the option to be high resolution, so it is a great programme for logo and asset creation.

Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro is a video editing software. You can cut and move around clips, adjust the speed, audio and colour levels, and layer videos, music and images on top of one another. Premiere can export GIFs, .mov, .mp4, .mp3 and more.

Audition

Audition is an audio editing software. You can import your video content and remove any background noise, amplify the voice of someone speaking, add ambient background noise, and more. Audition is great for anyone looking to clean up audio if you’ve filmed content without a mic – or to polish and perfect audio that already used a mic.

Digital tools for content scheduling:

Content scheduling allows you to plan a date and time for a post on a social media channel. By creating and scheduling content in advance, you can work on other tasks and know that every post is going out as planned.

Sprout Social

With Sprout Social, you can connect multiple accounts to schedule content. You’re given a calendar, which shows all your upcoming posts. You can set posts to go out on specific platforms, at specific dates and times. For certain channels, you can set thumbnail images too. Currently, you can schedule images and videos, but not documents or Instagram carousels.

An image of a person on a computer, editing a video using a digital tool.
A person using video editing software, which is a type of Digital Tool.

Sending email content:

Every email that you receive from a clothing brand, service, or company is classed as email content (or email marketing). This type of content plays an important role in lead generation and can also be used as a method of linking back to your website and social media.

Herefish and MailChimp

In Herefish and Mailchimp, you can create lists of contacts to receive your content, and put together tailored automations to reach these lists. By using these programmes, bulk email campaigns are sent out without having to manually type out each individual address. If you’ve got content you want to go out to people in a specific postcode, make a list for your contacts in… Derby for example, set up the automation, and hit send! Your contacts will then receive it instantly.

Digital tools for web metrics, analysis and reporting:

Web metrics are classed as a specialist area, and will be important in your apprenticeship when showing that you can monitor your social media accounts, pull through data, and interpret it to form short and long term marketing plans.

Instagram Insights

This digital tool is only available through the mobile app. Instagram Insights will give you the ability to see your audience demographics, such as age and location.  You can also view metrics for feed posts and story posts, narrowing these down to engagement, reach, shares, and profile visits.

One feature that sets Instagram Insights apart is the ability to see which days, and time of day your audience is most active. With this, you can develop a content scheduling plan tailored to your business and audience, posting when they are most active and likely to see it.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a one-stop location for all your social platform metrics. You can compare content across channels or view content from one specific platform. Sprout has a Reports feature, where data is automatically pulled through and formed into charts and graphs. This saves you time inputting data to create your own infographics for presentations. Sprout also automatically compares stats from month-on-month, giving you a percentage for each metric so that you can see where stats have reduced or increased.

Herefish and MailChimp

After sending out email content, you’ll need to monitor how it performs. Herefish and MailChimp track data from those who receive your content. They can tell you who received the email, who unsubscribed or opted out, and who clicked a link. They can sometimes also tell you which company the contact works for, and what industry they’re in. This is crucial information to know whether your content is reaching the right audience.

Communication

How do you speak with team members, other internal staff, or external companies? For every email or direct message you send, a digital tool is keeping you connected.

Outlook

Outlook is an email application. You can use it to send and receive emails, schedule meetings or confirm attendance. You can also set out-of-office automatic replies, and make rules to re-direct emails you receive.

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype

After the last few years of lockdown and working from home, you’re likely familiar with at least one of these digital tools. They can be used for online meetings, helping you to communicate from afar. They allow you to share your screen and lead presentations, so this can come in handy for any client proposals you make.

 

Conclusion

There are many digital tools that can be used in your digital marketing apprenticeship. They can make completing tasks much easier, whilst also showing that you have a great understanding of your role as a digital marketer. These digital tools are often part of our everyday lives, without us even realising.

Now that you know how to make, schedule, and report on your content, it’s time to learn some social media etiquette! Check out our guide “The do’s and don’ts of social media as a Level 3 Digital Marketer” to find out more.

Speaking of social media – connect with us!

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Level 6 Geospatial Mapping and Science Specialist Apprenticeship (Degree)

Geospatial engineering and science Specialist map with pins

Does Interpreting and analysing geospatial data as a geospatial mapping and science specialist sound like a new and exciting opportunity to you? How about the use of high-tech digital technology such as laser scanning? If so, then this UK apprenticeship could be for you. This apprenticeship presents a great opportunity to start a new career in a construction-based area.

Geospatial mapping and science specialist areas

Knowledge required

Skills required

Behaviours requires

Specialty areas broken-down

What does a geospatial mapping and science specialist do?

They analyse data and provide advice for such things as satellite navigation, infrastructure, mapping, international boundaries and much more. With access to a wide range of state-of-the-art technology their more specific duties include interpretation, manipulation and analysation of geospatial data and measurements. Opportunities for work in both the private or public sector are plentiful with jobs in the military, private companies, and the government. Geospatial engineering is a crucial part of civil engineering construction projects and geospatial engineers are often at the forefront of any project with precision mapping and careful planning being their area task.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of three A levels at a grade C or higher or their equivalent. A level 3 apprenticeship in construction or property related discipline is also accepted but the final decision is that of each employer.

Geospatial mapping and science specialist have the opportunity to specialise in the following:

  1. Geospatial engineering – Creating detailed layers of geographical data for urban development
  2. Hydrography – The surveying and charting of water
  3. Utilities – The identification and labelling of public utilities
  4. Geospatial surveying – The mapping of boundaries, land, and land registration

Knowledge and Skill Requirements for Geospatial Mapping and science Specialists

  • Cadastre (land boundaries) and land boundaries
  • Advanced geospatial technology
  • Advanced mapping and measurement
  • Geospatial data management and analysis
  • Geodesy
  • Health and safety
  • Law of land and sea
  • Sustainability
  • Personal effectiveness

Behaviour Requirements for Geospatial Mapping and science Specialists

  • Provide a high standard of service
  • Act in a way that promotes trust in the professions
  • Treat others with respect
  • Take responsibility
  • Act with integrity
Geospatial Engineering Surveying Equipment in City Landscape

Depending on their job role, apprentices will take one of the following specialist areas:

Geospatial Engineering:

Geospatial engineering is the collection and analysis and interpretation of geographical data on the earth’s surface using modern mapping technologies. A geospatial engineer develops up-to date plans for structures to be built in the correct place and to scale.

Hydrography:

Hydrography is the measurement and description of the physical features pertaining to bodies of water and near bye land. Harbours, rivers, and lakes are examples of where and what they would work on.

Utilities:

The role of a utilities engineer is identified, label and map underground public utilities. Their job will be to understand the law, regulations and geospatial data requirements of these utilities and services. Water mains, streetlights, cable television, telecommunication and electricity distribution are just some of the things they would work on.

Geospatial Surveying:

Geospatial surveying is the science and study of the natural environment. State of the art technology is used to map and analyse the natural environment.  The mapping of land, boundaries and land registration being their focal point.

What qualification will you gain?

Apprentices that pass will gain a BSc/BSc (Hons) in a geospatial science subject. This will be accredited by either the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

Apprentices will gain the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to apply for membership to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

Apprenticeship Duration:

Typically to be undertaken over a period of 5 Years for level 6. The apprentice will be reviewed after three years.

Learn more about level 6 geospatial and science specialist apprenticeship here.

Building Digital Campaigns

Top 3 Tips for Building Digital Campaigns

We all know that coming up with new ideas for a new digital campaign can sometimes be challenging. A lot of us can experience mental or a creative block when coming up with new ideas for another campaign.

It is quite common in the digital marketing industry to exhaust your brilliant ideas and design work, so sometimes we just need a little bit of inspiration in order to come up with a new idea that fits your business ‘to a T’.

Designing top tips on digital campaigns.
Pexels: Digital Marketing Apprenticeship Tips

If you are currently looking to kick-start your career path in Digital Marketing, or you have been debating it as a career/apprenticeship option after leaving school here is a quick insight of the challenges you might face when making campaigns and advertisements for your future employer.

Today I am going to share with you my top three tips for building a digital marketing campaign. However, before I start you should be able to identify the following:

  • Do you have an established understanding of what you want your campaign goals to be?
  • Do you know who your target audience? Who are you creating the content for?
  • Have you included a call to action? What do you want the audience to do after seeing your digital campaign?
  • Does your campaign require customer involvement? Is your post iterative with your customers?

Tip Number 1:

Be creative with the way you present your ideas!

There are many different ways you can create a digital marketing campaign. Let’s choose social media for example…

On social media platforms you are able to share many different content types such as: images/image gallery, videos, PDF’s, Poll, GIFs, Share URL Links etc. This means that there are so many ways to create a campaign it is almost endless! As the platforms allow you to insert different media types, you should always make sure that you use a variety of different content for your audience to engage with this way you can ensure that you generate as much exposure as you can to your business.

Making your campaigns interactive with your audience can make a huge difference on the success of your posts. It can lead to many more ‘call to actions’ than a regular text post or image. However, my advice would be to start creating video content, include polls where necessary and use image galleries to spice up your feed because seeing the same type of content regularly can get dull.

Tip Number 2:

Make sure you choose a platform you want to optimise the most during a campaign this will make it easier for you to measure the success and in the future differentiate which platform works best for you as a company delivering to your audience.

Here are a few platforms you can help to optimise and develop a multi-channel marketing campaign:

  • Website: If you are looking to advertise a product or a service… use blogs, new landing pages and product/service advertisements (e.g. adding a new job or product).
  • Email: If you are looking to use email as a platform, you can use it to help link back to your website and social pages. This can be sending out a new newsletter to inform your target audience or integrate different links to help direct traffic to another platform.
  • Social Media: You can have the same approach as an email campaign to help deliver and redirect your audience to another platform by using links or solely drawing attention to the product or service in the digital campaign.

In the future you can start to make changes according to the data that you have collected. This will help improve your campaign strategy as you can start to use the more dominant platforms to help assist growth on your smaller platforms. This may depend on what company you work for as each platform has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to advertising to different target audiences.

Tip Number 3:

Involve people in the workplace!

It is always good to create a relationship with your audience online and a familiar face. Involving people in the workplace on your digital campaigns can help create a brand image, personality and transparency. It makes it easier for those using your service or purchasing your product to approach you. Therefore, it may bring more attention and traffic to your business.

The more often they get to see your business environment, the more likely they are to gravitate towards you and your organisation.

An office discussion with digital marketing strategies.
Pexels: Office Discussion on Building Digital Campaigns.

More Information:

Connect with us and keep up to date for future UK based Digital Marketing Apprenticeship opportunities.

📲 You can find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook!

5 Reasons to implement social media into your marketing strategy

Social Media Marketing Overview

Social media is growing by the day. With over 45 million active social media users in the UK, there is a whole market waiting for you to tap into. Marketing your products and services through social media is a simple and free way to raise awareness for your business. Express yourself with the complete creative freedom to show your audience more about your mission statement, core values and culture. Social media marketing enables you to grow brand awareness, provides customer interaction and increases traffic to your site. Read on to find out our five reasons for implementing social media into your marketing strategy.

  1. Grow Brand Awareness
  2. Engage With Customers
  3. Cost-Effective
  4. Market Awareness
  5. Increase Site Traffic
Image displaying different social media platforms used for social media marketing.

1. Grow Brand Awareness

Brand visibility is an integral part of any marketing strategy. Social media offers a way to increase your brand awareness across an array of platforms, connecting you to new audiences and potential customers. Given the vast quantity of users, adding social media to your marketing mix is a must.

Being seen regularly by customers can help build their trust which, if done consistently can lead to repeat purchases and visits to your site.

It’s important that when a new customer visits your site for the first time, they can see that the brand is reputable. Seeing your presence and legitimate following on social media will help… offer a level of validity that can lead to potential customers putting their trust in you and potential relationships being created.

2. Engage With Customers

The more you communicate with your audience, the higher chance you have of converting them into a customer and building customer loyalty.

Replying to comments left by your audience is key to retaining followers. Making sure you respond in the correct tone and manner, whilst also being prompt, will show customers you care. Thankfully you can answer any problems almost instantaneously through social media. As easy as it may be to reply to general queries, you must also respond to negative feedback in the same manner aforementioned. Providing insightful responses can even help to show other members of your audience that perhaps the negative comment may not be an accurate representation of your brand.

Some of the best platforms to engage with customers are:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. YouTube
  5. Instagram

While responding to comments may be time-consuming, it is certainly worth it. Growing relationships can help build customer loyalty. A direct impact of customer loyalty may be customers recommending you to their peers.

3. Cost-Effective

Social media marketing is perhaps the most cost-effective method of advertising. The reason being is that it can be completely free to create an account on the most popular platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

If you do decide to pay for ads/promotion it is extraordinarily cheaper than alternatives such as magazines, mailshots and radio. In today’s society, it is also a more popular medium than the other alternatives mentioned. Do you sacrifice the quality of the results? The answer is no, social media advertising still offers the same level of awareness and engagement which further verifies that social media marketing is a must for your marketing mix.

One drawback is the time you will have to dedicate to creating content. Engaging and insightful content isn’t easy to produce and can take up a lot of resources, however, the return-on-investment social media marketing provides shows that this is time well spent.  

4. Market Awareness

As a business, it’s important to understand the needs and wants of your customers. Social media provides a way to monitor this. By monitoring the content your customers are engaging with you can see what interests them. This might have never been seen without having a social media presence, making social media marketing an extremely useful research tool.

Not only can you monitor customers, but you can also monitor the activity of competitors. You can use competitors to see what content and products are popular with similar audiences. You can find out if a competitor is using different keywords to you and if they’re taking advantage of these keywords and hashtags then you now have a chance to see which are performing well and in turn implement them for your own business.

Run polls and ask questions to find out more about your customers’ needs. Spark up conversations with customers. Find out their wants directly and you may even have a chance to reply imminently to any feedback they offer, ensuring they aren’t left feeling confused or helpless.  

5. Increase Site Traffic

Perhaps the best reason for implementing social media into your marketing mix is the countless opportunities for driving traffic to your site. Posting about products and services and linking back to your site is a great way to do this. The more engaging the content you post is, the better the interaction you’re likely to receive.

Post about your blogs, products and services through different social media platforms and link back to your site so any engagement with the post leads back to you. The level of engagement determines the amount of traffic to your site where you can then promote further products and services.

Using engaging content such as polls and videos can increase the likelihood of a post being read, shared and engaged with. If your content gets shared with new audiences then there will be even more awareness for your posts which in turn will increase the number of potential visitors your site gets.

Conclusion

Social media is rapidly becoming more popular and opportunities to grow brand awareness will only keep on coming. Remember your competitors are already increasing the value of their brands through social media marketing and interacting with audiences that you are missing out on. The sooner you implement social media into your marketing mix, the faster you will see the results reflected in your brand.

Check out some other Digital Apprenticeships blogs here.

5 Reasons Why Blogging Is Essential For Your Marketing Strategy

why-blogging-is-essential-image

When it comes to marketing it is important to ensure that you are always up to date with the latest trends and marketing techniques. A consistent marketing tactic that has been used for several years is blogging, although it has developed along the way. Some people may view blogging as an old-fashioned approach however when used to its full capabilities it becomes an essential element for any business. Regardless of what genre of company you run, it’s vital that you have a blog and here are 5 reasons why.

  1. Blogs can help to attract new customers
  2. Blogs provide an insight into your brand
  3. Blogging improves SEO
  4. Blog content helps with your social presence
  5. Blogging boosts brand awareness

Blogs Can Help To Attract New Customers

Blogging is a key component to any digital marketing strategy, and it is proven to increase leads as well as direct more traffic to your website. Provided that your blog posts are well-written and informative readers should be able to gain an insight into your business and the products or services you have to offer. Blogging not only provides a platform for creative and informative content but it also allows you to showcase calls-to-action that make it easy to convert into leads.

Blogs Provide An Insight Into Your Brand

A blog provides a platform to tell your brands story, it is a great way of giving consumers a better insight into your company, employees and the product or service you offer. Writing a blog post is an opportunity for marketers to share the brand identity through tone of voice and personality which will in time build up a customers trust and increase brand likability.

Demonstrates how to create a blog post

Blogging Improves SEO

Content is key when it comes to producing blog posts and as marketing has evolved blogging has played a huge part in improving a company’s SEO performance. When you develop a blog, you are able to reach a wider range of search queries. Blogging is great for generating broader search results that your website alone would not be able to attract.

Adding a blog to your website is an easy, yet effective way of increasing the amount keywords and search queries you can rank for on Google. This makes it easier for potential customers find YOU!

Blog Content Helps With Your Social Presence

Creating regular blog posts for your business can help to direct people to your social media platforms. Every time you are publishing a new article you are producing helpful content that people can share across various social networks which in turn will help with brand awareness. Blog content helps to boost social presence by driving new visitors to your blog via different social channels.

Blogging Boosts Brand Awareness

When you product blog content on a regular basis this will naturally increase your brand visibility. It can only take one relatable post for your post to go viral which will in turn increase your audience. Blogging allows you to determine an authentic voice and persona behind the brand image and logo.

The best way to grow your business is by providing the information that customers are searching for. Blog posts can broaden your site visitors while still staying within an appropriate target audience.

To Conclude

Whether you’re a small business owner or blogger, your blog is an extension of the company’s online presence. It provides value by providing information on what sets them apart from others in the industry. It also showcases products that can help people achieve success with whatever goal might be important enough for this purpose!

A blog is a great way to reduce your marketing spend, increase website traffic and generate new leads. But most importantly for businesses: blogging provides value in the form of content that helps build strong customer relationships!

5 Secrets to Successful YouTube Video Marketing

youtube video marketing secrets

It’s 2022 and if it hasn’t already, video marketing is taking over, digital marketing apprentice you must be prepared to get involved. Video content has many homes and though TikTok shows huge growth potential, YouTube content is still on top. You must learn how YouTube video marketing for business works to succeed in a digital marketing apprenticeship. When you hear ‘video marketing for business’, you often picture dull salesman pitches. We’re looking to avoid this with a content driven video marketing strategy. Taking learnings and inspiration from MrBeast, who has 90 million subscribers and counting. MrBeast is one of the most successful YouTubers to date.

When you hear ‘video marketing for business’, often you might picture dull salesman pitches on a product on service. We’re looking at secrets on how you can change this with a content driven video marketing strategy. Taking learnings and inspiration from MrBeast, with 90 million subscribers and counting, he is one of the most successful YouTubers to date.

Generate video marketing content ideas

generate youtube video marketing content ideas

When you first delve into video marketing, generating video content ideas can be daunting. I have a one word to help you… Value! But, what do I mean by value? Value can be insightful information, promoting a free or discounted service, or even just making them smile and laugh. You need to consider what the viewer needs. And not what you want them to need.

In your digital marketing apprenticeship, video marketing for business gives you ample opportunities to deliver value through different video content styles such as:

  • Demo Videos: Demonstrating your product or service in action is great but, make sure you make it entertaining too.
  • Event Videos: Snippets from a recent live event your organisation attended or hosted. Make sure you get permission from whoever hosted it first.
  • Expert Knowledge Videos: Who do you look up to for knowledge in your workplace, could they share this through a video?
  • How To Videos: Step by step guides on ‘how to do X’ however, make sure you know how to do it to a high standard first!
  • Case Study Videos: Emotional heart-warming case studies are rare but amazing. An insight to how you make your consumers feel are powerful.
  • Behind the scenes: Short day in the life style videos showing you at work are quick and easy to produce but, deliver insights to your organisation and job role. This style is perfect for when you’re organisation is looking to recruit new employees.
  • Benefits of Video: When done with finesse, this style of video can promote your product or service without putting to much emphasis on it. Another similar video style might be ‘Pros and Cons of X vs Y’.

Videos don’t always have to be funny but, they must be entertaining or educational. If you’re the ‘office clown’ and feel confident in delivering a comedic style, great! If not, I would recommend you venture down the story telling and educational style.

Whatever style you choose, make sure you spend 5 to 10 seconds delivering an enticing hook!

YouTube video marketing keyword research

YouTube SEO Keyword Research

That’s correct, you haven’t quite escaped SEO just yet! In fact, YouTube SEO is very important for generating your first generic views and audience. The YouTube algorithm is ever evolving but, a great starting point you should maximise is high volume and low competition keywords.

So you’ve now generated a video marketing content idea. After that, use Google Keyword Planner to research different keywords around the idea. This will give you some inspiration as to what you cover in the video, then use the YouTube search function to find some long-tail keywords. For example, if I was to produce a video on ‘benefits of volunteering’, YouTube recommends ‘in the community’ and ‘for students’ on the end of it. Ask yourself, should you either provide two niche pieces of videos content, or can you cover both in the video enough to justify ranking for it.

Tools like VidIQ can then take you one step further and help you run competitor analysis on the keywords any videos you’re directly competing with are ranking for. Take inspiration from them and improve on them where possible but, do not copy their content as that is poor industry standards.

Use your keywords in the YouTube tags, title, and description to make sure your video can rank on the YouTube search engine result page (SERPs). To go one step further, should include the keywords in the video file name and produce keyword rich subtitles.

Our Beginners Guide to SEO gives you guidance around SEO in general, and a lot of the rules apply to YouTube SEO too.

Face pace editing for video marketing

YouTube Video Content Editing

MrBeast videos show the power of eliminating dead space, every single second is important and you must always deliver value. Remove all the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ but, also remove any awkward silence making sure you cut to instant speaking. Sticking to this rule, the best performing videos are 4 – 16 minutes long. Make every second count!

Keeping a fast pace is important, can you change scenes or camera angles every few seconds to keep the viewer interested? If you’ve only got one camera angle, can you zoom in to add emphasis on a phrase? For example, I might zoom in when saying ‘this is the biggest benefit of volunteering’.

Another key is using music to trigger emotion and keep the pace of the video. If you’re using a song throughout the video as background music, why not try adding in some exciting build up music as you’re building to the climax of the video. You could even try the reverse, stop the music all together for a couple of seconds to put emphasis on what you’re saying and keep the pace flowing.

It’s easy to cut a video together and add background music, what makes your video content stand out is using it to trigger emotion.

Thumbnail and title

Arguably the most important step, the thumbnail and title. MrBeast has perfected this to an art, and any video marketing strategy must focus on this greatly.

Starting with the title, you need to summarise the video in a simple sentence that puts emphasis on the most important part. Your title needs to explain the video content enough that viewers know what they’re clicking on but, it needs to be short enough that it can be easily skim read aiming for less than 50 characters.

Thumbnails need to catch viewers attention and intrigue them. High resolution, bright, vibrant, and colourful images work best with a couple of important words to take it one step further. In a volunteering benefits video, I would use a bright happy picture of someone volunteering with bold words on top saying ‘This felt too good’.

The best combinations of titles and thumbnails intrigue potential viewers enough that they click on it because they have the fear of missing out. Summarise your video whilst keeping enough mystery that they have no option other than to click on it.

YouTube Analytics

As a digital marketing apprentice you will have experience with analytics, and YouTube analytics is similar to other platforms with the video being your product. We need to consider what YouTube wants from us, because at the end of the day they’re the one promoting your video content on their platform. Creator Insider interviews MrBeast and he summarises well what he believes YouTube wants you to;

“Click, watch a video. Click, watch a video.”

MrBeast Talks About How To Get More Views!

But what does this actually mean?

First lets tackle “click”.

This relates to the click through rate (CTR) of your video. High click through rates are important because it indicates two things. Firstly, it means you have a good title and thumbnail that do not need to be improved. From this you could try similar styles going forwards to replicate it’s success. Secondly, it indicates that your video idea is a good idea. And this could lead to you creating a series of videos around the same idea/subject going forwards.

If you have a poor CTR, don’t be afraid make changes. Prepare multiple thumbnail and title ideas to try and improve the CTR if it performs poorly. If the CTR is still performing poorly, at least you now know what style of video content you will not replicate going forwards.

Now lets talk about “watch a video”.

Relating to the average viewer retention. In other words, it’s how long the viewer watched your video for, and what percentage of the video they’ve watched. YouTube’s algorithm favours videos with high viewer retention meaning this is very important but, it’s also important for another reason.

Viewer retention graphs show spikes and drops in retention; these are the most important pieces of data to improve videos as you go forwards. If a there’s a sudden spike, go see why! It’s clear that you did something well here, possibly better lighting, you might be talking about something of interest, or maybe something else completely. Whatever it is, try to replicate it across your videos going forwards. Whenever there’s a drop, you must make sure you find out why! Perhaps you’re talking about something boring, or maybe something as simple as you sneezed. Most importantly, whatever you find must be cut from all videos going forwards.

MrBeast summarised two of the most important pieces of data to analyse in any video marketing strategy but, there is much more you can delve into as you become familiar with the platform. Make sure you set key performance indicators (KPIs) for each video and for the channel that align with your long-term goals. If your goal is to build brand awareness, you might measure views and subscribers as success. Alternatively, you might measure success as how much traffic your website gains if the goal is to drive viewers to the website.

As long as each video is slightly better than the last, measuring your KPIs, you will begin to improve and grow.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now feel confident enough to start your journey into video marketing for business. If you’re in a digital marketing apprenticeship, why not suggest a video marketing strategy? Using what we’ve learnt from MrBeast to create powerful YouTube video content today. Have you heard about our mailing list? Sign up to receive a weekly bulletin covering our most recent blogs, introducing upcoming blogs, and for the opportunity to ask any questions – we’ll answer the 3 best questions the following week! And make sure you return next week because we’ll cover the Do’s and Don’ts of TikTok for Business.

5 Steps to Creating a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Knowing how to create and deliver a successful email marketing campaign can be a hugely powerful tool to have in your portfolio. As a digital marketing apprentice, it can sometimes feel like you are not quite sure where to start. Is it the subject line, the copywriting or even the target audience?

In this post, I aim to give you a formula that should help your emails perform, time and time again.

Why Email Marketing?

Businesses across the globe are learning that even though Social Media is growing rapidly, Email Marketing is not a channel that can be neglected.

It consistently shows the highest conversion rate of all marketing channels. And, as a result, delivers the best ROI. Therefore, learning how to deliver them effectively, is vital to a business’s growth and success.

Some statistics pulled together by Optinmonster compare Email Marketing with Social Media in terms of potential reach and a few common KPIs.

A table showing the comparison between Email Marketing and Social Media statistics.

The article delves into each of these elements and helps you understand the key differences between email and social media. Give it a read here to dive into the detail.

How to do it

  1. Understand why you are sending the email

Before anything else, you need to make sure you understand why you are sending this email. What is your goal? What do you want customers to do as a result of getting the email?

There are a number of different goals that emails can help a business achieve, such as;

  • Raising brand awareness
  • Generating revenue
  • Encouraging website traffic
  • Informing customers

As part of your goal setting, it is important to set out how you will assess whether these goals are being met. This can be done using KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. We will look at these later on in more detail.

Once you have a good idea of your email campaign goal, it will help you formulate the content, the targeting and how you analyse the performance.

2. Decide on your audience

A large part of an email marketing campaign is the audience.

Woman's hand writing the word "audience" on a whiteboard, with arrows.
Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

There are a number of ways to identify a target audience based on certain characteristics. These can be broken down into 4 main segmentations;

  • Demographic: Age, gender, race, marital status etc.
  • Psychographic: Lifestyle, personality, values and beliefs etc.
  • Behavioural: Spending habits, brand interactions, customer loyalty etc.
  • Geographic: City, region, country etc.

Use your brand and campaign goals to identify your customers.

3. Create your email

Depending on your end goal, there are several types of email campaign to choose from. You also need to make sure the type you opt for is suitable for your chosen audience.

Here are some of the most popular or recognisable email types;

  • Newsletters – These are ideal for when brands want to share industry information, news, business updates or even sending out a weekly round up of blog posts. Typically they are sent on a regular schedule such as daily, weekly or monthly and are very rarely used for promotional purposes.
  • Promotional campaigns – Typically used when a brand is trying to sell a product or service. The email will highlight key features, benefits, positive reviews and sometimes a price point before directing customers to the website to purchase using a CTA.
  • Triggered emails – These are emails that are sent as a result of customers performing a specific action such as abandoning an online shopping cart. The email will remind the customer of their cart and prompt them to return and complete their purchase.
  • Re-engagement emails – When a customer has become ‘inactive’ with a brand, these emails will target them with the goal of getting them to re-engage. For example, if a customer stops regularly visiting a website, a brand might send them a special discount code to tempt them back to being ‘active’.

Although the email type plays a large part in whether you meet your goals, it is not the entire picture. Making sure you send the email at the best time can also be crucial in its success. And so, on to step 4…

4. Find the best time to send it

To get maximum engagement with your emails, you need to consider when you send them. This means looking at both the day of the week and the time of day.

Some thing are obvious, for example, sending an email to a UK audience at 3am would get very little engagement as people are likely asleep. However finding the right hour of the day might seem a little more tricky.

Luckily, a huge number of studies have been done, analysing millions of email campaigns, to find that optimal time. And, whilst the studies vary in size and style, they all show a very similar pattern.

A infographic showing that the best days of the week to send an email marketing campaign are Tuesday, Thursday and Wednesday.

Based on number of email opens and clicks, Tuesday came out as the top day of the week to send out those emails, with Thursday coming up as a great day to send a second email in the same week.

Whilst the studies did find slightly more varying results when it came to what time of day to send emails, there were a few more popular times, based on differing factors.

An infographic showing the key times of day at which to send an email marketing campaign based on different data factors. 10am, 8pm. 2pm and 6am.

Of course, you can take from this that Tuesday at 10am should be the best time to send your emails and it is definitely a good starting point but we should always consider our specific business, brand and audience when making this decision as well.

5. Measure your success

When it comes to KPIs for an email marketing campaign, there are a few common ones that businesses tend to focus on. These are;

  • Clickthrough rates – the percentage of the audience who clicked on one or more links within the email. CTR is good in understanding what content your audience most engages with.
  • Conversion rates – the percentage of the audience who click on a link within the email and then complete an action. This action can vary e.g. purchasing a product or filling out a form.
  • Open rates – the percentage of the audience that opens the email. This can often be a good indicator of your subject line strength.
  • ROI (return on investment) – this is essentially the revenue you made as a result of the email campaign, divided by the cost of delivering the campaign.

In order to establish the success of your campaign, it is important to align the initial goals you set at the beginning with the KPIs you measured at the end. If your goal was to drive more customers to your website a positive indicator of success might be a strong clickthrough rate.

Hopefully this guide has given you the confidence and information you need to create your own successful email marketing campaign. If you are keen to try your hand at some more digital marketing, check out these blog posts for more helpful tips and tricks;

Happy marketing!