Does PPC work?

PPC is short for Paid Per Click.  It's the paid advertising model of internet / web marketing. Businesses are considered advertisers. It involves the use of certain platforms like Google Ads and Facebook for Business to create ads and publish these ads to a huge online network. These are intelligent advertising platforms. Each time an ad is clicked, the advertiser pays the platform. The average cost per click (CPC) varies per advertiser. The combination of bid amount and quality of the ad (as well as the user experience on the landing page) are the biggest factors in costs per click.  

Does PPC work? The short answer is YES. Of course it does. Companies like Google and Facebook heavily invest in the technologies used in their advertising platforms that they allow advertisers to push the ads to people who are looking and even those most ready to buy. 

The long answer is - well not so easily. There are many factors that interplay. Assuming that the bid is competitive, the ad quality is great and the landing page is intuitive, the next factors to consider are: product pricing, competitor action and the checkout process. 

The ever changing user behaviour and customer expectations keep the advertisers on their toes. The actual delivery (including packaging), quality of the end product (once received), return policy and also the customer service interaction determine whether the new customer will buy again or even refer the business to his friends and family.

Digital Marketing

While it all sounds complicated, these interacting factors make the challenge of running an online business one of the most rewarding experiences.  The general guide is to keep experimenting.  It's important to also keep engaging with customers directly. Truly listen to customer concerns and then look at your data.  Look at industry trends and macro trends. Data is a powerful tool to measure your performance and one of the fundamental elements of digital marketing

4 Important Elements of Digital Marketing

Whilst there could be many tools, tricks and tips on digital marketing, there are 4 fundamental elements that, when integrated, will yield the most significant results.  This is a summary:

1. Data
Historical data of website traffic, page insights, conversion rates, attributions etc. These data could be tracked and measured over a period of time and could be compared with other time periods or benchmarks.  Data serves as a useful guide to any digital marketer or business owner when deciding on which activities, efforts, images, text, strategies and channels to pursue. The key here is to use data as a *guide*, to anticipate and predict results.

2. Market Analysis
There are 3 main groups of markets to initially study or learn when thinking of a digital marketing strategy. First is the macro environment - knowledge of general market trends. Basics would be "how is the world changing - in terms of customer behaviour and preferences" (as an example) Second is the industry, a smaller subset of the macro environment - knowledge of trends in the digital marketing industry and readiness to learn to use the new or most effective tools to use. However the industry study also includes the industry of the business itself, whether it be hospitality, air travel, fashion, professional services, design, real estate etc. Third would be the direct competition. A solid assessment of the business position with regard to pricing, service packages and offering/capabilities will need to be done. There should be strong awareness of the business' strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

3. Content 
Timeless content will not only save time in terms of creating presentation documents and online press releases or blogs; but will also enhance the credibility of a business. Product presentations, descriptions will need to accurately represent the business. A very effective content marketing approach is promoting helpful and educational content. Consistent delivery of helpful content to target customers will keep your brand on top of mind.

4. Customer Service
The most effective after-sales marketing tool which could be used to up-sell to and retain customers is customer service. Now, there are many ways to stay in touch, offer new products and give benefits to existing customers with the use of various social media and email marketing tools. However, the fundamental idea remains - that the way customers are treated will reap business rewards and even earn referrals.


Meetups Over Coffee - Digital Marketing

We conduct free meetings over coffee for community and non-profit organisations.  Typically, meetings last for 1-2 hours, held at central cafes in Palmerston North and Whanganui if held in New Zealand.

The best group size is ideally up to 5 participants (minimum 3) so that our resource person would be able to handle as many questions as possible and each participant would be able to tell his/her story. We normally discuss ideas on online marketing, new tips, questions about how to use different online marketing platforms, etc.

If you are interested in hosting a coffee meetup with us, please contact us at 09 889 0515 or 027 460 2555.

For small businesses, we offer a more tailored training for your organisation, please contact us for custom training sessions.

Artificial Intelligence and Online Marketing for Small Businesses

The global artificial intelligence race is on! Facebook, Amazon, Google, Alibaba are amongst the billion-dollar companies in play.

Google is one of the leading FAANG companies that has devoted huge amount of investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Almost everyday, new developments on Artificial Intelligence are announced on news and social media. Now with Tensorflow, Google's opensource AI framework is more accessible to more people who are willing to learn and experiment.

It's a good time to correct the myths surrounding Artificial Intelligence to give small business owners an edge and enable them to be more sustainable in the long term.

The 3 myths:

1) The insurmountable learning curve for small business owners.

Artificial intelligence is developed to give people an easier life. The general attitude to machine learning technologies and artificial intelligence is to view this technological advancement as an opportunity to improve business processes not just in marketing but also in operations, customer service and accounting.

2) Marketing costs will rise especially in the digital arena.

Understandable. There is a fear that experts will charge a lot of money for their knowledge. To view marketing as an expense is debatable. Marketing is an investment, it's putting money into a system that is supposed to yield more gains for a business. The focus should be on the value of the ROI (return of investment).  It's important for the business owner to be able to quantify and track his marketing efforts to make the best judgment on which channel to use. Consider the Chat bots - an artificial intelligence application that allows businesses to have a higher level of engagement with customers without having to hire staff. Chat bots can be deployed on any web page or Facebook page and respond to customers questions via chat messaging in real time. Chat bots can handle multiple conversations at the same time. Chat bots are also self-learning.

3) Online Marketing will be so much more complicated.

Step back a little. Digital marketing is just traditional marketing using digital technology to distribute content on a faster and global scale. The core concepts of beautiful storytelling, educational information that appeals to the target audience, proper representation of company values, etc - these concepts still remain. Artificial intelligence in marketing allows businesses to dig deeper, immensely faster into data that will allow business owners to make better decisions about how to improve their marketing methods.