Digital Marketing Knows No Borders
by Colette Lekborg, Trade Commissioner
Collaborating across borders has never been easier, and that is especially true when it comes to digital strategies. The importance of a digital presence has never been greater – as the pandemic has shown us, but it can be hard to manage for busy business owners and start-up teams. That is why we teamed up with Venture Café Cambridge last month to host a seminar on the latest trends and tips in digital marketing. We brought together some of the most creative marketing experts in Canada to share helpful information on digital marketing. Outlined below is a summary of the key takeaways.
Personalization and the customer journey
Customers are increasingly looking for connections and shared values in the brands they work with. So sending a generic message to every customer is not going to cut it in 2021. Businesses need customize their communications based on who they are talking to and where they are at in the customer journey.
Lisa Genovese, President at BottomLine pointed out that this does not have to be a large undertaking. She explained the standard customer journey phases of awareness, consideration, comparison, and purchase and asked: How would you communicate differently with someone in each phase?
Adding to this was Matthew Howard, Partner at Maverick Agency who noted that increasingly the customer journey is not a linear one. He suggests taking a look at the interconnectedness and how you can compel someone down the path you want.
“Ideally you want your customer journey to be a smooth and subtle flow,” said Caleb Clark, Co-Founder of Hook + Ladder Digital. He warned against forcing a customer through the journey faster than they are willing. He says to aim to build an infrastructure that subtly and sequentially nurtures customers along the way.
“What is the benefit to the customer at the end of the day? Your content should reflect that,” said Heather Howatt, Managing Partner at Results Marketing & Advertising. Most often your customer is buying in to the experience not just the product, so what does that look like?
Optimization and mobile first
Your digital marketing strategy starts with your website and making sure it is optimized for search. “68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine,” shared Brock Murray, Co-founder of seoplus+. Murray’s top tips for search engine optimization include: designing and optimizing your website for mobile first, producing and repurposing valuable content, and establishing authoritative back links.
High authority websites will give the biggest bump to your SEO. If you are just getting started, an easy way to build backlinks is to reach out to your ecosystem. Write a guest blog, or ask a partner to be listed as a preferred service provider.
Darian Kovacs, Founding Partner at Jelly Digital Marketing and PR Agency used the analogy of the movie Mean Girls to explain SEO. Google is like the mean girl who is judging your website based on what it says and how it’s constructed, and secondly by who is talking to it. You need to produce valuable content and show your popularity through backlinks to get in with the cool girls.
There are a lot of great tools to determine what type of content you should be producing. Kovacs recommends paying attention to your frequently asked questions and making the content easily digestible. “Google loves the words “versus” and “best”, which tell it you’re creating a listicle,” he said.
Technology, data and the future of digital marketing
Technology is a powerful tool to help automate and evaluate your digital strategies. Our presenters shared a wealth of tools they use, but emphasized that the goal should always be about gathering data and feedback.
Eric Vardon and his team at Morphio, use data not only to test their campaigns, but to evaluate trends. “Knowing your brand, goals and values will help you quickly adapt and be prepared,” he said. Looking at data can help you understand if something is an anomaly or if you truly need to pivot, he explained.
With all these great tips, your to-do list may be growing. The presenters shared the pros and cons of making internal hires versus outsourcing. If you are in the early stages and still need to determine what digital marketing can do for you, an agency may actually be a better, cost-effection solution. “Agencies can help you test strategies and identify top priorities,” said Jenna Camann of Pivot Digital Consulting. The important thing is to include your agency in your team and culture so they understand the nuances of your business.
We are excited to be able to make new connections while also providing some helpful tips to the start-ups and entrepreneurs in our area. There were so many good discussions and ideas from our presenters we were not able to summarize it all. If you’d like an introduction or to receive the event recording please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can learn more here.