Check out a recap of Stepping Up: Canada's Next Digital Chapter panel discussion – the final panel in BrainStation’s Digital Leadership Event Series.
How Digital Marketing Built These Brands – the latest in BrainStation’s Digital Leadership Event Series – took place on November 19 and featured leaders from Wave, Updater, and Better.com.
You can watch the full panel discussion here:
Whether you’re working on a new business or an established brand, digital marketing is now more essential than ever for continued growth. If you’re able to harness its powers and capabilities, you’ll be able to have long term gain over short term glamour.
We spoke with marketing experts from Wave, Updater, and Better.com to share their tips for identifying customers and growing your business, using the power of digital marketing and the plethora of digital strategies now available.
Leverage Free or Low Cost Tools
Knowing where to invest your resources is a crucial step in your company’s growth, especially for new brands and entrepreneurs. One unanimous piece of advice for entrepreneurs from our panelists is to explore your options when it comes to identifying and defining your marketing and competitors.
Melanie Dodge, Director of Marketing at Better.com, recommends using low-cost tools to understand the search behaviors of your customers and the interests and needs of your leads.
“Your customers are your best tools. They will tell you what they’re thinking and that can also inform strategy,” says Dodge, adding that conducting surveys and tracking the search patterns of your customers and competitors are great places to start.
Being aware of your competitors is essential, particularly when it comes to something like developing bidding strategies – they may have access to significantly larger budgets. Jenna Weinerman, VP of Marketing at Updater offers a cost-effective tip.
“If you’re marketing, you don’t have to bid or advertise. You can create content to answer the questions of what they’re searching for,” Weinerman says. “Say something relevant and powerful,” as a creative solution for smart search spending on a small budget.
Invest In SEO (and be Patient)
The ability to put the right content in front of the right eyes at the right time is what makes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a go-to tool for digital marketers.
“SEO is something that we’ve really doubled down on and I’m a really big believer in not just ranking for the traffic, but actually adding something of value,” says Dodge.
Sarah Bugeja, Director of Demand Generation at Wave, agrees, explaining that SEO needs to complement your content strategy. “It is incredibly important from an organic point of view to build meaningful content that serves the needs of what people are looking for and anchoring it also with brand friendly content.”
Bugeja also notes that in order to see success with SEO, get comfortable with playing the long game.
“This is not something you do today and you’re going to see amazing results tomorrow. There is some patience to be had, especially depending on the vertical that you’re playing in…and it may take you longer to index, meaning to show up higher [in organic search results],” says Bugeja.
Use Content to Build Your Brand
In our previous Digital Leadership Event Series panel, The New Rules of Marketing: Creating Stand-Out Content, maximizing your content was a key takeaway. When you have limited access to tools or tricks for new content creation, investing in larger pieces with dynamic content that can be divided and delivered across several platforms is a smart use of resources, rather than speeding through several, smaller, specific pieces.
“Spend the extra time to actually add value and go past getting the traffic there. So whether it’s putting a visual in an animation and video, recycle and make your content work for you. Don’t do double the job,” says Dodge, recommending a more scientific approach to measurement, not only for top of funnel metrics, but when looking at the trickle down effect of your marketing initiatives.
“Maybe a [Call to Action] or an ad is driving a lot of clicks and orders, but is it ultimately driving to that conversion goal?”
Informed consumers look for quality content to build their long term brand loyalty, but advocating for it while balancing quarterly targets can be a challenge when speaking with different stakeholders and connecting content strategy to the overall organizational goals.
“You need proof points,” says Weinerman. Qualitative measurements such as surveys, customer comments, public relations, and articles are strong points to build an arsenal that can pay off in the long run in building brand credibility.
“If you’re in it for the quick win in B2B, it’s really easy to be forgotten. So I tend to put more emphasis on the brand because I want to build a really memorable brand experience for our clients rather than one conversion at a time, because they’re not going to be with us for that one conversion. That’s the beginning of their journey with us,” says Weinerman.
Long-term relationship building requires showing your customers consistent value and adding features that can make their lives easier throughout their life cycle with your organization. In order to maximize your efforts, collaborating with people from different teams can align company goals, and generate multi-platform solutions.
Leverage Cross-Functional Teams
Working with other departments allows for more actionable, informed insights. Cohesive, cross-functional teams with key players is one way marketers are leveraging internal skill sets to turn key learnings into meaningful performance.
Dodge says that a critical investment Better.com made was hiring a director of Product of Growth and establishing a growth committee made up of their product, marketing, design, and data teams. “Through that we have really established a test-and-learn approach to everything we do when it comes to digital marketing.”
Bugeja credits working with her data team as a key asset to Wave’s marketing strategy. “Working with our data science team to understand campaign performance has really improved our ability to execute on paid search super efficiently when we understand what is actually driving the best kinds of acquisition,” she says, adding that one final piece of advice for new businesses and entrepreneurs, “don’t be afraid of the word pivot.”
Ultimately, our experts strive to blend strategies, tools, and teams that will work together to convert outstanding, long-lasting customers. By integrating the measurable and meaningful content, businesses will often see cost-effective, sustained performance growth.
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