Many business owners get nervous in front of the camera or on stage, but becoming the face of your business can be transformational. We are passionate about helping business owners embrace their unique skills and talents and share these with the world. If you don’t think you can be the face of your business, you don’t need to worry.

Your passion and knowledge of the business can really make you essential to branding and marketing. There really is no one better to advocate for your unique products, as shown by many successful business owners around the world.

Business owner or actor?

If you’re creating video content for your business, you may have considered hiring an actor or professional. However, high-quality, professional production and editing mean that whether you’ve been behind the camera once or a thousand times, we can make your business look incredible without a professional actor. A paid actor isn’t always the best option for companies as business owners bring their unique personalities and insights, gaining trust and building brand authenticity.

Obviously, getting high-quality footage is another key factor when it comes to creating digital content and at Digital Next, we can create a video that looks professional and still captures your business’s unique selling points.

You have the ability to represent your brand

More and more consumers are looking for authenticity these days and they will spend time finding brands they can trust. Being the face of your business is a surefire way to create this sense of openness and if you’re a small business with specialised production, this can actually be an advantage when it comes to marketing. We believe your personality is powerful and you don’t need to rely on an actor, influencer or professional to be the face of your company.

Real world marketing: Defiance Toffee Vodka

To show just how much of a difference getting the business owner in front of the camera makes, we filmed two example promo videos for business owner Paul Sheerin, founder of Defiance Toffee Vodka. The first stars Paul himself, and in the second we used an actor.

Starring Paul Sheerin, CEO of Defiance
Starring an actor

In the first promotional video for Defiance, you can see why hiring an actor wouldn’t be as effective. Business owner Paul Sheerin is the perfect ambassador for his unique toffee vodka with real Canadian Maple toffee infused into an organic triple filtered vodka. With an enthusiastic approach and an incredible product, working with Paul and creating content for Defiance Distillery shows just how effective business-owner led marketing can be.

Get in touch

To take your marketing to the next level and become the face of your business, get in touch with our team today to see how we can create a unique marketing solution that’s tailored to you and your business.

The planning, organisation and execution of a marketing strategy is not always such a straightforward process. However, there are literally tons of creative marketing tips to explore in order to generate more business for your company, without blowing up your entire marketing strategy.

Marketing Tips

Well, in this blog we have combined a list of marketing tips and ideas full of strategies that we have previously executed for ourselves or our clients for you to take note from. The marketing campaigns have been used to generate inbound leads and are taken from past techniques implemented in-house here at Digital Next.

Winter is slowly approaching, which can only mean one thing… There are only 20 weeks left before the big man comes down your chimney! This is the BIGGEST season for both shoppers and retail stores, which makes it a critical time to up your marketing game and stand out against your competitors during the holidays.

E-Commerce

Ensure your marketing efforts are on the mark this winter, particularly paying attention to huge retail dates such as Black Friday.

A brand who did this well in 2015 was O2 who went all in claiming “no price is safe” on Black Friday. The brand sold devices such as the HTC One M9, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Tab S2 for as little as £1!

This could generate more traffic to your site just in time for Winter. The below marketing tips will help you optimise your online presence by focusing on the latest trends in online shopping.

Homepage Links

Homepage links may seem common knowledge to most, but it’s still a common omission from a lot of websites and it can be detrimental the overall experience of your customers.

It’s very important to ensure your homepage has links to product categories, and all deeper layers to your website. You should also be regularly creating content that caters to relevant keywords and is based around your products/services.

You should also ensure that each page has a unique page title that is 70 characters or less, and a meta description that’s 150 words or less; which basically outlines to Google what keyword you want the page to rank for.

Email Triggers

The dreaded three words: ‘out-of-stock’… We all fear seeing this when we’re trying to add products to our basket.

Instead of losing custom, add functionality by encouraging shoppers to submit their data. This can allow the user to be alerted when the items are back in stock.

If customers know they’ll eventually be able to get the item from you, it mitigates the possibility of losing them to the competition. You can also try suggesting similar items that are in stock to demonstrate that you’re business still remains able to understand and meet the needs of the customer.

Urban Outfitters automatically sends this email to users when they request to unsubscribe from their emails. The purpose of this automated email is a last-ditch effort to convince recipients not to unsubscribe. To appeal to their young adult target audience, this email creatively plays on the idea of a salvaging a relationship.

urban-outfitters-unsubscribe

This was an excellent method of engaging with their customers to show how valued they are to their business, and that they’re in touch with their target audience through means that they can relate to – on multiple levels.

Become A Google Trusted Store

Becoming a Google Trusted Store can help customers to recognise that you are both trusted and safe to shop with, but it’ll also help to increase the exposure of your brand.

Take the necessary steps to meet the correct requirements to do this; once you meet the criteria, you are given a badge that appears on Google Shopping.

This could also have a positive impact on your search rankings on Google in the future, as more and more alterations to the search listings become display oriented.

google-trusted-store-badge

Audits

Carrying out regular audits on your online store can help to identify places where you can improve the buyer journey.

Auditing your site can help to determine amends and changes to your current customer journey; starting with click through and bounce rates, to testing different landing pages in order to gauge with tweaks might improve results.

Items You Might Like

An ‘Items You Might Like’ section could encourage users to browse for longer on your website; adding photos or other relevant items to each product landing page could provide that item the customer may eventually choose to add to their basket.

Website Ideas:

When it comes to your website, there are tons of ways you are able to utilise, test and optimise your web pages to generate more, relevant traffic. Below are some tips to drive more online traffic to your business.

Pop-ups

Test pop-ups on your website with special offers; there’s so many different types of pop-ups you’re able to utilise on your online store. Some of my personal favourites are:

  • Multi Pop-Up – The website will launch multiple pop ups upon entering. Different techniques are used.
  • Come And Go – Pop-ups are launched upon entering and exiting.
  • Timed Pop-Up – Pop-ups are programmed to launch after a certain amount of time. Normally, 5 seconds.

Mobile

After the Mobile-geddon release in April 2015, Google made it clear anyone without a mobile optimised website would not reap the benefits of mobile optimised search in the future.

Google released a mobile-friendly test which means you’re able to ensure your website is Google-friendly.

Reviews

Consider starting a triggered email campaign that asks your past customers, who value your business, for online reviews.

This can work well in order to spark trust amongst your new audience, and is also a great way to enhance SEO. We advise Google Reviews and Trustpilot as great review tools.

dn reviews

A/B Test

A/B testing, a.k.a split testing, is comparing two versions of a web page or email campaign to see which one performs better.

The aim is to identify changes that increase the chance of what you want to happen, to happen!

CTAs

A big part of utilising your website is by ensuring you have the right CTAs (Call to actions) to help speed up and guide a user on its journey by providing them with targeted and relevant content by their stage in the buying cycle.

A great example of a website with compelling CTA’s is Evernote.

“Remember, Everything.”

The design on Evernote’s website makes it super simple for users to see quick benefits of using the app and how to actually sign up to use it.

Plus, the green color of the main and secondary CTA buttons is the same green as the headline and the Evernote logo, all of which jump off the page.

evernote-cta

Social Media Ideas:

You should already know the true value of using social media to expand your reach.

Keeping up with trends and constant changes within the social realm is incredibly important; it’s not enough to just follow the same old rules and tactics.

Below we have noted some tips and promotional tips for you to execute as part of your winter campaign.

Video Ads

We all read how video is the next BIG thing on everyone’s mind, and how it’s here to stay.

Once such benefit of video advertising, specifically on Facebook, is you don’t necessarily need to have a strong presence.

download (1)

Facebook Live

Facebook’s livestream is still a new concept which many brands aren’t utilising. Try using it, as Facebook’s algorithm ranks these higher than regular content!

live-android-screen

Social Influencers

Partnering with social media influencers, such as bloggers, celebrities and users with a excessive social media following can work wonders integrated into a social media campaign.

When it comes to making purchasing decisions, users look for endorsements on products from influencers and it’s great to generate that organic reach.

Targeted campaigns

There’s a wide range of different re-targeting campaigns that can leverage reach on your best performing offers and best selling products.

The tips we have given only scratch the surface of what ideas can be implemented as part of your seasonal campaigns.

If you’re looking for even more, in-depth marketing tips and ideas, take a look at our Digital Next blog.

Digital marketing is simply a must for any business looking to expand and thrive in this technological age, as floods of consumers use the web to live their day-to-day lives. For many businesses, it is where their customers are at, but deploying the right digital strategy to appeal to your target market is where many marketing teams lack direction. So, in this post, we give you 9 key tips on how to really make the most of your business’s digital marketing efforts.

Social Media

There is no doubt that social media is an essential addition to any digital marketing strategy. In fact, you could go as far as to say that any digital strategy without social media is not worth the paper it is written on, simply because social platforms offer much more than just brand awareness; it instils trust and authority in your brand; it increases your audience size enabling you to connect with a broader range of consumers; it allows you to effectively manage your reputation to the wider digital landscape. The benefits of factoring social media marketing into your digital strategy are truly endless, which affirms the need to integrate both organic and paid social campaigns into your strategy.

However, this should never be a one-size fits-all strategy, you should take time to choose social media platforms carefully, ensuring you are active on the channels where you know your customers are at. For small businesses, focusing on two or three platforms reaps far more benefits that spreading too thin over every social media platform there is. For larger businesses, analyse Google Analytics data to comprehensively understand where your traffic is coming from and other social tools to report on engagement.

Temporary Marketing

Also known as ephemeral marketing, meaning short-lived or transient marketing – SnapChat is leading the way, especially with younger audiences. SnapChat is great for creating a buzz around a new product or service, so don’t dismiss it completely.

This kind of marketing is ‘now you see it, now you don’t’. Promotions and infomercials are short and sweet with the younger generation apparently liking content that is straight to the point.

Content Is ‘You-know-what’

We all know how important digital content is to any digital marketing strategy, hence why I’ve altered the regurgitated adage to refrain from continually using Bill Gates’ statement some 20 years ago. As you will have read (or heard) it countless times before, it would seem that there’s no letting up for the foreseeable future – in any digital marketing strategy, you need content – however taxing or laborious you may find it to be.

Countless studies have proved this, and Google have updated their algorithm to emphasise the importance of content in search marketing. On average, 8 out of 10 people believing that a company with good content wants to build relationships and not only that, but content marketing costs much less than traditional methods; in fact, for every lead it generates it costs half as much, a saving worth having for any business.

Content builds trust, loyalty and engagement, in addition to the myriad factors that have been known for a long time, but yet it is surprising that many businesses still don’t have a content strategy as part of their overall digital strategy.

Location-based technology

For businesses that regularly host events, the use of the latest location-based technology is an important addition to a digital marketing strategy.

The latest technology of this ilk utilises Radio Frequency Identification or RFID can be used as an alternative to bar codes. Consisting of three pieces of kit, companies with regular events are buying into the technology that offers them the edge over competitors.

There are other means of doing this, of course, and hosting events is not the only way to locate your customers that could be near-by. Google have shown that the use of data enabled devices by customers in a certain area is one way of showing them local business etc. Beacons are another effective means of exploiting location-based sales and leads, though finding customers wanting to use these could be a challenge.

Brand advocates/influencers

A digital strategy that focuses on short, sharp and quick interactions is only going part of the way. Brand advocates are loyal customers, so by concentrating your digital strategy on not only finding customers but also keeping them, you will find brand advocates that enjoy your product or service. Customers like to feel this relationship is organic and not forced, genuine, authentic and credible.

Additionally, industry bloggers can offer a wealth of benefits to generating interest in a product/service to their following as it’s generally understood that popular influencers are considered to trustworthy and authoritative across the ‘sociosphere’. However, on important point to remember which often requires iteration is that to get bloggers on your side for promoting your content the relationship absolutely has to be mutually beneficial.

Scheduling tools

Any business active of social media will know how much time it can and does swallow. Managing tweets and posts is essential. Combine this with the amazing power of content and you have a digital strategy that could take off.

As well as outsourcing part or all of social media management, there are a variety of platforms such as Hootsuite and Buffer than can help out with scheduling tweets and posts. However, always keep a sense of human-ness about tweets and posts, as being too automated can be a turn off for customers and fans

Wearable tech

Wearable tech – the LG Urbane watches the Apple watches and so on – are a steady burn in the world of technology. Some people love them and see the value in them, others are still unsure.

What this denotes is a distinction in behaviour. As a company, you will want to take advantage of this as a means of more targeted marketing. Are your customers into wearable tech?

Understanding who finds this kind of technology exciting and a must-have accessory should be a high priority because, if they are your customers and fans, this needs to be worked into your digital strategy.

Video Content

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which shouldn’t really be too surprising when considering that the latter bought out the former for US$1.65 billion back in November 2006. So, when Google deployed a similar algorithm to the one embedded into their search engine, it enabled YouTube videos to be indexed in a similar vein to how Google Search indexes websites.

What does this mean for you, you may be thinking? Well it means that creating videos, vines, films, animations and having your own YouTube channel could pay dividends. And it does – which is precisely why video creators invest so much time into frequently updating their YouTube channel.

The addition of live streaming takes this to a whole new level so if you are yet to look at this as digital strategy then the time is NOW! This coming year, it is essential you explore SnapChat, Periscope as well as building a presence, or improving it on YouTube.

Optimised, responsive website

At this point in 2016, having a fully optimised and responsive website that can seamlessly display on all devices (mobile, tablet and desktop) should be a no-brainer, but some businesses have been slower to change than others.

Customers are now expecting a heightened level of responsiveness from websites. A slow, chunky site is an immediate turn off and worse still, if a customer cannot comfortably access your site without too much fiddling, they will simply navigate away.

The use of mobile devices to access the web has steadily climbed in recent years, for audiences across the globe and with the number looking to carry on climbing, if you have not already created or adapted your website for mobile or tablet, then you simply must – or face being left behind.

With only 25 days until 1st January 2016, its only natural for marketers to be thinking ahead into 2016. If you are anything like me, you have an excel spreadsheet filled content calendar that has taken you up to Black Friday 2016!

So from content and relationship marketing, to harvesting data goldmines and the Internet of Things, here we look at the most well-researched marketing trends for 2016.

Your marketing revolves around Content

Remaining on the throne and rightly so, the demand for quality, educational content continues to grow. If it wasn’t in 2015, then content should be priority to every business regardless of size or industry. Content is KEY to inbound marketing, whether its written or visual, as it aims to provide information to your current and potential customers. How, you might ask? It builds trust and ensures that you are seen as an industry thought leader.

This is no new trend however, and this year the Content Marketing Institute found that 88% of B2B businesses are using content marketing. Of the 88%, 78% said they increased their overall content creation since 2014.

But why? Most people think its to enhance your search ranking within search engines, but the real power lies in the overall effect it has on your brand perception.

  • According to the Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.
  • 90% of consumers find custom content useful, while 78% percent believe that companies with custom content are therefore interested in building a good relationship with them.
  • Animoto found that 58% of customers believe companies who produce video content are more trustworthy than those who do not.
  • Animoto also found that 71% of customers claim videos leave a positive impression of a company.
  • Content marketing actually costs less than traditional outbound marketing, by a whopping 62%. This great infographic from Mashable compares the costs.

Building on relationships

Most of us already own a smart phone, and by 2016 it’s expected that over 2 billion people WORLDWIDE will own a smart phone, giving us as marketeers unprecedented access to our target audience! Introducing, relationship marketing…

The aim of this, for us as businesses, is to build a stong, loyal and long-term customer engagement rather than the quick, one-off hard sell.

Expect a pull at your heart strings as companies will and already are developing strong connections with their customers, which in turn drives word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation. Emotional marketing is where a brand use a day-to-day relatable story to entice you in and generate brand preferential attachment.

Dove had me in tears with this relatable video…

Data Goldmine

Lots of data excites me, and there is no end as to what you can infer from the interpretation of data. Companies will need to set up unique goal tracking with an emphasis on relationship metrics to ensure they are building persona profiles on its customers such as likes, dislikes and habits. This will mean a string of mass-target marketing approaches, but think  of transparency between customers and brands.

A brand that do this well, in my opinion is Coca-Cola. I can’t stomach the drink, but I love the brand and their innovative advertising strategies. The company have used this approach for decades, long before relationship marketing became an recognised industry term. Coca-Cola knows full well that they can’t market the benefits from drinking their product, because let’s face it, it’s extremely bad for you. So the company has found ways to engage and connect with its customers at an emotional level.

Below are two of my favourite campaigns from the brand – right in the feels.

The Internet of Things

Based on current marketing trends, by 2016 we will see a user adoption rate of 28% on wearable technology, which means lots more data for marketers to mine. This will become a bigger and bigger tool which we can use to engage with customers. I predict this data is going to include the most intrusive data in marketing history, with devices telling marketers everything we need to know about consumer habits.

According to research, Wearable tech will challenge us to develop an understanding of end users by the sensors, which we will start seeing embedded into smart clothing, glasses, watches and even jewellery. These devices will be able to read peoples biological responses when purchasing (or not) and also using (or not using) certain products and services. Responding to a customers context will no longer be simply about their location, but also their emotional state.

Mobile – No longer an option

Two big things happened for mobile this year. Firstly, Google announced that mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in 10 different countries, including the US and Japan. Secondly, Google released the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm; basically they are phasing out sites that are not optimised for mobile, effectively damning your website if it’s not optimised. All the signs from Google point in the direction of desktop traffic fading away, meaning that smart money rests on mobile-focused online marketing.

“MOBILE SHOPPERS CONVERT 160% MORE OFTEN ON SITES OPTIMISED FOR SMARTPHONES.”

Moving forward with Video

We’ve seen a HUGE rise in video content. Video has exploded into every online avenue. It’s everywhere and is one of the most used sources of online medium.

This trend is only set to continue, with predictions that 74% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2017.

Another big change advancing video content is that from 2016 Google will be on board with in-SERP video advertising. This basically means that when you search for a term you will also receive advertisement videos streaming in the SERP. (Search Engine Results Pages.) This is a clear indication that customers are becoming more accepting of visual media. We can certainly expect to see more types of video ads popping up in more unexpected places.

These are just a few predictions to take in to stay ahead of the market and understand the landscape, to maxmise on opportunities before your competitors do.

Well, the long wait is officially over, it’s officially Back to the Future Day!!

For those of you that are now sat there wondering what we’re going on about, today is the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown crashed into the future some 26 years ago in the second film of the trilogy.

back to the future day

Released in 1989, the sequel to the original Back to the Future movie made today’s date seem like lightyears ago at the time, where people believed that we’d now be citizens of an alien-like, futuristic world, with incomprehensible technological advancements that defined a prospective expectation of life in the year 2015. Although there are many questions that fans may be wondering today, we take a look at how Back to the Future may have influenced some pivotal technological landmarks of the Digital Age.

Wearable Technology

When the film was first released the thought of wearable technology quite probably sounded preposterous, so when we first saw Marty’s talking jacket it’s no surprise that people didn’t run out of the cinema screaming. However, when we look back retrospectively it’s clear that that feeling is most definitely a thing of the past, particularly with the emerging popularity of wearable tech products such as Apple Watch and Fitbit.

marty's talking jacket

To draw upon another perplexing idea at the time, the police hats with flashing messages detailing the officer’s credentials, now almost seem to resemble CuteCircuit’s Twitter dress. Is it too farfetched to consider that the inception of these social media integrated garments have been inspired from BTTF?

CuteCircuit's Twitter Dress

Home Entertainment

In BTTF II, you may remember that the McFly’s had a roll-up flatscreen in their home and a voice-controlled television in their home that displayed a range of digital content.

back to the future tv

This preconception of the future of home entertainment was quite possibly the most accurate, given that smart TV’s already boast much of this technology with LG’s super-thin, flexible screens and voice-controlled TV’s from Samsung and Sony. Further to this, voice-control has now been cemented into our everyday lives with Siri on iPhone and Cortana on Windows enabling the user to operate their mobile phone without the need to even touch a button!

Smartglasses

Another notable similarity from the film is Marty Jr.’s hi-tech JVC specs, and despite the brand not necessarily still the heavyweight that it once was, it could have inspired many of today’s smartglasses such as Google Glass, Microsoft Hololens and Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset.

back to the future smartglasses

Even with the inclusion of smartglasses and smart TV’s in the film, it’s fairly surprising that there was no representation of a smartphone in the film. However, there was subtle undertones of a data-connected world, but the interface for this form of satellite communication was through the TV rather than a handheld device.

apple iglass

Digital Mobility

back to the future hoverboard

Although the DeLorean time machine is still far from reality even now that we’re ‘in the future’, the hoverboard is possibly the fan’s favourite method of transport in the film, as they watched Marty Jr. race away from Biff in an outlandish chase scene.

hendo hoverboard

Given that Lexus have recently revealed a levitating magnetic hoverboard prototype, which operates in a similar way to the one in the film, it’d be no surprise to see these hitting the mainstream in the next 20 years or so. Additionally, a crowd-funded project by Silicon Valley tech company Hendo, has seen the development of a different type of working hoverboard with Tony Hawk helping design and test the prototype.

Although hoverboards aren’t perceived to be a thing of the norm as yet, other technological mobility products – such as the Segway and the less-expensive Swegway – have eased their way into consumer’s lives and could potentially derive from the hoverboards efficient transportation (even if they do look a bit daft!).

drift scooters

To their credit, it seems that the filmmakers’ perception of life in 2015 isn’t too far from reality with many similarities in the digital and technological world, so to consider that Back to the Future has been an inspiration behind many of these products shouldn’t be too strange of a concept.

Digital Next are proud to present Yahya Maasher, the latest teenage reviewing sensation taking YouTube by storm. Yahya only moved to Manchester five years ago from Yemen but has already earned thousands of pounds from his YouTube channel where brands send him technology products to review. His YouTube channel, Yahya M, is watched thousands of times each week, with viewers tuning in to hear his opinion on new phones, apps and cloud computing services.

Yahya first discovered his knack for technology by trying to get better reception on his television in Yemen. The Manchester Academy pupil said:

“In Yemen the TV reception was really bad and we couldn’t get a good picture, so I got the right wires to mend that, then I got books from school and learned to fix a computer.”

The teenager, who lives in Old Trafford, is sent free products from companies including Vodafone to review online, while at school, classmates give him their broken phones and tablets to fix – which he does for free.

It was during a visit to Yahya’s school, where Digital Next delivered a workshop to pupils entering a competition asking them to design a digital marketing campaign, that Yahya first came to our attention. Since then, the company has mentored and supported Yahya gaining him media and press intention as well as providing him with invaluable advice on how to gain more views and utilise his channel more effectively.

After university, Yahya is hoping to go into a career in the digital sector but for now his focus is on his school work and growing his YouTube channel.

We look forward to seeing what Yahya has up his sleeve next!