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Marketing: 5 ways to make the most of working from home

We all have them – those tasks that you never quite have the time to complete because they’re always getting pushed down the to-do list. That is until now…

If lockdown has freed up some of your time, now is the perfect opportunity to give your business a marketing spring clean and make constructive use of the new ‘normal’. Here’s how.

Take your business digital

You may have embraced working from home – but have you made it work for you? Organisations big and small have been adapting their usual offering, with many going virtual to ensure they can still provide a level of service to customers. Some have taken smaller measures and are embracing what social media can do to connect them with new and existing customers, for example, while others have completely flipped their services to fit the digital space.

Here at TLC, many of our campaigns are managed and implemented digitally already, but we’ve also recently gone a step further by switching the delivery of our Marketing Ideas Sessions over to Zoom video calls. You can book your free slot with us here!

Review your marketing strategy

Creating content, executing campaigns and making your way through your marketing plan is all well and good – but only if it’s generating results. Ideally, you should be reviewing your marketing strategy on a regular basis in order to identify what could be tweaked to encourage more bang for your marketing buck.

Some key areas to review are:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Paid advertising
  • Conversion rates
  • Google Analytics

So that you can continue to monitor performance consistently, set up reports to monitor conversions (sales, enquiries etc.) in line with individual campaigns. Google Data Studio can help.

Audit your website

In a world where Google’s increasingly stringent requirements can make it difficult to keep up with rules and guidelines, you want to make sure you’re doing all you can to maximise the benefits of your website. An audit will allow you to identify if your website is optimised to achieve your business goals and what areas could be improved upon.

HubSpot’s Website Grader is a great free tool that can help you with your initial assessment and will grade your site on various criteria, including:

  • Website performance – page speed, browser caching, image sizes etc.
  • Mobile optimisation – font sizes, responsiveness and tap targets
  • SEO metrics – meta data, permission to index etc.
  • Security – HTTPS and javascript libraries

Another useful tool is Google Search Console, which helps you to:

  • Confirm that Google can find your site
  • Fix indexing problems
  • Review search traffic
  • Troubleshoot errors
  • Identify backlink sources

Upskill your team

If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of businesses to sign up to the government’s newly-introduced Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – or your employees simply find they have more time on their hands during lockdown – consider ways in which you can upskill your team and boost their knowledge.

There are plenty of eLearning courses available for industries of all shapes and sizes, varying from free 20-minute how-to videos to longer, recognised qualifications. Taking the time now to get your employees up-to-scratch will pay dividends in the long-term.

Get involved with local initiatives

Very few companies prioritise community work but demonstrating the conscientious side of your business is actually a simple and effective way to strengthen your brand. Those that do so are more likely to win customer loyalty and even attract talent.

Whether you fundraise for local food banks or the NHS, or even get involved with a volunteer scheme to deliver medication and essentials to vulnerable members of the community, your actions will have a lasting positive impact for months to come.

By using your time wisely, you can ensure your business stays connected and relevant for when life returns to normal. If you’re looking for some help and advice on how to get on top of your marketing whilst working from home, give the TLC team a call on 01962 600147 or email info@tlc-business.co.uk.

Annual ‘Marketing for SMEs’ event enjoys a great turnout

TLC Business Winchester Marketing for SMEs seminar
The team at TLC Business extends its gratitude to the guests who attended our ‘Marketing for SMEs’ event on Thursday 13th February at Holiday Inn Winchester. We hope we achieved our aim and created a useful and enjoyable session full of pointers to help you improve your marketing in 2020.

During the event, TLC Business’ Managing Director, Josh Spencer, presented the latest marketing trends SMEs can use to help increase enquires and grow their businesses. Josh touched upon topics such as effective use of social media for SMEs, changes to SEO and how to rank in search engines, and why remarketing should not be overlooked as a conversion strategy.
 
We saw SMEs from across Hampshire and beyond, from a diverse range of sectors, attend the event with a view to discover how their marketing can be improved in 2020. Sectors included accountancy, IT, PCB assembly, marine engineering, and insurance.
 
If you missed this year’s seminar and would like more information on future events including our free marketing ideas sessions, let us know by emailing Sophie at sophiewells@tlc-business.co.uk or give us a call on 01962 600 147. 

B2B marketing strategy: What marketing methods should you be using in 2020?

Introduction

Every successful business in 2020 should have a marketing strategy. A marketing strategy will define the marketing channels you will use as a business to reach, connect and engage with your customers and prospects to generate leads. The marketing channels you use should be appropriately chosen to get the biggest bang for your buck and specific to your business and the sector you’re in, but also, your choice should take into consideration your goals as a business. Ask yourself what do you want to achieve through your marketing? Is it growing your customer base and expanding your audience? Is it to generate more leads? Or for customer retention purposes? Whatever your aim is, firstly you must have a good understanding of your market, where you sit in that market and who your audience is, in order to identify the right marketing channels for you.

Where do I start?

First-things-first, a review of your competitors will help you to establish your company’s positioning and determine where you sit in the current market. If the market seems very crowded and everyone (including you) looks more or less the same, offering the same products or services, you need to consider how to stand out (in a good way!) and offer something unique to attract your customers, or as we call it – a USP (unique selling point). Whereas, you might discover you operate in a gap in the market, in which case you have something unique that nobody else is offering.

When you have reviewed your competitors and established your position and any USP you might have, you can then identify your target audience. You may have multiple customer profiles that you wish to target for your business, based around different products or services. You will need to consider your audience’s business type, age, gender, location, sector, job role, interests etc., to have a better understanding of what marketing channels you need to introduce into your marketing strategy. Your audience will also determine the type of messaging you use and what your marketing should look like.

You should use your review of your competitors to assess what marketing channels and techniques other businesses are using, as well as to find out which ones they are using well and which are not so effective. For example: what is their website like? Are they publishing new content regularly? Are they using social media? If so, which platforms are they using and how often are they posting? Do they send a newsletter? Have they got re-marketing ads set-up? Do they have pay-per-click adverts on Google? And so on. This will benefit you when you come to planning your marketing strategy and deciding which channels and techniques you should be using or could be doing better on, as well as which ones to avoid.

What’s next?

There are a multitude of effective marketing channels and techniques you can use within the B2B sector to connect with customers and prospects, but before you jump into doing all of them at once, you should create a marketing plan and select the channels that are going to be the most cost effective and beneficial for the results you want.

A marketing plan will also help you to plan for the costs and resources associated with each component and establish whether you will need to hire someone or outsource a marketing specialist to help you. Remember, just because one competitor might be doing everything, this does not mean you should and doing so could be a major waste of your time and money. Find what works for your business.

Some examples of marketing channels to consider for your 2020 strategy

To explain further, we’ll be putting together a series of informative blogs focusing on different marketing channels you could consider, including website & content creation, all things Google (SEO, paid search and remarketing), email marketing & telemarketing, social media and last but not least offline advertising and direct mail.

Keep an eye out on our blog and follow us on social media to make sure you don’t miss which channels will be best for you, to help you deliver your 2020 marketing strategy!

Listen to Josh’s interview on BBC Radio Solent ‘Ask the Expert’

Josh Spencer, Managing Director of TLC Business and Chartered Marketer, is interviewed for Ask the Expert on BBC Radio Solent, discussing all things Marketing!

What is content marketing and how does it benefit lead generation?

A formal definition of content marketing might go something like this – a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing catchy, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a defined target audience and help generate profitable leads. Put simply, it is creating and distributing fun, engaging, powerful and moving content that captures your audience’s attention and compels them to do something. Content marketing should be an ongoing process within your overall marketing strategy; however in the B2B market, very few businesses are executing it to its full potential and are missing a cost-effective marketing trick!

 

What is the ‘content’ in content marketing?

Content marketing revolves around the production of original or curated mixed-media, then distributing it through your different marketing channels, such as website, email or social media. Some typical examples of the type of content you could produce are:

• Blogs
• Case studies
• Video
• Social media posts
• Podcasts
• Webinars
• Infographics
• GIFs
• Quizzes/Surveys
• Competitions
• White Papers
• Resources, for example glossary of terms, calculators, price lists, generators etc
• Apps

 

Content marketing benefits for lead generation
Other than SEO, PPC and other online advertising methods, blogging is considered the most effective tool for B2C and B2B marketers for generating leads through online channels. Did you know that according to statistics by WebDAM, B2B marketers who blog consistently generate 67% more leads than marketers who don’t? So if you don’t have a blog or news page, you might want to consider getting one! However, the content you are putting out needs to be relevant and engaging for your specific audience in order to see results. Different types of content will generate different outcomes based on their purpose. You might create content to increase brand exposure or your social media following. Perhaps you are looking to inform your audience or existing customers about new projects or industry insights. Your choice of content should be specific to your goals and distributed through carefully selected channels tailored towards your audience.

 

Create a content plan
In order to produce consistent and good quality content, we suggest creating a content plan as part of your marketing strategy. A content plan will highlight any activities in relation to your content and give you a schedule to work towards to help keep on top of things! We’ve got some helpful tips to create your plan.

1. Whether you’re new to content marketing, or are looking to improve your existing content, firstly we’d recommend looking at your competitors to see what types of content they are producing, if any, and if it is effective or not, to get some ideas for your own. Useful things to look out for are use of links to their website or to external articles, use of hash-tags, and the engagement they receive including likes, comments and shares. Just remember that whilst It is helpful to get inspiration from your competitors, it can be difficult to come up with original ideas that have never been done before, so make sure you avoid copying content and that yours is unique, your own and reflective of your business.

2. Firstly, you need to choose the types of content you wish to create and your goals, for example, social media posts can be great for brand exposure and increasing your audience reach, whereas case studies and white papers can be used to target industry or solution-specific prospects through a lead-gen email campaign.

3. Establish how much content you can create and how often, given your resources and time. A social media post can be created in several minutes, whereas a white paper can take hours to produce.

4. Lastly, you will need to decide how you will be distributing the content. The majority of content will be hosted on your website, but you can then decide if you will share it on social media, include a feature and a link in your e-newsletter or create a targeted email campaign to prospects or for existing clients.

5. Implement all of the above into a content calendar and schedule posts where applicable using social media managing software such as Hootsuite or Sprout, so that you remain consistent, avoid duplication and can plan weekly or monthly themes and topics that fall in-line with your business model.

 

Content marketing benefits for SEO
The more up-to-date your website is, the more beneficial it is for your user and SEO; therefore, adding new content to your website, such as regular blogs, video, resources, graphics, case studies or white papers can help improve your search engine rankings. Video is increasingly relevant and in demand by users; therefore, having embedded video on your site is a big plus. Content is also a good medium through which to target new keywords, expanding your presence in the search engines, so your audience can find you more readily.

 

How can we help?
At TLC Business, we can take care of all of your content marketing requirements. Need help with social media management, creating engaging blogs and white papers or producing infographics or resources for your audience? Get in touch today by emailing us on info@tlc-business.co.uk or calling 01962 600 147.

Another successful TLC Business Marketing Lunch

Hampshire Marketing Company Event

TLC Business would like to thank all of the attendees who came to our annual marketing lunch last Thursday 7th February at the East Horton Golf Club in Fair Oak. We hope you enjoyed the session and were able to take away useful information and tips to help with your marketing in 2019.

During the seminar we discussed hot marketing topics, trends and tips for 2019; including which marketing channels are most effective for SMEs, updates on GDPR and the ePrivacy regulations, how to get the most from social media, PPC advertising, SEO best practice and more.

The event attracted a wide-array of SME businesses from in and around Hampshire, including IT consultants, architects, HR trainers, engineers, legal services and more.

If you’d like to be informed about future marketing events or availability of our free marketing ideas sessions for SMEs, let us know by emailing Sophie at sophiewells@tlc-business.co.uk or give us a call on 01962 600 147.

Which social media platform is right for your business?

Social media marketing was at the forefront of many businesses’ marketing strategy in 2018, with over 3 billion people worldwide using social media each month. That’s a whopping 42% of the total global population! It’s no wonder businesses are incorporating it into their marketing mix.

Social networks are still attracting more and more users each day; in fact every second, 11 people use social media for the first time. So with uptake figures like these, alongside the global growth of smart phones users and wider internet access, social media as a global phenomenon is not going away. With 9 out of 10 social media users preferring to access their chosen social media platform on mobile devices and the number of mobile phone users in the world expected to pass the 5 billion mark this year, it is clear businesses, if they haven’t already, are going to have to re-align their marketing towards a mobile-driven society, of which social media usage is at its heart.

As consumers, we should all be familiar with YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. We may not use all of them, but the majority of us have at least heard of them or have a good enough idea of what they do. These are the big names in social media, but of course there are others that exist.

Each social media network has its own strengths and weaknesses and different ways in which they are used by their audiences. That’s why businesses need to make informed decisions on what social media channels they use in their marketing mix, and how to use them most effectively, to ensure they leverage each platforms’ unique strengths. To help, we at TLC Business have put together some stats to help you determine which platforms are right for your business and how you can use them to their full potential.

 

Facebook

On average, there are 44 million active users on Facebook in the UK, 52% of which are female and 48% male. The largest age bracket is 25-34 year olds, followed by 18-24 year olds; however, more mature audiences are embracing Facebook. 83% of parents on Facebook are ‘friending’ their children and the number of users aged 65 and above, increased by almost 20% in the last 1-2 years. 13-17 year olds make up the lowest percentage of users on Facebook; determining it is not the recommended platform if you are targeting millennials.

Facebook is designed for sharing videos, blog posts and curated content. According to Hootsuite, the social media management platform, the best time to post on Facebook is 12pm-3pm on Monday-Friday or 12pm-1pm on the weekends. The recommended number of daily posts depends on your following; but according to HubSpot, if you have less than 10,000 followers you should only post once a day or less, anything more than once a day will result in 60% fewer clicks per post. However, if you have more than 10,000 followers, posting 1-2 times per day results in the most clicks and engagement per post.

 

Twitter

With over 500 million tweets sent every day, Twitter has 326 million users, 500 million monthly visitors and a total of 1.3 billion accounts. Twitter’s users are predominantly males between the ages of 18-24. The platform is one of the best B2B social networks to start conversations with your potential customers or industry experts, but it requires you to be active daily. Engaging content is particularly important on this platform and you should be posting frequently. The recommended amount is between 3-5 tweets a day. Wednesday is considered the best day of the week to post on Twitter and it gets the most usage at 12pm and 5-6pm. The best hours of the day to post are midday, 3pm, 5pm and 6pm and if you’re a B2B company, you’re tweets are more likely to perform better during business hours, whereas B2C companies will experience better engagement on weekends. The majority of people use Twitter to keep up to date with news headlines; therefore, Twitter is the ideal platform for sharing news relevant to your followers; such as company and product announcements. Other types of posts that perform well on Twitter include sharing relevant links, photos, GIFs, infographics and videos. However, posts on Twitter need to be kept short but remain attention-grabbing. There is a limit of 280 characters per post, including the use of hashtags and links, and also a maximum video length of 140 seconds if uploaded directly to Twitter.

 

Instagram

In the UK, there are 21 million active users every month on Instagram. That’s 32% of the UK population! The majority of users are female, 57% compared to 43% male, and the age bracket most prominent is 18-24 year olds, followed by 25-34 year olds. Instagram is said to be the fastest growing social media platform and it is predicted that user growth going forward will consist predominantly of those 35 and older.

Instagram is a platform for sharing photographs or videos to your profile or story; however, last year the Facebook-owned platform also introduced Instagram TV, designed for sharing more lengthy vlog-style videos or movies. Instagram audiences appreciate high-quality, aesthetically-pleasing imagery and videos; which are thoughtfully composed and presented. For businesses, the posts which receive the best engagement are product photos, behind-the-scenes shots and motivational or inspiring quotes. The platform is typically used by more B2C companies who want to reach their consumers and build their following; however, for B2B markets it is a great tool for sharing industry relevant content and showcasing company culture. According to HubSpot, the best times of day to post on Instagram are Monday and Thursday at 2am, 8-9am or at 5pm. Posts get more reach and engagement outside of work hours and you should avoid posting between 3pm-4pm. However, when it comes to video, posts at 9pm receive 34% more interactions. The recommended daily amount of posts is between 1-2 per day, providing it is high-quality content.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is targeted at professionals and is designed for business-related content. With over 500 million members, LinkedIn is an ideal platform for establishing connections with fellow professionals, as well as promoting product launches and company announcements. Over 24 million companies have created LinkedIn pages, making it the ideal network for B2B businesses looking to reach stakeholders and decision makers. LinkedIn is used mainly by people with higher paying jobs, with 45% of people earning over $75K per annum, compared to just 13% of those earning under $30K. The average CEO has 930 LinkedIn connections. Posting once a day during the working week is recommended to reach at least 60% of your audience, and according to HubSpot, the best days to post are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7-8am, 12pm or 5-6pm. Professionals are more likely to read LinkedIn content in the morning during a work commute. The best content for a LinkedIn company page is career and recruitment information, company culture, quotes, thought pieces from employees, including their experience working for the company, company achievements and organisation announcements. LinkedIn content, on both company and personal pages, should remain work-related and professional, and personal profiles can be used to re-share company posts, connect directly with colleagues and other industry professionals.

 

Snapchat

Snapchat is a picture, video sharing and messaging app and has 187 million active daily users. In the UK, 77% of those are under 25; therefore, it is particularly targeted at millennials. Snapchat is used by businesses in a variety of ways. More specifically, B2C organisations use it predominantly to promote or sell a product. There is the snapchat ‘story’ feature; which is used for sharing images or short videos with your followers and is a great way to demonstrate to your audience the day-to-day goings on in your organisation. Stories delete themselves after 24hrs, but portions of the story can be deleted at any time. There are also multiple advertising tools available within the platform, including ‘snap ads’ which are 10-second vertical videos, to geo-filters and lenses; which allow users to access a snapchat filter and take a selfie with it. The recommended time to post on Snapchat is between 10pm-1am, as this is when traffic is the highest and 4-7 uploads a week is the optimum amount.

 

YouTube

YouTube is the most popular social platform of them all. 1 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched every day and 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. More than half of YouTube video views come from mobile devices and the average viewing session lasts more than 40 minutes. Businesses can use YouTube to upload “how to” and explainer videos, product walkthroughs, interviews with a thought leader, or a direct piece to camera (vlog) discussing what’s happening in the company. If you have content to upload regularly, such as a video series, you should set up a schedule to post at the same day and time every week. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the recommended times to post are Thursdays and Fridays between 12pm-3pm or weekends between 9-11am, as these are the times when there are the most viewers available to watch your videos.

 

Choosing the right social media platform

Developing a social media strategy that targets the right audience, on the right platforms doesn’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. A variety of content and scheduling is crucial to getting the most effective results out of social networking and for building your business’ profile. Some social networks may be more fit for your business needs than others. It is certainly not necessary to have a profile on every single one and perhaps more importantly, it can have a negative impact on your brand if you have a social network profile with no posts or that has been dormant for more than a year.

If you’re looking to implement or improve your social media marketing in 2019, TLC Business can help. We have a fully managed social media service that can take care of all of your business’ social media requirements, including developing a strategy, planning and creating content, setting up profiles, growing your followers and engaging with your audience.

To find out more about our social media marketing services, give us a call on 01962 600 147 or email us on info@tlc-business.co.uk.

5 unique advertising methods

Trying to get heard amongst all the competing advertising noise out there is not easy. Estimates suggest we are exposed to over 10,000 brand / company messages each day. Clearly, advertising is highly competitive. Millions of different companies and brands are fighting for the attention of their target audiences each day. Online, in print, on TV, radio, billboards, mobile and more, advertisers are in danger of drowning each other out.  With this in mind, companies are always on the lookout for unique and innovative ways to get their message across.

This week, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the more unusual advertising techniques. Here are some of our favourites.

 

1. Wi-Fi network names

In March 2016, Audi attended the New York auto show with a unique and clever advertising hack. The German car company set up a number of free Wi-Fi networks and gave each network a name that doubled up as an advertisement for the back-then brand new Audi A4. Each network was named with one reason to choose the A4 and also bashed their rival BMW 328i at the same time, including statements such as “#:1 A4 more horsepower than 328i” and “#4: A4 has CarPlay”. It’s not the first time a company has used Wi-Fi networks to double up as advertising, but we can see how it could be an effective and amusing marketing technique to get your brand or product stand out, particularly for an event where free Wi-Fi is just about the first thing mobile users look for.

 

2. On our food
Using a laser etching technique, brands have even found a way to safely advertise on our food! This advertising technique is most commonly found in Butcher’s markets to advertise sellers produce, or in the health and fitness industry for advertising the likes of gym memberships or nutritional advice. Laser etching or printing on foods has typically been used in the food industry to mark produce with dates and numbers to identify their location or factory source. Taking inspiration, some brands have now hijacked this technique, adding messaging to their food. Alongside meat, the technique has been seen on egg shells and even the skins of fruit and vegetables, including avocados, melons and potatoes.

 

3. Human Body

Have you ever heard of forehead advertising? No, us neither! But some people are willing to do bizarre things to make money, one of which is getting yourself tattooed with a logo or company’s website address. The tattoos can be temporary or permanent and are not just limited to the forehead; people have sold areas of their arms, neck, chest and legs to make some serious buck! Similarly, a Japanese advertising firm recently sold advertising space on commuters armpits to a beauty treatment clinic. The advertisements measure nearly 2” x 4”, are placed in the armpit and cost approximately £68 for one hour of exposure on a commuter train or bus. We’re not sure if this advertising technique will take off in the UK but keep an eye out.

 

4. Captchas

We’re all familiar with captchas, those annoying boxes that appear on websites. They often appear when entering personal credentials to purchase something online or to access an account. A captcha will usually ask you to type a series of letters or a phrase into a box to prove that we’re not spam robots. They display text in a distorted font, a range of upper case and lower case letters or with a line straight through, supposedly making it too difficult for anything non-human to decipher. Sometimes they may even show a series of images to click on or a short video with a message at the end which you need to copy into the box. The aim is to ensure that a response is not generated by a computer, but copied by a human behind a screen and they are deemed necessary for protection against spam. While banner ads can often be overlooked and ignored, captchas require a user’s undivided attention and advertisers caught onto this. Captcha’s use of words and pictures are more often random and have no significance, but some companies have purchased captcha space to use them to advertise their names, slogans and brand. They can also include clickable links to their website and run on a PPC model or cost per impression basis. They might be irritating, but they cannot be ignored.

 

5. Hi-Jack other advertisements
Advertisements can be costly and coming up with an ad that is creative and unique can be hard work, costly and time consuming. So why not save the money and effort of designing an ad and instead deface another advertisement by placing your own label right on top of it? In Germany, Hubba Bubba adopted a questionable-at-best guerrilla advertising campaign which involved using other brands’ advertisements to display their iconic bubble gum. They hijacked billboards advertisements containing people, including a model advertising a lingerie brand, and added pink balloons with the label Hubba Bubba over their mouths to replicate a bubble gum bubble. Hubba Bubba is iconic for their creative and unusual advertisements and this type of guerrilla marketing definitely caught people’s attention.

What are some unique or clever advertising techniques you’ve come across? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Email us at info@tlc-business.co.uk.

What you need to know about LinkedIn Advertising for B2B marketing

The social platform LinkedIn, has over 500 million members, of which 260 million are logging in each month and 40% of active monthly users are using it daily. As a professional platform, the typical LinkedIn user looks for valuable content to read and uses it to make connections with businesses and other professionals. This is in marked contrast to your typical consumer behaviour on social media platforms, like Instagram or Facebook, which involves scrolling through a feed of your friends’ wedding photos, your cousin’s holiday videos and a selection of Buzzfeed quizzes. If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re looking to engage with professionals, you could be reaching millions of them every day through advertising and sharing content on LinkedIn – and the best part is, they’re far more likely to read what you have to offer.

According to recent research, LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs and 92% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their digital marketing mix. What’s more, out of all B2B leads derived from social media, LinkedIn is responsible for 80%, compared to only 13% coming from Twitter and just 7% from Facebook.

With LinkedIn advertising, you’re targeting a quality audience of professionals, including the 73 million users who are senior-level influencers and 45 million decision makers.

 

How to set up self-service LinkedIn advertising
There are three main LinkedIn advertising options available through LinkedIn’s self-service advertising platform, Campaign Manager. These are Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail and Text Ads. To create an ad you will need to have a personal LinkedIn page. You simply sign in to your personal LinkedIn account, click on ‘Work’ in the menu, select ‘Advertise’ and then select ‘Create ad’. This will take you to Campaign Manager, in which you will need to create an account if you do not already have one. Campaign Manager is where you manage your adverts and access dynamic and visual reports of your ads’ performances.

 

How much does it cost?
You can control the costs of a self-service ad (Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, Text Ad) by setting up start and end dates and allocating maximum budgets. Much like Google Ads (as it is now called), you define the costs of these adverts in two ways. First, by setting a maximum daily budget, then by setting a maximum amount you want to pay for each click (CPC) or for every 1,000 impressions (CPM) your ad receives. If you choose the bidding option, Campaign Manager will suggest a bid range based on the current competing bids by other advertisers targeting the same audience. The costs of CPCs and CPMs on LinkedIn are typically more expensive than other social media platforms; however, you would expect the engagement and conversion rates to be higher.

 

Sponsored Content
Sponsored Content is a form of native advertising that appears directly in the LinkedIn feeds of the professionals you wish to target and works on both desktop and mobile. It is the preferred option for sharing rich content that you want to stand out in the news feeds of your targets and often includes either a link to an interesting article, your company website, a video or an audio clip. The natural placement of this style of advertising typically gets more engagement compared to other LinkedIn advertising methods and enables you to use more text and larger images. In order to create Sponsored Content, you must have a company LinkedIn page, as you will use content that have created or shared via your company page to turn into a sponsored post. You can choose to run your Sponsored Content ads on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-1,000-impressions (CPM) basis.

 

Sponsored InMail
Sponsored InMail is a unique form of advertising that allows you to reach users when they’re most engaged. Through LinkedIn Messenger the Sponsored InMail will send personalised messages to targeted individuals which are only sent when they are active on LinkedIn to help the messages get noticed. It’s an effective form of advertising for sending messages with more text, including personalised invitations to webinars and other events or to promote content such as downloadable e-books and white papers. The ads work on all devices and consist of a custom greeting, call-to-action button, body text and the ability to add links in the text. Sponsored InMail ads run on a “cost per send” basis, meaning that you pay per unit for each message you send.

 

Text Ads
Alternatively, you can create Text Ads which are small, straight to the point and usually appear at the top of the LinkedIn homepage. However, they only show on desktop devices and therefore typically have a lower CPM compared to other LinkedIn ad formats. They consist of a maximum 50 x 50 pixel image, which is usually an image of a product, person or the company logo and sits alongside a maximum 75 character limit copy and 25 character limit headline, therefore the call to action must be short and concise. They are suitable for driving prospects to your company LinkedIn page or to a specific landing page on your website.

 

Dynamic Ads
LinkedIn Dynamic Ads are available to purchase through a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions representative. They only appear on desktop devices, on the right-hand side of your home page and use the LinkedIn profile image of the individual you are targeting to attract their attention. Dynamic Ads have a catchy call-to-action such as an invitation to follow a page, join a group or visit a website and there is a small space for a company logo so the prospect can identify who the ad has come from. They are effective for building engagement and followers on your company page by targeting the right prospects based on audience profiling.

 

Display Ads
LinkedIn Display Ads are only visible on desktop and can be purchased through your programmatic buying provider, through either an open auction or LinkedIn private auction. There are two options for targeting audiences with Display Ads, the first is ‘intent-based targeting’; which is used to retarget website visitors, CRM contacts, similar audiences or using your own first or third party cookie data. Alternatively, ‘professional identity targeting’ uses LinkedIn’s audience segments to reach professional audiences based on their company size, seniority, career type, education and more. Display Ads are suitable for creating engaging and eye-catching content and reaching audiences on high-traffic LinkedIn pages.

 

Why B2B marketers should think about using LinkedIn advertising
• Advertising through LinkedIn enables you to target audiences based on their company, job title, seniority, qualifications, age, gender and more. From the perspective of a B2B marketer, it has the potential to generate more focused, high-quality leads and conversions. There is a maximum of 100 selections per targeting option and you can also enable ‘audience expansion’ to increase the reach of your campaigns by showing your ads to audiences with a similar profiling to your selected target audience. Unlike Facebook Ads, LinkedIn allows you to drill down to reach more specific and targeted users based on their professional background.
• You can also test your ad methods by using A/B testing methods or by rotating ad variations to test your ads’ performances over time. You can vary your ads by changing the image, headline, text or destination to see which ad performs best.
• You can measure the success of your ads using the Campaign Manager to track the performance of clicks, impressions, costs and other metrics. The reports also provide a detailed view of the demographic categories of the LinkedIn members who saw and engaged with your ads.
• You are in control. You define what you will pay for each click or 1000 impressions and you won’t pay more than the budget you’ve set.
• Furthermore, a study by HubSpot revealed that LinkedIn generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rates (2.74%), compared to Twitter ( 0.69%) and Facebook (0.77%), making it the number one social network for lead generation.

 

Without a doubt, LinkedIn is the top performing lead generating social platform for B2B marketers. The advertising costs may be a little more expensive than other networks, but with LinkedIn advertising, the stats all show you are likely to get a higher quality and greater volume of leads compared to the likes of Facebook or Twitter. If you are not already utilising LinkedIn advertising, we hope we’ve given you something to think about…

5 World Cup marketing campaigns that caught our attention

Just under two weeks into the World Cup and there has already been many surprising results. The England team have won their first two tournament games, against Tunisia and Panama, with 18 million people tuning in to watch their 2-1 victory and 6 -1 win. Russia has managed to prove their pre-tournament critics wrong, winning their first two games against Saudi Arabia and Egypt, giving them the best start any hosting country has ever had. Finally, as we were finishing this post, Germany went out in the group stages! However, with many companies jumping on the World Cup bandwagon with their marketing campaigns, it seems the matches haven’t been the only thing catching the audience’s attention. As one now expects, when the World Cup rolls around every four years, businesses large and small look to capitalise on the event in ever new and creative marketing campaigns. So let’s take a look at some of the biggest campaigns that have dominated this year’s competition so far.

 

  1. Interactive Budweiser Campaign

One of the biggest global campaigns to be unveiled was by Budweiser, who is the official beer of the World Cup. Unsurprisingly, they released a series of short video advertisement’s to be featured on TV. However, they have also taken the opportunity to target a younger demographic with their marketing by partnering up with the social media platform Snapchat. It came with its risks, since Snapchat’s age policy is 13 and upwards, meaning they had to be careful they weren’t encouraging underage drinking. The brand said they were confident their campaign didn’t reach under an under-18s audience, but this remains to be seen. Underage drinking aside! The innovative campaign launched the first sound activated Snapchat Lens, designed to respond to the sounds of frenzied football fans. In addition to this, Budweiser is also releasing a ‘Snappable’ lens which is a new form of interactive technology that encourages users to share their experiences with friends through playing augmented reality games. Budweiser are establishing a reputation for embracing new technology in their marketing (who could forget their noise-activated beers cups), using it effectively to engage their target audience and generate a buzz.

  1. Nike VS. Adidas

With Nike and Adidas being two of the biggest sports brands in the world, it’s no surprise that they have spent huge sums of marketing budget battling for consumer attention during arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. In terms of video marketing, both brands released ads that were emotionally engaging and it seems Nike came out on top in that battle, by scoring a higher percentage of engagement amongst fans. However, with Nike and Adidas focused on each other, upcoming brands, such as New Balance, are gaining World Cup market share by adopting a different approach. With their biggest rivals allocating much of their marketing budgets to expensive sponsorship deals, New Balance has focused their strategy on engaging consumers through social media campaigns. During the World Cup, New Balance has successfully used social media influencers on YouTube to gain brand awareness and consumer mind-share.

  1. MasterCard Controversial Campaign

MasterCard’s recent World Cup social media campaign, entitled ‘Goals that change lives’, made waves for the wrong reasons when they experienced a Twitter backlash. The insensitive campaign drew criticism across the board with users describing it as ‘’easily the worst marketing I’ve ever seen’’. The crux of the campaign centred around the company’s promise to give 10,000 children a meal for every goal scored by Messi or Neymar, inspired by the drive to eliminate world hunger. Predictably, the campaign provoked a wave of verified Twitter users criticising the campaign, arguing it was a cruel proposition and ‘’why not give them the meals anyway?’’ Although the football players were proud to be a part of helping change people’s lives, many argued it was the wrong type of issue to include in a World Cup marketing campaign and management should have realised before going forward with it. Since the recent uproar on Twitter, MasterCard has decided to discontinue their campaign and instead adopted a target to donate 1 million meals by the end of the year.

 

  1. Paddy Power Pledge

In a similar, but more well-received campaign, Paddy Power has offered to donate £10,000 to LGBT charities for every goal scored by Russia as part of their campaign. As with many of the World Cup marketing campaigns, this one is being backed by celebrities, including Caitlyn Jenner, Danni Wyatt and Gareth Thomas. With Russia unexpectedly winning both of their first matches and scoring a total of 8 goals in the process, Paddy Power has already donated £80,000. With home advantage and momentum on their side, you’d bet Russia has still got more goals in them.

 

  1. Coca-Cola

No global sporting event of the magnitude of the World Cup would be complete without the drinks giant Coca-Cola getting in on the marketing campaign act. This year is no different, with Coca-Cola launching a series of video ads soundtracked by Jason Derulo and AC/DC and a set of limited-edition numbered cans so you can make your match score predictions.  The third of their ads takes an innovative approach and employers virtual animations of players from the FIFA 2018 game. A pre-release version was launched in Time Square earlier in the year on what was hailed as the ‘’first 3D electro – Kinetic Billboard’’ in the world. The ad is part of a strategy to appeal to a younger demographic, in which they have also teamed up with EA Sports FIFA 2018.

 

We hope this has given you some inspiration for your marketing this World Cup and don’t forget to let us know your favourite World Cup-themed marketing campaigns!