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Top 5 Marketing Trends Not to Miss in 2018

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Are you ready to hit the ground running in 2018? Keeping up with the latest marketing trends, especially in social media and adtech, is increasing as much in difficulty as it is in importance. Here are our top marketing trends for 2018 to help you stay ahead of the competition.

1. AI takes hold

There has been non-stop excitement in the media about AI in the last few years and now businesses are starting to see applications take hold in the marketing space. A prime example is the chatbot, the little robot that replies to messages on behalf of your business. Brands like Starbucks, National Geographic and Marvel have already successfully rolled out chatbots via Facebook messenger this year and we expect to see more follow suit into 2018 in both the B2C and B2B spaces.

Chatbots might change the way brands interact with their customers in a very obvious way, but according to research conducted by Accenture Interactive, AI is also enhancing data analytics, customer insights and workflow processes for marketers, thus improving strategy and ROI on marketing budgets.

2. Big Data Analytics

Wait, hasn’t this been on the ‘trends to watch’ for years now? Well, yes it has, but it will continue to adapt and change. Insights from analytics have mainly been the preserve of campaign optimisation and performance tracking to date, but it could also be used to start making the customer experience better with tools such as the aforementioned chatbots.  For larger businesses, CRM and ERP software will continue to get smarter, see increased adoption and provide actionable insights across multiple business units, including marketing.

3. Live Streaming Video

Social media platforms paved the way for live streaming video and brands will be taking full advantage in 2018. Studies have shown that 80% of consumers prefer watching a brand’s live video to reading a written blog so it is time to brush up on your live-streaming skills if you are not on board yet. Live-streaming is very interactive which is great for both the audience and the brand. Getting feedback and questions that you can respond to in real-time gives you great insight into customer needs while also making your brand transparent and trustworthy.

If you are already on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter, consider working live-streaming into your 2018 content plan.

4. The rise of micro-influencer

Influencer marketing has had its ups and downs in 2017, when Instagram’s algorithm changes kicked-in, many an influencer was left frustrated or, sometimes exposed as being built on less than true fan followers.

However, there is nothing quite like tapping into the audience of an influencer who is genuine and trusted by their audience. The big celebrities might be out of reach for many marketing budgets, but there is a lot to be said for influencers with between 1k and 20k followers. Their endorsements are more likely to be perceived as authentic than a superstar who is clearly being sponsored.

5.  The GDPR

Things are about to get very real around the GDPR in 2018 as businesses that handle the personal data of EU citizens get their compliance policies ironed out and rolled out. When first announced, the GDPR probably struck fear into the hearts of many marketing teams but it is a good opportunity to clean up databases and ensure your marketing practices are ethical and your communication with your audience is welcome.

If you would like to learn how to better leverage new marketing trends and technology, get in touch and we will help find the right course for you.

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The Best Marketing Blogs for 2018

By Morgan International Staff Writers

You may have tried to hide from digital marketing for a while now, but there really is no hiding any more. If you want your business to be successful, you need to implement a strong digital marketing strategy and in 2018, the importance of this is only going to increase. Don't worry though, you are not alone, there are plenty of marketing blogs and publications to help you along the way, and these are just some of the  best ones to look out for in the New Year.

Social Media Examiner

This blog offers a wealth of information and knowledge on social media, for the beginner to the more experienced. You can also sign up for a free industry report and there is information on latest events, which you might want to attend to improve your knowledge of social media. Social Media Examiner is a definite blog to look out for to keep up-to-date with latest trends and for general tips and advice in 2018.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a great tool for businesses for many reasons, and there is also a highly informative blog on it, with plenty of information about digital marketing and how to improve your techniques. HubSpot have already starting posting blogs for 2018, so if you want to get ahead in the New Year, it is worth checking this out.

Econsultancy

A sign of a good blog is one which is kept up-to-date and at the Econsultancy, you get access to all the latest digital marketing news and trends. There are trends already published for 2018 on this blog to get your ready for the New Year.

Moz Blog

There is lots of information on this blog for marketers, including content management, SEO and much more. If you want to ensure you keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date, this is a great blog, particularly for those who are already quite experienced.

It is important for marketers to keep updated on the latest social media trends and any (or all) of these blogs will help you keep on track to achieve the best results. If you'd like more information on courses which might help, get in touch with our team!

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Millennials and the digital world

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Today, we live in a digital-first world – and millennial audiences around the globe actively prefer digital communication channels above all others. Here’s what that means for marketing.

 

While digital was once a specialized subset of the marketing ecosystem, it is now a fundamental part of branding. We live in a digital-first world and millennial audiences around the globe actively prefer digital communication channels above all others. From a marketing perspective, this offers a considerable advantage, as digital channels have the potentially to be both uniquely cost-effective and uniquely scalable.

 

Search marketing and pay-per-click advertising on social media give brands an unparalleled ability to reach specific audiences and to optimize campaigns in real time. Users expect advertising to be directed to them, so by offering relevant, useful recommendations, businesses can offer a huge amount of value. What’s more, digital advertising allows brands to closely match spend to performance, meaning that it can be far more responsive and far more cost-effective than traditional approaches.

 

The benefits of the digital sphere also come with increased expectations, however. Millennial consumers anticipate being able to reach brands on all platforms (including by email, by social media and by phone), and to receive responses quickly. Indeed, just under one in five consumers expects a response within an hour to queries issued on social media. While it might seem like a tangential element of the marketing process, delivering high quality customer support is a crucial part of the consumer experience.

 

To navigate this landscape, brands must:

- Consistently monitor all communication channels across email and social

- Ensure social accounts are maintained and that inboxes are not forgotten or allowed to go dormant

- Monitor brand mentions across social media and forums to ensure that customers’ queries and complaints are resolved – and are publicly seen to be addressed

- Provide thorough FAQs to make it fast and easy for customers to resolve issues prior to contact

 

Fortunately, new technology is emerging to assist businesses with these challenges. Users are already familiar with AI-interfaces such as Siri and social media chatbots, and similar tools can be deployed to quickly and easily deal with queries (and when they fail they can pass on the conversation thread to human operators). What’s more, it will be possible to make these interfaces far more capable in the near future, drawing on data and dealing with a wide range of queries without the need for any human intervention. A significant percentage of consumers are in fact already unaware whether their last customer service interaction was with a human or a chatbot – and, in the future, these lines are only going to become more blurred.

 

To learn more about new concepts in marketing, check out our professional training programmes here. https://www.morganintl.com/cdmp/#

 

 

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Marketing as a service: the importance of taking a holistic approach to customer experience

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

A customer’s relationship with a business goes far beyond the purchase of a product or a service – so it’s crucial to take a complete view of their experience with the brand.

 

A customer’s experience of a business goes far beyond the purchase of a product or a service. This is the fundamental concept of branding – that the customer relationship begins with brand sentiments derived from advertising, marketing and word of mouth; and that everything about the delivery and the consumption of the product will affect how the customer engages with it. In the age of digital media, this is now more true than ever.

 

Consumers today expect personalization as standard, and if brands are inconsistent in their delivery, or have flaws in the experiences that they offer, then they will be deemed sub-par. This can even extend beyond their own offering and on to working with partners in order to meet all of the customers’ needs – ensuring that the overall experience is fast, frictionless and simple. This is what lies behind the evolution of marketing as a service: not just building a product and a brand but mapping out the complete customer journey and going above and beyond to optimize the experience.

 

Fields that can particularly benefit from this approach include the travel and online retail industries. When staying at a hotel or taking a flight, notably good service – which shows that the business understands the customer – will act as a key differentiator. In the field of ecommerce, meanwhile, being able to direct customers to appropriate products and to recommend additional similar or related items will be a crucial factor in driving sales growth and in satisfying customers.

 

There are three key steps to deploying marketing as a service as a strategy:

 

  • Ensure that you are collecting, retaining and collating information wherever possible and, if you have contact with customers across multiple channels, that data is unified.

 

  • Consider the customer’s experience from the very first stages and ensure that feedback is sought at every step of development.

 

  • Take a holistic approach to marketing, unifying your messaging, and the teams delivering it, across channels and platforms.

 

To learn more about innovative ideas in marketing, take a look at our professional training programmes here. https://www.morganintl.com/cdmp/#

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Here’s What WhatsApp Business Can Do For You

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

WhatsApp has launched a new version of its app: WhatsApp Business. Is this a digital channel that’s worth investing time in?

 

WhatsApp has launched a new version of its app – WhatsApp Business – with the objective of helping consumers to connect with brands. There are a host of digital channels and initiatives that can occupy the attention of any business, so it can be tough to know where to commit time – is WhatsApp Business worth it?

 

Many companies would say yes, having already been using WhatsApp Messenger on an informal basis for years. Indeed, the business version of the app is intended to recognize this need, verifying accounts (as is possible on Facebook and Twitter) and allowing companies to better manage their customer communications on the platform. “WhatsApp Business enables you to have a business presence on WhatsApp, communicate more efficiently with your customers and help you grow your business,” the app’s description on the Google Play Store reads. In short, it makes previously ad hoc commercial use of WhatsApp official and offers a new channel for businesses to reach their audiences and to communicate with users.

 

Recognizing the significant existing business userbase, the app will allow companies to convert their Messenger accounts into Business equivalents (via a one-way process). The new app also allows commercial users to run both WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Messenger from the same device, ensuring that it remains flexible to use; and the account comes with a formal business profile, which can host information such as website links and contact details.

 

Consumers expect businesses to be readily available online and contactable via the apps that they already use. With 1.3 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp has an enormous audience already engaged with the platform, so having a presence there fills an important piece of the picture in cross-platform coverage.

 

For overstretched small businesses, setting up a WhatsApp Business account may not seem like a priority. However, for companies with the time and resources, it clearly has a huge amount of potential – ensuring that when customers look for your brand, it’s there; and that queries, comments and complaints of all types are swiftly picked up and dealt with.
To further explore how new technology is revolutionizing marketing, take a look at our professional training programmes here. https://www.morganintl.com/cdmp/#

 

 

The best time to publish on social media

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

You know the score – you work really hard on the content you are about to share, and you want to do it at the optimum time when the biggest audience will see it. But how do you know what that time is? The answer is that it differs by platform – but not to fear, the people at CoSchedule have released some excellent research and insight which tells you when is the best time to post. This is the rundown of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

Facebook

Best days to post – Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Best times – 9am, 1pm, 3pm

People are happier on Fridays so humorous posts should be saved for then. If you post at 1pm you will get the most shares, and at 3pm you will receive the most clicks.

 

Twitter

Best days to post – Wednesday

Best times – 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm

You might note from the times, that they typically align with people’s breaks at work, and finishing work and the commute home. In fact people are 181% more likely to be on Twitter during their commute compared to any other time. That is useful information to bear in mind when creating content to share.

 

Pinterest

Best days to post – Saturday and Sunday

Best times – 2am, 8-9am, 5pm

The best window to post on Pinterest is 8-11pm on Saturdays. Avoid working hours altogether.

 

Instagram

Best days to post – Monday and Thursday

Best times – 2am, 2pm, 9pm

The prime time to post is at 8-9am during the commute. The top tip is to avoid working hours for posting to Instagram.

 

In Summary

By using the research from CoSchedule you can pull together a calendar so you know what content to release and when. In fact this calendar can be used to drive content creation. A lot of businesses are now recognising the need for a Digital Marketing professional who can manage this for them and ensure it is optimised.

 

Source

https://coschedule.com/blog/best-times-to-post-on-social-media/

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5 Epic Social Media Mistakes

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Social media platforms are an incredibly powerful way for marketers to reach their customer base. In fact it is so quick, cheap, and easy, that unfortunately this can sometimes lead to complacency and errors that can cause embarrassment and potentially loss of sales for a business.

 

  • Stealing content

This can be pretty serious from a legal perspective if the correct permission has not been sought, and/or credit given. It could be as simple as posting a picture, video or bit of text – but if it does not belong to you, you need to ask yourself if using it is infringing someone else’s copyright.

 

  • Over hash tagging

Hash tagging a post is fine, but make sure it is only done on platforms that support searching by hashtag, and that it is done tastefully. Don’t overuse it and be mindful of your input when something is trending and will be highly searched.

 

  • Think before you tweet

How many celebs have tweeted, realised the mistake in what they have said, quickly deleted it, but have already caused a massive retweet storm that damages their reputation? Think about what you post before you post it. You can’t take it back once it is out there in the public domain.

 

  • Picking a fight or entertaining one

Who doesn’t love to watch a social media showdown? It does nobody any favours, and if that spat is between a business and a customer, it looks particularly bad on the business who really should be trying to solve rather than inflame the issue.

 

  • Same message on all platforms

The issue with this is obvious – if you have followers across multiple platforms, you will not enjoy seeing the same message multiple times. It is lazy and will only lead you to boring your followers.

 

In Summary

The good news is that the mistakes are certainly all avoidable by simply doing the checks and balances. That said, it is advisable to have on board a professional Digital Marketer who has all of the experience to avoid the common errors in the first place.

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5 Tips to Create an Effective Webinar

A webinar is a great way for businesses to convey a message/content to a large audience, without asking people to travel to a particular location. From a business perspective, it is a straightforward way to reach out to current and potential customers to share ideas and create brand awareness. However, for the strategy to be effective, webinars must be captivating. Follow these top 5 tips to create an effective webinar.

1)       Audience engagement

Engagement with the audience should not just be during the webinar. Send materials, or a small taster before the session to create a buzz, then afterwards be sure to send some kind of follow up to solidify the message in people minds.

2)       Have a great speaker

The person hosting should be engaging and also an expert in the topic. This avoids it seeming like somebody is simply reading from a script. The host should be able to competently answer audience questions. Furthermore, if the webinar is going have a video stream, the host should feel comfortable in front of the camera.

3)           Consider the format

Think about which format is most appropriate. For example do you want to share a PowerPoint presentation, do you want an interview format, or perhaps a live panel? There are lots of engaging and interesting options to consider.

4)       Have a strong script

It is important as I said previously not to read verbatim from a script – even if the audience can’t see you, it will likely sound somewhat robotic. However it is important to have a robust outline of what you want to cover and use that as a basis for what you want to say.

5)       Create a strong slide deck

If you are going to have a deck to accompany your webinar, ensure it is visually appealing and represents the brand. The great thing about a slide deck is that it can be used to send to participants after the webinar as a reminder of the content that has been shared.

 

In Summary

A webinar is a fairly inexpensive way to engage with current and potential customers. It allows you to share interesting content that creates a buzz around your brand. Consider the tips we have shared above to ensure your webinar packs a punch.

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5 Low Budget but Effective Marketing Strategies

By Morgan International Staff Writers
Marketing was traditionally a major expense line as it involved TV adverts, radio promotions, printed materials and so on. The great thing about social media and the internet more generally is that it has provided many low budget but very effective marketing strategies.
1) Blogs and SEO
First of all write high quality content that is interesting for the prospective reader. Then SEO optimize that content to attract high traffic to your site. SEO can seem complex but it simply involves good article structure, backlinks, and the use of well-placed keywords.
2) Referrals
People are 4 times as likely to purchase a product when it is recommended by a friend. So why not get your customer base to do your marketing for you? One way to achieve this is to run a referral scheme such as offering a gift or discount for each referred customer that makes a purchase.
3) Press Releases
If you have something newsworthy then consider writing a press release and news outlets should be more than willing to report it which will draw attention to your business for free. You may even get some inbound traffic to your site.
4) Email Marketing
It is important to start with a self-created list as opposed to one that is bought – this ensures that those receiving the email have actually shown an interest in your brand and therefore the target group for the email is appropriate. Using email marketing tools are typically inexpensive and can provide useful statistics such as open rates.
5) Social media
Produce business profiles on the major platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Update the profiles regularly and share interesting content and use it as a way to drive traffic to your site.
 
In Summary
In the modern era of the proliferation of the internet and social media, marketing needn’t be expensive to be effective. To learn more about digital marketing, why not consider a Digital Marketing Specialist course.
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3 Tips to Find a Domain Name to Build a Brand

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Domain names in essence provide the real estate for businesses on the web so that they can build an online presence and allow customers to find them. Having the ‘right’ domain name is not only incredibly important, but can be very expensive. As the real estate on the web has grown and domain names have been snapped up, picking a domain name has become more complex than ever. Why? Because most words in the dictionary followed by .com have been taken. To make the landscape even more complex, the internet now has hundreds of gTLDS – generic top-level domains. These are for example .org, .net, .co.uk, and so on.

1) Consider new gTLDs
There is no argument that .com still has primary relevance, but gTLDs have a really interesting use case with respect to product and service types, i.e. verticals. For example, a baby clothes boutique might consider .baby, as well as trying to obtain the .com. The .baby gTLD is extremely relevant to the business and builds upon the online branding. As gTLDs gain popularity, consumers will adapt to not expecting every web address to end in .com.

2) Procure a .com
New gTLDs are both interesting, and are expected to grow in popularity. However, there is no getting away from the importance of the .com. Yes it will probably be expensive, but if you want customers to view you as a serious business, spend some of your investment on the .com domain. Don’t forget that you are not only buying it for yourself, but also to stop a competitor procuring it and damaging your online brand presence.

3) Use an intermediary
If you are looking to buy a .com it is highly likely that somebody already owns it. It is not a good idea to approach the person directly. Instead, contact an expert who can value the domain for you and aid you in negotiations with the owner.

In Summary
There is no denying the importance of choosing the right domain name, but just as you would unlikely buy a property without the assistance of a real estate agent or doing some research, you should not attempt to make such a big investment without help from a domain professional.