Diving into Digital Marketing

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You've been tasked to manage all the digital marketing - where do you begin? (here) And do you have to spend money? (NO)

While it might seem like an impossible task (digital marketing covers all things digital after all), taking a systematic approach at least makes it seem less daunting.

All the glory and attention in digital marketing is put on SEM/PPC/Display ads, and for good reason - they're relatively cheap, scalable and measurable. However, it's important to not fall into the trap of thinking that paid digital marketing is all there is to do, there are many FREE (or earned) things to get started on first.

Beyond the basics (understanding the audience, finding your USP and being present on the right channels), creating your own content is where you should be spending the bulk of your time. Creating your own content for social media (or your website) doesn't have to be difficult or expensive (but it usually does take time). However, it's key to think about the type of content and the quality of the story - you need to make sure that it caters to the exact audience you're looking to attract, because if they don't care, what was the point? This is the mistake most marketers make with content - they believe that if they build it, people will come. They couldn't be further from the truth.

Apart from content, you should also consider PR - it still works! Understanding that journalists and bloggers are starving for good content as well, and working with them to craft interesting storylines can go a long way. You might not have a strong audience/community, but they certainly do.

Finally, look towards your 1,000 true fans for help. They are going to guide you towards where you need to be more present and how best to expand your inner circle of fans. This could be community events you should be present in, ideas on cross-collaborations with other brands or branded opportunities you didn't know otherwise existed. It's better to ask and find out than wonder what could have been.

Digital Marketing Agency - when to hire one

Biased? Yes. Honest look? Also yes.

There are many things you have to consider when hiring a digital marketing agency. If you're a small company, it's a massive step (you have to spend money, and likely more than you want to), but the potential for your business when using a good agency is massive.

Digital marketing allows your company to reach a much larger audience than you ever could (everyone understands the value of social media, but not everyone knows how to maximise its effectiveness). Even better, you can measure everything you do. If something doesn't work, you can stop it immediately (unlike lease agreements which can last multiple years, or employee contracts. Hello Hong Kong!). And if something is going well, you can double down and further increase your profits.

The first thing you should consider is to hire external help (you can try to do it all yourself, but it's going to be a lot of work, and more often than not, you should be concentrating on your business instead). Consider all the different reason here. Deciding between hiring an agency or full-time staff? Read more here.

Hire full-time or hire an agency?

 Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

This question doesn't get asked as much as I would like. It seem people automatically assume that hiring a marketing agency is expensive and hiring full-time marketing support is better. But is that really so? *HINT* NO.

Hiring full-time support makes sense when you know specifically what you want, and you need someone to take on only that specific role. For example, if you're an e-commerce platform and you need someone to manage SEO/SEM. However, what tends to happen is that companies hire a digital marketer and expects them to do EVERYTHING under the digital marketing umbrella - this includes social media, content creation, SEO/SEM/PPC, influencer outreach among many other things. Sure these people exist, but they're few and far between (and expensive!). In reality, most digital marketers are specialists in only one (if you're lucky two) of the categories.

On the other hand, with agencies you can tap into their resources. For the same price as hiring one digital marketer (we'll assume they're a social media manager), you can hire an agency that has resources across content creation, data analytics, etc. Most companies are small and don't need full-time help across all the different areas, so hiring an agency makes more sense.

In many cases hiring a full-time digital marketer means that this person is just there to manage all the different agencies that the company is using.

Deciding to hire between a digital marketing agency and a full-time digital marketer really depends on what stage your company is currently in. In most cases you can't go wrong with going with an agency (obviously biased), but like everything there are many different factors affecting the decision.

I spent a bit more time analysing the different situations, and you can read them on MEDIUM.

It can't get harder, can it?

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Last week was probably the hardest week I've had to deal with - two different deals I've been working on for months, one fell through completely and the other is, ideally (ONLY), delayed until August/September. All the effort seemingly down the drain.

There are incredible ups and downs when starting your own business, even more so when you're in a competitive space (digital marketing). While you know that you're offering a much stronger product (and more affordable too), it's hard to stand out and sell no matter how good you are at it.

Time and time again I have to deal with the same issues, answering the same questions - influences? Social media management? Ad buying? Everyone thinks they know what they're doing, but they really don't. We're all just skimming the surface of potential. 

But it gets better, I'm sure it does.

Despite all the negativity, there are many glimpses of opportunity. Chances to partner with other entrepreneurs and many other little victories along the way. It seems tough (and it most certainly is), but you're never really going at it alone (if you have a good support network, which I highly recommend).

In a blink of an eye, things can change. Keep at it.

React vs Respond

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We all make choices every single day. The one that goes unnoticed the most, are our reactions. Something happens and we react instinctively. But are we actually in control?

To stoics, our emotions are the one thing that we should strive to control (we control our physical side, and we must also learn to control our emotional side). It's something everybody in Hong Kong needs to learn (Imagine all the glares we get from being bumped on the street or coughing in the subway).

Gut reactions can be good, but they can be very dangerous as well - react too suddenly and you might end up saying something you'll regret. A better option would be to take an extra beat, and instead of reacting, responding instead. For social media, the gut reaction to a silly question on Facebook is to say 'check the about page, it's clearly all there', but a better response would be to carefully address the problem (and also make it more evident for future users).

The problem with twitter is that 90% of it is reactions (and trolls love it). Responses take more time and care, and if there was a way to implement it, it would be a much less toxic environment.

Attitude shapes everything - read more on Medium here.

The 'Silence' Killer

 Photo by  Clem Onojeghuo  on  Unsplash

"If you don't have an opinion, then is there a point of having you in this meeting?"

There's nothing I hate more than people without original thoughts and opinions. The one thing that differentiates us from each other is our ability to think critically and add value through experience, thought and perspective. However, there are people out there who don't have anything to contribute.

While some people feel that they don't want to offend anybody and stay neutral, doing this adds no value (and if you're not adding value, what's the point in involving you at all?). If someone was hired to be an expert in a specific field (let's say digital marketing since we're all about that), then they need to have an opinion about what to do with social or how best to approach PPC for clients. However, if they just 'go with the flow', then we might as well have hired a robot instead. They're a waste of resources.

Read more about why I hate people with no opinions here.