Zimple has seen many iterations, as start-ups that outgrow the title often do. From our common but true humble beginnings in a garage, to a scaled full service digital agency, we can’t talk about who we are without looking at where we came from. We don’t do this for pure nostalgia, but also to reiterate that our lived experience is much like our clients’. We have walked that mile in their shoes, and have a deep understanding of the elements that create digital success.
Our extensive individual experience culminating in a collaboration creates a perfect storm for understanding the needs of clients, their customers and clients, and how to reach them in a meaningful way across digital platforms.
With that, we wanted to put some of that knowledge to paper (so to speak) and talk about what we believe to be the basis for a strong digital presence; whether in the creation of a new website, or in reaching your audience through digital marketing. Here is our take on what that is, and how it can help elevate your digital presence by drawing on key factors that we’ve seen, over the years, be highly effective.
“Setting up tools to measure the performance of your digital presence and activity”
For business owners and in-house marketing managers, this means using data to track how your efforts have gone, identifying the opportunities that exist and then, after implementing digital marketing strategies, seeing what hits and what doesn’t. The best part is, data is produced by the platforms you’re likely already using - Google, social media platforms for both organic and paid content, popular third-party programs. There is a lot to be said for simply knowing, innately, what your customers want in your product or service, but when it comes to their behaviours in digital spaces, only the data can paint you a clear picture.
“Be open to new ideas and trusting the expertise of your marketing partner, whether they’re internal or external. Understand your brand, your difference and be true to that, be a leader not a follower. Don’t let your personal opinion get in the way of your business’s brand and online presence.”
It’s great to come to the table with your ideas and a collaborative spirit. This is a process we encourage; you can never underestimate your own bias (ours included!), and how strong that can be in blocking possibilities. But it’s also good to strongly consider other voices at the table, and the intentions behind ideas. If everyone is on the same page: that is, to elevate your business’s digital success (whatever that might be; awareness, traffic to website, phone calls via digital roads, forms, newsletter subscriptions, direct to-cart sales), you can trust that no idea is given without that being the end game goal.
Being open to new ideas or new perspectives safeguards you from stagnant strategies, or missing meeting your audience where they’re at. Consumer digital behaviour iterates all the time, and it’s vital for outcomes, ROI and brand recognition to be right there for them when they pivot.
“Focus on the ways you can bring value to your consumers in your digital marketing strategies to incentivise rather than pushing the same old promotional narrative.”
Promotional material can be highly effective, and the difference for consumers to choose you over a competitor. However, decisions are generally not made on the spot, and instead a consumer path (or, as we tend to call it, a funnel). Promotion only plays into part of that, and usually at the very end. Trust, transparency, compelling and valuable content are all greater trust signifiers to an audience (your future customers) than throwing incessant sales messages at them.
Think about how this plays out in ‘real life’, particularly with regard to ad content. When you are walking through a shopping centre, you are there for a purpose and that purpose is very unlikely not to be, ‘I want sales messages yelled at me’.
So, we go to fairly great lengths to avoid those aisle booths, usually selling discount hair straighteners, health insurance or photography sessions. You pretend to be on your phone, walk an inconvenient route to avoid them, walk faster, avoid eye contact, get ready to decline them before they’ve yelled out their inevitable promotion… It works much the same, but perhaps more brutally as we aren’t facing a human being, on digital.
A user is, say, on a website or a social media platform for a certain reason, and you’re ready to meet them there. You are far more likely to have them notice you with interesting, valuable information than with a blaring sales message, especially if they still aren’t familiar with your brand. You’re asking them to move away from their reason for being there and engage with you. It’s their valuable time, so you better have something more than a red banner discount to entice them.
“Focus on what your key user audience is looking for and anticipate their next steps. Adapt this user flow into the site. It's not just about how good your site looks, the content needs to be relevant and engaging.”
While the look of your website is important, design is so much more than that. A beautiful site alone will not offer your users a positive navigation experience, and a negative one will leave them frustrated and x’ing out, regardless of how good or needed your product or service is. A strategic site design will understand your audience and their behaviours and work to that, not against it. This is where design and content work cohesively for the user, supporting them in the way they need to get to their desired outcome.
“Remain authentic and consistent to your brand identity through a holistic strategy that provides your customer engaging, valuable and entertaining content”
Authenticity is everything. Audiences are extremely savvy and can spot inauthentic, mimic-y or non-transparent messaging like a mantis shrimp to, well, anything that moves. Strategy is important, but maintaining an authentic and consistent brand message can be missed in pursuit of following a ‘rule’ of the strategy. This is why a holistic approach is so necessary. As the ecosystem of your strategy works cohesively, you are then given freedom to deviate occasionally, where content opportunities present themselves in ways that feel, first and foremost, organically representative of your brand.
For example, you have a strategy that includes X Instagram posts per week to increase visibility, paid content that supports messaging on these posts, and a monthly email newsletter to add value to people who have engaged. Then, an important event, product, new service, news, or entertaining opportunity arises that is valuable to your audience, but not strictly within your strategy. If your holistic approach is strong, adding this kind of content with brand identity and cohesive tone will fit seamlessly.
Feature image: Photo by hj barraza on Unsplash