Digital Marketing

Published on 27 June 2019

Man standing in front of a projector screen talking to a group of people seated around a board table

As the internet becomes intertwined in our everyday lives, our marketing strategy has to evolve. While some may think that digital marketing is just like putting a newspaper on the internet, there is a lot more sophistication and intricacy to discover. In a recent Hub Live, Expert in Residence Daniel Johnsen sat down with Natalie Nichols from Media Honey to learn all about her tools and tricks for succeeding with digital marketing.

Natalie Nichols has spent years working in the tech space and in digital marketing. She has worked in a variety of industries with businesses both big and small as well as in corporations, government and through running her own businesses. Although Natalie is based out of the Gold Coast, she is impressed with the business community that Rockhampton has created with the SmartHub. “It’s always fun to see what people are coming up with and what Rocky has turned on, has been an absolute treat,” she said.

The basics of digital marketing

Digital marketing is a constantly evolving thing, unlike traditional forms of marketing. While mainstream papers and magazines have constraints based on their physical mediums, with digital marketing the world is your oyster. “You can essentially dream up whatever you want, test it out, get some feedback pretty much immediately and work out whether that’s going to be a good strategy or not,” Natalie said. “Right now, we’re really moving towards getting back to that conversational marketing, having human-to-human conversations and putting that out into the digital space.”

Taking out a traditional ad can be a big investment and it can be difficult to assess how such an ad is performing. Television and print ads still have their place, but digital marketing is increasingly the way to go. “What you can achieve with $50,000 in advertising money is absolutely scary. You can literally get tens, even hundreds of thousands of eyes on a particular offer or landing page or website,” Natalie explained. “The detail and specifics that you can gather in regard to your audience is impressive. You can be so targeted, so exactly the right people see your message.”

Marketing strategy

Thanks to the advanced targeting tools used in digital marketing it’s possible to create an advanced customer value journey, turning a stranger into a superfan. “Making sales straight after a customer sees your ad for the first time isn’t likely, so what we do is use a concept called ‘warming the traffic’, as well as retargeting. We use a sales funnel, with cold traffic right in the top of the funnel, warm traffic in the middle of the funnel and really hot traffic goes to the bottom. The deeper and deeper people go in the funnel, the more of your messaging they’re going to see,” Natalie said.

According to Natalie, one issue she sees is a lot of people asking for a sale on the very first interaction. “The potential customer or contact doesn’t know who you are. They don’t trust you and they don’t know what you’re doing. A key thing to remember in the customer value journey is to provide value in advance, and that way it never feels creepy. You don’t go out on the first date with someone and ask for marriage and how many kids you’ll have.”

The first part of the sales funnel should be building awareness about your business, letting people know what your business does without a direct call-to action. This is a common purpose for things like billboards or appearing at trade shows.

In order to move a customer down the sales funnel, retargeting is key. This feature utilises a piece of code known as a pixel to follow a customer around the internet. “You may have seen this as you were searching the web for a car, and then suddenly all through your browser there are ads for a car, the particular car that you were looking at. You jump onto Facebook and there it is again, and it’s on Instagram and all these places. It feels a bit like magic and it probably is pretty magical, but it’s just a little piece of code that’s put on certain sites. It could be a Facebook pixel, a Google pixel or any number of pixels, and what it does is it allows clever marketers to be retargeting and it feels like you’re following somebody around. But if you’re providing value in advance with quality content, then that person that you’re targeting should be warming up to the message you’re giving them. And hopefully, at some point, they’ll become a customer,” said Natalie.

As part of the sales funnel, Natalie recommends creating lead magnets. These valuable pieces of content are used to attract customers into exchanging their contact details in order to access the content. Lead magnets can include things such as eBooks, quizzes, infographics or special offers. After the lead magnet comes a small value purchase, or a tripwire. As Natalie explained, “Smart marketers know that once somebody makes a small value purchase from you, they are more likely to make a bigger value purchase from you. It could be a $9 report, it might be a small value audit, it could be a commitment of time, because in marketing terms, if somebody is prepared to give up their time it equates to the same value as a small dollar value. Once someone has committed some of their money or time, the next logical step is to get them excited and move on to our core offer, which could be a training course, a package or some kind of product.”

The beauty of these marketing techniques is that they do not apply to just one industry but can be applied to any business regardless of the product or service.

Tools of the Trade

The list of digital marketing tools out there is endless, with thousands scattered across the internet for every purpose imaginable. These tools facilitate automation, to allow a busy business owner to get things done without needing a large team. Natalie’s personal favourite is Keap, which is a rebrand of Infusionsoft. “The great thing about Keap is the interface is super smooth and super easy for those who are concerned about tech that they’re not familiar with. It’s really easy to use and definitely something to consider if you’re looking to automate some of this stuff. And don’t be scared about automating things, you’d be surprised how easy it is to do and it’s really going to help your hip pocket. Automation tools are one of the small business owner’s best friends,” Natalie explained.

There are a variety of other tools like Keap, such as HubSpot, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, Mailerlite, GetResponse and many, many more. Choosing the right one can seem like a daunting task but looking to the experts can help in making a decision. “You could go out there and invest all that time and tools in researching, and yes it’s important, but that time could be far better spent in figuring out how you’re going to build your business and make money and perfect the delivery of your product and service to a customer. Places like the SmartHub have the analysis of all these tools,” said Natalie. “Ask someone that is in the space and ask what they use, and they’ll give you a good opinion. People like us have done the analysis, we’ve done the cost benefits, we’ve used them, we’ve thrown some out and settled on ones that work. It’s what we’re here for.”

Once these tools are up and running, a common pitfall Natalie sees is analysis paralysis. “People get stuck in analysis because it’s easy to analyse something that’s not real than take that big step and start running traffic to a funnel or something like that. You don’t ever know how it’s going to be until you run some traffic to it and see how people react, and that’s when the digital tools really come into their own. Then you can optimise those funnels and landing pages and all the other components of digital marketing, and that’s where you really see the return on investment. It’s not about analysing the tool; it’s analysing the outcome of the tool once you’ve got some traffic running into it. Nothing happens until something changes and somebody moves.”

Learning More and the SmartHub

For businesses looking for advice on how to move forward, Natalie had two suggestions – firstly, to check out the Queensland Government’s entrepreneurial program and secondly, to check out the SmartHub and the services on offer. “What you guys have done here is fantastic, and I haven’t seen a better business hub like this anywhere around the country, so well done. People in regional Queensland are so lucky to have this centre here, and you can feel the enthusiasm building. I really see these sort of centres as providing the great advice and experience for businesses to avoid danger and succeed.”

If you’re looking to succeed in your business, the SmartHub will be hosting a Startup Weekend on the 26th of July, the perfect place for you to obtain valuable advice from experienced mentors, meet co-founders, investors and future customers and to connect with local support services that can help your business grow! If you’d like to sign up for Startup Weekend, click here or get in contact with the SmartHub for more information.

The SmartHub is also hosting another event, the Turbo-Traction Lab. This 18-week hands-on course is free to attend and involves working directly with mentors who can help improve your business through practical guidance. If you would like to learn the skills necessary for your business’s success, click here to learn more and apply for the next Turbo-Traction Lab.

Want to learn more about the SmartHub? Have any questions or comment? Get in touch with the SmartHub by sending an email to smarthub@rrc.qld.gov.au, by sending a message to the SmartHub Rockhampton Facebook page or simply come in to Customs House at 208 Quay St, Rockhampton.