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Why Companies Turn To Digital Marketing To Survive COVID-19

In the coming months, businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on their digital strategy. Without wanting to sound too alarmist, in many cases it will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead.

The unprecedented, almost-total disappearance of all channels related to live events and conferences, and the increasing barriers on face-to-face business, pose an enormous challenge. Key to resilience is the development of ongoing contingencies to mitigate against this loss.

B2B companies in particular rely on the annual circuit of trade shows and exhibitions to network and build customer relations. In industries that are not digital-native, they may also be less sophisticated in their digital growth and customer relations strategies. For smaller businesses especially, used to getting new customers through word-of-mouth referrals or on the strength of a hard-won reputation, their loss is coming as a shock.

Larger companies are also now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions through cancelled events. They won’t claw back the hours of time and expense spent on preparations for this year, but insurance and flexible cancellation policies will leave them with marketing budget to reassign. Digital is likely to be the clear winner here, and companies – including ones that may not so much as had a Facebook page before – will need to move into social marketing, content marketing, SEO and influencer-led campaigns.

Of course, this means there’s opportunities out there for the taking, if you are a B2B supplier in an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing. A key factor in resilience is adaptability. If it’s standard in your industry to go out and meet new customers face-to-face before you do business, adapting may mean opening new channels over web or social media platforms where introductions can be made and relationships fostered. In the coming months, your prospective clients are going to be less open to the idea of letting you walk through the door and shake their hand – and no-one really has any idea how long this will last and whether this will lead to longer-term change.

As Scott Jones, CEO of 123 Internet Group, told me “We are in uncertain times, but with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are turning to digital channels and embracing the transformation. We have seen a real spike during the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and create social media campaigns focused on home-workers and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences.”

Being confined to the office – or even the home – rather than on the road on sales visits or at events, means marketers have more time to develop digital strategies. This means researching where your customers can be found online, and how different approaches and tactics might impact your success. If your organization previously put token efforts into digital channels – because like a lot of other businesses, you had built your networks offline and that had always seemed to work – now is the time to revisit them. That could be as simple as giving your website and social pages a refresh, or a more innovative approach.

Ratnesh Singh, head of global business at events technology agency Buzznation told me that he found out quickly that clients did not want to lose the networking opportunities provided by the conference circuit. On top of this, they are looking for new ways to spend their remaining marketing budgets. He said, “With our corporate clients, events often consume 50 to 60 per cent of their marketing budgets. They still want to spend that money and they are open to trying something new.

“There’s a window of opportunity here – when things are back to normal budgets will be going back into live events and that’s what they will be spending their time on.

“But if they see the benefits and opportunities that digital channels can offer, this will become part of their long-term marketing contingency plans.”

As well as offering immersive 3D virtual events, Buzznation has also found that businesses wanting to become more sophisticated in their use of live social platforms. Singh said “Clients are turning to Facebook or LinkedIn Live. Often these are platforms they have dabbled with in the past but never fully integrated into their marketing strategy. Now they see value in partnering with companies like us that know how to help them make the most of these channels, to achieve better production values and more targeted campaigns.”

It’s certainly true that the coming weeks, or months – or however long this situation lasts – will be a challenging time for any company that isn’t ready to think about how they will replace the opportunities that have been lost.

As long as businesses approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in, but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal. And of course, it would make companies more resilient to deal with any future pandemics.

Forbes: New Study Suggests Lead Generation Is A Key Growth Challenge For Most Companies

Marketers are often held accountable for driving growth. Yet, it is elusive for many companies, which is why Gartner found in a survey that generating growth is the top priority for CEOs. Prospex.ai commissioned an independent survey among more than 750 decision makers in U.K. businesses to identify the specific growth-related challenges that companies are facing. They found that 58% indicated that lead generation is a key challenge business leaders face. Over 40% describe their business’ current sales and marketing efforts as “outdated,” with 59% of businesses relying on spreadsheets to track how they are marketing to leads and 33% relying on cold calling to sell to leads. Essentially, a reliance on traditional sales methods such as cold calling, buying data and using spreadsheets is preventing businesses from winning new customers, the research suggests.

Interestingly, the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 negatively impacted 42% of businesses, reducing their databases of leads. Furthermore, 44% believe GDPR made it extremely difficult to capture new leads and effectively market to them.

Nikolas Kairinos, CEO and cofounder of Prospex.ai, said: “Lead generation is the lifeblood of a company, so it is a concern to see so many businesses struggling in this area. Our research shows there is an over-reliance on old methods of lead generation, which may have been the norm decades ago but are inadequate in today’s digital world. Businesses need to adapt to ensure they remain competitive and increase the number of leads that eventually convert into sales. Fortunately, there exists a host of accessible technological solutions to change the way businesses are able to run sales and marketing campaigns, from big data and social media profiling through to artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Salvatore Minetti, CEO at Fountech Ventures, said: “The lack of sales predictability and the challenge of converting a lead into a customer, be it a consumer or business, is a top concern companies of all sizes face. What’s more, traditional sales and lead generation techniques are typically labor intensive, expensive and time-consuming, with sales and marketing professionals forced to carry out repetitive and tedious tasks in the hope that a lead will eventually convert. That’s why this shift towards automation and AI comes should come as no surprise. By employing creative AI algorithms, lead generation can be performed much more efficiently. It also means that sales and marketing professionals are able to harness real-time data from sources like sales, texts and social media, and use this information to make important strategic decisions.”

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Mobile Web Development: Things Are About to Change 

Mobile web development has undeniably taken the world by a storm. It has become a multi-billion dollar industry and there are apps which revolutionized the way we think about business. When it comes to mobile web development, however, it is also critical to understand that digital marketing plays a tremendous role in their actually placement on the market. The truth is that it’s rather challenging to innovate in a market which is so overly saturated and it offers almost everything you can actually get any value from.

So, how do you out shine? How is your web presence going to dominate others, even if they offer something better in the same category? You should be using different marketing channels – of course. With this in mind, one of the most powerful approaches that you need to put in motion is a comprehensive and data-driven SEO campaign. Search Engine Optimization is far from being something revolutionizing but it remains the most cost-effective, sustainable and long-term way of getting organic traffic. Remember, through SEO you are getting people who are actively excited about what you have to offer – they are searching for it and they have landed on your page. Most of the job is done.

However, with Google’s intention to introduce Mobile First Indexing, things are about to change quite a lot. And, if you want to stay on top of the tide or you want to use the momentum to shine, it’s important to be aware of what this is.

Mobile First Indexing
Now, let’s be honest. Google is by far the most powerful search engine, a global market leader in the industry and the single, most effective thing that you can take to your advantage to tap in the enormous pool of users. And, they’ve already announced that they are about to make things a bit different.

See, the mobile web development market and environment is particularly dynamic. Google feels that it needs to alter certain things in order to adapt. And even though this is not something that would hit the search engine until at least the next year, it would be a great idea if you could get a head start and prepare.

What is mobile first indexing? For those of you who missed the concept of this new approach that Google is already testing out, here it is. Mobile first indexing means that Google is about to split mobile and desktop results. This would allow the search engine to primarily use the actual mobile version of the website as opposed to the desktop version of it in order to rank it.

Why Make the Change Now?
This is one of the things that Google has been asked about a lot. Well, the truth is that this is just a reaction – an adaptation, if you will. The company is reacting to the way we start to use the search engine. It’s used mostly on mobile devices and, a lot of the times we get far from optimal results because of a range of different issues, including obstructive ads, scaling and others of the kind.

Read more: Mobile Web Development: Things Are About to Change 

The Latest in Web Design? Retro Websites Inspired by the ’90s 

To navigate the website for Arcade Fire’s coming album, “Everything Now,” users need to click through a cluttered cascade of Windows 98-style pop-ups.

Balenciaga’s new website looks as stripped down as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, with plain black boxes and no-frills Arial font.

And the D.I.Y.-looking home page for Solange resembles the desktop of a candy-colored iMac, complete with QuickTime windows and rows of blue folders.

Web designs have come a long way in 20 years, but some are taking a step back to evoke a sort of hipster nostalgia for the early days of the internet.

“They’re tipping their hat to the 1990s,” said David Lee, the chief creative officer of Squarespace, a web platform company based in New York that has created millions of websites for clients. Mr. Lee said that he has seen a recent uptick in what he calls an “anti-design brutalism,” with clients opting for more bare-bones, retro-looking sites.

Some websites are purposely cumbersome to navigate, with loud, clip-art-filled pages. Others employ a simplistic Craigslist-style utilitarianism that feels like a throwback to an era when web pages were coded by hand.

“There’s a lot of animated GIFs and flames, but mixing it with something new,” Mr. Lee added.

While millennials and members of Generation Z — those born in the years from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s — may not remember what the web looked like in the era of AltaVista and GeoCities, the retro designs tap into the current cultural revival of all things ’90s. (See the return of “Twin Peaks,” “Will & Grace” and concert T-shirts.)

For those who are older, these sites recall the improvised internet of their youth, in the days before mobile optimization and beta-tested user interfaces brought a sleek uniformity to modern web design.

Nostalgic websites meant to mimic the days of dial-up modems are cropping up in artsy and tech-geek corners of the web.

Windows93.net, a web project by the French music and art duo Jankenpopp & Zombectro, imagines what the Microsoft operating system would have looked like had it been released. (After a two-year development delay, Microsoft instead released Windows 95.) The site has had more than eight million visitors.

Read more: The Latest in Web Design? Retro Websites Inspired by the ’90s 

18 Things Every Web Developer Should Try At Least Once 

How do you become a developer? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Ken Mazaika, CTO and Co-founder of The Firehose Project, on Quora:

You can become a web developer by doing these 18 things. These are in no particular order, but I recommend trying all of them over the course of your journey, especially #10 and #15.

1. Build something with HTML and CSS. It’s relatively easy to launch a simple website using these technologies.

2. Start a side project. Come up with an idea for a project and start planning it out. By getting it down on paper, you’ll motivate yourself to turn it into a reality.

3. Give front-end development a try. Front-end developers work very closely with the visual elements of a web application. Try it out and see if you like it.

4. Go to meetups. When you talk to developers in person, it can give you some awesome perspective.

5. Watch tech conference talks on YouTube. These talks expose you to new ways of thinking.

6. Answer Quora questions about learning to code. Writing about coding can help you understand it more deeply, and Quora is a great place to share knowledge about the craft.

7. Give the Ruby programming language a shot. Ruby’s fluid syntax makes it a great language to get started with.

8. Experiment with different technologies. You’ll figure out what you like and don’t like, which can help you figure out what type of development you want to focus on moving forward.

9. Inspire someone to learn to code with you. This will always make you more accountable and productive.

10. Don’t forget about the fundamentals. If you truly want to become a developer, you need to learn essential CS concepts like algorithms and data structures.

11. Work with a database. Databases power almost every single web application out there. Learn this stuff.

12. Work with JavaScript. This is a pretty weird programming language. But if you’re learning to code in 2017, you need to learn at least a certain amount of it.

Read more: 18 Things Every Web Developer Should Try At Least Once 

Artificial Intelligence Meets Web Design 

Since its launch way back in the 1980s, the Internet has undergone several evolutions. In the early stages, there was no need for complex, image-based sites with diverse variations in typography, font, or any aspect regarding visual content. However, with the progression of time, such websites are today’s need for any business that wants to establish its online presence.

With this brand-new trend, the demand for elegant web layouts with compelling animated designs has become the present norm. These websites, which have a unique feature to tell stories, leave a considerable impact on the psyche of the customers and users.

Today’s modern-day website, which makes use of artificial intelligence, is an extremely well-weaved and a seemingly complex collection of audio-visual images and content that are designed to convey information so that it leaves a lasting impression on the consumer.

In the present digital age, surfing websites powered with Artificial Intelligence or AI is a grand experience for the user. With millions of dollars pumped into the industry, website designing is a great and profound market.

There are thousands of web designers and trained designing experts who tirelessly work to create captivating websites for end users, be it a business or an individual.

This growing demand has additionally resulted in the emergence and creation of cutting-edge graphic design software, which is used to create gob-smacking designs. The high demand for mesmerizing designs has further attracted one more aspect of the Internet and its technology, which is undisputedly artificial intelligence.

Read more: Artificial Intelligence Meets Web Design 

Real Estate Marketing in the Digital Age: Where Do You Stand?

Real Estate Marketing in the Digital Age: Where Do You Stand?

While open houses (and baking aromas) are still firmly entrenched in the real estate professional’s toolkit, their marketing arsenal has widened to include tools that reach users in their new native environments – online.

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Manufacturing Technology Trends Shaping The Industry

Manufacturing Technology Trends Shaping The Industry

Manufacturing has changed drastically in the past decade, and much of this change is due to advancements in technology. Here is a look at a few of the technologies that are having the largest impact.

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Why Content Is Still King When It Comes to Lead Generation

Why Content Is Still King When It Comes to Lead Generation. What kind of content is being used to start and nurture relationships with prospects? According to a study from Focus Research, companies use a mix of content types to attract customers, depending on the kind of business they do: from blog posts, white papers, webinars and other virtual events (especially business-to-business operations) to research papers (particularly businesses that sell to consumers).

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