Covid-19 has impacted all of us and, for many, the effects have been on our professional lives as well as our personal ones.
While so much is out of our hands, it’s time to embrace the advice that is to ‘control the controllables’ and instead of looking to outside factors for reassurance it’s time to turn that focus inwards.
It could be that you have found yourself in a rut searching for a new job or wanting to rebrand yourself or your business but not sure how to take the necessary steps to do so. Struggling to find your feet can have a negative impact on your confidence and so begins the vicious cycle of not knowing where to start and feeling like you’re achieving nothing.
Female entrepreneur, best selling author and founder of The Modern Go Getter, Unsah Malik has the following advice on how you can adopt a digital strategy to propel your career forward, whatever your line of work may be.
2020 was a whirlwind of a year for many reasons but one area which, unsurprisingly, saw an uplift despite turmoils elsewhere is digital marketing. Many once-upon a time physical businesses found the silver lining in launching online shops and doubling down on their social media efforts, and many now-unemployed people found a new lease of (career) life from launching their own businesses or growing a side hustle they wouldn’t have otherwise.
It’s no groundbreaking news that digital marketing is growing faster than it ever has, either. You don’t need to be an expert to know this. It only takes a scroll through your social feeds (more LinkedIn updates, more Instagram Lives, more Twitter debates, more TikTok challenges…) or a closer inspection of your inbox. If you truly want to maximise both your revenue and brand awareness this year, digital is the way forward. Why? The answer is simple: It’s where more of your consumers are found — and where your consumers go, is where you follow.
Below, I have listed 5 of my top tips on how to get started and set yourself up for digital success:
1. Create a strategy and be clear about it
The number one mistake most people trap themselves in is jumping into the deep end with little, or no, strategy in play. It’s all fun and games to design a new website, set up a newsletter subscription, put aside a budget for paid ads and open a couple of new social media accounts, but if you don’t know what you’re doing — i.e. ‘going with the flow’ or engaging in those gimmicky ‘hacks’ — you’ll find yourself lacking in consistent growth and failing to grow an invested online community (the two big goals everyone should strive for). Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you intend on doing it. Is it overall brand awareness? In which case you need to be a better storyteller. Is it maximising sales via spend? In which case you need to test multiple audiences, content types and ad targets against whatever it is you’re measuring (such as CTR). Is it more web conversions? In which case you need to look closer at your customer’s journey to see where they may be dropping off. Is it more social media followers? In which case you need to up the value your content gives to those within your niche (i.e. your target demographic).
2. Define your brand’s story, core values and tone of voice
You’ve heard it before and you’re about to hear it again: People don’t buy products, they buy the story you tell or the experience you give. What’s the first fast-food chain you think of? The first fizzy drink? The first smartphone? The first sportswear brand? For most people, the answers will be McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Apple and Nike (or maybe Adidas). Why? Because these brands sell their story better than their competitors. It’s not to say other factors don’t matter — of course, you need a good product/service too—and it’s not that the competitors aren’t doing well, but if you can win people via emotion, the conversion process becomes a whole lot easier (and enjoyable!). It’s also key to nail your tone of voice. Don’t underestimate the power of it. It’s essentially how people decide what your personality is. How do you speak to people and what is your communication style? Are you corporate or more friendly? Do you use emojis? Do you allow memes on your feed? Do you use internet slang? Are you in favour of exclamation marks or not?
3. Before creating content, find your competitive advantage within your niche
Don’t make content for the sake of making content. While quantity does matter to a degree on social media in this day and age, the quality shouldn’t be compromised in the process. For example, travel #inspo and quotes perform well, but that doesn’t mean the engagement scored from those posts will convert people into following you for your brand. In other words, create a Unique Selling Point (USP) that trumps others in your niche and differentiates you from the competition. Why are you individual from your competitors and what makes you stand out specifically amongst the crowd? This is a hard question to answer for even the more established businesses because we’re in an increasingly competitive market. Take your time and do the research on others who are on the same wavelength or market as you. Perhaps your offer is better quality, maybe your customer service is unparalleled, you could have a better editing style, or your content might provide answers others do not give. It’s important to note that your USP doesn’t need to be huge and a WOW factor… you just need to be different.
“People don’t buy products, they buy the story you tell or the experience you give.”
4. Stop trying to impress everyone
If you sell to everyone, you end up selling to no one. A common misconception people make is assuming that if their product or service can appeal to 500,000 mass people instead of 50,000 targeted people they will likely grow quicker in a shorter span of time. This is far from the truth. Think about it: As a consumer yourself, are you likely to click onto the advertisement that matches your interests, or an advertisement about a product or service you will never use? This is especially true for the social media era where we are bombarded with information and content saturation daily. It doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to scroll right past something we care little about. Work out exactly who your target audience is and create an audience persona. Make a profile on the type of person who will follow you or buy your product/service. What do they do? What other accounts do they follow? What are their hobbies? What is their disposable income? What brands do they love? What about the brands they hate? The more you understand this ‘persona’ you’ve created, i.e. your customer/follower, the easier it will be to create content. I ask my e-book readers to answer at least 30 questions I have set them and then recommend some more. Know your audience better than they know themselves. Is it likely you’ll have more than one ‘type’ of person or persona following you? As you grow, the answer is a big fat yes. But you’re better off starting by nailing one group of people and then slowly branching out. This is also why I’ve developed the Power Topic Map (PTM) in my e-book which is now used by thousands of brands and influencers — it’s essentially a tool which will allow you to attract your main niche while also drawing attraction to what I call your ‘sub-niches’.
5. Learn to let it go
It’s heartbreaking when you think of an incredible idea and it doesn’t perform even after multiple attempts. Instead of remaining attached to the thought that it’s brilliant, recognise it for what it is: unfortunately, a sad little flop. We’ve all been there. Even the smartest digital strategist need to gulp their pride and admit the idea didn’t land as well as they had hoped. Use it as a lesson to what your audience doesn’t like, which is equally important to know.