3 Essentials Your Business Needs from Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a very broad umbrella term to cover a lot of different activities. It might cover your blog, your Facebook advertising campaigns, and your PPC. Digital marketing also encompasses emails and digital newsletters, texts, pop-ups, and more. As new platforms emerge, the scope will broaden further. Social media on its own could be taking up a huge amount of your time, even if you allocate no cash budget to it. But for all the activities you engage in and all the campaigns you create, what should you be getting out it?

Customers

No matter how much you spend on marketing, your primary objective is to gain paying customers. You might sell products, or you might provide services. Without the qualified leads that digital marketing so easily provides, you’ve got no chance of turning a profit. Digital marketing can be focused on a very narrow group or demographic. It can find the customers you want at the right time. Most importantly, a good campaign addresses their needs and their problems just as they realize they have them.

Once you’ve got your customer’s attention, you need to channel them through that all-important funnel. The customer’s journey length will vary from campaign to campaign. But each one should end up at the credit card input page.

bank, banking, blue

Increased Brand Awareness

According to marketing guru Sabri Suby, your objective should be to “provide value to prospects by giving them free reports, webinars or free assessments.” This serves two purposes. The first is to increase the customer’s awareness of your brand. The second is to build their relationship with that brand. The more you give them what they want, the more inclined they will be to come back to you for more. The customer will trust you and feel more ready to embrace your proposition.

It takes time and a series of campaigns to go from stranger to best friend brand. Plan your campaigns carefully, and consider what your customer needs most from you. Build trust in your brand step by step to build trust in your sales pitch and product offering.

Image Credit: Pexels

Return on Investment (ROI)

Of course, promotions and advertisements cost money. You want a return on that investment. And when you spend hours each day developing your campaigns and content, you want something back for all that effort. This is where digital marketing is the clear winner. It is highly measurable. In fact, you can see results as they happen with live web stats and analytics.

Make a note of your stats at the same time each day so you can compare traffic figures with past performance. This will help you determine conversion figures and sales values too. Use dedicated landing pages every time and track the customer journey. Cookies can help you identify returning customers as well.

Digital marketing has overtaken every other media. It is superior for measuring campaign effectiveness, and it is preferred by most customer groups. Is it worth the extra time and energy on your part? Use an agency to help you get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns without the personal burnout!

Quiksilver Japan Designs a ‘True Wetsuit’ For Those Who Work Hard and Surf Harder

Quiksilver, Inc. an Australian brand based in Huntington Beach, California, United States, is known for making boardshorts, shorts, wetsuits, T-shirts, shirts, jeans, jackets, shoes and accessories. Their subsidiary, Quiksilver Japan has created a clever-offbeat product worth looking at. It’s all the four F’s that I admire rolled into one design – form, function, fashion, and FUN. It will comes in three styles and will set you back roughly $2,600 (¥300,000) if you’re interested.

Designers spent two months developing fabric samples
Designers spent two months developing fabric samples

It’s designed for those surfers who still want the thrill and enjoyment of riding the waves despite having a job and family life. Dubbed the ‘True Wetsuits’, it allows you the flexibility of stopping at the beach for a “quik” wave session, before continuing on that humdrum commute to work.

From the surfboard to the boardroom without changing clothes, it’s easypeasylemon-squeezy! Just make sure you get all the sand out of your hair. There’s no “True Wet-hat” quite yet.

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Join the Live Debate via Virgin Disruptors on ‘Your Workplace Wellbeing: at What Cost?’

With moderator Emily Chang, the San Francisco-based anchor of Bloomberg West, this year’s panelists include:

  • Richard Branson (Virgin Group founder)
  • Tony Hsieh (Zappos CEO and founder)
  • Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO)
  • Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post CEO)
  • Jackie Reses (Yahoo CDO)
  • Jim Clifton (Gallup CEO)

Read my guest blog on Virgin.com featured as part of their workplace wellbeing series

It’s already kicked off, but it’s not too late to join the LIVE* discussion/debate now by clicking the image below:

Virgin disruptors 2

*In case you missed it, you can still watch the discussion/debate.

Freitag Brothers Have Gone the Extra Thousand Miles to Make the Perfect “Green” Fabric

Today in my Do Good 365 series, you’ll meet two brothers disrupting the clothing industry by closing the loop on waste production and promoting reuse.

Freitag has made a name for themselves making products from old materials. Now they’ve created something that will help us look good and the environment feel great.

Meet the brothers, Daniel Freitag and and Markus Freitag
Meet the brothers, Daniel Freitag and and Markus Freitag

Introducing One of My Favourite Filmmakers Casey Neistat

Like many of you, I spend parts of my days watching videos on YouTube. It never gets boring! There’s always something new.

I’m not really familiar with a lot of video bloggers, but the ones I do know tend to just sit in front of a camera and record themselves talking. That’s fine, if you’re into that sort of thing. I, however, appreciate people who are great and genuine storytellers and one such storyteller is Casey Neistat.

He’s a young filmmaker whose YouTube channel I’ve been following for a few years now since I first stumbled on this video entitled “Make It Count” posted April 9th 2012. Nike basically hands him some money to make them a movie about what it means to make it count, Casey opts for making his own movie on what it means. Personally I preferred his approach which was a trip across the globe capturing the moments as they went along until the film budget was spent.

Flash-forward to 2015, Casey makes a rather BIG ANNOUNCEMENT and as a fan, I had no idea what that could be. When I watched the video it was the greatest news I could ever imagined! His new plan outside of making films for his YouTube channels was going to be one vlog every day for a year or until he got bored. It was his big pivot of sorts for turning 34 and wanting to keep pushing his passion and his craft.

Film-making can’t be easy with all the footage that you have to capture then the editing, colour correction and adding of sound and music in the post-production phase. By the way, the music featured in every vlog Neistat puts out is always top-notch! I respect the quality that goes into the quantity of films he’s produced to date. It’s impressive and really motivates me to work on my own craft and try to explore various medium of expression.

Below is his latest vlog, which came as a bonus today and it’s a musing from the Farrelly Brothers known for movies like “Dumb and Dumber”. Casey’s film is 27 seconds long, but manages to show his talent and creativity as a filmmaker. Not sure what typeface he uses (outside of being a sans-serif), but it works especially, in upper-case letters. It makes me want to pick up my smartphone and start creating some films too. I doubt they’d be as good, but like everything else you just have to start somewhere.

You can subscribe to Casey’s YouTube channel or follow him via Instagram http://instagram.com/caseyneistat

Herjavec Group Expands Into Europe with Acquisition of Sysec LTD

TORONTO, CANADA & LONDON, UK- FEBRUARY 3, 2015– Robert Herjavec, Founder and CEO of Herjavec Group and star of ABC’s Emmy Award-winning hit show Shark Tank, announces the acquisition of Sysec™, a leading IT security solutions provider headquartered in the United Kingdom and the 2014 McAfee EMEA Accredited Certified Engineer (ACE) Partner of the Year. Sysec specializes in information, identity and infrastructure security, offering managed, consulting and professional services to over 200 enterprise clients across the United Kingdom and Europe. Sysec is forecasted to achieve over $20 million in sales revenue for 2015 and has developed a reputation for outstanding technical engineering talent. By acquiring Sysec, Herjavec Group expands its presence in the European IT security market and is well positioned to service its growing multinational customer base.

The Sysec transaction accelerates Herjavec Group’s 3-year, $250 million expansion plan. “We started as a small Canadian firm and have grown exponentially over the past twelve years to 250 team members and $140 million in annual sales revenue,” says Herjavec. “We recognize that the threat of cybercrime is a global challenge and this acquisition provides the platform for Herjavec Group to support our clients overseas with exceptional, localized, managed services 24/7/365”

Sysec’s office in Reading, UK will now serve as Herjavec Group’s European headquarters. The firm will be rebranded as Herjavec Group and continue to expand its product and service offerings throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. Cris Pikes, Sysec’s Managing Director, who will lead Herjavec Group’s European expansion remarks, “Herjavec Group is a world-class information security organization that shares Sysec’s high-touch, customer-first approach. I am confident Herjavec Group will take our managed services practice to the next level.”

The acquisition facilitates Herjavec Group’s plans to complete its “follow-the-sun” technical support structure by developing a London-based Security Operations Centre (SOC) to complement the comprehensive support offered from its world-class, Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, Toronto-based SOC and its technical security centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, Herjavec Group expects to finalize construction of its Los Angeles, California SOC by close of Q1 2015.

“The work we do in enabling enterprises to be more secure has never had a greater focus on a global scale,” says Herjavec. “I am so pleased to embark on our expansion into Europe and welcome the Sysec team to Herjavec Group.”

About Herjavec Group
Dynamic IT entrepreneur Robert Herjavec founded Herjavec Group in 2003, and it quickly became one of North America’s fastest-growing technology companies, accelerating from $400K to $140 million in sales annually over 12 years. Herjavec Group delivers managed security services globally supported by a state-of-the-art, PCI compliant Security Operations Centre (SOC), operated 24/7/365 by certified security professionals. This expertise is coupled with a leadership position across a wide range of functions including compliance, risk management & incident response. Herjavec Group has offices globally including three headquarters in Toronto (Canada), New York City (USA) and Reading (United Kingdom).

For more information, visit www.herjavecgroup.com.

SOURCE The Herjavec Group

Maroon 5 Debuts Its Feel Good Wedding Crashing Video, Sugar

Maroon 5 (M5) debuts their latest video “Sugar” from their fifth studio album entitled ‘V’ (pronounced five) and it’s a hit! It’s quite possibly one of the catchiest tunes at the start of 2015. In the video, Lead Singer Adam Levine explains that the band will cruise around Los Angeles, California, in an effort to hit up as many weddings as possible as surprise guest performers.

With each wedding, the reactions of the brides and grooms are priceless. I got married last November and I know if M5 had “crashed” my wedding, I’d be speechless too. Right now though, there’s some debate about whether or not the weddings in the video were real or fake.

The only confirmed real wedding of the entire video
Updated: The only confirmed real wedding of the entire video was this lovely couple

The video was directed by David Dobkin, director of the hit movie “The Wedding Crashers” that starred Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. It’s a feel good video and great pop song with a throwback to funk and sounds of the 80s.

Official movie poster for the film featuring the slogan
Official movie poster for the film featuring the slogan “Life’s a party. Crash it.”

It’s a brilliant effort from a logistical, branding and marketing perspective and fans appreciate seeing real people participation. I mean heck, who doesn’t love weddings. I guarantee it’ll get you dancing and leave you smiling from ear to ear.

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What’s Your Definition of a ‘Superstar’? Take it Away Adidas!

German powerhouse Adidas employs the faces of Pharrell Williams (music producer), David Beckham (footballer), Rita Ora (artiste) and Damian Lillard (basketballer) to share their opinions on what a superstar is not. Clearly this whole time we’ve been misled. Oh the deception!

From all accounts, we’re all superstars! That’s just fine by me. With this revelation though, why didn’t Adidas call me or you to be in this Ad? I’m slightly insulted.

As a graphic designer and illustrator, I do love and appreciate the clever use of Adidas’ famous three stripes as a strike-through to word superstar. Freaking brilliant!

Anyway, check out the new Ad that’s basically trying to get you to buy the Superstar shoe, first launched by Adidas back in 1969.

Virgin Atlantic’s New Ad Drops Some Inspiration on Us in a Kickass Way

‘The Idea’ – Virgin Atlantic’s new ad packs quite a punch that hits home in just 81 seconds (video below).

The narration’s on-point and I’m sure it’ll have you (like it did me) thinking about gambling, Las Vegas and mobster flicks. A clever way to drive home that the stakes are high and there’s a lot to lose!

This one’s for all of us and it’s key message — “Life doesn’t come to you, so go to it and let it fly” goes beyond just being a well-conceived advertisement into a powerful mantra we can adopt to our lives.

12 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Richard Branson’s Autobiography, Losing My Virginity

As some of you who follow my blog and social media accounts (via Facebook and Twitter) would realise, I am a big admirer of Sir Richard Branson. I’ve been a loyal reader of his blogs on the Virgin.com website, tweets, YouTube videos, and magazine contributions through Entrepreneur Magazine. I have learned, like many others in the world, a great deal of valuable business lessons that have helped me to grow my own start-up, Phresh Ideas and Designs established in October 2010.

The updated autobiography is available on Amazon
The updated edition is available on Amazon

I have never been so big on receiving gifts as much as giving them, however, this year I was willing to be the receiver after catching sight of what was to come my way. This was the first time that I had read one of his books and my wife was gracious enough to get it for me as a Christmas gift. Add ‘Losing My Virginity’ (The Autobiography) by Richard Branson on your list of books to read. It’s an incredible combination of life and business lessons. Having spent the past three days leafing through 573 pages of text and private collection of photographs and a few cartoons, I completed the book. I can happily say without reservation that it was time well invested. There’s nothing quite like acquiring knowledge from those more experienced in a specific industry or space than you are.

“What goes up must come down” was said by Isaac Newton and has since become easily one of the most popular quotes to date. This quote can be applied to everything that happened to Richard Branson through the highs and lows of his entrepreneurial career. From the day he started his first magazine, Student as a teenager in 1968 to creating a very “hip” (cool) record label, Virgin Records in his twenties was all very impressive. Consider too how he started Virgin Atlantic by leasing a single Boeing 747-200 for a year within two decades became one of the world’s favourite airlines. Virgin even successfully challenged “monopolies” like British Airways (10 years their senior) while they were at it.

Richard Branson in a take-off pose with one of his Virgin Airlines plane in the background
Richard Branson set for take-off with Virgin Atlantic in the background

It seems following your instincts has tremendous value and being extremely decisive on what looks like a worthwhile project or business opportunity is the characteristic for success or failure.

These days he spends his time exploring the limits or lack thereof in the future of space travel and space through his company Virgin Galactic. While pursuing “the final frontier”, Branson manages to focus on global warming and climate change issues exploring new sustainable fuels for aviation and cleaner energy through Virgin Green Fund. Through his interest in using his influence to solve social, economic and political challenges on a global scale, he was able to gather some of the world’s most influential leaders, The Elders. Former South African President Nelson Mandela was an original supporter in this initiative up until the time of his death.

The future of space tourism travel unveiled
The future of space tourism travel unveiled

To most, the model of the Virgin Group almost seems to be as unorthodox as any Fortune 500 company that has ever existed. It’s an ecosystem of companies in there hundreds as opposed to one gigantic entity. In hindsight, a combination of destiny and design makes Branson’s empire perhaps one of the best approaches to growing a start-up.

I sometimes look at my own life and wonder if I will ever learn to take more risks and go against the status quo, all while following my interests. So far I have accomplished a great deal as an entrepreneur through freelancing as a graphic designer. I can see where maybe I should pivot from being primarily a service-oriented business to one that is largely product-oriented. That way I can pull off earning more revenue even when I am asleep.

virgin-records
Branson sits in the window of one of the earlier Virgin Records store, London

Sir Branson started off the first Virgin business in 1970 (Virgin Mail Order) selling discounted vinyl records with a small team of two and grew his business pursuits into a team of 50,000 people strong in just 40 years. Here are 12 lessons I learned from Richard’s autobiography:

  1. Lead by example in everything you do.
  2. Learn to negotiate good deals.
  3. Welcome competition, but never let them walk all over you.
  4. Follow your interests and make them a reality.
  5. If there is a market with two dominant players, it can use a third “to stir up the pot”.
  6. Understand the value of your influence as a person and use it for good causes.
  7. Some of the best business deals are done outside of the business environment, like over lunch.
  8. Keep reinventing yourself.
  9. Trust your instincts; that gut feeling you get will steer you in the right direction.
  10. Life is better with family and great friends.
  11. You must take a lot of risks to get to where you want to be.
  12. Always keep a notebook and pen handy to take notes;

Bonus lesson – always protect the downside (risks) of a startup venture.

We should all make a go at growing our businesses. We have nothing to lose, but opportunities. The Christmas holiday was here and then it disappeared without a trace. Here’s to hoping you all enjoyed yourself with family and friends and got the gifts you wanted. The New Year is just a few days away, so here’s to wishing you the very best for 2015.