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Choosing a paid search agency – attributes and attitudes to look for

Digital Marketing, Paid search

Whether you’re looking to outsource your paid search for the first time or you want to switch agency partners, we’ve highlighted a few key considerations to help with your search for the right fit.

Google certification

Google’s advice to buyers looking for a paid search agency is “look for the badge”.

“The badge recognises companies that excel with Google’s products. Their businesses are healthy, their customers are happy and they use Google best practices.”— Google

  • The exams must be taken annually so clients can rest assured that their Google Partner has up-to-date knowledge and skills and that they know how to use any new tools and features that arrive on the market.
  • Google reviews client accounts to make sure partners are working in accordance with its best-practice standards, i.e. they are making the most of clients’ budgets!
  • Partners have direct access to a real person at Google. This gives them access to training and product updates, allowing them to stay on top of what’s going on with Adwords.

Google Partner agencies demonstrate that they have an active and healthy book of business, proving to Google that the company will stand the test of time.

 

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Black Friday 2018: How eCommerce retailers can maximise sales

Digital Marketing, Paid search

Whilst customary in the US, Black Friday is newer to the UK market but is gaining momentum fast. This year it falls on Friday 25th November so there's still time to plan out an e-commerce strategy to compete for your slice of the £1.39bn spent (2017 sales figures).

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5 Digital marketing metrics every Fintech company should be measuring

Digital Marketing, Inbound marketing, Fintech

Fintech companies, arguably more than most, are incredibly data-driven. Continuously monitoring key marketing metrics is vital not only for customer experience but for making sure business goals are being met.

Looking beyond the abundance of vanity metrics and lengthy reports allows Fintech marketing teams to focus on the core KPIs that will help drive decisions on digital marketing strategy.

CPA (COST PER ACQUISITION)

This takes a more simplistic marketing performance KPI like Cost Per Lead (CPL) to the next level and allows your business to evaluate the true cost of acquiring new customers.

However, it’s not always easy, so many Fintech businesses stop short at CPL and then try to gauge what ‘feels’ like the right level of leads they need to be generating from their digital marketing.

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Digital marketing for financial services: a new approach to lead generation

Digital Marketing, Inbound marketing, Fintech

Concerns about privacy and legacy tech have meant the financial services sector has been somewhat slow to embrace digital transformation.

According to a Forbes Insights report, 71% of financial executives believe financial services companies are failing to use technology to transform customer relationships, experiences and strategies.

A digital trends survey by Econsultancy and Adobe paints a similar picture – just 55% of companies say they have the processes in place to ensure strategy is carried out effectively, a few percent less than the previous year (57%).

The aim of inbound marketing hasn’t changed: stay relevant and offer value to customers. What has changed is the technology that allows businesses to successfully generate those leads. Even though financial services companies are well-suited to grow through inbound marketing, the sector has struggled to keep up.

THE CHALLENGE FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

With so many financial services businesses falling behind the digital marketing curve, newer, tech-savvy companies are taking the opportunity to stride ahead.

A recent survey conducted by CMO.com revealed that 71% of financial services respondents plan to increase their digital marketing investment over the next 12 months. Recognising an increasing customer demand for online engagement – from customer service and advice to helping people research specific products and services – digital is the driving force behind the financial services sector’s efforts to improve its marketing.

INBOUND MARKETING TIPS FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

Customers are at the heart of inbound marketing, placing the focus on relevant, useful content at every stage of their buying journey. An effective inbound marketing strategy creates channels through which customers can find you – for example blogs, social media and search engines.

The theory sounds simple; the reality can be something else entirely. However, some marketers working in the sector are finding ingenious ways to create more engaging, innovative branding and marketing solutions.

Here are five ways you can navigate inbound marketing more successfully too:                                                                                                    

1. MAKE SMARTER USE OF INBOUND MARKETING TECHNIQUES

Done well, inbound marketing carries real value for financial services. It’s cheaper and more effective in connecting with customers and generating sales compared to outbound marketing. Outbound leads cost 49% more than inbound leads, and inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing. Plus, companies are three times as likely to see higher ROI on inbound campaigns as outbound marketing. By giving customers the chance to reach out to your business, you make it easy for them to find out more about your products and services. And by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey you can successfully engage defined target groups.

2. TAKE CONTROL OF DATA

Joining up online and offline data can give recognised brands the edge over digital-only competitors; however, just 11% of financial services marketers see it as a priority. Control over data is a challenge for FSI marketers, largely because the data they deal with is so heavily regulated. Taking a more connected approach to data control can help companies overcome this challenge.

3. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS TO STAY RELEVANT

Taking the time to analyse consumer data allows you to better engage customers. Automated tools and systems mean you can optimise customer data. HubSpot is a forerunner in inbound marketing and can be integrated with Salesforce and Google Analytics for quick access to data.

4. MARKET TO MILLENNIALS

It’s prudent to consider millennials and Generation Z in your inbound marketing efforts: they want more online engagement from financial advisors and more control of their financial futures. Research by Mintel reveals that 31% of 18-22 year olds consider themselves more hard-working than previous generations. FSIs need to future-proof systems and tools to allow more connected DIY financial wellness.

5. BE TRULY CUSTOMER-CENTRIC

It’s so important to understand your customer, and persona development can help you personalise marketing messages according to a persona’s demographic and behaviours. By identifying fictional representations of buyers and understanding what information they’re looking for, you’re able to create content specific to their needs (e.g. choice of topic, frequency and format), and identify suitable social media platforms.

The secret to success is to use an integrated digital approach to inbound lead generation. If you’d like advice on how to create an inbound marketing model in your financial services company, contact the experts here at Curious Cat Digital for a free inbound marketing review.

 

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Digital Marketing for Higher Education: 5 trends to embrace to supercharge applications

Digital Marketing, Inbound marketing, Higher Education

University admissions are down across the board. According to UCAS in 2017 University applications dropped by 5%. It has also been reported by The Guardian  that there is likely to be a 2% decline in 2018. As a result, higher education providers need to become more switched on with their marketing and embrace the latest digital trends to stay ahead of the competition. We look at some of the key digital marketing trends and how higher education providers can embrace them to supercharge new applications.

 

1.       PERSONA DEVELOPMENT

A persona is a fictional representation of a buyer. For a University, a potential buyer could be an A-level student, a graduate or it could just as easily be a parent. The messaging for these three groups would be entirely different. Personalising marketing messages according to a persona’s demographic, behaviours and beliefs is one sure fire way to cut through the noise and capture attention. The best place to start is analysing internal data sources, CRM systems and HEIDI are packed with detailed information about past and present students. Next step is running a series of workshops with key stakeholders from all parts of the University. This could be staff from admissions, lecturers, students and counsellors. To back this up conducting interviews with new graduates and alumni can help refine persona’s to ensure marketing messages are super relevant. Persona’s can also help with social media platform selection as well as content type, topic and frequency.

 

2.       INBOUND MARKETING

Inbound marketing is the production and promotion of educational, valuable and entertaining content designed to attract potential customer (students) to your brand.  In a 2018 QS report 86% of women and 82% of men favoured online research over offline for researching University choices. The proliferation of online self-promotional material from higher education providers means most potential students have tuned out from traditional "push" advertising methods. Instead, developing content that is aimed to answer potential student questions and help them through the University selection process is more likely to develop trust and credibility. Blogs are a great place to start posting fresh content. After all according to HubSpot companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.

 

3.       SOCIAL MEDIA & VIDEO

Whilst most higher education providers are embracing social media and ensuring they are regularly updating their profiles, many lack a cohesive strategy and the correct type of content to engage potential students. According the 2018 QS report Facebook is the most popular platform for researching Universities and YouTube the 2nd. Particularly with the undergraduate age group, video is a more engaging format for digesting content and consumption of video content is only growing. A 2017 comScore report revealed that people aged between 18-24 watched 486.6 videos each on average during July 2017. Also, think about engaging current students in marketing campaigns, use their affinity with social media for new ideas. Involving them in marketing campaigns will not only be more engaging but will also spread the word to their friendship groups who could well be prospective students.

 

4.       MOBILE OPTIMISATION

The 2018 QS report report reveals that 25% of students are researching Universities using mobile. It’s therefore vital that Universities are ensuring their websites are responsive and optimised for mobile. Remember visitors browsing on mobile tend to have a shorter attention span and are less tolerant of slow page load times

Mobile users should also be addressed when considering website SEO. Along with an increase in mobile usage there comes an increase in voice search. According to comScore 50% of all searches by 2020 will be through voice. When Universities are reviewing SEO on their website they should be paying greater attention to the fact they need to optimise for voice search. Consider using more conversational content in blogs and on the website as a first step to addressing this.

 

5.       TRACKING RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

Higher education providers rely on student intake to maintain the balance sheet and marketing is a critical method in attracting new students. Like many businesses, higher education providers have hidden often away from ROI metrics when assessing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. The reality is that if you can show you are achieving an ROI it’s a much easier conversation when you are looking to increase budget. Technology and specifically Martech has made it much easier to track key KPI’s and metrics so this is no longer an excuse. The majority of the data needed data is available through Google Analytics and Marketing automation platform reporting. There is always an element of test and learn with any marketing channel and the only way to effectively measure the success is to measure ROI and continually evolve to ensure goals and KPI’s are met and exceeded.

If you are a higher education provider looking to dial into the latest trends and need help developing and executing your digital marketing strategy book a free consultation or read more about our service offering.

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The power of agency partnerships

Digital Marketing, Partnerships

Finding new clients and growing a digital agency can be a challenge. We share some tactics that we have used to build mutually beneficial partnerships with non conflicting agencies with great success. Check out our Slideshare

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Grow your business with social media marketing

Digital Marketing, Social media

Whether your business is a start up or well established social media marketing can be a great way of attracting and engaging your target audience. However, it's often difficult to know where to start. In this Slideshare we're sharing a high level overview of its importance and how you can easily implement a strategy that can help grow your business.

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Cold calling is NOT DEAD but could it be more effective?

Digital Marketing, Content marketing

We've all seen it, the numerous posts on various social media channels hailing the end of telephone based cold calling. 

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How to win new foreign exchange corporate clients

Digital Marketing, Inbound marketing, Fintech

Client's in Fintech and Forex can find it hard to cut through the noise and stand out from the crowd.

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6 Misconceptions about content marketing

Digital Marketing, Content marketing

There are so many businesses blogging but many would admit their activity isn't yet delivering as they'd hoped. Why is it that some businesses manage to attract a large, engaged audience where others don't?

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