PPC is one of the most cost effective and measurable forms of advertising, yet there are still businesses who neglect to utilise this powerful tool in their marketing operations.
In simple terms, PPC is pay-per-click, a form of search engine marketing in which you only pay each time one of your ads is clicked on. And when we talk about search engine advertising, primarily this refers to the giant that is Google Ads. Other search engines are available, but with 90% of traffic on all devices, Google dominates the market.
PPC is a way of buying visits to your website based on user’s search terms, rather than attempting to earn those visits organically. Often, the impact of PPC can be overlooked by small businesses. It is a less visible, less tangible and not as straightforward as traditional marketing, such as leafleting or newspaper advertising. But not understanding it is no excuse for ignoring it!
It is an essential part of the marketing mix. Search engines are where people – your customers – go to ask questions and to find out about services and products. Think of them as people who are sticking their hand in the air wanting to know more about products and services like yours. These are high quality leads! There is a purchasing interest to their browsing. By ignoring them, you are losing warm prospects or worse still, leaving the way open for competition to engage with them. Indeed, some competitors may even exploit any negligence by “brand hijacking”, ie. paying to advertise to audiences who search for your business name.
It trumps untargeted forms of advertising like newspapers and radio, where you can only hope your target market sees or hears and hope they react to it on their devices. With Google Ads, the consumer is king, the adverts are accessible 24 hours a day on their device at their convenience, relevant for their needs and can be responded to immediately with a click or two.
Most users will spend up to 30 seconds looking at the search results. Therefore, occupying space high in the rankings via PPC, is prime real estate. You need to be seen by eyeballs and under the thumbs of consumers on their devices. PPC is a form of advertising which is non-intrusive to its audience. It is products and services that meet their online query. That’s why it offers real return on investment in generating enquiries. And for the advertiser, it provides real marketing intelligence tracking the effectiveness of your spend and conversion rates, allowing you to make strategic data-based decisions.
At Fruit, we have in-depth experience of local, regional and national PPC campaign set up and management, please contact us today to find out how we can embed PPC into your marketing mix and turbo charge your business’s lead generation.
What will be the social media trends of 2021?
Social media has become such an integral part of life, that it is hard to believe it is still in its relative infancy. Facebook, the behemoth of the social media landscape turns just 17 in 2021. Not even old enough to drink yet. Twitter is turning 15 this year, so can at least have certificate 15 films to look forward to. Whilst Instagram will become 11 and is off to big boy school now.
Social media is the place were friends and family interact, it is a preferred source of news and information and brands and businesses’ main communication channels to their target markets. Few businesses can operate successfully without some degree of social media reach and engagement. Yet, with an ever-widening breadth of options and an ever-changing landscape, it is important to stay right on top of your social media strategy.
In the last two years, TikTok has soared in prominence. The Chinese platform has risen from around 20m global downloads in the second quarter of 2016 to 220m in the third quarter of 2019. An estimated 60% of users are Generation Z, ie, born after 1996. Its rise has coincided with the decline in useage of SnapChat, once a preferred domain of Millennials and Generation Z, but with Instagram stories taking a bite from SnapChat’s unique feature, it has slipped in popularity.
Facebook and Instagram remain the UK’s most popular social media platforms.
Yet, such is the volatility of social media, assume nothing. Facebook’s strategic moves towards centralising the leading platforms, with Instagram and WhatsApp both now under the Facebook umbrella, does not find favour in US Politics. Recently elected President Joe Biden said of the American company and its owner: “I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know. I’ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he’s a real problem.”
It’s not unthinkable that the platform could face a reckoning. It has long denied that it is a publisher and has avoided the accountability more traditional media platforms must adhere too. Such is its role in societal discourse, that is looking an increasingly untenable position.
Meanwhile, another Chinese giant WeChat has yet to make a concerted move on Western markets. WeChat combines the functionality of Facebook, WhatsApp, with music app Spotify, dating app Tinder and ApplePay. It is a one stop shop for more than 500m Chinese users. Could it one day play the same role in our lives?
Other platforms are not searching for world domination, but with their distinct personalities, Pinterest and LinkedIn have attracted tens of millions of users. The former as a visual discovery platform for those seeking lifestyle inspiration for recipes, crafting, home and fashion. The latter as a way of connecting professionals and recruitment.
It can be an overwhelming proposition to get social media right and many companies make the mistake of going scattergun. Instead, it’s important to take a thorough, considered review of your approach. Understand who your market is, which platforms do they inhabit, develop content that they respond to and consistently review and refine.
The transition to the virtual world has been accelerated through the pandemic with event organisers forced to adapt to the realities of lockdown life. But there are indications that rather than a return to normal service after the pandemic, many virtual innovations will be here to stay and for those organisations who have developed their digital delivery through 2020 and 2021, great rewards ahead.
On the face of it, the events industry has been devasted by the pandemic.
Yet, for those who persevered against the odds by pivoting to virtual delivery, there is a blueprint for lowering organisational overheads, reaching, and engaging wider audiences and fresh and lucrative revenue streams. The Virgin Money London Marathon is one such example. As the mass participation market ground to a halt, they postponed their traditional April staging and considered their options. They eventual came up with a model in October that saw an elite-only in-person event taking place in tandem with a virtual event for runners to be part of in their own communities.
It was not without its teething troubles. But they pulled it off with 38,000 ‘virtual’ runners. The brand stayed relevant and with runners peppered across the UK in their London Marathon race bibs, the event had – arguably – a wider reach. They delivered value for sponsors and generated revenue through the virtual delivery. Pre-pandemic, the event was consistently oversubscribed way above its 40,000-runner limit. This year, they have publicly stated they are aiming for 100,000 participants – both in person and virtually, more than doubling participation in a fell swoop.
Other hits (literally) of lockdown have been Gary Barlow’s Crooner Sessions, where has teamed up with the likes of Robbie Williams, Cliff Richard, Jessie J, and many others, striking a chord with millions across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Of course, the Take That national treasure has been delivering the sessions as a pep-up to the nation. But it has provided another indication of the new possibilities of the virtual delivery in all entertainment industries. It is a model that offers theatre and live music huge potential in the future.
In the corporate world, conferences have taken a hit with the traditional trade show and conferences model and their flesh-pressing culture impossible to deliver.
Yet with crisis comes creativity and platforms like GoToWebinar, Hopin and Big Marker have brought the in-person experience into the home. With interactive presentations with Q&A and audience polling features, breakout rooms, digital handouts, and recorded sessions – to ensure that you do not miss a minute, the model in many ways exceeds the in-person experience and is markedly cheaper too.
Of course, when the time comes, there is likely to be a resurgence in the event industry with people desperate for a level of human interaction that has been missing from their lives. But virtual delivery is here to stay with obvious potential in efficiencies, audience reach and the generation of new revenue streams. We expect hybrids model to be the core of event delivery post-pandemic.
For a technology that has been around for over 25 years, the QR code has had a chequered history (sorry, we could not resist that one!).
It is a feature of marketing that arrived with great fanfare, but not with widespread acceptance in the UK. It’s not quite a comeback that excites like the Spice Girls or Take That. Yet, yet this is one 1990s return that could actually be ‘back for good’.
Ironically, the pandemic has been the catalyst for the potential of QR codes finally being realised by UK businesses and their marketing departments.
As of December 2020, the NHS COVID-19 app has been downloaded over 20 million times in the UK and over 750,000 posters with QR codes have been created through the Government’s services to service test and trace. In short, we have suddenly become a nation of QR code users. It has been a long time coming.
Heritage sites across the UK were among the early adopters to utilise QR codes as a way for visitors to quickly access further multi-media information on site in the early 2000s and enhance the customer experience. But they were underused with uptake limited in the UK.
It is not the pattern globally. In China, consumers are reliant on QR codes for digital interactions, to make financial transactions, to access further information, and to authenticate their identify – all supercharged by the giant WeChat social media platform.
In India too, the QR code has become embedded in consumer life with retailers embracing the technology in their millions. QR codes use is also surging in parts of Europe, USA, Africa and the Middle East. It is inevitable to surge in the UK and is a technology that marketing professionals will need to urgently review.
Modern day marketing is grounded in data and analytics. Digital media has enabled businesses to track consumer behaviour and provide a true measure of their marketing activities, which threatened more traditional printed marketing channels such as advertising, leaflets and posters. After all, if you can’t measure the return on investment on a marketing channel, how can you be sure it is working?
However, the QR code changes all that and will enable businesses to make fuller informed decisions on marketing budgets – and perhaps lead to a comeback for traditional marketing channels?
As consumers become more open to the QR code, it provides businesses with a fresh avenue to reach customers, to better understand their behaviour, to better inform them of their products and services, to better interact with them and ultimately, to sell to them. Perhaps those 1990s trends were not so bad after all?
Turtle Tots is one of the world’s leading baby and toddler swim schools. With over 50 franchises across the UK and Ireland, it is a network of successful businesses that helps thousands of families by teaching babies and toddlers the benefits of swimming.
Launched in Bristol in 2011 by founders Caroline Sparks and Gabby Lixton, the business quickly grew with the franchise model enabling others to build their own flexible and rewarding businesses.
Their award-winning programme, begins with aqua-natal yoga lessons for mums-to-be, and continues with specialist and progressive baby swimming lessons from birth, and toddler/pre-school lessons. In 2019, around 13,000 babies and toddlers swam every week with Turtle Tots.
Every Turtle Tots teacher is trained to the highest international standards with Swim England or the Swimming Teachers Association (STA) and is endorsed by Professor Greg Whyte OBE, Olympian and Sports Scientist and board member at Sport Relief and Comic Relief.
Turtle Tots makes a difference in the lives of every family it touches. But they go a step further, every single franchise donates at least 1% of their revenue to charity.
Fruit Marketing has been proud to work with Turtle Tots for nearly three years, including developing Local Marketing Guidelines for each franchisee and delivering national campaigns for their classes. From 2018 to 2019, we helped increase their weekly client base by 11% and their year on year revenue by 11.7%.
As with anyone operating in the leisure industry, 2020 has been a challenging year for Turtle Tots. But they were recently awarded the gold award at the prestigious Approved Franchise Association 2020 Awards. With strong foundations in place, it is a business that is expected to bounce back strongly in 2021.
Co-founder Caroline Sparks said: “Fruit have been able to offer us the experience and knowledge that our franchising business model requires. Not only do they have a vast amount of experience in the sector, they creatively put together and manage our consumer campaigns, and perhaps more importantly are able to produce meaningful statistics showing the return on investment of our campaigns.
“On a personal level, it’s a pleasure to work with them, and I would have no hesitation in recommending their expertise and services.”
We define it as promoting your products or services to your target market in an engaging way, that defines, differentiates, and converts.
Effective marketing boils down to the very simple principle of “right message – right time – right channel – right audience.” Actually, you can add an ‘s’ to all of those.
At Fruit, we believe in a multi-channel approach and a rule of seven; that means that people will typically respond to a marketing message when they have seen or heard it seven times.
Of course, one size does not fit all. The same message at the same time on the same channel to the same audience will not reap the same rewards across business and across brands. There is no silver bullet for marketing. We wish it were that simple.
Marketing must be tailored specifically to each business, their objectives, a particular product or service and their customer profiles. A simple example is the Unilever brands Dove and Lynx, which utilise very contrasting approaches. One is softer, subtle with body positive content, the other is cheekier and more overtly sexual. We do not need to explain which is which.
If you need some support and guidance on crafting your marketing strategy and operations, please contact Fruit for a no-obligations consultation. We can help you get it right too.