Example

It seems to me the misunderstanding between marketing strategy and tactics is far too common amongst marketers, PRs and perhaps more importantly clients who never really question it. I think this is perhaps because strategy is a sexy buzzword used by management consultants and the self-proclaimed ninjas, gurus and The Apprentices of the world to infer some secretive superior knowledge.

Actually, though I think its quite a simple distinction. As well find all strategy and no tactics is simply not enough to gain traction in the noisy overcrowded marketplace.

Tactics are highly practical things you will do every day. Writing blog posts, sending tweets, replying to emails, outreach to bloggers, changing page titles and appointments you make/attend etc.

Strategy is a strong overarching vision, intended to fulfill your predetermined goals and objectives. Strategy is the plan that ensures all your day to day activities (tactics) contribute to your monthly, quarterly and annual business goals.

With this in mind you can go ahead and work on your marketing strategy. Lets just sketch out a quick example.

Before you dive headfirst into the strategy shindig and party hard, youll need to have set solid objectives and goals. I know it might sound cheesy, but its true and one of the things I see overlooked most commonly.

In order for strategy to be effective you should already have outlined your goals (its surprising how many companies dont do this), and know your intended audience. All goals you set should be SMART:

Specific Can the detail in the information sufficiently pinpoint problems or opportunities?

Measurable Can a quantitative or qualitative attribute be applied to create a metric?

Actionable Can the information be used to improve performance?

Relevant Can the information be applied to the specific problem faced by the manager?

Time-related Can the information be viewed through time to identify trends?

Heres a quick overview of what your strategy and tactics may look like for an overly simplistic goal. Of course you will usually have several goals running at the same time and you actually should structure your strategies to differentiate your business.

Increase sales revenue by 25% by the End of the Year

Increase Awareness of our website to Target Audience (TA) by 100% by the end of the year

Increase Traffic To Website by 50% compared with last year

Increase Repeat Purchases by 10% compared with last year

Increase Average Order Value from 50 to 55 this month

1. Engage Target Audience at key touch points in their day when receptive to brand messaging

2. Drive traffic from new unique visitors to your website

3. Encourage Repeat Purchases from Existing Customers

4. Increase Average Order Value from within the cart

1a. Run TV ads targeted at TA in the middle of the day

1b. Run Facebook Advertising at lunchtimes based around similar interests

1c. Acquire Coverage in National Magazines targeted at TA using PR

1d. Run Online Banner Advertising on XYZ sites targeted at TA in the evenings

1f. Create content around the shopping lifestyle needs of your customers

2a. Ensure website URL is featured in TV ads

2c. Start 10+ conversations per day with TA on Twitter

2d. Lead Industry based Tweet chats on Twitter, encouraging influencers to join in

2e. Create video based responses embedded in well SEOd blog posts with transcripts

2f. Share video blog posts to people on Twitter (monitoring for people asking Qs and responding)

3a. Email existing customers with referral % deal for new customers

3b. Print vouchers added to all orders sent out this month

3c. Competition: invite friends to enter mechanism (opt-in email data capture)

4a. Add attractive deals to the cart automatically (worth around 10% of transaction value)

4b. Increase the Free Delivery Threshold from 35 to 45

4c. Add gift wrapping options to the cart (with images of premium gift packaging)

4d. (If youre feeling particularly naughty) Auto opt-in to higher cost delivery / up-sells

An interesting point to consider is that strategies are usually timeless (people still react in pretty much the same way as they did 100 years ago) whilst tactics are technology/time sensitive. So, if you change the time frame (e.g. 1900, 1980, 2013) your strategy would remain the same, whilst the tactics will more than likely change.

e.g. Engage Customers In Store To Increase Sales

1900 Put up posters in your shop promoting deals

1980 Electronic screens updating your specials board

2013 AR app, mobile optimised website, foursquare deals, customer service in social media etc.

To sum up, being better thought-through and organised than your competitors will add to your bottom line by pursuing clear and achievable objectives and implementing tactics that support your strategy youll be doing what most businesses dont.

charliesaidthatHi Im Charlie, a digital strategist, I have an interest in social media, SEO, lead acquisition and understanding consumer behaviour to make a definitive difference to the businesses I work with. Find me on:or justEmail Me

Content Marketing: How To Plan Your Business Blog Posts For A Year

Top Digital Strategy Books To Add To Your Reading List

Digital Marketing Blogs I Love: Psychology, SEO, Data, UX and Other Smart Cookies

Im a Slave to Google Not a Digital Marketer

Id like to telepathically blast this into the brains of quite a few people Ive come across. Nicely outlined.

You aced it mate, must say! though the whole approach is for the pros, gurus not for everyone, so I will add to the example you have given, that will give common people more insight into what relationship strategy and tactics have, like in the sales target example, the goal is to increase sales by certain percentage, the means to achieve that is to advertise or promote, now that is the strategy but the goal now changes with those means now your goal is communicating USPs and objective of your strategy is increasing sales. The more effectively you communicate your USPs the more sales would you generate.

Like I said even if you understand the difference between strategy and tactics, its not that easy to make an effective strategy supported by effective tactics. I appreciate your approach Mate, What you have written over here would be of great value to business and management students but not to practitioners/business owners as a strategy/tactics arent something so easy to understand, so leave that to the gurus ūüėČ

This is perfectly explained. We often struggle to get clients to understand how Strategy and Tactics differ but this does it well. Your example is great because it clarifies how Goals and Objectives drive that process. All too often people seem to confuse Objectives with Strategy as being the same which they are not. We work with clients to devise KPIs that are actionable and as part of that we need them to delineate between Strategy and Tactics and so this is really useful. Thanks!

Good job. Nicely and clearly explained. Many thanks.

majority of the points in this article and its great without any doubt.

wonderful post!I like it very much. Here I find everything in

details. I hope I will see this type of post again in your blog.

This is really well explained and done in an entertaining way, which is always a difficult balance to achieve. Thanks

Great post! Well explained, and to the point! Shared it with my team, such a key component to an effective strategy and marketing mix!

Download our free eBook Your Guide to Growth in 2017 here

Charlie! Thank you so much for drawing the lines so clearly. I was having a real difficult time explaining to my team what the difference between strategy and tactics were because they typically think of tactics as the strategy. I love the example at the end of how strategy is timeless. This is a great definition for them to keep in mind!

This by far the most interesting and yet informative article in regard to concerned topic! Thanks alot for putting your time into making it a great and easy-to-understand article. Thanks heaps Charlie!

Get in touch if you are looking for SEO or Social Media advice for your business, a speaker or a live tweeter for your event.

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Im Charlie, a freelance digital strategist based in London. I enjoy solving business problems using new technology as my toolkit.I will talk to you about how you can measure success, and help build strategies that resonate with audiences and generate ROI.This often means using Web Analytics, SEO and Social Media to make campaigns more successful.

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Marketing Strategy Statement

A marketing strategy statement is a document which puts down the basic plan of how to meet the marketing goals of a company in terms of sale of products and expansion of business. Thus it should be created with acumen and sound technical resources so that a reasonable and acceptable marketing plan can be secured conforming to the marketing norms.

Marketing Strategy Statement for Sun Shades Promotion Project

Name of the company: Sun Birla Group

Marketing strategy statement powered by: Allie Askew, Marketing Department

Marketing strategy statement submitted on: 9thJuly, 2011

Marketing strategy statement written for: This blueprint will be at disposal of all the employees involved with the project so that the steps provided here can be referred to whenever there is an encumbrance.

Benefits: The statement will aid in a speedy process of execution of marketing actions which will benefit the company in achieving its target within the deadline.

Strategy statement 1: The marketing channels and franchises have to be informed beforehand about the launch of the new line of shades so that the retailing outlets can plan their sale strategies accordingly.

Strategy statement 2: Billboards and placards holding the advertisement of the product range has to be created and put up one week before the launch in order to raise awareness about the product in the market.

Strategy statement 3: A promotional event has to be planned on a convenient date and at a convenient location where a celebrity has to be invited to endorse the product and increase its appeal among the target customers.

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Marketing Strategies for Personal Selling

Marketing Strategies for Personal Selling

Difference Between Marketing Strategies and Sales Strategies

Selling to the Business Market Vs. the Consumer Market

The Role of Sales & Sales Promotion as Related to Small Businesses

Relationship Marketing vs. Transactional Marketing

What Are the Key Planning Factors for Competitive Success in Business?

Personal selling allows small businesses to offer precise products and services to their customers. It is most effective for promoting complex items that require close communication with customers. For example, a manufacturer of factory equipment might use a personal-selling strategy, tasking its sales team with contacting potential buyers, offering them information about the product line, supplying continuing assistance during the life of the product, and eventually encouraging existing customers to upgrade to new models.

The key to successful personal selling is establishing long-term, personal relationships with customers. Such relationships take time to manage, which is why personal selling is a relatively expensive endeavor. Training your staff to handle complex product sales is also costly. For example, a single sales presentation can be many months in the making, requiring numerous calls to the potential customer to set up, not to mention many follow-up calls to close the sale.

Prospecting to identify leads typically is the first step in a businesss personal-selling strategy. For example, a vacuum-cleaner sales team might first advertise its products in regional magazines and on local radio and television stations. The advertisements offer an incentive, such as a temporary discount, to consumers who contact telemarketers, who determine the needs, interests, buying authority and financial capabilities of the potential customers.

Once qualified leads are available, the relatively expensive personal-selling marketing strategy kicks in. For example, the telemarketing section of the vacuum sales team would turn customers over to the personal-selling section of the sales team, which directs consumers to the models that suit their needs, offering demonstrations and guiding them toward making a purchase.

Personal selling is an effective marketing strategy, but only if conditions are right in your target market. The group of consumers you plan to target must be small enough for your sales staff to handle. If your potential customer base is large, it might be more effective to focus on a different marketing strategy, such as a direct mail campaign or telemarketing. Its also important that the consumers live in a single region. Otherwise, travel and overhead costs might make it difficult to carry out your personal-selling campaign.

If your sales staff treats customers like prey, swarming on them as they walk in the door, people will avoid your business. But if a salesperson takes on the role of a friendly consultant, assisting rather than pressuring customers, people will be put at ease. Specifically, a neutral tone and normal conversation speech improves your odds of making a sale, according to the book Marketing: Concepts and Strategies, by William M. Pride and O. C. Ferrell.

Marketing Strategies, Tactics, and Techniques: A Handbook for Practitioners; Stuart Clark Rogers

Marketing: Concepts and Strategies; William M. Pride and O. C. Ferrell

Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the Houston Chronicle and USA Today, among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.

Business Victoria

Small Business Victorias Workshops will help you develop a strategy to help grow your business through your online activities and make your products and services easy for potential customers to find.Find a workshop near you.

Online goals link into your overall marketing objectives and are specifically related to what you want your business to achieve online.

This might include sales from your website and other types of engagement with your website, such as subscription and membership, connections with customers and other businesses, social media engagement, etc.

Your digital strategy ensures your goals are clear and helps you put the right technology and processes in place to support these goals. For example, if your online goals include sales from your website your strategy would cover all aspects of this activity, from the technology (eCommerce platform), to customer service.

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SBV Workshops – An introduction to eCommerce video transcript

A digital strategy aligns your online activities with your business goals and will help you stay on track in this constantly changing environment. A digital strategy will help you:

free you up from process-driven activities

improve redundancy (disaster recovery)

automate aspects of your staff training/induction.

Your digital strategy should always be part of an overall marketing plan. If you dont have one, you can get started on ourwrite a marketing plan page.

Define online goals with clear timeframes and ways that you can measure the success of your digital strategy. Make your online goals SMART Goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

These online goals are all measurable. Your own list of online goals will vary depending on your business and what youre trying to achieve, such as:

setting up a website three months

improving your website conversion optimisation, mobile friendly etc.

getting ranked in position 1-3 in Google for five target keywords

growing your database by 200 subscribers

building two new connections with other businesses a week.

An action plan is a good way to make your goals turn into reality.

List the tasks that need to be completed for each goal, then assign the task to a person, and set a due date. For each activity or task, write down what you expect it to achieve for your business this helps you make sure that the activities in your action plan feed directly into improving and growing your business.

BetOnline Promotional Code Explained SimplTerms

The sportsbook(which is the same company/site as BetOnline.ag) is currently the 2nd most popular sportsbook (in the US) and of course has good deposit and signup bonuses.  In the last few years I noticed that they frequently change their bonus/promo codes.  The bonuses seem to change with the start of every new sports season, major events (like the Super Bowl) and usually with playoffs.  I have noticed that the bonus is always bigger (usually 50% to $2500 instead of the standard 25% to $1000 bonus) at the start of football season..  Of course this isnt too important since everybody gets a 50% bonus on all their re-deposits, so the changing bonus only affects your initial deposit.

UPDATE:Unfortunately on May 18 2018, BetOnline reduced its max bonus from $2,500 to $1,000.  While $1,000 is still a much bigger bonus thenmost sportsbooks, 15x rollover is ridiculously high.Bovada bonus is only 5x rollover!The good news is this 15x rollover is only for the signup bonus.  The lifetime bonus stillONLY HAS A 6X BONUS!

BOL1000 50% up to $1,000 on FIRST deposit in July and then use the BOL1000 promo code on all additionally deposits forever.15x Rollover

LIFEBONUS 25% up to $1,000. This code is only used for all re-deposits, use the LIFEBONUS bonus code for your first deposit.6x Rollover

CRYPTOBET 50% up to $500 on your FIRST bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, DASH or Litecoin deposit and then use the CRYPTOBET code on all additionally deposits forever.14x Rollover

This BOL1000 promotional code will only work on FIRST deposits.  Both of the promo codes listed above have a $50 minimum deposit required.

Get a Lifetime BonusBonus Terms The Dirty Details

Read these very carefully sincemost sportsbook bonusescan be VERY strict.

There is now a 15x rollover requirement (was 10x before 5/18/18).

Rollover amount is [deposit + fees + bonus] multiplied by [required rollover]

Free play only works in the sportsbook

NO withdraws can be made for 30 days of receiving your bonus!

So the amount required to bet (rollover) will be 15x your bonus to keep your bonus money.  Lets run through some examples

Bonus Example 2  Maxing it Out

$45,000 in total betting is required

Check the BetOnline review pagefor the current details and our opinion of this popular Sportsbook.

Our Verdict of the BetOnline.ag Bonus

I really dislike the 10x rollover requirement on the first deposit when they have those occasional special 50% bonuses.  I guess it is relative The bigger the bonus, the harder it is to get it.  Smaller bonuses are easier and have less of a rollover but they are smaller!

The regular BetOnline first deposit bonus is usually a 25% bonus with a 6x rollover, then they increase their bonus to 50% and quietly increase the rollover to 10x and add a 30 day rule to earn the bonus. .  Seems a little sneaky, but overall the bonus is a really good option if you are going to be placing a good amount of bets at BetOnline.ag.  Either way the BetOnline rollovers are a tad higher than most books, but so are their bonuses.  It will work if you are placing good size bets or want to use BOL as your main sportsbook.

The Best News All redeposit bonuses will earn a 25% bonus, withONLY A 6x ROLLOVERrequirement.  Only a few sportsbooks offer re-deposit bonuses (Youwager has the best reload bonus 15% bonus with only a 4.5x rollover).

What is the rollover amount for the bitcoin bonus?

Same deal: no withdrawls for 30 days after getting this bonus.

PLUS you must use any existing freeplays that you already have BEFORE claiming the bitcoin bonus

Can you withdrawl after 30 days without meeting the rollover requirements?

Yes, but you wont be able to withdraw the bonus amount (since you did not earn it by meeting the rollover requirements).

The best thing to do is not take a bonus. I never do. If you take two bonuses then the roll over requirment is stacked on top of the previous one. They want you to do the bonuses because it ensures that you will keep playing and leave the money in the account. Also, I am 95% sure that playing poker will not count towards the roll over so if poker is your game then stay away from the bonuses.

I used to do the bonuses, took a break from playing for a while and then when i decided to deposit again I talked with them before I did and said I dont want to deposit unless they took away my current roll over requirments and they did.

Im pretty sure you also have the second example wrong as well. $6000 in total betting is not the right answer for a 6x rollover.

4000 deposit + 1000 bonus = 5000 x6 rollover = $30,000 before a withdrawal can occur

You are absolutely correct sir. Page updated Thanks!

How much bonus will i get if i make a $200 deposit to play poker. I am new and do not know much about it Id like to know more about betonline poker before making any deposits

Your description of the ROLLOVER BONUS requirement is MISLEADING and INACCURATE

Minimum rollover requirement is defined as [deposit + fees + bonus] multiplied by [required rollover].

Example $500+$150=$625 the ROLLOVER requirement is 6x=$3750 not $750 as you state!

Yore 100% correct. I mistyped and missed that damn 3!

Page Updated and thanks for pointing out my error 🙂

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Thursday July 12th American League Free Pick

Wednesday July 11th National League Free Pick

July 10th Tuesday American League Free Pick

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2018 World Cup Picks- Group Exact Finish Order Part I

Product Strategy

Thousands of innovative companies from startups to the Fortune 500 depend on our software and experts to build products customers love.

Our framework for personal and business growth

Building a company that puts people first

This is what product success looks like

The obvious choice to help you set brilliant strategy, capture ideas, prioritize features, and create visual roadmaps.

Connect with us, get the help you need, and learn how to build lovable products and be happy doing it.

Daily inspiration for product builders

Find answers to your technical questions

Create and vote for new Aha! features

Aha! helps product managers get their mojo back

What are product goals and initiatives?

How should product managers research competitors?

How should product managers define customer personas?

What are some examples of a business model?

What is a strategic product planning process?

All great products start with a clearstrategythat is customer and market-driven. Your strategy defines the direction of your product and what you want to achieve. Establishing this first aligns the organization and keeps everyone focused on the work that matters the most. It tells the team where the product is headed and what needs to be done to get there.

The main purpose of a strategy is to align executives and other key stakeholders around how the product will achieve the high-level business objectives. It also provides the product manager with a clear direction to guide the team through implementation and to communicate the value of the product to cross-functional teams, such as sales, marketing, and support.

Aproduct strategyis the foundation for the entire product lifecycle. As product leaders develop and adjust their product strategy, they zero in on target audiences and define the key product and customer attributes necessary to achieve success.

Strategy is comprised of three parts: vision, goals, and initiatives.

Your vision includes details on the market opportunity, target customers, positioning, a competitive analysis, and the Go-to-Market plan. It describes who the customers are, what they need, and how you plan to deliver a unique offering.

Goals are measurable, time-bound objectives that have clearly defined success metrics associated with them. They help you set what you want to achieve in the next quarter, year, or 18 months. Here are a few examples:

Initiatives are the high-level efforts or big themes that need to be implemented to achieve your goals. Here are some examples:

Your strategy provides the foundation for planning your roadmap, defining your features, and prioritizing your work. To visualize your strategy and see how it ties to your execution plan, it helps if you linkreleasesandfeaturesto initiatives and goals. This allows you to analyze your roadmap at a high level and to discover any gaps. It is easier to understand the relationships between product lines, products, goals, initiatives, and releases when you can see them all in one view. This also helps you to identify orphan goals or initiatives and adjust your plans accordingly.

A great strategy starts with a clear product plan, a vision, and a canvas that explains how customer and market forces shape the products direction. The first step is to have a north star that tells you where your product is headed.

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Word of Mouth Marketing How to Create a Strategy for Socialedia Buzz kyrocket Referrales

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Word of Mouth Marketing: How to Create a Strategy for Social Media Buzz & Skyrocket Referral Sales

Why Care About Word of Mouth Marketing?

Ideas For Building Your Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy

Finding new ways to generate ecommerce sales is getting tougher.

Competition is fierce. And simply having a presence and a nice looking web store is no longer enough to make you stand out.

Winning nowadays requires strategy and squeezing the most out of every opportunity.

But theres one powerful area that tends to get neglected by ecommerce businesses:

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM), also called word of mouth advertising, is the social media eras version of simple word of mouth.

, word of mouth marketing was spread from one person to another based on recommendation.

describes both targeted efforts and naturally occurring instances where users share their satisfaction with a brand.

In todays hyper-connected world, a single recommendation can have far greater impact leading to word of mouth marketing (WOMM) or word of mouth advertising strategies to capitalize on the opportunity.

Many best practices and marketing tactics encourage natural word of mouth, but campaigns particularly on social media can have the explicit aim of promoting an online business social exposure.

According to Nielsen, 92% of peopletrust recommendations from friends and familyover any other type of advertising. Even academic research into WOMM has proven its effectiveness in conversion.

In theInternational Journal of Market Research, M. Nick Hajili wrote:

Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects intention to buy. Therefore, trust has a significant role in ecommerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.

Ive seen ecommerce brands blow up by developing a Facebook Group, having YouTube influencers talk about them, and by getting on podcasts. And while this all happens online, this is still WOM advertising.

Eric Carlson, Co-Founder,10x Factory

Word of mouth marketing happens in 2 ways: organically and through the use of marketing and advertising campaigns.

The two have inherent overalps and over a good WOM marketing strategy will cause icnreased organic WOM. Vice versa, if you already have a decent amount of organic WOM, your WOMM campaugns will be much more successful.

These two types of WOMM are called and defined as:

Organic WOM occurs naturally when people become advocates because they are happy with a product and have a natural desire to share their support and enthusiasm.

Amplified WOM occurs when marketers launch campaigns designed to encourage or accelerate WOM in existing or new communities.

Nielsen reportthat 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.

Beyond friends and family,88% of peopletrust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.

And74% of consumersidentify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.

Butonly 33%of businesses are actively seeking out and collecting reviews.

Despite that fact thata little, can do a lot. When specific case studies were analyzed, researchers found a 10% increase in word-of-mouth (off and online) translated into a sales lifts between 0.2 1.5%.

But theres much more to word of mouth advertising and marketing than just do a good job and hope for a referral.

So in this post we go into full detail on the subject:

What it takes to make word of mouth marketing work.

Specific strategies (with real-life examples) for setting up a steady flow of referral customers.

Word of mouth will never go out of style. It is, and will remain, the 1 way people make choices about brands.

Jamie Turner, Author, Speaker, and CEO of the60 Second Marketer

Why Care About Word of Mouth Marketing?

Tactics such as setting up a coolsocial media ador experimenting withAI in ecommercemay sound more exciting (and like quicker wins).

A strong word of mouth strategy at the heart of your business can lay the foundation on which to build everything else from.

The Advantages of Word of Mouth Marketing:

Many brands from The Hustle to Bangs Shoes and more use word of mouth marketing instead advertising spend to increase sales and fanbase.

Word of mouth marketing works to build an engaged fan base rather than a buy and bolt customer. Higher engaged customers buy more often and recommend their friends more often, extended your return on time spent on the strategy and generating a high customer lifetime loyalty.

Brands with high customer lifetime loyalty and therefore repeat purchases receive more angel and venture funding. Why? Because CAC to LTV, or Customer Acquisition Cost to Lifetime Value, is considered one of the most important aspects of a healthy business model in the early days of a companys lifecycle.

In fact, there are three crucial factors a quality WOM marketing strategy can affect:

According to theNational Law Review, it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer than keep a current one.

AndBain & Co estimatethat a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a companys profitability by 75%.

A positive word of mouth advertising and marketing strategy keeps customers coming back. And referring other customers. Who also keep coming back. And referring more customers.

All of a sudden youve got a machine thats pumping out new customers who are all loyal to your brand.

HubSpot showthat 75% of people dont believe adverts, yet 90% trust suggestions from family and friends and 70% trust consumer reviews.

People trust friends, family (and even strangers) more than they do ads.

Word of mouth marketing means your brand is being recommended in the most trustworthy context possible. And first time browsers are much more likely to take that crucial extra step of handing over their payment details.

Its great to have ad budgets andperfect sales funnels. But the only way to create a genuine buzz about your brand is to have impartial people shouting about you in the media and on social networks.

And a good word of mouth marketing strategy severely increases the likelihood of this happening.

Impress the right person and you might even end up gettingfeatured in something like the New York Times.

In fact, this is the exact strategy Flash Tattoos used when they nabbed a promotion and collaboration with Beyonce. The brand was able to earn the stars interest at festivals and through natural WOM promotion on Instagram of their products.

Next thing you know, Beyonce is knocking down their door to get a custom collaboration.

The collaboration made national headlines, including:

For Flash Tattoos,sales increased 1,100%following the collaboration.

Creative WOM Beats Ad Unit Economics

Word of mouth is becoming increasingly and a must-have component of any ambitious brands marketing strategy.

Paid acquisition through channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Google have become significantly more competitive, which is putting increasing pressure on brands gross margins (when considering customer acquisition costs).

Brands thus have to focus on alternative marketing tactics, which have more cost-efficient unit economics and simply requires less of a monetary investment.

One of the best recent examples is Patagonias The President Stole Your Land campaign.Their tweetabout this got more than 60,000 retweets. The overall campaign, which Patagonia targeted at their own customers, generated worldwide publicity and contributed greatly to their marketing efforts.

Adii Pienaar, High King of Ecommerce,Conversio

Theres one thing to make sure of before doing anything else before creating effective word of mouth marketing strategies:

That youre already creating an epic customer experience.

Trying to get people to refer their friends and family to your business is almost impossible if they had a poor experience. Even with an average one its difficult.

You could even do the opposite and spark up a whirlwind of negative publicity.

People refer others because they want to share something they love. Not just because they might get a discount voucher for doing it.

And with65% of consumershaving cut ties with a brand over just a single poor encounter, its more important than ever to create that amazing experience.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure that happens:

Word of mouth customers convert better because they already have a level of trust and confidence in your business that has transferred to them from the person who recommended your store.

People who arrive by other channels, by contrast, might know nothing about your store and have to be convinced first. Their levels of trust are lower and conversions are correspondingly lower too.

In addition, if someone has had a good experience with your company and passes this message along they are also likely to point out helpful tips (i.e. be sure to pick up your discount coupon, or log in to get a free gift, etc) that make your offering more attractive to that person BEFORE they have even visited the site.

Word of mouth customers come with built in levels of trust and confidence that other channels dont.

David Mercer, Founder,SME Pals

Its impossible to create a positive experience if what you sell just isnt up to scratch.

Your business will fast become more aboutmanaging returnsthan anything else.

So being able tosource and sell quality productsis crucial.

Take a look at the negativity caused in this TripAdvisor review:

The restaurant obviously spent a lot of time working on their logo design and how they looked to new customers.

Yet their product (the food) and overall experience for the customer was totally lacking.

A poor review and a customer likely to spread plenty of negative word of mouth.

Create Good Products to Get Good Profit

Word of mouth is possibly more important than ever.

Creating a great and personal experience around a high quality product can lead to all sorts of virality online and offline.

If you treat customers poorly or sell lousy products, people will know and tell other to stay away. And because of social media, they can influence not only their friends but also friends of friends and beyond.

According to justuno, 93% of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision.

And aForrester reportclaims better UX design could increase conversion rates by up to 400%.

You need to make your ecommerce site and ordering process across all devices slick and simple to use or people will just give up (and certainly wont come back).

A great example of this is the Carolina Panthers online shop.

Theyused BigCommerceto redesign their site to look amazing and be easy-to-use across all devices:

Take a look at some of the reviews after the change:

And the numbers dont lie either with the Panthers store seeing a:

Arecent Loqate reportclaims that 49% of consumers would shop online more if they felt more confident about delivery and 57% are reluctant to use a retailer again if delivery is late.

So running a tight operation after a sales been made is crucial.

Its hard to provide that positive, referrable experience while carrying around a reputation for backorders and order mishaps.

This means having bulletproof processes in place to perfectlycontrol your inventorywithout overselling and a seamless fulfillment system to ensure on-time deliveries.

While also being super speedy in responding to and resolving any mishaps that do occur.

Of course, theres no one way of doing this.

Every customer interaction is different but should be treated as an opportunity to impress.

Its about being in the mindset of striving for excellence in every situation and always putting the customer first.

Zapposare the absolute masters of this. In fact, their CEO Tony Hsieh has regularly described them as a service company who happen to sell shoes.

The internet is filled with a multitude of what can be seen as small, yet powerful stories about how Zappos creates wow experiences for customers every single day.

Theyve even started turning them into cool promotional videos:

Creating an epic experience for customers is sometimes enough to get some of them shouting about you and referring others.

But really making the best word of mouth marketing campaign strategy requires greater thought.

You need to move away from hoping people tell their friends about you. And towards specific strategies that actively encourage people to refer.

Lets take a look at some ideas to help you build you WOMM strategy:

One of the big shifts around the concept of word of mouth is that people are spreading products in a different way.

Its no longer through their voice and is instead happening through their fingertips. Whether its a viral product like theStar Wars shower headsgetting thousands of shares on Facebook or a new SaaS service getting thousands of upvotes on Product Hunt; the concept of word of mouth is the same but the channel is different.

Ross Simmonds, Digital Strategist,Foundation Marketing

A word of mouth trigger is your x factor.

The thing that makes your business stand out from any other in your industry or space.

This means giving your customers something memorable. An experience, thought or feeling they cant get anywhere else.

And theyre left being almost forced (in a good way) to talk about you to others.

The Hustle, for instance, sends an ambassador promotion email anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple months after someone joins (they continue to test timing for effectiveness). Heres the email they send:

Of their nearly 600,000 subscribers (as of writing), this email has earned them more than 4,000 ambassadors, each of whom recommends upward of 25 people to The Hustle.

Disney does an amazing job of this with their theme parks.

They create a stunning visual experience that people just want to take photos of and share with other people.

But this can be a little trickier to create when it comes to ecommerce.

You could create a website so stunning and unique that people just have to share it. But navigation, ease-of-use and conversions should always be your first point of call.

IKEA is a great example of a brand using a visual trigger to create word of mouth.

They were among some of the first retailers to embrace Augmented Reality in a big way and created a huge online buzz when launching their AR app:

This video has 1.4 million views on YouTube and was shared across copious other channels because people were visually amazed.

Creating something totally different and out of the box is another way to trigger people into spreading the word about your business.

But that doesnt mean you need to totally reinvent the wheel.

It could be that you market your business in a way thats totally different to anyone else in your space. Or that you take an old product and sell it in a completely new way.

Dollar Shave Clubis a fantastic example of both of these ideas.

Not only did they take an old product (a shaving razor) and sell it in a new way (via subscription to monthly grooming packages). But they also marketed themselves using self-deprecating humour in an industry thats mostly known for producing serious commercials of men with chiseled good looks.

In fact, they gained12,000 customers within 48 hoursof this initial YouTube video going live in 2012 (and it now has over 25 million views):

Tapping into peoples emotions can be very powerful for generating shares and getting people to talk about your business.

This can be done via taking something you believe in and tying your company brand closely to it on social media, your website and anywhere you can.

Android believe in their slogan Be Together. Not the Same. And theirFriends Furever videowent on to become themost shared ad of all timeby simply encapsulating this concept.

BigCommerce retailer Ben & Jerrys also does this really well by attaching themselves to a cause they hugely believe in environmentalism:

Content generated by your users, customers and followers can be much more powerful, engaging and shareable than run of the mill company updates and photos.

According to anAdweek infographic, 85% of users find visual UGC more influential than brand photos or videos.

Meaning engaging your follower base in a two-way conversation can encourage them to start shouting about your business on social media effectively endorsing and referring you to their friends and followers.

Offering discounts for posts that meet certain criteria is one way to encourage this. Or running an ongoing social media competition on your own hashtag is another.

BigCommerce retailerJenis Splendid Ice Creamsdoes this fantastically well.

They have stores all across America and get customers to Instagram themselves enjoying their ice cream while using a special hashtag for the store theyre at:

And even go a step further by creating community sections for each store on their website filled with social proof of people loving their ice cream:

Not every person is going to refer dozens of friends and family.

But that doesnt mean they didnt love their experience. And certainly doesnt mean you cant use their feedback to convince others to buy.

According to BrightLocals2017 Customer Review Survey:

Consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business up from six the previous year.

85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business.

So feedback and word of mouth from your current customers is crucial.

That means collecting and prominently displaying honest reviews of your service and products in as many places as possible marketplaces, websites, in-store, social media posts and anywhere else you can think of.

If someone is willing to shout about your business, make sure everyone knows about it.

Alcoholic drinks retailer BeerCartel do this brilliantly on their BigCommerce store by prominently displaying product ratings in the top left and a reviews tab on the right:

With the tab on the right causing a pop up box filled with reviews to appear as an overlay:

And they also do a great job collecting reviews on social media too:

Use Reviews to Their Full Social Power

Reviews are the modern word of mouth. Consumers are reading reviews and theyre asking for advice on social networks. Word of mouth is more important and bigger than ever before.

Stephen Slater, Sr. SEO and Digital Advertising Manager,TopRank Marketing

A referral program isnt going to trump a bad experience for your customers.

But offering systematic referral rewards is a great way to nudge happy customers into actually taking that step and introducing others to your business.

Texas Tech researchhas indicated that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer a product or service but only 29% actually do.

So gently pushing customers towards taking action on referrals could be a game changer.

$X gift card for referring a certain number of people.

Straight up paying people for referrals.

Bonus gifts with next order for referring people.

Outdoor apparel retailerThe Clymbdoes an awesome job with their referral programme, clearly highlighting it in their website header:

The reward itself is then clearly explained at the top of a dedicated page:

And they then make it super easy to share via email and social media. Even providing a pre-populated message and potential earnings according to number of email addresses entered:

A key caveat to mention here though is that you need to know your customer numbers and metrics especially average lifetime value.

Theres no point giving a reward of, say, $50 if your average customer only has a lifetime value of $25. Youre just throwing away money.

This is why reward programs lend themselves particularly well to subscription services or businesses that see highcustomer retention.

But knowing your numbers means you know how much you can afford to spend as a reward.

In their early days, PayPal literally paid people just for getting someone else to open an account ($10 to each the referrer and new customer).

Not something most brands can do. But PayPal knew their numbers and created7-10% daily growthin user base with it selling for $1.5 billion a few years later.

Today, PayPal continues to lead the payments industry charge. They even sell their point-of-sale system to ecommerce brands in the exact same way ecommerce brands sell to their own customers.

Word of mouth is arguably the most important marketing tactic of any business.

If you set up an ad that acquires a customer for $10 thats good. Assuming thats profitable for you based on your CoGs, etc. keep scaling your ads.

But if you can get 1 person to talk about your brand with 10 of their friends and 5 of them buy. And you repeat that for every customer that comes into your store youll get so many sales you wont be able tokeep up with inventoryand shipping.

William Harris, Ecommerce Marketing Expert,Elumynt

Some people have a strong social media and online following. And hold a lot of sway with their recommendations.

Research from Twitter and Annalectclaims 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions.

So getting your brand or products reviewed and talked about by relevant influencers in your industry can be a fantastic word of mouth strategy.

Some influencers you can outright pay to promote a product. But there are other ways too.

Word of mouth marketing is often rooted in great campaigns through social influencers. Its important for brands to think about how to incorporate and experiment with this.

David Feng, Co-Founder,Re:amaze

Once youve identified relevant influencers, simply sending them one or some of your products for free can get them talking about it online.

Be careful not to expect or demand anything just because youve sent free product. Some of these influencers will get a lot of free stuff and they might not want to review it all.

Minimalistic watch retailerDaniel Wellingtonused this strategy almost solely to build their online business.

They simple sent one of their watches to selected Instagram influencers along with a unique discount code to include in any posts:

This strategy helped Daniel Wellington climb to almost 4 million followers on Instagram with over 1.6 million posts in thedanielwellington hashtag.

Following on from one of the above WOM triggers suggestions influencers and celebrities are always wanting to show their support for causes they believe in.

Meaning you can gain serious word of mouth exposure while supporting something cool too.

Sun Bum sells sunscreen without any of the typical bad stuff in it. They also make and sell sunscreen specifically for childrens skin. But that isnt all.

Sun Bum partners with schools across the U.S. to bring in professional (and famous!) surfers from around the world to teach kids about the importance of sun protection.

Support for the project in the surfing community is huge. But its also something that many celebrities and key influencers are more than happy to promote and post about plugging Sun Bum in the process.

Online app brand Vivino is beloved by wine novices and sommeliers alike around the world, but in the NBA their share of influencers is far and wide.

Shoutout to my Vivino app, says Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. As Kevin Love, the 5 time basketball All-Star and NBA Championship winner, says, Its like Netflix for wine.

For Blazers guard CJ McCollum? Its life-changing.

Word of mouth advertising and marketing can be a monumentally strong player in growing your ecommerce business.

But its imper

Marketing Communications MA

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Part ofBusiness and ManagementandMarketingwithinWestminster Business School

Marketing communications covers the selection and application of the main communication tools available to an organisation in pursuit of its marketing goals. This work is often carried out by specialist agencies, and involves both strategic thinking and the development of creative solutions. It calls for a blend of research-based knowledge with the practice of high-level, often extremely creative, skills.The course includes a study of the tools that underpin the development of a marcomms strategy and the media platforms to deliver a marcomms campaign.

As part of the course, you will have the opportunity to study digital marketing, which makes up the syllabus for the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing. This will prepare you to take the Diploma exams after your MA if you so wish.

The course covers the main marketing communication techniques.It provides you with a sufficient foundation in marketing to enable you to work easily with people involved throughout the marketing management process.The ultimate aim of the course is to enhance individual career advancement prospects through knowledge of how to apply academic learning to best marketing communications practice.

A highlight for many students is the residential at a Cambridge college and talks from practitioners and alumni organised throughout the course which provide an opportunity for networking and extending learning in new environments.

The following modules areindicative of what you will study on this course.

In this module you will come to understand the nature of learning and how you best learn. You will reflect on your progress and development throughout the course, helping you to generate a personal development plan.You will discuss current thinking in the field of integrated marketing communications, and debate new ideas and media issues. Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), and debate new idea and media issues.

IMC has developed in the last 20 years to be a vital element in the marketingmanagement process. It embraces all of the communications tools, consumer behaviour, research and strategy covered by the course and seeks to place them within an overall context of how IMC has developed, what it seeks to achieve and how its success can be measured. The module explores the various criticisms which are levelled at IMC and examples of where it is considered to have succeeded and failed. The impact of digital delivery on the future development of IMC is also explored.

The module is delivered over one year and is designed to underpin your learning about marketing communications by introducing IMC concepts and issues at appropriate times throughout the course.It also serves as a lead into the IMC campaign project which forms the capstone of student learning and assessment on the course.

In semester one you will study the underpinning concepts and strategies for marketing communications.

Organisations must understand their consumers and how they choose products and services so they can provide effective communications. Many companies have incorporated a customer focus in their overall strategies and use sophisticated approaches to consumer behaviour, which form the basis of their marketing communication strategies. In this module you will gain a critical understanding of factors influencing consumer behaviour and decision making which can be used in the development of more effective marketing communication strategies.

In this module you will consider the role of marketing communications within the broader context of an organisations marketing strategy and competitive environment. The module explores contemporary concepts of marketing and brand strategy. You will learn to apply your knowledge to a broad range of organisations.

This module will give you a robust and comprehensive introduction to the theory, application and practice of marketing research in relation to the media. You will examine the need for research to support communications initiatives during their implementation, delivery and evaluation. A major part of this is the way in which research is used in audience measurement.

Students who start the course in Januaryhave a compulsory six-week summer school in May-June. This includes the Promotional Marketing module and part of the Semester Two modules. You will also start working on your Integrated Marketing Communications project.

In semestertwo you will study in greater depth the tools and media platforms for marketing communications. The January cohort will begin these modules during the summer school.

This module will give you a greater understanding of advertising theory and its application. Advertising is a term often used to represent all forms of marketing communications. Important though advertising is, it is only part of the marketing communications mix. This module discusses how advertising as a media tool differs from other elements of the marketing communications mix and its role within an integrated marketing strategy.

It covers the advertising and creative process, campaign planning, implementation and metrics, advertising in society, and the problems and opportunities of advertising in a constantly changing media environment.

Reflecting the rapidly changing practice in the marketing communications industry, you will explore how direct marketing uses traditional, digital and social media platforms for the acquisition, engagement and retention of customers.

The ability to provide precise, accountable results and directly support the trend towards the development of long-lasting relationships with customers has increased the strategic value to the organisation of direct and digital marketing. This module includes the syllabus material for the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing.

This module takes a holistic view of the sales process and promotional marketing activities by drawing together a number of related themes such as sales and promotional management, customer loyalty, experiential marketing, packaging, and in-store marketing (including point-of-purchase and couponing). Analysing each activity as an individual discipline, the module draws the strands together to illustrate how post-modern concepts such as shopper marketing have come to prevail in contemporary strategic marketing communications thinking.

This module is delivered during the summer school in June for the January cohort.

This module concentrates on giving you an understanding of the role of public relations within an organisation, with special reference to marketing communications. You will examine the origins, scope and a range of applications of PR, focusing on its role in marketing communications management, the development and maintenance of corporate reputation and the growing role of sponsorship within the marketing communications portfolio.

Finally you undertake a project which allows you to bring together all the knowledge you have gained during the programme. This is a practice-based project in which you will make an assessment of a brands current situation and future potential in relation to its marketing, brand and marketing communications strategies. With guidance from your supervisor you will develop an in-depth, comprehensive integrated marketing communications plan for the product.

The module is delivered through class sessions, workshops and one-to-one tutoring with an individually allocated supervisor. It includes a two-day residential at a Cambridge University College.

This course is accredited by the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI).

For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the programme specification.

We hope when you leave us you will have a good Masters degree, that you will be an employable person, and that you will have a sound knowledge of all the communication tools.

Carol Blackman lectures in marketing and marketing research on postgraduate and post-experience courses and is the co-author of First Line Management (1997), Butterworth Heinemann. She is the module leader for Managing Products and Services on the MBA and DMS programmes. She has led the development of return to work programmes to help the long-term unemployed and women who have taken a career break.

She previously worked in marketing and marketing research in a large number of industries from the printing industry through heavy industry, freight-forwarding and also worked for a multi-national company, 3M UK, both in B2B and B2C products. She was also on the Executive Committee of the Industrial Marketing Research Association. She has been responsible for the Marketing Communications MA for around 20 years.

Anne holds Masters degrees in both Marketing and Higher Education and is a Professional Member of the Digital Marketing Institute.

Annes work as a Course Leader on the MA Marketing Communications focuses on preparing students for careers in the marketing communications world by helping to shape and develop contemporary knowledge and skills.

Employability skills are built into all modules on the course but are especially important in the integrated Marketing Communications Project module that Anne leads, which pulls together analysis, planning, implementation, and communication skills.

The integrated Marketing Communications Project module pulls together analysis, planning, implementation, and communication skills.

Vincent OBrien – Visiting Lecturer

Jacqueline Lynch – Principal Lecturer

Dr Kleopatra Konstantoulaki – Senior Lecturer

Applicants should normally hold a first degree from a recognised institution (minimum Lower Second Class Honours or international equivalent) and demonstrate interest and motivation in the subject area. Alternative professional qualifications with at least three years relevant professional experience will also be considered. Applicants from different academic backgrounds are welcome.

If English is not your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6 in each element.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process

Applicants should normally hold a first degree from a recognised institution (minimum Lower Second Class Honours or international equivalent) and demonstrate interest and motivation in the subject area. Alternative professional qualifications with at least three years relevant professional experience will also be considered. Applicants from different academic backgrounds are welcome.

If English is not your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6 in each element.

As a Marketing Communications postgraduate, you can look forward to excellent career prospects in both specialist agencies and within in-house marketing departments.

Past students have gone on to successful careers in advertising, public relations, brand management, direct and interactive marketing, sales promotion, market research and data manipulation.

With the MA Marketing Communications, youll be particularly well-placed to pursue opportunities with organisations that require marketing specialists with the ability to think strategically and develop creative solutions.

The Chartered Institute of Marketings Introductory Certificate gives you CIM membership during your MA qualification.

All students on our full-time Business Masters courses can apply to undertake the PG/MBA Internship Programme, which forms part of the Reflective Practitioner Module.

The internship allows you to test drive a career and explore one of your career interests before you complete your Postgraduate studies!

Completing an8-12 week accredited internshiphelps students gain invaluable work experience. This fantastic work experience can be taken in addition to option modules. Students are responsible for finding their own internship with the support of the Business Experience Team.

To express an interest in the module, students must submit a completed application form and a copy of their updated CV. This will give students membership a dedicated website that offers exclusive access to internship vacancies, one to-one CV guidance appointments, mock interviews, employability workshops and much more.

Students can apply to London-based organisations and have the flexibility to take their internship in the summer period or alongside their studies.

Every year we receive very positive feedback from both postgraduate students and employers and expect that the internship programme will continue to remain popular amongst our students.

Find out about postgraduate internships

The Business Experience Team also offers full-time overseas postgraduate students the opportunity to take part in our Westminster Business School Mentoring Programme.

We will match students with a senior professional (mentor) from their field of expertise to give them an exact insight into British working practices and policies. Experienced professionals in any business field share their career experiences and knowledge with students who may wish to venture down a similar path in the near future.

Our mentors come from a wide range of backgrounds, including marketing, general management, finance and entrepreneurship. In addition, our mentors typically offer three hours of their time over a three month period to the mentee (student). In addition, to one-to-one meetings, students are encouraged to keep in touch with their mentor over email and telephone.

Our Career Development Centre has just been shortlisted for the Best University Careers Service in the National Undergraduate Employability Awards for 2017.

With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we are here to help you succeed.

In 201516, we helped over 1,500 students find work placements across a range of sectors, with 250 employers attending 14 on-campus skills and careers fairs.

As a Westminster student, youll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.

find work placements related to your course

find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience

find international opportunities to enhance your employability

market yourself effectively to employers

write better CVs and application forms

develop your interview and enterprise skills

plan your career with our careers consultants

meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events throughout the year

Find out more about theCareer Development Centre.

Graduates of the course are employed throughout the world in marketing, media and communications organisations. These include advertising and digital agencies such as Mind Share and J.W.Thompson; media organisations including television, publishing, and Google; and large companies such as Procter and Gamble, and Coca Cola. Our students take up posts such as marketing managers, marketing planners, brand managers, corporate communication managers and social media community managers.

One of the things I enjoyed most about studying at Westminster Business School was the close interaction with professors, who not only had a broadknowledge but were very supportive and encouraging.The central location of the Marylebone campus in the heart of London was an inspiring environment to me,full of business opportunities, creativity and interesting people.

We put our marketing and businessknowledgeinto practice on a regular basis

UK and EU tuition fee:16,000 (Price per academic year)

Find outhow we set our tuition fees.

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting ourAlumni discounts page.

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out aboutpostgraduate student funding options.

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one ofour scholarships.

See what you may need to pay for separately andwhat your tuition fees cover.

Your course fee includes registration with the Digital Marketing Institute and materials for the Diploma but does not include the examination fee (currently 145).

International tuition fee:18,000 (Price per academic year)

Find outhow we set our tuition fees.

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting ourAlumni discounts page.

Find out aboutfunding for international students.

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one ofour scholarships.

See what you may need to pay for separately andwhat your tuition fees cover.

Your course fee includes registration with the Digital Marketing Institute and materials for the Diploma but does not include the examination fee (currently 145).

The best part of the course was working in teams using real life case studies with industry partners, putting together integrated marketing communication plans for brands with objectives and strategies. This gave us a real insight into the marketing communications world and now, five years after graduation, Ive returned to work with the MAMC team, bringing my expertise as a mentor, a guest lecturer and in workshops.

This course more than matched my expectations. The programme is structured, modern, practical and interesting and I developed a real understanding of managing marketing communications strategically. The international diversity on the course enriched my learning experience immensely. The industry workshops and residential program at Cambridge really enhanced the learning experience.

Programmatic Analyst at OMD International

Throughout the year the teaching team and the careers team were incredibly supportive and really employment focused. Because of this, I have been able to secure an amazing job with OMD International, a leading London Marketing Communications agency. Most of my coursemates are working in really credible marketing communications agencies in London and all over the world.

Find out more about our courses via online sessions.

Find out more about funding available for postgraduate students.

Read the Westminster Business School blog

Studying at Westminster Business School

Our Marylebone Campus has benefitted from a multi-million pound refurbishment resulting in new workshops, digital studios and development of the Marylebone Library. The campus is home to the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment and Westminster Business School. For more details, visit ourMarylebone Campus page.

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Developing a communications strategy

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Community-made content which you can improve

Developing a communications strategy

Step-by-step guide to producing a comms strategy for your organisation. Includes exercises and downloads.

A communications strategy is designed to help you and your organisation communicate effectively and meet core organisational objectives. Here we look at the key elements of a communications strategy as well as how press/PR plans, web strategies and marketing plans fit into your organisations overall communications strategy.

It is useful to say up front why you have developed a communications strategy and what you hope to achieve with it.  This does not need to be very detailed, it acts as a reference and reminder for those using it in their work. For example:

This communications strategy shows how effective communications can:

help us achieve our overall organisational objectives

engage effectively with stakeholders

demonstrate the success of our work

ensure people understand what we do

change behaviour and perceptions where necessary.

The introductory part of the communications strategy should briefly outline what your organisation does, what its main functions are and where it operates. It should also look at your organisations communications strengths what has been successful and what hasnt worked well over the last five years or so. The following tools can be used to help analyse your organisations current situation.

This involves listing thePolitical, Economic, Social and Technologicalfactors that could affect your organisations work.  These could be positive or negative factors and should include issues that are likely to have an impact on how your organisation operates. You should indicate why each factor will have an effect.

For example, under political you might include: Change of government: need to build contacts with new civil servants/MPs.  Need to understand new policy agenda. Implications for target media.

See more onPESTEL analysisin our strategy section.

A SWOT Analysis involves listing your organisationsstrengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Think about what this means in terms of your communications priorities. How can threats be turned into opportunities? How can you play on your strengths through effective communications?

See more onSWOT analysisin our strategy section.

Another useful tool when assessing your current situation is to look at what your competitors are doing. This can be a relatively simple exercise where you identify your main competitors and rank them against certain criteria. Try to be objective when assessing current strengths and weaknesses.

Any communications strategy should closely reflect your overall organisational plan. In this section you should look at your organisations overall vision and core aims and objectives. You should then suggest how communications can help deliver these goals.

As well as referring to specific objectives, this section should give an overall sense of the principles of communications that underpin the strategy and the key messages that the organisation wants to convey.

It is important that your communications objectives should be seen to contribute to the achievement of the overall objectives of the organisation. In this way they will be recognised not as an add-on, but something as fundamental as operational or policy objectives to achieving the organisations overall mission.

The example below shows how for a (fictional) homelessness organisation this might work in practice. Each of the organisations strategic objectives (from its business plan) can be broken down to show how operations and communications can contribute to delivering the objectives.

EG – Objective 1: To provide the best standards of care and support for people using our services

To train our staff effectively to work with our service users

To ensure all staff know and understand the standards of care expected

To keep the premises clean and well maintained

To ensure service users know the quality of services they should expect, and know what is expected of them

To provide opportunities for service users to enter education, training or employment

To ensure service users have opportunities to communicate their needs within the organisation

To regularly gather feedback to ensure we are maintaining standards of care and support

EG – Objective 2: To play a key role in the community as a valued provider of services for vulnerable people

To build strong relationships with the local authority and other funders

To provide a regular flow of information to key stakeholders

To fulfil contracts with the local authority to provide services for service users

To regularly showcase organisational successes in the local media

To be approached by local media for opinions on availability of services for vulnerable people

Top tip:Most organisational plans cover for a period of around five years, your communications vision should work to the same timescale.

Top tip:When setting objectives, its important to be realistic in terms of timeframes, budgets and resources. Its also important to ensure they are measurable.

In this section, you should give a detailed description of your main audiences both external and internal. These might include the public, politicians, service users and staff. You might also refer to potential audiences that your organisation is keen to connect with.

Many organisations will find that they have lots of audiences who they need to interact with. One part of the strategy might look at which audiences will be interested in which parts of your organisation or activities. Understanding this may make it easier to prioritise your communications work.

In this fictional example, a charity providing advice and other services has looked at what its key stakeholders might be interested in:

Another way of prioritising your audiences or stakeholders might be to map them. This involves choosing criteria which are important to your organisation and then ranking your different audiences against those criteria. This can help show you which are the most important and therefore the ones on which you should be spending most of your effort communicating. It is often easier to do this analysis with two criteria, so you can highlight the differences between audiences.

Some simple examples of mapping stakeholders include looking at their influence on policy and resources and their interest in your organisation.

Top tip: Dont forget your internal audiences staff, board members etc. Internal communications is a crucial part of any communications strategy.

Description of the diagram: The diagram shows a square divided into quadrants with each quadrant shaded a different colour. The x-axis (horizontal) shows interest in your organisation whilst the y-axis (diagonal) shows influence on policy and resources. The quadrants are titled (clockwise starting from top left) keep satisfied, key players, keep informed and monitor.

In each of the boxes, there is a suggested prioritisation of communications with these audiences. The key players (top right section) are clearly those you want to spend the most time communicating with. NB – it is likely that some of these audiences will become more or less influential and have a greater or lesser interest in your organisation over time and depending on their interaction with you. So it is worth revisiting this type of exercise periodically to see if the priorities are still the same.

Once you have identified your audiences, the next task is to break down your objectives into relevant messages for each of those audiences. Start with the audiences that are the highest priority.

Remember that your messages should be relevant and appropriate to the audience. You might want to speak to your supporters and donors in much more forthright language than you would use for local authorities or other funders. But it is very important that there is a continuity across the messages. It is important that all of your stakeholders understand what kind of organisation you are, so your messaging needs always to link back to your key organisational objectives and values.

The table below sets out some examples of how messages can be tailored to different audiences.

– Where to go for advice- We provide useful, practical information and support

– Our strong evidence base and supporter base- We have a strong evidence base and our calls are grounded in robust evidence

– We have a good knowledge of the policy environment

– We are a well-respected, authoritative organisation

– We have the ability to make change if they help us

– We need you to support our campaign by writing to your MP, signing our e-petition, donating to us etc

For each audience identified in your previous section, you should now indicate the most appropriate channels for communicating with them. These might include an e-bulletin, conference, workshop, leaflet, press release, event or broader methods such as media and your website.

There are pros and cons to all of these channels, which once again  will vary depending on your organisations needs and resources. Try a simple internal analysis of the channels you have at your disposal to see which are the best to use for getting specific messages to particular audiences.

Once you have looked at the channels you have, you can begin to construct your communications plan, linking audiences, messages and channels.

– We put services users first and value their opinions- Service user e-bulletin

– Service user representation on the Board

– Media training for service users who are keen to act as spokespeople

– We have a good knowledge of the policy environment

– We are a well-respected, authoritative organisation- Quarterly policy briefings on specific policy areas

– Look into creating an All Party Parliamentary Group

– Ensure all press releases are sent to relevant government department in advance

Top Tip: for each audience, there will probably be several appropriate communications channels

You may want to include supplementary strategies for your web/online media presence, Press/PR Plans and direct marketing. These will help you go into greater detail about how your organisation plans use these channels to communicate effectively with relevant stakeholders.

With your audiences and key communications methods identified, the next step is to draw up a table that indicates the key communications activities, budget, and resources allocated to delivering the strategy.

The work plan should also include proposed timescales and identify particular milestones within the strategy.  This will allow you to measure clear steps towards ultimate goals.

There may be specific projects, events or publications that you know will take place, and these should be highlighted.

Your communications strategy should conclude with a section on evaluation.  What does success look like and how will you know when objectives have been met?

Here you should indicate the tools you will use to evaluate various sections of your communications. These could be simple measures such as the number of responses to e-bulletins, hits to your website or increases in donations following a mail-out. They could be focused on policy changes, for example have the key calls of your campaign been achieved? You could also include measures of media coverage; not only in terms of volume, but also breadth and depth.  How often were your key messages mentioned and has there been a shift in public attitude on issues youve been campaigning for?

Top Tip: include milestones in your evaluation section so that you can measure progress towards ultimate goals.

A Press/PR plan looks specifically at how your organisation aims to raise its profile through the media.  This includes print, broadcast and online media. The Press plan should link closely to the broader communications strategy.

For more in-depth tips on developing on a Press/PR plan, see section onmedia coverage.

Defining a PR Strategy (Growth Business)

PR in Practice: Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns: A Step-by-step Guide: 1, By Anne Gregory

Press Releases Are Not a PR Strategy, by Linda B. VandeVrede

A digital strategy sits alongside an organisations communications strategy and looks specifically at how the organisation can build its online presence. This includes having an effective website, utilising social media, running online campaigns, and identifying what resources you should have online and for web marketing.

See thesocial mediasection for tips on how to make the most of social media, and how to develop a web strategy.

A marketing plan follows a similar structure to a communications strategy. You should analyse your operating environment, look at your strengths and weaknesses, identity key audiences, and indicate which methods you will use to take your product to the market.

See themarketing and branding sectionfor tips on marketing.

A crisis communications plan should be included in your communications strategy. See thecrisis managementpage for information and tips on how to handle a crisis and tips on putting together a crisis communications plan.

Help us to improve this page give us feedback.

Developing a communications strategy

How to get your story covered by local media

How to run a website satisfaction survey

Developing marketing and communications

How to Start Marketing Campaign for Non-profit Organization

How-tos are written by our users to share practical knowledge.

And if there isnt one already you canwrite it yourself, orrequest someone else write it.

NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit offers advice and support for voluntary organisations. Learn from experts and your peers, and share your experiences with the community.

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8 Standout Social Media Marketing Examples From 2018

Photo of the author, Dominique Jackson

We constantly hear stories of huge marketing campaigns from go-to brands like Coca Cola or Bud Light. Whether its a viral Super Bowl commercial or influencer marketing campaign involving A-list celebrities, every marketer cant help but take note from the greats.

However, not every brand has$4 million to shell outon a 30-second ad.

Thats why social media has become the great equalizer for marketers. With platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you dont need millions of dollars to run a successful marketing campaign. You just have to be creative and know your audience.

Its no longer just about the size of your budget. Now its all about how you spend those marketing dollars. Even brands thatdohave millions to spend have turned to social media to get more bang for their buck.

But again, it all comes down to strategy and execution. Without good ideas and a plan to put them into action, youll fall flat.

If youre short on ideas, dont worry. Sometimes we all just need a little inspiration to know whats possible.

Weve compiled a list of eight amazing social media marketing examples from 2018. Well show you campaigns from smaller brands that likely dont have the same size budget as larger competitors but still manage to make noise. Plus, well look at some larger more established brands to show how theyve adapted to the new social media wave.

The point is, whether your budget is $1,000 or $1 million, you can use social media to grow your brand.

The cell phone case industry is extremely competitive. Pretty much anyone can buy cases in bulk from Alibaba and resell them for a markup. So when a company is able to stand out and establish a brand, you cant help but take notice.

Peel sells thin phone cases, with the major selling point being theyre both functional and stylish. So naturally, social media is a great avenue to showcase their products.

They use Facebook video ads to help tell the story of what separates their products from everyone else.

The campaigns have been successful to say the least, resulting in a16x increase in revenueand 3x higher ROI.

Their success isnt solely from ads though. Peel is also a great example of how to succeed on organic social. For instance, they have a very cohesive and visually appealing Instagram feed.

That might not seem like the biggest deal in the world at first. But when one of your brands major selling points is aesthetics, little details like this help reinforce your messaging. Plus, people take notice.

On top of that, youll notice Peel does a great job of responding to customers on Instagram.

Providing excellentsocial customer careis crucial for any brand that wants to succeed on social.Our data foundthat 29% of consumers are more likely to go to a competitor if theyre ignored on social. So each comment you miss is potentially lost revenue.

The larger your brand becomes, the more difficult itll be to manage all your incoming comments across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In order to keep your sanity and avoid missing questions from customers, use SproutsSmart Inboxto get all your comments and messages in one place.

Think of ways to set your brand apart on social media, especially in a competitive industry.

Experiment with social media advertising.

Use social media to reinforce your brand messaging and story.

Our next social media marketing example comes from Wayfair. The online retailer is known for selling affordable furniture and home goods. As you can imagine, a large chunk of their audience is active on Instagram.

For years, one of the biggest challenges for retailers on Instagram was getting followers to go from looking at a photo to going to their website and making a purchase. That changed in 2017 when Instagram rolled out newshopping features.

Through Instagram shopping, brands have the ability to tag specific products within a picture so users can go directly to a landing page and buy it. Wayfair has done a great job of implementing this feature into theirsocial media strategy.

Heres an example of what the process looks like.

First, you see a post that looks visually appealing. Shoppable posts are signified with the little shopping bag icon in the corner of the photo. When you tap the icon, all the shoppable products will pop up.

Lets say were interested in the table lamp. Just tap the box and youre taken to a landing page on Instagram.

If you scroll down a bit, youll also see the other shoppable products from the post.

When you decide you want to make a purchase, tap Shop Now and youre sent directly to the page on Wayfairs site to buy the lamp.

The process is smooth and caters to how consumers shop today, which is why its so effective.

For example, what if instead of showing the lamp in a living room setting, Wayfair just used a photo of the lamp against a white background. It wouldnt be nearly as appealing, and it wouldve been much less helpful for their audience.

Marion Thomas, whos in charge of global site merchandising at Wayfair, explained it perfectlyin a Q&A:

When you think about furniture, for example, you want to be able to see the product by itself, but also see it in an environment, and potentially in different styles.

The team at Wayfair understands that just posting any ol type of content isnt going to work. They purposefully share content thats going to shed the best light on their products and appeal to their target audience.

Dont be afraid to use new features of different social networks.

For retailers, give customers a seamless shopping experience from social media all the way through to checkout.

Create content that fits the platform youre using.

Present your content and products in a way thats easy for your audience to digest.

This next social media marketing example is another retailer. Similar to Peel, theyre in a competitive industryfashion.

Wholesome Culture is a fashion brand aimed at people who live a plant-based lifestyle. The brands focus and mission is to make cruelty-free clothing while spreading the message of plant-based eating and helping the environment.

While Wholesome Culture definitely isnt the first brand to do this, we wanted to highlight them on our list because theyre doing a few things a lot of brands can (and should) learn from.

One strategy they implement is posting content based on viral memes and pop culture trends.

Who let the dogs out? . . . . . healthy vegetarianplantbased organic veganfoodshare whatveganseat food fitness foodporn veganfood eatclean glutenfree cleaneating health love crueltyfree raw healthyfood breakfast govegan instafood foodie fitfam horse love dairyfree animallover flowers fruit

A post shared byWholesome Culture(@wholesomeculture) onMay 9, 2018 at 4:13pm PDT

These posts often drive the most engagement for their page. In order to capitalize on the momentum they get from these posts, they typically sandwich them in between content thats more directly related to the products they sell.

Notice that they dont just post random memes. They cater to Wholesome Cultures audience and overall message of being animal friendly. The memes help attract the right audience, and hopefully people are intrigued enough to learn more about the brand behind the posts.

Another tactic Wholesome Culture uses on Instagram is sharing short videos of vegan recipes.

Whats super easy AND super delicious? This tofu scramble! Tofu block tofu crumbled 1 tbsp olive oil red onion, sliced and diced red pepper, thinly sliced 2 cups kale, chopped Sauce tsp salt tsp garlic powder tsp cumin powder paprika Water to thin . . . . . healthy vegetarianplantbased organic veganfoodshare whatveganseat food fitness foodporn veganfood eatclean glutenfree cleaneating health love crueltyfree raw healthyfood breakfast govegan instafood foodie fitfam horse love dairyfree animallover flowers fruit

A post shared byWholesome Culture(@wholesomeculture) onMay 9, 2018 at 8:33am PDT

You might be wondering why a clothing brand would post recipe videos. Well, it comes down to knowing your audience and creating the type of content they want to see.

Wholesome Cultures audience consists of people on plant based diets. One of the biggest challenges of being a vegan is finding new and delicious recipes. Posting these recipe videos attracts new customers, helps current followers and boosts engagement. So theres a ton of upside.

One last thing we want to point out is the use of hashtags. As you likely know, hashtags are very popular on Instagram. However, theres a difference betweenbeing strategic with hashtagsand spamming.

Wholesome Culture uses hashtags to get discovered by their targeted audience.

Youll often see hashtags like veganlife, plantbased and savetheworld in their posts. Its because those are the hashtags their target audience is searching for on Instagram. By including them in their captions, they have a chance to show up in Instagrams search results.

Focus on building a community on social media, not just gaining followers.

Use current pop-culture trends to pull in your audience.

Integrate your brands messaging and core values in your social channels.

The direct-to-consumer mattress industry has exploded over the past few years. It seems like a new brand pops up every week. One company that has been leading the charge, with the help of their social media strategy, is Casper.

Casper injects humor into their marketing without being crude or inauthentic.

Casper (@Casper)May 11, 2018

Pulling off humor on social media is a tough challenge. In fact,only 36% of consumersare compelled to make a purchase due to brands being funny on social media.

Casper found a way to pull it off though. Instead of making their content all about mattresses, they focus on the value their products bringsleep.

A post shared byCasper(@casper) onMar 31, 2018 at 7:53am PDT

The reason this is so important is because unless youre currently shopping for one, most people dont care about mattresses. If all Caspers content was about how to pick a mattress or the benefits of their products, itd get stale very quickly. Plus theyd alienate a lot of people.

Posts like the example above are relatable to a wide audience. Even if you dont currently want a mattress, youd still be compelled to follow Casper on social media because they share entertaining content around sleep.

Another thing Casper does well is stay active. While they have different posting frequencies for each social media profile, youll be hard pressed to find a day where they dont post on at least one of their accounts.

In addition to staying active, its important to keep in mind that your audience likely doesnt follow you on each social network. Some might follow you on Facebook while others follow you on Instagram or Twitter.

In order to reach as many people as possible, take a page from Caspers book and occasionally publish the same piece of content to each profile.

Theres an emoji pillow just waiting to be smacked on . Dont leave it hanging.

A post shared byCasper(@casper) onApr 6, 2018 at 3:01pm PDT

Its Monday. Well just leave this here:

Casper (@Casper)April 30, 2018

With organic reach becoming an increasingly sought after commodity, publishing your top content to each platform is a good way to get in front of as much of your audience as possible.

The easiest way to do that is with a social media management tool like Sprout Social. With Sprout, you can schedule social media posts to publish to different social networks with ease.

Learn more about Sproutspublishing features here.

Come up with an angle for your content thats evergreen and not all about your products.

Use asocial media calendarto share content to make sure youre publishing content daily.

Share content on all your social accounts to amplify your reach.

Social media is one of the best ways to implement auser-generated content strategy. Not only does it encourage engagement, but it also makes it easy for your biggest advocates to show their appreciation of your brand to their audience.

ASOS is a great example of a brand that does UGC very well with theirAsSeenOnMecampaign.

The fashion brand asks followers to use the hashtag when theyre showing off their latest outfit from the retailer. In return, they have the opportunity to be featured on the ASOS Instagram feed which gives them plenty of exposure.

Shady just got a brand-new meaning @the.dight ASOS DESIGN jumpsuit (1228608)

A post shared byASOS(@asos) onMay 9, 2018 at 12:23am PDT

Not only does ASOS use this UGC to fill up their feed, but they also use it as an opportunity to promote the products people wear in the photos. Notice in the caption they include a description of the product as well as a number. That makes it easy for people to search and find the looks in the photos if theyre interested in buying them.

On top of that, ASOS hasa dedicated pageon their website where people can easily shop the different looks featured in the AsSeenOnMe.

Since theyve included a branded hashtag for the campaign, tracking the latest posts is simple. You can use Sprout Socialsmonitoring toolsto see all the posts tagged with your hashtag in one feed. This is even more helpful when youre running a UGC campaign on multiple channels.

Another reason ASOS is on our list of the top social media marketing examples of 2018 is their use ofinfluencer marketing.

Instagram is one of the top platforms for influencer marketing, particularly for fashion brands. ASOS has an ASOS Insiders program, where they work with influencers to promote their latest products and styles.

The ASOS Insiders are easily identifiable by their Instagram bios and handles.

One thing the brand does particularly well is turn their influencer program into more than just an exchange of money for Instagram posts. Theyve built Insiders into a real community, and youll sometimes see the partners engage or tag each other:

Seeing pics of @asos_hannah s trip to SF has made me so jealous absolutely loved my time there last year. I need to plot a way to get back there soon. Have you been? What did you think? Any other recommendations for new places to visit? [James Dean inspired classic white t 1169420 black and white paisley patterned bandana 1190509 asos tall super skinny jeans 967357] asseenonme . . . . . outfitfromabove beautifulmenswear mensfashionpost mensfashion rare_footage lookbook guyswithstyle outfitoftheday thecreative fashiondiaries menwithstreetstyle menstyle mensweardaily styleoftheday sprezzatura menwithclass styleiswhat urbanandstreet ootd streetmobs mnswr yngkillers introfashion california streetsofsf igerssf onlyinsf visitcalifornia wildbayare

A post shared byLex(@asos_lex) onMay 9, 2018 at 10:38am PDT

The stronger your relationship with influencers, the more effort theyll put towards promoting your brand. Take note from ASOS and focus on building genuine relationships with the influencers you work with.

Use UGC to get organic engagement and improve sales.

Dont forget to include a branded hashtag to track your UGC campaigns.

Develop an influencer marketing strategy that focuses on building a community of advocates, not transactional relationships.

Up to this point, the brands weve covered have been fairly social media friendly. But what if youre in an industry thats a little more taboo?

People are more than happy to share photos of their newest outfit on Instagram, but how many are rushing to post videos discussingincontinence? Thats the challenge Tena faces, as they sell a line of products aimed at helping adults who experience incontinence.

Their approach on social media is to showcase just how normal the condition is, as well as provide information on how to live with it.

One of their latest social media marketing campaigns was made to promote their new My Pelvic Floor Fitness (pff) app. In order to spread the word, Tena created a video andsocial media contest.

This is a great social media marketing example for a few reasons. For one, it focused on uniting women around an issue that many experience but few talk about. By normalizing the issues Tenas products solve, it invites their target audience to feel safe and comfortable talking about it on Facebook.

Another reason the contest works is because it encouraged fans to engage. People didnt just have to enter in their email in order to participate. They were asked to post a selfie while doing the exercises featured in the app. So not only was it a fun way to enter the contest, but it also required minimal effort.

Dont be afraid to use social media, even if the products you sell arent social media friendly.

Use social media as a way to unite your audience and create a safe space for them to interact.

Run social media contests that encourage your target audience to engage with your brand.

If you enjoy readingsocial media marketing case studies, theres a strong chance youve come across the story of Blenders Eyewear at least once or twice. The sunglasses brand was basically built through a combination of Facebook Ads and Instagram influencer marketing.

Our Cardiff Collection is comprised of Sensational Style and Quality Construction. (Swipe Right) _ Shop the Collection Link in Bio. blenderseyewear @ashajpg @abdulbinsheha

A post shared byBlenders Eyewear¬ģ(@blenderseyewear) onMay 2, 2018 at 6:35pm PDT

Theyve used quite a few social media marketing tactics to go from being a couple guys selling sunglasses out their backpacks to a seven figure business with hundreds of thousands of followers.

We could do an entire post analyzing Blender Eyewears strategy, but well focus on just a few of the things theyre doing extremely well.

First and foremost is the Facebook Advertising strategy the online retailer used toincrease return on ad spendby 62% and double their click through rate (CTR). Rather than go the same route as a lot of e-commerce brands and hard-selling their products with ads, Blenders let their audience to the talking. They created ads that highlighted customer reviews and comments about their products instead.

The combination of customer feedback and visible engagement provided enoughsocial proofto entice people to click. Not only were they able to achieve a higher CTR, but the new approach decreased their cost per click (CPC) by 40%.

Blenders success wasnt solely from Facebook Ads though. A huge part of their growth is Instagram. When you scroll through their Instagram feed, youll see plenty of photos and videos of people wearing their shades.

Blenders uses UGC to help fill up their Instagram feed with high quality photos taken by other people.

All smiles in our NEW Modern Architect shades! _ Shop em Link in Bio. Photo: @stephenplopper blenderseyewear

A post shared byBlenders Eyewear¬ģ(@blenderseyewear) onApr 28, 2018 at 11:22am PDT

Even from the early days, Blenders focused on building relationships with photographers who take great pictures. In the beginning they went toInstameets, which are events where photographers and creators from Instagram meet up and take photos and videos and network.According to the founder, Chase Fisher:

I would show up in Ocean Beach and I would bounce around San Diego and just meet new photographers and bring a box of sunglasses. Just say, Hey guys, Im Chase. Ive got a sunglass company. I follow all you guys already. Your photos are amazing. I would love to give you guys awesome pairs to photograph. If you guys would be so kind, send them to my email and I would love to share them and post about them on Instagram too.

So instead of strictly trying to get high-priced influencers to work with them, Blenders builds relationships with photographers by sponsoring Instameets and offering free products. In addition to the photographers, Blenders also has plenty of satisfied customers who post photos on Instagram with the branded hashtag included in their bio.

The hashtag has been used in over 60K posts, so its clear the brand has built up a very engaged audience.

Include social proof in your Facebook ads to entice people to click.

Embrace the Instagram community online and offline.

Build relationships with non-traditional influencers.

Encourage fans and customers to use your branded hashtag to get UGC and boost engagement.

GE is the perfect example of a huge established brand that has really embraced social media. The fact that theyve been around for decades and are still be a topic of conversation says it all.

When we think of GEs social media marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is video. GE has been absolutely killing it withFacebook video marketingin particular.

Facebook averages over8 billion video views every dayso its easy to understand why so many brands are investing in it. The interesting thing with GE though, is the way they use video.

While a lot of people are familiar with GEs home appliances, the company does much more than make microwaves and refrigerators. Theyre able to use videos to showcase some of the other technological innovations theyre working on as well as educate their audience.

Their video marketing doesnt just stop at Facebook.

This year, GE released aseries of videos on YouTubehighlighting the work of their employees. The videos act as a way to further educate the public about some of the lesser-known work the company does, as well as attract high quality talent that wants to join in.

So often, marketers look at social media as a way to sell more products or generate leads. GE proves the value of social media goes far beyond being transactional. Its ultimately about branding, building awareness and telling a compelling story about your brand.

Use social media to tell your brands story, not just to get new leads.

If you havent started using videos yet, nows the time.

In order to stay around long term, embrace new marketing technology and use it to your advantage.

This was just a short list of brands doing amazing things on social media in 2018, but hopefully theyve got your creative juices flowing. The beauty of social media marketing is its accessible to businesses of any size and stage.

Small companies just starting out can take notes from how Blenders Eyewear really pounded the pavement with Instagram to build their brand. Larger brands that have been around for a while can follow in the footsteps of Wayfair and experiment with new social media features.

Use these social media marketing examples as inspiration for your next campaign, or for confirmation that youre heading in the right direction.

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Dominique Jackson: Dominique Jackson is a pro blogger, inbound marketing specialist and Twitter addict. You can follow all his .

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