Nataliia Bubniuk is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Romexsoft, the leading high-load Java application development company.
To start, you're the Digital Marketing Strategist at Romexsoft. How did you get started in Digital Marketing, initially?
Generally speaking, I have been in Marketing from the very beginning of my career. I started as a Business Analyst, then moved to Project Management and Product Marketing. But all of these were more about communication in the physical world, rather than digital. And that wasn't enough for me.
Digital is a brand new story. It eases communication, information sharing and, as a result, shifts old-fashioned consumer decision journey into the one where people make resolutions not after they have been strongly influenced by brand's aggressive marketing strategies but after their own journey through ads, feedbacks, advices etc.
Nowadays, top-notch products, content, and communication substitute seeing common messages on TV shown several times a day. It means that communication with consumers should be more targeted and personalized and be more honest, whilst your budget doesn't need to include huge numbers.
So this is where I decided I want to be. In a world where, if you want to be #1 you should be more creative than you were yesterday, where you can have up-to-date market intelligence at your fingertips and where you can speak personally with your audience.
You specialize in marketing and PR, as well as discovering new trends in IT. What appealed to you about PR and marketing that inspired you to pursue it as a career?
I always knew that I want to work with people, not just cooperating in everyday activities, but creating something worthy, something that will attract and inspire.
And marketing was a full house for me!
PR and marketing are all about communication, storytelling and restless collaboration. If you can't imagine yourself without these things then you should consider marketing as your career.
But there is one thing you should remember - being creative is not enough. If you treat marketing as creating fun commercials only, you need to reconsider what lies in it's essence. A Marketer is a polymath who works with tons of numbers to track markets, customers and competitors; the one who knows how to convert this data into making the right decisions and bringing them into real life. Analytical skills are needed as well as uniqueness, rich imagination and innovation.
Since I find all these activities very engaging - marketing is the best deal for me.
Marketing and PR have always been involved with each other, but are also slightly different. When most people think of marketing, they think of classic copywriting, print ads, market research, etc. Can you talk a bit about how important PR is to a digital strategy, at this point? How do you reach the people that you need to reach?
PR now is more important than ever. Markets are evolving rapidly, new brands appear and fade and consumers often get lost in this big buzz. So what's the task of PR in digital? It's easy - show who you really are!
People are very tired of ads, of long commercials during TV shows and messages that mean one thing by saying' another. Today, consumers want to achieve information from brands they feel related to and whom they trust. So, roughly speaking, the task is to create a strong brand with a positive image and intuitive communication channels.
How to do that? Start a blog. Show that you're an expert in your niche, that you love your job and other people love it too. Try to show how your product/service helped other people, what value did it bring. Creating long stories is not the only way, either - take videos with your clients giving feedback (by the way they have the highest conversion rate), create infographics, whitepapers etc.
The thing to consider: don't forget to talk with your audience using "their language" and about their pain points (not yours). For example, if you're selling software to HR managers there is no need to name lots of technical words and tell him/her how great the programming language you're using is. Tell him/her how it will ease everyday operations, shorten time spent on routine and keep everything in one place. If you speak with Head of Finance - say how your software will reduce the company's costs. That will be more efficient.
Along those lines, how do you go about researching potential leads, clients, and influencers? Where do you go to look, and what are some ways that you go about getting their attention?
Lead generation is not an easy task as it takes a lot of time. At Romexsoft, we do market research manually. Buying data also can be an option, but it's not fair with regard to people who trusted their emails to someone else.
Also, manual work helps qualify your leads which is, usually, very hard when you buy a ready-made list. For instance, for a new email campaign we have been searching contacts that are in a stage of consideration of outsourcing their software development, who are decision makers and whose company is based in United Kingdom with annual revenue more than $10 million. If we would purchase a dataset, more than half of contacts wouldn't satisfy our criteria, consequently the conversation rate would be much lower.
The second way we use, and which is more effective - with the help of HubSpot CRM we gather prospects that have visited our website and who are more likely to outsource their software development. The only drawback of the application is that it doesn't give you the name and email of the person, but only the details about the company a person works for. So all you need to do is check possible stakeholders and email them. Remember: it is recommended to follow up a contact not less than 3 times. More than 3 - is not good, also.
But when you want to contact influencers to share your content system of interactions is somewhat different.
Let's imagine you have a good piece of content optimized for social engines and with an engaging title. And let's imagine you have already collected the necessary contacts of industry influencers who communicate with your TA and who had previously shared similar content.
Now, don't hurry to send different pitching emails. The optimal formula for a successful reaching out that works excellent for me and other growth hackers is a Skyscraper technique, which covers next steps:
- Follow on Twitter
- Two tweets
- Two blog post comments
- Two blog shares
- Personal email
Also along those lines, marketing may be much more complicated, these days, but there's also a lot more possibilities. In the old days, only huge companies had access to market research. What are some different methods that digital marketers can use the internet and social media to get a feel for people's feelings about a brand, ideas for new products, industries, etc?
The other way to create additional buzz around your brand and find out what your TA really feels is crowdsourcing. If you have a question about the market or don't know how your audience will treat your product's new feature don't hesitate to go and ask your audience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, ProductHunt etc.
Pro tip: people are more willing to share their ideas, when they are promised a small prize or social recognition. Given this, don't forget to share with contributors how your inquiry was resolved.
To boost the effect, you can try a co-creation model and ask you audience to vote, comment and choose the best idea by themselves.
Remember: be honest with your audience and be open-minded to their ideas.
One advantage that digital marketing has over traditional platforms is the ability to reuse and recycle content, via other networks and channels. Can you share a few tips or thoughts on making good content for social media, or other ways to re-circulate content?
We shall not underestimate the content re-circulation as it plays, I would say, a key role in growth hacking strategy.
Here are few points that might be useful for everyone, and efficiency of which our marketing team can confirm:
- Monthly, weekly roundups - usually, only few people check your blog everyday, others will come from search engines (on the condition that your content is optimized), and the rest from SMM. But designed and marked-up emails will remind the targeted leads in your database in an intelligent way, what value you can bring them.
- The "best-of" blog post - creating a roundup post at the end of the year or at its beginning is a good way to reuse well-optimized content and attract more followers.
- Infographics and presentations - recycle your text content into fun infographics or into an engaging presentation to cover leads who don't like to read a lot.
- Update your own blog posts - don't forget to refresh your content with up-to-date trends to keep it interesting.
- FAQ blog post - one more way to gather most recent questions and answer them using your articles.
On that note, how might a marketing team decide which of their material to push? Can you also take a little about the necessity of best digital marketing practices, to get the clearest picture possible?
The main media channel we use at Romexsoft is our blog where we cover market insights, show our experience in software development and share company news. The major part of our work falls on blogging, as it demands great effort to create content that is worthwhile to read. But what is even more demanding is content promotion. Ideally, you should split your time based on the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule), leaning towards content spreading.
As the first step in content marketing, you need to decide what materials to publish. For this purpose, you need to find the topics related to your area that used to be popular and elaborate on them with your own experience, (e.g. case studies) or current trends observations. How to find such topics? In my case it's BuzzSumo.
It helps to find out what headings were popular, in what countries, when, who linked to them (what will also help you in the influencers search), and the most important part - in what social media these topics were spread the most. After checking and analyzing found data you will be able to produce content that will attract your target audience.
There was a post written on Romexsoft's blog recently about sourcing leads from Quora. First of all, what are some signals or keywords that you look out for, to identify potential clients? Secondly, what are some other social media sites that are useful for digital marketing that people might not be aware of?
That's quite easy: use the same keywords you have been using while creating your blog post. The queries on Quora are very similar to those people type on Google.
Another good resource I use and can recommend is Reddit. But you need to be very careful while using it as this is one of the oldest forums and people want to communicate there, not see ads. So if you promote yourself or your company you will be immediately banned. Try to comment, recommend some good stuff, earn points, and then it will be easier for you to become an influencer and bring traffic to your website.
One of the mistakes that a lot of business owners make, especially new business owners, is constantly being behind, instead of AHEAD of the curve. How far in advance do you make a digital strategy? How do you keep to that timeline, and how do you measure the process along the way?
A very topical issue mainly due to the end of the year.
At Romexsoft we try to be ahead of the curve by continuously tracking market trends, and based on these insights we brainstorm on how can we disrupt markets, what goals to establish and how to accomplish them.
We pay a lot of attention on planning, setting deadlines and checking the results. For example, all our activities in content marketing are scheduled by days, in some cases by hours as appropriate content delivered on right time always results in increase of conversion and user engagement. Every campaign has predicted rates, and if they are too low, we fix it and pull again.
The easiest way to track conversion of your activities is to check Google Analytics, where you should consider 4 main factors:
- Number of sessions - roughly how many people visited your website.
- Pages per session - how your audience is engaged.
- Bounce rate - how many people closed your website, not going for more than first page. Bounce rate of Romexsoft website is 0.85%. Quite impressive, isn't it?
- Country - high traffic from United Kingdom while you sell your products in Australia means that you picked the wrong keywords. Work more on that question.
These are the key points, but if you want to have not only a general picture you'll need to dig deeper.
One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is the ability to eavesdrop on people's opinion of a brand in real-time. First of all, can you talk about how this gives digital marketers an advantage over slower-moving, old-fashioned models? Secondly, can you share a method or two for effective social listening?
An ability to eavesdrop on people's opinion gives a great opportunity to track your audience's reactions on your marketing campaigns while sitting in your office and drinking coffee, answering their feedback faster and in a more elegant way. Also, it is much cheaper than the old-fashioned way as earlier you would need to interview people in streets, via snail mail or via telephone, spend money on interviewers and social analytics, and only in two or three months you would be able to make decisions.
Now, you need only to register on Google Alerts or Mention, set up your keywords, and you'll receive up-to-date notifications. After collecting them in a CRM or a simple spreadsheet you'll be able to break them into groups (positive, negative), analyze their frequency and control them in future.
Also, you can set your competitor's brand names as keywords and monitor their activities on market.
As you can see, digital is not only making marketing more engaging, interesting and challenging but is also easier in the terms of communication and creating personal affection to brands. And if you think that your market isn't ready for going into digital - you're wrong. Be the first one and you will be ahead of your competitors, and #1 for your customers.
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