Interview with Louise Daubenton, Travelstart

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Our December profile is Louise Daubenton, Head of Partnerships & Commercials at market leading online travel shop Travelstart. Working in senior Affiliate Manager roles across various industries for more than a decade has given her a unique and deep understanding of the affiliate marketing industry and the changes it has gone through in recent years.

What makes YOUR business stand out?

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There are of course many reasons why some businesses fail while others succeed, but lack of differentiation is often at the top. So have you recently asked yourself, “what makes my business stand out?”.

Experience – the teacher of all things

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Experience – the teacher of all things Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States once said that the reward of suffering is experience. September is a special month for us as we celebrate AdMarula’s 11th birthday. The past eleven years have certainly provided us with many challenges and opportunities to learn. We have made mistakes, hussled like crazy, solved problems, adapted, celebrated as we growed, cried as we lost clients during Covid, forged incredible business partnerships, helped companies grow, and done it all over again. Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt so far: 1.Fear is the greatest stopper – when running and building a business you will often find yourself in unchartered waters, having to do things you’ve never done before. Just do it! The fear of doing it is much worse than the actual doing, and you will figure it out along the way. 2. It’s all about relationships – we may live in a tech-centric world, but behind the tech there are still real people who need real connection. The technology will change and come and go, but strong business relationships survive the ebbs and flows of change. 3. You’re only as good as your team – I know this is a bit of a cliché, but that’s because it’s true. No manager or leader can grow without the team to help make this happen. Keep your staff happy and your clients will be happy too. 4. Doing the right thing gets you farther in the long run, but not necessarily in the short run – all industries have grey areas which some businesses chose to explore in order to gain results quicker, but the damage you do to your reputation, relationships and brand will catch up with you in the long run. Do what is right, always. 5. Are you a problem finder or a problem solver? Most people would rather not solve their problems, it’s sad but true. People would rather ignore them and hope they go away, but by going to the root and solving them you save unbelievable amounts of time, pain, and suffering. So be the guy who solves the problem, not the one who finds them. 6. There is no easy business – at least not what I’ve seen. That said, you CAN make your business simpler,  which will make things feel easier. Businesses naturally increase in complexity as they grow, so it’s important to continually look for ways to simplify. Remember: Less is More! Finally, I wish you all a good Heritage Day and may we all use this day to celebrate what makes our country and its people so special. Onwards and upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO All CEO's Thoughts Interviews and Insights Industry News Interviews and Insights Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before 26 Oct 2022 Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before Despite current downturns in the economy, evidence shows that the e-commerce industry is picking up and going back to pre-pandemic… Read More CEO's Thoughts Never stop marketing 26 Oct 2022 Never stop marketing There’s a LOT going on in the world right now. This is not a political piece, yet it is diffiult to ignore the world-shaping events… Read More Interviews and Insights Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove 26 Oct 2022 Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove Our October profile is Sandra Jardim, mom to twins Gisela and Alaia and blogger/owner of MammaBearLove. She uses her blog as… Read More Prev123Next

Upskill or get left behind – the new reality

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Upskill or get left behind – the new reality If you run a business within the digital marketing space you will no doubt be aware that finding skilled people is hard. This is a global problem, with some reports citing that most businesses’ digital skills are at 35% of what they should be. Besides understanding Google and Facebook advertising, at the forefront of the most desired skills in modern marketing teams are quantitative and qualitative data analytics; data-driven CX design; and data privacy and governance. That’s no small ask. This is a new risk facing many businesses. Companies which do not invest in digital skills, and rely on third parties to deliver their business transformation, risk losing relevance and their competitive edge in the digital landscape. And while in the last number of years, there has been much discussion about the digital skills challenge, there is still a massive issue about shortages in the pipeline of this talent being fed into the workforce. But skills can be learned. With a layered approach to constant upskilling, it is possible to keep pace with the changes in a specific area. For example, despite the pace at which social media marketing is evolving, a specialist will get better at it over time. As a marketer and author Neil Tambe put it, a skill is “something you learn to do and go do it. You repeat it over and over and get better at it.” In order to stay ahead in the game, businesses need to take this risk seriously and look at ways to upskill their existing marketing teams. This will of course look different for every company, but a few ways to do this include using in-house and external experts, sponsoring employees to courses and seminars, utilizing mentoring, offering lunchtime seminars, creating training guidelines, encouraging microlearning, and using technology to make the learning experience interactive. By using the right experts, tools, and methods, you can improve your team’s productivity and maximize the ROI of your investments. Onwards and upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO All CEO's Thoughts Interviews and Insights Industry News Interviews and Insights Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before 26 Oct 2022 Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before Despite current downturns in the economy, evidence shows that the e-commerce industry is picking up and going back to pre-pandemic… Read More CEO's Thoughts Never stop marketing 26 Oct 2022 Never stop marketing There’s a LOT going on in the world right now. This is not a political piece, yet it is diffiult to ignore the world-shaping events… Read More Interviews and Insights Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove 26 Oct 2022 Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove Our October profile is Sandra Jardim, mom to twins Gisela and Alaia and blogger/owner of MammaBearLove. She uses her blog as… Read More Prev123Next

Back to basics for SME’s

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Back to basics for SME’s The explosion of digital marketing options means that many businesses are spread too thin across too many channels these days. We often do audits for new and existing clients on their digital assets/channels’ performance. With so much data spread over so many channels, it is crucial for businesses to do this ‘health check’ regularly to avoid over-spending or to identify areas that yield real returns for their business. Smart businesses focus on dominating one channel. Marketers should get more focused and aim to do fewer things better. Of course it is easy to get distracted by shiny new digital objects. Marketers love new trends and to be on the leading edge of new technologies and platforms. We often see surveys where marketers say AI and machine learning are critical channels. Ultimately, yes, this kind of technology could have a dramatic impact on marketing performance and optimization, but how many advertisers (small businesses and brands) are actually using proprietary AI or machine learning to improve marketing? Currently, not many. The reality is that many small businesses and a portion of big brands aren’t delivering on the basics of digital marketing like websites, SEO, social media, blog writing, Google ads, online reviews, etc. Given the huge marketing budgets of big brands, small businesses must execute on these foundational tactics. For most SMEs the majority of their business growth still comes from the foundational tools in digital marketing: social media, digital ads, email marketing and SEO. Don’t forget to focus on your foundation. Often, optimizing your base digital execution will provide a better return on investment than experimenting (and getting distracted) with every new tool. So the next time you speak to an agency or martech company trying to sell you what’s “new” or “cutting edge” or “the future”, ask them to help you get the basics right first. Upwards and onwards! Daniel Gross – CEO All CEO's Thoughts Interviews and Insights Industry News Interviews and Insights Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before 26 Oct 2022 Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before Despite current downturns in the economy, evidence shows that the e-commerce industry is picking up and going back to pre-pandemic… Read More CEO's Thoughts Never stop marketing 26 Oct 2022 Never stop marketing There’s a LOT going on in the world right now. This is not a political piece, yet it is diffiult to ignore the world-shaping events… Read More Interviews and Insights Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove 26 Oct 2022 Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove Our October profile is Sandra Jardim, mom to twins Gisela and Alaia and blogger/owner of MammaBearLove. She uses her blog as… Read More Prev123Next

Getting started with social media-based affiliate marketing

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Getting started with social media-based affiliate marketing While traditional affiliate channels like blogs, websites and email marketing can still be very effective, affiliates who have not yet added social media channels to their mix should seriously consider doing so. Not only will this allow you to reach new, highly relevant customers as well as influencers and creators, but most platforms also provide affiliates with the tools they need to create content and seamlessly share referral links to their built-in audience of followers. Here are a few tips to help you get started. Choosing which social media platform really depends on your social media objectives; for example, are you aiming to build your brand or looking for lead generation?  Either way, you need to consider which channels are used by your target audience, the channels that your competitors are using, and the type of content that is most likely to engage with your audience. Facebook – Facebook is by far the biggest channel for posting affiliate marketing links as they now reach around a third of the world’s population. Most businesses consider it as the second website for their products these days. Since their market penetration is so large, you can target almost every age group on Facebook. Start by setting up a business FB page from which you can share your affiliate links. And be sure to keep content fresh, highly relevant and original. Also don’t forget to regularly analyze your stats so you can easily decide your future strategies. Youtube – The video-sharing site now has around 2 billion users so competition for eyeballs is quite stiff, however, there are no limits to the niches for which you can create video content for. As with other social media channels, you can monetize your video content as part of your affiliate marketing campaigns by creating videos and placing affiliate links in the video and the video descriptions. Affiliates can also place a small image overlay on the video with the tracking link. Affiliate marketers can use tracking to redirect the user to the affiliate website or affiliate landing page, where the user will make the purchase and generate the commission. Twitter – Although not as popular as Facebook, Twitter has incredible engagement rates that could benefit your business. Using Twitter for affiliate marketing will help you to increase your brand awareness and most importantly, to start building your own audience of loyal followers. Once you have signed up to Twitter, make sure that you have a good profile for your future visitors to get an idea of who you are, including a short description of you, your hobbies, interests, and the URL of your website as well. You can get followers by following users in your niche first, posting engaging posts with useful advice to your followers, and retweeting advice from trusted users. It’s also very important to get the timing of your Tweets right. B2B posts do well on weekdays whereas, for B2C companies, weekends are the most engaged. Instagram – Insta has grown into a great platform for affiliate marketing since it gives you the chance to monetize your audience easily. Instagrammers can promote a merchant’s products by placing a discrete affiliate link in published content. You can also promote your affiliate offers by just writing them on the images as a text overlay and using a tool to shorten the long tracking URL, for example, Bit.ly. Instagram affiliates can also use coupons instead of tracking links and display the coupon as a text overlay on images to enable affiliate tracking.   There are of course several other social channels like Tiktok, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, Telegram etc. but as a beginner, it is best to start with a few and build it up from there. Feel free to get in touch with us if you need any assistance. Good luck! The Publisher Management Team All CEO's Thoughts Interviews and Insights Industry News Interviews and Insights Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before 26 Oct 2022 Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before Despite current downturns in the economy, evidence shows that the e-commerce industry is picking up and going back to pre-pandemic… Read More CEO's Thoughts Never stop marketing 26 Oct 2022 Never stop marketing There’s a LOT going on in the world right now. This is not a political piece, yet it is diffiult to ignore the world-shaping events… Read More Interviews and Insights Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove 26 Oct 2022 Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove Our October profile is Sandra Jardim, mom to twins Gisela and Alaia and blogger/owner of MammaBearLove. She uses her blog as… Read More Prev123Next

Biggest digital marketing trends for 2021

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The last 12 months have changed the world – perhaps for good. We have had to deal with an unthinkable amount of change in a relatively short space of time, and very few industries have been left untouched. But what trends are we likely to see in Digital Marketing in 2021? So far it seems to be centered around two distinct, yet contradicting principles; becoming more human/personal to the user, while simultaneously becoming more sophisticated technologically, especially when it comes to optimization and campaign management.   Inclusivity Users no longer want to see  want to see the same homogeneous content we’re accustomed to from previous decades. In 2021, digital marketing includes media and subject matters that cover a variety of races, sexualities, religions, etc., as well as representation for people with physical disabilities and learning disabilities. This includes the content for your imagery and videos, but also the topics you discuss in social media and blogs, or even the line of products you offer. Featured snippets & no-click searches For many, many years, the goal of SEO has been to get your listing in the “position number one” spot of search results. Now, going into 2021, the end-goal is continuing to shift to more SEO visibility in “position zero.” Position zero refers to Google’s “featured snippet”, and 2021 SEO marketing trends are prioritizing it above all else. The featured snippet works differently than other search results entries—for one thing, it’s separated by a small box and located at the top. More importantly, it also displays extra, relevant information with the attempt at answering the user’s question without them needed to click on it, prompting the nickname “no-click search.” Sustainability: loud and proud Just like the digital marketing trend of inclusivity, people in 2021 are similarly passionate about environmentalism. They want to make sure the brands receiving their money are just as concerned for planet earth as they are. With 81% of consumers strongly feeling companies should help improve the environment, what we’re seeing is a popularity boost for sustainable and eco-friendly brands, especially for younger consumers. This goes well-beyond the market for green products—every brand can benefit by broadcasting their sustainable practices. Ad-blocker blockers The digital marketing trends of 2021 aren’t all about positivity and progress—it’s also about overcoming obstacles like ad blockers. With 27% of internet users expected to use ad blockers in 2021, many marketers are having their primary stream of traffic automatically cut off at the source, including PPC campaigns. If your ads do fall victim to ad blockers, your best strategy is to adapt—don’t waste time trying to convince potential customers to change their own preferences. Readjust your advertising budget to suit other, more fruitful campaigns, like influencer marketing or sponsored content. Younger audiences don’t respond well to display ads anyway, but they do respond well to influencer marketing, so making the switch is advisable in any situation. Interactive content Here’s a trend that’s technically been around for awhile, but it’s just now being recognized as a best practice. Interactive content doesn’t just promote more engagement, it also improves the user’s enjoyment. Interactive content like quizzes, open-ended questions, surveys, contests, giveaways, polls, calculator widgets, etc., can do wonders for your brand. At the very least, they increase the length of time users engage with you, which helps your standing in algorithm-based searches and feeds. Local SEO Google frequently updates their local SEO algorithm, so if you’re a local business, you should continuously update your business’ appearance in local results too. In a way, local SEO is even more powerful than broad SEO—people searching for a specific type of business with their geographic location have more intent to purchase, so it’s easier to convert them. For starters, you have to get verified by Google. You can do this by signing up for Google My Business and either claiming your listing or creating a new one. This helps you rank higher in Google SERPS, and also gives you the chance to offer additional information about your company to online searchers. Don’t forget we’re here to help so shout if you need anything! The Publisher Management Team

Change, they say, is the only constant

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Welcome back! (although it feels strange to be saying this in early March). The last two months have felt oddly familiar being back in lockdown, home schooling the kids (again), and no social gatherings. Not the start to the year we had imagined. And yet, there are positives to be taken out of difficult situations. Change is certainly one of them. While our natural instinct is to rebel against change, the last year has taught me to embrace it. News from my side is that we are seeing a gradual uptick in the performance marketing/affiliate side of the business with several new campaigns coming on board the last few weeks. The travel industry remains under a lot of strain and it will be a while yet before international travel picks up, but with vaccines being delivered and rolled out I am positive we will see a change in the coming months. Meanwhile local travel has picked up as South Africans get tired of sitting at home. We are so fortunate to have wide, open spaces where we can distance and be safe while enjoying the outdoors and switch off the screens for a while. We have also settled in nicely into our beautiful new office space in Paardevlei in Somerset West. It is a move we have been considering for a while, and perhaps it was lockdown and working from home that gave us the nudge we needed since it showed us a) how much time can be wasted on unnecessary commuting, b) how flexible people can be in adapting to new circumstances and c) how important face-to-face interaction is. Although most aspects of a business can be managed electronically, a lot can get lost in the world of two-dimensional  Zoom meetings. So, we are all very happy to be back – social distancing, sanitisation and all! We continue to grow our media consultancy arm and are currently in the process of hiring another Digital Account Manager to assist the team in running our FB and Google Ad accounts. If you know anyone who may be interested please ask them to look at the job description on our Careers page. I also have some exciting news about the digital media side of the business which is in the final stages of implementation – I hope to be able to announce this in our April edition so watch this space! As always feel free to drop any comments or feedback to me at daniel@admarula.com Onwards and upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO

2020 the year that e-commerce explodes?

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If it scares you to think that (e-commerce wise), everything you’ve planned, worked on, sacrificed and hoped for in 2020, depends on what happens in the next 35 days, it’s because it is. The end of October is upon us and with exactly 35 days to the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, it’s time for online businesses to shift into top gear, put on those running shoes and  successfully execute what is left of their 2020 marketing plan. Personally, I find it hard to re-focus my mind on Christmas and the holiday season. The last 7 months have felt similar to a black hole swollowed up a big chunk of the year, and now we’re fast-forwarding to the busiest online shopping time of the year. But there is some good news. Analysts predict that 2020 will be the year that e-commerce explodes. “For the last four years, e-commerce growth has averaged between 13% to 17% increase, and last year it was up 14.7%. This year it will go ballistic, somewhere around 25% and it may go higher,” says Rod Sides, Deloitte’s vice chairman and U.S. leader retail and distribution. Given the uncertain state of the Covid infection rates, many people still plan to stay home (or close to home) this year for the holidays, which means that money will be diverted towards buying gifts, tech and home improvement items. Even those affected by the economic downturn said in a survey that they still plan to spend as much or more than they did last year. Of course this expected boom in online shopping will put retailers’ online strategies to the test. Those that use real-time data to understand individual consumer preferences, make changes the data shows are needed, and effectively leverage multiple channels will be much more successful in securing consumer spend this holiday season. Customers are demanding personalized engagement and get increasingly frustrated with retailers sending them offers for a recently purchased item and irrelevant offers, or failing to recognize them as existing customers. The expected boom  will put a tremendous amount of pressure on retailer supply chains, as they need to shift resources out of stores and into fulfillment centers to process unexpectedly high numbers of orders. The physical supply chain may not be able to handle the flood of orders and making those deliveries. So while there lies a huge opportunity, there are also a number of big challenges for retailers, but if they get it right will reap the rewards this holiday season. Onwards and upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO