Digital Marketing: Five Apps for the Creative Digital Marketer


boris johnson

Is your digital marketing up in the “hair’?

As a creative marketer you already know the ins and outs of digital marketing. Impressions, engagements, click through rates are familiar jargon. You are now looking to innovate and be strategic without affecting your work-life balance. All mature digital marketers have been there. You are at a tipping point but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. We feel your pain and have compiled a list of apps that will help you achieve your goals without you having to look like Boris Johnson’s hair on steroids.

So what are your priorities? As a digital marketer you already know that 75% of online video viewers have interacted with at least one video ad this month. This makes video priority #1.

Making videos doesn’t have to be a time consuming process that involves studios and specialists. A smartphone and some creativity is enough. With Vine – Twitter’s video blogging app, making and sharing video content is easy. Vine gives you the ability to tell a story in six seconds. If you have an incredible moment or story to share with your customers, this is the right app. The best part? You don’t have to spend hours thinking, brainstorming and story boarding.

Now you have video covered. What’s next? Well, “researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.” That makes info graphics priority #2. But if you are not skilled at Photoshop or other design software, creating an info graphic can take days for coordinating, designing and man-hours. This is why we love the Piktochart app. It has an easy to use drag-drop template and over 500 templates that you can choose from. Idea to execution takes just a couple of hours, and the best part? You can do it on the go – while you are riding the metro or stuck in traffic in downtown Dubai. Oh and it’s free!

Ok so now you have the visual content taken care of. Next you need to look at some direct inbound marketing activity. Emails as you know are making a comeback – more and more companies are reporting higher engagement from emails. In fact, “you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.”

Some of the more mature email marketing platforms offer a host of features that can be overwhelming to set up a simple drip campaign or email newsletter. We prefer Mad Mimi. It has a simple user interface and one of the most generous free plans available. What’s good? Combine it with a Vine video and have your email loaded with an embedded video. Emails with video increase click through rates by 200 – 300%.

Now you have taken care of content and engagement but you still need to measure and monitor effectiveness. Because social media never sleeps, monitoring becomes a 24/7 job. With the help of Mention, you can take a break. You can monitor your brand mentions, engagements and respond directly from the Mention dashboard. It also tracks brand influencers and trends. You can monitor and ensure that your keywords are trending. What’s more, if you have a team, you can all communicate via Mention.

You last priority, as a creative digital marketer is to ensure business as usual. While you are creating Vine videos, info graphics and email newsletters – the day-to-day social media activity needs to continue. Buffer will help you do just that. It helps you manage, schedule and publish all your social media channels, from one place. The extra bonus? It connects with your Mention account to ensure you get the in-depth analytics that you need.

Whether you are a one-man digital marketer or managing a team, these five apps are all you need to create an integrated online marketing experience for your clients without compromising on engagement, SEO, mentions, leads or sleep.



You have researched, invested time, energy and money into creating content for your audience but you’ve noticed a big issue. This content which you have created – is failing to make an impact and engage your audience. It’s just not happening. What could possibly have gone wrong?.

Well before we delve into looking at where it might have gone wrong, let’s take a look at what content marketing actually is – then try to get on track.

According to The Content Marketing Institute ‘Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’

The key message for content here is ‘valuable, relevant and consistent’ – without these 3 key ingredients in your mix, – your content is going to struggle to get the attention and engagement it needs.

Times Square

Don’t be drowned out by the noise!

We live in a world bombarded with advertising messages. Dubai and the UAE is no different to the rest of the world. Just pause for a moment and think of all the different marketing messages you have received today. How many of them were valuable, relevant and consistent? And more importantly did you purchase as a result?.

Just as with offline marketing i.e. TV, Radio and Print we are competing for eyes and ears. Digital is no different. On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat we need to first ensure our content is valuable, relevant and consistent.

But stop a minute and ask yourself a question. Are you and the other businesses in your sector knocking out the same stuff? Is there any real difference, from your customers point of view in terms of the marketing messages?

What tends to happen is a trend of pretty similar content. Our competitor is doing it, therefore it must work? It wont. You need to take it beyond this and create content which is compelling and different. Go all out and inject stories into your content that will take it up a whole new level. Fascinate, pique your audiences curiosity, mix things up. Then you can really start to maximise your organic reach and perform better than before. By taking on board the tips below to promote your digital content you should start to see a shift for the better.

Now when it comes to promoting content most people automatically think ‘fire it up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and that should do the trick’. Unfortunately not. While these platforms do help you cannot just rely on them to do all the work – at least not without paying for exposure. Even with that, if your content is poor and does not include the mix above you’ll burn through your budget – with little to show from the effort.

# 1 Video will be massive in 2016

Yes massive. In fact, according to Cisco, video is predicted to account for 80% of global Internet traffic by 2019. Video streaming apps such as Periscope and Meerkat allow you to stream content directly to your followers on Twitter and beyond – all you need is the app downloaded to your Smartphone device and you are good to go. Facebook Live is also coming soon. This will allow you to stream live video to your Facebook page. Live video streaming allows you to add another dimension to your content, you can find many examples of how your business can utilise video streaming, eg behind the scenes footage, product reviews and Q&A’s, all streamed in real time.

# 2 Trending Topics

Pay attention to trending topics around your business or brands sector – this is a great way to push your content out on the back of topics which are trending (be careful not to spam). If there’s a link (however tenuous) between your offerings and something which is trending, make sure you jump on it. This is a smart way to get your content in front of large audiences of users following these topics.

# 3 Twitter Chats

There are now countless dedicated Twitter chats, many of which take place on a regular basis. Find out which Twitter chat hashtags are relevant to your business and set these up on Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to monitor. If you come across a chat, which is especially relevant to your business or brands, why not get involved and actively contribute? This is one proven way to be authentic and build trust. Remember though to keep the sales tweets to a minimum – and focus on adding value.

# 4 Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging can provide an excellent way for you to indirectly promote your content. One of the massive benefits of guest blogging is that it can give you business-targeted exposure, if you are able to seek out the established blogs in your niche. They do exist – you just need to find them. The other plus with this approach is that it increases your credibility and therefore potential traffic to your website. In turn, this equals more eyeballs viewing the content which you’ve created. Whilst it’s hard work and can be very labour intensive you’ll reap the rewards.

# 5 Build Trust and Credibility

Business and Brands need to earn attention. You can’t just keep buying it.

So, if you want to stand out from the crowd remember your content needs to be valuable, relevant and consistent. With a big sprinkle of compelling and different to succeed.

Are you a Business in Dubai or the UAE who wants to learn how to create better content and promote it? Here’s how – sign up for the next ISM Dubai Digital Marketing Program.


If you are involved in Digital Marketing then you already know all about A/B testing and its role in producing higher conversion rates for your digital strategies. The goal with using A/B or split testing is to optimise your webpages so interest in them is increased e.g. more prospects clicking on a advert you have placed. This is done by creating changes in copy text, images, colours and layouts for the user interface.

The current webpage acts as the control –‘A’, and the test webpage with one of these elements changed, acts as ‘B’. The test is performed on your target audience and numbers of those responding to the call to action are compared. If the test webpage B proves to be more successful then you are going to be using this one. Simple. Perhaps though you take the testing further and try to segment your audience. Are you going to find different results with men /women and different demographics? One thing to bear in mind is your goal and to stick to it, experimenting from your control null hypothesis. This might be as in the Obama campaign, ‘less copy is better’ which was tested by removing copy from different areas.

So let’s have a brief look at the elements you may like to test.

Copy text

The copy text and call to action buttons need to convey value and momentum to the customer. They need to know what they are getting from clicking on the advert. It is not about brilliant wordsmiths waxing lyrical, it is about getting the value across to the customer…”what’s in it for me?”. Changes to copy can provide the biggest change to ROI so it is worth spending time testing this in particular.


Pronoun A/B testing from Content Verve

A simple one borrowed from Micheal Aagaard demonstrates clearly how a change in one word led to significantly less reactions.


So which button are you going to use… ‘Learn More’, ‘Join Us Now’, ‘Get started’or ‘Sign up Now’? You need to apply the Science and test!


Dinner with Obama

This image from dinner with Barack campaign was hugely successful. Photo by Pete Marovitch

Whether or not to use an image is yet another decision. Certainly if you are a shopper on Amazon or buying clothing online the conversion rates are much higher if the item is displayed. It is worth noting than when selling clothing, conversion is slightly better when the clothing is modelled by a human. Be careful of using bland or stock images especially if you overcrowd your page and push the important sign up area from centre stage. Are you going to try placing text within the image? It could bring your message into focus more quickly but bet the designers won’t like it…


What colour are you going to choose for your call to action button? The all action attention grabbing Red, the positive momentum of Green for go or the oh so colour of the moment orange? Well, as expected the red button wins out every time. Or does it? What’s important is the amount this button stands out from the other visuals in your page. Does it have some nice white space around it? Are you using a red button in a webpage that is has a predominantly red themed background , well done… you have camouflaged it nicely!


One of the areas that the Obama team worked on (naturally !) was removing the barriers to donations on their campaign website. They tweaked at the form through testing and came up with a formula that increased donations. Filling in forms is a frustrating process to all of us especially when parting with our hard earned cash. Endless fields of information, mandatory fields and errors all turn it into a painful process. The team sequenced the form to make it a stepwise process and cleverly asked for the donation amount first so you were already invested. I strongly advise you to read the account from Kyle Rush of the process.

There are many tools out there to help you perform A/B testing such as Optimizely ( used in Obama’s first campaign) , Google Website Optimiser and Clickthroo or indeed its more complex cousin Multivariate testing .

So if you would rather not leave your conversion and click through rates to chance and your design choices be based on data not esoterics then give A/B testing a go!

digitalDigital Marketing has exploded and most UAE marketeers whilst they understand the inherent opportunities it affords are racing to catch up on their knowledge and creative application , especially in Dubai where sadly we still lag behind other countries at the forefront of innovation. The increasing jargonistic nature of the digital marketing landscape doesn’t help those seeking to learn either…frankly it can be quite off putting. For as little as 100 dollars you can gain a dubious qualification in Digital Marketing but woe betide the employee who finds their latest recruit really only has one or two tricks up their sleeve and doesn’t really have a) a solid marketing background and b) little idea of the scope of tools that need to be brought into play and how, where and when.

Digital Marketing can be used ad hoc but it yields far better sustainable results when proper planning is put in place. 50 % of companies have no clearly defined digital marketing strategy and I am guessing this number is higher in Dubai. Before you implement your digital marketing plan brainstorm your key strategies for growing your online business. A well thought out goal will provide focus for your digital marketing efforts.

How to Reach Prospects and Customers

There are lots of ways to reach customers digitally through social media marketing; SEO; mobile marketing; email marketing; pay per click and content marketing to name a few. Clearly you will not be using all the channels but will select those that reach your target audience with greater return on investment. What are your competitors doing and how can you stand out?

How to achieve interaction

A dynamic dialogue with customers can give a boost to Search Engine Optimisation as well as Social Media Optimisation. Ultimately you want your business to become customer focused, so that they drive the business and traffic for you. The customer can participate by reviewing your products, requesting information or commenting and suggesting improvements or expressing interest but unless your communication channels are monitored the dialogue will quickly close. E.g. If a customer subscribes to an email newsletter or makes a first purchase a welcome to your company or products should follow to open the communication.

How to convert to leads or sales

Do you have a marketing funnel in place? When you have a lead, how can you encourage them to purchase? If a customer shows an interest you should be able to move them through the marketing funnel and convert their interest and desire to action. This can be done with lead magnets, calls to action and offers and providing them with additional relevant information to help in their decision making. In Dubai I get increasingly frustrated when I call clearly interested in a product and no-one ever calls or emails me back.

How to engage consumers through time.

You need to think in terms of fostering an active passionate online community around your product. Your customers not only form relationships with your brand but also with peers and they share their experience with your service. Provide them with intuitive tools to talk to you also, whether it is open honest feedback on social media or a live chat line on your website or the development of an app. Loyal customers account for 80% of your business. They can become staunch brand advocates and value truly good customer service.

If you would like to learn more about Digital Marketing please get in touch, ISM Training are running their first Digital Marketing programme in September in Dubai and we have an excellent UK instructor on board. You can find the brochure here /docs/Digital%20Marketing%20Essentials.pdf