By Sam Martin-Ross, MD of Digital Uncut
Knowing your audience is key to the success of any digital marketing campaign. Subtle differences in language can be hugely important in digital communication, so it’s vital that marketing professionals know exactly who they’re talking to at the very start of the planning process.
When communicating with the UK market, there are a few steps which should be taken to ensure that strategies work as effectively as possible for the specific markets they’re targeted at. Let’s explore how similarities and differences in language can affect digital campaigns, and what these differences might mean for digital marketing campaigns more generally.
One of the first steps in many digital marketing campaigns is keyword research. And it’s impossible to understate the importance of this. Considered, detailed keyword research can mean the difference between rapid growth that really delivers in terms of ROI, and a muted response that doesn’t.
Take a moment to think about differences in commonly used words in the UK and US, and you’ll find no shortage of language that’s remarkably different on either side of the pond. So don’t assume that keywords chosen for a US market will work when applied to a UK audience. Popular search terms could be quite different.
Use tools like Ahrefs keyword research, or the Google Ads keyword planner to search for UK-specific keywords, and establish which keywords and phrases are the most relevant. Check UK search volume, and pay attention to the brands which rank highly for these keywords in the UK.
Creative and Copy
The language used in advertising is just as important as the keywords being targeted. Often, an advertisement is the very first thing a customer will read from a brand, so it needs to make a good impression — and it needs to be effective.
Copy used in advertising varies according to its target market. There are considerable differences in language used by those targeting UK vs US markets, for example. Just take a look at this UK Guinness advertisement, and compare it to this US advertisement for Grammarly. In the UK advertisement, the brand uses a subtle storytelling approach to take viewers on a journey. The Grammarly clip, aimed at the US, is more aggressive in its approach, with a hard hitting call to action.
The UK-aimed copy that performs best tends to be written by those who are familiar with the nuances of the UK market, by writers who understand which styles to use to reach which audiences. If a writer isn’t entirely familiar with the nuances of British English, an advertisement might stand out for all the wrong reasons.
Multilingual SEO can help to ensure that users are presented with a brand’s website in their own language, and that a site will rank for target keywords in different target languages.
To get the best from your multilingual SEO strategy, use subdirectories, not subdomains, and ensure developers set up hreflang tags correctly. For non-brand keywords, follow the usual SEO practices to get your company ranking highly, and keep an eye on brands that rank for these keywords in the specific markets you’re targeting.
Research competitors that rank highly for target keywords in the UK, and complete a content audit to establish what content that brand has, and how they’re using it. This will put you in a better place to decide on your approach. Once your own content has been created, you’ll be in the best SEO position to start building links from UK publications to your own site.
B2B Paid Social Targeting
Once paid and organic search activity has been taken care of, you’ll want to start thinking about running paid social ads to generate leads and build awareness. When doing so, consider how job titles might differ according to your target market. For example, in the UK senior job titles include CEO, Executive Director and CxO. In the US the same positions are commonly known as President and Vice President.
Thankfully, sites like LinkedIn and Facebook allow brands to define target audiences, and tweak targeting accordingly. So, if you run a targeted advertisement for the UK market on either of these platforms, you’ll be able to use UK-specific job titles. It’s also worth looking into tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator and hunter.io. Using these, you’ll be able to build lead lists, ready to upload straight to your chosen platform.
The higher your marketing budget, the greater the potential there is for learning and improving. But this learning can come at a hefty cost. To make sure you get the most for your money, consider the resources you need and calculate rough costings at the start of your campaign.
As a guideline, €3–4k per month will provide a good starting point for lead generation across paid social, and you can use Google keyword planner to estimate spend on paid search. But ultimately, the monthly spend will depend on how much budget a brand is willing to allocate to testing.
Consider whether or not your SEO will be managed in-house, or whether your brand might be better served by a partnership with an SEO agency. Both options come with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, and each can have a considerable impact on the potential of the campaign. In-house teams can be expensive, and often lack channel expertise. Agencies are often more affordable, but will require coordination of resources with in-house team members.
Attention to detail can have a dramatic effect on the success of digital campaigns, particularly where language is concerned. When entering the UK market, pay attention to subtle nuances in phrases and terminology, and ensure that target keywords and advertising copy reflect these. Make use of digital resources to create campaigns that are specific in their approach, and test and tweak your campaign as much as possible to maximise its potential.
Sam Martin-Ross is a mentor for the 2020 Impact programme. During the Learn & Dive week, Sam helped the cohort to build their own successful UK digital marketing strategies.
Sam setup Digital Uncut, a digital marketing agency for startups, in August 2015 to better manage digital marketing for startups’ needs.
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