Ben Smithee is the founder and CEO of The Smithee Group (TSG), a business consultancy that specializes in strategy and social media. TSG leverages Smithee’s background in Consumer Sciences (Insights, Research, and Intelligence) and Digital Strategy to help brands evolve and create lasting and valuable relationships for maximum ROI.
TSG’s team is made up of individuals with diverse experience and exploratory mindsets to help other businesses achieve goals through detailed analysis, brand architecture, content creation, and daily management. TSG provides small and large businesses with marketing strategies, marketing campaigns, and detailed social media plans.
Smithee joined us at JCK Las Vegas 2018 to speak at our Sip and Learn Social, which served as a detailed walk-through of the major trends taking over the digital world. This month, Smithee was kind enough to summarize the key takeaways from the talk, which includes invaluable tips from the expert himself, segmented by four main strategies: Social, Web, Content, and Ad. See what he has to say about each:
1. Social Strategy
Today’s ability for retailers to connect with consumers and new potential customers is more readily available and cost-effective than ever before. Small retailers 3 million and under should pretty much entirely be focusing on digital ad spends, and utilizing strategic content funnels to reach customers and potential customers on a regular basis.
2. Web Strategy
Most every retailer needs to simplify their approach to web strategy. Here are simple but effective ways to do so:
– Use simple hero banners instead of multi-image scrolling sliders.
– Utilize simplified scrolling – rather than 50 menus and sub-menus.
– Mobile-first not just mobile-friendly: don’t just make your website minimally functional for mobile devices – design it with the consideration that a mobile device will be the default for most users today.
– Ensure that you’re focusing on your own brand more than your partner manufacturing brands.
3. Content Strategy:
More brands are wanting and planning to create personalized custom content for social. Utilizing high-quality images and content from your partner brands is not a bad strategy to help get things going, but eventually, we always encourage brands to move toward more customized content:
– Purchase a simple light box that can use various backdrops for still product photography. Amazon has inexpensive ones.
– Simple thought added to your overall Instagram grid can make a tremendous difference by just arranging patterns of dark and light content in a grid versus grouped together.
– Instagram is trending toward more engaging and longer captions.
– Use numbers to expose content to others outside of your current community.
– Content should be a gateway to your site, a landing page, or contacting your store directly.
– Shooting great video on your iPhone is easy and most all you need – get a basic wireless lav mic on Amazon to up your video game.
4. Ad Strategy
Currently, you have the opportunity to get the most ROI on your ad dollars through social and digital ads. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are able to help you increase brand awareness, reach more people, and convert new customers much more cost-effectively than other traditional ad formats.
– A/B test everything – we always run multiple ad variations to ensure we are optimizing ad dollars as much as possible.
– Only about 3-5% of your existing audience will see your content if you don’t promote your content with ad dollars.
– Video Ads are currently converting really well and we primarily use videos as well as carousel ads.
– We use Facebook event pages frequently (except for certain engagement ring events).
– 90% of the time we are sending ads to a landing page to encourage RSVPs
– You should, on average, be spending $600 per ad objective – e.g. if you are promoting an event, growing your audience by promoting your organic content, and running an on-going campaign around custom – your budget should be at least $1,800 that month.
To learn more about The Smithee Group, visit thesmitheegroup.com