Do you want to grow your business through digital marketing?
A good way to do so is by studying some of the best marketing companies out there and seeing what your company can learn from them and then adapt it to your business needs.
As we have already looked at 10 digital marketing lessons you can learn from South African fintech company Yoco and interviewed their former marketing manager Nicholas Soper where he shared some great nuggets of wisdom as well as looked at how to potentially design an effective digital marketing strategy for Nigerian fintech company Piggybank, today we will look at two of the marketing companies operating beyond Africa: Ontraport and Livechatinc.
As you will see, they place a lot of emphasis on content marketing by producing really valuable and helpful content that addresses potential buyers at various stages of the customer journey from awareness right through to purchase.
This is something many companies should be learning from and replicate for their own business.
Let's dive in.
Ontraport is an all in one business automation software for entrepreneurs and small businesses. It comes with sophisticated functionality normally found in enterprise-level platforms but through an easy-to use interface for small, non-technical teams to use.
Features include business automation, campaign builder, CRM, ecommerce, email marketing, SMS and postcards, landing pages, marketing automation, marketing tracking, membership sites, metrics dashboard, partner program and sales force automation.
Given that their core business is sales and marketing one would expect that they better be one of the best marketing companies around from which businesses across Africa can learn a trick or two. And they truly don't disappoint as they deploy many great marketing strategies and tactics to grow their own business.
According to Similarweb, Ontraport get an incredible 3 - 4 Million visits! Add on top that an average visit duration of more than 3 minutes plus 4.46 pages per visit. Can you imagine what that kind of traffic could do for your own business?
Ontraport describe themselves as "the most powerful visual marketing automation and reporting platform in the world" and given their results it seems clear that their powerful software not only helps to grow the businesses of their clients but their own business too.
In our view, that is the the best proof of how effective their business automation software is in growing businesses across the internet. If you look at Ontraports traffic sources, you will see that the large majority of their traffic is direct traffic which suggests that they have a very strong brand as direct traffic is visitors who go directly to Ontraports website. With nearly 15% of their traffic coming from Mail this is their second most important traffic source.
Given that some of Ontraport's core features include email marketing, marketing automation and campaign builders this does not come as a surprise. Frankly, if mail would not rank highly amongst their traffic sources one would need to doubt how effective their software is if not even Ontraport can get it to work for themselves.
Email marketing is a very powerful marketing strategy for most businesses and Ontraport is no exception. Of course, you can use Email for much more including to segment your subscribers according to their interests and behaviours as well as to tag them accordingly so you can communicate them the right message at the right time. Unfortunately, we don't have access to Ontraport's own backend so we are not sure how they set up their segmentation and tracking.
One of the things Ontraport do really well is content marketing and they leverage it across all their digital marketing channels. For example, they have numerous in-depth and free guides on how marketing tracking works, gathering customer data, product launches, how to write the ultimate offer funnel and much more. Even if you do not end up using their software, you can learn so much from their free guides that it is worth to study the most relevant ones to your business.
Given how valuable these kinds of resources are and that Ontraport is giving them away completely for free surely contributes to their very strong brand which again aids their direct traffic. Therefore, think about how your business can offer highly valuable content for free in order to build your brand as well as generate leads.
As part of their content marketing Ontraport also heavily leverage video. Given that by 2019 internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer traffic it is unsurprising that Ontraport make use of a variety of different videos as part of marketing their company.
From short videos explaining various features of their software such as customer relationship management in the video below to customer testimonials to recorded chats with successful entrepreneurs Ontraport deploy video in a smart way throughout the customer journey.
They maximize the usage of their videos by also using them as part of Ontraport's Youtube channel. As such the videos not only serve to educate customers about the company and the product but also as a Customer Acquisition and Brand building channel as part of YouTube.
Given video's increasing popularity across the internet, the way Ontraport use video to acquire customers and explain a complex product is definitely something that businesses across the African continent can learn from.
For most websites the homepage is one of the most visited and as such most important sites of the entire website. It's where people go to get an understanding of what a particular website is all about.
They use the homepage to quickly communicate what their software is all about and they have two actions they want visitors to take:
Pricing is a sensitive topic for most companies as it is a fundamental element that affects revenue generation. As such, the way companies communicate their prices to customers can play a significant role in whether or not they will make a successful sale. Even more so for tech companies like Ontraport, where until further down the marketing funnel there is less human interaction.
Ontraport's pricing page adheres to some of the 10 principles of effective pricing pages by keeping it simple and helping people choose a plan by highlight the best value option.
A few things they could do better is to offer currency options for international clients from other parts of the world like Africa as well as addressing fears and uncertainties earlier (they do it later in the funnel) by making it clear contracts can be cancelled any time and that there are no cancellation fees.
For many tech companies it has become common practice to offer either a freemium version of their product, a free trial or a free demo so that potential customers can convince themselves of the product before they invest money in purchasing a subscription.
The same applies to Ontraport. Although you can already learn a tremendous amount about their product through all the content and helpful tutorial videos they make available, they still offer a free demo to interested users to convince themselves of the high quality of the Ontraport product.
As the internet transcends national and cultural borders and shapes consumer expectations it is highly likely that African customers who are used to using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other tech products such as All-in-one digital marketing software SEMrush will increasingly have similar expectations of products offered by African tech companies.
Like any digital first company today, Ontraport are present on various social media channels including facebook, instagram, linkedin and twitter.
Given Facebook massive reach and over 2.19 bn users in 2018 it is not a surprise to see that Ontraport are active on facebook even though this is not really a B2B channel. At the time of writing they have over 43'000 fans and use facebook to distribute much of their valuable content from their blog, do live video's, host product videos, share upcoming events, engage with their followers and much more.
As already mentioned, one of the key tools that Ontraport use as part of their marketing strategy is their own powerful marketing automation software. According to builtwith Ontraport use a number of different tools as part of their effective digital marketing strategy
Livechat is a premium live chat software and help desk software for businesses in over 150 countries globally. It is used by companies from every industry and includes startups, small and medium businesses as well as large enterprises who rely on LiveChat in as part of their customer service duties.
It allows your business to get in touch with your customers on your website immediately and point them in the right direction while allowing you to track the quality of your customer service.
Features include various chat tools including visitor information and automated responses, customization for company logos, reporting and analytics including chat and ticket reports, integrations with Google Analytics, Facebook, Salesforce and more.
If you happened to be impressed with Ontraport's traffic numbers, then what would you make of Livechat's traffic numbers which are more than tripple compared to Ontraport?
Let's take a look at Livechat's marketing magic, shall we:
Great marketing often starts with having a great product. While there are examples of companies that became very successful with a mediocre and undifferentiated product, having a great product makes marketing it that much easier. So aim for having a fantastic product.
If go2crowd, a real-time and unbiased user review platform to gain insights for business professionals to make successful buying decisions, is to be believed LiveChat's product is very good with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 as well as being awarded the leader in its category.
The view that Livechat is indeed a great product is further backed by Capterra another review platform which gives Livechat a score of 5 out of 5 including perfect 5's for ease of use and customer service.
The video above gives you a brief introduction about some basic features that the Livechat product offers. It is helpful in understanding why it is such a great product.
However, after considering all reviews and available videos, the best way to find out whether this is a good product and whether it could help your business grow is to just test it for 60 days for free without any obligations. See the special offer for Rise Africa Rise readers below.
Special Offer for Rise Africa Rise readers
Livechat's traffic composition is quite interesting. While direct traffic is a very important traffic source, it is referral traffic that is currently their primary source of traffic. Referral traffic can include traffic from strategic partners as well as affiliate marketing.
Given that Livechat has an entire category dedicated to affiliate marketing on its blog as well as an affiliate programme (of which Rise Africa Rise is part of) it is very likely that getting traffic through affiliates is a core part of their customer acquisition strategy. Affiliate marketing is a strategy that many of the leading tech companies globally such as Amazon, Uber, Jumia, Alibaba and more employ.
Seeing that Africa's affiliate marketing industry is growing, partnering with affiliate marketers could be a real win for African companies looking to take their marketing and revenues to the next level. It can also reduce the need to create valuable content combined with the advantage of only having to pay affiliates on performance.
Livechat clearly take their content marketing efforts seriously. They have a blog, a podcast featuring famous entrepreneurs like Rand Fishkin from Moz, valuable ebooks on topics like online service best practices and infographics.
Livechat have created different types of content to move potential buyers along the customer journey. The blog generates over 100'000 unique views a month and therein helps to drive brand awareness, while ebooks are more middle of the funnel type of content. The objective is to clearly get potential customers to consider Livechat as a helpful tool to create better customer experience and more revenue.
At the bottom of the funnel they obviously have the pricing page and the offer to trial their product for free. Pricing pages are an important part of content marketing, although it is often not considered as part of content marketing.
Yet the way the pricing page is designed, what information is included vs excluded and of course the pricing itself can play a huge role in whether your company is going to be successful or not. That is why it is useful to study the pricing pages and strategies of successful companies.
With Facebook's massive reach it is hardly surprising to see that many companies including Livechat have a presence on the social media platform even though it is regarded for as a private space rather than a professional one. In any case, at the time of writing Livechat have close to 50K followers on Facebook which is by far the largest followers for any of their Social Media channels.
Livechat have their own YouTube channel with just over 5'200 subscribers at the time of writing. And tt makes a lot of sense to have your own channel on YouTube as YouTube is the second biggest search engine after google. People watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos a day, which is more than Facebook and Netflix videos combined.
Livechat use their YouTube channel to host video content including a business sidekick podcast, webinars as well videos explaining their product, important features, inform about product updates or just giving advice on how to get the most out of Livechat.
Videos and YouTube can be used to serve a variety of purpose including create brand awareness, educating prospects on the benefits of using a particular product, educating existing customers on how to use a particular product most effectively and much more. As such, it can be used as a marketing as well as a customer service tool.
Livechat also have a presence on Linkedin with just over 2'300 followers at the time of writing. As a company that sells their software mainly to other businesses it makes sense to be present on Linkedin as it is a place for professionals and business people to connect. The second reason why it may make sense to be present on Linkedin is for employer branding purposes.
While we do not have any insights into whether Livechat use Linkedin to do any sort of paid advertising, they definitely use the channel to extend the reach of their blog posts as well as hosting some of the content (like YouTube videos ) they have produced for their website or other channels.
Like any successful marketing company, Livechat also relies on a variety of marketing tools to help them grow further and acquire new customers. According to builtwith Livechat's marketing tools include:
Special Offer for Rise Africa Rise readers
Digital Marketing is very different compared to offline marketing. As more African companies and small businesses discover the internet as a way to market themselves and do business it is certainly helpful to take some inspiration from some of the best marketing companies and learn from them. Ontraport and Livechat offer very inspiring examples to follow when it comes to building brands, acquiring traffic, nurturing leads and ultimately driving revenue.
Rise Africa Rise is your online guide to tech entrepreneurship and (social) innovation for African entrepreneurs, startups and businesses. Our aim is to provide you with valuable digital strategies, tools and insights to support you in building a world-class and competitive business in the 21st century.