Is influencer marketing still effective? Are micro-influencers the next big thing? Shane says they are – read our interview to learn more!
Shane Barker is a digital marketing strategist, a Brand & Influencer and SEO consultant. Sixteen years ago he founded his own company, Shane Barker Consulting. Since then, he’s been doing what he’s most passionate about – helping brands and individuals achieve online success. We’re happy to have Shane as a guest today in this interview where we talked about everything digital marketing.
What about marketing made you decide upon it as a profession?
The ever-evolving and dynamic nature of the industry and the thrill of understanding people and how they make purchase decisions are two of the many reasons why I love marketing.
I have always been good at interacting with people and understanding the motivations behind their actions. This made me a natural fit for this profession.
And I realized the potential of marketing as a profession early on and knew that this is the field for me. The continuous learning that I do in this field keeps me motivated.
What are the most significant changes you’ve noticed in the industry since you first started?
The whole industry dynamics have changed since I first started.
First and foremost, digital marketing has emerged as the key marketing channel for most brands and has far outpaced offline marketing.
Even within the digital marketing domain, people used to spend most of their budgets on advertisements. Now, that is called “traditional marketing” as so many other marketing techniques have evolved.
The next stage of evolution saw the rise of SEO and social media marketing. Then came the time of influencer marketing and content marketing and how they work alongside SEO.
Now there are several new trends emerging even within these. Take the example of influencer marketing, which used to rely on popular influencers, but is now moving towards using micro-influencers. Or how SEO does not involve keyword stuffing anymore, but focuses a lot more on the quality of content.
The marketing landscape has drastically changed and will continue to change.
You started your own business 16 years ago. What were the most difficult adjustments you had to make during these years?
Coping with search engine algorithm changes and devising new SEO strategies was probably the most notable change that I had to deal with. With each new update, I had to learn something new and improve my SEO strategies. That was challenging but equally interesting.
There have been numerous changes over the years. However, I wouldn’t exactly call it difficult. I really enjoyed adapting to these changes and learning from the process.
How do you see this incredible rise of influencers and influencer marketing? And how do you see it evolving?
Influencer marketing is an effective marketing technique and I can vouch for its effectiveness in delivering results. I have helped several clients achieve their marketing goals by leveraging influencers.
I think that micro-influencers will play an important role and will be the primary choice for brand collaborations. Celebrities and popular influencers usually don’t have the same level of connection with their audience. People trust micro-influencers more as they are more relatable.
I also believe that instead of using two or three bigger influencers, brands will start using a network of smaller, niche influencers. This is an emerging industry trend and will further grow in popularity.
What’s your favorite digital marketing medium, and why?
My personal favorite is social media as that provides marketers to connect with consumers when they are in their element. It is a platform that allows for a more honest and direct interaction between consumers and brands.
What’s more, is that a lot of social media marketing content does not look promotional. It just flows well with the user-generated content on these platforms.
And to top it off, there are numerous ways for brands to market their products on social media. It is one of the most versatile digital marketing channels that allows a lot of flexibility.
What’s the first email marketing advice you give to your clients?
Personalize your emails!
That’s my first advice to email marketers. While I understand that it is not practically possible to send thousands of emails manually, it is important to add some level of personalization.
In my experience, people respond to emails better (or even bother to open it) if they see their name in the email. A nameless, automated email, without any personalization, would most-likely be treated as spam and people might not even open it.
From your observations, how aware are marketers of their email content quality?
A lot of marketers are not aware of the mistakes they are making and where their emails stand in terms of quality. Which is probably why I see so many marketers achieving poor to moderate results from their email marketing campaigns.
Email marketers need to rethink their email marketing strategies and optimize them to get better results.
How many of your clients use an email validation system to keep their lists clean?
With so many email validation tools available in the market, it is really not that uncommon for marketers to validate their emails. A lot of my clients do that to clean their email lists. And if they don’t, I advise them to start doing so.
If you had to sum up a winning digital marketing strategy for a brand in 2019, how would it sound?
It would be a mix of influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO, all working together to achieve marketing goals.
I would advise marketers to seriously consider adding video content into the mix if they are not yet doing it. Brands should also use features like social media Stories and Live streaming to connect with their audiences.
In terms of SEO, there will be an increased focus on long-tail keywords, voice search, and mobile-friendly website designs.
Shane Barker’s expertise is in influencer marketing, SEO consulting, site audits, and sales funnels. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers, brands, and a number of A-List celebrities.