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A year into the pandemic, small businesses are still solidifying digital marketing efforts

By Patricia B. Mirasol 

Wanderskye, a travel and everyday essentials brand, beefed up its digital presence to keep afloat during the pandemic. 

“Social media has been our ally …,” said Wanderskye Chief Executive Officer Bianca S. Larrañaga. “When the pandemic hit, we didn’t stop our social media efforts and made sure we kept our presence felt despite what’s happening in the world.”  

Digital sales through the brand’s website and shopping platforms like Shopee now make up 40% of Wanderskye’s total monthly sales. Prior to the pandemic, that figure was 5%, as most sales were made through mall terminals alongside retail shops such as The Travel Club. 

THE RIGHT CHANNELS
Digital marketing includes leveraging websites, search engines, social media, and e-mail to reach customers. 

“It is about choosing the right channels for your brand, depending on your target market,” said Vanya P. Tantoco, freelancer and owner of digital agency Z Digital Studios. Where social management is for brand consistency (which helps with platform algorithms), ad placement or management is for reaching more potential customers and yielding better sales. 

Online consumer behavior has evolved a year into the pandemic, with more Filipinos embracing e-commerce. An April 2021 by ShopBack, an Asia Pacific pre-shopping portal, found that 92% of Filipino shoppers purchase from online marketplaces such as Amazon, Lazada, and Shopee and another 71.3% buy from other online platforms  such as brand websites and social media  when they offer exclusive brand promotions, wider selections, and better discounts. 

This is a jump from the findings of an April 2020 report by We Are Social, Hootsuite, and Kepios, which found that 23% of Filipino Internet users spent more time shopping online.  

KEY INDICATORS 
Numbers and results are important indicators of digital marketing success, said Reiner Cadiz, chief executive officer of digital marketing agency iAdvertise Solutionsin a May 17 webinar organized by The Manila Times 

“No matter how great the product, no matter how great the service of a company, if no one sees the content the company puts up, then all that effort is wasted,” he said in the vernacular. 

The agency’s sister company, iWatch, has community of more than 600,000 members to help newbies gain the traction needed to garner results online. The numbers provided by their team, Mr. Cadiz said, are both guaranteed and organic, translating to real leads and sales.  

Among the clients in iAdvertise’s roster is digital banking solutions provider PearlPay Solutions, whose explainer YouTube video generated 2.4 million views with the help of the agency. 

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS
Results don’t happen overnight, cautioned Ms. Tantoco. “What’s challenging for us is whenever clients expect immediate results,” she said. “They feel like since digital is fast-paced, they can expect changes in 24 hours when, in fact, it’s more than that.”  

Z Digital Studios sets expectations at the onset by having a minimum number of months for every contract, the better to monitor each account’s growth and set better key performance indicators each month. “It’s really the process of putting your brand into the intricate webspace and finding the right spot for your audience to find you and get results,” said Ms. Tantoco.   

Among the clients of Z Digital Studios is Wanderskye, which is solidifying its marketing strategies and adding Google Ads as a new growth channel. “We understand the need to reach our customers digitally to make it easy for them to buy our products without leaving their homes,” Ms. Larrañaga  said. “This way, we’ll be able to be where our customers need us when they need us.” 

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