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Why Proficiency in Digital Fundamentals Matters for Your Company’s Success

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Editor's Note: Tracy Vides is a content strategist and OMI contributor. To celebrate the launch of our new Digital Fundamentals Certification, she joins us today to discuss how small and large businesses can benefit from studying fundamental digital marketing strategy.

 

The beauty of digital marketing is that it gives startups and smaller companies a chance to compete on a stage shared by larger enterprises; it levels the playing field by eliminating the need for a huge budget to reach a vast amount of consumers.

In the old days, a good deal of marketing boiled down to scale: companies threw out wide nets, hoping to gain as many leads as possible. This posed a serious obstacle for small businesses lacking the capital for such an expansive reach.

Now digital marketing has made it possible to pinpoint a target audience, research consumption habits and find the most effective strategy to broadcast your brand messaging and improve ROI without wasting copious amounts of money on experimental campaigns based on guesswork.

Let’s talk about fundamental digital marketing strategies, and key advantages that businesses of all sizes stand to gain from mastering them.

Create an effective SEO strategy

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a cornerstone of digital marketing. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. With a number like this, omitting SEO causes you to miss out on a lot of benefits. A well-planned strategy can do a lot to improve search rankings, increase web traffic, build leads, and ultimately make sales.

If you want to experience these types of results, it will require more than a one-day effort. SEO is built on five pillars:

  1. Strategy
  2. Conversion
  3. Content
  4. Optimization
  5. Authority and Trust

It might take weeks – or even months – to start seeing the results you want. Stay consistent with your efforts, and in time you will see the fruits of your labor.

Use social media to boost engagement

Currently, there are over 2 billion people using social media worldwide. Opting out of this bandwagon is simply not an option. Social media is an arena where brands have a prime opportunity to let their unique personas shine through while contributing value to the lives of their prospects.

The biggest advantage provided by social media is an opportunity to boost all your other marketing channels. For example, a good SEO strategy is based on producing quality content. One of the best ways to share that material is through social media outlets.

Additionally, it can play a huge role in learning what makes your target audience tick. Tools like Brandwatch give you the ability to monitor what users are talking about within your industry. Backed with actionable-metrics, you can properly gear your approach in a manner that will not only keep viewers engaged, but also maintain positive sentiments about your brand.

Social media marketing is here to stay. Understanding the ins and outs of how it can affect your business is crucial in building brand trust and exposure to your messaging.

Adapt to an increasingly mobile landscape

Back in 2014, mobile devices became more popular than desktop for digital media consumption.

More recently, global internet traffic in terms of pageviews on mobiles surpassed desktop traffic.

With this in mind, integrating your marketing strategy to fit the mobile landscape is vital. For instance, 71 percent of marketing emails are opened on a mobile device.

Mobile the go-to medium for people on the move. In turn, big e-commerce brands have made it easier than ever to make purchases via a smartphone. The benefits of optimizing for mobile are practically infinite. Here are several of them:

  • Mobile-friendly websites rank higher in search results.
  • Mobile advertising is more cost-effective than desktop advertising.
  • Mobile gives you a broader range of personalization options when marketing to prospects.

Altering your entire strategy towards mobile is an involved process. There are many things to take into consideration, like content format and consumption duration. But given how much it can improve a business, learning how to optimize accordingly is one of the best decisions you can make.

Make your operation efficient with marketing automation

Marketing automation is especially useful for startups and small businesses. Regardless of your goals, you should always strive to maximize efficiency. With automation, you can harness the power of technology to manage a significant portion of your marketing activities without depending on human control. This can do a lot to cut down on labor, and frees up more time to focus on big picture innovations.

According to Gartner Research, by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their brand relationships without talking to a human. Benefits of automated marketing include:

  • Targeted landing pages
  • Effective lead nurturing
  • Complete workflow management
  • Targeted and responsive email marketing
  • Increased productivity
  • Brand presence on multiple channels
  • Detailed customer profiles
  • Quicker and better customer support
  • In-depth tracking and measurement
  • Consistency

There is a whole lot more to gain from marketing automation than you might think. Do yourself a favor and study what it can do for your business. In the long-run, it can save (and earn you) incredible amounts of time and money.

Over to you

It’s no secret that the traditional marketing funnel is going obsolete in favor of digital. Brands everywhere are realizing how this shift in the landscape is putting a big emphasis on customer experience and targeted strategies. The underlying truth is that consumers are more connected than ever. Learning how you can accommodate this trend is crucial in building a brand for the future.

If you’re involved in a startup, small business, or even a large enterprise looking to build its knowledge of digital fundamentals, there’s no time like the present to learn. Get started today!

Want to master digital fundamentals? Get certified with OMI 

 


Fundamental Digital Marketing Techniques to Master in 2017

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Editor's Note: Teena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. To celebrate the launch of our new Digital Fundamentals Certification, she joins us today to discuss the most important digital marketing techniques to master in 2017.

 

You’re ready to get started in digital marketing – but how do you know where to begin? If you’ve done some research already, you know there are dozens of potential avenues to pursue, and you could fill a dictionary with terms you don’t fully understand. While it can be dizzying to navigate all the information you’ll run into, there’s a good place to start: master the key principles and techniques that will get you on the path to building your online presence and growing your client list.

In this article, we’ll spell out the basics of digital marketing strategy so you can get your feet in the water and start figuring out what will work best for you and your brand.

Strategy

What your digital marketing strategy will look like really depends on your goals. What do you hope your business will accomplish with an online campaign? How wide of a focus do you want to have? At this point, you should take account of simple factors like the size of your business, the scope of your campaign and your target audience.

When figuring out your target audience, you should construct a buyer persona – who are the people who likely want the product or service you are offering? Hubspot suggests collecting information such as location, age, income and job titles. This information is particularly important if you are targeting decision-makers, and those who can choose whether or not to buy into your offering. Analytic tools allow you to quickly sort your prospects based on the above factors, many of which can be gleaned from social media profiles. They can also build your social media audience – another key strategy – based on interests and keywords, thus increasing your traffic and growing your potential client list.

Once you’ve determined who you want to target, you will use multiple techniques to develop a strategy for capturing your audience wherever they are on the web. To accomplish this, digital marketing strategy has three main pillars: social media, your website, and email lists. Since almost everyone has a social media account, social media is a fantastic place to start building your online presence and connecting with your prospects.

Understanding the major social media platforms and knowing how to build a presence on them is a first step to communicating directly with the very audience you hope to attract. Knowing the style and personality of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat can help you decide what forum will work best for your brand. Blogging platforms or live streaming can also help you to drive traffic towards your site.

Anyone can build a social media presence, but the whole point for you as an online marketer is driving traffic to your website where you offer and advertise the products and services that you want your audience to see. Hosting content on your website in the form of helpful blog posts, webinars or whitepapers is a great way to engage your visitors. By maintaining a rich and living catalog of free content, you can vitalize your social media posts, and most importantly, build an email list.

Email lists form a very important part of every online marketer's toolkit. When visitors are interested in your content, an opt-in form can be used to offer them a free taste of what you have to offer. After collecting email addresses, marketing automation tools and list managers can be used to send targeted emails based on customer’s unique tastes and interests. This is a great and long-term supplement to social media.

Here are other strategic components you’ll also want to master to get started:

Aesthetics

A good website is nothing without good design, and the same goes for your social profiles and posts. In the same way that print or televised advertising must catch the eye, your digital marketing must be designed in a way that holds your prospects’ attention and clearly demonstrates your value proposition. Even seemingly simple choices like color are important decisions: 85% of buyers say color influenced their purchase, according to Revenizer. Using distracting fonts, generic stock photography or failing to visually differentiate your brand are big mistakes when designing your digital marketing campaign. Ensuring you communicate clearly with your web visitor as soon as they land on your site and hold their attention afterwards are key techniques for the best digital marketers.

 

Analytics & ROI

You need to know if your campaign is working, right? You need to know that you’re getting a return on any investment of time and money into your digital marketing campaign. Analytics helps you to figure that out, and make smart adjustments as you go along. While you might think of analytics as data that measures web traffic – (think Google Analytics) Hubspot points out that’s only the beginning. More important is the connection between your social media and email marketing efforts, and measurable results such as prospective leads and conversion to sale rates.

Having a good handle on your marketing analytics lets you see exactly which channels are most effective with which targets – is your Twitter campaign strategy effective, or are you getting more volume from direct email? Or are they effectively tying in together? You want to know not only how many people clicked through to your website, but which ones were converted into clients.

SEO & SEM

When people are researching products, they’ll type keywords into Google, Bing or other search engines. Search Engine Marketing lets you use those keyword searches to raise your website higher on the list of results people see, and target digital advertising in the right places. Consider that 89% of consumers use a search engine to look for information before investing in a service or product, and 70% of buying decisions begin with those queries. You want to make the most of this fact. Getting to know tools which help in this area can help you improve your company’s search engine optimization (SEO), and thereby improve your target audience reach.

Search Engine Watch says that search engines seek factors such as quality content, fast web performance, and user experiences. While optimizing your pages can mean incorporating the most-often-searched keywords relating to your service or product, it’s about more than “keyword stuffing.” It’s also about having user-friendly content answers to the questions or pains that your prospects are looking to solve.

Can enhancing your SEO take time and expense? Sure. But Ballantine estimates the ROI on SEO in 2014 was $21.93 for every dollar invested. That compares with $6.48 in revenue for television advertising, $8.29 in telemarketing or $10.06 in newspaper ads. The investment is a good bet.

While the realm of digital marketing is complex and goes beyond the principles outlined here, these techniques form the foundation of every good digital marketing strategy. No matter who you are, what you’re selling, or who you want to reach, the Internet is big, and everyone starts in the same place. Now that you have the basic principles for building a digital marketing strategy, why not get started today? You’ll discover the effort is well worth your time, energy and investment.

Want to master digital fundamentals? Get certified with OMI 

 


How to Write SEO Friendly Content

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Editor's Note: Sarah Robinson is a blogger and SEO enthusiast. She joins us today to explain how SEO friendly content improves your website performance, and how to optimize your content for search engine exposure.

 

Whether you’re writing a landing page for your website, or a blog post, it’s important that all of your content is SEO friendly. SEO friendly content has a tremendous impact on your ranking in search engines (i.e, Google), and the better you follow the conventions of SEO, the higher your content will rank on search engines.

The higher your website is ranked by search engines, the more visible it will be. This also leads to more website traffic and conversions. Your content is also more likely to provoke reader engagement and shares on social media if it is highly visible. Bottom line: you can write amazing content, but unless people see it, there’s no point.

Thankfully, producing SEO friendly content is not as difficult as it may seem. By following the steps outlined below, your content will be more interesting, grab attention and rank higher in search engines without excessive effort. Let’s dive in!

1. Research

Individuals and SEO companies should do at least some research before writing anything. Even if you are an expert on an issue, you should not forego this step. Not only does research provide you with the data you need to make a well-reasoned point, but it also helps you to find the key terms that your audience is looking for. By incorporating these terms into your content, you make it much more SEO friendly for casual browsers.

The research step is especially important for the heading (title) of your content. The heading is the first thing readers encounter, and it therefore determines whether they will click away, or stay on to read more. Your title should be well structured, to-the-point and relevant to common search terms.

A high quality heading will help search engines understand what is on your page, and it will assist in gauging relevancy when a user searches for certain keywords. A headline will also determine whether your newsletter subscribers want to open and read your content.

How do you create a title that engages? To start, it’s a given that you should take a dive into SEO keyword research to find the terms which readers are looking up. But keeping your headlines short and catchy is also important. List articles (‘listicles’) attract attention by outlining the structure of an article in the title, so readers know what to expect before reading.Just take a look at recent BuzzFeed headlines to get a feel for what attracts readers. Here are some examples taken from the website:

2. Unique and original content

It is important that the content you produce is unique and original. This doesn’t mean you have to be a pioneer in your industry and propose something completely new or revolutionary. But if you say the exact same thing as everyone else, in the exact same way, content that is otherwise SEO friendly can still fail. Everyone has a unique spin or view on an issue, and in good content, you must be prepared to offer yours.

While this advice may or may not seem obvious, the point is worth stressing. For SEO-optimized content, it’s vitally important to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism, in this case, means copying large chunks of text from existing websites or even entire articles without the right permission or HTML attribution. Not only is it unethical to do this, but your website can get penalized for these methods by search engines, which will bring down your site’s ranking considerably.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use sources to back up your argument and make your content more credible. In fact, you should be using other sources - but rather than offering extensive and direct quotes from existing content, summarize, and cite the important facts while providing a link. Being lazy will sink you like a brick - Google knows, and you will never get away with it.

If you are working hard to keep your content original, but have to use quotations, there are many places you can go to find out whether search engines will get suspicious. Copyscape is a great way to quickly check if there are any copies of your website content on other sites, or whether original content will trigger red flags to search engines. When in doubt, check first!

3. Images

Firstly, yes you should absolutely include relevant images with your content. And secondly, they can and should be optimized both for readability, and SEO.

Images are important to your content because they visually establish the context of an article, and give readers’ eyes a rest. Have you ever gone on to a webpage and there was just all text on the page? Was it inviting and enjoyable to read? Probably not: no one likes impenetrable chunks of text, so it is important to break it up with images. Images also help to make your content more shareable on social websites; if you use interesting images, you can quickly attract attention.

Images, like the text in your content, will also impact your search engine rankings. You can add keywords to an image’s file name, and captions, tags and alternative text when relevant. It is also important that you check the size of your image, and compress or resize them when appropriate. Images need to be big enough so they aren’t blurry, but not so big that they slow down the loading time of your webpages.

4. Make the text interesting

Just because you have added lots of images to your content doesn’t mean you are done making it attractive! You can (and should) make the actual text more interesting to read by formatting it elegantly.

There are multiple ways to make content pleasurable for reading, and it’s important to implement these methods whenever possible, because Google has quality guidelines, and it checks to see if sites are following them.

By changing up the size and style of font as well as underlining the right words, or putting them in bold/italics, you can direct a reader’s eye to the most important things; content is more interesting to look at when all words aren’t the same.

HTML subheadings to organize your content are also important. Not only do they help to give your content structure and improve readability, but they also show search engines that your web-pages are detailed and useful.

All this being said, it’s easy to go overboard changing up the look of your text. If you change too much, too often, the results can appear unprofessional and distracting. Remember, you want to draw readers attention to the most important parts of your text. Focus, and retain a balance between the mundane and the stylized.

5. Content length

The right length for content depends on your genre, audience, and how much you have to say. Follow common sense in this regard: a blog post should be long enough to be informative (anywhere between 500 and 2000 words). But depending on the subject, you may need a lot more, or a lot less.

Word count does not factor into SEO as much as people sometimes think. 300 is a good minimum, but beyond that, it is more important that you post content consistently. Realistically, if you make content-writing difficult, it will be difficult to read, and you will probably find excuses not to do it. By sticking to a reasonable word limit,content writing becomes more enjoyable, which increases the likelihood that you will continue to produce content in the future, which will also raise the ranking of your website.

Summary

Making your content SEO friendly is crucial if you want it to be seen. You may have great content but if you haven’t properly optimized it, you won’t get readers or leads. There’s no wrong way to start, so if your content isn’t SEO optimized yet, pick something that stands out, and get your site to the top of Google!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Convert More Website Visitors into Customers: Best Practices for Usability and Analytics

Fundamentals of Social Media for SEO

Creating and Curating Content People Love

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


The 3 Most Important Content Marketing Techniques to Perfect in 2017

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Editor’s note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To celebrate the launch of our New Content Marketing Certification, Josh joins us this month to discuss the most effective Content Marketing techniques for driving sales, engaging consumers and improving ROI.

 

Given the many web platforms that exist for content promotion, we tend to talk about the importance of content marketing technology as often as we talk about importance of content marketing itself. And that’s a lot of talking. Yet we rarely discuss the importance of content marketing techniques. So what is content marketing technique? Is it when you add a new font to your website for a little extra flourish? A new designer with a different style to your graphics team? Or is it more intangible, like an artist’s choice to use a special brush that flecks paint on a canvas in a certain way, one that simultaneously affects chaos and control?

The answer is a little bit of all the above.

Since content marketers are artists of information delivery, the techniques they employ package several different methods of communication into one principled message. We can define content marketing technique as a brand’s unique recipe for marketing their brand content, especially in a way that captures its essence and sets it up in front of an ideal audience. Such techniques can include whatever admixture of content formats, social media platforms, and distribution strategies best fit our respective companies. But like most forms of artistic expression, customized techniques are usually practiced with a standard set of tools.

That’s why we’ve taken this post to organize the standard set of tools (e.g., social media, video, blogs, websites, one-time publications, virtual and print periodicals, audio, mobile applications, educational online classes, in-person interaction, content platform posting, and traditional news content) according to the type of content marketing techniques they work with best. Along the way, we’ll also point out which techniques are likely the most important for content marketers to pick up in 2017. Without further ado, here they are:

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1. Ephemeral Messaging

The latest technique to enter the modern content marketer’s wheelhouse is ephemeral messaging. Snapchat is the most popular platform for ephemeral messagers today, although older platforms like Twitter and Facebook have attempted to enter the marketplace with applications like Periscope and Facebook Live, which have capitalized on popular demand for one-and-done messages that can “self-destruct” like snap pictures, texts, and videos. Such messages convey an uncensored level of authenticity to viewers, who tend to see them as privileged, intimate windows into an individual’s everyday life.

The broad rule for ephemeral messaging is that the less editing, refining, or secrecy, the greater the sense of authenticity. And the greater the sense of authenticity, the better the experience for the viewer, much like the case for reality television. When compared to print media, we can also see social media as a precursor to ephemeral messaging, just as in-person interaction like word-of-mouth advertising can be seen as a precursor to social messaging. If content marketers can access this connection to in-person interaction, and companies can effectively learn how to perfect the technique of ephemeral messaging—both as a way to reach people directly and practice the most effective form of marketing there is (i.e., word-of-mouth)—then we can expect ephemeral messaging to play a very important role for content marketers in 2017.

2. Short-form Content Promotion

The bread and butter of content marketers’ posting diet is short-form content. Its promotion is the most commonly practiced technique among content marketers today. From blogs, videos and social media news updates to one-time publications like white papers or eBooks, short-form content makes up the vast majority of posts on both the search web and social web. Short-form content posting generally requires less time and resources than long-form publishing, though slightly more time than sending a Snap video.

The rule for short-form content promotion is generally to provide fast, actionable news and advice on accomplishing a goal, whether that be finding a new job or career, buying a particular product, or fixing a car or washing machine. The more educational, entertaining, and quickly information can be delivered, the more actionable it is. And the more actionable the information is, the more social engagement and backlinks that short-form content tends to collect on content platforms like YouTube, Medium, and mainstream media outlets. Because the cultivation of social engagement and backlinks is the best way to elevate company websites and platform rankings on the all-important search web, perfecting the technique of short-form content promotion should remain the bread and butter of any content marketing strategy in 2017.

3. Long-form Content Publishing

Short-form content promotion goes hand-in-hand with building long-form content publications. For example, websites are built by stringing together a series of pages that usually contain short-form content like blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts, and links to social media pages. The cultivation of all this content under the roof of a single domain makes websites a long-form content publication, which as a general rule, requires greater time and resources to publish than short-form content. Other examples of long-form content publications include online classes for educational purposes, virtual or print periodicals that are contributed to regularly, as well as more traditional content such as industry ranking series, survey research, video testimonials, and books.

Another general rule of long-form content publications is that they tend to require a higher degree of technical know-how and editorial control to pull off, and are therefore more polished than short-form content promotions or ephemeral messaging because of their permanence. Due to the predominance of short-form content and regular updates to technological infrastructure over the past decade, however, the trend has been to avoid publishing content that professes permanence. Look no further than books published five years ago on the topic of content marketing for evidence of just how difficult it is to hit the moving target of technology. However, with the advent of big data and predictive analytics, it is becoming possible not only to hit a moving target with long-form content, but to predict where that target might be in days, weeks, or months. That’s why in 2017, it’s important to perfect the technique of research to pull off long-form content publishing, which could be vying for a innovative comeback in the near future.

Want to master content marketing? Get certified with OMI

 


5 Ways to Boost Your Video Marketing Strategy for Millennials

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Editor's Note: Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist who writes for SEO Sandwitch. Today he joins us to discuss good video strategy for attracting a millennial audience.

 

An extensive knowledge of all things digital make millennials a complicated segment of consumers to attract. So why do marketers put up with them? Maybe because millennials also have the greatest buying power of any generation, which automatically gives them the biggest consumer voice. Marketers are therefore willing to overcome a multitude of quantitative and qualitative challenges to fulfill their requirements, starting with a rapid pace of technological advancement.

Changing Face of Video Marketing Strategy

Out with the old, in with the new – that’s the mantra video marketing professionals should bear in mind if they wish to stay relevant and sell their products online to millennial consumers, who value originality, sincerity, and creativity above all else. Marketers should focus on finding an original voice for video marketing, one that captures the attention of a culture that gives precedence to personal expression.

At the same time, they should be also mindful of brand consistency and utilize performance marketing data to optimize their content. This is more complex than it sounds, and there is no single, overarching solution. But don’t let the messiness scare you away: by following generally good practices and mixing in your own ideas, it’s not hard to create video content that millennials will appreciate and respond to.

Below you will find five points for devising a competent video marketing strategy targeted to millennial customers -

1. Build Your Strategy on Video Marketing, Not the Other Way Around

In the millennial age, videos no longer play a merely supporting role in your marketing campaign: they have grown to become their own unique marketing strategy. A millennial audience will often begin by consuming video content before entering your sales funnel, and they respond to a style that emphasizes personal expression and reflects consumer sensibilities. For this purpose, the fundamentals of video communication are vital components in your new marketing strategy. Communicating effectively through videos will drive emotional engagement across various disciplines, from customer relationship management to product marketing and cross-platform paid advertising. Learn how a good video is constructed on a fundamental level, and use that knowledge to drive content across your marketing efforts.

2. Take Time to Analyze Your Target Audience

Some marketers think it’s important to deploy an especially complicated and well-researched video strategy when catering to millennials. This can give marketers a feeling of paralysis as they reflect on possible inadequacies in their finances, logistics and brand. It is true that best practice for video marketing geared towards millennials requires some fine-tuning, particularly in terms of identifying the right audience groups. However, that does not mean companies have to sit down and completely rethink their brand to accomplish this.

Narrowing the broader domain of ‘millennials’ into manageable segments is a much easier task thanks to digital marketing tools that largely automate the work. Insight into the best millennial-targeted video marketing strategy comes from testing, analysis, and scale. This is vital to your marketing strategy, since the millennial generation has a hard time trusting too many people too fast.

Instead of attempting to impress your target audience with a traditional advertisement-focused video marketing campaign, your video strategy should be different: it should be extremely visual, experiential, personal, and easy to comprehend.

3. Have the Right Video Marketing Support

Video marketing professionals should have provisions in place to counter the consumer shift in digital platforms. This means arranging for video support that complements your existing production plan:

  • Understand your budget. A large budget will allow you to create impressive 360-degree videos which are sure to draw audience’s attention. Even if you’ve got a smaller budget, you can still create amazing video marketing content in VR.
  • Kajabi is a great platform for people to create and sell content, courses etc. For video makers, this is a great way to make money from their work; for you, it’s a great resource for supplementing your video library.
  • ClickMeeting is a leading webinar solution that enables you to easily generate instructional campaigns.

In every case, you should not rely on any single solution to generate great video content. Creativity and thoughtfulness is essential to set your brand apart from competitors, which means that experimentation is a must.

4. Crowdsourcing, and other creative strategies

When settling on a long-term production strategy for your video content, there are three possibilities:

  1. You can rely on an internal video-marketing team
  2. You can outsource these responsibilities to freelancers
  3. You can crowdsource your content

While the end goal is always to become as self-reliant as possible, don’t forget the importance of creativity in reaching out to millennials. Before settling on a style, be willing to try things out. Find different approaches, and see what works best. By reaching out to freelancers from popular sites like Freelancer and Upwork, you can find diverse talents. Crowdsourcing platforms like veed.me will also give you instant access to new and exciting ideas.

When you find something that works well, you can stick with it and build from there, but don’t confine yourself in the beginning. Strict boundaries will only put a limit on your versatility.

5. Consider Utilizing Artificial Intelligence

The video marketing landscape has greatly changed in the last decade, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is partly responsible for that. Believe it or not, AI can be used to generate creative ideas for video content. Understandably, some people find the idea of machines driving creative output bizarre and borderline offensive. But when properly utilized, AI will drive and augment human expression rather than supplant it. Don’t think in terms of creative cannibalization, but rather in terms of extended capability.

Martech Advisor has done a good story on how AI can empower video campaigners. New tools like Magisto can speed up the video production process by an exponential factor, helping you to set a good pace and dramatically decrease costs. While it may seem like a novel idea, it’s one more creative solution to consider in order to further differentiate your brand and appeal to a market driven by an appetite for innovation.

Conclusion

In an Internet-driven world, millennial audiences have become extremely fragmented, and video marketers must contend with new challenges if they wish to tap into the millennial market. That being said, the sheer potential of a properly executed video marketing strategy, combined with the purchase/social media power of millennials makes for a blockbuster formula.

The points mentioned above will help you in exploring and defining your video marketing strategy for a new generation of millennial buyers. The risk is small, and the upsides are massive, so find a point that seems helpful and get started today!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Marketing to Millennials

Video & Multi-Screen Strategies

How to Create a Content Segmentation Plan

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


8 Tools for Managing Your Online Presence

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In order to be a digital marketing success, you must understand how to build your online presence. Why does that matter?

Without a good presence, it’s difficult to prepare your prospects for a sales pitch. After putting hours of hard work into building an online business, you want to make a great impression, and convert your leads into customers. But there's no need to go it alone: this list of tools will help increase your online presence, and boost success in your marketing efforts. Let’s get started!

1. Cyfe

Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard for social media, analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure, and a whole lot more. You can use this app to monitor all of your business data in one convenient location. Features include the ability to monitor individual departments and multiple websites, pre-built widgets, custom data sources, real-time reporting, historical data, data exports and interface customization. Users can set up dashboards from scratch using pre-built and custom widgets. To gain a better sense of how it works, check out this example of a Cyfe-powered web analytics dashboard. This tool will help you not to waste time and energy tracking data, so you can worry about the more important aspects of your business.

2. Brand24

If you want to know what people are saying about your brand, this tool is just what you need. Brand24 will immediately notify you of any online mentions so you can reach out to sales prospects, brand champions and disgruntled customers right away. Learn what people are really saying about your brand and use this information to improve on anything that isn’t working well, so you can improve your bottom line. Brand24 is also a great way to find publicity opportunities, and learn what your competitors are up to.

3. Wisestamp

Wisestamp generates professional email signatures that can help to grow your business. More than 650,000 professionals are using Wisestamp, and there are hundreds of signature templates to choose from. Whatever your field of work, there are enough templates, apps, and designs to find what you need to stand out and represent your business well. This tool can increase your reach across social networks, boost generated leads through the “Schedule A Meeting” app, and draw in more email replies simply by adding a photo: and this is all for free. The PRO version has even more functionality to generate clicks and website visitors

4. ClickMeeting

Webinars are a great way to generate interest for your business, and this tool enables you to create them quickly and easily. Using ClickMeeting, you can customize your webinars, analyze and follow up with attendees, and track the success of every event. These webinars can dramatically increase traffic to your site and boost sales. In conjunction with ClickMeeting, you can use your social media accounts as channels to keep traffic coming to your website, generate leads, and get your business more sales. While you have to pay for indefinite access, there’s also a considerable free trial period without any contracts. You have nothing to lose, and a whole lot to gain, so get started today and get those webinars out there to the world!

5. Brandwatch

Brandwatch is another tool that will give you insight into what your customers are saying about your brand, and what they want from your business. This information is invaluable for building a direct marketing strategy that will speak to your audience and raise conversions. Brandwatch gives you instant access to customer conversations as they occur, so you are always up-to-date on the latest trends. You will also be able to identify threats as they arise, learn how to deal with them, and react smartly to anything that might impact your business. While the service is not cheap (starting at $500), it easily pays for itself depending on the size of your business, and if you aren’t sure, a free demo can help to assess whether it's right for you.

6. Kissmetrics

This tool allows you to segment your audience so you can target visitors by how they got to your site. Using Kissmetrics, you can set triggers to engage with customers based on their actions, and choose the behavior that visitors should display before you bother showing them your campaign. This process helps to identify and target viable prospects while weeding out those who just aren’t interested. Kissmetrics is easy to use, and provides five design templates to jumpstart your optimization. You can visit the site to request a demo and see for yourself how automated segmentation can help your business.

7. OptinMonster

If you want to convert website visitors into email subscribers, you need to start using this tool: OptinMonster allows you to create and A/B test awesome lead capture forms without having to bother with a developer, and the lead generation software will bring big results quickly. Features include the OptinMonster Builder, multiple form types, exit Intent technology, A/B split testing, page level targeting, and built-in analytics just to name a few. This tool works with all major email marketing services, as well as CMS and eCommerce platforms. Everything you need to grow an email list can be found right here, and it will only take you a few minutes to build high converting forms instead of several hours.

8. Mention

Use Mention to monitor your online presence from any location. You will enjoy real-time monitoring of brand mentions from social media and around the web. Track all of the important outlets including social media, blogs, forums, and more, so you can really focus on your brand and learn about your competitors. This tool will help you to attract new customers, build awareness, and improve your overall online reputation while allowing you to engage your audience and react to mentions right away. This tool will help you to handle a crisis when it arises, create reports, study your competition, and a whole lot more. Mention has iPhone and Android apps, and prices start at $29 a month.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Social Media Marketing Best Practices for SMBsEmail Newsletter Foundations: A Roadmap for SuccessCrisis Management with Social Media

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here!

 


8 Ways to Turn a Negative Online Review into a Loyal Client

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In the age of social media, things can turn ugly fast. Small incidents turn into crises, which can become a public relations nightmare spreading bad press about your business to your current users/clients, and even to those who have never even heard of you. Dealing with these situations requires a level head, and a good crisis management plan. But part of avoiding full-blown crisis is responding to individual complaints effectively, whenever they arise.

It’s never fun to find a negative online review about your company. Whether the review is an honest account of a client’s experience, or the result of a partnership gone sour, it can be very discouraging. However, a negative review can also be a great opportunity to create a loyal client.

Remember that leaving a negative review takes effort. The easiest way for a client to handle an issue is to terminate their relationship with your business and go their merry way. The fact that they have taken the time to write and post a review indicates that they would probably like some response from you. Any feedback, positive or negative from a client is an opportunity for your business to grow and improve.

Here are 8 ways to turn a negative online review into a loyal client.

1. Listen

The first way to turn a bad online review into a positive experience is listening to the client’s complaint or story. This means putting ego and defensiveness aside. Read between the lines. For example, if they mention that their account representative didn’t respond in a timely manner, the real issue is that they felt your team wasn’t reliable, or a resource they could turn to in a crisis.

For B2B firms, most phone calls and emails are returned the same day or within 24 hours during the work week. However, when there is a crisis for a client or an urgent request, those need to be prioritized. We’ve all encountered a crisis at work, and we remember the folks who helped and the folks who didn’t. By really listening to the issue that has caused the negative review, you are taking a first step towards resolving the problem and addressing the client’s real concern.

2. Research

Your gut reaction and management’s directive may be responding to a negative review immediately. While quick response time is a priority, you should never act in haste. Research what happened with the client. Talk to the people involved and get the facts. Whether the client is right or wrong isn’t the priority; you want to assess the situation reasonably, and determine the underlying factors.

The priority during your research should be to determine what happened and how to resolve the issue or complaint. If you discover that your team honestly did everything to accommodate the client, then it may be a case where an explanation is needed. Many negative online reviews are caused by misunderstandings or miscommunication. Assemble all the facts, including dates, times, and the people involved so you can draft a coherent, thoughtful reply.

3. Apologize

A great response to a negative online review should start with an apology. It doesn’t have to be an apology about what transpired, but it should take the client's experience seriously - clients are human beings with feelings. If you don’t validate a client’s feelings in any way, they are unlikely to be receptive.

For example, you can start your response with, “We are sorry to hear that you had a negative experience with our customer service team.” Apologizing in this case is not accepting blame for the situation, but shows that you understand their experience was a negative one. Conversely, if you discover in your research that your team was at fault, it’s best to accept blame immediately. This kind of apology could be, “We are sorry that we inadvertently overcharged you for services last month. We accept responsibility for that and are working to reverse the charges immediately.” Whether the issue causing the review is your firm’s fault or not, always begin by acknowledging the negative experience, and apologizing for it.

4. Empathize

The best way to address a negative review is to show empathy. Put yourself in your client’s shoes. We’ve all been frustrated when we can’t access an online account, or forget a password, or experience a product failure. Relate to your client’s frustration and show that you understand their experience.

The main challenge that businesses face here is the temptation to patronize, or express dry sympathy. Saying things like, “I’m sure that is frustrating” or “You must be so frustrated” or “It’s not a big deal” can be insulting. The latter statement is condescending, and the first two are examples of sympathy instead of empathy. The difference between these two states is subtle, but very important: to sympathize with someone is to express regret at their situation. To empathize with them is to show that you relate with their experiences, and know what it's like to be them.

State your empathy in a genuine manner. Really mean what you are saying. Something along the lines of, “We understand how frustrating it can be to have login problems during a meeting with the boss.” In the majority of negative reviews, people just want to be heard and understood. Show that your business listens by empathizing with their situation.

5. Resolve

Don’t bother responding to a review if you don’t have a resolution. Always, always offer a resolution to your reviewer. If you need more information from them to provide a resolution, offer a contact name and number so they can get in touch. Let the negative reviewer know what you need to resolve their issue and how you plan to do it.

In many cases, you may not be able to ferret out enough information during the research phase to resolve the issue. In these situations, the resolution is to give the name and email/phone number of a particular problem solver and ask the reviewer to get in touch at their convenience. A great way to address this is by saying, “We apologize for the error you mentioned in your review. We’d like to work with you to resolve this issue. Please connect with Jeremy by calling 555-5555 at your convenience. Jeremy is aware of your feedback and is ready to help you find a resolution.”

In my experience, half the time the negative reviewer will follow up and work towards a resolution. The other half, the simple act of reaching out resolves the issue by itself. The best part is that responding with a resolution shows other clients and potential clients that your business is responsive, and works to resolve issues issues when they arise.

6. Respond

It’s important that you not only respond to the negative review online, but respond to any questions or requests the client may have afterwards. If they get in touch, make every effort to respond quickly. Everyone who interfaces with that particular client should be aware of the situation so they can work together to repair the relationship. Taking this type of approach often makes clients grateful, which in turn creates loyalty. They know that even when the going gets tough, you’ll work with them. Just like friendships, when things are great, everyone is your “friend,” but when you have an argument, misunderstanding, or make a mistake, the people you really trust work with you towards a resolution.

7. Correct

Once the review has been responded to and the client’s issue has been resolved, you aren’t done. It’s time to correct the issue. Does the internal team need additional training? Is there a bug with your software that needs to be resolved? Do you need a new approach for managing clients? Taking steps to correct the problem and prevent the same issue in the future is essential.

When the issue is corrected, whether it takes days, weeks, or months, it’s important to acknowledge the fix and communicate it to your client base if appropriate. If you followed all the tips above and were able to reverse the negative experience for the client, taking the additional step to incorporate their feedback and fix the issue for all clients shows that you take feedback seriously. Clients become loyal when they know you are listening, and take their input seriously.

8. Follow-up

Following up with the negative reviewer is the final step, regardless of how the situation was resolved. If your team was able to address the issue for the client and has continued working with the client, it’s important to follow-up after time has passed. This can be a quick check-in to see whether they are happy, whether they have any feedback on the process, or if they see anywhere else your firm can improve. This lets them know their feedback is valued.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the client never responded and ended their relationship with your firm, it’s still important to follow-up in a non-invasive manner. Don’t be pushy, but do send some form of follow-up whether it be an email, a letter, or voicemail. These are delicate communications and should indicate that while you are sorry to lose their business, you found their feedback to be valuable and are always working to improve your products and services. They may not respond, but making an effort to repair the relationship is always worthwhile.

jeremy

Jeremy Durant is Business Principal at Bop Design, a B2B web design and digital marketing firm. Jeremy works closely with businesses in need of a website, marketing and branding strategy, helping them to their unique value proposition and ideal customer profile. Jeremy received his BA from Merrimack College and his MBA from California State University, San Marcos. His writing has been featured in EContent Magazine, PublishThis, Marketing Agency Insider, Visibility Magazine, and Spin Sucks.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Crisis Management with Social Media, Twitter PR and Crisis Management

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


The Best Growth Marketing Strategies for B2B Businesses

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Although B2B business has always been in the shadow of B2C, the field has demonstrated significant growth over the past year. The industry continues to mature and attract more prospects, as companies adopt effective strategies to increase profits and engage more clients.

Some reviewers cite companies like Alibaba and Amazon to support the claim that B2B companies are becoming more like B2C.  The B2B world seems to increasingly recognize the importance of customer experience and service, a domain it has historically neglected.

Apparently, this approach is paying off significantly. In the U.S., B2B e-commerce is already twice as large as B2C e-commerce. The same trend will likely expand to the international arena in the near future.

What specific strategies lie behind the success of modern B2B companies? Let’s find out.

Social Media Engagement

The role of social media for B2B companies continues to increase. Previously, this field has been dominated by B2C companies because it grants them access to an enormous client base. However, in recent years, social media has been increasingly used by companies that provide services to other companies, especially through Facebook ads. You have probably seen them in your news feeds; they invite you to connect with the business by visiting their site to request a quote or demo. There's definitely a strategy to marketing your B2B company with Facebook, so make sure you adequately understand the Facebook sales funnel.

Besides providing great opportunities to use digital advertising, social media networks are a good way to engage with your existing customer base and answer questions from potential customers. With social media, getting in touch with a company is convenient and low-commitment, providing prospects with an easy way to reach out and learn more.

The most effective social media profiles contain “contact us” buttons that encourage viewers to click them and visit the company website. Given that more than half of international B2B companies use social media, adding it to your B2B company’s online presence is a no-brainer.

LinkedIn Presence

The first international network for professionals has emerged as a great marketing tool for B2B companies. According to Jerome Knyszewski from Heavyshift Marketing, LinkedIn has generated 80 percent of B2B leads out of 100,000 posts, while the closest competitor Twitter raked in only 12.7 percent. Facebook is third with just 6 percent. Several years ago, LinkedIn was primarily used as a way of connecting with colleagues and business partners, but its function has evolved to include lead generation by connecting with businesses.

For example, experienced B2B owners say that a series of messages are sent to the representatives of companies as part of their marketing process. According to Martin Morgan, a senior marketer from Proessaywriting, this strategy works just like a standard lead generating and nurturing approach and is supposed to build relationships with potential partners.

For more information on engaging with potential contacts on LinkedIn, learn how to create a LinkedIn engagement strategy.

Use of Targeted Content

Targeted content marketing is another method of attracting customers that was initially applied mainly by B2C companies. Content is increasingly recognized as a primary factor in the decision to engage with a company because it helps to connect, entertain, educate, and improve brand image.

B2B businesses have recognized the importance of content for reaching new clients, and now use it to drive consideration and influence purchase decisions, in addition to building brand awareness. Examples of effective content include research reports, digital magazines, infographics, articles, and videos.

Email Marketing

More than 70 percent of marketers today consider email marketing to be a vital strategy because it allows for concise and clear communication. B2B companies have been using it for quite a while now. Many great email marketing strategies have been developed specifically for B2B, many of which you can learn about by following thought leaders, taking online classes, following leading blogs in the space, etc.

For example, in this Smart Insights article we learn that Dropbox emails its users to promote installation of its desktop/mobile app by  focusing on benefits of installing the product. Hubspot uses emails to inform its customers about upcoming webinars, and details specific benefits of joining an event to increase turnout.

Clearly, email marketing is a great method that can be used to connect with potential clients and show them the benefits of collaborating with a company. By leveraging your subscriber lists, client retention, up-selling opportunities and lead generation are benefits that can be gained at a relatively low cost. Be sure to understand the ins and outs of a comprehensive email marketing strategy.

Mobile Marketing

The mobile experience is a big deal nowadays. Successful B2B companies are increasingly launching  mobile-optimized websites because mobile traffic volume has widely exceeded desktop traffic. Mobile apps are often developed to accompany mobile sites and provide an even more enjoyable and fluid experience for users. According to Bizible, 83 percent of B2B marketers use mobile marketing tools like apps and websites to connect with clients, generate and nurture leads, and take advantage of cutting-edge technologies including voice recognition, QR scanners, and GPS systems.

Among the most surprising technologies in mobile B2B marketing is text messaging. SMS has been used by many companies, from cab services to electronic shops, to inform clients about upcoming deals and new offers. In addition to  advertising, companies often include personalized messages to gain customers’ attention, and build rapport. According to Bizible, SMS follow-up after a phone call increases conversion by up to 112 percent. Therefore, if you’re dialing your clients, you should definitely be texting them.

Personalization

Personalization strategies have proven to be effective in B2B and B2C companies. Just as it is important for a company to demonstrate its uniqueness through creative and effective branding, it is important to acknowledge the uniqueness of a customer. Personalization can be defined as a way of  “presenting information to a consumer that acknowledges whom he/she is and what his intentions are — to make his/her interaction more meaningful.” Personalization makes interaction with a company more positive and individualized, making it more memorable.

In B2B, personalization can be applied through various means, including website design, social media, loyalty programs, packaging, phone and chat, ad networks, landing pages, wish lists, opt-in and transaction emails. The end results of a robust personalization strategy include higher conversion rates, and client satisfaction.

Conclusion

B2B companies continue to demonstrate growth, and marketing strategies are a main reason for their success. The strategies described in this article are proven to work for many B2B companies, so don’t be afraid to start applying them today!

Tom Jager is professional blogger. He works at A-writer.  He has degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+ or Facebook.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Mastering the Facebook Sales FunnelCreating a LinkedIn Engagement Strategy, Email Marketing Tactics

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The Importance of Immediacy in Your Social Media Nurturing

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Most salespeople know that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

Marketing and sales teams that take this idea to heart have great processes for getting  MQLs (Marketing Qualified Lead) to the sales rep as fast as possible so they can start smiling and dialing. Unfortunately, many organizations struggle to convert this important lesson over to the nurturing stage of the sales cycle, particularly on social media, where potential leads often go hours or days without a response.

While immediacy is a central aspect of every channel you use for lead nurturing, social media may be the most important. Not only are your customers used to instant communication over these networks, they are also increasingly wary of any messages that don’t fit into the conversations they’re having and the immediate need they’re feeling.

Improving social media monitoring and automating lead nurturing will help your organization improve the immediacy of your social media messages and ultimately increase responses and sales.

What is Immediacy?

First, what is immediacy? While it does involve an immediate response time, speed is not the only factor. The term originated with non-verbal communication before social media or marketing automation were ever invented.

In the 1960s, Professor of Psychology Albert Mehrabian defined immediacy as the “degree of directness and intensity of interaction between communicator and referent in a communicator’s linguistic message.”

Probably a little too dense for our needs. From a sales and marketing perspective, immediacy involves a few different factors:

  • Context
  • Time
  • Personal Connection

In his recent talk at INBOUND 2016, Gustavo Reis discussed how he uses the idea of immediacy to grow the social engagement with his online math course. Using these principles, he created a following of 60K+ on Facebook in less than a year and 5K+ on Instagram in less than 2 months.

Incorporating Immediacy into Your Social Lead Nurturing

So why is immediacy so important and well suited for social lead nurturing?

According to Marketing Donut, 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months, and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. Engaging and nurturing these leads for up to a year is impossible without deep insights into their needs and a scalable way to reach out consistently.

Here are a few steps for incorporating immediacy into your social lead nurturing, to improve the directness and level of engagement you receive from your audience.

Identifying Touchpoints

If you’re only using website data such as website visits and form submissions for your lead scoring and segmentation, you’re missing out on a large part of the picture. Not to mention, most prospects won't engage directly with your business enough to keep a meaningful conversation going.

Monitoring social media provides you with even more data:

  • What leads are interested in
  • Keywords
  • Influencers they follow
  • Events they’re attending
  • Who they’re engaging with
  • Content they like

This allows you to identify a much larger set of touchpoints. The more information behind your lead nurturing, the timelier your messages can be and the more you can tailor them to the context of your lead’s conversation.

Segmenting by Context and Relationships

As your business scales, you can’t expect to send each of your leads a personalized tweet, DM or email based on their unique actions. You can use marketing automation and personalization to send them one of a hundred or more carefully tailored messages.

In a recent webinar, we discussed how Socedo saw unsubscribes decrease by 50% when we included context in our emails. The more segmented you can make your leads, the more context and personalization you can add to each message you send them.

Context and personalization don’t just involve the content of your social messages and emails. Segmenting your leads by the person they had initial contact with – and then ensuring all future communications come from that same person – can greatly increase the immediacy of your messages. When we started sending emails from employees leads had already engaged with, we saw 76% higher open rates. When we sent from a different person, our open rates decreased by 24%.

Real-Time Marketing

Once you have set up social media monitoring to identify touchpoints and segmented your audience based on those insights, you can send them relevant content in real-time. Here are some examples of real-time nurturing that focus on immediacy:

  • “I saw you just tweeted about this event, did you know we’ll be there? Here’s a webinar about it.”
  • “You just shared an article on conversion rate optimization. Check out this whitepaper that dives deeper into the subject.”
  • Like a tweet 24 hours after following someone on Twitter.

Socedo uses these examples in our own social lead nurturing. Through the last example, we’ve gained 30% higher follow-back rates (you can learn more about this tactic and others in our webinar, “10 Lead Nurturing Hacks for Faster Conversions”).

Thanks to the increased opportunities for context, timeliness and personalization, socially engaged leads move 25% faster through the lead pipeline and convert at a 22% higher selling price. Using the principles of immediacy, combined with social media and marketing automation tools, you can create a lead nurturing system that is much more engaging while still remaining scalable for your business.

How does your company nurture leads through social media? Do you use any of the concepts of immediacy? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.00.16 AMTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Social Media Strategy for BusinessSocial PRFundamentals of Social Media for SEO

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


5 Alternative Marketing Strategies for Niches

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Find your niche

Find your niche

Creating marketing strategies for niches is a daunting task for any marketer. Niche businesses can only cater to a small audience and address very specific issues. Unlike commodities or retail, which cater to a broad audience, niche markets have a harder time getting people interested. Here are a few key strategies for getting your niche business off the ground.

Build a Community that Generates Content

Communities, whether online or offline, are built around the specific interests and traits of their members. These groups are bound by the things that set them apart. You’ll probably never see a group of people who get together to discuss a very generic topic like eating. Everyone eats. On the other hand, a community might spring up when several people who are interested in a specific aspect of eating come together, like people who enjoy cooking and meet to swap recipes, or those who enjoy exotic foods and want to share their experiences.

Your niche can be just the thing to plant the seeds of such a community. With readily available social media tools, all potential customers need is a small incentive: a rally point. From there on, your clients and potential clients can do a lot of the marketing work for you. But it’s absolutely vital that you create a solid, customer-centric culture. Your customers should be your top priority, and they should know your business is geared towards them, not selling as many products as you can.

That’s why you should encourage debates and even constructive criticism in your community. On the one hand, this is going to give you some valuable feedback and insights that will help to improve your business. On the other hand, you’re going to encourage a conversation that has the potential to raise brand awareness and promote customer loyalty. When each customer feels like their opinion is valued, they are more likely to promote your business and generate useful content.

You can also engage with influencers to help consolidate this community. Influencers already have a group of loyal followers with common interests. If the influencers you choose to engage with are a good fit for your brand, raising awareness will be a piece of cake.

Focus on Client Needs, Not Product Specifications

There are certain products that tend to sell themselves. Marketers often focus on highlighting all of their product’s assets to make it stand out, but neglect to tell customers how exactly this is going to help them. For certain products or services, this approach works just fine. All customers know why they should buy clothes; all they need to know is what makes one brand superior to another.

When it comes to marketing for niches, however, you can’t just focus on how good a product is (although that can be important, especially when you have competition). Many times  - especially when it comes to cutting edge technology and recent developments -  customers won’t understand what a product even does, and won’t have incentive to buy unless you specify its practical functions. If you find it difficult to promote a niche product or service, try to focus on your client’s needs and how the product is tailored to address those needs, instead of trying to constantly prove it’s better than the competition. Although potential customers  may not know what your product does or how it can help them, they certainly know what their problems are.

Highlight What Makes Your Niche Business Special

Many products that are now wildly popular had a very limited appeal in the beginning, and didn’t catch on at first. But they knew how to make the most out of their uniqueness, and they are now household brands: they offered something no other product did, and that’s what made them so popular.

When you operate in a niche market, there are two situations you can find yourself in when it comes to competition: either you are faced with a small number of powerful competitors , or you are the only company providing the specific products or services that you offer.

In both cases, there is always something that sets your company apart. In the first case, you are already providing a service few other companies are. From a marketing perspective, you should use that as an asset rather than a downside.

If you do have competitors, it’s worth  analyzing how they do business. Maybe your products are similar, but your brand’s personality can make the difference. Combine this with an in-depth analysis of your target audience to figure out how you could approach your customers differently, or diversify your client base.

If your niche tends to focus on senior professionals, for example, maybe it’s time to reach out to the growing millennial market, even if it may seem like that won’t work. When it comes to marketing strategies for niches, there is no beaten path: whatever makes a brand special - whether it’s reaching a new audience or just finding solutions to unique problems -  is worth investing in.

Marketing Strategies for Niches Are Like Stage Performances

Though it may not seem like it, marketing and entertainment have a lot in common: they both imply an audience, and they both imply a space in which to meet this audience. The context of this space determines who will come to a performance, what they expect to see, and what shape the performance should take.

When it comes to marketing, there are many different stages you can use to reach out to your audience. Social media platforms are fast becoming the go-to place where brands and customers interact. And while we tend to discuss these social media networks as a group, just by using them you’ll quickly come to realize that each has its own unique perks and disadvantages when it comes to crafting marketing strategies for niches.

For example, most Twitter users claim they use this platform to stay updated on current events, traffic and weather reports. But the site is less popular when it comes to entertainment. And even though it has far more users than Instagram, teens believe Instagram is the second most important social media platform, which proves Twitter has a more mature audience.

We shouldn’t forget offline marketing either. While the digital world has become one of the most popular marketing playgrounds, there is still very much we can gain from traditional marketing strategies. This is especially useful when it comes to physical products. An image and good copy can do a lot to promote your brand, but nothing compares to sampling the products in real life or getting a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

Concentrate Your Efforts

Obviously, it’s a good idea to test out new and untapped markets. The more people you can reach, the better your chances of converting leads and raising brand awareness. But ultimately, you cannot turn every potential lead into a loyal customer. You need to focus on the audiences that work best, lest you end up angering your current customers while chasing leads that won’t work out.

Testing out how your product is received in different markets can show that some audiences are just not a good match. You can try to adapt your products and your brand to match the preferences of these groups, but if after months of trying it’s still not working out, perhaps it’s time to cut your losses.

In order to encourage customer loyalty, your current customers need to feel like they are important for your business. If you are constantly rebranding in order to reach out to increasingly diverse groups of people, your loyal customers might feel like they are no longer respected.

Sometimes, the best way to create brand awareness and maximize revenues is simply to consolidate a consistent brand image. Especially when you are operating in a niche market, it’s important to maintain coherence when it comes to the tone and personality of your business.

Conclusion

Marketing strategies for niches must be extra careful when it comes to tailoring campaigns to the requirements of the business. The uniqueness of the products, services or field in which the business operates can be the greatest asset a marketer can depend on. If you’re having trouble developing a marketing strategy for your niche, try one of these tips today, and embrace the strengths of your brand while building it.

Dustin Ford became interested in technology at an early age. He read as much as he could and now he enjoys writing about gadgets, online trends, and apps for TechExploring. He wants to share his knowledge with others and help everyone who has technology-related questions.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.