Media and marketing have never been more complex. We work to make it simpler. Here is some practical advice to grow your brand in 2018.
Paid is Mandatory
Most brands reach of less than 2% of their audience on Facebook organically. 70% of organic Instagram posts don’t get seen. Without paid content to build familiarity and awareness, you are invisible there.
Quality over Quantity
No more untargeted, frequent publishing to targeted, purposeful publishing. It’s not wise to just put out as much content as you can. Your goal is to get as much interaction from a single well thought-out post as possible.
Remember the Pixel
Do not bother running Facebook ads until your Facebook pixel is installed on your website. It’s the only way to know if they are working.
Keep it Conversational
Avoid an overly sales-y approach. People don’t read ads. They read what interests them. It’s not about you…it’s about THEM! Users come to social media to connect with family and friends, not brands.
Avoid Ad Blindness
Ad blindness is a result of borings ads. You have 2 seconds to grab users attention on social media. Find a way to stand out and be relevant.
Don’t Treat Facebook Like Google
Google is great for demand fulfillment (search —> buy). Facebook is great for demand generation (discovery). Your target customer might not know they want your product but they discover it through your Facebook advertising.
Make a strategy for inspiring and curating user-generated content. Consumers want to know that your brand is relatable and UGC gives them that feeling. Oftentimes, UGC actually outperforms brand-created content!
Work on crafting “lifestyle” content to sell your audience rather than just product. Step outside of expected content tracks and think about what else your brand can have a stake in. What storylines you can play with?
Use Instagram Stories
Take advantage of ephemeral content to show behind-the-scenes content and support brand affinity and experience. Stories allow you to connect with your followers in a more personal way. Stories can link to the website and always appear at the top of the feed!
Micro-moments are highly critical and evaluative touch points where customers expect brands to cater to their needs with reliable information, regardless of the time and location. Take the time to build a friction-less digital experience.
Embrace Native Advertising
Most users find interruptive ads frustrating and irrelevant—Suprise! Native ads blend in seamlessly with publisher content (ie., what they came to see). Studies have shown that premium native ads outperform display ads four-to-one on mobile devices.
Remind & Remarket
Remarketing gives your brand the opportunity to reach out to people who have already visited sections of your website and remind them of your brand.
?Create Video Content
Whichever stage of the customer funnel we are trying to target, video can help. The goals of educating, entertaining, or increasing brand awareness can all be achieved through video.
OTT is the Way to Be
More people are cutting the cord on cable and satellite and getting “over-the-top” or OTT devices such as smart TVs, AppleTV, and gaming devices. Capture this audience who has veered away from cable TV. OTT ads are 100% viewable and non-skippable.
EMAIL & ECOMMERCE
Email is an extremely effective revenue driver for eCommerce businesses. It is reported that for every dollar spent on email marketing, an average of $44 dollar return on investment is realized. (Source: Campaign Monitor, 2016)
Customize & Personalize
Use smart segmentation and automation to make sure you’re getting the right message to the right person at the right time. Brands that personalize emails experience 27% higher unique click rates and 11% higher open rates than those that do not. (Source: Experian, 2016)
Don’t Waste Any Message
Think of how you can even use transactional emails or even shipping materials (i.e. packing tape) to drive repeat purchase or preview new products. Transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email, and can generate 6x more revenue. (Source: Experian)
Experience is Key, Invest in It
Invest in your online storefront and shipping. 60% of all online purchases take place on Amazon (according to WSJ), so you must have a seamless experience in order to be competitive. Think free shipping, fast delivery. How you? can provide benefits (customer loyalty, personalization, exclusive offerings) giant retailers can’t?
Optimize for Mobile Shoppers
Design the shopping experience for mobile customers; in 2016, online retailers saw that 50% of traffic came from mobile, but 75% of sales took place on desktop. This means that in 2017 we’ll see retailers invest in optimizing their checkout pages for shoppers on the go.
Relevance & Availability
Focus on relevance and availability instead of small points of difference. Understand why your brand matters to people and develop more ways for the brand to be useful. Be really easy to get; whether it be via your own eCommerce, Amazon, or in local retailers.
Know your Brand, Market & Consumers
Invest in research - it’s easier and more cost effective than ever to know your market. Take some time to equip yourself with consumer information about your brand. The insights you gather will pay off fast.
Awareness through Disruption
Build awareness through breaking convention - understand the category conventions and decide where the opportunities are to disrupt. This could be how your product is purchased, where people find out about you, packaging…anything!
Social Media as Intelligence
Use social media as an intelligence platform - through social listening, at a macro level you can find insights on how audiences talk about your brand/product or category, which will help identify opportunities.
Keep it Consistent
Have a consistent voice at a brand level - you can have a whole spectrum of different products that do different things but how you speak as a brand should be consistent. Understand what’s critical to communicate in your marketing.
Consider tying your brand and marketing efforts to a non-profit organization or cause that makes sense for you. Pick organizations that you’re truly passionate about. Find ways to build the selected organization into campaigns and share those efforts with news teams and via social media.
Timing is Everything
Realize that news teams are working on skeleton crews, so timing is crucial. Weekends won’t get TV coverage as reporters are on deadline. Strong writing is also a must. Some publications will pick up a well-written press release verbatim.
Bullet, Bullet, Bullet
Craft short email pitches. A reporter/editor shouldn’t have to scroll on their phone to see your entire pitch. Bullet points are your friend!
Research Your Reporters
Do plenty of research before you pitch a reporter. Find out what they’ve been writing about lately and tailor the pitch accordingly. Mass distribution of a release is a thing of the past. Seriously, don’t do it. You will be quickly shuffled into the spam folder.
Be the Byline
Bylined stories are a great way to get into the local newspaper. A bylined article is an opportunity to share your unique expertise on topics related to your brand. In a bylined article, YOU control the content. Editors will reject submissions that too salesy, so avoid plugging too much.
Let your influencers have creative freedom
Influencers earned their following because of their personality. It’s important that you let them have full creative control when promoting your product or service. What you think might work potentially won’t gel with their audience. Figure out up front whether an influencer is the right fit.
Don’t get mesmerized by follower count
Follower count means nothing. Nada. Zilch. Micro-influencers can be your campaign’s sweet-spot. Micro-influencers tend to have a very engaged following that is genuinely interested in their content. There are several tools that help identify micro-influencers who would be a good fit for your campaign.
Always negotiate prices
Have you seen what some influencers are charging per post? And not just mega celebrities. There are models with a few million followers commanding $5,000 to $10,000 per post. Don’t always bite on the rate card price. There is always room for negotiation, especially if you have flexibility in the content.
Remember, you aren’t producing infomercials
An influencer holding up your product with a, “Buy this product” caption isn’t going to be well received. When you partner with the correct influencer sometimes a picture of them with your product in a natural setting is all you need. They don’t have to tell their audience to buy it – they notice on their own.
Constantly track, measure and analyze your campaign
There is no a plug-and-play success formula. The number of likes or comments a post receives isn’t an indication of a successful campaign. Dive into your analytics and look at the actions people engaging with influencer content take on your website.
Tailor your content to the situation
Are you emailing a deck or are you presenting live? Do you have an hour lunch or a 15 minute speed date? Craft your pitch for the environment you’ve got and make sure it tells the story you want to tell.
It’s a conversation not a performance
A lot of salespeople launch straight into a deck, and don’t stop talking until the last slide. This is a huge missed opportunity to ask to your customers about their challenges, and address their actual needs. The best sales presentations feel like an open dialogue. When a buyer is engaging you, ignore the deck.
Present solutions and opportunities, not products and features
Product features alone don’t make the sale. Make your presentation less about the product itself, and more about what it can do for your prospective customer – it relieves pain points, or will grow the business by X amount. Even startups with no sales history can showcase market analysis, growth potential, or added value.
Be prepared to answer the tough questions
When a prospect starts grilling you, it means they’re figuring out how you fit into their world. That’s a good thing. Think through the serious questions about your business and before you meet, to position yourself as a viable partner.
Don’t forget to close
So many presentations end with the salesperson shaking hands, saying something like “Let me know when you’ve made your decision,” and walking out of the room. Always ask closing questions – Do you see this working for you? Are you ready to move forward?