Every experienced business owner knows that the survival of his business mainly depends on its marketing strategy. You need to create a powerful buzz around your brand that will attract the attention of both - consumers and media - and drive your sales and traffic.
Although this concept is highly popular today, this word of mouth marketing cannot be forced and no strategy is a surefire one for every business. Yes, the evolution of social media provides more opportunities than ever, but all the social profiles in the world won’t help your business if you don’t know how to get people talking about your company. Your business can have an amazing customer service and offer outstanding products, but what if these critical things are not enough anymore for creating significant profit?
The competition is stronger than ever, so if you’re preparing to promote your business this year you’ll have to gather up some real creativity. You’ll have to do a lot more than to employ an infographic if you want to cut through the noise. It is all about provoking a reaction, so we’ve prepared a list of tactics that will definitely make your brand noticed.
Creating The Story
Before to create a robust digital marketing strategy for your business, you want to create a story. Branding and marketing is all about storytelling. In order to create the right amount of buzz that will guarantee the profit, you need to make your brand nothing less than fascinating so you can spark interest in today’s passive consumers. So the first step is the creation of the great story that needs to come before the specific brand marketing. But keep in mind that the great story requires much more than a quality content.
1. All Opinions on Board
The fact is that people today believe advertising claims much less, but, on the other hand, we’re very likely to trust the online opinions of complete strangers. That means that you must create discussions for your brand that will produce the six times more powerful content than traditional advertising. So what you need to do is to assemble the thought leaders such as influential bloggers and get them on board before the launch.
That way you’ll get everyone talking months before even the first demo is released. That talk will not be about what your product does, but about what it might do. There is nothing more powerful than leaving people guessing - the media will know who you are and that will definitely make getting press a lot easier.
2. Plant The Bait
If you want to make people wanting more before they actually get anything, all you need to do is to come up with a simple short message designed to grab their attention. Although the short phrase needs to be simple, it also must convey your unique value proposition. It needs to be catchy and to clearly show a certain important benefit. It is basically like creating the perfect point of view for your business that will make people talking to their friends.
It is like a combination of a catchy movie quote people couldn’t but repeat and its tagline that makes an imprint on their minds. Just keep in mind that the quality marketing bait is not the same as hype, because the latter makes the promises you can’t keep and that never pays out.
3. Open Up
Opening up, sharing your idea and initiative will help you gather data and feedback, which are essential to develop a successful marketing strategy. This doesn’t mean you should reveal all the ‛secrets’ before the time is right, but it simply refers to avoiding the trap of the above-mentioned type. Although it might seem that the transparency is the last thing that could create the desired buzz, this quality can really set you apart from the competition.
The very essence of transparency for business is the forthright communication in which people are engaging and honest.
And we all want to buy only from the ones we know and trust. Well, transparency is the foundation stone of that trust, so you need to open up.
People know that the reason for any business existence is to make money, so there’s no point in hiding your prospects, intentions, and goals.
Personal anecdotes and honest opinions are a great way to show your personal side, too. But being open also means being accountable and prepared to take responsibility for all of your oversights and mistakes. You still need to be honest even when it’s not comfortable.
4. Find The Trusted Word
Although we’ve said that people are prepared to believe the online opinion of complete strangers, the weight of words is always greater if they’re spoken by a trusted influencer. This is especially handy if your business is relatively new and you haven’t had the chance to build up your credibility within the industry yet. The right influencers in your niche could lend you some of theirs.
There are various ways to engage and connect with them online. You could start by retweeting and sharing their content, tagging or mentioning them in your posts, participating in discussions on their blog posts or social media, and eventually reaching out to them through an email.
Incorporating The Visuals
The image of your brand is equally important as its story for the overall success of your business. This is why giants such as Apple place such a high value on form and aesthetics. If their products weren’t so damn beautiful they certainly wouldn’t have such an enormous market share. So the biggest mistake you can make is to underestimate the importance of the appearance of your product.
People don’t tend to share ugly things with their friends or colleagues, no matter how useful they may be. It is important that this aesthetic component is incorporated before the launch of the product, at the very beginning of your marketing campaign. Maybe you don’t have enough means to achieve Apple’s elegant design, but there are other ways you can boost your visuals.
1. Tell a Thousand Words
Articles and blog posts are not the only elements that are able to tell the story of your brand. Like in the old saying, pictures do tell a thousand words, especially on an internet space. Slideshares and image roundups actually guarantee much more engagement, and putting them together can be much more fun than writing numerous articles.
So use them to enhance your story, but make sure they’re backing it up in the right way. The first thing you should do is to explore the image galleries on a website such as Flickr in order to accumulate the inspiration for your brand’s story. Then start sharing and curating the best among them that go hand in hand with your niche.
The best place to do that are the visual social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. Don’t forget to overlay the imagery with text in order to make it more shareable (remember what we’ve said about the power of quotes!). But you shouldn’t rely only on formulaic stock imagery to tell the story of your brand. Original imagery is always a good investment, and don’t underestimate the power of GIFs and animations - they can be perfect for bringing to life some dull posts and the BuzzFeedis there to prove it.
2. Move The Images
Although images say a thousand words, they can become much more talkative when they are set in motion - today it’s all about speed, and video montage is far quicker than scrolling down. But the real engaging power of video reaches its full potential when the video is the live one.
There is a good reason for Facebook’s harassment to ‛go live’. Live videos are a very efficient way to grow your audience for they’re saying that something is happening right now, which draws the crowd instantly because of our deep-rooted fear of missing things out.
This makes them a highly powerful promotional tool, but you need to know how to handle it right. You can’t just wave around your phone camera, creating a bland and poorly shot video or shooting a monotonous talk of an employee that will lull us all to sleep.
The point of the live video is a powerful message behind it. Even if its just a simple ‛hello to the world’ it still needs to be inspirational. Finding some cool event is always the best way to go, for engagement and immediacy are the key factors. If you don’t have a good reason to go live then don’t - video loops can also be quite engaging on landing pages and social media, especially if you’re willing to experiment with other textures that will make your site more 3D.
3. Take It To The Streets
The fact that almost every business has gone up online today doesn’t mean that the good old real word has lost its marketing potential. If anything, it means that here competition might be smaller and the opportunity better. And the smartest thing you can do is to flood the streets with the imagery of your brand. These brand merchandising strategies are often overlooked today, which makes them an even wider gap in the marketing world for business owners who know how to use them.
We’re not just talking about banners - they’re everywhere around us. Investing in custom t-shirts and jackets will make the imagery of your brand move along the streets, spreading over towns, and mingling with potential customers. Back in the 90s, the streetwear brands were employing brand merchandising without being aware of it - they’ve been creating the merchandise with the message behind it that resonated with their customers. But you are aware of it, so take it to the next level.
Building The Suspense
Although we’ve said that your business needs to be transparent, your marketing campaign can greatly benefit from a few secrets if they’re not concealing the bad sides of a product, but its good ones. Creating a shroud of secrecy before the actual announcement of the product will automatically increase its value in the eyes of the customer. All you have to do is to choose the hottest products and release deliberately very few details about, and the mystery is created.
1. Tease Them
Call it what you will - sneak peaks, hints, teasers, but it all comes down to one thing - slowly sharing the enticing details of your upcoming product or promotion, piquing the interest of the audience and leaving them with the hunger for more. In order to create the real anticipation, you need to be careful how you build it. Take it slowly and gradually - if you want to post a contest on social media, start giving them a wink at least two weeks earlier. And don’t forget to leak the information bit by bit - as we’ve said, people like guessing what you have in store for them.
2. Make Them Hurry
Another great way to build a sense of anticipation (but also a sense of scarcity: if you use scarcity marketing, make it in an ethical way, don't manipulate your customers) is to offer your customers a waitlist for a certain product or service.
This move could be a bit risky, but if you’ve done your teasing right it will create quite a buzz. At the moment this tactic is hugely popular for apps and social networking platforms.
You can easily test the amount of anticipation that you’ve created by offering your customers ‛limited’ seatings at live events or webinars. It is definitely better to put the client on a waitlist then to tell them you’ll let them know when you have an opening.
3. Satisfy The Expectations
When you’ve invested time and effort in building the suspense, you need to give your customers a grand finale that’s worth of all that teasing. And you’ll do that by turning your product launch into an event. If you have a budget (and you should save some of it for this occasion) the best way to go is a big press event. If money turns out to be a problem, an online event will have to do. But you need to make a big deal out of the launch. That means that the showrunner can’t be your PR agent - it has to be you. That way both - the customers and the media - will take it seriously and the expectations will be fulfilled.
It’s been quite a reading, but every story requires some time to develop. Keep that in mind and don’t forget that every business owner must be a good storyteller. In order to keep people engaged in your marketing story, you need to come up with the right words, first. Then just let the imagery blossom for a while and let the information slowly leak. And make sure you end it with a bang, not a whimper.
So, how to plan a winning marketing strategy for your business?
In today's marketing world, storytelling is everything. So, you need to know how to tell your story but also the story of your customers and partners. This is the first step on planning a winning marketing strategy. How do you do that? By creating a compelling content marketing strategy. We recommend you to use visuals to do so. It's been said that 1 image is worth 1,000 words; so, don't hesitate to use visuals in your communication.
Another tip that we recommend you to follow comes from horror movie and suspense TV shows: build suspense. By doing this, your audience will always be interested in new content you create.
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