We can all agree that marketing is essential for boosting the reputation and exposure of a business. It’s also directly responsible for building a brand, which is the central theme or general associations that explain what a company is and what it stands for.
But the act of marketing itself has changed considerably over the years, especially within the last few, thanks to modern technology. Mobile-oriented and online marketing, for instance, are just two pivotal elements of a modern campaign. Technologies such as IoT, AI and machine learning, big data, cloud computing and even more subtle advancements like 3D printing are changing the world as we know it, and you better believe they’re changing the face of marketing too.
With so many changes happening, don’t you wonder what’s still effective? What strategies you should be using? With all that in mind, it makes sense to explore some important strategies you can take advantage of, particularly those that will have the biggest impact right now. Here are 12 to get you started.
1. Incorporate Dynamic Website Design
Mobile and responsive design is a big deal, but surely you know that already. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re missing out on a huge portion of your potential audience. Something like 5 billion mobile users will exist by the end of 2019.
A core element of modern design is that it must be dynamic, not just responsive. What does that mean? The best way to describe it is up-to-date, with all the latest information and visual themes. Gone are the days when you could construct a site and leave it unmodified and unaltered for years. Today’s online portals must be ever-changing, ever-updating and as close to the cutting-edge as possible.
Approximately 48 percent of people believe a website’s design is the most important factor in deciding the credibility of a business. Think about that for a moment. Nearly half of all people feel that a website’s design determines a brand’s credibility. Suddenly, it becomes apparent why dynamic design practices are necessary to ensure you’re providing the most optimal experience.
2. Remember That Blogs Are More Powerful Than Ever
Having fresh content or an updated content stream is not just important for SEO purposes — it gives your audience a reason to keep returning to your site. That is, of course, as long as you’re providing useful information they can take advantage of.
Helpful content also positions you — and your brand — as an authority in your field, which can be instrumental in building credibility and trust with your audience.
3. Build a Relationship With Influencers
Forty-nine percent of consumers rely on influencer recommendations when they’re making a purchase, while 70 percent of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities. Both statistics signify the rise of the influencer, more of a fan-favorite creative that shares their opinions and recommendations with a loyal audience.
Some popular influencers you might have already heard of are game streamers or Let’s Players like you’d find on platforms such as Twitch. They have a strong, loyal community behind them and many willing to follow their advice. Other influencers can be found on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and even private blogs and media-heavy sites like YouTube.
If you can get an influencer on your side, working as a promoter for your brand and products, you’ll see an incredible boost in customer support. These individuals bring a lot of exposure and untapped potential to the table.
4. Engage With Reviewers
It’s easy to ignore a lot of the noise that exists online, especially when there’s a negative buzz surrounding your brand or products. Dealing with it can be dizzying at times, but what matters is that you do deal with it.
Get involved with reviewers, influencers and discussions to shape how it all plays out. Never delete negative reviews, but instead respond to them with kindness. Offer help or assistance with any problems the customer might have had. Give them the opportunity to explain what would make things better or how you can improve. It may not seem like it, but other people are paying attention to these kinds of interactions, and it can either enhance or damage your reputation.
5. Incorporate Reviews and Testimonials
To take customer reviews a step further, incorporate them into your website or main portals somehow. But don’t just highlight the glowing reviews — ensure they’re honest and authentic. In fact, if you can take a negative review and turn it into a story of redemption, it will definitely bode well for your brand’s image. For instance, include a case study where you responded to a customer’s negative review, fixed the problem and gained their trust and support.
6. Build a Strong Online Presence
It’s not accurate to call it social media marketing anymore. Instead, it’s more of an all-encompassing online presence. Social media still makes up the bulk of the focus for most teams, as platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others still dominate the space. But there are always new contenders — up-and-coming platforms, if you will. Not all of them are conventional social networks. Look at something like Yelp or Quora, for instance, which do have social elements but aren’t the same.
The point is that you should have an online presence, and you should be regularly grooming brand experiences and interactions that customers have as a result. Adopt platforms that make sense for your brand, some of which may not be considered social networks.
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing — whether you’re using a platform like Twitter as an additional customer service portal or Facebook’s marketplace as an additional selling channel, you need an online presence, period. Get one started if you haven’t already.
7. Be Transparent
Mistakes happen, even to brands and organizations. Maybe you got involved with the wrong influencer who turns out to be a particularly nasty person. Maybe you overhyped a product a bit too much and customers aren’t happy about it. Perhaps you promised to meet a certain deadline, but certain obstacles are preventing you from doing so.
What matters is not that you made a mistake, but how you own up to it and how you handle the aftermath. Being transparent and honest is always the best option — really it should be the only one.
In a Sprout Social survey, 53 percent of respondents said they’re more likely to buy from a brand that was transparent on social media. When it came to brands that were hiding something, 83 percent of respondents said they’d turn to the closest competitor as a result.
Be open and honest about what’s happening behind the scenes, even when it seems like it would be better to stay quiet. Your customers will appreciate it, and it will boost their trust in your brand. It should reach beyond mistakes too. You must be transparent about topics like your organization’s environmental and local impact, supply chain complications, product changes, service updates and anything that will affect your customers, good or bad.
8. Engage in Local Networking
When you’re trying to find a new job, one of the most important things to do — besides submitting your resume — is to network with other professionals. Doing so floats your name around in case someone is looking for potential employees, and it helps you find opportunities that you might have otherwise missed.
The same should be done with your brand. Face-to-face connections are still an incredible form of marketing and advertising, especially when you’re interacting with potential customers who are out in the world.
Attend local events and activities, visit popular attractions or even network while you’re out running personal errands. Attending trade shows with a strong promotional booth is another great idea for in-person networking. Just get out there and market your brand in the real world.
9. Participate in Speaking Engagements
Often, brands become synonymous with their products, services and arms-length offerings rather than the people running the business. At times that can seem almost robotic in nature, especially for customers and audiences that don’t know who’s running the company or what kind of person they are.
It’s especially important for small and medium-sized businesses to break down these barriers, and it can be done via company representatives making public appearances — business founders and executives have incredible opportunities to do so. Whether it’s making an appearance at a national conference or business event or speaking to interested people during a live panel, speaking engagements are a great source of exposure and brand building. Let’s not forget that they can also be done online through something like a Reddit AMA or similar community events.
10. Tap Into Advanced Analytics
Customer behavior, public sentiment, selling and operational performance, marketing success — all of these things can be measured with the right analytics tools in place. It goes without saying that if you have no way to measure what’s working or why, no amount of marketing is going to help. Be sure you’re using available data to inform and influence future campaigns and decisions.
11. Watch the Competition
What is your competition doing? Are they making mistakes, or are they seeing huge successes? Why? What can you learn from their progress, and how can you do better?
Strategically, it makes sense to keep an eye on your competition or similar businesses just to get a feel for what’s happening within your industry. More importantly, it helps you understand your customers a lot better as well as how or why they might react to a particular campaign.
12. Have Fun
It might seem like a silly marketing strategy, simply having fun, but think about it. The more you and your team enjoy what you’re doing, the more it’s going to show for your customers. Try to choose campaigns, events and activities that you know everyone will enjoy putting their time into. And don’t be afraid to have a little fun when you’re interacting with customers.
By leveraging the strategies discussed here, you can be sure that your next marketing campaign will be successful. Above all, you can be sure that you’ll remain a competitive force in your industry.