Marketers Must Learn to Anticipate Content Trends

Every company, regardless of size, knows they must advertise if they are to grow. Yet with all the money that is being spent, it is increasingly difficult to get your message to the right audience. This is where it pays to be anticipatory. Using the systemic method outlined in my Anticipatory Organization Model, you can ready your organization for the disruptive transformations ahead.

Do you remember when MTV was the best way to get in front of the teen and young adult audience? Once mobile technology became popular, it didn’t take long for that age group to be on the move.

In no time, videos were streaming on iTunes. Though teens continued to watch, viewership dropped. Then came instant messaging, followed by social media. For a time, Facebook gave advertisers their niche audience of young consumers congregated in one place.

That is until Snapchat and Instagram came along.

To add to the challenges of the last couple of decades, smart speakers are now in about one-quarter of U.S. homes, and podcasts are gaining popularity. In fact, about 50 percent of households now say they listen to podcasts, with a majority of them joining the trend in just the last three years.

According to whypodcasts.org, 38 percent of listeners are age 18-34, and 64 percent listen on their smartphones.

What’s Next in Target Marketing?

As technology-driven change changes direction, it is easier, and far more profitable, to change direction with it. “It’s easier to ride a horse in the direction it is going.” That’s what my grandfather told me as a little boy working with him on his farm in Texas.

Every company, regardless of size, knows they must advertise if they are to grow. Yet with all the money that is being spent, it is increasingly difficult to get your message to the right audience.

This is where it pays to be anticipatory. Using the systemic method outlined in my Anticipatory Organization Model, you can ready your organization for the disruptive transformations ahead.

Three Hard Trends and Two Tech Trends to Watch

In my work as a technology and business futurist, I have found the most effective way to approach becoming an AO is to focus on demographics, government regulations, and technology. In addition, it is always good to know which consumer technology trends will stick around. I call these Hard Trends (as opposed to Soft Trends, which may come and go).

  • Demographics drive opportunity. There are nearly 80 billion baby boomers in the United States. Not a single one is getting any younger—a definite Hard Trend.

  • Government regulation is a constant. As a general rule, will there be more or less government regulation in the future? Of course, there will be more, and that’s true regardless of the industry or organization. That’s also a Hard Trend.

  • Technology will continue to grow. From the ever-increasing functional capabilities of our smartphones to the growing use of 3D printing, technology is inevitably going to become more functional, more sophisticated, and more widespread. That’s another definite Hard Trend.

  • Multi-layered media is here to stay. According to research, our attention spans are shorter than ever, and consumers demand instant gratification and quick fixes—not a litany of product features and benefits.

Today, content channels such as social media, Apple Watch, and Google Home provide the perfect vehicles for interactivity at any time, in any place, and with any person.

  • Consumer attention is likely to stay at a premium. At least for the foreseeable future, multi-layered media is here to stay. Consumer attention remains at a premium.

Advertisers know the harsh reality: Running an ad on a major television network and supplementing it with web banner ads is no longer a guarantee of reaching the audience.

If you use my Hard Trends Methodology to look ahead to the future of marketing, you’ll be able to anticipate the fast-moving innovations to come. New devices are likely to be developed, and their connectivity doesn’t show signs of slowing any time soon.

Learn to be anticipatory—start with my book, the Anticipatory Organization, available on Amazon.com.

Virtual Reality and Subliminal Marketing

However, if the masses embrace VR as predicted, should we be concerned that this completely immersive experience could lead us once again down the dark road of sinister subliminal advertising?

Virtual reality (VR) has become a reality, as nearly every tech company has created a product that features it, and it is now seen by many as mainstream. Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and the HTC Vive are just a few examples of household names that have launched us into the future of the immersive experience.

There is little doubt that VR has the potential to revolutionize the entire entertainment, tourism and even learning industries if audiences adopt the concept of strapping a device to their heads. At the same time, there will be those who feel instantly compelled to compare the technology to such fads as the first 3D television.

However, if the masses embrace VR as predicted, should we be concerned that this completely immersive experience could lead us once again down the dark road of sinister subliminal advertising?

Applied to VR equipment and other, similar technology, subliminal advertising has the increasing capability of wielding a much deeper impact on the unknowing user. given the vast, immersive characteristics of the VR environment. Consider one concept we’ve seen, where music apps and a smartwatch claim to play subliminal messages at a frequency overlaying music that cannot be detected by the ear, but only by the subconscious brain. This seemingly harmless idea could be incredibly valuable to savvy advertising agencies, as well as to candidates running for office.

Removing the everyday distractions of modern life and locking consumers away in an entirely immersive experience is every marketer’s dream — so before “plugging in,” we should all consider the potential implications of the use of this unregulated technology to manipulate us.

When we take a closer look at the advertising that surrounds us, it’s obvious that subliminal messages are real and powerful, as seen in one 2015 example created by a Brazilian advertising agency. The advertisers placed a billboard of people yawning at a busy metro station in Sao Paulo. This “contagious billboard” was fitted with a motion sensor that automatically detected when commuters were passing by and then displayed a video of somebody yawning.

The campaign aimed to convince passers-by that they were tired by using infectious yawning. The billboard followed the yawning video with this message: “Did you yawn, too? Time for coffee!” If it is possible to convince busy commuters to buy coffee by broadcasting a subliminal message, can you imagine the power potentially wielded within an immersive virtual reality experience that is completely free from distraction?

The gathering of data from our online purchases already allows subtle messaging for influential purposes, so the adverts that pop up and the messages we receive are certainly no accident or coincidence. Everywhere we turn, we are unwittingly subjected to product placements in video games and movies, but we congratulate ourselves on being able to see the messages and resist their pull. However, would we be as resistant to such messages if they appeared while we were completely immersed in virtual reality?

There is an enormous responsibility for any advertising agency considering bringing any form of advertising or marketing to virtual reality. If the consumer experience is in any way tainted by the out-of-date and detested marketing messages from our past, consumers will fail even to adopt the medium.

The main problem is that the current method of advertising is broken, and billions of dollars are wasted on ads that are either not seen or deemed irrelevant to a consumer’s lifestyle. This change in customer behavior is ushering in a new era of marketing called “targeted display advertising” (TDA) that uses consumers’ own data to deliver personalized ads that resonate with them.

Organizations finally have a handle on big data, and they will be able to leverage our mobile devices to learn what we’re interested in even before we clearly know ourselves, based solely on our browsing histories.

As we drift between devices and screens, we have surrounded ourselves with wave of white noise that has become a frustrating obstacle for any advertiser striving to stand out amongst all the distractions. However, a headset that removes any form of outside interruption by pumping sound into a consumer’s ears and preventing his or her eyes from wandering could make subliminal messaging hard to avoid.

Before becoming paranoid about what’s to come, it is important to understand how this technology can also be used for the greater good, too.

Virtual reality can make a positive difference in our lives by opening up fantastic opportunities for learning, rehabilitation, teaching and tourism. But I would like to see more conversations and debates about how subliminal marketing messages should be used in that environment, to help solve any problems before they occur.

What are your thoughts on the immersive experience virtual reality delivers to audiences, and about the benefits and downsides of its being leveraged to deliver subliminal messaging?

To better determine and understand the Hard Trend opportunities the immersive experience virtual reality delivers to audiences, get my latest book The Anticipatory Organization.

Pop Quiz, Monday with Ranu Coleman

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Ranu Coleman

Ranu Coleman
Photo credit: Ranu Coleman

What is your job role?
I lead the marketing team at Azazie. I am responsible for implementing a brand strategy, driving awareness of Azazie’s product offerings and engaging consumers with the brand.

Tell us about your company?
Azazie offers high quality, affordable bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses at a variety of price points. Our mission is to make bridal shopping accessible to everyone by marrying affordability with the convenience and ease of online ordering. Azazie offers over 120 bridal gown styles from $200 – $800 and over 300 bridal party dresses from $70 – $170. What began as a small operation in a Silicon Valley garage four years ago is now an online retailer that serves 1 in 10 U.S. brides.

What do you love most about your job?
My job is constantly changing, so every day is as exciting as the day before. I love being able to watch a simple idea grow into a major, business-altering initiative. It’s a constant adventure.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
My team motivates me every day. I find mentoring junior staff and working with them to meet our goals to be incredibly rewarding. We’re continually collaborating and coming up with creative ideas to reach new customers and enhance the experiences of the ones we serve. When a bride says that your company helped make her wedding day perfect, it’s a great feeling.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My co-workers inspire me because everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to the mission. This creates a collaborative environment where we all support each other and work together to offer creative feedback and make our ideas a reality.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Startup culture naturally keeps us very busy, but we always make sure we take the time to host team building activities. These include regular team lunches and happy hours. And since we’re lucky enough to live in a beautiful state like California, we’ve even done wine tastings and have gone to the beach.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
The biggest challenge is prioritizing our key marketing initiatives. We have so many great creative ideas and projects we want to tackle but may not always have the time to implement them right away.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
When I came on board, I wanted to overhaul our email marketing program, and it was there that I fully realized how crucial testing is. We optimized our email program with A/B testing, and it dramatically increased our open rates and sales. You wouldn’t think that email would be a big revenue generator in such a niche industry, so it was surprising.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Don’t be afraid to take risks and be assertive. If you have a great idea, share it. Confidence goes a long in marketing.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

www.azazie.com
https://www.instagram.com/iheartazazie/
https://www.facebook.com/azaziecom/

Selling Innovation

This is the first in an ongoing series based on the highly rated book Selling Innovation, a guide to structuring a complete start-up revenue capture process.  The book is based on a day-long workshop held at the MIT Enterprise Forum in partnership with Microsoft.  Sections of each chapter will be shared here on The Startup Growth Blog.  Download the complete eBook, blog readers get a special 25% discount with code JA49Y.  

Introduction

By John Harthorne, founder & CEO of MassChallenge

The world needs innovators and entrepreneurs who can sell.

Entrepreneurs are our value creators and problem solvers. Their nimble, high-growth companies create most of the world’s highly innovative technologies and groundbreaking solutions. More often than not, it is a startup that first determines how to extract energy from high altitudes, or from the ocean’s waves, or even human waste. More often than not, it is a startup that first figures out how to teach kids math using basketball or how to build the most intuitive mobile games. They build off-road wheelchairs, grow farms in freight containers, track migraines with cell phones and draw clean water out of slightly humid air. Take any problem in the world, and you can be certain that numerous entrepreneurs are working tirelessly on solving it, and that a few of them will end up revolutionizing a long-established industry.

Startups are also creating jobs. Early-stage ventures are responsible for virtually all net job growth in the United States, as confirmed by The Kauffman Foundation: “Net job growth occurs in the U.S. economy only through startup firms.”  Since 1977, established firms have lost 1 million net jobs per year, while startups in their first year added an average of 3 million jobs in aggregate. This trend has spawned scores of innovation centers and business plan competitions as governments, educators and the private sector world-wide work towards supporting this critical part of local economic development.  We need job growth, we need it now, and startups are the solution.

But launching a startup is difficult. Many innovations never get to make that impact and generate those jobs because too many innovators struggle to find the right resources before running out of time.  To succeed, entrepreneurs need access to advisors, talent, suppliers, lawyers, office space, equipment, funding, and other resources. Most importantly of all, though, startups need customers.

Customers are almost always the single best source of funding and growth. Customers are demanding. They force you to build what they want, rather than investing in the development of a large, complex “science project.” They keep your company alive and focused and, if they like your product, they buy more. Customer money is the cheapest, most productive form of capital on the planet.

Innovation can provide solutions to many of the world’s most challenging problems. Selling that innovation is what reifies the founding vision, establishes the desired impact and initiates serious growth.

The world needs entrepreneurs and innovators, and they must be great at selling their innovation.

Step-by-Step Guide to Content Marketing

Content marketing is a long term marketing strategy that helps you build a strong relationship with your target audiences, using high quality content that is relevant and delivered on a consistent basis. Content marketing can help show that you care about your customers and, in today’s world, many customers will choose a company that cares over some other competitors. Since content marketing is a long-term strategy, it’s necessary to come up with a plan that will be successful.

Your Unique Selling Proposition: There are going to be similar products and services to yours on the market, and you need to start figuring our what makes your product better or different. This way, you can let your customers know through your content.

Figure Out Your Target Market: Getting to know the audience you are creating content for is a necessary first step, in order to have this strategy work for your business. It’s possible that your business may have more than one type of customer, so you going to have to create content for each audience segment. You can use a variety of content channels and types to deliver content to each one of your audiences. Make sure that each of your customers gets what they need from your company.

The Problem Your Content Is Going to Solve: Each audience has their own set of problems that your product or service should be solving. The content you should be creating will let each audience know how the service or product is going to help solve their problems. There should be content for both sides: for those who are still figuring out the challenges and those who are already using the product or service to overcome the challenges.

Figure Out Which Content Formats to Focus On: Content can take many forms, whether it’s a video, blog post, eBook, or infographic. Having some topics that address some of the issues you have already identified can help determine which types of content to use. It’s not enough to figure out what type of content you are going to create, you also need to have a plan in place for who is going to create this content. This is especially true if you don’t have a dedicated team in place. Having each piece of content in one place, such as a content calendar, can make it easier to visualize the message you want to send and the types of content to produce.

Figure Out How to Publish Content: Once you have content created, that is only half the battle. You also need to decide where content is going once it’s created. Does it go on the website? Are you going to post videos on YouTube? Are you then going to share content to your social media accounts?

Figure Out Which Tools to Use: You don’t necessarily need any tools for content marketing, but it can make the whole process a lot easier. If multiple people in the company are going to be responsible for content, then have a place where it’s easy to collaborate, whether that is Google Drive or some other system. Also, tools that make content distribution easier, such as Hootsuite, can make managing social media channels simple and also give some insight into what content is performing the best. This will help you know if you need to tweak your strategy.

Set Goals for Content Marketing: It’s important to have goals when implementing a marketing strategy, and content marketing is no different. These goals should be able to be measured. What do you want your content to accomplish? If you know your goals before planning out your content, it can be easier to determine the best types of content. If one of your goals is to educate customers on how your product works because it’s new in the marketplace, then you already have built-in content topics to help reach this goal.

Do Persona Research: You should already know your target audience if you follow the first step, but how well do you really know them? Sometimes marketers find it helpful to create a whole persona for their target audience. Your target market could also change over time, so be sure to check in with your personas from time to time to make sure your content is still delivering the most relevant information.

Run a Content Audit: You may already have some content created and you don’t want it to go to waste if you can still use it. If the content is still relevant to your audience, use it in your existing strategy. If the content is a little outdated, figure out ways to revamp it. Sometimes it’s easier to reuse old content than create brand new content.

Revisit Your Goals: Once you have started creating and publishing content, you will need to revisit your goals in order to see if your strategy is working. Remember that this is a long-term strategy, so you will need to make changes as your products or services change, if your goals aren’t being met, and as your business grows. You can gather feedback using polls or surveys, see the comments sections of blogs and social media, and monitor traffic and engagement. Don’t forget to also engage with your consumers. Your customers can help guide you in the direction where your content marketing should go. If they have the same questions that come up on social media or blog posts, create content to answer them.

Pop Quiz, Monday with Parveen Ahluwalia, Director

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business people. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you cannot learn in a classroom. We want to thank our interviewee for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.


I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz, Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?

Parveen Ahluwalia

What is your job role?

Director

Tell us about your company?

I have been running a brand consulting practice for the past 13 yrs…work at the Board level as a senior consultant responsible for business strategy and marketing planning for SMEs.

What do you love most about your job?

Business development, client engagement and relationship management, GTM strategy and marketing communications planning and training/mentoring.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?

The fact that every day is a new opportunity, of working towards new client relationships, of managing existing ones, of developing and conceptualising new business plans and strategies.

How do your co-workers inspire you?

By working as a team, by ideating and jointly working out an appropriate brand solution, by cajoling and motivating everyone to honestly give their best.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?

By gently pulling their legs, by breaking the monotony of serious work thru light banter and biting humor.

What are some of the challenges of your job?

Handling crisis arising out of unhappy clients; the ever-present challenge of generating new business thru organic growth and acquisition of new clients; the constant quest to arm with the latest marketing and brand related trends and insights.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?

Clients can never be underestimated as they know their brand the best; there is always scope to improve the best of action plans, and competitive counter strategies have still to be addressed on priority.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?

Patience, articulation, and clarity in communication and honesty in handling clients are the most important attributes for success; learning is a never-ending process, and one should always embrace this truth, and teamwork will always ensure success that individual brilliance can never ever achieve.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

www.marketpulseindia.com;
www. onthepage.in
www.thefirm.in

Interview with Dwight Orr, President at Creative Marketing Programs

 

The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.

Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!

Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.

Can you tell everyone your name, please?

Dwight Orr

Where did you go to school?

North Kansas City, Maple Woods Community College

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

My dad had a printing company, and at age 15 he went to “piece work” meaning I got paid for what I accomplished not “by the hour.” This highly motivated my work ethic.

We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.

Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?

The sales manager at my first job selling business forms in 1977. She taught me a systematic approach to managing prospects and clients. She also encouraged me to read everything I could find on the art of selling. Eighteen months later we open a business forms distributorship together, scary first several months, but by year two we were on a roll, then things got better.

Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.

What is the name of your company?

Creative Marketing Programs

Where is your company located?

Kansas City, MO.

What services or products does your organization provide?

We are a direct marketing company, specializing in consumer engagement for hospitals and large health systems around the country. We use both online marketing tactics as well as offline strategies such as direct mail. Recently advances in digital marketing allow us to place digital ads in the same household that will receive direct mail. This tactic allows for laser targeting of digital advertising. For example, we can drop a client’s direct mail on Monday and begin serving digital ads on Wednesday to precisely those same households. This process increases the window of opportunity for response by up to 30 days. By combining digital and direct mail, we are helping clients achieve record response rates.

What problem is your business trying to solve?

We are experts at engagement. Our clients turn to CMPkc when they need to capture a targeted audience’s attention. We increase market share by engaging people and providing a reason for consumers to spend their time & attention to learn more about our clients.

How is your business unique against your competitors?

Since 1985, CMPkc has been relentless with testing. We take an Evidence-Based Marketing approach on all the campaigns we implement. The market will always teach us the most cost-effective approach to modifying their behavior. For example, we perform A/B split tests on everything from messaging, package, design, mail components, and digital animation. We are consistent learning how to engage target audiences better. From the beginning of new relationships, our clients benefit from the years of testing we’ve performed. While we never start from zero on any campaign (given our experience), we are committed to learning on every project. Our competitive advantage is consistently testing and thus producing the highest possible engagement rates.

How did the idea for your business come to fruition?

One of my larger business forms clients asked if I could develop a new mover campaign. I approached this opportunity just like I approach every other project. I researched, place myself in the consumer’s shoes and created a campaign that I thought would best create a situation where the consumer would do what the client was asking them to do. Then we tested, refined and changed everything from direct mail packaging, messaging, and design. We monitored response rates and learned. What we did worked well, and we grew from there.

Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?

www.cmpkc.com and www.ipdirectmarketing.com

Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.

What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?

  1. Educated yourself on how to become a great communicator.
  2. Become an expert in your field by reading everything you can about the subject
  3. Stay connected to people you’ve met-LinkedIn & Facebook

Email Marketing Automation Tips that Will Drive Growth

Anyone who has adopted email marketing automation must supply leads to their customer to increase sales effectiveness and maximize marketing through email nurture journeys or email drip campaigns. We must continually reach our customers wherever they are and at the right time to lead them down to a sold column. Email marketing is the best in reaching out to customers. Although it’s a relatively low-cost method of contacting a customer, it demands resources and time. However, if we maximize the automation of the email marketing campaigns, then we will reduce the time and resources needed.

Then, how do we improve our email marketing automation to reach more to our customers and grow our sales?

Ensure that the subject line is always compelling.

“person using a desktop” by IN BOSSMODE on Unsplash

A subject line of the email’s nurture journey should focus on the customers themselves. This tactic avoids the chances of the customers ignoring or deleting the messages especially when the subject line does not address them. To ensure that the subject line snags the interests of your customers, on different subject lines do an A/B test, and the best should rise to the top. That is;

i. Do a split test. A/B -test multiple subject lines. This test should be two or more subject lines.

ii. In a scenario where you have a long subject list, on a subset that is randomized test different lines and sends the captivating line to the respite of the subject list.

iii. Measure the success and relevance of the subject lines by looking at the open rates.

iv. Also, since tastes and trends change with time, today’s winner will probably be tomorrow’s loser, and therefore you should always keep testing once in a while even after finding a subject line conqueror. This test is necessary, especially where there is a campaign that is long-running.

Ensure that your email content is relevant.

“woman wearing white jacket using laptop computer” by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

For your emails to upsurge the other slew of emails received by your prospects, they should have great content. Content that is personal, compelling and highly relevant. Impressing your customers is vital. That is, specifically cater to their interests and create a sales experience that is personalized. This tactic can be achieved by rather than sending an email campaign to a whole lead list; you send it to the only customers it is relevant to by doing segmentation. To know that it is appropriate for the audience;

i. Test by writing forms of each email that are different. You can try different testimonial or different versions like sweet and short. You can even lead with a joke or give personal stories to understand what is preferred by your audience.

ii. Make sure you test a factor at a given particular time. It is not necessary to test different content and subject lines at the same time as you will not know that change that is driving results.

iii. Also, it is necessary to consider the use of dynamic content strategies that will send emails reliant on the action of a customer. If they, for example, view a video, an e-book is sent, or if they do not see the video, you send a reminder of the existence of the video.

iv. Take a keen guise at click-through rate data to determine whether customers are being compelled to take action by the email content. This analytic data will influence your steps towards the marketing automation campaign you adopt.

Ensure that it reaches the right people.

“two men doing hand shake” by rawpixel on Unsplash

It is important to consider what your prospects want. It is not useful to send them automated emails on kitchen room addition while they are interested in bathroom remodeling. Your email nurture journey should be relevant to tour prospects. It is vital too;

i. Segment your email lists depending on your company’s nature, gender, geographical location, age and more. You want to segment emails list with essential commonalities.

ii. Since the deeper, the segmentation, the more personal a message is, it’s important to personalize the email’s nurture journey according to the segmented audience.

iii. Re-arrange or consider creating a nurture journey to keep the current or the inactive customers.

Evaluate whether the drip campaign is working.

“person working on MacBook Pro” by rawpixel on Unsplash

The true testament to the value of tweaking every trait of your email nurture journey is the created conversions. Don’t ignore the prize your drip campaign has to your business.

i. It is worth to lose clicks and opens if you create an email nurture journey so that it appeals to the customer profiles that are most valuable. However, it’s important to note that click-through rates and open rates are not the ultimate metrics.

ii. To ultimately judge whether the email campaign is working, you should continually measure your conversion rates.

iii. Finally, it is crucial to create dynamic content, split different test factors in the email campaign and analyze the results.

Conclusion

“three men and one woman laughing during daytime” by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

It is important to note that small improvements add up and therefore improving your email nurture journey by making minor tweaks obtains a slight percentage increase. Always think of your email nurture journey as a project that needs to be improved. You should brainstorm after which you create, experiment and analyze.

How to Build Marketing Funnels Like A Pro

There are a lot of people whom I have worked with that did know where to start in getting new customers. Especially on the web where there is a crowd of competitors. They all start with some traffic generation tactic. They would use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. Their goal is to drive web traffic to their website and hope to make a sale. This rarely happened or never happened at all.

Frustrated Marketer

So, what is the problem? The problem is that they did not design a marketing funnel.

Concept of Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel uses strategy, processes, web traffic, email automation, and content. They all work together in symbiotic harmony to deliver you a customer. The process does not happen overnight. This takes hard work and a lot of A/B testing. If you are selling a service or an information product then you must build a marketing funnel. A marketing funnel would contain a series of steps. For example, the first step would be to drive people to a blog post and build awareness for your brand. You then want to re-target your blog visitors to give you their email address to get a free eBook. When you get their email address then this is the first transaction that you have with your prospect. We will cover more in this blog post.

Why Should You Use Marketing Funnel?

The main benefit of using a marketing funnel is that it is quite easy to follow. You can map out each level of the funnel and plan for the activities of that stage. Besides that, you can build funnels for any customer interaction. No matter what kind of business you engage in, the funnel always applies. The funnel is a structured and repeatable system used to generate leads. The funnel is independent of traffic sources and is their own entity.

ROI

The chances of increasing your ROI goes up. You can measure each step in the process. For instance, you may find that you get many visitors at stage one. But only a small percentage of those gets to stage two. By knowing this, you can make tweaks and see the kind of effect it has on sales.

Understanding Marketing Funnels

A marketing funnel is a visual representation of the steps to turn a website visitor into a customer. Each of your competitors has a marketing funnel even if they do not know they have one. This is where you have the opportunity to grab market share. Because you are reading this blog post. You are now going to learn the value of mapping your customer journey through the funnel. At a high-level marketing funnels have the top, middle, and bottom.

The top of the funnel are people who are new to your brand. They have no idea who you and may never come back to your site. This is where the power of ad retargeting is so vital to so many businesses.

The middle of the funnel are people who have opted in to receiving communications from you. You may have offered them a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.

The bottom of the funnel is where you convert your leads into customers. Each step in the funnel has a correlated tactic to nudge people down your funnel. We outline the marketing funnel in five steps below.

1. Awareness

The first stage of the marketing funnel is awareness. This is an important step in the process. This is where you make your first impression to website visitors.

Awareness

They have no idea who you are or what you represent. You have only a couple of seconds to capture their attention until they move on. So, what do you want to do? This is where content marketing comes into play. I like to run paid traffic to a blog post. You send targeted web traffic based on interest or intent to your best piece of content. The content should add value for your website visitors and display your expertise. You then want to have a call-to-action on the blog post to get their email address. This way you can market to them over time and nudge them along down the funnel. You also want to use a re-marketing pixel. This way when your prospect leaves you build out your invisible email list in Facebook. This is also known as the custom audience for website visitors. When you have enough people you have in your custom audience then you can run other targeted ads. You want to drive a lot of people into the awareness stage of the funnel. The more people who have entered your funnel then the better opportunity to get more leads.

2. Interest and Evaluation

You ever go window shopping and see something that catches your eye. You go into the store, try the outfit on but does not look right. You then get out of the fitting area and see other shirts on the rack that interest you. You then try those shirts on to see if you like them. This is what the interest and evaluation stage of the marketing funnel is. At this level, you start targeting specific prospects, who meet certain criteria. You get your prospect to opt-in to one of your landing pages. You then send them email communications to get them into one of your webinars. You build their excitement in your brand with your social media posts, blogs, and videos. You want to make sure your content is top-notch on the web. The competition for customers is fierce on the web. I have been working on the web for over 5 years with my digital marketing agency. You must have good content. You must take the time to work on a single piece of content rather than push a bunch of blog post out. Your content is a representation of your brand and skills. This will help you build the interest level of you prospect and move them down the next stage of the funnel.

3. The Commitment

Getting A Commitment Requires Trust

This is the final step in the funnel before you achieve the goal of your funnel. It will usually entail rewarding potential customers to complete the goal. For instance, you can offer a small percentage discount if they make the purchase on that day. Besides that, you could begin telling customers of the benefits they should expect after making the sale.

For instance, if you sell nutritional supplements, you could create a video talking about how people felt great after taking the supplements. At this stage of the funnel, the focus is on easing any worries and convincing the customer to take the final step. Thus, if you are an online merchant, you need to make the checkout process as simplified as possible. For instance, if the goal is to get customers to fill out a form, make the form as short and simple as possible.

4. Loyalty

Loyalty is Earned

This step can also be called customer retention. This is where you invite customers to subscribe to your blog or site in order to receive the latest deals first. From time to time, ensure that you send customers helpful content that is beneficial to them. There are many ways to ensure loyalty. For instance, you can offer repeat customers an increasing number of discounts for their loyalty.

5. Advocacy

After the customers have made the purchase, that should not be the end of the conversion. You will now have an opportunity to use these people as advocates of your brand. Besides that, you can use them for repeat business, which means you will not have to spend as much money on future marketing campaigns to net customers.

In fact, the advocacy stage can be more valuable than the commitment stage of the sale. The customer you get through the funnel will already have cost you advertising dollars. However, if your customer becomes an advocate for you and helps you make more sales, which will be free advertising.

Brand ambassadors chatting with their friends about your business

Customers can unknowingly become brand ambassadors. The key goal here is to make sure they sell you through social media to their friends. Besides that, you need to have a review section where they can post online reviews. If your products are good, the online reviews can do wonders for the legitimacy of your brand.

Marketing Tips for Launching a New Product

Do you want to launch a new product or service in the market? Launching the product is next step after you have decided what you want to offer as your product or services. Product launch is a crucial step as the sales and growth of the product is dependent on a good and well-hyped product launch.

Take an example of the leading tech brand Apple. Do you know that they sold 300,000 WiFi units on the launch day? Within 3 days, 1.7 million iPhone 4 units were sold. Clearly, they knew how to launch a product for maximum sales! You too can kickstart your product launch and can boost your sales to a huge success. But there is no universal law that is to be followed. Every brand has its own strategies, brand value, and shortcomings. Do you know that sometimes even the most experienced product managers fail to get the product off the ground?

Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

Every single day countless products are being launches across the globe. But they fail to perform well in the market no because they are not up to the mark, but because they are not marketed well. To launch the product in the market that creates a buzz in the market and that catches the attention of the target audience requires careful study of the market. Let us have a look at the following steps that will help you in achieving this target:

Analyze your Competitors

In addition to working on your brand’s SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat) analysis, you have to keep an eye on the competitor’s SWOT analysis too. You have to start by taking your competitors seriously. Make a list of your competitors that are offering products or services in your domain. Try to figure out their strength, weaknesses, strategies and future plans. Analyze what makes them stand in the competition. Plan your strategy according to your competitors. Get into the shoes of the customers and know what is their definition of a good product. This will help you in your marketing strategy, advertisements and you can stand out from the crowd.

Focus on Target Customers

Photo by Dom Hill on Unsplash

As a brand, you have to focus more on the target audience. They are the ones for whom you are launching your new product or services. So it becomes necessary to focus on the customers who are most likely to buy from you that too for a long term. There may be customers who might be purchasing similar products or services as you are providing and appreciate the new features or quality you are offering. But your ideal customer will be those who have a need for your products and services, can afford to buy the product and are eager to buy from you.

Give Something Unique

Before actually starting marketing, you must have a clear idea of what you have to market. What are the things that make your product stand out from all the products that are available out there in the market? You should make it clear to the customers that why should they buy your product and not from the bunch of competitors out there in the market. In a nutshell, make sure your product is a value to the money, it should have unique features and it should fulfill the needs of the customers.

Work on Marketing Strategy

“A standing man in a black and white shirt reading a newspaper” by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Next, you have to make your marketing strategies clear to your team. What would be your channels for the marketing? Are you going to market the product online? Select all channels through which you would like to market your product eg, newspaper, magazines, print media, digital media, television etc. Generally, multi-channel marketing is more effective as your product is exposed to the customers from every possible channel.

Test Before Launches

We know you have put a lot of effort, money, and resources and bought up your post like a child. Why risk the success of your product prior to the proper testing of your product. You should test your product or service, marketing message and the value you are going to provide through your product. You can first focus on the sample target audience group or simply can have a meeting with the target audience group. Distribute your product in malls, and small retailers to know the response. Carry out online surveys to know how your product is performing before actually launching the product.

Get your Campaign Started

It’s time to start your campaign. Get all the media coverage you can get. Create a hype and buzz for the product. Start advertising heavily, start various contests, distribute prizes. Hold a launch event for the product. Get your product available in the market so that customers can easily buy your product. Make sure that you get the most out of the media coverage and hype. Analyze the results after the campaign and check what worked best for you.

By implementing all these techniques, you can boost the sales of your product. There are many other strategies that you can follow for a good product launch but these are few strategies that work for almost all the brands whether big or small. A good product launch is foundation for the good sales and you can lay the foundation for your next product and next innovation.