The internet – as a marketing medium – has evolved tremendously since its inception. Platforms are updated and algorithms are changed on a constant basis. As a small business owner, it is imperative that you stay on top of the emerging trends and updates, as it can help you fine-tune your marketing strategies, get better results, and achieve greater success in the long term.
In this article, we take a look at the five key digital marketing trends that you should be aware of as we approach 2020.
Lifecycle marketing, also referred to as customer lifestyle marketing, is a concept wherein you devise a wide array of marketing strategies for the four stages of a customer’s life cycle.
- Lead Creation – You capture a potential customer’s attention and make them aware of your brand and products.
- Conversion – The lead reacts positively to your messaging, buys your products, and becomes your customer.
- Retention – The customer shows a clear preference for your products and engages consistently with your brand.
- Advocacy – The customer turns into an advocate for your brand, products, and organization – by referring their family members and friends to your business and by talking about your products on social media.
Rather than focusing solely on lead creation and conversion, which is what a vast majority of B2C companies tend to do, you should focus on all four steps equally, so that you not only retain customers, but also turn them into advocates for your brand and products in the long term.
Building online communities
Getting social media influencers to endorse your brand and products is not only passé, but can actually be counter-productive for two reasons.
Social media influencers with large followings tend to charge a lot of money for promoting brands and are beyond the reach of most startups and up-and-coming businesses.
- Studies show that social media influencers are not as trusted as they once were, as the current generation of consumers is smart enough to spot the difference between a genuine endorsement and a paid endorsement.
Instead of banking on someone’s social media influence, you can focus on creating online communities that are dedicated to your brand and products.
The key thing to be noted here is that building online communities is not exactly a new or novel idea. Every company worth its salt already has a notable presence on social media and has its own online community. A vast majority of them, however, fail to engage their followers in any real sense. As a result, their online presence does not convert into leads and sales in most cases.
You can stand out from the rest by building closely-knit online communities, where you can directly interact with existing customers and bring potential leads into your sphere of influence.
In order to successfully market your products through an online community, you can take the following steps.
- Humanize your approach. Apart from posting official content (product releases, product upgrades, special offers, and so on), you should reach out to your customers personally, get their feedback on your products and service, and resolve their complaints.
- Look for micro and nano influencers – users with a small but highly engaged following – and encourage them to promote your brand and products. Unlike top-tier social media influencers, micro and nano influencers do not charge a fortune and they only tend to promote products that they personally use. Their endorsement has a sense of authenticity, which can influence the buying decisions of their followers.
- Incentivize the members of your online community. Offer special deals and discounts for users who are active on social media and bring a ton of attention to your brand and products.
Use alternative social media platforms for marketing
The big four platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube – have seen a substantial drop in users in the recent past. The emergence of alternative social media networks like Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok has resulted in a migration of sorts – especially among young users.
TikTok, for instance, has over 500 million active users, nearly half of whom are between the ages of 16 and 24. So, if you are catering to the needs of a young customer base, there is no better platform to market your products on than TikTok.
This does not mean that you should move away from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. They are still massively popular and can help you reach out to potential leads and customers from all over the world. You should, at the same time, focus on the alternative platforms mentioned above to amplify your reach to the extent possible.
A shoppable post, as the name implies, allows a customer to buy directly from a social media post. Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest allow you to post pictures of your products with tags or pins, upon clicking which the customer can directly buy the product without ever leaving the platform.
It is way more effective and simpler than the age-old method of linking to your e-commerce store in your social media bio. Research shows that nearly 72% of users on Instagram have made a purchase through shoppable posts. So, shoppable posts should be an integral part of your digital marketing campaign.
Visual and interactive marketing
It is widely known that visual content tends to elicit better response from potential leads and customers than text by a wide margin. So, you should focus on creating informative and entertaining visual content to promote your products and services.
The ‘stories’ feature on Instagram and Snapchat, for instance, allows you to convey a message to your customer base in a fun way. Between October 2016 and January 2019, the number of daily active Instagram Stories users grew from 100 million to 500 million, which should tell you just how popular visual content is with social media users.
Similarly, interactive posts which include polls, quizzes, and games are very popular with social media users. Multi-layered posts, wherein you provide the users with snippets of useful information and ask them to click on a link for more details, also tend to elicit better-than-average response from customers.
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