The new year has made me ponder how new technology is going to affect my career. Like how is augmented and virtual reality going to affect marketing? How is AI going to be a game changer? When I was a kid I thought I’d be an old lady by the time I met a robot I could interact with, or get to play a virtual reality game. But these are all becoming more accessible parts of technology. I don’t want to be completely be replaced by robots, so I need to keep up!
One thing I know for sure, is that what I’m doing now, which at the moment is heavily text based, will change quickly. Perhaps even in the next three years, text based marketing like blogging could become totally irrelevant. I’m trying to be prepared by focusing on being able to make more interactive and visual experiences for customers now. It’s not my job to complain about modern society losing their attention spans, it’s my job to create content that doesn’t require a heavy amount of concentration.
By now if you’ve not been blogging regularly, posting on social media regularly and ensured that your website is mobile friendly – you’re already behind. Google has begun to favour websites that do all these things. If your website is not optimised for mobile, Google notices and will prefer your competitor’s sites that are mobile friendly over yours. Search engines want to recommend websites that they know are going to be easy to use on different devices, are high quality and that are helpful. Start playing catch up now – it’s never too late!
If you have got up to date with producing helpful web content, on a mobile responsive site and are using social media then here is where I think you should be focusing your marketing budget in 2017:
Corporate video, when done well, is expensive. But when you’re trying to show that your product or service is a quality one, your visuals should reflect that. I’d suggest investing in one high quality, creatively shot video on the homepage of your website, it’ll last you for years and there is no better way of familiarising your customer with your brand online. While video is expensive it is a darn sight cheaper than animation. If you’re going to have video as a feature on your site make sure it’s a nice one, in this context bad video is worse than no video.
Live Video & Micro Social Media Videos
These are free to make if you have a smart phone, use it. You have complex technology in your hands that was completely unheard of ten years ago! Take advantage. Both Twitter and Facebook have introduced live video features and these can be replayed. I think sometimes B2B companies are afraid to go creative and feel like their customer is uninterested in their product – not true. I am a user of B2B products and I.love.that.stuff. I engage with B2B brands online because I don’t have anyone in my real life who is as nerdy about their product as I am! Nobody cares about my invoicing app, but I am a fanatic of theirs. I really appreciate their insight and product education.
If you’re not ready to go live – try making some micro videos, you don’t even need to have sound if you don’t want to. Cinematic by Hipstamatic and Spark video by Adobe are great little apps for making high-quality short videos. Cinematic is good for short, arty, visual videos. And spark video lets you do those little tutorial videos that you can put text over the top of. This is an important feature because many people watch videos without sound – so you can still get your message across even if someone doesn’t want to turn the volume up (like if they’re in public). My business is just me, and I am not a fan of being filmed, but you can bet your biscuits I’m going to do some video tutorials this year!
People engage more with posts that are visual. So if you have something you want to say, posting it in a vivid graphic format will grab attention. Try gifs (moving pictures/ short repeating films etc) or infographics (statistics or mini blog posts in a graphic format). Get your own designed if possible, it’s better than using other people’s content. If you notice, I have a Pinterest and Twitter friendly graphic attached to all the blogs on my site.
Brand Advocacy/ Community Building
Don’t hire a post and run social media marketing agent to do something you could do yourself. You need a social media person who is doing more than posting. You need people who are going to directly reach out to your customers and resellers. You need someone to engage in Twitter chats or start their own, to create Facebook groups, who can run webinars. Someone who can contact internet influencers and get them to write about your product, a cheaper and simpler way of traditional PR. There has been a huge bump of social media agencies starting up, and that’s because badly done social media is easy money. There are a lot of people who will schedule all your social media posts for you for £100 a month – but that’s all they do. Ten years ago, social media was just posting stuff. Now there is a lot more to it, in 2017 don’t hire someone who is giving you a social media plan that was suitable in 2010. Get someone who actually knows how to send a message about your brand – without just writing a generic tweet.
Google Business Profile
If you don’t have a Google Business Profile – you need one. This offers you prime space in a Google search result, with photographs and videos about your brand, as well as things like your Google reviews. If you’re not locally registered on Google – get on that too! Get verified.
Getting many positive Google reviews will give you a big advantage in search. You should be enticing your customers to leave positive responses – ask them to after you’ve serviced them. It’s a quick and easy way to improve your search results.
Shift from Google Adwords to Social Ads
Google Adwords have their place, but they can get expensive. Social ads (like the advertisements you see on Facebook) are cheap and work on a pay per impression rather than a pay per click basis. With as small a budget as £2, you can get your ad out there and get clicks to your landing page, from targeting a very specific kind of person. If you’re using Google AdWords, try shifting some of your budget to social ads and see what works. If you aren’t on Google Ads – try playing with a small budget on social.
You can work your Google Ad campaigns and social ad campaigns to repeatedly target the same people across the web. Facebook has launched Pixel – which allows you to remarket to people who’ve visited your site – and people similar to them.
Direct marketing like mailshots, brochures and paper advertisements cost money. Things need to be very carefully planned and traditionally marketers used to spend much longer planning campaigns and making decisions. Print marketing can’t be measured in the same way digital can, you can’t know exactly how many people saw your ad, or who decided to buy from you after seeing it. You also can’t re-market to a specific person who’s seen your ad in a paper. With a digital strategy, I can tell you whether something is working or not immediately on a very small budget, Which leaves plenty of room for trial and error. So if you’re afraid to experiment, don’t be. Now is the time to be creative and try new things. New technology is appearing all the time, and in this new world, it’s always better to be there at the start than jump in at the end. If things seem confusing now – by 2020 it’s been predicted that people will have more conversations with bots than they will their spouse, and 1 million customers will be shopping in augmented reality environments! Changes in technology are not going away – they’re only speeding up – so join in. Social media is not a fad that’s going away.
If you’d like some help catching up with these new changes, or you feel like you’re really far behind and are worried about where to start, contact me for a free consultation. Just ping me a message here on LinkedIn.
Category: Blog, Marketing General