Every marketer understands the various channels he must use – website, blog, social media, forums, etc. Add to this search engine optimization efforts, PPC advertising, and influencer marketing, and it becomes a pretty massive responsibility. Unfortunately, every other marketer is using all of these channels and strategies too. And, in this huge ocean of content, nothing really stands out anymore. Consumers grow weary and have come to ignore most content out there.
Unless it stands out in some way, of course. It has to be unique; it has to be creatively developed; it has to capture attention while it still addresses problems that consumers want solved. It has to entertain or inspire.
So, how can this be done when the consuming audience is already on content overload? Consider these key trends that may just make your content “rock” throughout the rest of 2019.
- Refine and Boost Your Hunt for Topics and Types
There has been a myriad of methods to identify the content topics that specific audiences find valuable – there are tools that point to the most popular topics in a niche; there is studying what competitors’ content is garnering the largest audience.
It’s now time to get more scientific, and that is where data science and AI come in.
Large enterprises have been using data science and AI for a number of years, primarily to accumulate and churn data that answers specific questions they have about products and services they offer or should offer in the future. Until recently, this has been an expensive proposition. Now, however, data gathering tools can do much the same thing, and so businesses of all sizes have access.
Data science can be used by marketers to answer questions regarding both topics and types of content that provide the best customer experiences. It can also be used to segment audiences for different topics and types of content, as well as points at which push notifications and/or retargeting are most effective.
Data science can analyze patterns of behaviors of targeted audiences which can even inform when and where digital marketing is best published.
Data science and AI will continue to be major players in digital marketing, as these technologies continue to develop.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality
Once reserved only for the gaming industry, AR and VR have moved well into marketing content. They provide customer experiences that not only inform but entertain as well.
Imagine passing a smart phone over a wine label and accessing the entire process of producing that bottle, from the vine to the bottling. Imagine passing that same phone over a menu item and viewing the chef in the kitchen preparing that item. Imagine a virtual tour of a resort in real time for a first-hand view of all of its amenities as people are actually enjoying.
These are all examples of augmented reality. Virtual reality goes a bit beyond, allowing a consumer to actually place himself into an environment and experience it. Already, this technology is in use in several retail environments.
Eyeglass websites allow customers to virtually try on frames in the comfort of their homes on their own devices, prior to going in for their exams and frame selections. Clothing retailers allow customers to virtually try on clothing, again from their own devices, prior to making a purchase. Not only is this fun for the consumer, but, especially when products are purchased online, the instances of returns are reduced.
- Voice Search
We are all now familiar with Siri, Google, and other digital assistants. Now we have Alexa too. We can ask questions, demand music, weather, news, and more. We can direct a device to call anyone in our contact list or give us the names and directions of Chinese restaurants close by.
But when we are at home and on our laptops and tablets, we are still searching by accessing Google or Bing and typing in terms or phrases to get the results we want. This, too, is changing, as more and more devices are being equipped with voice search features.
ComScore predicts that more than 50% of searches will be voice-directed by 2020. Wise marketers will get on board with this now. They will have to figure out what consumers may “say” to search for something as opposed to what they may type to search for that same thing. Once they have determined this, their content will have to change accordingly, to accommodate how consumers “speak” their searches. Doing this successfully means that their content will rank higher in the results.
Marketers must also realize that most voice searches are still on mobile devices, while consumers are on the go. They must optimize all of their content for mobile, if they intend to be found by searches.
This is nothing new. For the past several years, marketers have come to understand that marketing efforts through stories is extremely effective. Consumers like stories, especially if they are engaging, entertaining, and provide a more personal view of a brand and the people behind it.
Stories do not have to be long, but they do have to capture interest. If you have not experienced Instagram stories, then you should do so right away These are stories that are told through photo carousels, for example, without much need for words.
Stories are also told by video – videos of a company founder explaining how he began his business and what he hopes to accomplish; videos showing products and their value; videos of happy customers using products or services they have purchased; videos of team members behind the scenes or participating in a community charitbable event.
For a perfect example of an “explainer” story that provides information about the founding of a company, the value of its products, and a great call to action, every marketer should view the Dollar Shave Club video, featuring its founder as the narrator. It is educational, demonstrates the value in solving a real consumer problem, and provides the solution to that problem – all in an amazingly entertaining and humorous way.
Marketers need to tell stories as much as possible and as creatively as possible. They are compelling pieces of marketing content. If scripts are involved, then finding a professional script writer may be called for. There are a number of freelancers, found on sites, such as Upwork or PapersDude and writing services with creative script writing skills.
Poncho, the weather bot, is a perfect example of how engaging chatbots can be. This cat provides the weather report and expands his “services” to horoscopes and games. But chatbots can be terrific digital marketing tools for any brand. They can greet consumers who land on a website; they can answer frequently asked questions; they can suggest products or services based upon customer specific needs; they can offer different conversations for first-time visitors or for returning customers. And they can be personable, friendly, and even humorous in their tone and style. Consumers can “feel” that they are conversing with someone who has personalized their experience – always a good thing. Consider that chatbots offer:
- 24/7 experiences and service
- Elimination of long wait times to speak to a customer service agent or get a response to a text or email
- Get questions answered immediately
- Reduction in customer service costs
- Promotion and suggestions for products or services based upon customer inquiries.
- Visuals/Media Still Reign
Research demonstrates that humans process visuals about 60K faster and better than they do textual content. Further, they retain what they have seen far better than what they read. This should tell marketers that when it can be said with visuals or videos, it should be.
Another research study has reported that the average attention span of today’s consumer is about 8 seconds. If a marketer has not managed to grab attention within that 8 seconds, their potential customer is lost.
Another feature of visuals that will continue to be critical are live videos – they are compelling and can tell stories in engaging ways.
In other words, say it with visuals.
- Influencer Marketing is Still Effective
Every business niche has its influencers – people who consumers listen to and whose recommendations they value. There are celebrities like the Kardashians with huge followings on social media platforms, and they do influence what consumers do. But there are other influencers of smaller stature that are niche-related and who have large followings among specific audiences. It is the marketer’s job to find those niche influencers and to develop relationships with them. Ultimately, those influencers can become good brand ambassadors, as can happy customers, also known as micro-influencers. Every customer has a “tribe” and incentivizing those customers to recommend a brand is huge. It’s a ripple effect.
Wrapping it Up
Digital Marketing has come a long way and has been revolutionized by new technology and by consumers who are more demanding and discerning. These seven trends are not all-inclusive, and newer trends will emerge as technology continues to evolve. Marketers have a big job – they must stay current and take the initiative and risks to Learn Best Digital Marketing Courser in Surat to stand out among their tough competition.