By Mahima Chawla
Change is an inevitable and evolutionary process, with great challenges and opportunities for the business world. The world is moving ahead to make its presence felt online. It is the age of video and influencer marketing, using the internet. It requires strategic, out of the box thinking and application of a number of Digital Marketing tools like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay per Click (PPC), Social Media Marketing (SMM), Content Marketing, web marketing and Target Ads. The right time to join this bandwagon is now or never.
MARKETING TRENDS THAT WILL RULE THE ONLINE WORLD:
In this high-tech era, the internet holds immense possibilities for one and all. Video Marketing is one of the most effective tools to reach your target audience and improve your search engine ranking. A number of marketing campaigns can be planned using video as a medium for clear, crisp and effective communications. If you want to establish a make your brand visible online there are endless possibilities for you to exploit and maybe sell your product or service – even outside your immediate geographical area. There are a number of options for you to choose from— corporate films with customer testimonials to serials, video coverage of live events, jingles, endorsements by celebrity brand ambassadors, educational/ motivational/ training films, public awareness spots/ advertisement commercials and product demonstration – explaining the use of a product—especially one that has been launched only recently.
Today, YouTube is the second largest search engine (next to Google) and that too owned by Google. This in effect implies that a properly tagged video can work wonders for your SEO, improve the click-through rate and start an emotional heart-to-heart conversion with your target audience.
According to a recent study, 64 % of consumers who buy a product online do so after watching a video demonstration of the product. In other words, before making the purchase, they have to be convinced to buy the product.
A strategy combining the use of internet and video holds the potential to engage customers, make your business grow as well as ignite your customer engagement and sales. So if you are planning to switch to video and harness the most powerful aspects of modern marketing, the best time to do so is now.
In the coming years, artificial intelligence (AI) will take over the role played by humans to observe, attract, convert and delight customers using automated digital marketing tools to save time and resources.
Artificial Intelligence will transform the entire digital landscape and sharpen the impact of your digital marketing effort and help you understand your audience better. It will predict and influence the buying behavior of your customers by making you know in advance — what your target audience actually need and how to satisfy them. Knowing your customers’ buying habit and what they actually want to purchase can help you invent a more effective and innovative marketing strategy and work wonders for your brand.
AI can transform the way you engage with your audience, drive relevant traffic, acquire new customers, increase sales and retain existing customers by bridging the gap between the brand and its customers. In the long run, AI can transform the way you engage with your audience and create a place in their heart by providing a more personalized customer experience.
Some of the best examples of artificial intelligence include “Chatbot”- a virtual assistant which can communicate with your customers like a human, Apple’s Siri. Google Home’s voice-controlled digital assistants can order products you need from retailers like Walmart, Costco, Walgreens and PetSmart. RankBrain – Google’s third most important ranking signal, Amazon’s Echo and Alexa voice-shopping platform will change the face of the digital landscape. Today, Alexa can play your favorite song, while Siri can set an alarm.
Hence, it is hardly surprising why over 85% of voice shoppers rely on the recommendations given by their digital assistants. According to Narvar Consumer Report, 29% of voice device users already use their devices for online shopping, while 41% others may use them in future.
Inbound Marketing is a strategic effort to attract prospective customers towards your products and services and make a lasting impression in their hearts and mind through content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, events and webinars. Catching the attention of customers is what a business needs. This is where inbound marketing, help us build strong brands. The main objective behind Inbound Marketing is to create valuable relationships that have a positive impact on your business and potential customers.
The value of content on your blogs and website helps influence & retain customers. “More than 50% marketers say that blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority”, says HubSpot’s State of Inbound report. According to HubSpot, 46% of the marketers have generated a higher ROI with the help of Inbound Marketing. While 56% of marketers have used inbound marketing tactics to produce high quality leads for sales. The leads generated through inbound Marketing are 61% less costly than the outbound leads. Also converting these leads is 10 times more effective than outbound. This is not going to change more and more companies are dovetailing their online marketing efforts with inbound marketing tactics.
Influencer marketing is the new face of marketing. Influencer or word-of-mouth marketing involves building trust with a fan base. Unlike traditional marketing, influencers have greater credibility and make a bigger impact than a newspaper advertisement. If you want your business to grow, you need to figure out the right influencer for your brand. He may not be a necessarily be a celebrity but anyone from a journalists to YouTubers can attract followers, make them trust your company’s product or influence and change the perception and opinions on your target audience. Social media is one of the best ways to influence the decision-making process through trends in online social circles. Some social influencers have more than a million followers and can subtly but surely create a more, long-lasting impact in the intended circles and reach new and unexplored markets.
SOCIAL MESSAGING APPLICATIONS:
According to recent studies, more than a third of decision makers are using social media channels to engage potential buyers, nurture relationships and drive sales. A new Forrester Research suggests that social messaging tools present a whole new opportunity and a dominant channel of communication in future even outside the realm of Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Marketers and sales professionals can now use these mediums to reach out as well as communicate with existing subscribers or followers and positively engage or acquire new prospects.
About 29% people use messaging apps like WhatsApp, which currently has 175 million active daily users and counting. As on date, WhatsApp is the most preferred social messaging service, with a range of business features. It is also a platform that allows businesses organizations a chance to communicate with their customers and consumers on a personal level. The broadcasting feature allows the sender to mass communicate with a group of people at the same time. At the same time, this doubles up as a two-way communication channel for the recipient to seek an answer, send a query or feedback to the sender. The best part of the deal is that the entire or a portion of the communication between the sender and receiver can remain private and confidential, in case they so desire.
Another feature of messaging apps like WhatsApp is that you can convey your feelings using emoticons to convey what you wish to say- forcefully. This brings us to the question, why spend on calls when you have other more effective ways to communicate your message as well as feelings and emotions. Here is a list of most popular messengers and why you need to put them to best possible use to make your business connect with existing and prospective customers:
- Facebook Messenger –more than 1.3 billion monthly active users
- WhatsApp — more than 1.2 billion active users and 55 bn messages per day worldwide.
Facebook and Youtube are nothing when compared to combined WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat users. These messengers now and as well as in future will provide a platform for users and brands to communicate digitally.
The answer probably lies in the casual attitude of the companies behind the venture. Facebook which acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion about four years ago has done nothing much to expand its features. Even its own Facebook Messenger app hasn’t changed much.
(Mahima Chawla is Founder, CEO of Webhooters, a Digital Marketing agency)