5 Touch Points of Engagement: Not in ‘Likeness’ But in Diversity

VISIBILITY: Part 2 – Engagement

Audience ‘engagement’ … what is the first image that comes to your mind? Is it communication, a connection, or a conversation? The actual definition is “The act of engaging or the state of being engaged.” where the word ‘engaged’ means, 1. Employed, occupied, or busy.  2. Committed, as to a cause.

Often our actual definition of a word is rather different than our perception of a word. Let’s call this a great likeness but with vast diversity in actual meaning. I find engagement in our marketing spheres very similar. We see that it is more of an interchange either by content, visual or another communication vehicle that not only connects another with the message and story but propels that individual to respond. This is the engagement I am referring to!

In my last SteamFeed post, I presented the first step [Part 1] in visibility which is developing your Web Presence [Web Presence and Visibility:  Duende “Having Soul”]. Step two of building visibility is to consider your engagement within your marketing sphere and how to effectively interact.

photo: <a href="http://engagemarketingdesign.com/">Engage Marketing Design</a>

Engagement – The 5 Touch Points:

1. Website –  Engagement on your site is creating a correspondence with your audience. Create opportunities for them by offering a two-way experience. Perhaps provide a customizing process with a product or service and allow engagement via commenting to posts or by initiating ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’ to an idea or option. The connection with ‘likeness’ is important but contemplate drawing out the diversity in your audience. We are more unique then we are similar and while your community has similar interests that lead them to this virtual location it is really important to allow some guided self-expression in this space or better yet encourage it!

a.       Add Widgets
b.      Add Functionality for “Real Time” Engagement
c.       Games
d.      Online Product Customization

2. Social Media Networks  –  Social Media is all about engagement but often we pursue the quick fix in our connections rather than working on the long haul in building valued relationships. It is an investment in others and taking time to learn about them in all aspects of their complex lives. It is more exploratory then reactionary and if you are successful in social media you know exactly what I am referring to. The time spent behind the scenes really understanding their target audience is far greater than their time in actual conversation with them. We need to understand more about the targeted individual and the diversities which they are made up of. Focus on the criteria to help you narrow down that audience and relate with more resonance.

a.       Who is Your Audience
b.      Purpose for Engaging
c.       Tone & Perspective
d.      Offering Consistent Valuable Content

3. Mobile –  Connecting with people in ‘real time’ or while on-the-go, where you happen to be at a certain moment, is effective in your engagement marketing. Instagram and other powerful visual apps downloaded to your smartphone can share your particular activity while also adding impressionable visual data for your audience. This builds a sense of personal connection with your relationships. You can include multiple texting solutions by attaching valued quick video clips (use Android’s Movie Studio App to even apply still images with your content stream) or adding a YouTube channel link as possible solutions with your texting options. The engagement is not a list of numbers (how often and how many) but purposeful understanding of building visibility and relationships within your space while consistently and frequently providing a clear branded message surrounded by fresh content.

a.       Location based ‘check-ins’
b.      Image Sharing
c.       Audio and Video Sharing
d.      Social Media and Mobile Apps

4. Email  –  Email allows you to become even more personal in your engagement and the better you are at delivering this personal message the more desirable. Gone are the days of spam and no one ever wanted it to begin with but it was so new it was somewhat tolerated. Nothing with that hint of flavor is tolerated today. Segment your lists wisely and provide valuable and acceptable content to your recipient. Consider what might be a great follow up to a product already purchased and categorize the audience within those segments. Or discover why they have not ordered in a while by giving them an opportunity with simplistic effort to reply. Gather the info and send a follow up offer with a preferred personalized message. We are always allowing for opting in and not force sales. This can also become a great way to introduce your social networks via some very individualized and compelling email campaigns.

a.       Make it personal
b.      Segment Lists to Define Response
c.       Survey & Assess
d.      Socialize Your Email

5. Print  –  Now how did this get in here? No, it belongs here and this is why. Print is a sensory piece and we need to touch things physically to completely connect with it. Virtual is all well and good but you need a bit of the tangible to complete the circle of engagement. So be specific in your selection of print. It could be that VIP card sent after being selected as a customer hero of the month or it can be a tear card with a premium promotional offer that brings that customer into your physical retail establishment. Create stories on your print pieces and add instruction on how to download custom apps that will drive your customers further down this amazing product/service journey. Print being the conduit to their smartphones. You’re only limited by your creativity here. But keep it connected to your audience with use of color, size, shape, style and even the material it is printed on. Each one of those communicates conceptual information to the mind of your audience separately.

a.       Quick Response Codes (QR code)
b.      Invitation to Download Apps
c.       Call-To-Action Incentives (bring to store to redeem)
d.      Keep Very Sensory Oriented (fuzzy, scratch, scented, etc.)

By far this is just the tip of the iceberg in engagement and I could probably just continue to contribute posts just on this subject alone for quite some time before it became exhausted.  In effect it is a very critical one in how we market today and how people have now become accustomed to purchase.

We should be wary of this one tendency to focus on our ‘likeness’ in this engagement and I find that an obstacle in this powerful tool. Since the very nature of us is our diversities and uniqueness that make those engagements so meaningful. I would focus on building your communities with their similarities so that there are unified interests but encouraging that community to express their diversities in their response and reaction since this brings us closer to what we are truly searching for. The answers outside of ourselves, the answer that more often than not someone else can offer!

… Which then directs us to VISIBILITY: Part 3 – Search

Top 3 Reasons to Add Mobile Rich Media Marketing

Virtually everyone has a mobile phone today and, if in line with the current culture, they have it with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is reason alone for any business aspiring to increase their marketing strategies to expand their campaign by adding rich media mobile marketing. New research from mobile ad network Mojiva reports that rich media advertising will continue to show substantial growth over the next several years. Their prediction is that it will grow over 300% by 2016. Just during the time the research was conducted, rich media advertising grew 30 percent! The growth is obvious and the positives to adding rich mobile media are endless but we’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 reasons why it’s an absolute necessity in today’s business market:

mobileExposure

The number one reason to add rich media mobile to your advertising plan is the exposure you’ll receive from it. Anywhere you go today, you’ll see people waiting around for a table at a restaurant, a doctor’s appointment in a lobby or a bus at a bus stop. What are they doing while waiting? Checking email, reading text messages or browsing the internet, all from the convenience of their mobile device. Including mobile rich media in your campaign will get your message and product out to millions of consumers in a matter of seconds. While virtually everyone has a mobile phone, not everyone has access to a computer. Mobile marketing will eventually be the #1 way for retailers to gain visibility and exposure to their product so it’s best to start sooner than later.

Apps

There’s no doubt that, while the mobile rich media rate continues to rise, so does the creation of new apps for mobile phones. Spending the money on creating an app for your business will end up paying off in the long run. It will ad to the exposure you’ll get from email and video links alone. Not to mention, it will also put you into the popular Droid, Amazon and Apple app markets that are visited daily by millions looking for a new interest via their mobile phones.

Technology

Smartphones today have endless capabilities. Improved internet browsing capabilities, swipe and touch, direct link embedded in emails and much more. With that said, your marketing campaign has to match the capabilities of the mobile phones it is reaching. This includes ensuring that your technology enables access to full internet access via mobile phones, optimizing the ad for mobile and desktop views. Smartphone aficionados tend to spend a considerable amount of time browsing the web sites on their mobile phone. Many of those sites are accessed via a direct link from an email received. At times, the desktop view is sufficient to see everything the user is looking for. When on the go and looking to see information quickly, most users prefer the mobile view. Optimizing your mobile rich media campaign means ensuring that you can meet the needs of any mobile device your ads may appear on. If the user has any trouble accessing information, it’s unlikely they will try again and more likely you ad will be ignored or deleted.

In addition to optimizing your web site, it’s also crucial to include as many aspects of mobile rich media marketing as well. Capabilities including embedded video links and GPS location give consumers information about you and your product and it will even help direct them right to your store front.

With mobile rich media advertising increasing in popularity and sophistication, it’s important to get your message out to consumers efficiently and get it out there fast. Use as many avenues to reach your consumers as possible to get your advertising campaign out there, including apps and social media, and do it quickly. With an expected growth of 300% over the next several years, the time to move to mobile rich media is now.

Guerrilla Marketing: Winning The Battle for Attention

Whether you are a business owner or a marketing agency, you need to realize that you are smack dab in the middle of a battle. This battle is for your potential customer’s attention. It’s no secret that we are all constantly bombarded with advertisements. Ads are on the signs of every building in your city, each show you watch on TV, and on pretty much every web page you visit. Advertising permeates our lives. Due to this barrage of ads, people are no longer paying attention. What was the last commercial you saw on TV? You probably have no idea – I know I don’t.

Gone are the days where can you expect that by having a catchy slogan, a promise of being better than your competitors, and a decent sized ad budget cut it. Hate to break this to you, but your potential customers are ignoring you. The only saving grace in all this is that they are ignoring your competitors too. So, let’s take a look at what you can do the break out of invisibility and step into the spotlight.

Guerrilla Marketing

photo: Max Bordonaro

First off, what the heck is Guerrilla Marketing? I think a good basic definition is this: Guerrilla marketing is going after the conventional marketing goals but doing it by using unconventional means and a fair bit of imagination. Sounds simple enough, right?

So, how do you get started?

Know Your Target Market

Who buys your product/service? Where do they eat? What are their leisure activities? What are their habits? What does the world look like in their eyes? Learn where to find your customers throughout each aspect of their daily lives. Find out what the clutter is that you need to cut through. Once you can do this, it will be much easier for you to be effective with guerrilla marketing tactics.

Get Outside the Box

Listen, if you want to grab the attention of your prospects, you have to do something worthy of their attention. This doesn’t have to be crazy or expensive. If you have a Brick and Mortar this is easiest by using your physical surroundings to gain attention. Altering the status quo, even if it’s just chalking your sidewalk can be very effective. What can you do to ensure people take notice that your store is there? Be bold, unafraid, and take a chance

Make Customer Service Your Secret Weapon

Most don’t think of this as a Guerrilla tactic, but it’s a crucial one. This is one of the easiest areas for you to take the lead. You, as a small business, have the ability to offer a level of customer service that no major company can possibly compete with. Want to build fast word of mouth? Offer customer service that is so outstanding that your customers can’t help but spread the word like wildfire.

Create Strategic Partnerships

Chances are that people who make ideal customers for your business also fit the same demographics of other businesses that don’t compete with you. Why not align forces for a special offering? Cross promotion in unusual ways can work miracles for your bottom line.

I know this is a very surface level overview of Guerrilla Marketing tactics, I will be getting a lot deeper into specific uses here on a monthly basis.

Do you use Guerrilla Marketing in your business? I would love to hear what you do in the comments section.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: The Rules have Changed

Most customers do not like traditional outbound marketing because they view them as being intrusive. When customers want products, they want to search for them right now and locate the nearest business that can provide them with what they need. Users are much more receptive to messages delivered through inbound marketing, such as social media channels and Google searches.

TelemarketingInbound Marketing Appears to be the Way of the Future

Inbound marketing is likely to become the primary way that businesses will draw in new customers in the future. When customers are sent pop-ups, commercials and telemarketing calls, they often think “why are they trying to sell me that?” In fact, Mashable found that 44% of traditional outbound mail is never opened. Outbound print ads, TV ads and banner ads are messy and unpredictable, while inbound marketing is targeted toward customers who want a specific product. Even worse, outbound marketing can drive users away, with 84% of 25 to 34 year olds leaving a favorite website because of advertisements. Also, 91% of email users have unsubscribed to company emails because of email marketing.

Customers Have More Ways to Avoid Outbound Marketing Messages

Mashable found that 86% of people now skip through television commercials thanks to DVR. Many users have low engagement for website advertisements due to ad blindness (this is a phenomenon where users do not notice advertisements placed on websites).

Inbound Marketing Satisfies a User’s Desire to Research Products

Customers are more careful with their money and are less willing to spend money on a defective product. As a result, most customers will spend a lot of time researching products before committing the purchasing one. Inbound marketing plays a large role in generating leads for businesses, but also in influencing the perception that customers have of the product.

Essentially, inbound marketing is growing because it carries the following benefits:

• Targeted customers

• More desirable to customers

• Lower costs

But there are some limitations to inbound marketing. Many customers genuinely are not aware of products that they would benefit from and many forms of inbound marketing, such as search engine optimization (SEO), rely on customers being aware of a product before they search for it. Outbound marketing can generate buzz for new and innovative products.

Businesses Must Be Careful in How They Implement Inbound Marketing Tactics

Inbound marketing has to be handled more carefully. With outbound marketing, it is obvious to the customer that the marketing materials are a sales pitch. However, with content and blog marketing, podcasts, eBooks and infographics, businesses need to build trust and many customers might be more offended when they are sold to through a blog.

Not All Consumers Embrace Online Marketing

Another factor to consider is that inbound marketing is mostly through digital channels. There are still customers who do not spend a lot of time online or who do not trust online businesses and are afraid to give their credit cards out online. The point is that inbound marketing should not necessarily serve as a replacement for outbound marketing, but should serve as a complimentary part of the marketing mix.

Companies Should Focus On What Works

Businesses should ultimately focus on which marketing methods are the most effective. Collect data periodically and determine which methods are generating the best ROI.

Are you using inbound marketing tactics, outbound marketing tactics, or both? How do you use them so they compliment all of your marketing mix? Leave your comments below.

Traditional Marketing Still Works!

Marketing may be more high-tech these days, but traditional marketing methods still have a place in today’s 140-character obsessed world. Facebook and other forms of social media are viable marketing methods, but it’s a bit premature to place traditional marketing in the same category as VHS tapes and payphones. While there has been an undeniable paradigm shift, traditional marketing tactics are still in place, and are still effective.

It Doesn’t Have to Be One or the Other

Why do you have to shift all your marketing efforts to social media just to remain competitive today? It doesn’t have to be one or the other in order to achieve your goals. There is no rule that says you have to go ONLY with social media or online marketing, and abandon your traditional marketing efforts. Traditional marketing still offers:

High-level of engagement – Many print ads and fliers today often include reference to a company’s website or suggest that interested customers “visit us on Facebook for more.” This not only engages customers in a traditional way, but also encourages engagement through your online marketing efforts.

Building on an existing market – Any business that’s been around for a while has an existing market. Your loyal customers were probably first introduced to you through billboards, print ads, and other traditional efforts. Use your existing database to create a contact list you can use for newer marketing efforts such as blogging, e-books, and email marketing.

face2face events still matter – Events such as conventions, public speaking engagements, and press conferences are still very effective tools. This gives you a chance to answer questions and have greater control over the message you convey. Even door-to-door marketing and handing out fliers can still be effective, especially for small businesses with smaller target areas.

Note: Make sure you give people a way to opt out of online contact though. The last thing you want to do is annoy previous customers who may use your service or products again or pass your name onto friends.

Traditional Marketing Can Still Reach a Large Audience

Social media wields a certain power, but an equal impact can still be seen from traditional marketing efforts such as print, outdoor, and location-based advertising. Many TV and radio stations offer targeted marketing solutions. They allow you to have your ad air at a certain time or during a specific program such as the news.

Participating in a community event or donating to a local charity is still a great way to generate a news feed that may be picked up by local or national media outlets. Of course, you can further spread the word through your social media resources.

Traditional media outlets are still relevant for two very important reasons: there’s an established viewing audience already in place and messages can easily be directed towards target demographics to maximize impact. Traditional marketing still works: Don’t throw the water out with the baby!

Which traditional marketing methods do you still use in the digital age? How do you integrate your online presence with your offline presence? Leave a comment below!