The core objective of any marketing communication is to drive sales. However, in the digital space, the way you attain a sale is not by being blatantly promotional. You have to be out there constantly engaging your audience, making them care for what you create and make them fall in love with you. It is this successful matchmaking that leads to sale. And post a sale, it is about retaining the customer through exceptional service and continuous engagement by providing value.
So, if I have to nail down the ingredients that make a brand win in the digital space, I would focus on the following:
Differentiate through communication. Don’t be a 'me too' brand. You have to understand your brand positioning and the values that you have. You also need to understand what your USPis. Don’t be in a race to be the best number 2 in your category. Rather, create a category for yourself. This should be your guideline for communication.
Don’t create content for the masses. Rather, focus on a niche, identify a small demography that can get the maximum value from your content. When you engage people at a deeper level, the results are tremendous.
Find 'Sneezers'. Sneezers are those early adopters who will talk about you in their social circle. Every business needs sneezers to grow big. Engage your sneezers first.
Listen to your customer’s voice. Actively participate in online discussions, be it on Twitter, Facebook, industry forums, communities etc. Understand your customer.
Communicate through content that triggers strong emotions. Why will she care about your content? Think about it. Content that evokes emotions such as happiness, awe, inspiration, are likely do better. Useful content that is unique also gets good engagement.
Don’t bore the user. It’s a sin. Treat her like the girl you are planning to woo. Be interesting. Don’t force her to marry you immediately. Date her. As David Ogilvy said, “The customer is not a moron. She is your wife.”
Use micro-content. By micro-content, I mean develop streams of communication. Create various forms of content under each stream. Each stream should follow a particular theme. Use different forms of content for different channels. Videos are amazing. Use them as often as you can. Tailor your content to suit the personality of the platform where you share.
Measure the impact of your micro-content. When you have done it, you will understand the types of content that engages your user. Fine-tune your content strategy based on this metric.
Use micro-content to define campaign ideas. Define campaign objectives very clearly. Is it awareness, do you want them to buy your products, or what is it?
Use all digital touch points to communicate the campaign. Remember, your customer is everywhere. Give attention to channels where users are spending more time.
Use influencers for your online campaigns. It simply works and will continue to do so. But use them intelligently. Just trending on Twitter is not going to help you, unless you have a 360-degree approach. How are you going to benefit from trending on Twitter? Is there a way to generate leads from the impressions that you get? Think.
Re-engage the user. Through a series of blogs, or re-targeting or with offers. This will help the user make a decision from a visitor/subscriber to a buyer.
Ensure that the content you create is easily shareable. This always give people more incentive to share, if they really like it.
Be bold. Social media is more democratic than several other channels. You can experiment with bolder ideas. Being bold works, because that reflects people’s inner self.
Have a consistent personality both online and offline. No point forming a different picture of your brand online, when you are very different in the real world. People can see through you. Similarly, don’t create great content and take shortcuts at customer service. Everything counts. Social media has simply made your business accessible 24 X 7 X 365. Nothing more.
This is the most important aspect of winning in the digital space. Be fast, be proactive and keep trying out things. Don’t get bogged down by too much analysis. Trust your gut.
Customers are spending more time online and on social media than ever before. And the trend will continue. People are using mobile phones to access social channels more often. Ensure that the content that you create is easily readable and shareable on mobile.
Digital marketing is a marathon and, as a brand owner, you should treat it likewise. It is a beautiful channel to build your brand awareness and communicate with your users regularly.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory)