2019 so far has been a continuation of trends in 2018. What can businesses take from this year’s marketing technology trends to keep their strategies competitive?
MarTech is the combination of marketing + technology. In today’s world it is almost impossible to separate one from the other. Good marketing initiatives use technology to collect market data, measure interaction, anticipate user intent, and disseminate your message.
The number of MarTech companies are on the rise and we have entered a world where Google Analytics is not the most common tool for consumer insight.
In order to stay competitive, businesses need to invest in some sort of MarTech tool to help them streamline their marketing efforts. Some companies will do marketing and analytics in house, most will outsource marketing to experts to specialize in this domain.
Customer trust is at an all time low. Consumers are constantly bombarded with brand names and messages. Customer service is a major focus this year (and we believe will be here to stay for quite a while). Customer service has a large sales component as many customers will engage with the brand directly this way to get questions answered, make returns, and troubleshoot. The opportunity to work with customers and create brand loyalty is huge here.
Word of mouth is more important than ever. It may take place in the form of an Instagram post or a link on Twitter, but customers are choosing to follow the advice of their “friends” rather than Google searches.
Stats suggest that as much as 69% of the customer’s decision making on whether to buy from you happens before they speak to you. It’s all the more reason for you to invest in your site, your blog, your photos, your videos and your reviews. Make sure they are in good ongoing shape, and that they reflect the image you want to project.
Social Media is all about trust + transparency
Similar to the lack in consumer trust we mentioned above, social media has become more polarizing. Customers are looking for brands that share their ideals.
Nike showed this last year when it made the politically divisive decision to make former quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick the face of its global advertising campaign. Kaepernick was criticized by many, including the President, for getting down on bended knee during pre-game national anthems. It was in protest over police brutality against Africa-Americans.
This is the future of social media - and no, it doesn’t always have to be a political statement. But consumers want to know where your business’ beliefs, morals, and alliances are. And they want to identify with companies who share their concerns.
Transparency and having a solid brand identity is key in 2019 and beyond. To read more about how to create your brand identity, read our blog post: Telling Your Digital Story to the World.
Here Are 4 Digital Marketing Tools Your Team Should Be Using
More businesses are using digital marketing than conventional methods of advertising, with two-thirds of business owners in one survey saying they plan on bringing their marketing dollars to social media to expand their profit margins.
An additional two-thirds of small businesses today want to increase their digital spending as well, and you might be thinking you want to be one of them.
If you are new to the game, discover the first 4 digital marketing tools you need to help your team grow your business.
1. Social Media Digital Marketing Tools
One of the best digital marketing tools on the planet today is Facebook Advertising. It's been rumored to help win elections, and also to help take businesses to the next level.
This is one of those tools where you literally just need to tell it what to do and who to show your ad to, and it does.
Want your ad to be seen by middle-aged housewives in Southern California, or motorcycle riders in Maine?
Tell it to Facebook.
The results will speak for themselves.
Facebook's Power Editor has you define every variable you need to run a successful campaign. You'll quickly become addicted to how fast your post gets so many likes and shares, and conversions.
You can take that to the next level on other social media sites, such as Instagram. Learn how to leverage Instagram's stories feature to engage with your followers in a deeper way.
2. Email Marketing
The first email that ever existed was written in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson, in which he wrote: "The test messages were entirely unforgettable." Since then, email has taken a foothold on the personal and professional lives of the entire world.
Today, in business, email marketing is offering a return on your investment that grows at an alarming rate. Emails are something people have to read, even if they don't want to look at your Facebook ad.
It's much more difficult to ignore you in an Inbox than it is almost anywhere else. MailChimp is reputably one of the best email marketing tools today, with reportedly over 250 billion emails delivered since last year alone.
It's busy because it works.
3. Video Marketing Tools
YouTube is perhaps the best-known video tool out there, as it is used by over 35 million users. Those users are there for both personal and professional purposes.
With that kind of audience, it's a digital marketing tool you can't ignore.
4. SEO Marketing Tools
SEO is the name of the game when it comes to digital marketing, and is the umbrella under which all other digital marketing tools are designed around.
If your marketing online isn't keyword friendly or SEO optimized, you may not have a successful campaign. SEMRush is perhaps one of the easiest and most common tools for the digital marketing world, if you aren't using it already.
Check your competition's backlinks, monitor keyword popularity, and do a lot of top-shelf digital marketing research in one place.
Invest in Digital Marketing
Today, the digital world has over two billion active users on social media alone. If your business isn't using that marketing stream, you are flushing money down the toilet for your competition to grab.
Approximately 73 percent of businesses today are taking marketing dollars online, and 53 percent are now investing in email marketing with their advertising dollars. It's a no-brainer as to why they keep doing it: it makes money for them.
These are just a few of the digital marketing tools that you can use for your business. If you don't know where to start, download the social media marketing guide for small business today.
Go Back to Part 1
We've all been there. Listening to a friend’s story. We've all been captivated. We've all been hanging on every word - waiting for more.
Because we love stories!
Stories connect us. We relate to them. They make us remember what it is to be human. We have a vast array of emotions - laughter, joy, fear, sorrow, regret, greed, jealousy, reverence and more.
So if you could use storytelling to your advantage, why wouldn't you?
Consumers are becoming more and more skeptical of brands. Storytelling is what makes your brand human!
Here are 5 ways to use storytelling in social media.
1) Think like an author and work narrative into your posts.
It doesn’t hurt to tell an actual story of what happened to you on the way to work. OR in the office. Or what you eat to stay healthy. Just remember, social media is not your diary. You don’t need too many details. Just a captivating story!
Example. Author Anne Lamott writes the most interesting stories on her page. They are fun to read and easy to relate to. Does it make you want to read one of her books? I do!
Anne’s post reminds us that we should document, not create. If you adopt that philosophy, it will allow you to overcome your fears of putting yourself out there. Just tell the world what’s going on. Describe your journey, outline your vision, and describe your thoughts, ideas, actions, wins, losses, anxieties and ambitions online.
2) Share consecutive posts to tell a broader story.
This is a fun way to gain interest from fans. You engage the audience through sequence-storytelling.
3) Show your human side.
Nobody does this better than TOMS shoes. When you think of Tom’s shoes, you don’t think of JUST shoes. You think of giving back to people. Founder, Tom was the first person to brand the one-for-one sales technique. You purchase a pair of shoes and one gets donated to someone in need. What is more human than that?
Recently, TOMS has been working on a campaign to end gun-violence. Check out this post (HINT...it’s not about shoes)
4) Share your brand story
Use a few posts that give people the history of your brand and share details about people who work there.
In this Facebook post, IBM shared the story of an important IBM computer scientist who coined the term, “byte”. This is something that not just affects IBM, but the entire digital computing world. It shows their brand in a positive light and the brand’s part in the history of computing. Excellent post.
5) Use relatable characters, including employees, owners, customers, and mascots.
One of the oldest brand mascots is Mickey Mouse. Before he was a cartoon character, he was just a cute little mouse that represented Walt Disney. And almost 100 years later, he still warms our hearts, representing the comfort of friendly shows and family togetherness.
A more recent mascot is this little green guy by Geico. Playing on the company name, they use a gecko to represent the company and explain why having insurance is important. Hearing boring information is always better from the mouth of an adorable, and hilarious creature.
In the end, there is no downside to good storytelling. I say “good storytelling” because you need excellent content to clearly communicate your idea. And always tell the truth! The consumer and spot fake news a mile away. Stay honest, bring joy (and laughter), then try spreading your message across multiple channels, with video and imagery.
At River Avenue Digital, we are pros at storytelling. We can help you fine-tune language, suggest technology that will help you connect with your customers, or take on the whole project and do all the copywriting for your campaigns. Call us anytime!