Making online work for offline.
Does it sound counterproductive?
For the Bangladeshi Companies (other than e-commerce), it makes perfect sense. Every month, quarter, and year we look at those meager volumes from e-tailing and wonder how to justify spending in digital media. Internet usage has picked up, but internet transactions haven’t. When it comes to bread and butter, we still bank on our age-old network of branches, stores, and distributors.
So you need internet marketing strategies that can also drive offline volumes, or maintain the current state while bringing down marketing cost… something P&G is doing since 2013.
If you too want the same, sit tight and follow these 5 online marketing strategies that drive sales.
1) Buyer Persona and Journey Mapping
You know and use this. There are three simple stages each buyer goes through in buying a product or service.
Awareness – Understanding that there’s a problem that needs a solution
Consideration – Researching about possible solutions
Decision – Making a decision in favor of a particular solution
And we always have saved our biggest chunk of bucks for the last stage; creating ads and media buying. Because, touching the early two stages meant you had to go for seminars, workshops, activations…. where cost per contact is insanely high.
Now it is time to look at what the internet has in offer.
Create Buyer Personas
Say you’re in a business that sells healthy cooking oil. What are the distinct group of people that you can target?
People with digestive problems
People who are health conscious
Can one marketing message serve them all? Do they have the same questions in each stage of the buyer’s journey? Do they fall under the same demographic groups? If the answers are no, then you need to write down (even sketch an image) the distinct buyer personas you target.
This becomes the foundation for crafting content a content strategy and internet marketing campaigns for the audience. You may want to get in touch with an SEO company that specialises in Internet marketing if you would like to ensure that this is an effective method for your business to use.
And there’s a nice bonus of having buyer personas in writing. It saves you from Chinese Whispers while briefing a new agency or a new brand manager.
Identify What Information The Buyer Needs At Each Stage
I may have digestive issues but have no clue that my cooking oil is to blame. That means I’m at the awareness stage. I know something is wrong, but can’t figure it out.
If you’re the marketer, why not create a content that says
5 common reasons why some people have trouble digesting
5 early warning signs of a digestive disorder
There’s a higher chance of me consuming your content because you seem unselfish, you didn’t just drag me into buying your product. You gave me valuable information. For the consideration stage, I’ll look for tips from you.
How do I fix my problem otherwise? Buying your oil only won’t cut it. And when it comes to decision, the buyer (that’s me for now) wants to know benefits (and not features)
And they want to mitigate risks. What if the product doesn’t work? What if something goes wrong?
Do you have the buyer covered?
It is not always about the warranty. It is about after sales; answering simple questions that have become easier thanks to social media. It is about being dependable… more on that in next two points.
When you’re done identifying the information that buyer needs, all you need is a content strategy to provide that information.
2) Influencer Marketing
Brag about yourself as much as you want… there’s little effect today.
The Internet has freed information, and today we’ve influencers in every sector. These are the people whose opinions count, who have massive reach thanks to companies like upleap. Influencers don’t just say which product they use… which ones are good or bad… they talk about personal experience, use case scenarios.
Can’t think of an influencer in your industry? Reach me out via Brand Forum’s Facebook Page or directly, and I will name an influencer or two in your niche. Do you know how many nutritionists have a follower-count over 5k? Did you ever look at the mommy bloggers who write about recipes, or household tips? How many beauty bloggers (and vloggers) have you tracked? Do you know the influential persons in a variety of Facebook groups that we have in Bangladesh?
Once you’ve identified the influencers in your niche, you only need to approach them. Don’t bribe them to write a good review, seek honest opinion. Even if they write a bad review; Harvard says that it will still increase interest in your product. Influencers help reduce the fear of purchasing a bad product… that’s one way buyers mitigate risks. The second is social proof.
3) Build Social Proof
What is the best dish at this restaurant? By ‘best’ we refer to ‘most popular’. Before dining at a new place, we want to make sure that this food is popular among others.
Why so? Because we hate surprises. Social Proof mitigates our risks. How many people have used this product and what do they say – this is the question we ask before buying anything (other than impulse product).
In the age of internet, social proof has many forms. But most marketers are chasing the least effective one; fan count at Facebook. You may be a retail chain with massive social media following but all I care about is how many people have said positively about your Mirpur Branch. You may have centuries of dominance in hair care but all I care about the reviews on your newest shampoo formulation. So how do you build social proof?
It’s pretty simple, reach out your known customers and ask if they would write you a testimonial. You can also create a review contest. Even put all your products in a voting contest where people will vote for their most favorite products. These campaigns can build social proof and make the painful job of selling less painful.
4) Create a Landing Page
Do you now have influencers talking about your product and have built social proof? Congrats! But how do you use that in marketing? Let me guess, you were planning to post them on social media.
How can a new fan find it 3 months later? (FYI – the average lifetime of a Facebook post is 3 hours)
You need some way of keeping the information alive and discoverable. You need a website… being specific… you need a landing page. This is just one page (or a single page microsite) where you present your product benefits, use case scenarios, expert opinions, social proofs, price, and FAQs (never ignore FAQs!)
The best landing pages in the world are created by car and smartphone manufacturers. But there’s no reason why any other businesses can’t.
If you have content that tapped into each stage of buyer’s journey, it can link to your landing page where they will be able to make a decision. And having a landing page serves another sinister (!) purpose. Continue reading!
5) Making Marketing More Effective With Remarketing
As said earlier, we save the biggest share of our budget for advertising. That’s not what works in digital media. Instead of pushing product information to everyone, you need to push content which are valuable. That way a few dollars go a long way. And content can drive people to your landing page.
Now tell me, if you intend to sell a product to someone. Who is your best shot? Someone who never heard about you or someone who has navigated all the way to your landing page and learnt about your product?
It is possible to collect audience data from a landing page so you can target your ads to people who have visited your landing page. Using a bit more complex tracking, you can also segment them according to buyer persona.
Imagine you being able to tell who is a diabetic patient and who wants to lose weight, and serve different ads for the same product to them (provided your product can help them both).
Spending needs justification, and that’s our biggest concern in digital marketing.
You need to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. That way you can tell how they seek, get and validate information today.
Without understanding how information works, you cannot survive the information age.
There’s nothing against having the largest fan page or going viral. Only if you can take a piece of paper and write (or sketch) down how it connects to the ultimate goal (increasing sales).