Don’t Forget the Conversation!

17 May

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When you’re thinking about ways to marketing your firm, one of the ideas you may have is conversational marketing. It may not be the hot, trending buzzword it once was, but conversational marketing is a vital way to build your brand’s visibility, influence customers and grow within your industry. Why? Consider these four reasons why conversation-based marketing should NOT be pushed to the side in favor of the newest way of getting your name out there.

  • There Are More Conversations to Have – Social media has disrupted the world of marketing, making it incredibly simple to have those conversations with customers, gather information and intelligence and get your name out there. Because of social media, companies that may have found it too expensive or daunting to open the lines of communication are able to do so using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like.
  • Customers are Used to Personalized Experiences – Because of the growth in technology, such as cookies, customers are used to being greeted by name, having a website remember the last order and knowing their likes and dislikes. The concept of personalization has opened up customers to this type of sharing.
  • Analytics Gives You Knowledge – The more data you collect, which will happen with every review you receive and line of communication you open, the more you’ll know about your customers. Today’s analytics options allow you to do more with the knowledge you receive–giving you the power to grow.
  • Your Customers Will Appreciate It – There are few things that consumers want more than feeling like their voice is heard. By opening those helplines, sending out surveys or requesting feedback, you’re letting every customer get his or her voice heard and validating those thoughts. It’s a win-win scenario.

While the concept of conversational marketing may seem a bit complex or esoteric at first, the reality is that it is as simple as asking for feedback, listening and responding. As a subset of your content marketing, you’ll find that it is much easier than you may imagine to get those conversations rolling and benefit from the information you will receive.

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4 Tips for Choosing the Right Space on the Trade Show Floor

15 May

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When it comes to your trade show floors and appearance, you might be limited in the size and design of your booth by your budget. While this — along with choosing the right trade show to attend — is an important element of success, picking and choosing the right location and trade show booth flooring ideas on the is vital as well. Here are four tips to help you out.

1. Get up front

A space near the show floor’s main entrance is a prime spot for your company’s booth for two primary reasons. First, you’ll have the attention of nearly all of the trade show’s attendees as they enter the trade show. Second, because most people who enter through the main doors are just arriving, they are fresh and eager to see what awaits them. This highly-visible location allows you to capitalize on their enthusiasm and capture their attention.

2. Near the Big Players

Nearly every trade show has its company sponsors and those booths that are known for attracting a great deal of attention. Having your company’s booth close to these other companies allows you to benefit from their traffic. One reason that this location might not work, however, is if that company is one of your direct competitors.

3. Close to Food Vendors and Restrooms

People who attend trade shows are usually there long enough to have to either visit the restroom or eat. Many people do both which is why it often pays to be located close to the restrooms and food vendors. If possible, choose a location that is positioned near the exit of the restroom or food vending area. Attendees are likely to be hurrying to visit the restroom and/or eat and could forget to stop by your booth afterward.

4. Near intersections and corners

Being located near the intersection of aisles or on the corner provides you with more options to capture the attention of foot traffic. Because people often tend to congregate at intersections, you’ll be provided with an opportunity to get them to notice you. This is why it’s important to have a trade show booth that’s designed to be captivating no matter which way it is approached.

Sometimes You Can’t Choose

There are some trade shows that assign booth locations with repeat companies often getting the prime spots. You can try booking your space early, being ready to take advantage of any cancellations and offering to pay an additional fee for a choice location.
Regardless of where your booth ends up being located, it’s important to use the advantages you do have and strategize for success. A key element in securing the attention of attendees is a trade show booth that piques their interest and puts your brand first.

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The Marketing Potential on Amazon

11 May

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Part of the reason that Amazon stock has gone through the roof is that people are finally beginning to realize its potential as a marketing platform as well as a retail space. Huge brands such as Kenmore and Nike are now partnering with Amazon directly to sell instead of dealing with the overhead of physical stores. Not only do customers get products from the comfort of their own homes, but less overhead means even more dollars for marketing!

Some marketers who are stuck in 2010 may still view Amazon as a platform that is made solely for e-commerce. However, the ecosystem of this online giant has expanded far beyond static picture sets and wordy product descriptions.

Amazon Spark

The beginning of the new generation of Amazon will almost certainly include Spark, the relatively new and unknown social media network on the Amazon website. Amazon has already taking heed to the mistakes of major social media platforms and created a platform that is actually quite impressive.

Because people already trust Amazon as a retailer and fulfillment center, the calls to action here will likely spawn more conversions. This will definitely make advertisers happier, and one can only imagine how the marketing potential on Spark will expand once Amazon starts promoting it to the mainstream. If you have not taken a look at Spark, you should definitely get in before the rush comes.

Product Placement

Amazon knows a thing or two about product placement and the sponsored content. There is perhaps no platform with the ability to move a prospect through the sales funnel more quickly. Amazon is also the first platform to implement exciting customer journey tools such as augmented reality incorporated into visual search.

The closer that you can get to connect the prospect to the product before the sale, the quicker the sale comes. This is product placement on the next level, and Amazon is at the forefront of this concept.

Amazon already holds more than 70% of the market for home voice assistants. This is an incredible opportunity to open up the rest of the platform. This is just the opportunity that is waiting in the wings – the immensely popular Amazon Alexa is already giving marketers brain aneurysms trying to figure out how to best employ its new opportunities to customers.

Certain brands such as Purina are getting it right. Tide is another brand that is creating incredible new marketing content on Amazon. For instance, Tide currently has a skill giving prospects the opportunity to move through a virtual world of stain removal. With each skill comes an advertisement for a product that would solve the problem, of course easily purchased via the intuitive Amazon platform. One can only imagine the opportunities that will be available when products like Alexa Show hit the mainstream.

The question is not if Amazon will become a marketing giant in the near future – the real question is when. Moreover, the world seems to be working on Amazon’s timeline. The company has more technologies ready to usurp market share from other industry giants than any other industry giant. However, these innovations will only help the companies that are not in direct competition with Amazon. Woe be to the consumer who does not know how to control his or her wallet – things are about to get really simple to buy.

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Five Reasons to Rethink Your Call to Action

9 May

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You spend time or money getting the perfect webpage designed. Then, you write the perfect copy that is sure to captivate consumers and get them interested in your brand. You spend big bucks on ads or other methods to attract visitors to your site in the first place. However, there is one more thing that is standing between buyers and your product or service–the call to action. Though it may be just a few simple words, its importance can’t be overestimated. If you’re still using that same call to action you have been using for years and you don’t like the results, we’ve put together four reasons why it may be time to rethink that plan.

  • Your Desired Result Isn’t Clear – A call to action should be clear, simple and defined. If your CTA is too long or has “choices” it could be that web browsers don’t know what you want them to do. Try a twist on the simple “click here” or “buy now” and see if you get any improvement.
  • Visitors Have to Work Hard to Find It – Where is your call to action? While placing one at the end (bottom) of your content makes sense, if you have a long landing page you may lose some of your visitors before they get to the button. Placing at least one call to action above the fold will allow the impatient to follow through and see what else you have to offer. At the same time, including one at the end will allow you to grab those who believe in reading it all.
  • It’s Not Attractive – A call to action should SCREAM “click me.” Is your website button design attractive? Does the text and formatting look up-to-date and modern? A few simple cosmetic changes may make a big difference.
  • It’s Not a Button – While an in-text call to action can be useful as well, provide at least one “button” or graphic. Some readers may be more drawn to this type of setup than a boring text link.

Finally, if you’re not getting the results you desire, maybe it is time to do a little testing. A-B testing can be a great way to see what works, what doesn’t and come up with some better ideas for the future. Don’t be afraid to try something new. That’s the beauty of the internet–you can always adjust it later!

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What are Marketers Doing with AI Right Now?

3 May

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The business world is asking itself – has artificial intelligence finally moved beyond being yesterday’s buzzword of choice into an actionable solution for my marketing issues? The answer depends on who you ask. Many forward-thinking companies have already implemented AI into their marketing infrastructures. Others say that it is an innovation that still leaves much to be desired.

Each company must decide for itself if it will use AI within its marketing program. The best course of action is to take a look at how other companies within your business profile are handling the technology. The advantage we have today is the amount of real data on the subject.

The Digital Outlook 2018 Convention in Singapore

Among the data that we have on artificial intelligence and marketing is a conference of over 400 marketing professionals who met in Singapore to discuss this very topic. Econsultancy headed the event and asked the question quite directly, “What are marketers doing with AI right now?”

Many executives in companies from many industries had a similar viewpoint. Although artificial intelligence has had some hiccups in its past, 2018 may be the year that it is fully ready for mass adoption. Many of these executives pointed to similar concepts that they were employing in their businesses currently.

Producing Scaled Content

One of the first artificial intelligence examples is the production of blog content and ad copy. AI has the ability to change this copy according to the reaction of the audience. For instance, Toyota used AI marketing to feed an engine with 50 scripts for its new Mirai commercial. The program used was Watson AI from IBM. Watson was able to deliver thousands of ads from those 50 scripts that sounded surprisingly human.
AI tools now have the ability to write long form blogs as well. They can even produce short white papers using an AI technology known as natural language generation, or NLG. Currently Groupon, Credit Suisse and Forbes are using NLG to produce over a million words of content per day.

One on One Communications with Every Customer

Communication at scale has always been an issue with marketers. The more expansive a customer base, the less personalized communications become. However, with AI marketing, this does not necessarily have to be the case.

The aforementioned NLG technology, when used with dynamic menus, can be utilized to handle customer complaints in place of a customer service representative. Similar to the Toyota scripts, the AI can generate an exponential number of very humanized responses from just a few dozen scripts. You may have seen this technology at work if you have engaged in online chatbot. However, this is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what AI can do.

Better Recommendation Engines

A recommendation engine is a tool that uses the behavior of a browser to find the next best action for a company to deliver to that prospect. Artifical intelligence uses have the ability to do this without human intervention. As a matter of fact, it may actually accomplish this better than a human.

The advantage AI has over a manually run recommendation engine is that AI cannot be lied to. For the same reasons that social media comment threads delegitimized focus groups and surveys, AI recommendation engines outperform humans – a computer cannot be fooled by a misleading answer about why a prospect took a certain behavior. AI responds strictly to the action with no filter.

These are only a few of the actionable solutions that AI is currently helping marketers to achieve. You can definitely look for artificial intelligence to replace many of the functions of marketers in the near future.

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