Why 2017 is the year of LinkedIn

LinkedIn, over the last few years has come a long way from being just a job search portal to a platform for lead generation, especially for B2B and small business. The platform has globally around 500 million users and 42 million Indian users, making it an ideal platform to promote your content. However, with Facebook having a sophisticated advertising platform and ad formats, more marketers preferred Facebook for lead generation. Understand this, LinkedIn recently introduced changes to its advertising methods, making it a comprehensive platform to generate leads. Here is a look at all the changes that marketers need to know.

If you have used the Facebook Ads Manager, using the LinkedIn advertising platform will not be too difficult.

LinkedIn Lead ads

The LinkedIn lead ads are the coolest and newest update that the platform has introduced. It is also the most useful one for any B2B business. You can use the LinkedIn lead forms for your sponsored content and campaigns. It works like a regular ad but when you click on the call to action, it takes you to a pre-filled lead from within the platform, making the entire experience seamless and hassle-free for users. The form is prefilled because the form already extracts most of the information from the user’s profile. With more marketers going the mobile first route, this ad format is an excellent option to explore, especially since it does not take you to a landing page or a website, making the process much faster and easy to navigate on the mobile.

Here is a guide on how to create the lead form ad.

Step 1 – Select the Lead Forms option

Go on to the LinkedIn advert manager and select the preferred language, type the name of the campaign and choose the ad format as, “ Collect Leads Using LinkedIn.”  

Lead forms

Step 2 – Choose the content

Choose the content that you would like to promote. You can choose from the available content that you have posted or post new content for your target audience.

Choose the content

Step 3 – Set up the lead form

The next step is to set up the lead form itself. Enter a form name, a headline and other information needed. Treat it as a landing page and give all the necessary information including a powerful call to action to make sure that the user fills out the form.  

step3

Step 4 – Choose the fields for the form

The next step is to create the form and you can choose up to seven fields that you want to collect from your lead form including name, email address, job title and phone number.

Step 5 – Thank you Message

You also have the option to set a thank you message and display a URL that can take the user to, once some fill out the form. This can be a landing page or website.

Step 6 Select the target audience

Selecting the target audience is the most important step to collecting the right leads. LinkedIn gives you the option to choose from a wide range of them based on demographics, job titles, location, industry, skills, gender, etc. Once you have selected the audience, choose the budget and define your bid type from CPC or CPM and voila, your ad is now ready!

Measuring results from the Lead Forms

Apart from giving you the basic information of the cost per lead, LinkedIn also tells you how many people opened the advert, how many of them opened the form and how many submitted as well. You can also download the leads from your form and used that data for future campaigns.

measuring results

Matched audience

LinkedIn already has detailed targeting options, which allows marketers to target potential audience by the company, job title, etc. However, the platform has now expanded and introduced a concept called matched audience. Matched audience lets you retarget website visitors and add your contact database. This option gives you the chance to target people who are familiar with your business, giving you a better chance of capturing the lead and driving sales. Using matched audience, you can target:

Website Visitors

As the name suggests, with this feature, you can target people who visit your website. Make sure you add the LinkedIn pixel on all pages of your website, just like how you add the Facebook pixel and create a custom audience in the tools section of campaign manager.

Contact targeting

If you have a database of your customers, with contact targeting, you can add them to your LinkedIn campaign manager and target them.

Account Targeting

Account targeting lets you reach powerful people who call the shots within your target accounts. All you need to do is upload a list of target companies to match against the 8+ million company pages on the platform.

InMail ads

Sponsored InMail ads look just like a regular email and present the opportunity to marketers to send personalised messages to their target audience. The InMail ads act as an email marketing campaign, which is sent to the target audience’s LinkedIn inbox, without having to acquire their email ids. The best part about this feature is that it has 100% delivery as the emails are sent only to people who are active on the platform when it is being sent.

inmail ads

InMail ads are a great way to showcase your product, branded content, webinars and promote content downloads such as ebooks and infographics.

With the Sponsored InMail ads, you can target a variety of target audience relevant to your business just like the lead ads. The ads are only sent to a user once in 60 days so it eliminates the question of spam and crowd.

Best practices for creating InMail ads

  • Keep the subject line catchy
  • Personalise your greetings and your target audience by their first name.
  • Use compelling text and visuals
  • Use a powerful call to action
  • Use relevant target audience

Why do LinkedIn ads work?

  • Create awareness about your brand
  • Reach decision makers – From CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to senior level executive, LinkedIn has all the top decision makers who can potentially see your advert.
  • Increase the reputation of the brand

Who Should Advertise On LinkedIn?

With more than 500 million users and various ad formats, LinkedIn has become the go-to platform to promote content. If you are a small to medium size business and want to sell to decision makers, LinkedIn is the perfect place to be.  According to data, more than 80% of the leads generated for B2B companies come through LinkedIn. From promoting relevant content to showcasing the product, B2B services can create a niche market for themselves on LinkedIn.

Bijlipay

Although LinkedIn is synonymous with the B2B sector, we have tried it out for B2C sectors as well. It especially works well for real estate, education, finance, the publishing industry, etc. With the right targeting, a business can increase their visibility and possibly generate leads.  Given below is an example of how one of our real estate clients, Mahindra Lifespaces, leveraged LinkedIn lead ads to improve the quality of sales. To promote one of their properties on GST Road, Chennai, they look to LinkedIn lead ad feature to target senior level executives. The ad opened to a lead form within the platform, giving a convenient way for potential investors to contact the buyer. With LinkedIn, Mahindra Lifespaces saw a 5x increase in leads at about 20% of the cost.
Mahindra Lifespaces
Mahindra Lead form
Which one of these updates are you trying out for your business? Let us know by leaving a comment.

5 Digital Marketing Trends transforming the Travel industry

Over the last decade, digitisation has transformed the travel industry quite dramatically. Gone are the days where travellers visit the counter to make a booking. To plan a travel is now a click away; right from the research for the trip to booking the tickets and hotel accommodation.  Driven by digitisation, the travel sector, now an online sector, feels the constant need to build and foster relationships with its customers. This practice provides them with seamless experiences to retain customers and sustain themselves in this competitive marketplace. Since the travel industry is a highly competitive space, it is essential to keep up with the latest trends for greater success.

Here are five most trending digital marketing developments in transforming the travel industry. 

Create Mobile Responsive Websites

In today’s fast-paced world, everyone prefers getting information on-the-go. From finding a cab to booking tickets, the internet has taken over our lives and has given us the convenience of getting things done right from our phones. This revolutionary trend has led to the increase of mobile first approach.

Travel companies, too, are making effective use of device-optimized solutions in fresh ways to draw more and more guests towards their travel services.  They have observed how users find it a lot easier to Google search destinations or travel portals on their mobile phones or at most on iPads / tablets. They know mobile-responsive websites is the up and coming trend. If your travel company website is not mobile optimised, you are out of the radar and you are losing out on a large chunk of the audience.

A classic example is that of a Business traveller. Business travellers have traditionally made their travel decisions and hotel bookings online. Due to time constraints, they seem to be switching over to their cell phones to do these bookings. These travellers are constantly checking out new, attractive travel packages and affordable hotel stays. They then try their best to align them with business trips to convert their business trips into leisure (Bleisure). They are on the constant lookout for seamless experiences on their mobile phones.  

Sterling Holidays one of India’s leading holiday experience companies have optimised their website to connect with their potential customers.

Social Media Marketing

Today’s digital times has seen the emergence of Facebook as a household name. Gone are the days when Facebook was just considered as a networking site to keep in touch with family and friends. It is now a highly effective marketing platform to showcase your product or service. It even has the power to influence users and inspire them to travel and explore new places.

social media marketing of a traveler

Online research and studies have shown that travel companies that engage with online audiences on Social Media, tend to leverage their brand image more effectively. This leads to an increase in the number of followers, reviewers and influencers which, in turn, results in higher ROI. Travel companies are regularly making their presence felt on influential digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter through creative posts, carousel ads, canvas ads and Call to Action (CTA) ads, depending on the nature of the advertisement.

Let’s take a quick example of Thomas Cook. They run ads with strong CTA that not only reaches out to their target audience and promotes favourable brand identity but also boosts online sales to a great extent.

Thomas cook

Your brand too can be a preferred choice for travellers, if you have adequately engaged audiences on your social media pages. Be active on your social media handles to create an engaging post, which inspires your followers to travel. Do not forget to use relevant hashtags to increase the visibility of your brand and make the post go viral in no time. Twitter users generally tend to create a positive buzz around travel brands by sharing good travel experiences. Most travellers today, post pictures while on vacation on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. You can simply repost them on your page to showcase your credibility to prospective targets.

Recommendations work wonders in influencing most people’s spending habits. It can bring in more leads than expensive promotional digital advertising as nearly everyone today wants to check the reliability of the travel services they are planning to purchase online. However, you need to ensure that your services are always up to the mark and are of top quality as a single negative comment can take your entire marketing strategy downhill. Online reputation management can make or break your brand so when such an unfortunate event occurs, the key to spring back up is to respond to the customer immediately and do the needful as quickly as possible. To know How You Can Efficiently Track And Respond To Feedback On Social Media, See Our Detailed Blog

Personalisation with Big Data – Targeting and Retargeting

Retargeting is a foolproof strategy to generate quality leads for your business. In this technique, travel companies create a custom audience of travellers who have either visited their resorts or posted about their services online. From check-ins to reviews, all the users who have remotely been associated with the brand are clustered into a custom audience. Ads are then generated keeping this target audience in mind. Since these users are already familiar with your brand, converting them into long-term customers is easier than approaching first-time users.

It’s also quite interesting, how booking portals have begun to integrate social media profiles of passengers to offer personalised deals. They use pop-up questionnaires as a medium to ask customers their preferences. The customers too, don’t mind filling up a couple of questions if they were to receive customization in their bookings. Scanning through social media profiles of passengers, to seat them next to people of similar interests on flights, is the latest development. This analysis is usually done at the time of bookings itself. The right data helps travel companies in assessing their customer needs, based on interests, demographics, possible budget range, desired vacation destinations, etc. and ultimately creating a better travel experience for them.  

Content is King

Content is the backbone of all the digital marketing efforts undertaken by a travel company. Just like how reviews and recommendations can bring amazing results in generating leads, securing a top rank for your travel website through SEO certainly helps your business grow further and increases your popularity among other holiday companies. Content plays a significant role in SEO efforts in the form of blogs, infographics, videos and imageries. It is important to create content which your target audience will find engaging. As far as travel companies are considered, relevant videos work as the best SEO strategy.

The videos used to market a travel company can feature panoramic views of the hotels (exteriors/room interiors), the amenities offered, local attractions and the things to remember before visiting places, to name a few. These low-cost videos can tell your brand story and can be as simple as white board clips, GIFs, simple animations or even a series of beautiful pictures. Sterling Holidays have attracted thousands of viewers through simple but innovative videos.

video content

Content creation through imagery has also proven to be very effective for many digital marketers. Coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to buy. For instance, Instagram and Pinterest are all about visually appealing content through pictures, GIFs and videos. This resonates well with the travel industry. Akbar Travels is the perfect example of how to make your content stronger to attract more visitors to your travel website. Their Instagram page has a mix of beautifully captured images and GIF videos that are visually appealing. This inspires users to travel which in turn leads to a higher rate of conversion.     Akbar travels social media

Few of the top travel-related searches performed on Google are as follows:

  • Best holiday packages
  • Best travel companies
  • How to travel to a particular destination
  • weather forecast for today
  • Best outfits to suit today’s weather
  • Directions to get to XYZ hotel

If your website, blogs, or videos address any of these concerns, you have nailed it. However, there is a catch here. Curating content is not a one-time effort. Google algorithms change time to time, which makes it crucial to keep your travel website as updated and as optimised as possible to maximise the relevance and generate higher revenues.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing, as the name suggests, is marketing your brands through specialists whose opinions, reviews and testimonials draw the attention of the press and public. Travel influencers are specifically those, who are avid travellers either to a particular destination, specific resort or a type of destinations (mountains, beaches, holy, spiritual places). They also include profound travellers who have a huge fan following on Instagram or Twitter and those whose profiles reverberate with demographics of your target audience.  They are paid for curating content for travel holiday packages. Their words are generally taken at face value as their content is constructed to strongly fit in, contextually. If you are looking at using influencer marketing, read our blog on tips for your first Influencer marketing campaign.

Lakshmi sarath

However, to ensure that influencers hired to write for your brand are making a mark, it is important that they know what your brand stands for, its aims and objectives and whether your brand reflects well with their style of writing. For instance, if you aim to lure readers into a strong call to actions (CTAs), it primarily will require you to look for an influencer who invites followers to experience the travel adventures for themselves. On the contrary, if you are only inclined towards promotions, you can explore a range of influencers to engage with your brand and post images with captions on your company’s social media handles.  

For example, Sterling Holidays were on the look out for an influencer to promote their latest resort in Goa. We approached renowned travel blogger Anuradha Goyal and offered her a two day stay at the plush new resort. She wrote about her memorable time at the spectacular location in her blog and posted the same on all her social media handles.

Influencer marketing for travel  

Though these top five trends are few of the most effective digital trends a travel company can take up, there are a plethora of other strategies which can also be used for a guaranteed increase in ROI. With endless nuances coming up in the online environment, new additions are always welcomed to the existing lists at any given point in time. To illustrate this, let’s take an example of the newest trend that can overwhelm travellers before they make purchase decisions – Virtual Reality. This trend has begun to show its effects in technologically advanced parts of the world and will soon be replicated around the globe.      

5 Social Media Strategies To Boost Your E-Commerce Business

The e-commerce market is getting competitive by the day, and e-commerce businesses need to find unique ways to build relationships with their customers to create a loyal customer base.

For any e-commerce business, website traffic is the most important segment, and yet it is the most challenging one.

Social media is playing a very powerful role today in the evolution of online shopping. It provides a platform for conversations, reviews, information and expression. An e-commerce business can leverage on the opportunities provided by the social media platforms for their own benefit. According to an article by Magento, 93% consumers turn to social media to help them make buying choices, while 90% say they trust recommendations from their peers.

Several strategies have been listed by digital marketers on how e-commerce businesses can use social media to drive traffic to their website. Listed below are five powerful tactics you can use to embrace the reach of social media for higher benefits.

Smart Targeting and Dynamic Product Ads

Leaving your ad open out there in front of the masses is not such a great idea. Once you have figured out your prospective customer base, you can use targeting options provided by social media sites like Facebook to target your ads to the relevant customer base. Facebook provides you with numerous targeting options based on location, demographics, Interests, device type, etc. It also provides you with features like custom audiences, lookalike audiences and retargeting. Using these targeting options, you will be able to reach your potential customers and engage them more effectively. Smart Targeting will help you increase your ROI on Advertising to a great extent. Dynamic Product Ads can be used to retarget customers who have earlier shown interest in your products or services. To drive more sales across devices, dynamic product ads now provide a lot of flexibility and variety in functionality to e-commerce advertisers.

A classic example would be that of Cathay Pacific Airways. They used dynamic product ads for travel, to reach people who had earlier performed a search on their website. The ads featured an image of the destination city that people searched for to inspire them to act. The ads also included a “book now” button that linked directly to the booking process on the Cathay Pacific website.

Smart Targeting Cathay pacific

Another example is that of eBay. eBay is successfully using dynamic product ads and retargeting to motivate their customers based on the customer’s interest. They connect with their customers by showing them personalised and relevant products in their ads.

Ebay Carousel ads

Facebook Carousel ads are also a great way of showcasing e-commerce website products. They not only help to showcase the products in detail but, when used creatively, also help drive traffic to the e-commerce websites.

Using Influencers

Influencer marketing is the new buzz word and has currently penetrated in the marketing mix of many industries. Mostly food, travel and fashion are the three major industries where influencer marketing is really going up the ladder. Influencer marketing is a newer and organised term for the old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. The way people work through the buying process has changed due to the advent of the internet and social media. People now have become more efficient in their search process, and they look for comprehensive and authentic information online. While associating an influencer with your business, it is important to consider the influencer’s likability, credibility and trustworthiness. Remember that Influencers act as brand ambassadors for the audience and thus the information they put out there should be in sync with what the business stands for.

Influencers can be used in numerous ways: For product launches, reviews, engagement, campaigns, events and so on.

A very good example of this is the Influencer campaigns done by Nykaa.com. Nykaa is an e-commerce store that deals with skincare, beauty and makeup products. Nykaa.com engages with various beauty bloggers and influencers and weaves campaigns with them.  Beauty and fashion are two areas where people rely heavily on reviews and opinions of influencers. Nykaa leverages this very well.Ecommerce Influencer Marketing

Nykaa Influencer Marketing

Using Product Videos

The majority of online shoppers have agreed to the fact that not being able to physically touch and feel the products on e-commerce websites is their least favourite part of shopping online. This is especially true in the case of fashion and beauty industry. Product images from different angles and views may not completely explain a product’s functionality or provide a proper overview of the product. Videos are the new preferred form of media and e-commerce businesses should leverage on the high acceptance of videos among customers. Ecommerce businesses can use videos to bridge the gap between offline and online shopping experiences. Product videos can help in providing a holistic buying experience to the customer and also provide a clear overview of the different scenarios in which a product can be used. This makes it more appealing to online buyers. Product videos can not only be used on product pages but also on social media feeds of the e-commerce brands as well as part of Facebook or Google ads. Not only can these videos be used for Facebook and Google advertising, but they can also be used for advertising on YouTube. There are several versions of videos that are gaining popularity on social media. A few of them are live videos, 360-degree videos, 30-second videos, time lapse videos, stop motion videos and animated or white videos.

Product videos can be used to introduce a new product and show how the product works with other similar or commonly used products, from the brand, and to encourage conversions from existing customers.

Amazon Video Ads

Youtube Advertising

On1y is a food brand that caters to a very niche market segment. It provides spices, herbs and exotic seasoning. On1y uses a lot of innovative ways to engage with its audience on social media and at the same time create a buzz around its products. In the screenshot below, On1y has shared a Facebook live video of a food influencer interacting with customers and cooking up recipes using On1y spices.

Influencer marketing video

Focus on Engagement

Social media for e-commerce is not simply about pushing across products and promotions. Many e-commerce companies fail to understand this. Social media can be used very well for engaging audiences online through high value textual and visual content. Ecommerce brands can find it very tempting to simply fill timelines with product promotions and advertisements. However, social media provides numerous ways by which e-commerce brands can make online shopping a delightful experience for consumers. You can engage audiences through live polls, live videos, user generated content, contests and much more. Topical posts and festive posts can also be used to attract audience attention. To garner high level of engagement, it is important to understand the need of the customers. Understanding this will help brands to curate content accordingly.

Social media can also be used by e-commerce brands to provide better customer service. Nowadays, a lot of customers look for solutions on the internet and prefer quick communication over the internet rather than going through a long phone call. At the same time, brands must encourage satisfied customers to write reviews and rate the products/e-commerce brands. Reviews and ratings go a long way in building a brand’s credibility online.

Content Marketing via Blogs & Infographics

Blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your e-commerce website. It helps your site rank higher in SEO through several internal links and backlinks. Blogging is also a good way to reach out to customer problems and be a problem solver. Most customers search for solutions to their problems online and blogging can be a great way to provide solutions to them. Long form content helps to drive more traffic and definitely helps in higher search page ranking. Blog posts also help to subtly introduce products or promote products in an indirect way. For instance, a blog post on the topic “summer dressing” by a fashion e-commerce site could consist of summer looks using products from the e-commerce site. This will not only create attractive and useful content for the readers but will also serve the e-commerce brand’s purpose of showcasing their products. Similarly, a blog post on “Top 10 budget smartphones” by an e-commerce brand like Flipkart or Snapdeal which sells mobile phones could include descriptions of each smartphone comprising of unique features and direct links to the products on the e-commerce site.

Blog Content Marketing

Finally, it is important for e-commerce brands to identify the right social media channels to leverage their brand. Social media platforms, if used creatively and strategically can help e-commerce businesses reach their target audience in a much faster way. The importance of social media has been adequately realised by fashion and food industries among others. However, e-commerce brands can also leverage the benefits of social media by strategizing and creating fool-proof social media plans.

Social Media Trends for Real Estate in 2017

Over the past few years, social media marketing has been one of the key marketing strategies for leading real estate developers to reach out to their potential buyers. For some developers, over 1/3rd of their sales comes from the digital medium. Advertising your property on social media platforms is a guaranteed way to showcase your property to the real estate investors and increase the possibility of a sale. However, just posting images of your next upcoming project may not be captivating enough. Here are some new trends that real estate developers can leverage upon.

360 Degree Videos & Photos

What if you could give your potential home buyers the luxury of a walkthrough of their new apartment without them leaving their homes? Sounds too good to be true? The latest trend of 360 videos will let you do just that. It is an excellent way to connect with your target audience and show them home buyer what is in store for them if they buy your apartment or villa.

While virtual reality is making an entry in the marketing scene, it is not mainstream yet because of the cost of the VR gears. However, if you are looking for an engaging video, then a 360-degree video is a good starting point. These videos can be created through low-cost tools as well. 

This trend is highly beneficial for real estate for developers to showcase their upcoming projects. Apart from the 360 videos, developers can also use 360-degree photos to showcase an immersive 360-degree experience. Both the 360 video and photo produce more engagement and message retention than regular videos or photos.

Casa Grande, one of India’s leading real estate developers, have used this marketing strategy to connect with their potential customers. For the launch of one of their projects in ECR, Chennai, they used 360 videos to exhibit to the potential clients what is in store for the project.

360 videos to showcase your brand

Growing importance of interactive ads

With organic reach on Facebook almost dead, brands are using focused advertising to reach their potential audience on Social Media. While the regular lead generation and website conversion ads are a great way to reach your target audience, it is also important to engage with the potential audience to understand them to improve the quality of your leads. A good way to do this is by using interactive ads. Interactive ads are the next generation of ads, which has taken social media marketing by storm. These ads increase the engagement by interacting with potential customers. A typical example of an interactive ad are the Facebook live polls hosted by companies to produce user-generated data to study what the customers are interested in buying. For example, a real estate developer can put up a poll on Facebook to check if their clients prefer sea-facing apartments or pool-facing apartments. This will give them a rough insight of what their customers want and can even use this data in pricing their property.

If you are looking at the next level of interactive advertising, try out M-Canvas ads, a mobile-only advertising service with very interactive and engaging ad formats. They are unlike any other format available on social media. They are highly interactive and uses a mix of images, video, and carousel to create a memorable and stunning visual experience on mobile. Moreover, these ads allow you to interact within the publisher i.e while you are reading your news article on the same page you can interact with the ad, rather than going to a different page. Once you click, the ads expand and give your further information and ensure the viewer interacts with the ad to take the next steps.

It is one of the best ways to showcase real estate products. For example, if your end goal is for your customer to enquire about the project, you can show a sneak preview of the project’s interiors with Call to Action that prompts viewers to take the next step. An audience who’s interested enough to swipe all the way through your ad is likely willing to click through to your website and make the enquiry. These canvas ads are a new concept that is catching up, and we see it as a trend that is here to stay.

Micro-Targeting

Micro-targeting is a marketing strategy of using consumer data and demographics to identify the interests of specific individuals and then influence their action of making a purchase. If a property is for sale on OMR in Chennai or in Whitefield in Bangalore or BKC in Mumbai, with three bedrooms, three baths and is close to the IT corridor, then it is most likely to be bought by a working professional in his 30s with a family of two kids. With the help of micro-targeting, real estate developers can reach out to their target audience by specifying the demographics and the geography of the potential customer on Facebook. You can even target users around the world whose hometown matches the city where the project is. Hence, their ads are displayed to a more specific and niche crowd making the probability of selling the property even higher than before.

Growth of regional content and regional ads

Hindi Content has been growing faster than English content, and this is likely to increase even further in 2017. This is not only the case for content but also advertising. if you looking to reach a wider audience, especially in the tier II and III cities, then using regional content is a must. Ads in regional languages have started rolling out, and marketers have begun incorporating this concept into their marketing strategies to reach out to their target audience. When a potential home buyer reads an ad in his regional language, he develops a bond of trust and comfort with the seller and is more likely to make a purchase, or at least recommend that product to a friend.

For example, Aryan Housing, one of the leading real estate developers based out of Mumbai, ran a campaign of ads in Marathi to connect with their local audience and received a phenomenal response.
Aryan - MarathiUnderstand this trend; Google has also recently started ads and keyword targeting in Indian languages to widen their reach.

Adwords
Integrating Offline and Online marketing

While the majority of the first time home buyers are researching online, they make the end decision of buying the property offline only. So for a real estate company, integrated offline and online marketing efforts is highly essential. While it is important to run ads and get leads, it is also important to understand that consumers do not make purchase decisions based on a single ad or message alone.  Potential buyers gather all their information from various channels and this data gathered through several stages of the buying process are the building blocks of sales.

If you have a potential lead from an online ad and your sales team is following up with them, it is important to also reach out that potential lead online as well. You could use automated email or drip email to reach them until they actually make the purchase. Real Estate developers can target and constantly stay in touch with a group of people based on certain criteria. Let’s say that a customer has visited property website and shown interest by coming for a site visit, digital marketers can use the information provided by the customer to send emails about the development and completion of the property and news on various other related properties. Drip emails are a powerful lead nurturer, with statistics showing an 119% increase click-through rate via trustworthy emails.

“Across the funnel” marketing

Advertising across social media platforms is all about building your brand and making it a household name for people to connect to and rely on. In “Across the Funnel” marketing, real estate developers build their brand names through four essential steps. They initially start the process by running engaging campaigns on social media, which explain their products and attract potential buyers. Then, they work towards increasing traffic to their websites and drive site visits and enquiries through their conversion data. Lastly, they customise their audience by eradicating cold leads and focus on customers who have actively shown interest in their marketing campaigns.  With Facebook’s Brand Reach & Frequency campaigns, brands can even get assured visibility and reach, similar to what a front page newspaper ad gives.

All of these social media marketing strategies are currently trending in 2017 and are here to stay! Which of these techniques will you be adapting in your social media marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments below.Content marketing blogs to follow.

This article was originally published in Realty Plus Magazine. 

 

A Beginner’s Guide to App Marketing

There’s an app for everything these days. If you are a heavy user, you probably have numerous apps installed on your smartphone. Each app in your phone serves a purpose, giving you a good reason to use when required. Only thing is, there are too many apps that share similar features and functionality, so you need to come up with ingenious ways to make your app stand out.

At present, there are more than 4 million apps in Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store combined, and these numbers are increasing at a huge rate. To stand out in this overflowing marketplace, your app needs powerful marketing and promotion. Here’s a quick guide on the many ways you can market your newly launched mobile app.

Optimise your app for app stores

Even before you begin marketing your app, you need to be 100 percent sure it is prepped and ready for displaying on a selected app store. Little things like the app icon, software updates, and app descriptions play a big role in your app’s awareness and life cycle in a store. Keep a cheat sheet for app store optimisation next to you throughout the development and marketing of your app.

Create a Landing Page

A lot of apps launching today are really just an extension of a product or service that already has a strong presence on the web. If you’re going the reverse way, you still need some sort of website presence that can be used as a promotive platform. The best option is a landing page, which can be used to promote your app organically. Let’s say you’re writing an informative blog article that centres around your app-based product or people search for the product you offer on Google; if the first point of communication is a landing page, there’s a big chance that searchers get converted into a user of your app.

Make the most you can out of the freedom of expression offered on the landing page. You can provide detailed information about your product and even create a mock version of your app to give users a taste of what to expect.

Human, a fitness initiative, launched as an app to inspire people of all ages to get active for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. To boost awareness for the app, a landing page was created that explained in detail the various features and benefits of using the app. The landing page included app screenshots, a simulator that showed real-time statistics of the app’s usage and various testimonials. Installs of Human hit the 1 million mark and the app was also rated amongst the best of 2014

Utilise paid promotions – App install ads

Advertising is the fastest way to create awareness about a product and the same can be said for your app. There are a number of third party services that enable you to create and promote app install ads, so keep your finances in check and work out the best possible deals for advertising your app.

Facebook and Google’s app install campaigns are the best to start with. Here are the steps:

  • Create a campaign with relevant targets such as location, audience and budget
  • Design ad copy creatives with a Unique Selling Proposition
  • For Google search, choose relevant keywords that the Target Audience would normally search for
  • Launch the campaign
  • Measure the results with important metrics and optimise accordingly

Get social

If shelling out money for advertising isn’t a good option for you, try the alternative route with social media promotions. Blogging, hashtagging, and page posts are some of the many techniques you can utilise on social media. Audience engagement helps build trust and value for your app and works wonders in the long run, provided you have patience and perseverance when using this marketing method.

Request for app ratings and reviews

One of the quickest ways to increase app installs is to request current users to write reviews and rate your app. App Store algorithms calculate app popularity through user reviews and number of downloads, which ultimately push your app to the Top Charts. You can implement the review and rating feature in your app via a number of unique ways; asking for reviews after multiple usages of the app or providing additional app features after a review or rating is done.

Install Mobile App Tracking

Just like Google’s numerous tools that help keep track of a website’s performance or the number of views and clicks on an ad, Mobile App Tracking tools help you track the number of times your app installed. Even when you promote your app through paid advertising, you can use app tracker tools to see from which method of promotion your app is benefiting most. Doing so helps in managing your ad expenses as well as gives you some pointers on what needs to change to enhance your app’s user experience.

Do you know any other interesting tricks of the app marketing trade? Share your ideas in the comments below.

This article was originally published on BusinessLine on Campus 

How digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India

Be it a blog, an e-mailer or even posting a simple creative online, a business reaps all the benefits of digital marketing. While the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital, is it the same case even in Tier II and Tier III cities in India? One might still be doubtful on how a business in Bihar, or in a small town like Tiruchengode might make use of the digital medium but Social Beat begs to differ.

With more than 3,133 cities that fall under the tier II and tier III category, comprising of almost 31.16% of India’s total population, one cannot simply avoid taking them into consideration while discussing about advertising and marketing online. According to a report by one of world’s leading media investment management group, 2016 and early 2017 was supposed to see a 51% increase in digital marketing in Tier II and Tier III cities. We are also seeing a lot of traction with digital content in regional Indian languages.

How to make digital marketing for Tier II and Tier III cities possible?

With internet access and as well as buying power of smart phones, thanks to the initiatives of the Government and some of India’s biggest internet companies, business in these cities now have a larger playground. Since almost 32% of the rural population with the above facilities access the internet on their mobile phones, it is important to generate such content for higher reach and engagement. For example, Facebook now has 160 million users in India, which are spread not just in the top cities but also in smaller towns and even some villages.

Firstly, to leverage digital for smaller websites every digital asset needs to have a great experience on mobile. Be it a website/landing page or a simple single creative – whatever helps in lead generation or branding of a business, it needs to be mobile-friendly. On small screens, the call-to-action button as well as the navigation button needs to be crisp. The copy has to be short, quick and easy to grasp.

 

 

Vernacular Ads work the best with respect to lead generation / marketing your brand:

 

 

Not just vernacular Ads but vernacular websites work miraculously well for business that either have their base in Tier II and Tier III cities or if they want to target their potential investors in such cities –

 

 

While running a Facebook Ad, it is important to understand that the target audience (TA) first needs to be someone in-and-around the city. For example, if it is a real estate project in Trichy selling affordable homes, the TA needs to be someone who when views the Ad will be able to:

A – Relate to the project in terms of location, approachability etc.

B – Compare the price of the project with other such builders

C – Visit the project with ease

D – Take a decision

While the project in the example cited above is in Trichy, the target audience can be just Trichy to start with but will not have a lot of reach unless we explore the little towns and cities in-and-around Trichy itself.

 

 

Selecting even the tiniest of towns that we might think will not make a big difference will definitely show results. The potential reach crosses over 730,000 people out of which there is a chance of a bare minimum of 40% to convert into customers.

 

 

With regards to the interests and behavior of the target audience, it is always better to keep it a little generic such as focusing on job titles, important IT companies / industries around the city etc. including minor yet vital details like their interest in Business magazines, stocks, shares, etc. If the campaign does well, and if it is for a real estate project in particular (where you think NRIs would like to invest in), go ahead and try a few NRI targeting options too – you never know, it might work wonders!

 

 

Looking at utilizing Google Adwords as a platform to advertise in Tier II and Tier III, it is highly recommended for the below reasons:

  1. Less competition in Tier II and Tier III cities which is good for businesses trying to create an identity for themselves / acquire leads.
  2. Better ‘Search Ad’ results due to the high search queries
  3. Good quality leads since the TA is niche and the demand for product is more

The keywords used for these Ads are usually very simple, straight forward terms. For example, for an e-commerce organic food store business, Google AdWords are likely to work better for keywords – ‘healthy food’, ‘organic vegetables’, ‘fresh organic food’ etc. rather than keywords like ‘organic grocery’, ‘organic farm food’ etc.

Tier II and Tier III cities’ have potential for most businesses and these cities are growth drivers of the future. Tell us how which strategy has worked for you in smaller towns!

 

2017 Digital Marketing Trends – Digital Chai Pe Charcha

The ninth edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Chennai was held on 25th February 2017.It received an excellent response with about 35 participants including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking an active part.  The topic of discussion was Digital Marketing Trends to expect in 2017.

Here’s a quick summary of the key takeaways from the session:

You may find it interesting to read our other blogs on Digital Marketing.

App Store Optimization Cheat Sheet

So you’ve developed a mobile app, excellent, but what next?

There are more than 4 million apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store and this number will only increase with the coming years. While each app is exclusive to the developer, only a few get the deserved recognition from users. To be precise, the fate of your app after its development depends on how many users download and use it. According to research, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches, so it is highly essential to optimize your app for the app store.

Here are some best practices to get more app downloads and to increase your rankings in the app store.

The App’s Name should be creative and informative

No, naming your app after you or your business won’t work well. A good idea would be to choose two to three keywords and using at least one of them in the title of your app. According to data, apps with keywords in the title rank 10.3 per cent higher than those without a keyword in the title. This way, your app will show easily in the search results. However, make sure that you don’t make the app name look like a spam by overstuffing keywords. The title needs to be short because that’s what users can read in a single screen. Obviously, you don’t want your title to get cut.  Titles are usually cut after the 23rd character (including spaces) in the App Store and the 30th character in Google Play. The first thing that the users see about your app is the name and icon. This is the first and the best chance to impress your users. Therefore, be cautious and creative when thinking of a name for your app.

Always include a description

Most of the times, users may need an app for some particular function, but they may not be sure which, app to download for the same. In such cases, the description option in the app store comes in handy. Reading the description of the app will help the users know what your app does, and it will also decrease the chances of uninstalls as the users know about the app well before downloading it.

SB1

Make sure the description is precise and concise and brings out what the app does exactly. Use bullet points wherever required and avoid dense paragraphs.

Also, read our blog on “10 Free Apps for Productivity, Social Media & SEO.

Have an original app icon

As we said before, an app icon and the app’s name are the ones that catch your users’ eyes easily. Make sure that your app’s icon is designed from scratch. Also, do not make it too elaborate or complicated. Keep it simple, unique, and attractive and make sure the icon breaks through the clutter. Do remember that the play store and the App Store have both varying standards in terms of size, geometry, and color scheme of app icons, so design the icons accordingly. The iOS icons should be sized to at least 1024×1024 pixels and the Google Play requires a 512×512 icon.

Use Screenshots tactfully

Have you noticed those screenshots that are shown in the app store when you check out an app? Well, that’s your next chance to capture the attention of your potential app users. To make a visitor download your app, you must place screenshots tactfully in this section. You can upload up to five screenshots for an iOS app and eight for an Android one, however, only two or three screenshots will appear in the gallery when the page loads. Only use screenshots that will differentiate your app from other similar apps.  For the best results, you could A/B test various screenshots to see, which drives the most downloads. Read our blog on “How Design Can Help Tell a Brand Story.

Update your app regularly

Like any other software, your mobile apps will also need regular updates and upgrades. If you launch your app and forget it, your users will download it and forget or uninstall it. Release periodical updates with relevant release notes explaining what’s new in the update.

Encourage your users to review and rate you

You don’t have to urge them to review or rate you with pop-ups every other minute, but gently nudge your users to rate your app. This will always help in increasing your views. Furthermore, do not ignore negative reviews, but pay attention to what was wrong in the users’ experience and try to fix it. The apps with high ratings are all ones that keep their audience engaged and take customer feedback positively. You can also make use of influencer marketing to get your app reviewed by top digital influencers.

Price it right

If your app is something that needs to be bought, set a competitive pricing. Instead of making your app more expensive than other similar apps, set a nominal price and improvise on making your app the best in the category. If your app is free, then add it to the in-app purchases category to improve its listing and visibility.

Make your app language and device compatible

When your app is available in various languages and is compatible with different OS versions, it is bound to get more view and reach than an app released only for one OS and in English. Both the iOS and the Play store allow you to localize your listings to make discovering your app easier for customers in other countries.

We hope by now you have understood the various best practices that must be followed to improve your app download. Comment below some of the other tips that you would like to add to our app store optimisation cheat sheet.

8 Digital Marketing Trends to expect in 2017

With another year gone by, new technology, tools, and trends have emerged in digital marketing. Keeping this in mind, we have put together eight key trends that we think would be ones to watch out for in 2017.

Mobile UX will be a key focus area

With 90% of mobile usage on FB and more than half of the searches happening via mobile, its already a focus area. We are going to see brands invest a lot more in the mobile user experience, especially when it comes to speed. Google has already launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Facebook is expanding its Instant Articles feature, both of which is going to expand their reach in 2017. Google is also pushing the Progressive Web Apps (PWA) framework to enable websites to give theirs user an app like experience via the browser. Even social media engagement via mobile is going to change with brands adapting to how they can get more engagement on mobile devices.

Less is more when it comes to content

Brands often believed that more content is always better, but with millions of content pieces and social media posts going out every day, the opposite is true. 2017 is going to see a sharp trend towards brands focusing on high value content, which is engaging and far more personalised. With voice search growing in scale (currently at 20% of mobile searches in USA) many of our digital activities are going to be conversation. Even more a reason why content needs to be unique and stand out from the competition. Google also tends to pick more structured and details content for their “Answer Box”, which comes above the regular search results.

Everyone can run digital marketing at scale with automation and machine learning

With automation and machine learning playing a large role in advertising this year will see even smaller brands adapting programmatic advertising. With platforms like Double Click for Google as well as Power Editor for Facebook, a lot of elements will get automated. Google has also launched responsive display advertising allowing for brands to run ads of multiple sizes without having a design team. YouTube is also soon launching a feature to allow for automated product showcase below videos, wherein machine learning would determine which product it is, rather than the brand manually having to tag which videos showcase their products.

Regional language content will grow multi-fold in adoption

The last time Google reported data on this, it showcased that Hindi content was growing faster than English content and this is likely to grow even further in 2017. With Netflix, Amazon Prime and others spearheading the video content in multiple languages, we are also going to see written and visual content growing in regional languages, especially Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali. Facebook has also launched an auto-translate feature for all the Brand Pages – though nascent it is bound to improve this year.

Even small brands will leverage the video medium

Building the brand is key and what better way than videos? Its never been easier to create videos with the help of free and low cost tools. As per statistics by Facebook, users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Facebook has made it even easier with its Facebook Live feature, which is a very engaging tool, especially for the entertainment, fashion and hospitality industries.

Attribution will continue to be grey area

Especially for online/offline the attribution will continue to be a grey area. While there have been many initiatives launched and many in the pipeline, most restaurants, retailers and offline stores find it difficult to attribute walk ins and business results to the digital medium. Facebook and Google Maps have been improving their proximity data to understand if users are at a specific location and encourage them to review the location. Google is also in early stage testing of beacons to allow for better attribution but it’s still 1.5 – 2 years away from mass adoption.

Consolidation in the social media networks

Brands have always found it difficult to be active on multiple social media networks and we do expect some consolidation. Twitter has been in talks of selling out and even growth of Snapchat has not increased. As platforms evolve and mature, we will see brands also focusing on select platforms that make sense – usually a maximum of 2-3 platforms.

Virtual Reality will not take us over by storm, just yet

There has been a lot of talk around virtual reality devices, including the launch of the DayDream by Google. While the experience it provides is phenomenal, it is not going to be main stream yet. While the cost of devices is getting lower, the adoption of these rather bulky devices is still limited to a select few tech savvy individuals at least in India.

The article was originally published at Business Standard

The Ultimate Guide on How to Advertise on YouTube

Consumers are spoilt for choices across multi-devices and multi-channels, thus making sales competitive for marketers. As consumers become more and more digitally sound, marketers constantly feel the need to evolve and source new ways to reach their relevant audience to drive long-term online sales. This has lead marketers to venture out and capitalise on brand and product videos along with text and display ads. Here is an ultimate guide on how to advertise on YouTube, types of ad formats, the best way to optimise and measure results for your campaigns.

Why it’s time for every brand to experiment with video content?

Videos are entertaining, engaging and help increase customer retention. Do see our guide on videos can help in content marketing and in engaging with your customers.

As per Google, there are only two things users do more than watch video: sleep & work. Every day, people spend hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. Users consume videos to feel the rush, laugh, connect and learn. The youth, younger generation and savvy users are on YouTube most of the times through their mobiles, thus making this channel the most preferred media mix on the go. Studies also claim, 42% use YouTube for pre-purchase research and 64% buy products after watching a video on YouTube, making videos the future of entertainment and online marketing.

Advertise on You Tube, Video Marketing, YouTube Video Ads

Fusion between YouTube and Video Ads

YouTube, being the second largest search engines is a powerful media mix to retain old customers, gain new customers and engage savvy customers through video content.

YouTube is also a community-driven social media channel that values genuine content and meaningful engagement with real people and stories. To get the most out of YouTube, the video content and ads need to build a relationship with YouTube users above and beyond the traditional advertiser-customer relationship.

Since consumers purchase decisions are influenced by the video content, promoting content with advertising messages can make it difficult to increase viewer engagement with the brand.

Videos that are light, fun, humorous, emotional, real and true make it through the consumer’s heart and mind. To know more about how to capitalise on online video and how YouTube can play a bigger role, get hooked on this blog for some more time. Do have a look at some of our work with the Murugappa Madras Song to get a sense of it.

Be Spoiled for Choice – Multiple Video Ad Formats on YouTube

To advertise on YouTube, there are several video ad formats and each offers a unique opportunity to attract consumers and achieve goals. Before making an ad, it is prudent to have a clear marketing goal and know the audience to reach them in the most cost effective way.

The Ad formats include: –

True View In-Stream Ads – Skippable Video Ads

Skippable ads are designed to capture the attention of the relevant audience in the first five seconds of the video. After five seconds, the audiences are given a skip button, to skip the ad and continue watching their initially selected video. These are an excellent way to increase visibility on a Cost Per View as YouTube charges only after the ad is watched for 30 seconds and more. Skippable YouTube Ads appear on YouTube watch pages right before, during and after other videos and to top it all, gives free visibility for first few seconds. These ads contain a call-to-action button that often links to a landing page.

You Tube True View Skippable Ads

Skippable ads work best for branding and often have a lower conversion rate. Although these ads are best for people who view similar content on YouTube, avoid targeting by keywords as this could significantly limit the frequency of the ads. To keep viewers from skipping the ads, create an engaging video that can grab the viewer by their collar within the first five seconds.

True View In-Stream Ads – Non- Skippable Video Ads

They are similar to In-Stream Video Ads, but viewers do not have the option to skip the ads. The ads usually play for 15 – 20 seconds and up to 30 seconds. Non-Skippable YouTube Ads also appear on YouTube watch pages right before, during and after other videos and viewers have to view the entire advertisement. They work best when videos are short, simple and showcase good offers.

You Tube True View Non-Skippable Ads

Bumper Ads

Bumper Ad formats are designed to increase brand awareness and impressions and reach a wider audience. They are usually non-skippable short video format of six seconds or shorter and plays before, during or after another video. Advertisers are charged on impressions (cost-per-thousand-impressions).

You Tube True View Bumper Ads

True View Discovery Ads / In-Display Ads

These ads appear at the top right of the YouTube search results page and to the right of the feature videos. They also appear below the player (for larger players) and are meant to capture the attention of the viewers while watching other videos. They blend with organic listings. They have a thumbnail image with a short text, and the advertisers are charged when the viewer chooses to click the thumbnail and watch the ad.

You Tube True View In-Display Ads

The images on the thumbnails make first impressions and need to provoke the viewers to click and watch further. Choose the video still that highlights the content the best. Also, try and match the image to the content in the promotional text or keywords

Display Ads are best suited to increase subscribers rather than directing them to the landing page.

YouTube In-Video Overlay Ads

As the name suggests, these ads are semi-transparent and appear on the lower 20% portion of the watch video space on YouTube. Link the call-to-action to the relevant landing pages as these ads have a higher chance of lead conversion.

You Tube True View Overlay Ads

With these ad formats, advertisers can advertise their ad inside the videos of their competitors. Overlay ads work well as they get more views without causing interruptions.

Video Optimisation & Best Practices for Video Ads

Try these tips to optimise your YouTube Videos and keep your viewers engaged for long: –

Link AdWords account and YouTube channel

Link AdWords and YouTube to allow both the networks to work together and provide deeper insights like click and engagement performance, reach and frequency, video viewership and other advanced data and reports.

Try the KISS theory – keep it (the video ad) short and simple

Hook viewers in 5 seconds. Create an engaging video content to elevate your customer’s video experience to get more viewer engagement.

Clearly, communicate the brand/service and provide a strong call-to-action button to guide the viewers to the next process i.e. make a purchase, visit a landing page, subscribe, like, share, comment and so on. Having a clear call-to-action within the ad helps direct traffic from the ads to your YouTube brands channel or website with additional video content

Deliver the most relevant message when the video begins, so the audience gets the crux of the video content, in case viewers plan to skip the ads after five seconds.

Use the remarketing list to define the audience

The demographics and other details help to create venturing into a new platform.

Creation of relevant playlists based on search

YouTube uses playtime or watchtime a factor in the algorithm to suggest videos and creating playlists can be used to boost the overall playtime for your videos. When the next video automatically starts playing at the end of the first video, there is a higher probability of keeping the viewer longer on your page.

Use Call-to-Action for subscription in the video to enable more channel subscribers & engagement

YouTube has a feature to Create “Subscription Links” that asks the visitors who click on the link to subscribe to the channel before playing the video. This can help gain more subscribers for the channel, thereby boosting the long-term reach & engagement. This Is How Many Brands Have Grown Their Subscriber Base.

Be open to comments from the viewers

As they say, any publicity is good publicity. While you receive comments and critics, it is also important to respond to the viewers.

Targeting and reaching the right audience for the content

YouTube has a potential to reach a vast audience. YouTube is the world’s second most-used search engine and the third most visited site after Google and Facebook. It has a total of 1.3 billion users and 300 hours of new video is uploaded every minute.

By Targeting video ads on YouTube, advertisers can reach relevant customers at the spur of the moment, just when they are interested in a particular product or service. YouTube’s varieties of targeting options help reach the right customers when it matters.

Advertise on YouTube, Video Marketing, YouTube Video Ads

Advertisers can use contextual placements to show ads on specific videos, channels or websites – places that attract audiences with high conversion potential. Advertisers can also target by keywords, interests, placements, remarketing lists, location and demographics – age, gender, and parental status.

Advertisers can also place their ads on your competitors’ videos and steal leads from right under their noses.

It is not only the volume of users that make advertising on YouTube so interesting, but also the nature of the platform and how audience interact with videos and the brands.

Cost of Video Advertising

The cost of making the video depends on the subject, message, length of the video, the kind of the video and depends on from one brand to another. Here is a guide on how your brand can create low cost videos. But advertising on video can be completely controlled and measured. An advertiser can spend as per his/her convenience and only pays when someone engages with the video ad or watches the video for 30 seconds and more. There are also other ways to optimise your Adwords and YouTube campaigns.

Tracking & Measuring Results

YouTube’s easy to use in-built analytics helps advertisers monitor the performance of the video ads and channels. Data’s like demographics, watch time and traffic sources help the advertisers to optimise the campaigns further. Advertisers can make adjustments to the ads at any time and also are free to run multiple ads at once to see which works best.

Google AdWords also provides certain key metrics to analyse the ad performances in detail. Want to increase leads and multiply your revenue? Log into AdWords account, click on the add new campaigns, select online video and start creating your campaigns. Remember the call-to-action button must make viewers click the ads and optimising the video ads is the key to better results.

Get started and leave comments in case you have any queries.