What Type of Content My Target Audience Will Find Engaging?

Content is King; a statement that has held true since the age of advertising. Like all great things, content marketing has evolved and improved over time. Gone are the days when brands would simply pin-up posters of their products in any given location to try and entice consumers.

Ogilvy Rolls Royce Ad

Take the above ad for example; published in 1958 by David Ogilvy’s company, the ad created a sensation among Americans of that era, and greatly pushed the sales of Rolls-Royce. Reading it today, you may find it hard to skim past the long content, but Ogilvy utilised one of the most powerful elements in advertising that still holds high regard today: Audience Engagement.

He did so by using a powerful Headline that was able to connect well with the emotions that the Target Audience felt at that time (the posh society of post-war America). Flash forward 6 ½ decades, Ogilvy’s methods of engagement are still applicable but have been morphed to fit into the current scenario of an internet and technology savvy world.

Content marketing is an advertiser’s new best friend; 71 percent of consumers today feel bombarded with ads on social media. Instead, they want more than just a flashy product commercial; they want an experience, a little taste of what to expect. Content Marketing can achieve that by creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content. The method also adds a layer of trust in Target Audience, Creating what brands crave the most: Loyalty towards their products. Since this is an extensive article we’ve we’ve split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.

  1. Why must you implement a content marketing strategy
  2. Popular content forms in use today
  3. Platforms on which content marketing thrives
  4. The content marketing formula
  5. Brand/Product/Service specific content marketing

Why must you implement a content marketing strategy?

Leads/Sales for a long period over new channels:

The fact that content marketing gives you an open playing field to mix and match with various content forms over a multitude of platforms, there is a big chance for your brand to generate leads, improve sales conversion and ultimately get closer to your Target Audience on a more personal level.

Reach consumers who use ad blockers:

Everyone hates a pop-up ad; they’re annoying, disorient you from an online experience and are generally considered as spam. Content marketing provides a more genuine, trustworthy advertising approach, one that actively induces consumer interaction.

Get Organic traffic/SEO:

Without SEO, anything you publish online will be lost forever in the massive sea of stars that is the World Wide Web. Content marketing has proven to be an SEO friendly marketing method, and provides credibility with boosting organic traffic.

Ad Fatigue:

Imagine seeing the same ad over and over again as you scroll through your Facebook feed. It can get annoying to the point where consumers lose interest in what the ad is trying to communicate. With content marketing, marketers can keep the essence of the ad fresh while varying the way the ad is presented.

Popular content forms in use today

Infographics:

Pretty much self-explanatory in its naming, Infographics is a presentation of data in a visual way. The concept is widely popular among readers, and gives license to creative freedom in graphical presentation, adding loads of value to the written content. Being a more comfortable way to consume information from, Infographics are likely to be shared three times more on Social Media than general content posts.

inphographic

Memes:

Short and sweet, Memes are one of the easiest content forms you can make. But bear in mind that they are not used for information, rather for entertainment. If done right, memes have a high chance of going viral, as consumers love nothing more than to share something outright hilarious.

Meme

Videos:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then videos are worth a million. No matter what you are promoting, there are always ways to present in on the screen. Videos have proven to be one of the most searched forms of information or entertainment, so to give your SEO a big boost, consider making one that is relevant to your brand, product or service.

Guides and E-Books:

Guides are a detailed form of content and specifically meant for sharing information. Guides work well for SEO purpose as Google’s crawlers are now paying more attention to long-form content that mixes and matches other content forms.

Guides & Ebooks

Book reviews:

There is a book for everything today, and your target audience is bound to pick up one. Avid readers will love to know how good a book is before they have a read, plus it gives off the impression that you are well versed in your subject matter, adding a layer of credibility to your brand. You can induce some consumer reaction by asking personal reviews.

Book Review

Product Reviews:

Like books, product reviews will boost your brand’s credibility, and if you engage professionally with services providers and manufacturers that are relevant to your industry, that credibility increases tenfold. Collaborate with influencers who can review your product and add a trust factor among consumers.

Product Reviews

“How-to” posts:

The age old 5Ws & 1H concept is still effective to date, and a “How to” post is something that is frequently searched. If you are SEO hungry, “How to” posts will help generate the same, as the format takes advantage long tail keyword searches, ultimately bumping up your site ranking.

How To Post

List:

Humans are hardwired to be obsessed with lists. If you make one relevant to your product or service, chances of it being read are very high. Lists are everywhere and can comprise of anything, and Google analytics have revealed that a numbered list (odd numbers count) are the most popular.

Lists

Case Studies:

Nothing spells professionalism better than a good old case study. Need to explain what your product or service is and its impact on consumers? Perform a case study with all those intricate details. Ultimately, you’ll get a healthy dose of credibility and if promoted well, a strong consumer following.

Case Study

Podcasts:

The radio may have lost its charm among general audience today, but audio files still hold high regard among commuters who like a good plug and play of useful information. If your Target Audience falls under such a category, podcasts could be a useful medium for some knowledge sharing.

Podcast

Remember, there is no hard and fast rule that you must try every form of content marketing. Instead, focus on adapting and implementing an idea into a select content type. When that idea morphs into a quality piece of content, your Target Audience will evolve from one-time consumers to a dedicated and loyal fan following.

Platforms on which content marketing thrives

No matter what type of content you choose to work with, you’ll need a base, a platform on which you’re content becomes viewable. In the online world, content representation into three types.

Platforms on which Social Media thrives

Paid Media:

Media that is bought and sold for; online advertisements like Google AdWords, Facebook ads, YouTube ads and sponsored content, have shown a very high percentage regarding reach towards the Target Audience, and is also reliant on ROI. Strong reach may increase the chance of a targeted user getting convinced to purchase, yet may not provide a longer, more sustainable impact that permanently etches your brand into the consumer’s memory.

Owned Media:

Owned media refers to platforms through which your content is promoted. Your Website, Facebook Page, YouTube profile, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram accounts are types of owned media. Think of owned media as your virtual office, space for you to actively promote everything your brand represents and connect to your Target Audience in the online world. Since owned media is just a platform, you are free to use it in any way you like for your content marketing needs. How effectively you use it, with your chosen content strategy, will determine the overall reach and interaction with potential consumers.

Earned Media:

Even if your brand is marketed well online, consumers need to be certain and feel a sense of trust with your product. You can achieve that trust factor through earned media; sharing of social media content, Twitter mentions, blog mentions, product reviews and influencer marketing. Of course, to gain such high level of trust among consumers, it takes time, but also pays off handsomely, in the long run, immensely boosting your brand loyalty.

The content marketing formula

Content marketing isn’t something you could just cook up out of an empty pot. The process requires careful planning and meticulous detailing with a whole host of ingredients blending to make fantastic pieces of share-worthy content on various platforms.

The Basic Formula:

Content Marketing = Ideation + Creation + Publishing + Promotion

Content Marketing Formula

Ideation:

Everything begins with an idea. It is from this seed that your entire content marketing plan branches out. To come up with a path-breaking idea you need to do research and lots of it. You achieve great content marketing when you bridge the gap.

“What they’re looking for”- Analyse your Target Audience:

This is the first and most critical step towards creating your content plan. When you can understand who our audience is and what their expectations are, you will be able to create more relevant content. Analyse these aspects:

  • Audience demographic (age, sex)
  • Audience geographic (location)
  • Audience behaviour (reactions towards competition brand’s content)

When you narrow down the points mentioned above, your next step is to hunt for relevant topics that are trending, valuable and share worthy and in some way link to your brand, product or service.

Analyse the Target Audience

“What we want to say”- Create a content strategy:

Question yourself as to why you are about to create a piece of content. What is your end goal with the content you are about to create? To make this easier and more understandable, create a content strategy. Your strategy must be able to answer one or all of these goals:

  • Boost brand awareness
  • Increase brand reach
  • Page promotions
  • Boost website visits
  • Focus on consumer interaction

Remember, strategies could change even after your content is created and published. Be open to a trial and error method before you push for massive promotions.

Creation:

With your strategy set and your ideas in full flow. It’s time for the actual creation of your content. Again, depending on your Target Audience, your type of content will have to vary in, but make sure you stick to a content formula that is valuable, relevant and has great visual appeal. Based on current market trends and audience expectation, keep your content fresh by mixing and matching its various forms like GIFs, Blog posts, Infographics, Videos, etc.  Ultimately, your content creation must sync well with your strategy and be able to:

  • Solve a problem
  • Trigger a purchase decision
  • Add value to SEO
  • Entertain

Creative Social Media post

Publishing:

Much like creating content for that relates to your Target Audience, publishing your content must also have a timed approach. Google Search algorithms and Facebook’s targeted post boosting have made it easier for marketers to preselect a publishing time and date, resulting in better and more accurate reach to the consumers. It is important to optimise content that is share-worthy on mobile devices as well, with a majority of consumers now spending more time on smartphones.

Publishing funnel

Promotion:

With over 27 million pieces of content being shared every day, your content is just a small grain of sand in a huge desert. To make that little grain noticeable among the rest, you need to make the most out of the promotional options available. So how do you amplify your content?

promotion strategy

Remember, none of these techniques will work wonders unless you connect them with the golden catalyst of content marketing- Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is a broad topic, so we’ve saved it for another detailed post.

Brand/Product/Service specific content marketing

Since content marketing is an ever-evolving subject matter based on shifting trends and change in consumer behaviour, there is no surefire successful approach to choosing an approach to your strategy. But, some content strategies work well over others depending on your brand, product or service. Let’s look at a few successful strategies.

Content Marketing for B2B:

When it comes to B2B content marketing, ultra-professionalism is important. Your task as a marketer will be to convince other business of working with you or using your services. Make sure your content is concise, to-the-point and expresses heavily on your services and the benefits it could offer to another business.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress Blog/Website, YouTube, Google AdWords

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to), Product Reviews, Product/Service specific social media posts

Content type for B2B

Content marketing for FMCG:

For FMCG brands, the content strategy must heavily revolve around consumer interaction. This means marketers are free to explore all sorts of content and modify them in a way that involves consumers intrigued and curious to know more about the brand’s products.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Guest blogging

Content Type:

GIFs, Memes, Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Guide based blog posts

content type for FMCG

Content marketing for real estate:

With a recent influx of the real estate market in India, developers are making a move into the online space to boost their project promotions further. As always, the competition is fierce, so the best reach towards consumers decides the big winner. Considering how huge the real estate industry is, having an online presence for developer and broker, while also complementing each other’s presence, is vital for the success of a real estate brand in the online space.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Google AdWords, WordPress Blog, Twitter

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to), Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Landing pages

content type for Real Estate

Content marketing for lifestyle brands:

Lifestyle brands, especially those in the fashion industry, have a mainstay in the digital marketing space. To get better online presence, lifestyle brands must be appealing both to targeted consumers and businesses.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords, WordPress Blog/Landing Page, Twitter, YouTube

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to/Lists/Guides), Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Video Promotions

content type for lifestyle brands

We end by quoting a famous line by David Ogilvy, “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine”. Content marketing is the most trusted and honest form of marketing and one that is sure to go a long way in establishing a healthy relationship with your Target Audience.

Are there any innovative content strategies you’ve cooked up? Feel free to share the in the comments below.

9 Ways to leverage Local SEO and Google Maps for your Business

When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing for your business, one must pay attention to things beyond just their own website, especially if you own a local business. In the past couple of years, digital marketers have gradually understood the importance of strong online marketing efforts that include local SEO and Google Maps (or Google My Business) as well. Read our blog on Demystifying the Basics of Search Engine Optimization if you getting started on this for the first time.

If you think it’s enough to just optimise your website to perfection, then you are on the wrong path. Since July 2014, Google uses an algorithm called Pigeon. This is one of the Google’s local search algorithm updates. The aim of this algorithm is to increase the ranking of local listings in a search.

The changes in the ranking made by this algorithm are also shown in the Google Maps’ results. In other terms, when a person searches for a particular kind of business in a locality, the results will be based on user location and the listing available in the local directory.

For example, if you are searching for Spas in Chennai on Google, the search result will be like this:

spas in chennai - 1

Even before the pages are ranked, there will be three map listings. The map listing will also have a toggle button – “More Places” that allows you to check for more map listings. Similarly, another search result for “Bakeries in Egmore” shows this result:

bakeries egmore - 2

When a person searches for “bakeries, Egmore” in the query box, he gets a result where there are three map listings and 5+ organic listings. So, even if you have the best website, it might be there at the 8th or ninth position. How many users would scroll down all the way through 8 or more entries to click on the actual website?

The amount of people who will reach until end of the page will definitely be way lesser than the ones who would click directly on the map listing or any organic listing. Hence, you must constantly watch these listings and optimise your presence in the map and directory sites. The 3-pack map listings by Google can be a marketing game-changer for your business for these have a highly-valuable exposure, thus generating quality traffic and new customers.

Here are some of the best practices that you must follow to implement a successful Google Maps Marketing and Local SEO strategy.

1. It’s is important to maintain a physical address for your business

No matter whether your business is B2B or B2C, it is important to maintain a local address for your company. This is important to rank in the Google local 3-pack map listing. Also, having a local address is an important search engine factor for local SEO. Google has reported that there is an increase in queries containing “near me” – for e.g.  restaurants near me or salons near me. The distance from the location of the user is critical in these searches.

2. Set up and maintain a Google My Business Account

Your Google My Business (GMB) account plays a major role in Google Maps Marketing and local SEO. In fact, your GMB determines and has an effect on your online presence in Google Maps, Search, and G+.

Google My Business offers a simple and easy way for you to create a listing for your business. You can also claim an existing one. You must just make sure that all the information listed in your GMB page is accurate and complete. It also gives you the ability to put up pictures of your business or a 360 degree view of your interiors. It’s also important to choose the most appropriate category to list your business. This can have a direct impact on what kind searches you show up for. What’s more? GMB is free.

3. Concentrate on your business’ NAP

Your business’ NAP – Name, Address, and Phone Number should be consistent in both your GMB page as well as on your website. Also, make sure that your business’ NAP appears exactly the same across the web on third-party websites, directory listings, and social media profiles. These citations, i.e. your company’s NAP in other websites and listings, determine the legitimacy of your business and its beneficial if your NAP is available in various websites.

4. Have a separate web page for each of your product or service

Your business might have multiple products or services. Dedicating a separate web page for each and every type of product and service can help in optimising every page. In other words, instead of over-optimizing a single page with a lot of keywords, you can optimise each page of your website with the relevant set of keywords around a theme. It doesn’t mean you need to have a page for every keyword, but make sure each type of product/service and each service area (i.e. locations) are covered.

5. Create mindful citations

Be it a citation in Zomato for your business or a mention on another website, you must make sure that the mentions are made sensibly. If you can build citations in trustworthy websites and good listing directories, you can increase the value of your local SEO significantly. Do also check out our infographic on 21 SEO Link Building Techniques.

Some of the things that you need to keep in mind while creating or building citations are:

  • Make sure that any citations about your business in 100% accurate, especially the NAP.
  • Remove or place a request to remove any duplicate listings in listing directories.
  • Try to build mentions in websites that are relevant to your industries.

6. Work towards generating Google Reviews (of course, positive ones)

Reviews in Google Places are a crucial ranking factor for the search engine. Having good reviews in Google will definitely assist you in being listed in the Google 3-pack map listings. You can ask your customers to leave a review. Alternatively, you can also offer incentives or discounts on next purchase for customers who review your service or product on Google. Even reviews from social media channels are now displayed on Google. You may also find it interesting to read our blog on Why Social Media Matters for SEO?.

7. Embed Google Maps on your site

Last but not least – embed the Google Map of your business’ location on your website in the “contact us” page. This technique is a proven way to boost the SEO value of your website. This needs to be combined with Local Schema to give Google complete visibility on what kind of business is being run.

Many business owners have found Google Maps and Local SEO marketing to be intensely helpful and beneficial for their businesses. Have you started applying these best practices? Let us know in the comments below.

8. Make sure your website & blog are super fast

In recent times there has been a lot of talk on website speed and implementation of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to ensure that experience on mobile and desktop is fantastic. This is critical even for a local business because blog content focussed on your city or location of business can be crucial in attracting the right audience. For example, one of our most popular blogs is on marketing events in Bangalore and we created this to target marketing professionals in the city when we first launched our services there.

marketing events in bangalore -3

9. Build a brand

Google and other search engines are starting to not only reward content that is customised to users (in this case content can be customised to a local audience) and they continue to show preference for sites and brands that users already know of. Hence its critical to keep track of how many users are searching for your brand (Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help with that) and not just for the product & service that you are offering.

Content Marketing in 2017 – Digital Chai Pe Charcha, Bengaluru

The second edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Bengaluru was held on 9th Dec, 2016. We had an audience of 25 including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking active part in the discussion. The topic of discussion was achieving content marketing success in 2017 and beyond.

img_20161209_162716354

We had done a similar discussion on content marketing in Chennai in early 2016.

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

 

Demystifying the basics of Search Engine Optimisation

Optimising your website Google search results is probably one of the most important things a brand can do. This is usually called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and is one of the least understood concepts in the marketing world. While SEO has changed over the last 10 years, its fundamentals remain the same and I have highlighted what are the key things to keep in mind when getting started.

Understanding what your customer or users are searching for

The first step is to understand what kind of content your customers or users want. You could use the free Google Keyword research tool or a paid tool like Moz Explorer to get a sense of it. We also use interesting tools like Answer the Public, which groups search terms together to give you a better understanding. It might be also useful to use Buzzsumo to understand what kind of content consumers are viewing and sharing via social media channels.

It’s important to understand that content here doesn’t mean only written content – it could be in the form of infographics, videos, interactive graphs, tools/calculators etc. So do the research to understand what consumers are searching for or intuitively would want.

Creating content that caters to the user’s need

Virtually everyone in the digital marketing space has finally boarded the content marketing bandwagon. We know now that creating good content for a brand is the best way to get a good ranking in Google search results. So just writing ‘Good and Unique Content’ should do the trick right? Not any more.

Content marketing and blogging has risen by leaps and bounds in the last five to six years. The rules have changed and writing ‘Good and Unique Content’ is just not enough. Writing content that covers only the basic of any topic is very easy. A user may probably visit your blog and feel that they now know something about this topic and choose not spend more than a few minutes on it. Chances of such blogs, making into the top ten positions of the Google search results are very slim. The modern SEO’s demand are much higher and you need to have the best content in your category to make it into the top results organically. Take your regular content, make it 10X bigger and better. In fact, user experience also plays a big role in the ranking algorithm making it even more important for the need to move from ‘Good And Unique Content’ to a ‘10X Content’. Only then can you hope to try and rank for those keywords

Here is a detailed guide on 10 ways to ensure that your content is 10X times better than anyone else. You could also exploring creating content in multiple languages if you feel your users would engage with such content.

Amplify the content to ensure it reaches the audience and it gets backlinks

The content is only as good as the number of people its able to reach. If you create 10X content you are likely to start showing up in search results in a few weeks (8-10 weeks for sites that have been around). Till then its key to amplify the content via social media, paid advertising, social bookmarking as well as link building requests.

Social media and SEO are two interlinked strategies as both are organic driven and is dependent on fresh content appealing to the viewers. There is no direct mention by Google that increase in social media followers will directly improve the rankings for a specific set of reason. However, Google always insists on quality links and content rather than the quantity of shares and links. Read this blog on why social media matters to SEO to get a better idea of how to leverage channels like Facebook and Twitter to amplify your content.

Social Bookmarking is another way to ensure you not only get backlinks but improve the chance of being found. Quora is also an interesting platform to do that.

Lastly, its important to build backlinks as this is one of the corner stones on which rankings improve. Backlink is essentially any link pointing from an external site to yours. Though the number of backlinks is important but poor quality or spammy backlinks should be avoided. It can result in a negative penalty for your website by Google. Influencer marketing can also be an effective tool to get relevant backlinks.

Ensure website is fast and mobile responsive

One common mistake we see brands and websites doing is ignoring the speed of the website, which accordingly to google is one of the most critical aspects in ranking. They even have new features like AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to help websites overcome this issue.

Having a website which is mobile and tablet responsive is again a given today. Users consume content across devices and the websites need to be user friendly across devices too. Brands need to leverage every mobile micro moment of consumers and for that you need an amazing mobile website.

Technical SEO elements

This involves some help from your digital team as it requires SEO knowledge as well as technology/development expertise to execute. This includes elements like headings, tags (to allow Google to understand what content/images that you have on your site), structured data (to tell Google what kind of content it is – e.g. whether it’s a receipe or a product review or just a blog article), implementing speed elements including AMP and redirecting old urls to new urls.

Track Results & be patient

It’s important to track your return on investment for such SEO activities and we usually do that by tracking not only the rank of your keyword (which is less important these days) but by tracking the growth of traffic from Google over a period of time. It takes about 4-6 months to see any substantive results. Regular creation of 10X content is key to growth in traffic from Google and that should be the focus area on an ongoing basis.

The article was originally published at Business Line on Campus, where I write a column called Going Digital.

Making Content Marketing work for your Brand – Digital Summit

Below is the gist of the panel discussion on Making Content Marketing work for your Brand at the Digital Leadership Summit In Chennai In August 2016. We had two panellists moderated by Mr Prem Kumar Sivakumaran from The Smart CEO Magazine: Ms D Vijayalakhmi – Murugappa Group and Mr Rajasekar KS – matrimony.com.

Content-Marketing-Panel-Social-Beat-Digital-Leadership-Summit-2016-Chennai

Summary of the Pannel Discussion

  • Content marketing needs to be more about content and less about marketing
  • Target the right platform that connects with all your key audience
  • Make it lesser about the brand and more about the reader
  • Connect with your audience with emotional stories
  • Video is an effective marketing tool that will continue to grow

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the current buzz word, and the session started with a discussion on what each of them feels about content marketing. We also have had a Digital Chai Pe Charcha On Content Marketing Success in 2016 andyou Can Read It Here.

Viji from Murugappa Group highlighted that content should be something that is interesting to all readers. Content that makes the reader feel good, look good and do good is a successful content marketing campaign. It should be lesser about the brand and more about the audience. For more detailed steps on creating high quality content check out our blog on 10 Ways To Create 10x Content.

Rajasekar expressed that content marketing is more about content and less about marketing. While most brands believe that it is about amplification, Raj said that it’s more about understanding the customer and their problems. He also said that when a company starts talking about customers problem, its business starts and when it starts talking about its business, its problems start. Content should engage the customers; then it can be a successful one.

Content marketing strategy

At Murugappa Group, it is predominantly about the brand itself. Viji spoke about how at Murugappa, they also think of fun and meaningful stories and try and connect with the target audience, even when it is about the B2B brands.

Raj spoke about their initiatives at happymarriages.com, a content marketing initiative set up by BharathMatrimony. He talked about how it was initially tough to create content around it because people were unwilling to talk about their expectations from marriage. So his team set about trying to understand what issues couple would face. After three months of research, they arrived at 500 themes and worked with authors, senior writers and an internal team to write engaging content that the audience could relate to.

While talking about strategies, one of the members of the audience asked an interesting question about with so much content out there, how do to stand out? The panellists agreed that crowdsourcing high-quality content is the answer. They also spoke about examples of organisations such as Amercian Express Bank, GE initiative that has done a great job in standing out. Prem also highlighted using a platform such as curata.com, a platform that curates content, which also enables marketers to scale content marketing to grow leads and revenue.

How do you measure success?

The panelists both agreed that although you can look at shares and likes, the success can be measured only when you get customer feedback. If a content piece has solved the customer’s pain points, then you have succeeded. They also urged any company using content marketing to use this as a metric.

Video is an effective marketing tool

The panellists spoke about how video is the most captivating of all channels, and each of them highlighted how they leveraged video in their organisations. Raj explained how his team went to five cities and interviewed 36 couples. They chatted with customers about relationships and aired these on national TV.

Viji talked about the Murugappa Madras Song. She highlighted how the company found a connect and used that to create a video that went viral. The video was so powerful that even a  city-based league team requested the conglomerate to make an anthem for them as well.

The panellists also urged marketers to resist making a viral video for the sake of making one and asked marketers to keep their ears tuned to the customer.

There are a lot of ways in which you can create good quality videos with a low budget. Read our blog to know more.

Emotion is essential

Whatever be the industry, there is always a way create stories. The key is to understand the audience. Viji mentioned the farmer video that the Murugappa Group made. They asked a simple question, “What is the most important job in the word?” This emotional video stuck a cord with the public and was shared far and wide not only on social media but also on WhatsApp.

Integrating PR and content marketing

The panellists advised startups to leverage PR and stated examples of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and how they used their social media campaign to not only gain visibility but also get a lot of PR coverage as well.

Raj also spoke about Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Airlines jumping off a ten storeyed building and how the media wrote about it. He also asked marketers only to do these crazy stunts if it suits their personality and the brand. PR is the biggest pipe to the audience, and it can get customers. So whatever campaign a marketer does, it is important to leverage PR.

Content marketing is a must-do for all brands, and more brands are willing to spend money on it. Raj also spoke about how any marketing initiative is ultimately boiling down to content and about how marketing cannot exist without content. Content is the only pipe you can sell any product.

Prem also added that the first ever content market initiative was done in the early 1900s by John Deere, the tractor company when they created a magazine ‘Furrow.’ So the concept is not new only the term Content Marketing is.

 

 

 

Vikas at MDI, Gurgaon on Role of Content & Influencer Marketing

It was an interesting evening spent at MDI Gurgaon with students of Consumer Behaviour. We were talking about the role of Communities, Content & Influencer Marketing on Consumer Behaviour. See the below slide share for details on the discussion we had.

The students had a lot of questions, especially around influencer marketing and its ethics. Many of these can be found in the FAQs of Influencer Marketing here.

MDI-Gurgaon-Influencer-Content-Marketing-Lecture-Vikas-Chawla

 

How mobile search can help offline retailers in India

While some might say that digital has opened the doors to online players and has blurred the existence of local retail stores, new research says that the relationship between digital marketing & in-store shopping is far more interconnected than that. Foot traffic & word-of-mouth which were the assets of offline retailers before digital & mobile entered the lives of people, are not anymore the only assets which can be relied on.

Local retailers, in general, believe that online marketing works only for e-commerce websites. But, digital doesn’t just drive e-commerce, it actually gets consumers into local stores.

Connecting offline retailers to the mobile users

We are living in “always-on search world”, where people are always able to search. When they want to buy things or when they do have a query, they turn to their smartphones. Consumers now spend more than 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones.

Impact of mobile on the store visit

There was a time when people would have to get to their computers. But now, searches on the desktop have dropped as mobile is always in reach. It is found that 21 percent of in-store shopping in urban India is influenced by digital and 18 percent is influenced by mobile. If you have a physical store, then mobile search is the new threshold to your store.

Store visits after online research

Most offline retailers in India are not aware of various mobile marketing techniques which they think are only for e-commerce players. This has led to them not making efficient use of the web to provide necessary information to the customer. Whereas, according to research customers are likely to go to an offline store when they find the store they are looking for listed in search results. It is found that 3 out of 4 shoppers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores.

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    Image source- https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/

The retailers need to realize that consumers shop digitally before going into the store and they should make sure they provide all the information that customers are looking for online. Thus, retailers should have the right digital marketers as this will help to drive more customers to visit the stores.

Online Advertising Techniques To Create Online Presence

What most offline retailers lack is the right guidance how digital marketing can be leveraged to bring sales. There are many different ways in which the visits to their local store can be boosted.

  • Search Advertising

This is the most effective method to reach out to as many customers as possible as shown by recent statistics. Many big companies engage in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This is because PPC ads work in a way that brings best customer attention with minimal expenditure.

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Brand Search Advertising reinforces the brand name, increases brand value and brings about brand awareness. These ads are so effective because they give the customer all the information he/she needs to know about the brand within a few lines. This way the customer does not spend a lot of time reading the ad, but manages to get the required information.
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Also, ads can be shown to the people who search for the products using relevant terms. For example, one who is looking for a laptop store close to his location can be targeted using relevant search terms like laptop store near me, laptop stores in Chennai, which people normally use.

Another advantage of the PPC ads is that they can be targeted to the desired audience of a particular location, preferably places around their stores using Radius targeting. This way the ads are shown only to the people who might be interested in the product or service and more likely visit the store.

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Since the retailer is charged each time these ads are clicked, showing these ads to a targeted audience will result in an increased conversion rate which will in turn result in an increased ROI. Where they appear is chosen by the retailer, but its ranking is decided by Google based on a number of factors.

  • Organic Search Listings

This is the most traditional method by which offline retailers can show up on a customer’s search field below top PPC ads without having to pay a penny. A link to the retailer’s website automatically shows on the customer’s screen when he/she searches for something relevant to the products offered by the local store.

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Where the retailer’s website is listed is again decided by Google based on the relevance of content and other factors. What the retailer should ensure is to provide the right and relevant content on the website of the store so that it shows up higher in the  organic search listings. Hence, by this way the store can get a few more customers to visit its website by making sure it has a user -friendly website.

  • Google Business Local Listings

An important feature that drags customers to stores near their current location is the store locator available on Google. Using this feature the customers can know exactly how far the store is located from their present location and they can head straight to the store with the navigation feature of Google maps. Hence it is essential that all stores add their location on Google using Business map locator.

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When a customer searches for something like textile stores, a list of textile stores nearby his/her location shows up with the address information of each store. By clicking on any of these stores in the list the customer can know exactly how far the store is and how long will it take to get there with the help of Google maps. Hence, if a customer knows that a store is close by to his/her location, then it drives the customer to visit the store.

  • Tracking Results

In order to track the source of the leads that we receive through the above advertising methods, it’s recommended to generate unique phone numbers for each advertising channel. This way we can measure the effectiveness of each channel.

Digital bridges the gap between customers and stores

Today the consumer’s path to purchase is becoming increasingly mobile. Retailers that provide relevant, local information online will increase both reach and sales. While helping to drive customer in-store it will also help to enhance the customer’s experience once he/she has entered the store. Mobile has reshaped the way the people shop, that is in a good way and retailers who make use of this in the right way will see themselves moving ahead.

 

Online reputation management can make or break your brand

Online Reputation Management has become an integral part of any brand’s digital strategy, as the online consumer base is constantly growing. According to a recent survey, 70% of Indians online prefer or have used Social Media for customer service or purchase recommendations at least once. With more and more consumers actively sharing and looking out for information online, it becomes crucial for brands to have a successful ORM strategy in place.

What is ORM?

It is the process of managing and improving your brand’s reputation through positive content promotion and prompt redressal of consumer complaints and grievances online. This customer-centric approach ensures credibility and helps monitor the brand sentiment online. In order to maintain a positive brand image, businesses need to constantly monitor conversations around their brand and the industry across social media, community forums, review sites, blogs and all over the internet. There are ORM tools available to track, analyse and manage online content, thereby making it easy for brands to streamline the process and carryout quality checks frequently.

Impact of Online Reputation Management

Understanding how Online Reputation Management can impact your brand identity and business objectives is important, no matter how big or small the enterprise is. Here are some pointers on the key aspects of ORM can make or break your brand:

Listen or Lose: Knowing what your customers are talking about your business online is very crucial for customer retention and acquiring new prospects. Majority of the consumers today refer to reviews and recommendations on various sites and social media platforms before making a purchase decision. Witnessing negative feedback about your service or product online can lead to distrust and drop in sales.

Hence, a timely response system needs to be in place to address customer grievances not just on social media, but also on review portals and forums that can show up on the Google Search results.

Respond to Regain Trust: One of the most common mistakes that brands make when it comes to Online Reputation Management is deleting or avoiding a customer complaint. Covering up an issue is never a solution, as customer stories tend to have a greater reach and impact. Consumers appreciate public signs of transparency and honesty; hence always respond to negative comments and take the issue offline if needed.

When the issue is resolved promptly, there are higher chances of this troubled customer turning into a brand evangelist and post positive feedback about the brand’s approach and customer service. To know how you can efficiently track and respond to feedback on social media, see our detailed blog.

Be Quick to Acknowledge Feedback: According to an average Internet user, a brand needs to respond to a consumer’s query or feedback online within 30 minutes or an hour. Prompt response with a relevant solution goes a long way in showing consumers that you are listening to them. It’s also one of the easiest ways to win back your customer’s trust and let them know you value them.

If you are unsure about something, it is always better to inform your customers that you are looking into the issue and will get in touch shortly regarding the corrective action. Because, more the time taken to respond, severe the damage is. If you are a B2C brand where the consumer engagement rate is high, opt for ORM tools that can help you streamline this process.

ResponsivenessWhile Facebook already has ‘Responsiveness’ badges on Brand Pages, Twitter is testing it out on select accounts

 

Climb the Search Engine Ladder: There are close to 91 Million searches performed on Google each day. How many of those do you think could be about your brand? Big or small, leverage on SEO to make positive content dominate the Google Search results and push down the negative references about your brand. Promoting fresh, useful and positive content on various web pages about your brand can help in outranking negative comments over a period of time.

Most brands also take an integrated approach to effectively use Influencer Marketing in order to create positive word-of-mouth. This includes creation of blogs or reviews across community platforms, online review portals and social media.

Customer Delight Made Easy: Being available online and making customer interactions meaningful helps in exceeding their expectations. A happy customer likes to share positive experiences and eventually becomes a brand loyalist. Businesses in the servicing industry can take the ORM route to dominate the competitive marketplace and demonstrate their trustworthiness & commitment to customers.

In order to achieve this, brands need to actively track brand mentions and follow conversations online to respond and initiate conversations. Being proactive not only helps to keep negative sentiments at bay, but also helps in building a positive brand perception.

Customer Delight

JetBlue is an airline company in United States, well known for its customer service. When Twitter user Alexa Burrows randomly tweeted about the end of her holiday and jokingly asked the airline company for a welcome home parade, JetBlue did go that extra mile to delight the customer and created a positive brand experience.

 

Establish your Brand Personality: Even though most brands are online and making efforts to improve customer experience, only few stand out. A unique approach towards addressing concerns and encouraging conversations helps in building the brand and differentiating yourself from the competitors. Online Reputation Management also serves as an opportunity to showcase your brand persona and cultivate a social media voice that will amaze your consumers.

Being witty and creative is one of the easiest ways to get noticed and make an impact on digital media platforms. Below is an example of Ola’s quirky response to a customer.

Brand Personality

Online Reputation Management could be the missing piece in your digital strategy if you’re looking to create a difference and delight customers, but not there yet. Have you deployed effective ORM strategies for your brand and witnessed how it’s making or breaking your brand? Do write to us in the ‘Comments’ section.

Mobile First Strategy to leverage micro moments of consumers

Micro Moments has become a buzzword in the digital marketing environment in recent times. Especially, after Google’s content marketing team, Think with Google, came up with this phrase, more and more digital marketers are trying to utilize the micro moments to benefit their brands.

To start with, more and more consumers are using smart phones for most of their browsing. According to two different Google consumer surveys, almost 68% of smart phone users say that they check their smart phone within 15 minutes of waking up every morning; also, 30% of these users admit that they actually get anxious, when they don’t have their smart phones with them. In most countries, searches happen more via mobiles than desktop computers. This means that digital marketers, who intend to make an impression with their clients, should adapt mobile first strategy religiously.

According to the often quoted KPCB Internet Trends Report, it is said that most people check their phones about 150 times a day and they spend 177 minutes on an average with their phones per day. This means that, on an average, a mobile session lasts for just 70 seconds. Apart from texting their partners, sharing their selfies or travel pictures, commenting on their friends’ photos, there is a specific point of time where people look at their smart phones to get influenced by brands. These small moments where the consumers look for information on their phones are the micro moments that every digital marketer should utilize.

Four types of micro moments

According to Think with Google, these micro moments can be classified into four, namely:

  1. I-want-to-know moments: More and more users are looking up for information online. On the go, many users search for different information ranging from routes to their destination to deals in ecommerce sites. The amount of such consumers have increased significantly in the past few years.
  2. I-want-to-go-moments: More than ¾ of users use their smart phone users use search engine via their phone to look for any local store or company. Even to look up for something as trivial as an electrician or florist, people use their smart phones. According to Google Trends report, in the year 2014-2015, there is 2x increase in “near me” based search interest.
  3. I-want-to-do moments: While doing a task, most users use their smart phones to look see instructions. Be it any DIY craft or a simple day-to-day recipe, people use their smart phones to check how to do what they want to do.
  4. I-want-to-buy moments: This is the most explicit micro moment. Before purchasing a product online or offline, more than 80% people actually look up their phones for consultation before buying. Also, mobile conversion rates for ecommerce sites have significantly increased in the recent times.

These are the four micro moments that are crucial for any business. With consumers’ online attention span being very low, i.e. as low as few seconds, to leverage these micro moments of consumers, brands must adapt mobile first strategy.

Four ways to leverage consumers’ micro moments:

To grasp your consumers’ micro moments, a brand must refine all its contents to be mobile responsive and follow these four approaches.

1. Being there for the users always

One of the interesting facts about most consumers is that they might not be rigid on what brand they want. If they are looking at their phone for information or merely browsing, they might be more interested to buy your products if the information you provide interest them. Especially, while looking for information, users pick the business that are there in their search results and that have the most attention-seeking content.

By being there always in their smart phone, via both paid and organic methods, you stand a more chance than your competitors to convert them into your customers. One may think that by merely being there in the social media, how can a brand make the smart phone users become its consumers. The true fact is that by being there when users need some information, your brand is helping customers in their decision journey.

Also, at this point, mobile first strategy plays a major role. Since most of the searches happen via mobile phones, your website, landing pages, ads, posts, and any content should be mobile responsive. Also, it must be interesting and crisp to be read within those micro moments.

2. Providing users the information they need

While you can make an amazing first impression with the first approach, to make the users your clients/customers, you need to do something more; in fact, you must do something more powerful. Bounce rate of many sites and uninstalling of many apps are on a rise; the main reason for this is that most of these brands fail to be useful to their customers in the four micro moments explained above.

If your consumer is on a search engine searching to buy a product related to your brand, he or she is more likely to pick your brand over a hundred others when your content is useful than the others. We have a detailed strategy on how to create 10X better content than your competitors. With mobile first strategy, you are in a good spot because it allows you create and showcase more pertinent content in these micro moments. This is why in our view a blog is important for every business. Using information like their past search history, location, time of search, and keywords, one can efficiently decide what to showcase to which user.

For example, if you are a brand that has multiple products, based on the target group, their preferences, you can use retargeting to showcase products/creatives that are useful to them. Rest assured, you would have definitely leveraged their micro moment.

3. Catching up with users’ speed

If your mobile site or app takes a long time to load, the users are more likely to leave your site/app for other that of other brands. All your efforts of providing useful content and being there goes waste, if the speed at which your information loads is slow. To optimize your mobile site and app speed to suit the speed of your customers, you must follow these steps:

  1. Keep it simple: Having too many forms, additional or redundant steps, etc. makes your customer bored. Have a one step sign up form, i.e. via Facebook or Google. Also, enable click-to-call options, instead of displaying phone numbers. Similarly, all addresses must be linked to GPS to open via maps directly. This way, the users will be able to do what they want to do without any hindrances.
  2. Foresee users’ expectations: From predictions to drop down menus, from enabling auto-fill option to getting past browsing history, try everything that will speed up the process. You can also display products/services on the app based on their past search history.
  3. Combine the best UI with simple design: As much as an attention-seeking UI is important, it will be of no use, if it takes too long to load. Therefore, the app/mobile site must not only be designed to be user-friendly but must also be designed in a way that it loads quickly.

Almost 40% of users wait not more than 3 seconds for a site to load before leaving the site, if you do not optimize your site better, all your other efforts becomes futile.

4. Measuring your strategy

You have done your best by being there, being useful, and being quick. With mobile first approach, these efforts will definitely reap results. The results can either be customers or leads to prospective customers. However, on the longer run, measuring and reviewing your micro moments strategy is what helps you to refine and evolve with the evolving trends.

Why are blogs important for every business?

Blogs are no longer just an expression of an individual or a platform to share one’s ideas and thoughts. Blogs have started to be one of the most influential and useful tools in the market space. It’s an excellent way to showcase thought leadership as well as keep consumers updated on what’s happening in the company and with the products/services. It is important to note that, in business blogging, the blogs must be related to the key area of the business and needs to be engaging for the readers. That being said, there are still a lot of businesses that are not very active in the blogging in spite of the inherent benefits of blogging. This blog aims to bring out the importance of business blog!

 

Increases traffic to your website
A website is a great asset to any company and anything that brings traffic to the site only doubles the asset’s value. The traffic on a website is very crucial, which indeed serves in achieving the objective of the site. One of the main reasons why people don’t return to a brand’s website is because it is idle and inactive. Blogs give the internet users a great reason to visit your site and increase the traffic. According to a HubSpot survey, 60% of the brands who have constant blogging on their websites acquire more customers than the others. Blogs help people or potential customers discover your website amongst million others. This happens when the blogs are informational and also related to what users would like to read from your website. It is also said that blogging shows a professional approach for the brand business. By providing useful information, it attracts people to visit the site even repeatedly. Who wouldn’t like more visitors to their website, anyway?

 

Increases Search Engine traffic
To appear in SERP #1 is a dream! And to get there, you need to really work hard . There are more than 200 aspects which determine your rank in Google. But, nothing like some good content! Blogs are now a vital part of Search Engine Optimization and can be leveraged upon in two ways. One, include it as just an additional index page to your website which Google then identifies and eventually will garner organic search results. Another way is to include targeted keywords and links which will help in increasing the ranking of the site by getting you noticed more in the search results. This exercise becomes easier with the help of SEO plug-ins. By using an SEO plug-in like Yoast which calculates the density of the appearance of the focus keyword in the blog will check whether the right keyword is used on the blog. Research shows blogging increases inbound links by 97 percent, the most important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. Quality content and regular updates are an indication to Google that the website is active with a routine content flow! Explore some of the latest SEO hacks, here.

 

 

Customer Acquisition and Lead generation
The ultimate goal for every business, big or small is to generate revenue and blogs help you do that. Regular blogging, as mentioned earlier increases the traffic to your website. Small businesses with blogs are said to generate more leads by 126%. The increase in traffic will result in more people taking note of your business and eventually exploring the rest of your website where all your business services are listed. This is a great way of acquiring customers without bombarding them with self-promotional content. While creating content you should keep in mind that every person who visits your website has the potential to be a customer. When your target audience finds your blog interesting, they may be more interested in your business than they were before and the chances of conversion are higher.

 

Content creation for social media platforms
Another reason why blogs are important to your business is that they create a huge content value for Social Media Marketing. It is almost mandatory for brands to have an identity on social media and the only differentiation is content. Content defines your brand identity and helps you stand apart from the rest of the crowd. Creating quality content in the form of blogs and sharing them on the social media channels can help get more reach. The number of likes, shares, retweets will testify for your content. Here’s an interesting and informative blog post that was shared on social media for amplification.There are many other ways to amplify your content online. Click here to read about it.

 

 

Helps in building the brand
Branding is the core element to develop your business. Every business is striving hard to create a brand for them and to make people see them as THE BRAND and not just any brand. Blogging is a huge opportunity for you to build a brand for your company. It is, after all, the most organic method of getting people to notice your brand online. The key is to create a blog which adds value and is unique in its content approach and style. By creating specific, targeted content, you may focus more specifically on your target audience leading to increasing your exposure among people. Learn how Content Marketing is one best way to give your brand an image!

 

 

Establishes authority and expertise
A good blog always answers a question, solves a problem or gives something valuable for a takeaway. When a brand constantly shares blogs that are useful to the customers, it develops an authoritative image in their minds. For example, for a group of angel investors, blog topics like- Tips for entrepreneurs, How to grow as a startup etc. along with other business strategies are going to be of some value to their readers. The ultimate aim is that when a user reads your blog, he/she should finish it with some value-addition. When people find answers or solutions on our blog, they are more likely to become your follower and they start seeing you as a source of information. Here are 10 ways to create better content for your readers.

 

 

Increases customer interaction
It is important for any brand to stay connected with their audience. The underlying factor behind the success of any business is the concern to satisfy the end customer and not just run your firm for money. To do so, brands should establish a good rapport with the customers. To improve on the customer interactions front, brands need to establish higher recall. The question is how do blogs help in this aspect? A higher recall can be established for your brand when you provide knowledge to your consumers and this, in turn, improves the relationship your brand has with the customers. It helps build trust which turns into brand loyalty eventually.

In a world where content speaks for itself and does half the job of a brand, blogs are the most crucial thing to look upon as a marketer. When blogging becomes a strategy in your marketing plan, you get a powerful tool to fight against your online competitors. If your company hasn’t started blogging, this piece is an indicator that it should!

Was this blog useful? Share your thoughts on other reasons you started blogging!

 

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