The digital era has significantly influenced the retail business models. It’s a scintillating fact to find out how business around the world accommodates technology and uses the same to create marketing strategies that encompass a personalized experience to the end user. The virtual world has opened a new world for entrepreneurs to fidget, to dabble into the world of bits and bytes, to slay the digital dragons (the online dwellers), and to bag the billions.
The digital penetration is sporadic and beguiling. It’s no wonder why our generation finds the virtual world much enticing. Who could shade away from a clutches of the digital world?
A whole new world of staggering gizmos is right at fingertip. One tap, and starts your digital journey.
The ease to connect and collaborate with people from diverse cultures, without letting the geographical boundaries limit your creative spur has invited the mass populous to enjoy the technological transformation. Think about it this way, how well are we connected to the global audience? How closer are we to the omnipotent?
Now, Can you visualize the steep learning curve involved?
The seemingly tantalizing technological outbursts do come with certain challenges. A myriad of solutions and alternates are developed in the last decade. The technological revolution has radically modified the traditional customer journey. Customers are introduced to tools and technologies that enable them to make an informed decision. The customer wants to make sure that every penny they spend brings in an additional value.
Don’t want to keep you waiting. Sail with me, let’s explore the ocean. Read till you find the ingot.
Let’s start with a Question, Why do you want to take the digital wagon?
It’s important that you understand the reason behind your action.
Explore the Niche and Make Sure That there is a Digital Demand
Before you make your move, make sure that you have invested enough time to figure out whether there is a market demand for the product. Keep this in mind, not every business idea has a commercial value. The earlier you get this right the better for you.
Most entrepreneurs fall for the fallacy of “If you build it, people will come and buy it”. A product centric strategy may not be the right fit in a disruptive world. As a startup, your business is a speck in a dynamic world. Digital bloom gives a neutral platform, where you should be ready to compete with the giants, giants who have a strong base and vast resource at their disposal.
Battle station, arm yourself - better start off with a customer centric strategy. To create a customer centric strategy you should make sure that you are well aware of the market pulse and what your target segment demands from you.
Exploring the industry and the market will help you find a few golden nuggets that could help synergize a winning strategy. When exploring the industry/ market, make an effort to reach out to people who have hands on experience. Be it the vendors, wholesalers, manufactures, do reach out to them and gather all the information possible. Note down their inputs and identify the market gap (if there exists one). Post the analysis, figure out what kind of product/ solution is perfect for the niche segment.
Taking the extra steps to cover that additional ground will make a huge difference. To the least, the perspective at which you see the industry will change. Once the perspective changes, you will be able to see new opportunities.
Fashion a Buyer’s Persona - Or you End Up Targeting the Wrong Folks
It’s incorrect to believe that everyone buys from you. As an entrepreneur, it's high time that you realize this. Don’t make vapid efforts that end up driving the wrong crowd to the storefront. In the digital world, it's quite easy to get carried away.
Make sure your efforts are guided in the right direction.
Creating a buyer’s persona will help you identify the right customers who are interested in your products or services. The main objective of creating a buyer’s persona is that the activity will help you identify the taste and preference of your customers. Once you are able to get a deeper insight into the customer's desires, then you will be able to recognize what inspires them to consider a solution, and what motivates them to carry forward their buyer’s journey.
Once you gain that knowledge then it gets easier for you to position the brand proposition.
When creating a customer persona/ customer profile, make sure you jot down the pain points of your target customers. Once you have listed the fears and concerns of your customer then it gets easier for you to generate products that best fits the consumer demand.
Don’t let the global community baffle you. Stop chasing the idea of “Everyone is my customer”. Don’t end up chasing people who are not looking for your solution.
Set Aside a Keyword Matrix
The traditional keyword strategy is not something that you should follow. At the same time you should consider the fact that even though search has dramatically refined in terms of all its metrics, still most search queries are some way related to keywords. So, you cannot rule out keywords as something that doesn’t exist anymore.
By creating a keyword metric you will get a clear clarity on what search queries to target and which keyword combination is the best. Not all keywords can guarantee conversion. As a business, online traffic is irrelevant if they are not converting to paid customers. Designing a keyword matrix based on the context and intent of the search query will help ease the process.
Map the keywords that share a common intent.
Consider this way, a person searching for a restaurant could mean a lot of things. He/ she may be looking for a regular restaurant that serves Chinese/ continental/ south Indian/ north Indian cuisines etc. So if your restaurant is specialized in “Naati Cuisine”, then you need to consider the fact that a majority of people who are interested in the cuisine will be the people who prefer to explore the diverse taste of that particular locality/ neighbourhood.
So from a business perspective, you may need to take a step back and think about the commercial value individual keywords are going to bring.
Visualize the buyer’s persona and decide what kind of keywords are the best fit to the decision stage, what search queries fall in the consideration stage, and what keywords should I use to educate the customer in the awareness stage.
Paid Search Campaigns
Have a Clear Idea on What Keywords Should Be used to Optimize the Campaign
When planning to build a business establishment it's important that you have a reserve budget set aside for paid campaigns. Paid campaigns like search and PLA’s work mostly based on the keywords that you opt. The most fascinating part about paid campaigns is that when done right these campaigns will help drive instant results.
Paid campaigns created without an objective in mind could backfire. Go for a keyword theme and create a campaign around the same.
When creating a search campaign for “Best Naati Restaurant”, make sure that you have set aside a list of secondary keywords closely related to it.
Optimizing your campaign around a theme will give you an upper hand on managing the campaign budget. Make sure that you check the investment and the conversion on a daily basis. It’s a must if you only have a small budget to fiddle around.
Make sure to pivot your strategies when needed. Don’t leave your paid campaigns unattended and ignored.
Content That Stays In Our Mind Has Always Been One of the Most Powerful Medium to Promote a Business
The best promotions are the ones that have made us feel connected to the message sent across.
For ages, the value of a well-crafted content has been extolled and embraced by the mass population. Content that is created across medium shares its own unique empirical characteristics. When creating content for your target customers you need to make sure that the message is well structured to resonate with the demands of the target audience.
The brand voice should be refined and designed to ensure that it's well suited for the demography. The message that you send across should be a well dialect. The content should be formatted in such a way that it should have a pinch of personal touch and should evoke a sense of belongingness among the customers.
Eg: When targeting a community of aviators, the brand needs to make sure that the content is formatted to make the aviators feel special. It’s better to personalize and make sure that the recipient acknowledges it as a message that comes from a passionate aviator, rather from a person who is an expat to the domain.
What Kind of Content Should I Create
Content can be created in multiple formats. Be it Text, Images, Videos, Gif, Podcast, etc.
Regardless of the format, every form of content has its own advantages and limitations. The core or the main objective of content should be to help, educate, inspire, and add value to the end user. As a business entrepreneur who craves to conquer the digital spectrum, my advice will be to better look into all the content formats. But start small. Don’t let the adrenaline rush get the best of you, never let your wildest imaginations make you explore all the content formats at once.
Still planning to explore all the options at once! Most likely you will end up creating mediocre pieces. Considering the velocity at which content is generated on an everyday basis, mediocre pieces cannot make an impact.
Videos:- Videos have a unique quality to interact with the audience and connect with them on a personal level. That’s one good reason why testimonials in the form of videos are much appreciated. This medium allows the end user to perceive the content to its fullest.
Images:- People find it much convenient to skim an image than read a research paper. Sharing creative images on social media (facebook, twitter, etc) or social channels (Whatsapp) will help attract quality leads to your business. Content in these formats is widely used for lead nurturing.
Text:- For decades, strong and inspiring words have stirred human minds and enlighten them to make the right decisions. As an entrepreneur integrating a blog section to your website will help you leverage the advantages that come with SEO. Creating high quality blog articles will help you position your business establishment as an authoritative source for information. Once people find value with the information provided on the website then it gets easier to instill trust and slowly move them down the buyers funnel.
We all love to read a story. Stories make such an impact that it’s easy to understand and stays in our mind for a long time.
Think through! What story can you come up with this image? Don’t forget to drop your version of the story in the comment section
Social Media:- Don’t Shout! Just Whisper, and Make Sure that People are Listening, Respond to Their Murmur
Don’t hop on to social channels and start promoting your business. It’s not a broadcast medium.
Social channels are places where people gather, exchange ideas, introduce them to the outer world and build a meaningful relationship. It’s not a place to barge in and shout out loud.
You need to make your moves swiftly. The audience out there should not feel like your social activities are curated just for promotion. Don’t bombard their feed with annoying and spammy posts. Ensure tht you respect the audience, their feelings and understand their concerns. Show empathy and make sure that the audience feels the emotional connect with your brand.
Use the platform to understand their fears and concerns. Be active in groups and communities where your target customers engage on a daily basis.
Every social platform has its own inherent characteristics. You need to make sure that you have a definite strategy to penetrate individual channels. You cannot head on with a single strategy and try to penetrate all the social media mediums successfully.
Embrace Data-Driven Strategies
Every interaction in the digital world is tracked, recorded, and saved in the virtual world. Gaining insights about how customers interact/ perceive your digital presence and how they behave on your platform will help you synergize winning strategies.
Entrepreneurs should probe through data and figure out what seems to add value to the top line. Analyze the data set, find KPI’s and create metrics that support the KPI. Continuously monitoring and analyzing the customer data will help you recognize meaningful patterns that later succour in adding value to the customer journey.
Use Technology to Manage Mundane Activities
It’s important that a business should consider adopting technologies.
Think about an AI-driven chatbot that instantly responds to a customer query.
In case of a manual sales team, it may take a few minutes to hours to respond to the customer’s enquiries whereas; the AI driven chatbot has offered a solution by replying to the customer’s enquiry then and there. Instant gratification, that’s what people are looking for. Nobody wants to wait for a support team to get back to them after 15 minutes.
For the purpose, use MobileMonkey, a Facebook messenger platform that lets you build chatbots on Facebook Messenger without writing any code. It allows users to schedule and bulk-send interactive and engaging content, offers, and campaigns to Facebook Messenger contacts. The chatbots created via Monkey can be designed to make appointments, answer FAQs, track purchases, and use A.I. to match content to intent via keywords and interactions.
Experiential Marketing Using Technology
There is no need for a shopaholic to stroll to the nearest shopping mall to try an outfit. There are brands that have integrated technologies like VR and AR to supplement the customer with a virtual experience. With a single click, the customer is invited to the virtual world, a virtual world that allows the customer to compare multiple accessories/ products and then make an informed decision.
Never Restrict Marketing as an Independent Department
The marketing team should closely work with the sales team.
As a business entity you need to encourage departments to interact and enter into quality discussions. When sales and marketing team maintains high transparency then these discussions could substantially influence the working culture. On a regular basis the sales team and marketing team should come together and lay forth the challenges and the opportunities identified. Regardless to the business and the industry you are targeting, it’s vital that the marketing team uses sales metrics to analyze the effectiveness of their online campaigns. You can start with a simple metric, the leads to customers/ sales ratio.
Few points could be;
The insights/ feedbacks from the sales team could come in handy when iterating the customer’s persona. In close collaboration with marketing team the sales team will get access to a wide variety of content which can later be used by the sales representative to educate the customer.
About The Author:
Nishant Maliakel Oommen is a digital marketer by profession and blogger by passion. Nishant takes pride when his online expeditions are adding value to people, and delighted when it touches people's lives and help them build a career. Nishant thrives to stay update on topics related to the digital marketing, and technologies that are revolutionizing the world. Inbound marketing is one of Nishant's fortes. Nishant is currently working as a digital marketer for Shopnix.