Like all business technology, marketing tools can be hard to keep up with. You may not know what’s effective and what’s just the latest trend from one year to the next. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to know for sure is to try something and see how well it works. To add even more complexity, something that works great for one company may be a flop for another.
We can’t promise that the following technologies will help you meet all your sales goals, but we can say that each of them has a valid place in the marketing world and is well worth considering. We describe each one and give you some tips that can help you see how it might work for your business.
A chatbot running on your website can provide visitors with instant answers to their questions and direct them to the next step on their shopping journey with links to web pages to take action, such as view a demo or read about product options. Chatbots can also promote offers, specials, and other information you want to communicate based on their questions or search history.
Chatbots run 24/7, so customers don’t have to wait for human interaction. For these reasons, consumers like to use chatbots when engaging with brands, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, which “impacted how service professionals communicate with customers,” according to Salesforce.
With voice services from companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, consumers are getting used to talking to their devices. As that familiarity evolves into expectation, you should think about how to employ voice searches in your marketing efforts. In particular, you can optimize your content to be ready for voice searches. Not convinced? Consider the following voice search statistics from TheeDigital:
- 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile.
- A third of the U.S. population used a voice assistant monthly in 2019, up 9.5% from 2018.
- More than half of all smartphone users were engaging with voice search technology in 2020.
The following video briefly describes long-tail keywords, one of the most important concepts when optimizing for voice search:
Content Development Tools
Content marketing is still useful, especially if your target customers are businesses. Content can be in the form of articles, blog posts, white papers, ebooks, videos, and more. The key to successful content marketing is developing information that is highly relevant and helpful to your audience. For example, if you provide customer management software, don’t make your content about your software. Instead, make it about the importance of effective customer management.
Content development tools can help you generate high-quality content by automatically putting prospects on the right track for their interest level. For example, those who have just signed up for your newsletter will be on the “awareness” track, which is the first step in the sales funnel. Those who click links to your content can be moved to the “interest” track, which will generate a different set of email offerings.
These tools can also provide templates to develop content and deliver data analysis to help you figure out which pieces to send to which prospect groups. Finally, they can help you keep track of each prospect, so you know when it’s time to reach out directly to close the sale.
The importance of social media in a company’s overall marketing strategy has only increased and marketers have more options in terms of how they use it:
- Platform choice. It’s no longer just about Facebook and Twitter. Different demographics use different social media outlets (think Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok), and each one has its own discourse. That means you must really know your target audience and also the rules and conventions of each platform.
- Posts and promotions. The goal of organic posts (that is, items you post without paying the platform) is to get as many people as possible to see, like, and share them. The more thought you put into what your target market will respond to, the more engagement you’re likely to get.
- Advertising. To be certain your social media content will be accessible to those you want to see it, you can pay to have your posts elevated or for advertising on your platform of choice.
- In-app shopping. Platforms like Pinterest now enable users to shop directly from the app. Consider using this approach, especially when marketing consumer products.
- Influencer marketing. Influencers have that name for a reason. They can propel your products to a whole new level with people who are very interested in their opinions. Influencer marketing involves getting influencers who reach your target market to favorably discuss your products on their own channels.
All of the above tools require fact-based guidance to ensure you’re using them correctly. That is, targeting them to the right audience in the right way at the right time. According to Business News Daily, “Access to data for companies goes well beyond basic demographics…. Now brands can access consumers’ online and offline media behaviors and preferences, locations throughout the day, purchase history, promotion sensitivity, etc.” This information helps to optimize messages with the greatest efficiency.
For example, you might be aware that middle-aged women are interested in designer sunglasses. But, more specifically, who is interested in your brand? It’s helpful to know more granular information about your target market, such as their salary, marital status, or the amount of money they’ve spent on clothing in the last six months.
Data analysis can help you narrow the set of people you’re marketing to so you can truly hone your message, making it more meaningful, relevant, and ultimately effective.
Now Comes the Hard Part
Using any of these techniques should be a well-thought-out decision that considers factors like your target market, your team’s abilities, and your budget. Once you have settled on a technique, it’s important to carefully track how well it is helping you reach your sales goals.
Keep in mind that some activities might take a while to gain traction, so don’t stop a campaign prematurely. The tools mentioned here are just a few of those available, but each one can be an essential component of a contemporary marketing campaign.