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Much of what we hear about influencer marketing is centered around reach and engagement objectives. This is not unlike the early days of social media marketing programs where platform capabilities and user behaviors created a perfect storm for connection and interaction.
Fast forward to today and we’ve certainly learned that social media is not a silo of communication, but more of a universal truth when it comes to where people spend their time to discover, consume and interact with content.
Influence brings that same universal truth in terms of something that affects us all. From a marketing context, influence is the ability to affect action and since virtually every person with a phone is empowered to publish, everyone has some degree of influence.
So where does that broader view lead us when developing an influencer content marketing strategy that’s optimized to attract, engage and convert? To help answer that question and extend optimization to retention and advocacy, here are 5 states during the customer journey and how influencer marketing can play a part for better results.
“The opportunity for consumer engagement spans the entire journey and influencers can play an important role in each moment of truth.” @BrianSolis
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Contribution inspires promotion. The obvious value here is that working with influencers on content can inspire promotion of the content collaborated on. Reaching the audience of an influencer with content that is relevant and credible can be incredibly valuable for brands that want to attract hard-to-reach customers.
Follow the leader advocacy. Influencers that are advocates often inspire other influencers and customers to advocate for the brand as well. This can be architected with contests where the content with the most social engagement wins, but basic follow the leader behavior in an organic way is effective too.
Retargeting influencer interest. When followers of an influencer that the brand co-created content with match a customer profile, marketers can retarget those followers who have interacted with the influencer content with more context than a buyer simply visiting random websites.
A great B2B example of an Attract approach to influencer co-creation is this interactive experience for SAP Leonardo (client). 32 influencers contributing their expertise on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to blockchain technologies. With over 1.8 million impressions and 100% influencer share rate, this content collaboration project exceeded reach expectations.
Creator talent drives interaction. In the B2C world, creators are plentiful and by creators I mean people will great media creation skills AND the charisma to attract an engaged audience. Creators can bring unique talent to the planning, creation and promotion of content that brings a fresh perspective and higher engagement to an otherwise tired marketing mix.
Authenticity drives engagement. When microinfluencers also represent the customer that a brand is working to engage, the authenticity and voice of the customer that they bring to content collaboration can result in more content interaction and sharing.
Relevance is essential in all things marketing and when the influencer’s audience and the brand channel for promotion match well, then engagement is more likely to be high.
An impressive B2C Engage example would have to be Tom’s of Maine that focused on micro-influencers to create and amplify content on social channels. Results per 1,000 micro-influencers activated: 6,496 likes, shares and comments; 1.7 million friends reached, 4,270 survey responses captured. You can read the full case study on the Mavrck site.
Trust motivates. Few things motivate conversion more than trust and the essence of what makes someone influential is that their community trusts them. Therefore, trusted influencers who are involved with brand content that is mid to end of funnel focused can help increase conversions.
Familiarity brings confidence. Another thing about relevance is that influencers that have a reputation for recommending products and services have developed familiarity with their audience for that behavior. Working with a new brand and talking about a topic or a product / service (with appropriate ad disclaimers) can inspire transaction.
Credibility is believability. The more credible a brand’s content is, the more likely it is to persuade and inspire action. Influencers can bring that credibility.
A B2B pilot project we implemented for Oracle included a formidable 68 page ebook called the Executive’s Handbook to Modern Digital Commerce which featured influencers including Brian Solis, Stephen Monaco, Ed Cleary, Stewart Rogers and other B2B digital experts. The credibility of this ebook produced in combination with industry experts resulted in exceeding the conversion rate goal by 260%.
Bring utility to the community. Expanding the scope of who is influential to customers and community, brands can engage with influencers to participate in their community on everything from general best practices or tips to how to get the most out of the brands’ product/service.
Employees are influential too and showcasing staff in brand content can help humanize the brand with customers.
Infotain customers to stay. Engaging creators to develop useful content that is also entertaining for customers can go a long way towards retaining those customers. These can be routine communications to announcements or updates.
I think a great B2C example of Retain focused influencer content is the recent British Airways safety video featuring famous celebrities including Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson), Gordon Ramsay, Gillian Anderson (yes, she’s British), Thandie Newton, Sir Ian McKellen and a few more. I flew BA multiple times in a short period recently and this video was definitely a watchable part of the experience for me as a customer.
Activate advocates. Bringing it back to reach through brand advocacy, brands can expand their view of influence to customers and activate those who show brand love to support sharing the good news.
Influential customer stories are powerful. Customer testimonials alone are great. Testimonials with customers that are influential, either personally or the brand, can go a long way towards supporting advocacy efforts.
Incentivize the good news. Incentives for referrals amongst influencers can inspire advocacy, but there must be an ad disclosure if compensation has been, or could be paid for that promotion effort.
For this one, I’ll use a personal example. I am a customer of BuzzSumo and I’m also an influencer who advocates for the brand. Most of this I do organically in presentations all over the world, in articles like this, in interviews and by sharing Steve Rayson and BuzzSumo’s content through my social channels on Twitter and LinkedIn. Steve reaches out to me from time to time for quotes, to do a webinar or speak at one of his events. I was also one of the first to cover the Brandwatch acquisition of BuzzSumo. I can’t say how much value BuzzSumo has gained from my influencer advocacy, but I’m guessing it’s very much in the black
So, instead of thinking about influencers on the day you publish that amazing content you’ve worked so hard on, consider a more strategic approach that puts influencers in a partnership position to collaborate from the start. When you map out the stages of your customer journey and the content needed to help buyers make that journey, think about how working with influencers, experts and advocates can add that special sauce to your marketing mix.
Think about how the addition of credible experts with active audience engagement can add valuable perspective, inspiration, promotion and trust for conversion to your marketing content – across the entire customer lifecycle: attract, engage, convert, retain, advocate.
Of course if you would like to explore the true benefits of when the Content Marketing World and Influencer Marketing World intersect, well, that’s what we do at TopRank Marketing. We focus mostly on B2B influencer content programs but would be happy to chat about any projects you have in mind and then point you in the right direction.
© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
5 Examples of Influencer Marketing in Action Across the Full Customer Journey | http://www.toprankblog.com
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The 2017 holiday season is officially here. While we at the Oracle Marketing Cloud understand the importance of starting to prepare as early as possible and know that probably all of you already have, we have outlined some key tips and trends to enhance your holiday preparedness efforts. The time is especially ripe, as one in every four shoppers already begin their holiday research in October.
Emphasize Your Mobile Marketing Efforts
The proliferation of mobile shopping apps is surely on the rise. How important is mobile marketing during this holiday season?
- Nearly two out of three consumers (65 percent) have mobile shopping apps on their phones and just as many have made a purchase through a mobile app (66 percent).
- In 2016 there was an increase of 33% in spending on mobile devices since 2015 and mobile devices accounted for 55% of all online shopping visits on Black Friday.
Check out the following tips to improve your mobile marketing efforts:
- Make sure your company's online information, specifically cost-comparison data is up-to-date. This type of information will surely influence the decisions that potential customers will make.
- Ensure that mobile payment features like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay are enabled to make it extremely easy and fast for customers when they shop with you.
- Send emails that are mobile-friendly. By making sure these are responsive, you are automatically addressing the rise of in-store shopping that will be taking place during this time-frame.
Deliver a Best-in-Class Online Shopping Experience
Online shopping will play an integral role in driving sales, therefore, it is imperative to optimize the site experience as well. All retailers experience the Amazon-effect and should instill these key best practices:
- Deliver a personalized message that stems from your email messaging and translate that into a seamless site experience.
- Respond to customer service inquiries as soon as possible especially as it relates to social media comments as well.
- Create offers around “free and or expedited shipping” to ensure timely delivery.
- Give customers the option to buy online and pick up in-store as an alternative means of delivery. This is especially important because 55% of US Digital Buyers prefer to buy online and pick-up in the store.
- Plan and test your site in order to be prepared for heavy traffic volumes. A 10s mobile page load time has a 123% higher bounce rate than a 1s page load time. If a mobile page takes longer than 3s to load, 53% of those pages are abandoned.
Drive Relevancy through Messaging and Segmentation
Both messaging and segmentation are necessary for delivering a personalized shopping experience. These tips will help you stand out during a time when consumers are truly bombarded with promotional messages:
- Steer away from a blast and batch approach since it can have a harmful effect on deliverability. Be respectful of timing and messaging overload as subscribers’ inboxes are overloaded already and increased messaging volumes can often lead to an elevated number of unsubscribes.
- Create real-time content especially as it relates to inventory updates, store hours, and other benefits that can have a direct impact on customers’ ability to buy.
- Utilize flash sales to help drive a sense of urgency.
- Fashion attention-grabbing subject lines, as they drive higher response rates.
- Segment your audience by using your data to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.
- Do not email inactives at this time because there is an increase in likelihood that inactives will flag your message as spam.
Incorporate Artificial Intelligence and Social Influencers
With the increasing emphasis behind mastering artificial intelligence (AI) and social influencers, these new practices and trends can give your marketing efforts a boost this holiday season:
- Take advantage of the increasing opportunities of voice search. Many customers are utilizing this customer-friendly feature when shopping and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day.
- Collaborate with influencers to create videos, blogs, and any type of content that is relevant and shareable. The promotion of this content is great for driving long-term brand awareness and engagement.
- Create referrals, influencer codes, and any other types of incentives like contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways.These sales-driving tactics are more likely to be shared by your social influencers.
For even better holiday shopping results, take a look at this retail shopping research in the guide Making Spirits Bright. We look forward to hearing about your results in early 2018. In the meantime, please do let us know how the Oracle Marketing Cloud can help you achieve your best holiday season yet. Cheers to a successful holiday season!
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