7 Marketing Strategies to Engage Audiences That Are Relentlessly Marketed To.

Jaycen Thorgeirson
Founder & Chief Storyteller
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Photo by Candice Seplow on Unsplash

You’ve been marketing and advertising all over the place but not getting results that one might call extraordinary. Why is that? Well, in the digital age, people are being constantly bombarded by marketing messages. They log in to their social media account and they see an ad. They open a game on their smartphone and, again, they’re looking at an ad. They visit their favorite website – you get the point.

So how is a brand supposed to get noticed in a crowded market? The key lies in creating an emotional bond with your audience. Not so easy, right?

How does one create an emotional bond? Well, it starts by taking into consideration your audience. Think of them individually. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes, asking, “what would it take for my brand’s message to stand out and gain resonance?”

To be able to stand out and differentiate yourself today, you need to take your brand’s customer experience to the next level with the use of personalized content and remarkable, one-to-one experiences. Audiences are craving relevant, personalized content that is educational and entertaining, and that helps them solve their pain points and challenges. They’re looking for content that wows them and engages their senses.

Let’s look at seven different marketing strategies that you can use to leverage personalized content and experiences, engage your audience, and cut through all the noise in today’s ad-heavy environment.

Marketing Strategy #1: Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Who doesn’t like receiving gifts? It’s a great feeling, especially if the gift is thoughtful and shows that the person who gave it to you understands you and cares about you.

Just as gift giving can get people closer together, it can also foster a bond between brands and their customers. Gifting shows that you appreciate your customers, and that you’re willing to go above and beyond for them. It tells customers that you value them and respect their time.

Creating an emotional bond with your customers is vital for boosting brand loyalty. Gifts can put your brand top of mind and provide your customers with a fun conversation starter. Sending gifts is a great way to get your audience’s attention and compel what is known as the Law of Reciprocity, but only if you’re able to create an emotional connection.

The key is to create personalized gifts that your audience will appreciate and cherish. One way you can achieve this is by paying attention to all the small details and making sure that your gift, along with its packaging, is delightful and purposeful. Take your time to do some homework on what your recipient would appreciate the most. Look at their personal social feed to gain an insight into what they like to do and what topics interest them.

Put some thought into the actual unboxing experience your gift provides. Just as a meal’s presentation wets our appetite for what we’re about to eat, receiving and opening your gift needs to be an experience in itself. This leads to our next marketing strategy.

Marketing Strategy #2: Create an Unboxing Experience with Dimensional Mail

When was the last time you were genuinely excited because of receiving some sort of marketing message via mail? If you’re like me, probably never. Why? Well, most companies just don’t put in the effort required to create engaging marketing experiences and typically resort to the bare minimum of a 6 x 9” postcard or some other low cost option. This is where dimensional mail can help.

Studies show that physical media has a much higher impact than virtual media. A breakthrough study from Millward Brown found that material shown on physical cards sparked more activity in the brain associated with integration and was remembered much longer than its virtual counterpart.

The brain interprets physical media as more “real”, and we’re wired to remember the things that will have a real impact on us while disregarding things that our brains find less vital.  Your brain is more likely to create an emotional tie to an object that is real and more meaningful.

To create immediate attention and impact, we need to turn our attention to dimensional mail.  Dimensional mail is a step up from boring old direct mail. These are mail pieces that are not flat, but rather stand out by using a box, container, bag, or tube. Dimensional mail has a much higher response rate than traditional mail pieces, with almost a 100% open rate. Hello!

For dimensional mail to be truly effective, it needs to go beyond the dimensions of the packaging to be truly remarkable, or worth sharing or making a remark about. How do you do this?

Focus on presentation value, since recipients will be judging your brand and messaging on the basis of the entire package and the experience of interacting with it. Go beyond the U-Line box and consider exterior presentation value as well. Does your packaging evoke a strong desire to open it?

Is it consistent with your brand and messaging? Can you include elements of personalization in both textual and graphic form? Do the materials create a sensory response?  Apart from being attention-grabbing by being interesting and different, dimensional mail is also a highly scalable way of advertising your brand.

Marketing Strategy #3: Go Beyond Personal. Be Personable.

According to OnBrand’s 2018 State of Branding Report, personalization is the next big trend in marketing. Personalized marketing is crucial to making your customers feel valued and important. If customers feel like your marketing approach is thoughtless and without proper aim, they will think less of your brand and be less inclined to do business with you.

When it’s clear that you’ve taken the time to get to know your customers, they will be more likely to do business with you. Without personalization, you’ll be making a lesser return on your marketing investment.

Getting personal is going beyond addressing your customers by their first name or company name. Tailoring your content to incorporate their interests, wants, and needs is an excellent way to show your prospects and customers that they are special and appreciated. Focus on reaching out to a smaller segment of your audience to be able to do personalization effectively.

The most successful brands are those that can provide relevant, personalized content to their audience throughout the customer journey. They address their customers as individuals. Snowflake is a great example of a company that has built this into their internal DNA and had success in being able to scale their personalization efforts leveraging tools like Terminus.

Marketing Strategy #4: Make your CTA’s Irresistible

“Buy Now!” and “Click Here!” are some of the most common Call-To-Actions (CTAs) that you’ll see used across every landing page and marketing email. They’re very effective in attracting customers’ attention and prompting them to take action.

The CTA is the first step in converting your prospects into paying customers.  Having an effective CTA is a crucial element of your sales funnel, and believe it or not, your customers will be looking for it.

A strongly-worded, enthusiastic CTA with a sense of urgency is the best way to entice your customers to engage. It tells customers that your brand is strong and confident.  This enthusiasm is contagious, and customers will be motivated and eager to buy from you when faced with an exciting call-to-action.

CTA’s with an incentive perform better than those without. Think about it. How quickly would you act if offered a car for taking a meeting? Consider the value of the ask when determining what to offer as an incentive in your Call-to-Action.

One of our clients, One Inc., did this by offering a case of wine in exchange for a meeting with a C-level executive in their outreach strategy with amazing success.

For leveraging CTA’s in a direct marketing outreach strategy, make sure they are easy to act upon. Best practices include things like, “text Yes to 555-555-5555 to take advantage of this offer” or  using QR codes, that can now be scanned using an iOS or Android app. In addition to giving your target audience a course of action, the CTA also allows you to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.

Marketing Strategy #5: Create an Emotional Connection by Storytelling with Video

Did you know that people spend a third of their time online watching videos? Video is currently the most popular content format on the Internet, with 55% of consumers watching a minimum of one video every day.

Video marketing has always been a key factor in advertising, but never before has it been as much of a cornerstone as it is today, especially for B2B Marketers.  With the rise of social media came the draw to video marketing. As Hubspot reports, four out of the six main channels through which people consume videos are social media networks.

In the same report, 54% of consumers surveyed answered that videos are their preferred format for seeing content from brands and businesses. Video took the number one spot by a big margin, followed by email, social images, and social videos.

This makes it clear that if you’re not creating videos, you’re already behind. Luckily, this is by far the easiest type of marketing you can start using. The more simple and raw these videos are, the more real they will feel to your audience, making it easier to create an emotional connection between you and your customers. If you want to create, share and track these videos, Vidyard has an amazing tool called GoVideo that can help.

It’s crucial that the videos you create and post for your audience to see are relevant and engaging. They also need to be adapted to the specific platform where you’ll be promoting them. The truth is that people consume content differently on different websites and platforms.

For instance, while 85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off, as much as 60% of videos on Instagram are viewed with sound. You’ll need to understand the specific nuances between different platforms if you want your video content to generate as much attention as possible.

Videos should tell a story and be fairly short (up to 2 minutes). For best results, you should experiment with different types of videos including educational videos, behind-the-scenes videos, Q&A videos, and product videos. The best performing videos strike an emotional chord with their intended audience and can influence their emotions. This is known as mood contagion.

Marketing Strategy #6: Create Delightful Experiences

Photo: Vance Garret Productions

We’ve talked about the importance of creating delightful and meaningful experiences for your customers. So, how is a brand supposed to do that? You can take a hint from Refinery29.

For the past four years, Refinery29, a lifestyle brand, has hosted a customer experience called 29Rooms. This experience allows customers to visit 29 rooms, each with a different, meaningful theme, all while sharing the experience with their social media followers.  Sponsoring brands are showcased in these rooms, but only subtly.

Gone are the days of aggressive marketing strategies; nowadays consumers want experiences. These experiences don’t necessarily need to be elaborate. Small brands have had great success setting up Selfie Stations in crowded locations with fun but prominent branding.  Temporary pop-up stations are a great way to draw a crowd while also keeping things low-key.

If you create engaging, attractive, multi-sensory experiences for your customers, you’ll be able to attract and keep your audience’s attention for a very long time.

Marketing Strategy #7: To Gain Value, Demonstrate Value.

The best way to deliver value to a consumer is to think like a consumer.  What is important to your customers? What will benefit them? How can you help them rather than focus on selling them?  These are questions that you need to ask yourself if you want to be valuable to your customer base, as well as understand the value of the experience you need to deliver.

You need to be showing prospects and customers that you understand their pain points and challenges, and that you can solve them. Use your content to paint a picture of how your prospects’ lives would look like if they had their issues solved.

Engaged Audiences Lead to Loyal Audiences

Delivering value to customers, enabling experiences and getting to the heart of things by being personable are driving factors in showing customers that you care about them. By striving to foster an emotional bond with your target audience, you’re on the way to establish yourself as a trustworthy and valuable resource in the minds of those you reach.

The future is all about experiences. Building authenticity and understanding how your customers think are the two main things that will help you thrive in today’s crowded market.

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