So, the other day I went into a local fish restaurant. When I sat down, I couldn’t help but notice a table talker – you know, those plastic encapsulated flyers that you so commonly find on tables with a restaurants special offer of the day – in this case, it was the Norwegian Salmon.
The waiter comes up to me and says: “Mr. Brown, can I recommend our offer of the day, the Salmon? It’s our special offer tonight where you get Norwegian Salmon and a medley fresh, roasted vegetables and it’s available for tonight only for R150.”
So, did the waiter do a good job at selling me on the special? Well, no. Selling me on something I already knew was the restaurant equivalent of that scene in the Wolf of Wall Street where Leonardo DiCaprio asks people to “sell me this pen”.
A pen is a pen and Salmon, well, is Salmon.
The Problem with Advertising
In this scenario, the role of advertising was quite simple – to let the customer (me) know that the “Salmon Special” was being offered and available, but from that point onwards the waiter repeating the advertised offer to me made no sense. You see, the role of advertising has limited equity. It was great for letting me know that the offer existed but did very little else – there was no story, no promise and no pitch – something to convince me that deciding to go with the Salmon was the right choice on the day.
Advertising has a kind of speed dating effect – you have a very short window of time to convince someone that you are the best option available at the time but it has very little probability in converting anything, because what’s required is trust – and trust in my view is earnt in drops, but lost in buckets.
How We Buy Stuff
Even if I was in the mood for Salmon, if I thought for a second that there was a probable viable alternative that could better give me the food experience that I was after, then naturally I would have considered it. Deciding on food – just like a product or service – is based on evidence and or a pre-existing experience that you have had. So, perhaps a steak then? Sure, let me give that a try instead. Why not? There goes the special offer of the day.
Consumers are fickle. More and more, we are making decisions not from what we know about a product or service or by how we understand something is made. Instead, we buy it’s why – why something exists – and it’s also becoming the future of brand storytelling.
The Salmon Story
Imagine for a second that instead of the waiter telling me what was obvious for me to understand, he offered me something that we are hard wired for – a story.
A story which could go something like this: “Mr. Brown, have you heard about the story of fresh Norwegian Salmon?” To which I’d reply: “Is it the same story of farmed Salmon, because I’ve heard bad things about that.”
“No, this is the story of fresh water Norwegian Salmon – this is entirely different. Some of these Salmon travel over 1300 kilometers up fresh water rivers from the ocean to find gravel beds where they can breed. But on the way, they encounter several threats including dams and other barriers blocking them from spawning grounds, habitat destruction and even bears who wait for them to jump from the water and catch them mid-air to eat them raw.”
“Yes, I’ve seen bears doing that on the TV before, but didn’t know they swim the equivalent distance of driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg. That’s crazy.”
“Yup. It’s why they are sometimes called ‘the King’ – it’s usually the most expensive because of its high fat content and melt in your mouth texture. It really is the prized fresh water fish of today. Just to get it to South Africa is a job unto itself. It is frozen immediately after being caught and then flown express overnight to South Africa some 15,000 kilometers and even then, we only serve the best Salmon fillets that arrive to make sure we give the best possible food experience imaginable. And it’s available today only for R150. How does that sound?”
“It sounds better than a steak, that’s for sure. I’ll take the Salmon.”
How to Sell Anything on a Podcast
Let’s be honest. It is highly unlikely that your average waiter would ever pitch a Salmon Special like this but what if they did? How much better of a pitch for the special would it be? It’s gives me context and a compelling reason to decide to go with the Salmon over something tried and tested like a steak. This simple story brought the special to life and gave it new meaning through a simple story and most importantly, it gave me an emotionally lead reason to try it instead of a functional benefit like price.
But here’s the thing. No amount of advertising in that restaurant could ever have relayed the Salmon story in such detail and this is what makes podcasting and branded audio such a compelling platform to tell stories on. Let me give you a real-world example of storytelling on a podcast and what it can achieve.
Hunting the Truth
When Microsoft launched its latest version of the hit game Halo, they launched a podcast called “Hunt the Truth” to augment the story in the game itself. But then a funny and unexpected thing happened. The story in the podcast became so popular that the hardcore gamers complained that the narrative in the XBox game was not the same as the one in the podcast.
The point here is that when it comes to storytelling – the most powerful form of marketing – you have far more creative license on a podcast than on any other medium e.g. video. Just take a listen to what is possible through audio based storytelling:
Essentially, the brands who are crushing it are moving away from highly competitive platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and towards branded audio media platforms AKA podcasts where they are the only competition and have a monopoly over the attention of the communities that they serve.
In the attention starved world that we live in, reputational equity is becoming the new battleground in highly competitive marketplaces. Savvy brands like Microsoft, GE, MailChimp, Slack, eBay, Amazon, etc. – now understand the power of telling their own stories on podcasts and in the process, are creating new owned media platforms that only they can compete on and consumers are switching on and taking notice.
Everything You Need To Know About Instagram’s New Shopping Features
The app is giving influencers and brands new channels on which consumers can discover them.
Influencers and brands have two new ways to sell products to users scrolling and tapping through their Instagram feeds. After a summer of testing shopping buttons that drive purchases via Stories, the Facebook-owned app has launched them for businesses in 46 countries.
It’s also begun rolling out a personalised shopping section in the Explore tab, which Instagram redesigned earlier this year to feature AI-powered channels categorising content based on topic (e.g. travel, art, decor).
The shopping tab will be a place for users who know they want to browse and potentially buy, with Instagram’s algorithm serving up brands the user already follows or would likely be into, based on past activity on the app. Meanwhile, the shopping bag stickers in Stories will give users a chance to not just admire their favourite influencers’ outfits, but actually click through and learn more about promoted items.
Since Instagram began testing the feature in June, more than 90 million users per month have tapped to reveal tags in shopping posts, according to a Sept. 17 Instagram blog post. The app already allows brands to purchase ads in the form of Stories.
More than 400 million accounts watch Stories daily, and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses, Instagram also reports.
Instagram has been testing shopping in feeds for nearly two years.
Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns
Back in November 2016, the company explained on its Business blog that online shopping often involves research and deliberation, rather than impulse purchases, which is what led Instagram to build out shopping posts that would provide consumers with information about products without having to leave the app until they’d made a purchase decision.
Salesforce has forecasted that the referral traffic Instagram drives to retailer websites will increase by 51 percent between the 2017 and 2018 holiday seasons, according to Adweek.
Speaking of leaving the app, Instagram is rumored to be developing a standalone shopping app, according to The Verge, but the company declined to comment on these reports to both The Verge and Entrepreneur.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips
There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.
Social media marketing, when you’re short on funds, can seem like an intimidating prospect. If you and your team aren’t already knowledgeable about digital marketing strategy, you may think it’s impossible for you to manage marketing campaigns yourself. With a bit of determination and a great deal of studying, however, your startup will be able to successfully launch, direct, and refine your own digital marketing strategies.
What things can you do to help your start-up get more press, attract more customers, and get more brand awareness? There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.
Get to know your niche
Many young companies adopt random acts of internet marketing. They’ll throw a few hundred dollars into promoting Facebook posts without necessarily understanding how to communicate to their audience.
Before you dive into advertising and promotion platforms, you should spend some time to define – and to get to know – your niche.
To help define your target market, use questions like:
- Who are your existing customers?
- How would you group them?
- Who does your product or service help?
- Does your product help business owners, stay-at-home parents, college students, or someone else?
- Who are you looking to reach out to?
- That is, are you looking to refine your target market or expand it?
Once you’ve answered a few questions like the ones listed above, you should be able to get a better idea of who you’re marketing to. With an understanding of who you’re communicating with, you should be able to craft a tailored message about your brand.
Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing
Choose social media platforms wisely
Many start-ups try to master as many social media platforms right at the start. Instead of dividing your attention between Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you should identify one or two social media platforms that will help you market your product or service. This is why defining your target market at the beginning is so very important.
You must first decide who your message is intended for before writing, editing, and positioning that message. After you’ve got your target market down, you’ll be able to pinpoint which social media platforms can serve you best.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of which social media platforms are best suited for your needs:
- Best for blog links
- Frequent posts: 1-4 posts every few hours is the most effective
- The community is open to businesses promotion
- Best for communicating to existing customers
- Daily posts: 1 post every 2 days is the most effective
- Users respond best to images, videos, and clips
- Strictly promotional posts are undesirable
- Building readership and/or a following is slow
- Better suited for long-term growth strategy
Do your social media research
Start conducting some preliminary research about social media platforms. Build a profile of each, listing their pros and cons. Try investigating other social media platforms such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Quora. While these aren’t platforms as large as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they could have a far greater impact on your start-up.
Answering questions on Quora and interacting with other users on GitHub, for example, could help you build genuine business and customer relationships.
Concentrate on mastering a few channels
Ultimately, it’s important to concentrate on one or two social media platforms based on your target market and your goals. Attempting to have a significant presence on all of them will prove expensive, time-consuming, and, at worst, counterproductive.
Focusing on one platform will allow you to track your marketing efforts with greater precision, revise your marketing strategy more easily, and help you speak more directly to your target audience.
Digital marketing, while best left to a team of experienced marketers, content creators, and creative designers can be done by your team.
Start-ups tight on cash don’t need to fret, they only need to do a bit of market research and direct their energy accordingly. After narrowing down your audience and performing some preliminary research on social media platforms, you can start working on your social media marketing strategy.
Master a few channels rather than trying to dominate all of the social media space. Keep conducting research as you start your marketing campaigns. Each community naturally changes so you’ll want to keep up-to-date. Leverage your research and dedication to get the most out of your startup marketing.
How To Create The Best Small Business Website: 5 Easy And Effective Steps
Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. If you don’t have online presence, it will become difficult to obtain the results you expect. Your target audience is using the internet nowadays for almost anything. So, if you want to attract more customers and build your brand reputation, you need to build a website. This is how you will be able to expand your business in an easy and not so expensive way.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be a savvy web developer to create a basic website and let the others know about you. Web development and design software have evolved a lot and now you can use several website builders to develop a functional site. You will have plenty of templates to choose from to increase your business’ visibility.
Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.
Easy and Effective Steps to Create a Website for Your Business
1. What is the purpose of your website?
It doesn’t matter if you develop a simple or a more complex website. Before you start working on anything related to your website, you should start with saying what your company does. Your customers need to understand from the first minute they access your homepage what is your mission and vision. They don’t have too much time to invest when they enter on a website. So, you can make their journey smoother by telling them from the beginning about you. In case you are not so talented at writing, you can use writing companies like RewardedEssays or SupremeDissertations to give you a hand.
2. Choose a domain name and a web host
Even though many think they shouldn’t focus too much on it, the domain name is an important feature of your website. You will use the URL to promote your business to existing and future clients. So, this means that your domain name should be explicit and talk about your business to anyone who wants to find more about you. A domain name should be short, clear, without acronyms or numbers. What is more, you shouldn’t forget to check if your domain name isn’t already taken by someone else.
Apart from a domain name, your website will also need a server where all your data is stored. When you own a small business, creating your own web host will represent a serious financial effort. So, it would be more cost-wise to choose an external host.
As your business grows, you can choose a different host, or you can ask several providers to work on a personalised solution.
3. Build your website’s pages
You will need more than a homepage to create a good website. If you want your customers to understand that you are a professional in what you do, you will create several pages dedicated to different elements of your business. For example, you can include a catalog with your products or a blog.
Natalie Andersen, CEO of GetGoodGrade mentions that “It is obligatory that apart from the homepage, a website should have at least a page with the products’ catalog and a Contact Us page.”
Below you can find a list with the minimum number of pages a professional website should have:
- Homepage – here you will include details about your business, making sure that you also talk about your mission and vision.
- List of products and services – your customers need to know what are the products and services you offer. This will help them decide whether you can answer their questions and provide a solution to their problems.
- About Us – “About Us page is the place where you talk about your story. Your target audience wants to know more about yourself. This is how you will create a connection with your customers and let them know more about you”, says James Daily, Head of content department at FlashEssay.
- Contact Us – it should include your address, email, phone number and working hours. You can also include the links for your social media profiles.
Furthermore, if you want to achieve an international presence, you can also use the translation services offered by IsAccurate. Thus, you will be able to address your message to a wider group of people and expand your business on new markets.
Related: How To Secure Your SME Website
4. Test if your website works properly
Christopher K. Mercer, CEO of Citatior recommends that “before you launch a website, you should first test whether it works. You cannot tell your future customers about your website without knowing for sure that it will work without problems once you launch it”. Therefore, you should click on each page and check whether it has any errors. You still have time to fix something if necessary.
Once you have launched your website and something goes wrong, it will become more difficult to do any change. Plus, always remember that the first impression matters. So, you need to be perfect in the eyes of your customers.
5. Maintain your website
After you launched your website, this doesn’t mean that your work is done. You will need to keep your customers engaged and curious about your business. Therefore, updating the products’ catalog constantly or producing content for your blog will keep your audience informed about what you can offer and the latest trends in the industry. Plus, you should also check if your website is up to date with the latest add-ons. If you don’t know how to produce new content for your website or you feel that you are not talented enough, you can collaborate with HotEssayService or RatedByStudents for professional writing services.
It shouldn’t be complicated to create a website for your small business. As long as you keep a clear structure and create a story around your business, you don’t have anything to worry about. It is very important to understand that a website is very important for your business visibility. Thus, you should put all your efforts into it.
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