By Alexi Venneri, Co-founder and CEO, Digital Air Strike
Let’s face it, as much as some of us don’t want to admit it, we like people. Sure, all of us might not be extroverts, but we can’t deny the joy of meeting someone we just “click” with. And even if you’re not a self-proclaimed “people person,” it still feels nice to have someone understand you. If there’s ever been a time in your life where you’ve had to navigate a sea of people to find someone you feel comfortable with (flashback to your first day of high school), then believe it or not, you have a solid understanding of marketing in 2019.
With newsfeeds filled with ads, articles and pictures of your friends on vacation, it might seem impossible to get noticed as a brand. How do you compete with that captivating sunset photo or that slideshow of cute puppies wearing hats? The answer is relatively simple, and it’s by improving your brand’s human element and engagement tactics. People are looking for something that resonates with them in an endless stream of content—and it’s up to your brand to provide that personal touch. Like making friends on your first day of school, brands need to find the right people and make them feel valued.
To make customers feel important, businesses should be available, open-minded, caring and compassionate. And with the abundance of technology available, businesses can do this at all hours of the day, customizing each step of the buyer journey to create an authentic human experience. While introducing technology might seem counterintuitive to the so-called “human” experience, technology has advanced to the point where it can actually emulate it. At the end of the day, no one has the time or energy to be fantastic and engaging people pleasers 100 percent of the time, so let technology save the day.
Integrate Intelligent Messaging:
Intelligent messaging is the marketing equivalent of being there for your friends or family during a time of personal crisis —it can be a 24/7 effort. But while waking your employees at 3 a.m. to be there in a customer’s time of need is unreasonable, intelligent messaging can handle it for you. Although this technology has been around for a few years now, it’s been gaining momentum because of how smart it has become. Customers who engage with intelligent messaging solutions feel like they’re having a real conversation with someone who can actually take care of their needs. In today’s age, it can even be hard to tell the difference between a “chatbot” and a human.
Even though human conversations are great, it’s equally important to go where your customers go. While you can’t exactly show up to their homes with a pint of ice cream every time they need you, you can be accessible on the messaging sites they visit most. This includes Facebook Messenger, SMS text and your company’s website. The more channels you’re able to cover, the more opportunities your business will have to stay engaged. Digital Air Strike realized the importance of this and released its own AI-powered intelligent messaging platform, Response Path, to engage customers when employees can’t.
Engage on Review Sites…A Lot:
Think about the last time someone gossiped about you. Were those people saying nice things, or were they tearing you down behind your back? Review sites are essentially the adult version of hallway gossip…except this gossip is a lot more public. Review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp are filled with customers sharing opinions about products or services—and they’re viewed by millions of potential customers. While it’s impossible (and questionable) to censor reviews, businesses can fortunately use their credibility to gain more positive feedback. The best way to do this is to respond to every review, even the negative ones. New customers doing research are looking to see that you care enough to help unhappy customers while also thanking the ones who pay you a compliment.
When done right, review sites can even become your biggest salesperson. If you can drive happy customers to leave a glowing review by making it worthwhile for them to do so, those reviews alone will serve as a powerful marketing tool. But remember, you have to make the review process worthwhile, or in other words, easy. Email and text message marketing are great ways to encourage people to leave reviews without disrupting their day.
Show, Don’t Tell:
Don’t just tell customers how amazing you are—take the extra step and show them. Although creating visuals isn’t a new idea for increasing engagement, technology is making it easier for those of us who aren’t so artistic to do it ourselves. Canva is a great place to start when you’re new to making graphics. It’s easy to use with a wide variety of features, making it so you don’t need a degree in graphic design to tell your story visually.
Facebook has also made it easy to use the fanciest visual technologies like 3D and virtual reality (VR) without an ounce of experience. Facebook’s 3D photos feature can create scroll-stopping experiences that bring people deeper into your content. While that might give you flashbacks to those early 3D movies, the technology has advanced light years beyond straining your eyes through cheap red and blue glasses. It’s easily available on your computer screen and phone, and it can really make your content pop.
Facebook 360 on the other hand, gives your followers an all-around experience, just like they were in the room with you. VR is one of the hottest technologies in 2019, and you can start adding it to your social media content easily. People aren’t two dimensional, and now your visuals don’t have to be either.
Before taking the next step on your marketing journey, think about using technology in a way that improves the human element rather than taking away from it. At the end of the day, you understand your customers better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to show them.
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