An old adage defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. It doesn’t take common sense to figure out that something that didn’t work out a thousand times before, will all of a sudden work. Unless, of course, you are Thomas Edison. In which case, carry on.
Sometimes when you’re not accomplishing your goals, you need to wipe the slate clean and shake things up to reach success. The same goes for your approach to customer acquisition.
In order to reach customer’s today, it requires a steadfast, yet incredibly impactful approach to marketing. Getting customers demands innovation on the digital front.
1. Build a custom app
Mobile apps are not just tools to kill precious time (Damn you Candy Crush and Flappy Bird), but they are also a great way to interact with customers, solve their problems and provide valuable information. Consider that 50 per cent of all search occurs on a mobile device and that 80 per cent of people always have their smartphone on them.
But the most important advantages of mobile apps are the way they create awareness and the allow you to leverage some one-on-one time with the consumer, something companies rarely have the opportunity to do. This time, if you use it well, will turn a potential consumer into a loyal user.
New York City restaurant chain, The Mermaid Inn, has an app called Oysterpedia. This mobile app is a digital encyclopedia of, you guessed it, oysters. The app contains rich images and an in-depth glossary so that users can discover, rate and share some of the over 200 North American oysters they have catalogued in their app. Users get a direct link to the Mermaid Inn website through the About section of their app which highlights the company’s promotions and meal discounts. Through this app, they are providing a valuable service while also generating sales.
2. Focus on a niche marketplace
Airbnb, Etsy, Hotel Tonight, Uber, and Yplan. What do they all have in common? They built their success by focusing on a specific demographic that is underserved and overlooked. But the secret to niche markets is keeping it simple.
Most video production companies offer an array of services. But after years of trying to do everything and failing, the video production company Sizzle it! decided to scale down and only offer one service: sizzle reels. By focusing on offering just one service–stylized 3-5 minute product videos–they are now more successful than ever. And because they are highly specialized, they are seen as the go-to company for that particular service, giving them top bill when it comes to keyword searches.
3. Create a community
The aim here is not to become the next Facebook. Think of your social community as an ongoing event where people come and go as they please to seek information and tips from other users.
A great example is Sephora’s Beauty Talk. With this community, the beauty product supplier has created a one-stop-shop for all those seeking real time help with topics like makeup, skincare, fragrance and hair. Plus, they have experts on hand to answer questions that require professional assistance.
Other than giving your consumers a safe place to congregate while having direct links to your website and products, building your own social community has other perks as well. It boosts your Google rank. Fresh user-generated content is like honey to a bear for a Google Web crawler.
4. Encourage user-generated content that drives brand awareness
Some of the best content for your brand is the content created by your users. User-generate content increases brand awareness while solidifying the consumer’s relationship with your brand.
Warby Parker is a fairly new company whose vintage-esque eyeglasses and sunglasses are wildly popular. This is because of the novel way this New York City-based company approaches customer acquisition.
Their Home Try-On Campaign allows shoppers to receive feedback from their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter friends and followers on which glasses fit them best. First, they ship customers five pairs of frames of their choosing (for free) in custom packaging that prompt them to get their selfie on and share on social media. Then their friends and followers say “yay” or “nay” a la the perennial shopping montage, building buzz around their products. Customers test the products for five days before returning the shipment. This campaign has had a positive effect on sales. Those who participate in the campaign are buying at twice the rate as those who don’t participate.
5. Post short videos
Just because Vine and Instagram’s video features are new, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful tools for your company. These short videos can save you a lot of time and money. You can use them for behind-the-scenes videos, how-to videos, and even stop motion videos. It all depends on your company’s needs. Use the more established Vine for shorter short videos at 6 seconds each or use Instagram’s video feature to capitalise on your existing Instagram community with its 15 second videos.
One company that knows their way around Vine is the Lowes. In just 6 seconds they give users numerous home improvement tips, from what to do with a stripped screw to getting rust stains off of knives. And their Vine strategy is working. They showcased two entries in the first #6secfilms Vine Contest at the Tribeca Film Festival.