We’re entering a rather strange era in the history of digital marketing. Things are becoming so competitive out there, that many companies are having to rely on bots to do the work for them. In that sense, it is becoming a bit like trading on the forex market. Companies place trading bots on servers close to the primary exchange to carry out deals at the speed of light, literally.T
The reason for this comes down to the sheer amount of content on the internet. Companies have had to automate vast tracts of the process to avoid falling behind their competitors. But is this a rational approach?
It feels very much like a race to the bottom for many startup founders. The competition is one to churn out as much content as you can on as many platforms as possible. Now, we’re getting to the stage where it is impractical for people to do the work. Bots that can work instantaneously seem like the only viable option we have.
There are, however, glimmers of hope that there are still ways to market that are authentic, human, creative and artistic. But it requires a radical rethink of the way businesses reach out online. You can either jump into the pit with everyone else. Or you can seek to do things differently and, hopefully, make an impact via alternative channels.
So what exactly does all this mean? How should you radically rethink your online outreach strategy? What will deliver the results that you want?
Stop Using Your Website as a Shopfront – and Start Using It as a Lead Generating Tool
The majority of small business owners see their website as kind of digital versions of brick-and-mortar window displays, made of zeroes and ones. But companies that do that only partially fulfil the potential of their sites.
The internet is actually a far more productive sales tool than a shop window. Sure, it has some similar characteristics, but a physical display is a static tool. It can’t respond to the needs and desires of customers. A website can.
Many startup founders, therefore, are redesigning their websites at a fundamental level, switching them from mere showcases to veritable salespeople. The idea is to transform the entire website into a series of sales funnels, catering to every type of customer that might arrive as part of the general traffic. People click on the site, and then it immediately presents them with options that correspond to their needs. It gets people traveling along the sales funnel pipeline instantly, instead of waiting for them to choose a product or service.
The concept is radically new, but this Simvoly review explains it rather well. The aim of the website isn’t to serve as a digital catalog, but instead to be a lead-generation tool.
Start Livestreaming Events and Tutorials
While spamming the internet with videos and blogs is a great way to garner impressions, everyone is doing it. Thus, if you want people to notice you, you have to do something that really stands out from the competition. It is not enough to regurgitate content from other sites. You have to offer something original – and that’s hard.
Livestreaming, however, puts you at an advantage for a couple of reasons. First, customers like it because it feels more like an event – not just something that they can dip in and out of whenever they want. It is something that they can look forward to and put in their diaries, like a gig or a concert.
Second, live streaming is one of the most authentic ways to communicate with your customers. Yes, you’ve got to be on the ball. But if you can pull it off, it makes a massive difference to how people perceive you and your brand.
Periscope and Facebook Live are the two primary outlets for business marketers right now, but there’s always YouTube too. Use social media liberally.
Hand Out Free Products or Services via the Web
Grabbing attention online requires taking radical steps to get your business noticed. With so many people running contests or discounts (especially during the coronavirus pandemic), many startups need to take drastic action.
New companies face a fundamental hurdle to doing business. Nobody has used them before – so they can’t rely on repeat business. And they don’t have any brand capital, so new customers don’t have a compelling reason just to trust them and buy their products.
Startups, however, still have options: most notably, giving away free products and services.
Doing this gets around several problems. As a start, it removes the risk for customers. They get to try you out, without having to hand over money first. After all, you might not be very good. Also, it helps give your products more exposure. You can prove to clients that you can actually solve their problems, even if they’re skeptical.
Finally, it is a great way to grab attention from your competitors. If there’s one thing that’s better than a discounted product, it is a free one. Milk it for all its worth. And upsell so that you don’t wind up making a loss. Make yourself indispensable to your clients.
Market Yourself on Quora
Quora is perhaps the most underutilized digital marketing platform in existence right now. The site is a little bit like Wikipedia, except that it focuses on answering specific questions instead of just presenting you with a wall of text.
Marketing yourself on Quora is easy. All you need to do is provide a comprehensive answer to the questions that users on the site ask. Most answers given by people are poor quality, but as an expert in your field, you can offer them something better. Users on the site will then find value in what you say and up-rate you.
The marketing part arrives in the form of a link to your bio or company website. You can use your answer to forward people to your marketing material, or just help them become more aware of what you do. Companies aren’t using en masse yet, but they should.