8 Top Influencers Share a Little Marketing Magic
This article started out as something else.
It was going to be: "Experts give top tips for online marketing in 2016."
But it quickly morphed into a discussion with some of marketing's top influencers on how to build relationships.
Analytics and big data are certainly making targeting highly personalized. But even purveyors of data and analytics recognize there's more than a little magic beyond the numbers.
Happy customers return for more. And, sadly-91% will not do business with you again if they're unhappy. How do we keep them happy?
"When customers share their story, they're not just sharing pain points. They're actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better."
- Kristin Smaby, Being Human is Good Business
Consistency. Listening. Service. These critical ingredients help your buyer feel you get them.
"In an age when most products aren't very different, the difference is in the way people feel about the product." - Phil Dusenberry (An original Madman)
We asked 8 top influencers-regardless of niche-1 question:
What's the 1 TIP they'd give businesses looking to improve their online presence?
Remember one thing...These people are doing it right-and making an impact. Here's what they said...
1. Jo Middleton | Put The Megaphone Away
Jo's a top-5 influencer for website consulting on BuzzSumo. She's a writer, marketer, trainer and mum of two. She's winner of the 2015 Vuelio Best UK Blog and Best UK Parenting Blog awards for slummysinglemummy.com
"Use social media to actually talk with people, not just broadcast to them."
I'm always shocked at how many businesses, even the big, successful ones that you think would know better, use social media as just another opportunity to push a brand message down people's throats. It's so much more than that!
Reply to people, follow people, answer questions, ask opinions. If you can use social media to build proper relationships you'll get much more out of it than if you use it as just an online megaphone.
2. Richard Huntington | Let the Customer Drive
Richard is in the top 2 for brand consulting on BuzzSumo. He's also Chief Strategy Officer for Saatchi & Saatchi and former head of planning at the legendary agency HHCL in London. His website is Adliterate.com
"My fundamental piece of advice is that to gain influence you have to let go of control."
I think it's time we recognized that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that social media has proved to be neither free nor easy to use in a commercially meaningful way.
It remains useful as a means of listening to what is being said about you and responding to these and other customer service issues. But any hope of harnessing social, and we can probably forget Facebook, since it's an out-in-out advertising medium now. The magic lies in finding a community and adding a useful and interesting voice to that group. You definitely don't want to put undue pressure on it to deliver commercial results too soon.
3. Nicole Leinbach Reyhle | Do Fewer, More Meaningful Things
Nicole is also a top-5 influencer for website consultant on BuzzSumo. She's also Founder & Publisher at RetailMinded. You can read her articles on Forbes, her book: Retail 101 and read her blog, retailminded.com
Often, it's overwhelming for business owners to participate in each and every social media channel and do them each well.
"Instead, why not focus on 2-or if you're really bold, 3- that you can do a great job on?"
For example, if your business is more visually oriented, Instagram and Facebook may be a great duo to excel at. If you are more of a content driven business, consider how Twitter combined with Facebook may be a better combo. In other words, do a couple really well versus do all of them just okay.
Additionally, don't forget to participate in social media versus only posting on social media. Your presence means more than just posting alone. Getting social is the key, after all!
4. Larry Kim | Have a Consistent Theme
Larry is the founder of WordStream. He's also Top Columnist at Inc Magazine, SearchEngineLand-PPC Marketing. Visit his blog at Wordstream.com
Larry started his career as a programmer. His training has helped him to approach challenges in a data-oriented way. He maintains a consistent voice, and stays true to himself. While that has made him a top influencer, he has balanced these skills with a warmer side.
When people are as "scary smart" as Larry and his team, funny things like emojis and memes can take the edge off-and a few unicorns definitely don't hurt.
Larry always includes these which have become a trademark.
Some of you may be chuckling, but keep in mind the customer may enjoy your lighter side.
5. John Rampton | To Succeed You Must Stay at It
John holds the #2 spot for Entrepreneur's 50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016. He's an entrepreneur and the founder of Due, a time tracking and invoicing software. John blogs about his journey on: Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, Forbes and Inc. Visit his website at JohnRampton.com
Be consistent. I find that so many times people work at online marketing furiously for a month or two, then lose passion in it and let it sit for 6 months.
"If you're going to be big online, you need to stay at it for the long run. It takes time."
6. Joe Pulizzi | Laser Target and Publish to That Audience
Joe is the top influencer for content marketing on BuzzSumo. He's founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and author of Content Inc. He's a speaker and entrepreneur. Joe's website: JoePulizzi.com
"Joe has two things that work in tandem. Be sure you are telling a different story to each particular audience-and publish consistently. Those two things lead to building a loyal audience."
In a recent article for Crains, he talked about the business model that works for him:
Our model? Build a loyal audience through consistent content, THEN launch your products and/or services.
By focusing on building an audience first and defining products and services second, an entrepreneur can change the rules of the game and significantly increase the odds of financial and personal success.
"Once this loyal audience is built-the one that loves you and the information you send-you can, most likely, sell your audience anything you want."
7. Michelle Tripp | Story Engages Your Reader
Michelle is a top-10 brand strategist on BuzzSumo. She's a Product & Marketing Strategist based in New York, Co-Founder of Nextonomy, and Senior Strategist at Reyes Global. Visit her website at: Nextonomy
"If a company wants to increase their online presence, build an experience into the product that creates opportunities for content and storytelling."
Before writing a marketing plan or ramping up social media, first evaluate your product and what kind of experience your customer would love to have while using it. Build that experience into the product and then launch your 'Product 2.0.'
The "media empire" approach of creating your own content ecosystem around your product's topical footprint is a powerful way to increase a company's online presence. When a company consistently creates rich content supporting the curiosities and interests of the customer, it makes a bold statement that generates confidence in the product and increases sharing and exposure.
People love stories. Create stories that humanize the. If you create the kind of content that resonates, you'll have the foundation for huge exposure for your product and company.
8. Carmen Yazejian | Write a Customer Love Story
Carmen is Chief Network9'er at Network9, a brand-building design agency.
If your marketing can make people fall in love with your company, they're yours for life. Companies who have fanatical customers, like Apple, Nike, and Pixar, have built empires on customer loyalty. Every company can do it do.
"The magic is in developing empathy with your customers."
Who wants to listen to the guy at the party who blathers on and on about himself? Yawn. Listen TO people-don't talk AT them.
Get in their shoes. Read what they read. Actually liking your customers, understanding them and knowing their daily problems like you know your best friend's gets us through the twists and turns of marketing to them. In other words, care about them.
Answer this one question: Why should anybody care about my company/product/service? Answer that, and you will have a foundation for your marketing.
What's going to help your business to succeed is knowing who your customers are and understanding them.
Data and analytics will get you into the neighborhood, but it won't do the talking for you.
To nail the conversation with a customer, you have to ask questions, listen, think and put yourself squarely in his or her shoes. Your ability to communicate that in your website, on social media, even over the phone will build loyalty because the customer feels that you care.
Takeaways from the Experts
- Put the megaphone away and listen
- Let the customer drive
- Do fewer things better
- Have a consistent theme
- To succeed, stay at It
- Target and publish to a laser audience
- Stories engage your reader
- Give people a reason to care
Follow Carmen Yazejian on Twitter