This article has been updated. Please read it here: 4 Marketing Strategies to Make Consumers Love Your Brand.
We live in an ad, ad world. Without them, there'd be no television or radio, no social media - or we'd have to pay a lot more for such things.
According to Revcontent, "86% of consumers say they feel ads are necessary to get free content online". And while that's true for the most part, that doesn't give marketers carte blanche to annoy the daylights out of them. Here are four strategies to make consumers happy to see your ads:
1. Make it personal
Nothing's more annoying than a pushy salesperson - don't let your marketing take on that persona. Shoving your brand down people's throats is not only a huge turn-off, it's ineffective. Consumers either tune you out or worse, they take note of how annoying you are and vow never to give your brand their business.
On social particularly, the landscape now is consumer-centric, so your marketing strategy must reflect that. Forbes contributor Daniel Newman describes it this way: "Influence no longer lies with the suave, silver-tongued marketer and glossy marketing brochures. Consumers need to be marketed to in the way they want to be marketed to".
Accomplishing this means applying social monitoring and analytics to uncover consumer sentiment, creating a gateway to authentic conversations between consumers and marketers. You've got to push past demographic generalities for the real data.
A recent webinar by the American Marketing Association offers a great example illustrating this by Chris Leet, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at NetBase. Leet lists demographic characteristics of two men who both:
- Were born in 1948 and grew up in England
- Were married twice and had 2 children
- Were successful in business and wealthy
The reveal? One man is Prince Charles, the other is Ozzy Osbourne - they couldn't be more different. Thus, the marketing approach for each of them must also be. Social listening gives you the information to make your messaging personal - so use it. Because consumers love it when you do.
2. Make it relevant
Not all marketing content can be personalized, of course, you can't know who'll read a particular blog post in a given moment, or what else they're interested in. But you can ensure your native network offers recommendations relevant to the content they follow. Vendors like Rev contest, Taboola, and Outbrain specialize in this.
Someone reading an article about gardening may certainly be into dirt bike racing - but do you want to take the chance? Content recommendations must be relevant to the taste of the reader. If the bottom of your blog is littered with spammy clickbait with sensationalistic headlines, it comes across as junky and low-rent, making your own site look bad.
On the other hand, if at the end of your posts your readers are pointed to relevant content they'd never otherwise find, your site becomes a trusted, valuable resource. Or as Rev content VP of Marketing Richard Iwanik-Marques puts it, "Publishers can maintain sustainably high revenue streams, while also giving consumers a memorable content discovery experience they will enjoy". Which beats the alternative.
3. Make it timely
Timing really is everything - especially when it's off. Here are just a few things consumers find super annoying:
- Coupons that spit out on the receipt for an item they just purchased - useless to anyone who doesn't have the space or budget to stock up before the coupon expires, just so they can use it
- Repetitive ads in their Facebook feed for an item they've already bought
- Email subscription boxes that pop-up just as their eyes focus on the first sentence of the article they're interested in - it's like being sprayed by a perfume vendor walking into a department store
Marketers - and technology in the case of the Facebook ads - must do better if they want consumers to become loyal customers. These annoyances might seem small, but the little things add up quickly, and consumers know they have nearly unlimited options to get what they want. Don't give them any excuse not to choose your brand.
Use consumer feedback from reviews and social media to give them what they're asking for. Or do a little A/B testing to see what works best.
4. Make it relatable
Whether it's an experience consumers have had or one they can commiserate with others about not having, creating content that touches on relatable human emotions is a smart strategy. Emotion is a great motivator. People may joke about emotionally manipulative Hallmark commercials making them tear up - but they remember the brand.
Just today, a friend shared this video by Organic Valley on Facebook:
She was to try the product, based on the commercial alone. It resonated with her because it was funny and real - not because it was trying to sell her something.
At its best, marketing doesn't even feel like marketing, and that should always be the aspiration. Consumers are smart enough to know when they're being "sold". And just like you would to a bad pick-up line, they turn their head and talk to the nice, relatable brand on the opposite barstool.
The one that makes them feel like a human being with a brain, not an "opportunity". Let that be your brand.