At a recent Facebook Local News Subscriptions Accelerator event, Facebook Journalism Project advisor Tim Griggs outlined a range of ways in which publishers can improve their digital performance by focusing on audience members in the mid-funnel – “the point in the audience journey where readers develop brand loyalty and habitual usage”.
And while Griggs' notes are focused on publishers, his tips include relevant notes for all businesses looking to boost their digital marketing performance. Here are five key tips worth considering from Grigg’s presentation.
1. Know Your Target Audience
This is fairly common advice, that you need to check your analytics and understand your target market in order to create content and offers that will appeal to them.
But Griggs makes an important point:
“[Brands] must recognize that they can’t be all things to everyone. Instead, its important to know your mission, identify audiences that are likely to be loyal, and serve them.”
You can’t please everyone, you can’t win over every user - which is why it’s so important to use the analytics tools available to target the right people, the ones most receptive to your messaging, and to build offers and promotions based around them.
Griggs advises that:
“Publishers should use all the data tools available to them to identify trends and recognize where there are certain stories where they can make a difference. They should also be thinking about how they can repurpose archival and evergreen coverage to reach new audiences.”
The same applies to businesses – using the insights tools available, and by digging deeper into your own data, you can identify trends as to which audiences you should be aiming for, and subsequently, which topics are likely to be of most interest.
2. Website Visits = Opportunity
This may have more relation in a publishing sense, but Griggs also notes that the most loyal readers come to your homepage, which makes it a great place to market to them with specific offers and benefits.
Despite more people consuming information on social platforms and connecting to information via search (through queries that are not brand-specific), once people do come to your page, that's an opportunity – and for repeat visitors, it’s another platform to foster loyalty.
Worth considering in your approach.
3. Utilize Storytelling
Griggs also notes that many publishers are now using serialized stories to boost connection with their audiences.
“The Boston Globe turned a long form narrative into a multi-part series. Users could unlock subsequent chapters of the story by submitting their email address.”
Obviously, publishers have an advantage in this regard, with storytelling part of their regular process, but it may be another consideration for brands looking to establish audience connection, and build direct bonds outside the confines of social platforms.
If you’re able to connect with your audience via e-mail, or even direct messages or within private groups, that can strengthen your brand relationship, and make audiences more receptive to both your brand story and your future offers.
You do need a good, brand-relevant story to facilitate such, but it may help reduce reliance on social platforms for future distribution and reach.
4. Enhance Connection with Events
Community engagement is another way to build brand loyalty, through both online and offline means.
Griggs explains how The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news site covering state politics in Texas, has made events part of its core engagement strategy:
“At one point less than 10% of event attendees were paying members, but once people attended at least three events, they were significantly more likely to join.”
It takes more effort, and more cost to run events, but the example speaks for itself. If you’re able to better connect with your audience through dedicated events – by using speakers and subjects of relevance to your core market – chances are you’ll be able to enhance brand loyalty, and boost your results.
5. “Brand Stickiness”
Griggs also highlights the importance of ‘brand stickiness’ and connecting website visitors with more relevant content to further enhance their relationship.
“Publishers can highlight related stories, trending stories, stories personalized to the reader, and more.”
Most websites already do this, but if yours doesn’t, it’s worth considering how you use such recommendation tools and highlights to further showcase your industry expertize and focus, building on that initial interest.
Griggs also notes the importance of improving your page load times, and focusing on topics that will spark conversation among your audiences on social platforms to generate interest (and reach).
As noted, the focus here is on publishers, but each of these tips is relevant to any brand looking to enhance their digital marketing efforts, and build better connection with their audience as a result.
You can read more on the Facebook Local News Subscriptions Accelerator program here.