Do you remember all those people searching for Pokémons in the streets? That was the first time many of us had heard about Augmented Reality (AR), and many brands began considering how they could use this technology.
Although Pokémon Go was not the first AR application, the technology went mainstream as a result of the app’s phenomenal popularity. Today, more and more brands are turning to this technology to surprise their customers and to get one step ahead of the competition.
AR overlays virtual content onto physical images in a way that allows them to interact in real-time. The technology does this either through displays, such as HoloLens and Google Glass, or through the camera view of a smart phone, tablet, etc.
AR’s popularity is growing each day, because the technology:
• Enhances our experience with reality.
• Efficiently combines the digital and the physical.
• Is unique and noticeable.
• Offers a competitive advantage for businesses.
The Rise of AR
Tech giants Apple and Google have already introduced their developer frameworks for AR apps. Both companies are making huge investments in this technology. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is a strong proponent who is constantly advocating the use of this technology. He even mentioned that one day we will wonder how we ever lived without it.
While AR is not quite yet mainstream, according to Deloitte Global: “2018 is far from the endpoint for AR; many further years of evolution are likely to enchant users and enhance their creations. AR will merge into camera-based apps; we will struggle to recall a time when AR was a mere novelty. And at some point, in the future, it may become increasingly hard to tell reality from AR-enabled fiction.”
AR is driving advances in various fields including sports, medicine, education, entertainment, healthcare, and broadcasting. AR is pushing new frontiers with lots of creative marketing applications, as well.
AR and Marketing
Today, more companies are including AR in their marketing plans. AR offers tremendous opportunities for marketers by:
• Contributing to an interactive customer experience.
• Increasing the chances for WOM and social sharing.
• Enabling personalized experiences.
• Increasing user engagement.
• Improving user experience.
• Encouraging product trials.
• Increasing promotion opportunities including real-time marketing.
• Differentiating brands.
Increase User Engagement
The Drum reports that AR can capture people’s attention for over 85 seconds, increase interaction rates by 20 percent, and improve purchase click-through rates by 33 percent.
AR transforms traditional promotion methods into creative ones that increase customer engagement. When used for promotion, the technology draws customers’ attention, reaches more people, and increases customer interaction. Many companies are aware of the power of AR. They use the technology in their advertising and promotional efforts.
AR, which is expected to play a role in shaping the future of social media trends, increases WOM and social sharing opportunities as well.
One of the early adopters of the technology is Snapchat. Snapchat offers various AR-based lenses which allow users to take selfies, choose one of several face filters to bring their snaps to life, and share their AR-integrated selfies on their profiles. Snapchat also allows users to create their own lenses. Thus, users can create lenses that reflect their characters and interests. They can also make these lenses available to other Snapchat users. This not only increases user interactivity but also Snapchat’s popularity.
Chairish, a marketplace for vintage furniture and decoration, offers an AR-based app with a “View in Your Space” feature. With this feature, users can preview items in their own homes. To do so, they use a phone camera, snap a photo and share this to get feedback.
Chairish ran a contest on Instagram and asked users to create a space using items from Chairish’s inventory via the AR app. The contest not only received many submissions but also caused a spike in app download. This example proves that AR is an effective tool for increasing customer engagement and social share.
Siemens has been using AR in its marketing materials. Since the technology eases giving instructions and sharing information, customers can better understand product features. Using interactive content help Siemens to increase user engagement and ensure a better introduction of the latest products and solutions.
Encourage Product Trials
Imagine being able to see how a couch would fit in your living room before actually buying it — or being able to see which sunglasses suit your face or which lipstick looks good on you without physically trying anything on.
AR creates a more realistic representation of products. Customers can find out whether or not a product will fit their needs. AR allows customers to test drive new products, such as furniture and cosmetics, without even leaving home, thus helping them to make the right buying decisions without risk.
Facebook AR-Based Ad Campaigns
Facebook allows businesses to use AR to show off products on Messenger and on Newsfeed. For example, Michael Kors was among the first brands that tested AR-based ads of Facebook. These ads let users try the latest sunglass models of Michael Kors by using the phone camera.
L’Oréal Makeup Genius App
L’Oréal offers a virtual makeup app called Makeup Genius. The app transforms smartphone cameras into virtual mirrors and allows users to apply L’Oréal makeup products. The app which is only available in the US, allows users to find the makeup style that suits them and purchase makeup products accordingly. With this app, L’Oréal improves encourages product trial by providing a personalized experience.
IKEA has an AR-based app, called Place. The app allows users to see how IKEA furniture items look in their homes. By using this app, users can find out if the furniture they’re planning to buy fits in their homes.
Users can scroll through a catalog of furniture, point their smartphone camera at the location they want to furnish, and see how each piece would look in the space. The app eases customers’ lives by showing users how IKEA products will look in the surroundings of their own home before buying.
Offer Entertaining Experiences
AR can be used to create entertaining experiences. This technology is frequently used in gamification, which applies game mechanics to non-game experiences. AR-based entertainment apps not only offer something fun and challenging, but also increase customer engagement.
Disney Coloring App
Disney created an AR-based coloring app that transforms 2D images created on a printed page into animated, 3D characters. For example, a child colors a character such as an elephant in a book. The app monitors the drawing and fills in the chosen colors in real-time. So, the character on the printed page comes alive as a 3D character.
Pizza Hut’s AR Menu
Pizza Hut’s AR menu is a successful example of AR-based entertainment applications. This app allows users to browse through the menu and place an order, and it even has a game that allows people to win free pizza.
Le Petit Chef
Le Petit Chef, an AR-based app designed by a company called Skullmapping, is an animated 3D character for the restaurant industry that provides unforgettable entertainment for diners. Thanks to AR technology, this animated Chef appears on guest's plates at select locations and times. He spends a few minutes preparing the main ingredients of each ordered dish, and as soon as he’s done, the waiter appears with the meal.
Tips for Marketers Planning to Use AR
While using AR technology in your marketing efforts:
Consider your target audience, offer something they would value.
Don’t rely on novelty, offer something functional.
Deliver quality content that is relevant and useful.
Provide a meaningful interaction.
Think about the context and offer something accordingly.
AR creates new opportunities in marketing. By using this technology, marketers can transport their brands and stories directly into the customers’ world. The technology also helps to create a unique and creative experience which improves customer engagement. By investing in this technology, startups can boost the efficiency of their marketing efforts.
A few years ago, video as a content type, was the shiny new toy. Now it’s the king of content. From million-dollar companies to small businesses, companies can’t afford to ignore the video.
As a self-explanatory term, video marketing means including videos in your marketing strategy to promote your brand and products.
From raising awareness to creating interest and from influencing your audience’s decisions to persuading them to purchase, videos are used in every stage of marketing now.
Because people expect to see videos…
The Video Marketing is on the Rise
With Youtube’s becoming mainstream in 2009, video expression was opened to the public. Since then, watching videos is an indispensable part of our lives.
According to Nielsen, U.S. adults are now spending almost 6 hours per day on video, on average. Global numbers are not different either. This is a fairly high number and the situation is not different for global figures either. For example, almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.
Cisco predicts online video will account for 72% of all internet use by 2019. The financial commitment to supporting branded content is predicted to double by 2019 as well, and budgets for mobile video ads will increase by 70%.
This is why more businesses include videos in their marketing strategies. According to Hubspot, 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool.
Why is video so popular?
Thanks to increasing use of mobile devices, we don’t use our laptops and PCs for a simple web search anymore. Because mobile devices are so handy, we pick them up to get the information we look for. And reading on a mobile device doesn’t always mean a practical experience. We almost always need to increase the font size, but this may not be possible without spoiling text justification.
On the other hand, watching videos is always easy on any channel or device. Videos fit any device ranging from computers to mobile devices. This expands their reach and makes them more user-friendly and consumer-focused. So, your content always performs well on any device and you don’t lose traffic.
Besides videos do what text doesn't. Not only they simplify getting information but also contribute to user interaction. This is why people love sharing videos.
Hubspot suggests that, if you create video content that your specific audience enjoys, 83% of consumers would consider sharing it with their friends. According to Promo, 85% of the most shared Facebook posts in 2017 were videos and videos get 6 times more often than static images and 3 times more often than GIFs.
How can video marketing help you?
Video marketing can help you in many different ways. By using the power of videos, you can raise brand awareness, position yourself as a thought leader, increase your website’s traffic, engage with your audience,
Build brand awareness
Video marketing offers a great way to tell your story. Even if you own a startup or a middle-size business, video marketing can provide you with tremendous opportunities to get your name heard. We know hundreds of people who became an overnight celebrity with the help of a video they posted on YouTube. Even if you don’t aim for such popularity, videos can help you to build brand awareness.
Showcase your thought leadership
Sharing valuable content on a subject which you have an expertise, not only helps you reach more people but also position yourself as a thought leader in your area. Videos would serve better by making it easier to understand your message. To showcase your expertise, create videos that include answers to frequently asked questions of your audience. You can also cover industry updates and the latest developments in your field. To do this, you can use explainer videos, video tutorials, and testimonials.
Increase social engagement
People love watching videos. This is why videos have the highest engagement rate when compared to other content types. By sharing high-quality videos on social media, you can increase your social engagement. Attracting more people means more subscribers and followers which can be transformed into customers over time. As social videos will continue to evolve, including videos in your marketing efforts will be a good choice to reach more people.
Videos which can be combined with different marketing tools, also increase their influence. By including videos in your marketing mix, you can increase the overall efficiency of your marketing efforts. For example, by integrating a video into your landing page, you can increase the time that visitors spend on your page. Including videos in your email marketing campaigns also increases open rates of your emails.
Increase organic traffic
Videos increase organic traffic. This is why more companies see videos as crucial components of their marketing plans. Even though YouTube is the dominant video platform, Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn promote video use. By adding to your website, landing page, social media posts you can increase organic traffic they get. This also improves your company’s SEO results which means your pages appear higher in search results.
Video Marketing Tips
Build a video content strategy
- Define who your audience is and what kind of videos they would like to see.
- Decide what kind of videos you will use to tell your brand story: entertaining, educational or inspiring?
- Try to list the topics that align with your core values and what you can tell about them to your audience.
- Once you’ve determined the content of your videos, set up a schedule and share your videos consistently.
- Analyze the performance of your videos and collect feedback from your audience to make the necessary adjustments in your strategy.
Create valuable video content
- Try to create high-quality and visually-appealing videos that people would enjoy sharing.
- Think about how your video could appeal to your audience.
- When you’re thinking about video ideas, ask yourself whether it is useful, interesting, educational or emotional?
- Create evergreen videos that answer common questions or solve a problem.
- Transform your well-performed written content (press coverage, blog posts, etc.) into video format.
- Use as many social media platforms as possible to share your videos.
- Each platform has its own consumers, dynamics, and way of engagement.
- Taking place on more platforms helps you reach a wider audience increases social sharing potential.
- Don’t ignore SEO principals while creating and releasing your videos. Check out this cool manual to learn more about video SEO.
- Include trending topics in your videos by using resources like Google Trends and Twitter Trends.
- Talk directly to your audience in a way that encourages interaction.
- Allow your audience to join the dialog by accepting user-generated video content.
- Create videos that encourage interaction by asking your audience questions.
- Make your audience feel important by giving them a chance to participate in what you create.
- Answer your audiences’ comments and questions on time.
Use videos for branding and promotion
- Use a video overview to give your audience an understanding of what makes your brand unique.
- Share new features or a brand-new product.
- Announce special events and advertise special promotions.
- Give tips related to your product or service and allow your customers to see them in action.
- Take note of trending events and incorporate them into a seasonal video.
- Brainstorm ideas to be able to share new videos continuously.
- Have a plan for what you’ll deliver to your audience after shooting each video
- Make specific elements of your channel cohesive, like your personality, tone of voice, theme etc.
- Have a clear video format and a durable idea that will continue to pull attention in future videos.
- Share videos on a regular schedule like a certain day of each week.
Video has been increasingly popular worldwide and it’s no longer a question whether it is a worthwhile investment. The sooner you include videos in your marketing efforts, the sooner you see their benefits. Video marketing can help you build brand awareness, position yourself as an industry expert, engage with a wider audience, increase visibility and boost the influence of your promotion efforts. You can enjoy these benefits by implementing an effective video marketing strategy and sharing high-quality videos in a consistent way.
One of the most difficult parts of starting and growing a business is finding customers. Having a great product or service may not be enough to find customers. That is why customer acquisition is the lifeblood of a startup.
In simplest terms, customer acquisition can be defined as gaining new customers. Customer acquisition requires convincing people to buy a product or to pay for a service. By adopting the right customer acquisition strategy, you can gain new customers in a cost-effective way which will contribute to your startup’s growth.
Building Your Customer Growth Strategy
A thoughtful customer acquisition strategy gives you a direction and allows you to measure your progress. While building your strategy, make sure that you;
- analyze your potential customers according to their needs, interests, and intents,
- define your value proposition, the reason people prefer you, not your competitors,
- make tests to find the right channel that will work best for you,
- estimate the cost of customer acquisition and find the less-costly method,
- study your successful competitors to get tactics
- work on your personal network to get more feedback about your business and products.
Customer Acquisition with Marketing
In the acquisition phase, you need to ensure that your potential customers know about your startup and solutions. Thus, they will include you in their buying decision process. To manage this, establish your startup on the right channels that your audience mostly prefers. Marketing can help you convey your message across multiple channels in a way that grows your customer base. Below is a list of marketing tips you can apply for increasing your customer acquisition rates.
Leverage Your Website
Your website will be the first point of contact for your potential customers. When you consider the importance of the first impression, welcoming your audience with a well-designed and content-rich website can increase your chances of customer acquisition.
- Keep your website up-to-date with valuable content that answers your customers’ questions.
- Use the power of SEO which is among the most effective unpaid marketing methods.
- Provide enhanced user experience to prevent high bounce rates.
- Include interactive content to increase engagement rates.
- Generate leads by offering free resources like whitepapers, e-books, data sheets etc.
Start a Blog
Having a blog can help you to inform your potential customers about what you offer. Providing quality content that fits your audience’s interests, increases your online visibility and drives traffic to your website. Consistent quality content transforms visitors into leads and leads into customers. To accomplish this with your blog;
- Know your audience and try to understand their needs.
- Consider what they would want to know about your products, solutions, industry etc. and provide them with this information.
- Be customer-oriented and try to answer their potential questions instead of promoting your services.
- Update your blog regularly and post new content often.
- Position your startup as an industry expert and provide your audience with valuable content.
Make a Difference with High-Quality Content
According to Marketo, 81% of shoppers research online before setting foot in a store and consumers spend an average of 79 days conducting online research before buying. This means your potential customers will look for information to give the right decision. And the quality of your content will have a direct influence on their purchasing decision. With content marketing, you can convince your audience that your products are worth trying.
- Know your audience well and target the channels according to their interests and habits.
- Share valuable information that can create a difference in their lives.
- Provide them with evergreen, informative content like a white paper, survey report or e-book instead of a sales pitch.
- Publish new content regularly on different channels to increase engagement.
- Use the right SEO tactics to increase the visibility of your content.
- Know everything about your industry and share what you know in a generous way.
Be Always Present on Social Networks
When used strategically, social media can be an effective customer acquisition channel. Getting more followers on social media profiles helps you introduce your solutions to a broader audience. Users are likely to purchase something from a brand they follow on social media. By engaging with your audience in a friendly and helpful manner, you can develop strong relationships on social media. This helps you build trust which increases your chances to convince them to buy your product.
- You don’t have to be on every social platform. Find where your potential customers hang out and focus on these platforms.
- Be ever present on your social networks and answer messages on time in a way that provides value.
- Find the influencers your audience follows and reach out to them with something they can be interested in.
- Develop exclusive content for social followers, based on what your analytics data tells you.
- Try to get known as a helpful friend instead of someone who is trying to sell something.
- While measuring your efforts focus on engagement rate instead of follower numbers.
Directly Reach Your Audience with Email Marketing
As a targeted, cost-effective and measurable method, email marketing helps you directly reach out to your potential customers. You can customize your messaging according to the interests of your audience by targeting and segmenting your emails. Since many popular email marketing services offer freemium packages, email marketing doesn’t require large budgets. These services provide in-depth reports and performance tracking features. So, you can measure your efforts easily and accurately.
- Build email segments according to your audience’s interests and customize your campaigns accordingly.
- Use a personal tone to increase engagement. E.g. personalize subject line with first names.
- Include relevant and valuable information in your messaging.
- Don’t forget to add the call to actions like asking your audience to visit a website, register for an event, download a document etc.
- Measure your performance and take actions to decrease bounce rates and increase readability.
Use PR to Get Press Coverage
When compared with paid methods, public relations (PR) is among the most cost-effective ways to promote your startup. PR uses publicity and nonpaid forms of promotion to positively influence people about your company, products or solutions. By getting your startup covered by the media, PR helps you to increase your visibility, raise awareness and build trust. This contributes to reaching more people and acquiring new customers.
- List media outlets and journalists to find the right ones that directly fit your needs and target them.
- Attend networking events where you can meet journalists and press members.
- Use the power of interpersonal relations to contact journalists you target.
- Create valuable content that is exceptional enough to pull journalists’ attention.
- Set up an online press center that includes valuable resources for the press; like press releases, media kits, previous media coverage etc.
Grab Customer Attention with Sales Promotion
Sales promotion is a good way to persuade customers to try a new product or solution. It includes free trials, discounts, bundles, additional content etc. To pull your audience’s attention, your promotions need to provide real value for them. In other words, you need to offer a legitimate reason for them to consider buying your product or solution.
- Determine what you would like to accomplish with your sales promotion and set goals to accurately measure your efforts.
- Try to find out what kind of offers your potential customers will find most interesting.
- While designing your promotional message, create a sense of urgency and limited availability.
- Consider your audience’s channel preferences and design your campaigns accordingly.
- While measuring the results of your promotional efforts focus on conversion rate.
Use the Power of Feedback
Feedback can help you in two ways: First, you can use it to see how things go with your product. In other words, it points to the areas that need improvement. Second, you can use feedback as a referral especially when it includes positive reviews. Both ways contribute to your customer acquisition strategy by allowing you to provide solutions that better answer your audience’s needs and convincing them that your product is worth trying.
- Ask your users how their initial experience with your product or service goes.
- Never ignore your audience’s reviews, figure out what you can improve your product.
- Offer easy-to-use feedback channels to increase their response rates.
- Encourage customer referrals by rewarding them with discounts, additional services etc.
- In your referrals, try to show how your product improves your audience’s life.
As a startup, customer acquisition plays a crucial role in your success. To gain new customers, you need to introduce your products and solutions in a way that convinces your audience to buy them. This requires an effective customer acquisition strategy. By supporting your strategy with different marketing tools, you can convey your message to your audience in a way that increases their likelihood of buying your products and services.