What the Emergence of 5G Wireless Means For Marketing

What the Emergence of 5G Wireless Means For Marketing

It’s been a decade since 4G – the last generation of mobile network technology – was introduced. With its arrival, the landscape of digital media and mobile communication was forever altered.

Smartphones and other devices designed to fully utilize 4G wireless technology gave consumers the power of supercomputers in the palms of their hands, enabling them to quickly and easily search the internet for products, services, reviews, and media, as well as find answers to nearly any question imaginable.

In a short period of time, we’ve come to take 4G’s capabilities for granted. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that many of today’s mobile apps – with their capacity for streaming video and audio and in-app advertising and purchases – could not have existed on 3G.

No previous generation of mobile technology has had the wherewithal to drive economic growth to the extent that 5G promises. Much like the advent of 4G made it possible for services like Uber and Lyft to launch, 5G is likely to spark a brand-new wave of tech titans.

5G also gives every indication of opening up more opportunities for the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting everything from your house lights to your garage door and even your toaster to the internet. This translates into more people and more devices spending more time connected to the internet, increasingly consuming more content.

While it could take as long as a decade to realize the full potential of the technology, 5G is projected to cover up to 65% of the global population by the end of 2025, fielding as much as 45% of global mobile data traffic. When 5G wireless networks and devices finally start to take root, they will fundamentally change customer behavior and open up new marketing opportunities for organizations.

WHAT IS 5G?

5G, the fifth-generation cellular wireless network, is a cloud-based network that connects people on mobile devices to the internet remarkably faster than previous networks. While 4G requires cables and infrastructure to operate smoothly in a neighborhood, 5G’s cellular towers enhance cloud-based signals, eliminating many cable-related needs.

Whereas preceding wireless networks were only truly capable of powering mobile devices up to the size of a tablet, 5G will be strong enough and fast enough to effortlessly power computers, televisions, and even smart devices.

5G technology carries with it the potential for download speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G; very low latency (the time it takes for a network to send a data packet after it’s requested from a receiving device); higher network capacity (the ability to connect far more devices to a network simultaneously); and faster message transmission, due to supercharged connectivity.

The possibilities of 5G are limitless and could transform the digital marketing landscape in more ways than we can conceive of.

HOW 5G WIRELESS WILL CHANGE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

The expansion of 5G will be powered by the introduction of 5G-compatible iPhones and Android phones in the near future. This will likely spawn a huge wave of smartphone upgrades. Along with being on a faster network, these devices will feature better-quality screens, faster processors, higher-resolution cameras, and other improved components.

Once customers have acquired these compatible devices, wireless carriers will begin vying for these customers by building out their respective networks. This build-out will take some time, but 5G should be an everyday experience for the majority of Americans within the next 3 to 5 years.

Faster internet speeds on 5G-supported devices will make surfing the internet, watching videos, and online shopping much more attractive on mobile. This will likely motivate consumers to use their mobile devices even more often than before. Already, 37% of web traffic and 56% of revenue is from mobile devices, according to Smart Insights. As 5G expands to more communities, these numbers will certainly escalate even further.

With better and faster data exchanges, 5G will also lead to enhanced location accuracy. Having relevant data in hand to increase targeting accuracy for any ad, search page, or web page experience means improved results for both consumers and brands. Consumers will enjoy a better experience and marketers will reach a more targeted audience. While this won’t necessarily change the tactics that local marketers use to connect to their audience, it will increase the chances that the consumers they reach are the right ones.

WHAT 5G MEANS FOR MARKETING

A Solid Online Presence Is Essential

With higher loading speeds and dependable, super-fast connections, people will be able to consume more online content, faster. In fact, early users of the 5G network have reported using four times more data than they did previously. Consumers are likely going to be spending more time browsing, scrolling, and swiping on the internet and less time viewing traditional content like cable TV, newspapers, and magazines. More screen time translates into more opportunities to reach your target audience.

If your brand doesn’t currently exist on all the relevant platforms, now’s the time to establish and develop a solid online presence. If you haven’t already launched a website, this is a crucial first step. Set up and optimize your business profiles on all the major social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Consider creating marketing videos aimed at increasing brand awareness. Starting a company blog is an excellent way to build a community and provoke conversations among industry peers.

Digital Ads Will Be on More Screens & Surfaces

With 5G and advancing Wi-Fi technologies, wireless internet is going to be noticeably faster and more widespread, even in rural locations. Due to the higher network speeds, visual and media in digital ads could be much more advanced.

Currently, digital ads can be seen on smartphones, websites, and occasionally on screens at shopping centers and airports. Super-fast wireless connectivity means high-end screens could be located anywhere an internet connection exists. Quite literally, any surface has the potential to become an interactive digital marketing ad platform. Faster speeds could even open the door for functional holographic ads. 

Super-fast wireless connectivity means that high-end screens could be located anywhere an internet connection exists. Faster speeds could even open the door for functioning holographic ads. In a world where literally any surface has the potential to become an interactive digital marketing ad platform, advertisers can dramatically increase the number of locations and methods by which they can reach potential customers.

Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)

For years, marketers have deemed immersive technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to be rife with potential for paid advertising. While some major brands have played around with VR and AR for some time, opportunities in these areas have been constrained based on Wi-Fi access.

One of the chief reasons why VR, AR, and other forms of extended reality (XR) haven’t yet become widespread in popularity is because these technologies demand significant bandwidth, less latency, and greater speed than 4G is capable of providing. The expansion of 5G networks will allow advertisers to utilize this format with more reliability and less lag.

Augmented reality inherently relies on immersion. A lag or stutter can shatter the illusion. In order to maintain the suspension of disbelief, the AR experience needs to be utterly convincing, real-time, and executed seamlessly. As internet speeds accelerate, delivering on these requirements is becoming progressively easier.

Low latency and high system capacity will improve overall consistency, helping to bring smooth, immersive experiences into mainstream reality, and offering a wealth of opportunities for marketers.

 

In the near future, we can reasonably expect to see brands launching innovative and compelling messaging using high-quality, interactive creative imagery overlaid on practically every surface imaginable. This innovative marketing content will likely be viewable not just when wearing standard AR-enhanced glasses, but also in store windows, on walls, in car dashboards, and on next-generation mobile devices that also function as projectors.

Internet of Things (IoT) Will Reach Its Full Potential

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the concept of connecting any possible device to the internet. This goes beyond the obvious connected “things” like computers, cell phones, smart TVs, cameras, home security systems, and wearable devices (Apple Watches and FitBits, for example), and extends to more commonplace items like thermostats, lighting fixtures, household appliances, doorbells, and even barbecue grills. All of these and more can be controlled through devices such as smartphones or smart speakers.

While many IoT devices are capable of functioning on 4G networks, connections between devices generally can’t rely on transferring large amounts of data because there simply isn’t enough bandwidth. With the increased bandwidth that 5G networks will bring, the number of connected items will skyrocket, and the connection between these items will become more efficient and seamless.

As adoption of 5G continues to increase, the amount of data generated by IoT devices will also grow exponentially. Marketers will have to learn to separate the valuable data from the “junk,” but once they’re able to reliably pinpoint the good data to use on a large scale, the possibilities are endless.

What benefits can marketers derive from this treasure trove of data?

  • Understand audiences more deeply in order to better personalize their messaging
  • Generate contextual and location-based ads that are hyper-targeted to reach their ideal audience
  • Create timely, relevant content for prospective customers at each stage in the buying journey
  • Listen to the needs of their customers based on their behavior
  • Make real-time adjustments to marketing campaigns based on ongoing data analysis

Going forward, advertisers should be ready to interface with users across a variety of different devices using a vast array of ad formats.

More Interactive Advertising

Up to this point, buffering and other technological limitations have impaired the accessibility of interactive ads.

At present, advertisers are tasked with finding a happy medium between producing compelling creative content and minimizing webpage load times. High-definition or interactive digital display ads lengthen the amount of time it takes for a page to load, which can cause some website visitors to skedaddle before they even see the ad.

5G download speeds will be fast enough that marketers will no longer be limited with regard to the quality of creative features on a webpage. 4K and live videos will be commonplace across the internet, even on mobile.

Since interactive ads won’t negatively impact a website’s performance, the sites will be significantly easier to navigate. Improved website performance could potentially boost click-through rates and decrease bounce rates as well.

Marketing Processes Will Be Improved

Reporting and data mining that once took hours or days for marketers to complete might only take a few minutes or seconds with 5G. Analytics, applied to every phase of the marketing process, can help predict where demand will be for particular products, optimize pricing to gain a competitive edge, and identify consumer purchasing patterns and behaviors.

With faster data communication between devices, marketers will finally have access to real-time analytics. This opens up the possibility to maximize and modify marketing campaigns in real time using artificial intelligence (AI) and other marketing automation tools.

Greater Personalization & Hyper-Localized Targeting

As internet speeds increase and mobile connectivity reaches deeper into more rural and remote areas, the number of internet users is likely to grow at an even faster rate than before. With the proliferation of users, marketers will also see a noticeable increase in the amount of valuable data they are able to collect. With more detailed information in hand, marketers will be able to deliver hyper-localized content and multifaceted campaign strategies. Hyper-localization makes personalization and targeting increasingly important. With this data, marketers will be better able to:

  • Tailor ads by demographics, consumer behavior, and specific device usage
  • Improve segmentation, customer experience (CX), and customer journey
  • Generate customized calls to action, personalized emails, and location-based homepages
  • Build meaningful relationships between the brand and the consumer

Expansion of Mobile Marketing

Over the past decade, screen time on mobile devices has significantly increased. With users’ eyes glued to their cell phone screens, mobile marketing is more vital than ever. 

Marketers understand that there’s a discernible difference between how people use a computer and a smartphone. Desktop search inquiries can be more complex, whereas smartphone queries are generally simpler and more direct. Bearing this in mind, marketers will need to fashion content that’s more appropriate for mobile devices.

This content will likely be centered around screenless searches – voice search and digital assistants, for example – as well as micro-moments (when people reflexively consult a device, typically a smartphone, to act upon a need to learn, do, discover, watch, or buy something). Consequently, this content will be more conversational in tone and framed to answer frequently asked questions to aid users in acquiring information on the go.

Mobile ecommerce sales in the U.S. represented nearly 40% of total retail ecommerce sales as recently as 2018 – and it’s anticipated that these numbers will keep climbing. Despite this unprecedented growth, U.S. consumers are nonetheless encountering considerable difficulties while shopping online.

Consumers’ greatest frustration emanates from latency – in a recent survey, 42% of users referenced low-performing websites or apps as their biggest inconvenience. As network speeds accelerate with 5G, zero latency will essentially eliminate the number-one problem for mobile shopping.

Now is the time for companies – and marketers – to gear up for the progression of 5G by streamlining shopping apps and enriching the customer experience.

Video Advertising Will Increase

Video is already the most consumed content on the internet, as well as a fast-growing segment of digital marketing. While 4G networks are relatively fast, lag issues still creep up when streaming videos. Due to limited bandwidth, pages load slowly, preventing many marketers from doubling down on video as a central focus of their efforts.

With heightened connectivity and accelerated internet speeds, the use of video content, streaming, and mobile video consumption is expected to skyrocket. Page load times will dramatically decrease and buffering time will be reduced to virtually nil, creating a nearly seamless streaming experience for users.

5G networks will allow users to stream high-quality videos faster than ever before, contribute to better overall quality (such as 4K video), easily support longer-form and data-rich videos, and enhance live video capabilities.

Consequently, video advertising will become more prevalent online. Marketers will focus on producing unique, high-quality video content as a primary component of their advertising strategies. Consumers should expect that the quantity of video ads they see will rise; however, these same users may be more open to video content if they find it to be particularly relevant.

As recently as 2018, users reported having viewed a combined 1 billion hours’ worth of YouTube content each day, substantially more than the next leading platforms combined. Rival social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have all rolled out emergent video platforms in an attempt to seize a portion of YouTube’s viewership for their platforms. As the breadth of video-streaming networks continues to expand, marketers will work on diversifying and gearing their efforts toward each specific platform.

Decreasing Use of Ad Blockers

Currently, an estimated 47% of consumers routinely use ad blockers. One of the biggest reasons for this is that ads can significantly slow down a page’s load time.

With the higher speeds and lower latency that 5G will bring, the use of ad blockers is likely to decline. This means that marketers will be able to serve more ads to more people, much faster than before.

Faster load times and a better user experience (UX) will ultimately lead to more positive relationships between brands and consumers as well.

Richer Content for Websites & Emails

More mobile bandwidth would seriously diminish concerns about website load times, allowing businesses to use more images, animation, and video. Just because they can, though, doesn’t mean that they should – busy and frenetic web designs can be confusing to visitors. However, 5G does allow for richer content with fewer worries.

5G technology would decrease concerns about email load times as well. Marketers could be more confident about using retina and 4K images in emails, and could even use larger-sized animated gifs with more frames.

Voice Assistants Will Be The Norm

Whether scheduling activities or creating lists, people are now using voice assistants for anything and everything they please. Sales of smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Alexa, have also boomed in recent years.

Smart speakers and voice assistants demand rapid access to vast amounts of data in order to accurately encrypt a verbal command and return a useful response. 5G technology will allow these tools to function even faster and be more helpful. In addition, the data transfer speeds available from 5G networks will enable you to take your smart speaker with you wherever you go for even greater versatility.

One of the biggest marketing impacts of 5G will be that consumers can have actual voice conversations with mobile devices, instead of merely issuing a few voice commands and interacting at other times by thumb-typing or screen-touching.

As voice assistants become more omnipresent, marketers will look for new ways to leverage this developing technology. Mobile advertising could eventually become entirely slanted towards voice conversations.

HOW TO KEEP UP IN A 5G WORLD

It’s understandable if your company isn’t quite ready to explore the possibilities of interactive advertising, augmented reality, or virtual reality. However, you should still keep tabs on the latest marketing technologies in order to be “in the know” about what the bigger brands are doing. This can help you identify which opportunities might be more accessible to you in the future, or come up with similar strategies that you might be able to recreate without the high-priced technologies.

If you haven’t already, you should also work on building up your digital and online marketing tactics. The ongoing improvements of Wi-Fi and the expectations of 5G have demonstrated that there’s a business case for being hyperconnected. If the majority of your customers weren’t online frequently already, they certainly will be in the coming years.

Make sure you’re actively engaging with consumers on the most popular social media channels for your industry. Build a robust website awash with digital content such as blog posts, marketing videos, and other relevant information.

If you’ve already got an amazing online presence, consider exploring newer mobile platforms that could thrive in the 5G era. You might not be able to afford to create an AR advertisement, but you could experiment with creating content that utilizes AR or new-media filters on apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, or Instagram.

In a 5G world, marketing will be distinctly data-driven with messaging served to individuals, not the general public. At every micro-moment of decision, you’ll be seeking to gain influence. Thus, you will need solid marketing technology in order to capture and analyze data and respond in real time. Accomplishing this goal will demand investment and meticulous planning. Utilizing a customer data platform is a great place to start

FINAL THOUGHTS

While the move to widespread 5G coverage will be a gradual progression, the latest generation of wireless technology stands as a colossal creative and strategic opportunity for marketers. Integrating technology into the marketing realm was already bound to happen; but with the realization of 5G on a massive scale, digital will indeed begin to dominate.

Amidst this rapidly changing landscape, marketers must work to establish closer relationships between consumers and brands through more relevant and compelling communications and experiences. 5G will allow marketers to find new and innovative ways to communicate with their existing customers, based on better location accuracy and other techniques. 

Marketing professionals would also be wise to invest in new skills and strategic planning in order to fully leverage the new technology and its infrastructure. By keeping an eye on key digital marketing metrics and monitoring customer behaviors closely, marketers can quickly identify major shifts and adapt accordingly. 

As with any new technology, unexpected pitfalls may arise, such as data breaches and identity theft. Marketers must ensure that comprehensive security and privacy procedures are in place to safeguard their own assets and those of their clients.

Overall, the addition of 5G and even improved Wi-Fi networks will be great for businesses with an online or digital presence – and marketers who run many of their daily processes online.

There’s definitely a lot to unpack, but as 5G takes shape and becomes part of our collective reality, we’ll continue to discover new ways to harness the technology and enhance the consumer’s experience.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing and creative services team to deliver precise marketing solutions to help grow your business, look no further than HighClick Media. We provide comprehensive digital media and online marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our talented team of creative thinkers, innovators, and digital marketers bring skill above and beyond the ordinary to every project, resulting in explosive business success. Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 to see how we can help you #elevateyourbrand!

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Emoji Marketing: 3 Brands Who Did it Right

Emoji Marketing: 3 Brands Who Did it Right

Happy World Emoji Day!

Yep, you read that right. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock today, you’re already aware of today’s “Holiday” – a day to celebrate the tiny cartoon images on our devices that most of us use every day! Emojis have been in our lives for a long time. Beginning as components of chatroom conversations in the 90’s as emoticons, emoji’s have reshaped the way we communicate in 2018.

Yes, they are cute and fun and kind of addictive, but they also improve our capacity to make our intended meaning known. -Psychology Today

Whether or not you’re a fan of these little digital icons, there’s no denying that more and more successful brands are jumping on board with the trend. And the brands that are doing it right present their emojis in ways that are both impressive and memorable.

If you’re a business owner who hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, keep reading for examples of brands who pulled it off flawlessly.

Deadpool’s Emoji billboard

Hilarious + creative = genius. Capturing the attention of fans, 3 simple emojis were used to spell out ‘Deadpool’ to promote the new movie. This marketing campaign reportedly played a role in Deadpool breaking box office records for an R-rated movie. An emoji that appears to be smiling poo is not something you see on a billboard every day. This campaign is proof that doing the unexpected can totally pay off!

WWF’s #EndageredEmoji Twitter campaign

In 2015, WWF developed the #EndangeredEmoji campaign with a goal to save animals from extinction. Targeting millennials by using a social platform and alternate communication method proved to be a great idea. A fresh audience flocked to this emoji campaign, leading to 559,000 mentions and 59,000 sign-ups during the first month of the launch.

McDonald’s Emoji stories

McDonald’s produced a simple and light-hearted campaign to tell a short story using only emojis. They start by acknowledging a potential bad day and showing empathy. They follow up with humor and the suggestion that visiting their business will turn your bad day around.

As businesses evolve alongside their customers, using these new technologies are vital for emotional connection with their target audience.

However, for every successful emoji campaign, there have been attempts made that were not so successful. So, before you decide to incorporate emojis into your marketing campaigns, make sure they flow with your marketing strategy.

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10 Things to Remember When Launching Your Website

10 Things To Remember When Launching Your Website

Launching a website is a big decision. If you make the wrong choice, it can cost you thousands of dollars and years to correct. Before launching your website, there are a few things you should remember so that you can achieve the desired success.

Ensure That Your Logo Represents Your Brand

Creating your logo design for a website should be simple yet creative and unique so that it can be easily recognized by customers. It should also represent your brand in a way that’s straightforward for users to understand. The best logos usually include text, illustrations, or designs with the company name included in them.

Research Your Competitors Carefully

In any niche market or industry today, it pays to know what your competitors are doing at all times. This will help you come up with better ways of getting ahead of them, by offering something they don’t have or targeting their audiences effectively without being noticed. You can do this through various means, such as social media monitoring tools and third-party trackers among others.

Have Great Content That Is Unique and Informative

Having great content definitely plays a role when trying to attract users to visit your site from time to time. However, this doesn’t mean you should plagiarize others’ work! Just make sure that the content you have is unique in its own way and provides genuine information to your users.

Develop an Effective SEO Strategy

If you want your site to succeed, you cannot overlook the importance of having an effective SEO strategy. This is one of the most important aspects you will need to consider before launching your website so that it ranks high on all major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

There are many elements that can be used in developing a good SEO plan, but what matters the most is making sure that these strategies stay updated as much as possible. Some of the best SEO practices to include in your strategy include practicing link building, proper keyword research, using meta tags, and much more.

Do Not Ignore the Mobile Market

It’s no longer news that mobile internet usage has overtaken desktop usage worldwide. With this in mind, you should not ignore the importance of having a responsive website that’s compatible with all devices, including tablets and smartphones. Therefore, test your site for mobile compatibility before taking it live.

Be Consistent with Your Content

When it comes to having a successful website, consistency definitely plays an important role as well. You need to make sure that you post new blog posts on a regular basis. This includes updating existing ones from time to time so that they remain fresh for visitors who might be checking out your site after some months of not visiting it. This will also help Google know what topics or categories are most relevant to yours, therefore giving you more chances of ranking high when people search for those keywords online.

Build a Strong Relationship with Users and Readers

Building strong relationships with readers doesn’t only mean posting engaging content, it also means having the patience to reply to their concerns or questions as much as possible. This will help you establish a strong connection with your audience and give them reasons to come back for more. By building a relationship with your audience, you will, without a doubt, gain an edge over your competition.

Focus On Your Users’ Needs and Goals

When launching your website, never forget that users are the ones who matter most! Their needs and goals must be put first before anything else. Meeting their goals determines whether your site will be successful enough in attracting more customers through referrals and retaining existing ones. When you provide value and do everything right, then people might get curious about what products or services you offer and find themselves visiting the site more often.

Remember to Prioritize Content Sharing On Social Media Platforms

Social media marketing plays a very important role when trying to get the word out about your website or its services. In fact, some of the best ways you can use social media for free include promoting blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sharing content with friends and followers on these platforms, joining groups that share similar interests like Pinterest boards and LinkedIn groups, and more. Just make sure not to spam people’s feeds by oversharing!

Have an Email Newsletter Ready for Subscribers

  1. Having an email newsletter ready means that you are taking advantage of one of the most effective ways to interact with visitors on a regular basis without being noticed by Google as “spammy” links which will affect your site’s rankings! An email list allows you to send updates about new posts or products anytime while staying at the top of your mind without appearing pushy whatsoever. This method has been proven successful time and again when done right.

Final Thoughts

Your website is an invaluable tool for your business. It not only helps you attract more users but also provides information that can help consumers make better decisions about the products and services they’re interested in buying. Therefore, increasing your chances of making a sale that will eventually lead to generating revenue should be your first priority. Use this article as a guide before launching your site, and you will achieve optimal success in no time.

Keep in mind that building a professional website for your business is no easy task. But it’s not in which you have to “go it alone.” HighClick Media is here to help! Our talented team of professional website designers and developers can customize your site to your exact specifications. Maybe you already have a business website, but it’s time for an update or a total facelift. We can help with that as well! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help you elevate your brand!

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16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

Thanks to advanced technology, building a website today can be extremely simple. However, designing a website that marries impeccable functionality with stunning visuals is still challenging. It goes without saying that websites are now a fundamental part of a business’s online identity.

No business can hope to survive, let alone thrive, in today’s cutthroat market without an attractive, easy-to-navigate website. Far too many businesses fail at building a substantial online presence for their brand due to a subpar website.

So, why do some websites fail to attract and hold traffic where others succeed?

Certain elements of a website design contribute the most to building visitor interest in a website. Including these elements on your site gives it a beautiful visual appeal along with flawless functionality and authority. These are also the components that are most often botched during development.

Let’s take a closer look at 16 critical elements for building a great website.

Color Schemes

The color scheme of a website is seldom paid attention to when developing a website. However, you should know how important a role it plays in influencing a visitor’s behavior. Therefore, it’s important to use a color scheme that will best appeal to your visitors while also representing your brand well.

For instance, if you visit the fast-food giant McDonald’s website, you’ll be greeted with a color scheme that combines red, white, and yellow. These colors have been synonymous with the brand for ages.

We suggest first choosing the dominant color that best represents your brand. You can then choose an analogous color scheme that complements your dominant color choice to highlight certain sections of your site, like call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

White Space

Open any website today and you’ll find that a majority of these websites possess white space that divides certain sections of the webpages. These spaces lend an immaculate and accessible design to your site. They make the content or CTA buttons on your site easy to identify and read for visitors.

Some websites also use white space to give certain aspects of the site more emphasis than others. For instance, white space can be used to make certain “special deals” the focal point of a page.

Make sure you’re consistent in spacing the gaps between sections of your site. We recommend beginning with the navigation and then moving your attention to the content of your site. A grid-based layout can help you design a clean interface that maintains consistency across the entire page.

Easy Navigation

Sites that make it complicated for their visitors to navigate normally experience higher bounce rates.

As such, it’s imperative to facilitate simple navigation by giving users an easy-to-use and intuitive website. The website should offer users simple routes to navigate to certain fundamental aspects of a site, recommended pages, along with a way back to the original page.

Take a look at this quick navigation menu bar in Marks & Spencer’s website:

We suggest using parallax scrolling as a navigation system, which includes arrows that make a website’s user interface (UI) easy to interact with. Therefore, you must place a strong emphasis on simple navigation if you want visitors to spend more time on your site.

Distinct Typography

Using unique typography to present content on your site is an ideal way to distinguish yourself from other similar sites online. The fonts you ultimately choose should complement your brand while communicating its message to visitors. It’s also important to consider a font that makes your site look professional without appearing bland.

We suggest using a font size of at least 16 pixels to make your site’s content readable on mobile and desktop devices. You can use different but complementary fonts to highlight the headings and subheadings on the site. Finally, use contrasting color schemes to match your text with the background perfectly. Pairing darker tones with lighter colors will do the trick just fine.

Outstanding Visuals

This goes without saying, but certain visual cues on your site will give any website a distinct edge over similar websites online. Populating a webpage with high-resolution images and beautiful illustrations can make your site more compelling to visitors.

For example, take a look at this high-definition image from Hershey:

Of course, you can’t use just any random visuals on your site. They should align with what your brand stands for.

Use stunning banner images. You can populate your page with custom-made images, which can also be used to highlight certain key focal points of your site. Try to avoid using too many stock photos on your pages.

Site Usability

Aside from beautiful design, you also need to create a site that provides users with a satisfying user experience (UX). Most developers make the critical mistake of compromising a site’s usability in favor of its overall visual design. It’s imperative to optimize a site in order to facilitate smooth interaction between the site’s elements and visitors. A subpar UX design could result in your website’s bounce rate blowing through the roof.

You can enhance the user experience by using animations, readable and engaging content, simple navigation, and more interactive elements.

 

High-Quality Content

Having high-quality content is integral to optimizing search engine rankings for your site and thus generating more traffic to your site. It’s also absolutely essential to populate your site with quality content in order to keep your visitors engaged. Top-notch content that’s relevant to your brand can persuade visitors to spend more time on your site, explore other areas, or make a purchase.

We recommend dividing your content based on its relevance. Always keep relevant information about your website, product, or service at the top. Follow it up with content that explains your services or highlights features that set you apart from competitors.

Finally, use an FAQ section to answer questions that a visitor may have about your service.

Have a look at this FAQ page design from Shopify:

Compelling Calls to Action

A website exists to persuade a visitor to take certain actions on it. CTA buttons on a site trigger this response from visitors. As such, you need to place CTA buttons strategically throughout your site to persuade visitors to perform desirable actions on the webpage. The call-to-action messages themselves must be persuasive. They should explain what you want visitors to do in a few words.

“Buy Now,” “Sign up Free,” “Contact Us,” etc. are all examples of CTA buttons commonly used by most websites.

Make sure your landing page leads users to all the CTA buttons present on the page. You can utilize contrasting color schemes, content, and white spaces to highlight a CTA button.

Take a look at this CTA button used by Spotify:

If you have a variety of CTA buttons on your page, determine which type is more important and use it more prominently.

Mobile-Friendly Design

It is a well-known fact that the majority of websites receive most of their traffic from mobile users. With over 7 billion active smartphone users around the world today, not optimizing your site for mobile devices means losing out on such a massive audience. Suffice it to say, mobile optimization is one of the first things you need to do when building a website.

You need to utilize a custom web design that responds and adapts to various mobile screen sizes automatically.

We recommend using Google Search Console or other free tools like Pingdom or BrowserStack to check whether your site is mobile-friendly.

SEO-Friendly Elements

As you may know by now, search engines like Google take many aspects of a site’s user experience into consideration when ranking a site. As such, a developer needs to consider search engine optimization from the very beginning of a website’s design process. Elements like simple navigation, scannable text, loading speed, and mobile friendliness contribute to the overall user experience.

A problem with any of the above elements will result in a user having a poor experience with your site, eventually increasing its bounce rate. Google will take this high bounce as a sign of bad UX and ultimately plummet your site in search engine rankings.

It’s important to consider how each element will contribute to your site’s SEO. We suggest working with an SEO expert, who will monitor and assess all crucial elements of your site while it is in development.

Right Usage of Ads

You’ll find many websites online that have successfully monetized their websites by displaying ads on them. If used appropriately, display ads can be a great way to earn some revenue from your website. However, such advertisements – if used incorrectly – can aggravate your visitor’s user experience. In short, advertisements have the power to make or break your site.

As such, we discourage using too many ads on websites as it can harm the user experience. You don’t want your website to look unprofessional, which is exactly what will happen if your webpage is littered with ads.

The most effective way to advertise on a site, in our opinion, would be combining banner ads with affiliate marketing. Make sure your ads integrate organically with your site. They shouldn’t feel out of place and interfere with the content on your site.

Security

Online security should be an integral part of any website. Security and privacy have often been a major cause of concern for individuals surfing the web. Security alerts popping up when someone tries to open your site is a surefire way of turning potential website visitors away forever.

Internet security should be given as much focus as the design and overall functionality of your site. It should be mandatory for your website to implement an HTTPS protocol. This will help protect a user’s information, lend some much-needed credibility, and build trust among prospects. 

We suggest buying SSL certificates from reliable hosting service providers. These are cheap to acquire and can be integrated seamlessly with your site.

Integrating Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have billions of active users from all around the world. So it only makes sense to integrate social media into your site’s design plan. You should have social media buttons that instantly redirect your users to your site’s official social media channel. You can also have buttons that allow users to directly share certain content or products from your website on their private channels. 

Having social media buttons strategically placed on your website is a great way of indirectly marketing your site, opening doors for people to leap in directly onto your site from their respective social media profiles online. 

Adding Internal and External Links

A proper link-building strategy can prove to be a great way of enhancing the brand authority of your website. It is important to learn how to build internal and external links to help boost your website’s performance. For instance, you can direct users to certain content on your site and improve its SEO performance by using appropriate internal links.

Proper link-building research requires a good strategy. We suggest finding out how your competitor’s websites are employing their link-building strategy. Draw inspiration for sites that are using the strategy with productive results.

Comments Section

We’ve already stressed how important it is to make your site as interactive and engaging as possible. Aside from content, you can add a comments section to your site, which allows users to leave their two cents below a particular content or product information. This can be a great way to receive feedback, which can be used to improve your service.

If you are running an ecommerce store, we recommend adding a review section similar to what is found on sites like Amazon and eBay. A dedicated comments and review section will make your site more interactive and improve brand loyalty.

Achievements and Endorsements

This is perhaps the most effective and widely adopted way of building trust among customers. It is in your business’s best interest to flaunt your past achievements on your website for all to see. Displaying your achievements can go a long way towards building a solid reputation for your business and brand.

We recommend having a dedicated section for testimonials, displaying positive comments from at least 4 to 5 past clients.

We also suggest highlighting the names of all the popular brands you’ve served. If you’ve received endorsements from authoritative brands, add them to your site as well.

Final Thoughts

While these 16 elements can seem a bit overwhelming, they’re essential to building a website that not only looks fantastic but functions flawlessly as well.

Are you ready for the good news? You don’t have to do it on your own!

HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in professional website design. Our talented web designers will craft your business website with lots of TLC and plenty of technical prowess! We can build you a brand new website from scratch or spruce up your existing site.

Interested? Reach out to HighClick Media today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here. We’ll be glad to show you how we can help #elevateyourbrand with a world-class website for your business.

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Guest blogger Joseph Schneider is the Director of Marketing at Haitna, a digital marketing firm based in Texas.

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8 Generation Lead Tips for Small Businesses

8 Lead Generation Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses have to overcome numerous hurdles before making a name for themselves and ensuring an ever-increasing revenue stream. Naturally, some of the biggest obstacles are generating leads and inspiring loyalty.

At first glance, it seems simple enough – find a market gap and have your business fill it. Customers will flock to you without much effort on your part. In practice, it’s not nearly as effortless.

If you don’t want to be in the 70% of businesses that fail within a decade, you need to ensure that your lead generation tactics are flawless.

Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks that will help set you up for success:

Start with an Impeccable Website

Most members of your target audience will have one thing in common – when they need products or services (that happen to be in your offer), they’ll first look them up online.

Over 97% of users search online to find local businesses and make purchases. So, only having a website will immediately up the ante on your lead generation.

Still, it’s not enough to simply have a website. You need to make it a great one if you’re going to generate and convert your leads.

Create a clean design that makes it easy for your website visitors to scan your pages and find the information they need. Be clear about who you are, what your business does, how it can help your audiences, and how interested prospects can contact you.

It’s also always a good idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing with their websites and gather some inspiration from that.

Perfect Your Landing Pages

With your website done, it’s time to start developing landing pages. One of the worst mistakes you can make in this regard is to use your homepage as the go-to landing page for all your ad campaigns.

Your homepage is already the most frequently visited page on your website, so there’s no reason to keep directing your audiences to it during your campaigns. Instead, create dedicated landing pages focused on converting visitors.

You’ll need to make your landing pages enticing, relevant to your ad content, concise, and direct. Present your offer, highlight your brand’s value, and include a clear call to action.

The better your landing page, the higher your conversions will be. Do some A/B testing to find out which landing pages perform the best, find out what your audiences want, and keep tweaking your pages until you get the desired results.

Improve Your SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest prerequisites for successful lead generation. By enhancing your SEO, you will:

There are a number of factors that impact your SEO ranking, including:

  • Page loading speed
  • Internal and external links
  • Quality of your content
  • Security
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Keyword usage

If you want to rank on search engines and attract audiences, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive SEO approach. You can’t just improve your page speed, neglect all the other aspects of SEO, and expect to rank first.

SEO is a slow and steady approach, so take your time perfecting it.

Provide Relevant Content 

One thing that will help you improve SEO and boost lead generation is content. In the online environment, content is king.

Content marketing allows you to improve keyword usage, take your external and internal linking to a new level, engage audiences, enhance your visibility, and display your expertise.

 Whether you’re creating blog posts, e-books, video guides, infographics, Facebook Stories, or any type of content in between, your focus should be on quality. Keyword stuffing and improper backlinking are a no-go. Here’s what you should do instead:

  • Provide valuable information that will help your audiences
  • Offer solutions to your target customers’ most common problems
  • Provide relevant insights
  • Entertain your audiences

Before long, you’ll notice just how helpful content marketing can be for your lead generation.

Make Use of Social Media

We can’t talk about lead generation for small businesses without mentioning social media. It’s a gold mine for attracting customers and inspiring loyalty.

Whether you like it or not, you need to have a social media presence as a small business owner – it doesn’t matter if you’re running a small antique shop, a dropshipping business, or a family-owned pizzeria.

However, before you join all the most popular networks and get in over your head, analyze your target audience. See which platforms most of them use and examine how they interact with other businesses on them.

Then, only join those platforms that you can easily manage. After all, you’ll need to stay active on these platforms by regularly posting fresh content and responding to comments and messages. If you’re on more than a couple of platforms, you’ll likely find it difficult to keep track of them and use them to your advantage.

Take Advantage of Lead Generation Quiz Makers

A reliable lead generation quiz maker is ideal for engaging your audiences. It makes quiz creation a breeze, allowing you to know your target customers better and offering you a chance to stand out from the crowd.

You can create any type of quiz you want:

  • A fun personality quiz that grabs the viewers’ attention
  • An assessment quiz that tells you how much your audience knows about you and your products
  • A market research quiz, which allows you to assess your target audience’s most common pain points 

Share your quizzes on social media to reach a wider audience, add them to your lead generation emails, and embed them on your website to convert visitors.

With a lead generation quiz maker, it will take you no more than a few minutes to create engaging quizzes that boost your visibility and help you attract customers. You can also integrate it with email marketing tools or customer relationship management tools to nurture leads efficiently.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

To generate leads as a small business owner, you need to keep a very close eye on your online reputation.

You could have the perfect brand persona, excellent products and services, top-notch support, and a bulletproof content marketing strategy – and yet your reputation could still suffer. You need to be careful to pay attention to what people are saying about you and your brand.

Your customers and even competitors will talk about your brand on forums, social media groups, review sites, personal accounts, and more. Keep a close eye on all brand mentions.

If someone is harming your reputation online, you’ll need to be ready to clear things up, highlight your brand value, and present your business in the best possible light.

Respectfully respond to negative reviews, engage in discussions on public forums, offer solutions to public complaints, and ensure that your online reputation is excellent.

Spread the Word About Your Business Through Different Channels

Even with the best strategies at your disposal, it can sometimes be challenging to significantly increase lead generation on your own. Sometimes, you’ll need a little bit of help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it!

Spread the word about your business through different channels. For instance, you could try guest blogging, wherein you create content for other websites in your niche. Doing so will help you expand your reach, showcase your expertise, and attract a wider clientele.

Alternatively, you can reach out to influencers who make sense for your industry and who can connect you with their followers. Influencers inspire trust among their followers, enjoy an excellent reputation, and can easily impact their fans’ purchasing decisions.

Final Thoughts

Lead generation for small businesses can seem like an insurmountable challenge. But it’s easier than you may think when you have a few tricks up your sleeve and know what you’re doing.

So remember, if you want to boost your lead generation and conversion, you’ll need to: 

  • Create a great website 
  • Perfect your landing pages
  • Work on your SEO
  • Create relevant, engaging content 
  • Make use of social media 
  • Use a reliable lead generation quiz maker 
  • Monitor your online reputation
  • Spread the word through channels, such as guest blogging and influencer marketing

Follow these tips to ensure the success of your small business and start generating leads like a pro. Your business could also benefit from some creative experimentation on your part to complement the ideas discussed above.

If you need further help developing a lead generation strategy for your business, reach out to the small business experts at HighClick Media. We’ll take the time to get to know your business, identify its particular needs, and come up with solutions that will help your business grow. Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here.

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Guest blogger Angela White is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing. Specifically, she writes in the areas of product research and marketing using quizzes and surveys. She is a researcher at a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools called ProProfs Quiz Maker.

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How to Keep Your Business Competitive in the Marketplace

How To Keep Your Small Business Competitive In The Marketplace

 

Small business owners can take advantage of the latest technologies to help elevate their companies to the next level. While there are a variety of different marketing and advertising mediums to pursue, digital options can help narrow the playing field when it comes to competing with larger counterparts.

Website Design

If you’re a small business, entrepreneur, or independent contractor with some basic tech skills, you might be able to create your own simple website using an online builder which allows you to add your own text, photos, and contact information. While this is not an ideal solution, it’s still better than not having an online presence at all – and having a website can go a long way towards helping your customers find you.

However, if you’re really looking to make an impact, it is well worth the investment to hire a top-notch website designer. A professionally designed business website not only looks great but also has the capability to track data and provide an analytical breakdown of customer traffic – and this, in turn, can help you refine your messaging and strategy.

Social Media Presence

Social media is a “must-have” in today’s business world. Select the platforms best suited to reach your target demographic and come up with a strategy for regularly adding content and updates to ensure that you’re getting repeat traffic.

You’ll likely want to gather relevant images and/or documents to help develop your online presence. Converting file sizes so that they’re easier to send and use is beneficial in various ways. For example, when you convert a JPEG to a PDF you can retain the quality of the image while sending a smaller file. You can also merge multiple PDFs into one, limiting the number of attachments you have to provide.

Email Marketing

According to Rewind, an email marketing campaign is a cost-effective way to get in front of and stay in front of your target market. It’s also a great way to engage customers and to share news and information with collaborators and business associates – all while linking back to your website, product pages, or social media sites.

When it comes to creating compelling content for your email marketing campaigns, you’ll want copy that’s short and easy to read, contains lots of great images, and includes a call to action. This might involve encouraging recipients to take advantage of an upcoming sale, driving foot traffic through your doors, or getting people to subscribe to your blog. While you can set up a distribution list for email marketing, certain software products come equipped with features that make this process easier.

Other Web-Based Tools

Having a web-based or digitally focused strategy can go beyond advertising and marketing purposes. You may find that it’s beneficial to engage freelancers who work remotely or to utilize online software programs or platforms for things like accounting, bookkeeping, customer relationship management, streamlining the payment collection process, and even collaborating with vendors in terms of ordering and scheduling deliveries. In fact, Tech Radar says you can find apps that will help you keep pace with your competition – whether it’s via a scheduling calendar, a project management tool, or even a quick bill-pay app that saves you time and hassle.

The more digital, web-based, and online tools you can use for your small business, the better positioned you are to maximize every opportunity to get in front of your target audience. Take the time to carefully evaluate what you can do on your own and what it’s wise to hire out for – IT, web design and development, and even a social media consultation can all be worthwhile investments towards your enduring success.

Final Thoughts

As a full-service digital marketing agency, HighClick Media is eminently able to help your business compete in even the most crowded markets. Our team has extensive expertise in a wide range of areas, including brand development, logo design, website design, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, and more!

Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help you #elevateyourbrand!

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Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice and troubleshooting tips.

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Make Your Holiday Marketing Stand Out

Make Your Holiday Marketing Stand Out

 

So, we’re seven days deep in November, but most stores have had Christmas decor and a Holiday Marketing plan in place since before Halloween! If you’re one of the ones grumbling about “premature Christmas decorating” or rolling your eyes at the sight of twinkling lights, glitter, and PURE CHRISTMAS JOY- First of all, shame on you. It’s never too early to get into the Holiday spirit! Secondly, keep reading.

In the wild world of retail, the Holiday season doesn’t wait until after Thanksgiving to kick off. In fact, it starts way earlier.

You see, Holiday marketing is really no different than everyday marketing. Your brand should not exist to sell a product. Your brand should exist to solve your customers’ problems. 

People don’t care about your business. They care about their problems. Be the solution that they’re looking for.

Consumers start Christmas shopping as soon as Fall hits- some even sooner! So to make the most out of your Holiday marketing, you need to be ready way before Black Friday rolls around.

So, do you know what it takes to get your Holiday marketing plan working in time to capitalize on the Holiday rush? I’m going to discuss how to approach your target audience and craft campaigns that show them that your brand has the solution to their problems!

Understand your audience

Like any marketing campaign, the key to a successful Holiday marketing plan is knowing what you have to offer to the audience you’re selling to. And I’m not talking about the products you’re trying to sell. I’m talking about the thing that makes your brand the most desirable: value proposition.

Are your products or services more cost-effective than your competitors’? Higher quality? Do you offer more options? Is your brand socially aware? More consistent?

An effective value proposition will:

  • Be brief and easy to understand
  • Tell others what you do
  • Allow your brand to be easily found in an online search
  • Explain how your product solves customers’ problems
  • Answer the question: “As your target customer, why should I give my business to you instead of your competitors?”

Specific value propositions attract specific consumers, so understanding what your value proposition is will help you identify your target audience.

In digital marketing, the competition is only a click, swipe, or tap away, so it’s vital that you pitch your brand to the right people in the right ways. Understanding who your value proposition attracts and why will give you the confidence to create a compelling Holiday marketing plan that consumers can’t resist.

Win them over

While knowing your unique value proposition is beneficial, Holiday marketing is an intense game, and standing out from the competition is typically more difficult during the most wonderful time of the year.

Whether it’s your needy Aunt Nancy or a stressed-out salesman, the appetite for your attention during the holidays is insatiable. And while it’s nice to be wanted, it gets exhausting.

For your brand to stand out in the midst of the madness, customers attention has to be earned, not demanded.

If you can give customers a campaign they actually enjoy, you can break through the Holiday marketing fatigue and create an experience that customers love. Try not to frustrate or overwhelm them. Create content that will warm their heart or make them laugh or smile. They’ll be grateful to your brand for evoking positive emotions and be more eager to buy from you.

Send a message that perfectly fits the needs of your target audience, and gives them an experience that will make their lives easier.

Think ahead. Build brand loyalty

In the holiday rush, it’s hard to think ahead. The nature of the season can easily attract first-time customers, which is great, no doubt, but the goal is to keep ’em coming back in the first quarter of the new year.

To build your base during the season, strive to make sure customers have a smooth experience. Often times, a spike in store traffic can also mean a spike in technical issues or customer confusion. Backtrack to last year and take note of any issues that can be solved ahead of time this year. Create a customer service plan specifically for the Christmas season.

When you take care of your customers, you’re building brand loyalty.

Another way to keep customers loyal is to invite them to connect with your website, email list, and social media channels. Post a balanced mix of engaging, entertaining, and informative content throughout the season and once the season ends. To put things simply, withstand the urge to ONLY promote in November and December. Your customers want a relationship with your brand all year long.

So, next time you walk into a store that is decked out in all things Christmas, don’t roll your eyes. Use it as a reminder that it’s time to get your butt in gear, and get to work on your Holiday marketing plan!

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5 Reasons Your Business Should Use Social Media

5 Reasons Your Business Should Use Social Media

Okay, business owners, I know what you’re thinking. “Why would I add one more thing to my already overloaded plate?” I feel for you, I really do, because social media can be super time consuming! But, before you write it off, let’s discuss the significant role it can play in getting you significant results.

1. Everyone Uses Social Media.  Seriously, everyone! From my 13-year-old nephew to my 88-year-old grandma! From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter to aaallllll the other platforms, social media plays such a prominent role in our daily lives – and friend, it’s here to stay. Statistics show that 81% percent of the U.S. population has at least one social media account. Let me say that louder for the people in the back: EIGHTY. ONE. PERCENT!

2. Accessibility.  Think about how easily accessible social media is. It’s literally right at our fingertips, all day every day. Social media makes it ridiculously easy to share updates, post pictures and videos, discuss products, sales, specials, and so much more! Think of it this way – your business’s social media presence is in the pocket, purse, and hands of your potential customers!

3. Competition.  I have a confession: I’m a stalker, but not in a hiding-in-your-bushes kind of way! I’m a certified social media stalker through and through. Watching my competitors’ activities keeps me up to speed on what they’re doing and gives me extra insight into how I can advance. Monitoring competitors does much more than tell you what you’re up against. It can help you to formulate your own stellar marketing strategy. Keep your friends close and your enemies’ competitors closer.

4. Increase Brand Loyalty.  Effective communication can take your business to infinity, and beyond! The convenience and open communication social media provides allows the business to build deeper relationships with the audience. When people have an opportunity to respond to a business or provide feedback, it makes them feel like they have a voice, and when the business responds to the customer promptly and professionally, customer loyalty is boosted.

5. Increase Traffic and Conversions on Your Website.  Each time you link a social media post back to your website, you’re creating new entrances for viewers to get to your site. I’ll use HighClick as an example. I’ve been writing blogs and sharing them to our Facebook page. These posts get shared among HighClick’s Facebook followers, leading more people to click on our site to read the blog! More traffic = more opportunities for conversions. The more opportunities you have, the more closed business you get! It’s simple.

To sum it up, social media is an essential key to growing your business. It does take time to effectively operate a social media account, especially if you’re starting from scratch, but the results make it totally worth it. Try it, you’ll like it! Don’t hesitate to ask for help, that’s what we’re here for.


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Millennials Mean Business

Millennials Mean Business

I Have Never Met Someone Who Doesn’t Have an Opinion on Millennials.

We are condemned for our love of avocado toast (it really is good – you should try it!) and pinned as the self-absorbed generation.  But, on the flip side, we are known for being open-minded, collaborative, tech-savvy problem solvers. Making up a quarter of the U.S. population, it should come as no surprise that Millennials have a huge impact on brand marketing.

Who We Are:

According to the Pew Research Center, if you were born between 1981 and 1996, you are a Millennial. There are currently over 76 million Millennials in the United States, and this number just keeps growing. More diverse than other generations, nearly half of Millennials are people of color.

Having been raised in a damaged economy, we are drastically more socially and technologically connected than any other generation. It’s true; We are the generation of iPhones, social media, apps, and streaming.

To put it plainly, we have a different perspective than the generations before us. Millennials are all about transparency, culture, and moral responsibility.

Our Generation Stays Connected

A whopping 86% of Millennials stay updated on brands through social networks – 82% of us are active Facebook users, with Gen X not too far behind at 76%. Not only that, but we are 2.5x more likely to adapt to new technology earlier than members of older generations.

The Millennial Income

A minority of this generation is wealthy, but for the majority of young adults, this isn’t the case. The average Millennial today earns $10,000 less than young adults in 1989.

help me im poor

Millennials Are a Health-Oriented Generation

We tend to make healthier eating choices and develop stronger exercise habits than prior generations. Using fitness apps and the internet helps Millennials research the healthiest options – and we’re willing to spend more on compelling brands.

How Millennials Shop

We are more likely to search for a deal. Nearly half of us use our smartphones to search for a better deal on a product while in-store, and 92% have made a purchase on their phone. Approximately half of Millennials spend 1 to 3 hours researching their finance options before making a major purchase. More brand-loyal than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, 69% of Millennials have chosen the same brand for a major purchase in the last year. When Millennials were asked if they would try a new brand when making a major purchase, only 17% said they would.

Millennials Perceive Your Brand Differently

We appreciate brands that are truthful, ethical, and unrestricted. Seeking products and services that improve their lives, Millennials enjoy interacting and engaging with brands on a personal level. Thirty-six percent of Millennials expect an interactive experience when looking for solutions.

All of this matters to your marketing.

Having such remarkably different characteristics, tastes, and expectations than prior generations, Millennials challenge stale marketing tactics, emotionless branding, and lackluster customer service. They want their voices heard, they want to trust your business and they are looking for a brand that will be an experience.

If your audience is young and you lack a creative strategy for marketing to this fresh generation, reach out to us to schedule a meeting with one of our marketing geniuses! Marketing to Millennials is one of our specialties!

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How to Build A Values-Based Social Media Presence For Your Brand

How To Build A Values-Based Social Media Presence For Your Brand

In today’s fast-paced digital world, maintaining a clear and consistent voice in the crowded field of social media can be challenging. A solid social media presence keeps people informed about the latest news concerning your brand while also advertising your products or services. Additionally, it helps you engage with customers by responding to feedback and answering questions.

Perhaps the most pivotal element of our interconnected online world is how easily messages are spread, analyzed, and potentially misconstrued. Dealing with online backlash or criticism is a position that no brand wants to be in. Thankfully, there are methods for addressing these issues that can ultimately create a healthier and more effective dialogue between your brand and your audience.

Being aware of the personal values of your customers is critical in building a lasting following, though effective communication strategies are equally important. Using correct context, tone, and even timing can help you avoid controversies that could potentially harm your brand. By examining the latest engagement trends that lead to success on social media, you can learn how to grow an active and empathetic audience.

Identify & Understand Your Audience

The first step towards building an effective and engaging social media strategy involves taking the time to identify your intended audience and its unique perspectives. Investigate what your audience looks for in a brand. Are quality and excellent customer service all they need, or are things like shared values more important?

While demographics vary from business to business and platform to platform, social media users tend to skew younger. Studies have also shown that people who are regularly active in online communities gravitate towards progressive concepts like diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

Monitor your social media channels to gauge how your existing audience esteems these values. If they respond positively to other like-minded brands and prominent individuals, it may be wise to consider adopting a brand voice that appeals to similar perspectives.

Build Your Strategy

Determining what your priorities are when it comes to social media is essential. Do you favor a utilitarian approach, where the account’s main purpose is announcing company news and addressing direct feedback from users and followers? Or do you prefer giving a more human face to your brand, where it feels like real people are actively running your social media? Either way, find what works best for you and stick with it.

This step in the process also requires you to take a good look at the makeup of your marketing and social media teams. Try to find a strategy that plays to the unique strengths of your staff, and be sure to seek continuous input from them. Those with experience in digital communication and internet trends can help optimize your brand’s online presence.

Building Goodwill

Once you’ve devised a social media strategy that reflects the values of your intended audience, it’s time to start engaging in a way that builds trust and goodwill with your customers. You want to come across as open to the same values as your audience without pandering directly to them in a way that comes across as insincere. Follow these guidelines to find the proper balance you’ll need to succeed:

1)  The New Brand Loyalty

The old concept of brand loyalty is rapidly being redefined by the digital landscape. Consumers no longer feel like they must stick with a company or its products simply out of loyalty. Instead, you should make an effort to sell your brand’s values. People are more inclined to support a company that they feel shares their beliefs. Expressing interest in these values is an easy way to cultivate brand loyalty.

2)  Genuine Messaging

Authenticity can be a difficult concept to pin down for a branded social media page. You’ll have to experiment to find the right balance between your main priority of serving as the mouthpiece of your brand and the secondary goal of building an engaged following. It’s important for your messaging to come across as sincere, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to actually mean what you say.

Before launching a social media campaign centered around values like diversity, consult with different voices within your marketing team. Find out what sort of message appears authentic, and what seems like a forced attempt to cash in on social trends. A discerning audience of social media users will be able to parse this out fairly quickly, so be sure that you’ve done your due diligence before you post.

3)  Embrace Positivity

Use your social media channels to tell a story. Connecting with your audience on an emotional level involves leaning into the human element that drives us as individuals and community members. Focus on the people that make your brand stand out, whether that’s your employees or your most dedicated customers.

If you’ve recently made strides towards a more inclusive atmosphere, such as by redesigning your stores or manufacturing centers to be more accessible through universal design, post about it. Humanizing your brand shows that you care about more than turning a profit and appeals to the empathetic nature of your audience.

Prove It! ~ Emily Mean GIF by Film Riot (GIPHY)

4)  Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The simplest way to market any product, brand, or service is to do nothing at all and let the results speak for themselves. This is an age-old marketing strategy, but the same principles can be applied to digital communication and social media. If your audience sees that your online presence is reflected in your real-world actions, they will be more inclined to believe in and support you.

Don’t let your posts about diversity, wellness, and inclusion just be posts. Rather than resort to the same industry-standard platitudes every Pride Month or Black History Month, demonstrate that your brand is taking an active role in the community. Start conversations, spearhead initiatives, and raise awareness on the issues that matter to you and your customers.

5)  Avoid Overcommitting

Social media is a virtually endless source of new content. Whether it’s from other brands, active power users, or infrequent commenters, it’s easy to find yourself bogged down by the sheer number of posts, replies, comments, and other forms of engagement. You might be tempted to try to respond to as much of this feedback as you can, but it’s important not to promise more than you can deliver.

When it comes to a values-based approach to social media, overcommitting can include things as simple as publicly liking or commenting on posts about popular social causes that your company cannot fully commit to. This can lead to false expectations from your customers that, when left unfulfilled, may damage your company’s reputation.

Addressing Controversies

While embracing similar values to that of your primary audience is a highly effective engagement strategy, there is an inverse effect to this approach that can cause harmful pushback. Social media controversies are a serious issue for your brand, and while you should avoid conflicts like this at all costs, there are a few easy steps you can take to mitigate the harm:

1)  Acknowledge the Problem

If your social media channels are being flooded with negative feedback and hostility, take the time to address the issue at hand. This is the first step toward easing tensions and moving on from the situation. In your acknowledgment, be sure to speak plainly about the issues your company is facing and how you plan on addressing them. However, try not to overcommit in this initial step.

Of course, not all social media backlash is the same. Use your own discretion when deciding if acknowledging a specific controversy would be good for your company’s long-term image. While some issues are best faced swiftly and publicly, a more measured, behind-the-scenes approach can also be useful in reducing further damage to your brand.

Aw, hey, let's turn that frown upside down. ~ The Simpsons

2)  Start Positive Initiatives

When facing an overwhelming degree of negativity online, sometimes the best thing you can do is find a way to turn it into something positive. For example, if your brand is criticized for a perceived lack of diversity, incorporate that feedback into a plan to hire more diverse staff. Putting your words into action is a signal of positivity and goodwill to your customers.

3)  Show Humanity

Once again, the easiest way for your audience to see your brand in a positive light is to be as genuine as possible. If you are in a situation in which your company must apologize, do so with humility and grace. Show that your brand is more than a logo by approaching your critics as human beings. A public display of dignity is a simple way to garner an empathetic response and move on from controversy.

4)  Ignore the Trolls

One potential downside of engaging directly with your audience through social media is that it opens your brand up to the darker side of online anonymity. A good social media team should be able to tell the difference between genuine, good-faith criticism from an active audience and mean-spirited, hostile negativity. As the face of your brand, it’s crucial that you not allow the trolls to take over your message.

Final Thoughts

In today’s saturated digital marketplace, it’s more important than ever to find ways to make your brand stand out. Social media is a major innovation in direct-to-consumer marketing that makes it easy to interact with your audience and build positive sentiment towards your brand. However, it can also be a tricky landscape to navigate if you don’t use the proper methods.

By building a digital brand that emphasizes genuine connection and shared values with your audience, you can establish lasting trust and loyalty that extends beyond the digital space. Creating goodwill with your customers might lead to increased traffic and sales – but more importantly, it can lead to a stable, positive, and engaged base over time.

If you need help establishing or refreshing your online presence, particularly on social media, HighClick can help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or contact us here. We’ll make it our mission to help #elevateyourbrand!

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Hazel Bennett is a freelance writer and blogger. She has a degree in communications and lives in Northeastern Ohio. Hazel loves writing about numerous topics and showcasing her expertise with words.

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