What Great Brands Do That Good Brands Don't in Content Marketing
Okay content is easy. Killer content is hard. This nifty eBook shows you the difference, based on our real-world work with dozens of brands. A must-read!
With the new year in full swing, my wonderful colleagues — the marketing experts here at Convince & Convert — came up with 23 ideas for making your marketing and customer experience AMAZING in 2019.
In no particular order, here are our favorite recommendations for making 2019 your best year yet. These are the things that not many companies are doing well, but if you do, you will be sure to crush your competition this year. Let’s go!
1. Leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of your content marketing.
2019 will be the year that artificial intelligence and machine learning are leveraged by a meaningful number of companies to reverse-engineer the success of their content marketing, using tools like Ceralytics and others.
2. Create experiences that are talkable to cost-effectively grow your business.
2019 will be the year that a meaningful number of companies truly embrace the notion that customer experience is the most powerful form of customer acquisition. Yes, you need to be good at content marketing and social media and all the rest. But if you deliver an experience that’s talkable, your customers become volunteer marketers, and word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective (and cost-effective) way to grow any business.
3. Boost your social media performance with artificial intelligence too.
2019 will also be the year that artificial intelligence and machine learning are leveraged by a meaningful number of companies to reverse-engineer the success of their organic and paid social, using tools like Pattern89 and others.
4. Perform consistency audits to make sure that your entire digital ecosystem is telling a complete, compelling story.
In the high-paced digital world of 2019, your customers will scrutinize all of your touchpoints as part of their customer experience. Be sure that you’re performing consistency audits in the new year to make sure that your entire digital ecosystem is telling a complete, compelling story that serves your audience. Your CX isn’t just the message though, it’s also the load time, the smoothness of hand-off, and the ease of use. Make sure that your team understands how your audience uses your products, so they can make them even better. For instance, web hosting service Bluehost’s pop-out help module actually activates a layer on top of their website to guide you step-by-step to the right tool, when you select a question. That’s forward-thinking customer experience.
5. Connect with your audience in social media with conversations and based on their interests.
Conversational marketing is going to impact customer expectations in social media. Yes, chatbots are going to continue to grow, but it’s also about social media marketing that responds to the customers. Do your ads retarget your customers based on their interests, not just their purchase history? Does your social customer care team use customers’ information to give them more thoughtful service? Best-in-class brands are already in these spaces. Are you?
6. Create experiences that will be meaningful across your own customers’ journeys.
Stop thinking like a marketer. Instead, take a step back and look at customer experiences you genuinely appreciate or were pleasantly surprised by. Think about why it made an impact on you and how it made your experience with a brand better. Then, try to replicate those feelings and experiences by translating them in ways that will be meaningful across your own customers’ journeys. Stop thinking like a marketer. Instead, take a step back and look at customer experiences you genuinely appreciate or were pleasantly surprised by. Think about why it made an impact on you and how it made your experience with a brand better. Then, try to replicate those feelings and experiences by translating them in ways that will be meaningful across your own customers’ journeys.
7. Your content marketing should focus on doing more with less.
It’s time to do more with way less. Over the last 10 years, companies have been investing more and more in content marketing to create more and more. Instead of racking your brain for new ideas, spend time figuring out what you can reuse, repurpose or remix. Is there an old blog that has become relevant again? Republish it and bring it to the top, so new audiences can see it. Have an outdated ebook that still has some solid content? Refresh it with some light updates, instead of starting from scratch. Have a huge piece of content that took a ton of time and money? Break it up into smaller pieces, like an infographic, designed quote, webinar and more.
8. There’s a goldmine of great marketing ideas and stories in your company — they just might not be in the marketing department.
2019 will be the year that we finally bring the ops teams into marketing — no longer just tapping our customer-facing employees for story ideas and inputs, but asking them to BE the story. Companies will begin looking to employees who are challenging scripts and breaking the mold in how they do their jobs and serve customers. These insights should be the fuel for innovations the CX and marketing teams scale.
9. Tap into your best influencers: your employees.
In 2019, companies will finally realize that their best influencers are right under their nose — their employees. Millennials already are the largest segment in the workplace. Within the next two years, 50% of the U.S. workforce is expected to be made up of Millennials. It will be 75% by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These employees want to work somewhere they can make an impact (over 3/4 would take a pay cut to work somewhere that matches their values), and companies that can get their staff connected with their why and excited about the story will find an army of influencers willing to proudly do the word of mouth/influencer work they’ve had to beg for (or pay for) in years past.
10. Remember, customer experience starts with employee experience.
As we work with more and more brands and partners in the customer experience space, it has opened my eyes that the customer experience is very much influenced by the employee experience as the first step. Ensuring your organization is investing in the resources, tools and personal connections of your employees will in most cases do more for your customer experience than any other effort. At C&C, we are a virtual company, and we place extreme importance of personal relationships and through tools that help us stay connected across time zones. When our team is happy and satisfied, our client work exceeds expectations.
11. Social media success starts with planning and organization.
Invest the budget and training time into a great social media monitoring tool and a content calendar tool. Finding one that fits your organization and team is worth the investment in time and money, trust me!
12. Get back to the roots of what makes your company remarkable.
2019 is going to bring people back to the roots of what makes hour company awesome. Take time to understand that your operation is what makes your organization awesome, and the experience is the one thing you can control. In turn, marketing and operations teams should become closer than ever.
13. Have your organic and paid social teams work together.
2019 is going to bring the integration of paid and organic social teams. As organic continues to decline, social marketers have to know paid and paid teams must know what content makes social advertising successful. These can no longer be done in a silo.
14. Get more email unsubscribes—really.
Yes, that’s counter-intuitive. But the truth is, list size is a false metric. (Yes, you may have to explain that to your boss.) The one exception would be businesses who derive revenue based on CPM advertising, but for most organizations, there are more important metrics, like engagement and corresponding KPIs.
A bloated list of disengaged subscribers messes up your email performance metrics. Those who are truly disengaged are just diluting the actual metrics you use to optimize your email performance. Ten thousand disengaged subscribers will completely obfuscate the real learnings for the 100 that are engaged. If there has been no click-through in the prior 12 months, initiate a last-chance re-engagement campaign, and if still no response, purge and archive them
15. Your customers’ expectations are increasing. The most competitive companies will exceed them.
Tesla. If you are unfamiliar, this fledgling (15-years actually) automobile manufacturer does almost everything differently than their long-established competitors. Yes, their cars are all electric, they have no dealerships, and they want to own their customer relationship, start to finish. Between start and finish, there is service. Unlike the traditional auto dealership service and repair facilities, Tesla does not intend to make a profit from the servicing of their vehicles. It’s designed to NOT be a profit center on the books. Heresy, most experts would say.
Instead, Tesla provides a gambit of services at no cost to the owners, even out of warranty. They come to your house or business for a majority of service calls. Stop and read that again. For example, a Tesla Ranger (mobile service technician) comes to your house at a scheduled time to repair or replace some part that needs attention, and often, there is no cost to the owner.
Customers like that. And by raising that bar of customer service, we customers soon wonder—or even expect–other industries to behave in a similar fashion. Customer service is rapidly evolving from what is customary and convenient for the business, to what is convenient and expected by the customer. The businesses that most rapidly embrace this will have a competitive advantage over their competitors… for a while.
16. Show you’re present in real time and connect with your customers.
Use Instagram Stories to connect with your audience and customers. Sara Blakely’s account is an excellent example of how to do this well. She showed up in Stories on Cyber Monday, and she jumped on Spanx’s customer service online chat and recorded people’s reactions
I bought a bunch of unplanned stuff from Spanx that day just so I could talk to her. It was incredible. If you can authentically show you’re present in real time doing things for your customers, it will make a positive impact on how they interact with you and your brand when you’re not there.
17. Turn unhappy customers into your best, loyal customers.
Focus on service recovery. (Jay calls this “hugging your haters“). You can’t always provide a stellar experience for your customers, though that should be your top priority. We live in a commoditized world full of substitutes, where it’s easy to lose a customer over one bad experience. And forgiveness from your customers is not easily won. Companies must have service recovery plans, combined with an employee empowerment culture to carry out those plans, to correct mistakes. Service recovery experience could then be turned into a talk trigger, too.
18. Use nostalgia to inspire content and campaigns.
Sometimes we need to look to the past for inspiration. Millennials have a clear preference for experiential marketing. Tap into their memories of adolescence, just like Google did with Macaulay Culkin’s Home Alone Again advert for the Google Assistant product. The ad was seasonally relevant (launched at the holidays, like the original movie setting) and became a viral hit, earning over 70M views and being named the top holiday campaign of 2018. Using nostalgia to inspire content and campaigns, marketers can benefit from a long history of affinity for beloved memories from the past.
19. Commit your social strategy to the 3 C’s: clarity, content and connections.
Social media strategies need to commit to 3 C’s in 2019: clarity, content and connections. Is your approach to social media specific and clear to the audience (and internally, amongst your team)? Clarity allows you to be purposeful with the content produced and published. Content is the engine of all social media activity, paid and organic. When audiences understand the intent of a brand on social, and consume content that aligns with that purpose, they are more likely to Connect with the brand. Connections between your audience and brand can be in the form of reactions, conversation or opting in as a follower/subscriber.
20. Activate word of mouth during various points of the customer journey.
Many SaaS companies (and often B2B in general) have a difficult time standing out from their competitive set. Rather than trying to throw money or advertising at the problem, develop a strategy to help activate word of mouth during various points of the customer journey. Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin, who quite literally wrote the book on this strategy, lay out exactly how to do this and why in their book Talk Triggers, as well as throughout various (and free!) ebooks and webinars throughout the site.
21. Invest in continuous training and education to stay up top of what works and what doesn’t.
It’s very hard for content teams to stay up to date on all things digital — channels, formats, tools, atomization etc. — so be sure to pepper education and training throughout the year. With the water hose of information available and changes occurring in the industry, ongoing education works better than a “one and done” approach. For snippets of a wide range of topics, attending a conference is great but to go deep on a certain area or heavily customize it for your team, onsite workshops or web-based training modalities work best.
22. Meet your customer’s needs quickly with chatbots and other related technology.
2019 will see an increase in the usage of chatbots and other related technology to communicate with customers and meet their needs quickly. However, it’s mission critical to support the technology with the most human influence possible. So companies must avoid utilizing a chatbot to just “set it and forget it”, but rather constantly tinker with what it says to customers and how it says it. From time to time, a real human should have oversight and be able to quickly intervene when a chatbot meets an annoyed customer who quickly determines they are talking to a computer merely pretending to be an actual person.
23. Consistently connect with consumers who are looking for help.
Speed will be the name of the game in 2019. With automation, AI, and other technologies bringing down response times, more companies will be forced to integrate those same technologies and/or do a better job of quickly responding to their customers’ inquiries in human fashion. The opportunity to proactively reach out to current or prospective customers looking for help is still abundant, and it is amazing how often we see questions go unanswered by social media managers. With every “delete your Facebook” post there appear to be more and more opportunities for Twitter and now LinkedIn social management opportunities to make a connection with consumers who are consistently looking for help.
Okay content is easy. Killer content is hard. This nifty eBook shows you the difference, based on our real-world work with dozens of brands. A must-read!