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TikTok’s De-Influencing Trend Is A Scam, Actually

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TikTok's De-Influencing Trend Is A Scam, Actually

A new social trend bubbled up on TikTok recently: #deinfluencing has racked up more than 180 million views. In these videos, people tell you what not to buy. Sometimes, they’ll dismiss the hype around certain popular products only to recommend a better alternative. Publications including Today, CNN, and Huffington Post, to name a few, have piled on to declare influencers over and social commerce dead. Even Fortune weighed in, saying that “Gen Z and Millennials are rejecting consumer culture” to “protect their money.”

I rolled my eyes at all this. Here’s the thing: de-influencing is influencing. I don’t care if someone only has 100 followers. If those 100 people trust that person, they have been influenced. I’d know —as the anonymous social media personality #dknyprgirl, I’ve been on the inside of what is now the creator economy since the beginning.

In 2009, fashion brands were just beginning to acknowledge bloggers even though they existed years earlier. This new crop of self-appointed fashion critics was a wild card; because they had no skin in the game, they were free to critique however they wanted. Their honest, best-friend-like reviews gained traction with adoring audiences everywhere. Fashion brands, however, were not so welcoming.

One fateful day — Sept. 28, 2009 — Dolce & Gabbana decided to open the floodgates and seat BryanBoy and Tommy Ton of Jak and Jil in the show’s front row. From a traditional editor’s perspective, this was shock and horror! Bloggers seated next to, gasp, editors? In the front row of a fashion show?! The world as we knew it was coming to an end. But to the public, fashion was finally being democratized and accessible in a new and exciting way, with images being released into the world in real-time, versus the previous carefully curated images brands would share later in print magazine ads.

But just like anything else, with time, everyone got more comfortable. Brands got smart and realized the power of “peer-to-peer” recommendations. That, my friends, was way cheaper than owning talent on the red carpet during awards season or buying an ad in Vogue. Bloggers became influencers, and brands were more than happy to tap into a new, modestly-priced talent pool. The landscape changed. Online communities became powerful.

If you trust the messenger, you trust the message.

Since then, influencers have become a mainstay of every brand’s strategy. Companies partner with influencers to generate brand awareness, reach new audiences, and leverage their celebrity in paid social where they can determine a clear return on investment. What’s more, many have tapped influencers in traditional ad campaigns and commercials.

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When the pandemic hit, headlines declaring the end of influencers were widespread. It made sense at the time. With companies shutting down and closing brick-and-mortar stores, who was thinking about brand partnerships? Advertising and creative agencies were temporarily unable to produce the high-price photo shoots that brands need to promote their products. But as more business began moving online, content was again in demand. Who saved the day? Influencers. They could shoot products in their living rooms.

Rooting against influencers is easy because the industry is often misrepresented and misunderstood. As someone who sees both sides as both a board member of the American Influencer Council and a consultant who works with brands on their social strategies, I know what goes into making this a profitable business. The most successful creators I know take extreme care in choosing who and what they align with. They also care deeply about the credibility and loyalty of their community. If you trust the messenger, you trust the message. So when we see all this hype about de-influencing and trying to take down a legitimate industry, we have to wonder what the firestarter really is.

The joke is that “de-influencers” probably know they are influencing.

What’s happening now is a confluence of economic downturn, widespread layoffs, and a backlash to opulence. Predictably, in a time of economic uncertainty, people are warning each other of products that don’t live up to their hype. Is it a coincidence that the prominence of bloggers in 2009 was right after the recession of 2008? I think not. De-influencing is simply a dressed-up version of an honest blogger review from back in the day. The only difference now is that regular people have the TikTok algorithm to bolster their reach, as you don’t need thousands of followers for a post to catch fire.

You can’t destroy the idea of influence. It’s human nature, and it’s been around since the dawn of time. This movement represents a public cry for authenticity, but it’s also a fact that the more controversial and counter-intuitive you are online, the more engagement you get. The joke is that “de-influencers” probably know they are influencing.

If there’s a lesson in here somewhere, it’s that creating a strong community begins and ends with trust. But where we put our trust moves like the wind. One day, an influencer like Mikayla Nogueira is on top of the world, but when that trust evaporates in the blink of a false eyelash, it’s hard to rebuild. Then we move our attention to someone else.

Creators aren’t going anywhere. Influencer marketing will remain resilient amid the current economic uncertainty, and social video ad budgets will weather the storm better than their non-video counterparts. Everyone is influenced by someone. It’s up to you, dear follower, to decide who you want to trust.

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Aliza Licht is the Founder of Leave Your Mark and the author of the upcoming book, On Brand: Shape Your Narrative. Share Your Vision. Shift Their Perception.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

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“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

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Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Market

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Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Market

Table of Contents

Back in college, I majored in advertising. 

In the advertising classes, we would dig into the world’s best ads, uncovering not just their brilliance but also the frameworks that made them stand out.

From Nike’s “Just Do It” campaigns over the years to Ogilvy’s renowned ad copies, we dissected the finest in the industry.

From the very first day of those ad classes, two acronyms stuck with me: AIDA and KISS.

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Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

These phrases were more than mere marketing jargon; they held the essence of impactful ad creation. 

Fast forward to the present, and these fundamental principles remain at the forefront of shaping successful sales and marketing funnels.

Marketing funnels are like the GPS of your customer’s journey with your brand. 

They map out how people go from just stumbling upon your brand to hitting that “Buy Now” button. Knowing this journey sheds light on why some customers dive in and others just window-shop.

What Is the Difference Between Good and the Best?

Building a Genuine Connection.

Getting a grip on how and when customers mingle with your brand is key. It helps you lock in their needs, serve up the right info, and nudge them towards making a decision.

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This blog will answer all of your questions about marketing funnels, such as:

  • Why do you need a marketing funnel?

  • How can you build your own marketing funnel?

  • What do you need to know before you start?

  • Is a sales funnel only limited to marketing?

More importantly, you’ll learn how to build a marketing funnel that connects you with your customers at a human level.

Introduction to Funnel Building for Marketers

How many times have you come across a product that you want to buy and even add it to your cart, but don’t end up buying it?

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Well, let’s take a look at what it looks like from the perspective of a marketer.

What Is a Marketing Funnel?

A sales funnel commences with a broad group of potential buyers, gradually narrowing down based on specific criteria until it reaches a smaller pool of prospects. 

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As the customer journey progresses, the number of prospects diminishes further, eventually leading to a handful of opportunities. Ultimately, the sales process concludes with either a closed-won or closed-lost deal.

Throughout each phase of an individual deal within the sales funnel, the likelihood of closing the sale fluctuates. 

Advancing along the funnel involves increased information exchange, emphasizing the benefits of utilizing the product for the customer. 

The journey from loyalty to advocacy is what truly shows how much people love your product/service/brand. Advocates are not just satisfied; they’re enthusiastic about your brand and actively promote it. 

You know the way Apple fans get excited when it’s time for an Apple event? Yep, same.

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Importance of Building a Robust Marketing Funnel

How do you ensure that your target audience will turn into paying customers and start talking about your brand with their friends and family?

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The “1,000 True Fans” concept, popularized by Kevin Kelly, suggests that to have a sustainable career or business, creators don’t necessarily need millions of customers or followers. 

Instead, they need a dedicated fan base of around 1,000 true fans who are deeply invested in their work.

This concept relates to building a marketing funnel in several ways:

The focus shifts from acquiring a massive audience to nurturing a smaller, loyal customer base. In a marketing funnel, the emphasis is not solely on reaching a vast number of prospects but on engaging and converting those genuinely interested in your brand or product.

The 1,000 True Fans concept stresses the significance of engaging directly with devoted followers. Similarly, in a marketing funnel, nurturing leads involves establishing trust, understanding customer needs, and providing value throughout the buyer’s journey.

Focusing on a loyal customer base will result in higher customer lifetime value, as these customers tend to make repeated purchases and advocate for the brand – exactly what we want.

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Personalization and Tailoring

Understanding the unique needs and preferences of these dedicated fans or potential customers allows creators or businesses to tailor their offerings or marketing messages to resonate deeply with them.

The Basics of Funnel Building

Alright, we now know why having a marketing funnel in place is important and some factors you should consider when planning a strategy, but we can’t forget the basics.

Here’s what you should do first:

Establish precise goals for your funnel—whether it’s generating leads, increasing sales, or nurturing customer loyalty. Having specific aims guides your funnel-building efforts.

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Understand the Customer Journey.

Map out the stages your customers typically go through before making a purchase. Analyze touchpoints and interactions to comprehend their decision-making process.

Craft Compelling Content.

It goes without saying – you need to tailor content for each stage of the funnel. Use engaging and informative materials to capture attention at the awareness stage and provide detailed information as potential customers move closer to a decision. 

How To Plan Your Content Strategy for Different Stages of a Marketing Funnel:

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Focus on creating captivating content—blog posts, videos, or infographics—to attract attention.

Use social media advertising or SEO strategies to widen your reach and draw potential customers.

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Offer comparative content like product guides or case studies to help prospects evaluate options.

Implement email campaigns with targeted messages addressing specific pain points.

Provide incentives such as limited-time offers or free trials to encourage purchase decisions.

Create persuasive landing pages and streamline the buying process for a seamless experience.

Maintain engagement with personalized follow-ups, loyalty programs, and exclusive offers.

Seek feedback and actively address concerns to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

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The goal is to consistently remain forefront in customers’ minds, nurturing loyalty and encouraging advocacy, thereby ensuring that your brand is the immediate and preferred choice whenever they consider related products or services.

Understanding Your Target Audience

How will you create content for your target audience if you don’t know them very well?

You need to know your people before you conclude what they’re going to like and eventually buy.

Here’s how to find and understand your target audience:

Conduct Thorough Research.

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Gather demographic data, run surveys, and leverage analytics tools to grasp your audience’s preferences, challenges, and behavior. You can also check out creators/businesses in your niche to understand what your customer base will look like.

Craft detailed profiles representing different segments of your audience. These aid in tailoring content and messaging for specific groups.

Personalize Communication.

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Utilize segmentation to personalize emails, ads, and offers based on individual preferences, interactions, and buying history. 

Conduct Continuous Analysis and Optimization.

Scrutinize customer data, track metrics, and employ A/B testing to refine strategies in line with your audience’s evolving needs and behaviors.

And remember, building a connection with your audience is important. They need to know your brand’s story, why you are building what you’re building, and why they should buy it from you.

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Top Strategies for Funnel Optimization

Three ways you can look to optimize your marketing funnel:

Focus on Data-Driven Analysis.

Numbers never lie. Regularly analyze metrics at each funnel stage to identify bottlenecks or drop-off points. Tools like Google Analytics or CRM platforms provide insights into user behavior.

Optimize Conversion Points.

The end goal for most strategies is to drive conversions. A/B test elements such as CTAs, headlines, and forms to enhance conversion rates. Experiment with different layouts, colors, or copy to find what resonates best.

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Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Streamline the User Experience.

A great design doesn’t go unnoticed. Ensure a smooth and intuitive journey through your funnel. Simplify navigation, reduce form fields, and optimize for mobile to minimize friction in the conversion process.

Creating Effective Landing Pages

When targeting a particular audience, it’s crucial that your landing page design resonates with them, evoking a sense of “This is exactly what I’ve been searching for.” 

Consider these key aspects when structuring your landing page:

Compelling Headlines and CTAs

Craft attention-grabbing headlines that clearly convey your offer’s value. Ensure that your call-to-action (CTA) stands out and prompts immediate action.

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Clear and Concise Content

Keep messaging simple and focused. Highlight benefits and use visuals to reinforce key points. Avoid clutter and make information easily scannable.

Social Proof and Trust Indicators

Incorporate testimonials, reviews, or trust badges to build credibility. Showcasing social proof increases visitor trust and encourages conversions.

The one main difference between a homepage and a landing page is that a landing page focuses on only one goal. Concentrating on a singular objective, whether it’s encouraging a purchase, capturing leads, or promoting a specific offer, a landing page eliminates distractions and guides visitors with precision.

Learn more about landing pages:

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Matt McGarry’s Growletter checks all of these boxes!

Compelling headline and CTA ☑️

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers
Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers
Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers
Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Leveraging Email Marketing for Funnel Nurturing

Email marketing stands as a cornerstone in building a funnel primarily because it grants ownership of your email list. 

Unlike social media platforms, which constantly shift due to evolving algorithms and content formats, email marketing provides a direct and consistent channel of communication between you and your audience.

Here’s how you can harness email marketing to nurture your marketing funnel:

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Segmentation and Personalization

Divide your email list into segments based on behavior, preferences, or demographics. Personalize content to cater to each segment’s interests for higher engagement.

Drip Campaigns and Automation

Set up automated drip campaigns to nurture leads at different funnel stages. Deliver targeted content or offers based on user interactions or time intervals.

Engaging Content and CTAs

Design engaging email content with clear and compelling CTAs. Use storytelling, visuals, and interactive elements to drive recipients toward desired actions.

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Essential Tools for Funnel Building

Whether it’s social media platforms, email services, CRM software, or analytical tools, constructing a highly efficient marketing funnel requires a variety of resources. 

(Hint: beehiiv can support you with most of the tools you would need to build a marketing funnel – sign-up forms, polls, analytics, custom landing pages, and much more..)

Here are some of the key essential tools necessary for constructing your marketing funnel:

CRM Software for Funnel Management

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Salesforce offers a robust CRM system for managing leads, prospects, and customer interactions. It enables personalized communication, tracks sales opportunities, and streamlines customer data management.

HubSpot’s CRM provides a user-friendly interface for organizing contacts, automating tasks, and tracking interactions. It integrates with marketing tools for a seamless sales and marketing alignment.

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Zoho CRM allows for lead and contact management, pipeline tracking, and sales forecasting. It offers workflow automation, enabling efficient customer engagement across different funnel stages.

Analytics Tools for Tracking Funnel Performance

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Google Analytics offers comprehensive website analytics, tracking user behavior, traffic sources, and conversion data. It provides insights into how visitors navigate through the funnel stages.

beehiiv’s 3D analytics help you track customer journeys, understand audience demographics, see the sources where the traffic is coming from, and even design your own UTM trackers.

Mixpanel enables in-depth analysis of user interactions within the funnel. It provides cohort analysis, funnel visualization, and A/B testing capabilities for optimizing conversions.

Common Funnel Building Mistakes To Avoid

You know most of the things you should be doing to build a marketing funnel, these are the three common mistakes you want to avoid while you’re at it:

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Ignoring Mobile Users

Neglecting mobile optimization within your funnel can be detrimental. With a significant portion of users accessing content via mobile devices, failure to ensure a seamless mobile experience can lead to missed conversions. 

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Streamline load times specifically for mobile users, preventing bounce rates triggered by sluggish page loading, thereby fostering a swift and engaging user journey.

Clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs)

Enrich user engagement by prominently placing and optimizing CTAs for effortless interaction on smaller screens, ensuring a frictionless pathway to action.

Neglecting Retargeting Opportunities

Overlooking retargeting as a strategy within the funnel could mean missing out on opportunities to re-engage interested prospects. 

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Install Retargeting Pixels.

Install retargeting pixels on your website to track user behavior and serve targeted ads to those who’ve shown interest.

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Tailor retargeting content based on previous interactions to rekindle interest and encourage conversion.

Utilize Diverse Channels.

Utilize multiple channels like social media, email, and display ads for retargeting to cover a broader audience.

Skipping Personalization Across Funnel Stages

While building a marketing funnel, steering clear of certain mistakes ensures a seamless and personalized user experience, enhancing engagement and conversions. 

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Implement Segmentation Strategies.

Divide your audience into segments to tailor content and messages, increasing relevance and engagement with specific audience interests. Learn more about segmentation here: 

Craft Dynamic User Journeys.

Create adaptive paths based on user interactions, ensuring tailored experiences that resonate with individual behaviors and preferences throughout the funnel.

Utilize Behavioral Triggers.

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Leverage user behavior as triggers for targeted content or offers, ensuring the delivery of relevant and personalized content aligned with individual preferences, thereby nurturing better engagement and conversion rates.

Why Trust Me: I have been a writer for 6 years and part of the beehiiv content team for a year now. This has given me a deep understanding of email marketing and how it can be optimized.

Funnel Building for Different Marketing Channels

Email marketing > social media marketing (there, I said it).

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a balance of both or not leverage other marketing channels except for email marketing.

Building a Social Media Marketing Funnel

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Craft a social media funnel by:

Identify and target specific demographics or interests within social platforms. Leveraging Twitter Spaces, Instagram Lives, and Discord communities can be of help!

Develop funnels that lead users from awareness through engagement and conversion. Offer high-value content for free that people won’t find otherwise.

Create content that resonates with each funnel stage, from captivating posts to conversion-focused ads. You know the drill – double down on what’s working and iterate on what’s not.

Creating an Effective Content Marketing Funnel

Customize content meticulously, aligning it precisely with the distinct stages of the funnel, catering to varying user needs and intents at each phase.

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Craft nurturing workflows that guide leads from awareness to conversion through relevant content, leveraging highly relevant and purpose-driven content strategies. Here’s a guide on building nurture sequences.

Adapting to Changes in Consumer Behavior

Curate seamless and unified experiences across diverse touchpoints throughout a customer’s journey, ensuring consistency and excellence at every interaction.

Privacy-Centric Strategies

Pivot towards ethical data-handling practices and foster transparent communication, placing privacy at the forefront of your customer interactions and building trust and credibility.

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

Catch Up With What’s New

We all have seen the growth of short-form video content over the past two years. There’s no denying that keeping up with changing consumer behavior is what will help you stay on top of your game.

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Conclusion: Mastering Funnel Building for Marketing Success

This guide will help you plan, build, and analyze your marketing funnel and help ensure that you make the most of this marketing strategy!

Key Takeaways:

Understanding Diverse Audiences

Tailor funnels to cater to varying customer needs at every stage.

Create seamless experiences that guide prospects toward conversions.

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Leverage analytics to refine strategies and enhance funnel performance.

Next Steps: Implementing Funnel Building Strategies

Apply learned insights to fine-tune existing funnels and adapt to market shifts.

Experimentation & Optimization

Embrace a culture of continuous improvement to refine strategies.

Explore new tools and innovations to elevate funnel effectiveness.

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Navigating the Art of Funnel Building: Essential Strategies for Marketers

You can integrate your social media strategy with a newsletter platform like beehiiv. 

This can help you build an email list, build a custom landing page for your product, have access to deep insights and campaign performances, and really so much more!

Navigating the Art of Funnel Building Essential Strategies for Market

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