1. Avoid the sales pitch
Nobody wants to watch your ad. Let me say that again: nobody wants to watch your ad. Think of how you instantly reach for your phone once an advertisement break during your favorite TV show starts, or how you roll your eyes when you see a product placement in a show *cough cough Transformers*.
If the introduction to your video or blog post is a sales pitch, you risk immediately losing the viewer’s attention. When a viewer’s interest is lost, information goes in one ear and out the other – regardless of how helpful or entertaining the rest of your content is. We all know the power of first impressions, and if a viewer is put off by a sales pitch in your ad, they’re not likely to return to your content. First impressions really count. What do viewers think when they first come across your media? How can you make sure that their first impression is a great one?
The trick is knowing how to sell your product without directly “selling” it. More and more advertisements either barely mention the product they are selling or wait until the very end to point it out. Consider this impactful insurance commercial from Thailand.
You wouldn’t have been able to guess what they were selling had they not displayed their company logo in the last 3 seconds. But it works. It works because it captured your ATTENTION. It was intriguing and evoked your emotions, ensuring a spot in your memory.
This also teaches us another marketing lesson. The content of your ad does not have to be directly related to the product. This trick is particularly useful if you are trying to selling a product that is less marketable such as insurance, a rice cooker, or an extension cord. Rather than trying (and failing) to sell a customer on the features of a specific product, sell the customer on the benefits they will gain from that product.
2. Provide value upfront
A way to keep the viewer’s attention without appearing too “pitchy” is to provide value first, before ever mentioning the product. This can be in the form of entertainment, like the Thai insurance commercial above, or in the form of helpful information. Introduce the product only after you have captured their attention. Even then, exercise caution and mention the product subtly and strategically. People are generally wary of pitches so be sure to do it carefully. The question of how to do so is an art of its own.
Imagine you’re selling that rice cooker. Rather than listing the unique features of your product and focusing on the product itself, think of how this rice cooker could benefit a user. Are you targeting a college student? A mother pressed for time when making dinner? Paint a picture that demonstrates to them the convenience your rice cooker brings to the table. Depict a student focused on his or her studies while rice cooks to perfection on the kitchen counter. Show how the mom can run other errands or check things off her lengthy to-do list without having to worry about overcooking tonight’s dinner. A viewer needs to see the value of your product before developing an interest in buying it. Prove your value and the customer will view your ad as a solution, rather than a pitch.
3. Create a community/ Join one
People like to be involved in a community. It’s fun to be around people with similar interests! Creating a new community is a difficult task, as you need to find and organize like-minded individuals. One way you can begin to create a community around your company or product is to join an existing one. Contribute and connect with people in this forum and slowly but surely you can start to gain a following of your own. Join Facebook groups and offer your unique tips or answer questions on Twitter and Instagram by searching for terms and hashtags related to your business. Eventually, you will find yourself surrounded by a network of people who recognize you and your company. These are the people who will intuitively think of contacting you before anyone else when they have other inquiries!
Creating a community and making people feel as though they are a part of it is incredibly powerful. Having a community will also create a sense of loyalty to your company, product, or brand because members will feel attached to it. Watch this video exemplifying a tight-knit community below.
This is a video of GymShark, a sports apparel company that started out by sponsoring fitness Youtubers. Over time, they were able to build a strong sense of community by interacting with people who enjoy the same hobby – working out! GymShark contributes its strong following to its status as the fastest growing company in the UK in 2016.
4. Content, content, content
Content is king. A recent survey shows that teenagers spend, on average, nine hours a day using media. Most of this time is spent on only a few platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Therefore, it makes sense to focus your marketing on creating original content specific to these platforms.
Here are some best practices for creating content on different platforms:
- Understand that different platforms have different dynamics and nuances, so you cannot post the same exact content across these platforms. What works on one platform will not work on another. Thirty second videos may be effective for sites like Facebook, but will not have the same benefits on Youtube.
- HOWEVER, you can repurpose the content and tweak it to suit different platforms. If you give a speech at school, post the entire recording on Youtube. For Facebook, consider editing your video down to only include the part of the speech that is most interesting. Post the edited clip on Facebook and Instagram. Or, extract the audio recording and post it on the iTunes store as a Podcast.
- On a related note, consider making a podcast! Podcasts are rising in popularity incredibly quickly. They are great for listening on the daily commute, during exercise, and even at work. They are also easier and cheaper to create compared to videos or pictures, as you don’t need nearly as much editing or recording equipment. This is also a great media alternative for those of us who are camera shy!
- Add subtitles to your videos. This is a small trick that many could benefit from. Around 85% of all Facebook video views occur without audio. Subtitles will increase your views as people can watch without headphones. Viewers will appreciate this when they are out or come across your video in work or at class.
5. Personal Brand
Personal brands are incredibly important and creating one is a necessary supplement to your company’s overall strategy. Below are some benefits that come with creating a personal brand:
- More content
Consider how creating a lifestyle Youtube channel under your name differs compared to creating a channel under the company’s name. The type of content that you can create and post on the company’s channel is quite limited. Imagine this company runs a website dedicated to helping people incorporate their business online. Your personal channel can include lifestyle videos or videos featuring entrepreneurs in Singapore discussing their daily life. A company’s channel, however, may require that videos are strictly informational.
- More attention
Viewers will typically only come across your informational content if they are using specific keyword searches. On the other hand, lifestyle content such as vlogs can appear in search results for viewers who are interested in related topics. The ability to create and share multiple types of videos on one channel means that you have a greater chance of attracting viewers with a wider range of interests. Therefore, cultivating a personal brand can help you reach a larger audience.
6. Getting people to share about your company on social media
This is a powerful tip on how to better market your business and it’s easy to see why. People share a company’s posts if they really enjoy the product or service. Still, there are a number of ways to increase shares on your social media.
Starbucks writes each and every customer’s name on their cups when they are crafting the end product. This does serve a functional purpose, as the barista can use the name to alert the customer when his or her order is ready. More importantly, however, this serves as an extended bit of marketing. This small touch of personalisation sends a message to the customer that they matter. Customers are then more inclined to share a picture of their beverage on their own social media. Personalising your product or even tailoring posts to customers can make them feel special and increase the chances of interaction on your site.
The same goes for funny or inspirational quotes that you may find painted on the walls of many restaurants and cafes. If you have a location that your customers spend a lot of time in, it may be smart to dedicate a part of your store to an aesthetic mural or witty phrase so that people will want to take photos of it. Over time, this can become a highlight of your storefront and could benefit your branding strategy as well.
These are just some examples but it is up to your creativity to come up with ideas to incentivize people to share your business. Keep in mind that this may be easier for certain industries such as those in fashion or food, and may be harder for others.
The Prudential Marina Bay Carnival is a good example of how this trick can still be implemented in industries that are more traditionally seen as “dull”.
DBS Bank is another of such example. They have a cafe built in their branch at Plaza Singapura.
This not only makes the bank more welcoming, but it is the first of its kind with regard to banks, and people naturally find this idea interesting.