When you’re setting out to create a new marketing campaign, website, or any other promotional materials one of the most important things you can do is audience research. In the old days, this was accomplished by compiling expensive focus groups and making a best-educated guess as to what the consumer ultimately wants.
Luckily, the internet has opened up a myriad of ways for us to gain valuable insights into our target audience without spending tons of money or even having to have an existing audience.
Still, many people are not taking advantage of the free tools that when used properly can help you get that edge for your marketing to create a more compelling message that drives the desired action you’re looking for.
Here are two of our favorite “ninja” ways to research a target audience and really learn about their online behaviors, challenges, desires, lifestyle, and even the way they speak about your industry.
Facebook Audience Insights Tool
Audience insights is a great tool that Facebook offers to advertisers that utilize the platform. However, the good news is that you do not need to spend money on Facebook Ads to utilize this tool. All you need to do is set up a Facebook Ad account (which is free to set up) if you don’t already have one.
Audience Insights is great because it allows you to find out some really valuable information about the audience that you’re looking to reach. You can learn about things like:
Basic demographics like age, location, and gender
Lifestyle information like relationship status, job roles, and education level
Audience interests like publications, influencers, brands, etc
Online behavior including the devices that your audience use
All you have to do is open up the Audience Insights tool, then start adding interests, job roles, and any other information that you already have on your target audience. Then Facebook Audience Insights will show you valuable data gathered from Facebook users.
Be sure to watch the video above to learn how to use the tool and see some examples.
Review Sites (Amazon, Yelp, etc)
Another great way to learn about your target audience is by looking at online review sites like Yelp and Amazon.
You can look at not only your own reviews but also the reviews of competitors or other products/services that your target audience may use. By spending time reading reviews left by your target audience you will gain a lot of valuable insight into what their challenges, pain points, desires, and frustrations are.
The other really great thing about reading review sites is that you begin to learn the language of your audience.
As marketers and business owners, we can sometimes fall into the trap of creating our own “sexy” language of what we think our audience wants to hear. We use phrases like “innovation” or “technologically advanced”.
However, as humans, we resonate stronger with people (or brands) that look and sound just like us. As you are looking through reviews on your products or related products, be sure to pay attention and take note of the phrases that people are using to describe their challenges or the benefits they are seeking. These will be powerful for you to keep in mind when writing copy for ads or marketing materials.
Audience research can actually be a lot of fun when you start to get real data and information that will help inspire new ideas for content, advertising, and even product development. Take advantage of these tools and let us know how it works out for you!
What one thing do all of the best stories ever told, having common that you can actually take and implement in your marketing and advertising to get more results?
The world of marketing and advertising is largely focused around this question of how do we capture an audience’s attention and then maintain that attention over time.
What if I told you that there is a common characteristic shared among all of the best stories ever told, whether it’s through books, television shows, and movies that you can actually take and implement in your marketing and advertising to get more results.
All great stories have one thing…
What we’re talking about here is the importance of having conflict in your marketing and advertising. Simply put, conflict is the challenge or obstacle that needs to be overcome or the question in the viewer’s mind that they have to continue watching or continue reading to find out the answer.
It’s important to remember that conflict doesn’t always have to be this big dramatic catastrophe. Again, sometimes it’s as simple as a question that you put in the viewer’s mind.
Why is conflict so important for you to use in your marketing and advertising?
When we use conflict, we can guide our audience to where they should put their attention. This is because as humans, we usually pay attention to things that need answers or needs solving.
Here’s a perfect example. One of the most popular television shows in recent history is Breaking Bad. How boring would Breaking Bad have been if nothing bad ever happened to Walter White?
Nobody would watch the show.
How to implement conflict in your marketing
At the simplest level, start by thinking about what challenges or pain points that your audience faces that your product or service actually solves. Starting with this rather than just coming right out the gate with your features and benefits is going to make your marketing more engaging and more effective.
Even better, this is where Story comes in for your marketing and advertising.
Let’s say you’re producing client testimonials. Nobody wants to sit and watch or read somebody speaking point blank about how great your company is. But if they start with a story about a problem that they faced or something that stood in the way of them getting what they want and then how you actually helped them get there, that’s going to be so much more relatable to the audience.
This is what holds their attention because they want to stick around and find out what happens next.
What we’re doing by implementing conflict is we’re creating what’s called “open loops” in the viewer’s mind. This is what piques their interests and keeps them engaged so they want to find out what the answer. At this point, you will start to see higher engagement rates, longer watch times, and ultimately better results.
So go ahead and give this a try for yourself. When you’re looking at a new marketing campaign or a piece of copy, ask yourself, what’s the conflict here? Is this enough to pique the audience’s interests and does it ultimately lead to our key message to what we’re trying to deliver? As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments. How have you used conflict in the past? Be sure to share this with a friend.
One of our clients who owns a successful business called me one day to tell me that one of his videos had gone viral. I can remember the excitement in his voice as we spoke on the phone.
He was thrilled that one of his videos finally caught traction and achieved “virality”. The short 25-second video which was a comedic piece had gained over 1,000 organic shares within a day or so of posting.
But can you guess what impact this had on his business?
In fact, most of the attention and comments were coming from a country that he didn’t even serve.
Of course, this was a one-off case. Maybe you sell internationally and you would love to get the extra attention no matter the region.
But there is a better approach.
Should you aim for viral?
As a video focused company, it’s not uncommon for clients to come to us with the hope of making a video go viral. And we completely understand. In this noisy internet world, it’s more important than ever to do things that will make your brand stand out and help gain awareness.
However, in many cases, viral is not the right goal. First, let’s look at some numbers.
There are over 4 million hours of video uploaded to YouTube every single day. And that’s just YouTube! Not to mention the millions of videos be posted to Facebook each day. Of those videos, only a fraction of a percent actually go viral. And those videos typically have nothing to do with a brand. They are cat videos, fail videos, memes, ect.
Aside from the fact that virality is usually a matter of luck, synchronicity, and magic fairy dust, going viral typically doesn’t have much impact on your business. Or at least not enough to justify the number of hours and attempts it would take to actually have a video go viral.
What should you focus on instead?
Imagine you were presented with two options.
Outcome 1 is that your video will go “viral” among 1 million people who may or may not be likely to purchase your product or service. They may not even be close to your target market or in a country where they can buy.
Outcome 2 is that your video goes “viral” among 1,000 people who are much more likely to purchase your offering and are qualified to buy.
I want to be clear. It’s not about thinking smaller and lowering your goal. It’s about specificity and making sure that your video objective is mapped to your business objectives.
Choose a more targeted approach.
While outcome 1 might feel better because it reached 1 million people, that’s just a vanity win. Over the short term, outcome 2 will get you more immediate purchases. Over the long term, a good sized group of those 1000 people will become fans and advocates of your brand spreading awareness even further.
It’s important to ensure that every video for your business is tied to a tangible goal. Whether it’s awareness, recruiting, or direct sales.
Rather than focusing on going viral, get more specific on a small group to go “viral” among that will become customers and loyal evangelists. This is why it’s so important to understand your audience.
3 Tips for how to create more shareable content
It is still a beneficial exercise to look at what it is that makes a video viral. Although there are many factors that go into a video achieving virality, here are 3 critical elements that you can apply to your content creation strategy:
The first key trait of creating shareable content is relevance. Is the content relevant to the target audience? So how do we go about creating relevance? Well, you can check out websites like Google Trends to do a quick search and see what topics might be trending in your industry that are getting more traction and ultimately going to be more relevant to the audience.
But it doesn’t always have to tie to this big trending topic or news article, sometimes it’s as simple asking, what common pinpoints or challenges or experiences will the members of my target audience share and relate with?
2. Emotional Response
The second key characteristic of shareable content is that it elicits an emotional response, whether it’s anger sadness, laughter, nostalgia. It’s these emotional responses that inspires your audience to share this content with their community.
The third and final thing to consider is the distribution plan. Believe it or not most viral ads or viral pieces of content still have an initial push to get them out there. Whether it’s paid advertising or media outlets, so what you want to think about is what key platforms or avenues or key people can you reach out to and give your content an initial push.
You never want to put a piece of content up and then just hope that people find it.
Consider these elements when creating any content for your brand, not just video.
In conclusion, when setting out to create a video or marketing campaign, choose the goal that is most going to help your business. Then use that as your north star to guide the creative and strategic decision making. If you want to go viral to build awareness, go a level deeper and ask yourself what group of potential true fans you want to go “viral” among.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments and feel free to share with a friend.
Every year, companies and brands of all sizes pour billions of dollars into advertising and marketing.
And rightfully so. What good is the next life-changing technology or impactful service if nobody knows about it.
But sometimes, it seems like there can be a disconnect between the brand and the consumer. We’re constantly surrounded by ads and marketing materials that seem to be more catered to the Board of Directors or executive team than to the end consumer that is meant to be served.
This can mean wasted advertising dollars and resources. Not only that but if your marketing isn’t relatable or authentic to the audience, you could be causing long-term damage to your brand.
Here are 3 tips that you and your marketing team can implement to ensure that your marketing builds trust and ultimately leads to more results.
1. Show, Don’t Tell
Far too many businesses are making bold claims about how they can “get you to the next level” or “make a happier and healthier you”. Or how many times have you seen a business commercial where they claim to be “innovative” or “disruptive” with nothing to back it up?
Whether is promoting innovation, company culture, or the benefits you bring, I want you to make this your mantra when marketing from now on:
Show, Don’t Tell.
Instead of claiming how “innovative” you are. Give an example of something your company has done to innovate in your space. Instead of simply stating that you have a great company culture, tell a story of how an employee or customer’s life was positively impacted as a result of having a great culture.
At first, it might feel risky to not outright say what you want your audience to take away, but as long as your story is a clear example of what you are trying to promote, it will work.
And even better, it will help build trust because you are showing real impact, not just throwing out corporate buzzwords.
2. Stop Talking About Yourself
Nobody cares about your industry awards, large team of employees, or advanced technology.
At least not yet. Not until you give them a reason to care.
Humans are largely driven by the question of “What’s in it for me?” It doesn’t mean we’re all selfish. From an evolutionary perspective, this was key survival. So before you start bragging about how awesome your company is or how great your products are you must first speak to the needs of your audience.
How can you do this?
Start by putting them at the center of your marketing messaging. Make them the hero of the story. Your job is to help them on their journey.
Once you’ve identified and addressed their challenges, dreams, and desires then you can speak about how your org or your product is best suited to help them on their path. But be sure to always keep it relevant to your audience and think “What’s in it for them?”
3. Focus on Emotional Impact over Statistics
It’s been proven that we usually make our decisions based on emotion, then reason with logic. When you’re creating any marketing materials whether it’s advertisements, videos, brochures, or even pitch decks focus on creating an emotional response in the audience.
While facts and figures can be powerful for building credibility, they are just not that relatable.
Of course, people want to see results. But most importantly, how will those results positively impact your customers lives on an emotional level.
For example, there’s a tendency in the B2B world to believe that business owners only care about ROI or quantifiable growth. Obviously, these things are very important to speak to and are going to be big drivers in the decision-making process.
But if you can just look a layer deeper and think about how those results will make your clients feel your marketing will become much more powerful.
As you are creating marketing materials and campaigns moving forward, think about these three mantras:
Show, Not Tell
What’s In It For Them?
How Do We Want the Audience to Feel?
Maybe even print them out and post them up on your wall or in your marketing department. This will ensure that your marketing if more authentic, relevant, and trustworthy. Which means more results and less guesswork.
Are there any other mantras that you live by for your marketing? Let us know in the comments and share with a fellow marketer/business leader.
When we are talking to brands about how they can leverage video, we are frequently asked:
“How long does the video need to be?”
And it makes sense that this would be one of the first questions that come up. There is no shortage of online blogs, articles, and courses that talk about video marketing pushing broad blanket statements about how the video “has to be short” or “no longer than 1 minute”.
Why video length isn’t the place to start
While I’m not arguing that videos shouldn’t be short, the video length is usually not the correct place to start when planning a video or campaign.
There are a number of factors that are much more important to determine before thinking about how long the video should be.
Some of these factors are:
What is the target outcome of the video or campaign?
Who is the target audience? What matters most to them?
Where is your audience in the customer journey?
What is the key message?
What platform will the video live on?
Now that we’ve decided on a strategy, how long should the video be?
Despite what you might read from the “video marketing gurus” there are no hard rules or magic formula’s here.
However, our rule when it comes to creating videos is this:
As long as it needs to be to achieve the target outcome, but absolutely no longer.
This means that yes it is important to be looking at how you can cut the video down. But this must be done without sacrificing valuable information or story development that will help maintain audience engagement and drive action.
Of course, each platform will have its limitations. For example, you might be running a 6-second YouTube pre-roll ad or 30-second television spot. But beyond that, we recommend focusing more on telling a great story. Then you will have more room to maintain audience attention.
The quality of the video and storytelling is more important than the length
This is why we can’t stand watching even a 15-second advertisement that’s aggressively pushing a product but we will pay to watch a 2-hour movie.
Again, the quality of the story is what matters most.
I hope you found this helpful. Feel free to share with a friend and let us know what you thought in the comments!