by Brad Fay
The fact is no medium drives offline conversation better than online marketing. In fact, our research shows that in 15% of conversations about products and 23% of conversations about services, somebody refers to something they saw online.
Yet, a key mistake made by digital marketers is allowing the effectiveness of campaigns to be measured with just digital metrics like clicks, shares, and re-tweets. None of those metrics pick up the impact of offline behavior, such as word of mouth, which can be nine times more voluminous offline than online.
So how does a marketer make sure marketing efforts work in both spaces? Here are five ways to maximize the impact of any marketing strategy.
1. Design Content to be Buzzworthy
This means content needs to focus on things that are truly surprising, funny, or exciting. People like to share things that have a strong emotional component. It’s also key that a marketer realize the story — the content — is more important than the delivery channel. This is why the Old Spice Guy campaign did so well. Its humor and sexiness made it one of the most successful viral campaigns in history.
2. Post at the Right Time
Whenever possible, plan for digital content to be delivered at times of the day when people are likely to be in social settings, which makes conversation possible. The reason is that research shows that people are going online and talking with other people the most between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. weekday mornings. That’s just about the time they are firing up the computers at work and saying good morning to their colleagues. This is the ideal time to deliver a digital message that will be shared offline among colleagues. Good examples would be restaurants offering an online lunch deal, or the humorous trailer for a new movie.
3. Make Content Useful and Easy to Find
Make digital content “conversation friendly” because studies show that people often turn to the internet seeking information while in the middle of a conversation. They do this because they are looking to fill gaps in their conversation. For example, they may want to know where a restaurant is located. If you google “Where is the nearest Subway,” a top result is the Subway locator, which provides an incredibly quick answer to a question that might be raised in a real-time conversation about where to have lunch. Quick access to such information is critical.
4. Target Influencers
About 25% of word of mouth comes from 10% of the population who are most active in making recommendations. And here we mean real-world influencers, not just people with high Klout scores. They have their own unique media usage patterns, both in terms of which media, as well as the time of day they use it. For five decades, the oil and gas industry has used these types of audiences to advocate their positions on public policy issues, and for good reason. It’s a strategy that can work for consumer categories as well.
5. Design With Brand Advocates in Mind
Brand advocates are among the most frequent visitors to your site. They are looking for content they can share with others to spread the word about your products and services. These are people who return regularly and need to have fresh material to make the visit worthwhile. They’ll share what they find via their social media channels, but mostly through email and in face-to-face conversations.