White noise.Clutter.Information Overload.Short Attentions spans. We’ve heard these being bandied about plenty whenever any “expert” waxes eloquent on digital marketing.
But how do you leap over these inevitable hurdles while on your way to building digital equity? Let me be honest, it’s tough. It comes with time and it comes with keeping up with change. Here’s what I think an entrepreneur can do to rise above the digital din in an attention economy.
1. Bank on content – Tell me a story
At the core of any product, individual or brand is a story. Tell that story and tell it well. Make content the blood that runs through the veins of your brand and you will never fail. With consumers becoming more and more ad savvy by the day and suffering from ad fatigue, a good story is truly the only way you can possibly ensure stickiness.
2. It takes a few turns and swings - Evolve with the times
Each day we have a tiny window to grab people’s attention and make an impact with our content. And it takes a number of elements to succeed. Test these elements. Do your AB testing and analyze what’s working and what’s not. It’ll take a while and the formula will change every now and then. There’s no shortcut to building an audience. It’s a long, winding road. Accept that and evolve.
3. Stay ahead of the change - The first-mover advantage
New platforms and new trends breed new opportunity. If you look at vine stars and brands who made the first move to Instagram like Starbucks, Nike or Red Bull – they are far ahead of the curve now and reaping the benefits of having taken the risk to play with a platform when no one knew how to. They earned massive followings when the platforms took off and latecomers were just left picking up scraps. Early adopters get a unique chance to build an audience before it gets too crowded. So, get on Snapchat NOW!
4. Video made the digital a star
You know that every single day, the readership of newspapers and long form content is dumbing down. That also explains the rise of the single most childish but undeniably successful form of content – the listicles. But how about jumping the queue and getting on to the video bandwagon right away. Look at what Truly Madly did with an expensive but exceptionally successful video with the comedy collective AIB.
They reached their audience, made them laugh and download the app. And no one says, you need to start big – take the plunge with small videos where the stakes aren’t high. But do them now, because they are going to be the reigning medium of storytelling online – from choice point videos to augmented reality. The digital natives have given up on TV and they are now counting on you and the web. Why should you wait?
5. Honey! They shrunk the screens – Make for mobile
More than 50% of digital content is now consumed on mobiles and tablets. So, whenever you set out to strategize your content or design, envision its effectiveness on mobile. Remember that people won’t read for too long on mobile, or they won’t be impressed with designs that bleed on small screens. So, optimize for the smallest screens and you’ll not lose an audience that is always on the go.
6. Be the home of all things digital – But find your niche
Do one thing but do it well – there’s still wisdom in that. Make sure that you can deliver every aspect of digital marketing – from analytics, to design to the all-important strategy. Butfind your niche, your groove. It could be video or a certain segment of brands or a specific kind of campaign like Twitter QnA. But aspire to be in top tier of a certain kind of digital marketing – so that when brands need that specific skill, they know where to go - to you.
7. It’s human to err – Be transparent
It’s one of those words that has the best of intentions but the worst of implementation. It might seem counterintuitive to tell prospective customers what you don’t know. But admitting that you struggle actually increases you credibility. It shows that behind the Brand or the organization, there are humans who are learning and evolving, just like their audience. So take your mission statement to the streets. It could take the form of a blog that charts your organization’s journey through case studies of success. It could be that one thing that helps your rise above faceless agencies or brands.
So, bring your personality and humanity to marketing – whether digital or offline. That, along with a willingness to bounce back from pitfalls and embrace change is really all you need.