Competition has gone global, and the methods businesses have been deploying to gain market share is undergoing a radical shift. The extreme change in marketing that not only are the conventional tools got increasingly dwarfed, the rapid advancements in Augmented Reality (AR), Voice-Based Search, and Content Personalization are compelling businesses to move beyond SEO and email marketing. Facebook, Google, and other internet-based companies earn a large chunk of their revenue from advertisements they display to users. And even these companies are rapidly adopting new-age tech, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR). It in itself should be enough to convince businesses to not only study the latest trend of marketing their products online but also implement a well-planned strategy that is light on pocket but has good returns.
It is worth noting that any promotional activity that is displayed on an electronic device and uses the internet as the medium is digital marketing. And hence, the complexities of conventional marketing such as deploying billboards or distributing pamphlets and leaflets don’t exist, when one decides to promote the business digitally. That said, even digital marketing needs creativity, and labors as users of the internet are quick to identify good and bad ads that they come across on the internet. It means that the digital poster of the business or the promotional video or the augmented reality-based interactions have to be attractive and must exude confidence so that the eyes falling upon them can be persuaded to dig deeper.
Let’s know more about the tools that SMEs need to exploit to stay afloat in the ever-competitive market.
Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence
Commerce has shifted decisively to the internet. Still, the long-standing issue of lack of real-world experience while making a purchase has always held the customer back from trusting online sellers. New-age tech, however, is changing this. For example, a customer who wants to buy new spectacles would prefer to visit the store than to order online. Even small businesses today have e-commerce-enabled websites, but they rarely provide the customer a real-world experience. With AR, the same customer can be persuaded to make an online purchase by infusing virtual reality into the business website or mobile app. The camera on the device held by the customer scans the face and then helps draw a real-life but digital face, which can then get used for knowing whether or not the frame suits her preferences.
Did you know that customers can now understand how well a particular piece of furniture goes with the house without having to buy it physically? It gets achieved through virtual reality, where customers get a glimpse of their existence digitally, at the comfort of not having to visit the store. SMEs of Singapore can tap this. Depending on what product or service the business has to offer, customized virtual reality tools can get embedded into the website or app. Similarly, artificial intelligence can be roped in by adding chatbots to the customer’s experience of interacting with the company for their product & services. These chatbots bring down costs by cutting the need to hire humans, and they are flawless when it comes to engaging in a basic conversation with customers.
Voice search is fast becoming a preferred choice, and this makes it essential for businesses to have their marketing campaign aligned with the technicalities of voice search.
Voice search is different than text-based search. While in the latter, the user tends to be very precise and uses the least amount of words, in the former, the user expresses freely with comparatively more words. Smart speakers like the Amazon’s Echo can even add products to the cart of the user and complete an online purchase. It means the keywords, which businesses used in the past to bring customers to their webpage and to fetch a better ranking for their pages, now need to get optimized in a way that they respond well to voice search. With the increased use of photos, videos, and infographics in the content, it is necessary to have proper descriptions of things with alt-text so that your website ranks better than others.
Social Media (with focus on videos)
Social media platforms have caught the imagination of smartphone users. Different platforms employ different ways to display ads, and so for a small or medium business with a limited marketing budget, they can be optimistic of marketing through social media. The mechanism to use these platforms for displaying the ads is simple and only needs an excellent hands-on designer to design a banner or poster that can appeal to viewers. Videos or infographics can be used, with the former fast replacing all other media as the most preferred choice of social media users. People tend to hook on exciting and unique videos.
Businesses can initially use paid services of these platforms for placement of their posts in the feed of any user. However, once the initial posts get picked up enthusiastically, the social media user base is kind enough to help the market in the future without having to spend. For example, on Instagram, people tend to follow those accounts which appear relevant to their interests. Twitter has a similar process in place. It means that once the small business can catch the attention of social media users, users will themselves pave the way for future growth. Just focus on developing good content with more focus on small interactive-style videos to engage viewers in your product. Video-Sharing mobile apps are the hottest trend in the youth market, and hence, a product or service marketed through this channel is likely to attract more eyeballs.
Read More: Video sharing mobile apps
Internet of Things
Internet of Things or IoT gets popularly referred to, is a force that will, soon, define how businesses interact with their consumers. Singapore has a special focus on developing the IoT sector, and the government is pushing enterprises to adopt the latest tech in this field. Although IoT has started to penetrate the lives of consumers – the Apple smartwatch is the perfect example – its role in helping businesses of the city-state in marketing their product has yet to mature. But once this does mature, the possibilities are infinite and at the same time, indispensable. IoT is nothing but smart, connected devices that share data for analysts to use it for studying and enhancing customer experience.
IoT in marketing is the way ahead to listen to the needs and expectations of consumers and respond in a manner that convinces them. With abundant data collected through interconnected devices, this data can be analyzed to know consumers’ buying habits and how they interact with the product. We all know that consumers use different devices to make purchases – some computers and other smartphones – and they are displayed advertisements on various platforms. But the data on how consumers interact with these devices and how they respond to the ad was hitherto unavailable. This meant that some of the marketing efforts get wasted, and the costs incurred did not yield any productive outcomes. IoT has the potential to change this with insights on consumer behavior, backed by data collection.
Real-time interaction with consumers will be a sure possibility, and issues will get resolved in no-time, and hence, the prospective buyer can turn into a real buyer. The cycle of data gathering, dissemination, and use will be so quick with IoT that it will facilitate relevant marketing campaigns and engagement of SMEs with consumers will surge to new heights. From improving supply network and logistics to helping change customer interaction for good, IoT comes with many promises. Singaporean SMEs must plan their IoT strategy accordingly and infuse IoT tech wisely into their marketing campaigns.
The list mentioned above is not exhaustive, and with regular changes in tech and arrival of new apps for mobile platforms, digital marketing changes its face every few years.
The most attractive bit of all when opting to market your business through digital medium is that you would neither have to spend substantial amounts for doing so, and the labors involved will be minimal. From having virtual reality tools embedded to your website to social media advertising, costs involved are a fraction of what you may have to spend in the event of opting for conventional marketing tools. And even if price isn’t the deciding factor, the way internet has infiltrated the lives of the people of Singapore makes a compelling reason to know which digital marketing tool best suits your business and to execute the strategy without wasting much time. Visibility is much-needed for any new business in the already-crowded marketplace, and it is this visibility that will gain in no-time through digital marketing.
All this said, digitally promoting a business is a necessity today than otherwise. Which method suits you the most depends on your personal choice and the product or service you are offering. Better to start soon than to overlook this highly rewarding field.