Are You Advertising or Engaging?

The traditional view of advertising is a bit of a one-way street.  You create a marketing strategy that is designed to deliver a particular message to your target audience.  This can be used to tell customers how your product is better than others, how it’s more affordable, or how it’s different than anything they’ve seen before.

The problem with all of this is not what it does, but how it does it.  The internet has changed society in countless ways.  One of the most relevant to marketing is that people now expect some sort of interaction.  Your audience wants to do more than just read something, they want to discuss it…with you, even!

Learning to market in a way that engages your audience will increase the effectiveness of everything you do.  Let’s take a look at a few common engagement strategies and how they benefit marketers.

Discussions

Nearly every website will have a comments section.  Visitors stop by to read an article and then stick around to discuss it.  The same is true on social media sites such as Facebook.  This sort of engagement is so popular, in fact, that websites such as Reddit are designed to do nothing else but hot these kinds of discussions.

Encouraging discussion benefits marketers by creating buzz.  Something that gets talked about is something that gets a lot of attention—and people remember it.  Since people love sharing their opinions, this is a great way to engage your audience.

Sharing

Sharing is another way that marketing can engage an audience.  When you post something of real value—be it an article, video, or podcast—people will often want to share it.  Modern websites make it easy to click a button and share the information across a variety of different platforms.

This is wonderful for marketers because it gets other people to spread the word.  Advertising space is generally a bit expensive, but this is some of the best free promotion around.  Make sure all of your best material is easy to share.

Contests

Contests have long been a useful marketing tools but the rise of the internet has made them more powerful than ever.  Old contests had applicants sending something in and it stopped there.  Web-based contests can elicit far more interaction which can result in greater market engagement.

These are great for marketers because they can create a large commotion while only needing to offer one main prize.  This prize can be a high-value item and the desire to win it will instill a desire to own it in all the contest applicants.  Those who don’t win will be more likely to spend money to achieve the same satisfaction.

How to do it

Engaging your audience is an art form.  It requires a bit of skill and experience.  The best way to figure out what to do is to research effective and engaging campaigns created by other people.  Take note of what they did correctly.  Try to determine the key factors that made the campaign so successful.

Then try it yourself! Over time, you’ll see how well it works, make changes, and tweak and test it until you’re making money consistently.

This does, of course, take a lot of time and there is no guarantee you will implement the ideas correctly.

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