So, you’ve strategized with your team and decided that building a strong web presence is worth your investment, met with web developer and marketing strategist, and implemented a new site to refocus your online marketing strategy and reach more customers. That’s it, right? All the major work is done, right?
While much of the critical thinking and strategizing takes place in the planning, implementing, and developing stages of web development, there is also a critical factor in staying relevant online — maintenance. Keeping your audience engaged takes just as much planning and development as the initial design of the site, but the processes behind the two are very different. I like to think of the web development phase as more analytically engaging, focused on more quantitative and objective measures, at least in the development stage. Conversely, I think of maintaining your site and social media as more creatively engaging, drawing upon a variety of strategies to maintain your audience’s attention without falling into a predictable rut.
An important step into the maintenance aspect of your site surrounds generating buzz for your product or service. Getting people to talk about your phenomenal service, efficient support, and engaging product does not occur by merit alone. You can offer the best service in your specific industry and in your specific locale, but if you do not implement hooks for your audience to find you, connect with you, and relate to, they are not going engage the rest of the community about what you provide.
There’s a reason why the phrase is called “generating buzz;” it is because in order for people to start talking about your web presences, you have to strategize and put out little hooks to engage them and give them at least an initial point of conversation. Think about all the conversations you have on an everyday basis. The majority of your conversations occur because they either engage an interest or are informative in nature. And that really is the central theme of generating buzz — keeping things interesting and informative. And the key mechanism to generating engaging buzz is variety and frequency.
To jumpstart your efforts to generate buzz and develop a strategy for reliably keeping your audience engaged, we’ve cultivated some strategies for your to put in your arsenal and create a varied strategy for generating buzz around you new or refocused site.
Make Some News
Everyone has news to share, which makes it easy to keep your audience engaged. And it also follows the theme of presenting information. It’s a great way to show your voice, enthusiasm, and showcase what is important to you as a business. You can always start by announcing your excitement for your new online launch or re-launch! Or announce business and staffing updates — it all offers fresh perspective while keeping your customers feeling like they are a part of something important. You can never go wrong by demonstrating that you are current, relevant, and on trend.
Hooks Come in Many Forms
Remember how we talked about hooking people in to your online approach is what generates buzz? Well, hooks can be anything you make of them as long as they demonstrate something unique, which would fall into our category of talking about something interesting. Aim to be concise, unique, and demonstrate a clear benefit or angle. Consider utilizing an unique selling proposition.
An unique selling proposition describes why your service is worth your customer’s investment, what makes your service stand out, and how it will be beneficial to your customer and their specific problems or concerns. An example would include a sales analytics company stating that "we can drum up your hits on Google by 500% while increasing ease of use and efficiency.”
Engage the Visual Senses
This one is straightforward: make a strategic effort to visually engage your followers. Keep images current, varied, and overall visually appealing. Minimalist images with strong and crisp colors are standout options, for example. Just as in art, negative space plays a key role in visual appeal. This is where consulting with a web designer can be critical. If a webpage is too cluttered or chaotic, viewers become overwhelmed and disengaged. Pairing powerful images with concise and to the point text that embodies your company’s voice is the anchor of your effective marketing strategy!
Capitalize on Being Relatable
Share your company's origin story or inspiration. This is also a good way to restate your value to your customers and reinforce what makes you different, making you stand out amongst a sea of competitors. Again, this speaks to the power of getting people to talk about something interesting, so the more engaging and relatable, the better! It simply isn't enough to blandly list what you offer and expect customers to find its value to them, especially when there is so much competition on the market. Hook them in with a good story and an engaging value claim, and they’ll generate buzz for you that will amplify your marketing strategy!
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Promotions and Special Offers
It’s pretty much one of the oldest tricks in the book — offer a special offer, especially limited time offers, to drum up interest when you are first starting out. It can be anything from a percentage discount to a free sample. They are all the more effective when consumers know that the deal is limited — rather than procrastinate, they’ll act immediately and without hesitation because they believe they are receiving a benefit aimed at making their life easier. With the expanding marketplace of online retailers, offering promotional codes and discounts is almost an expectation for consumers, so why not incorporate these concepts even if you do not currently utilize an online store. It will undoubtedly lead to higher sales conversions. Sometimes the more unconventional the offer, the more effective it is. I’ve seen marketing resources offer free font downloads for joining their mailing list, and that had me hooked!
Integrate Social Media Vertically and Horizontally
Social media is a challenge of balance, from figuring out the frequency and content of posting to finding a large but sustainable and manageable audience. Social media should work similarly to a conversation to be effective. It is not enough just to post frequently and with engaging content, but it is also necessary to prompt conversation with consumers. From asking for feedback, to promptly answering and encouraging questions, to reaching out to consumers of a similarly-minded group and encourage them to check out your services. An example of this would be if a pet supply company engaged with social media groups aimed at pet enthusiasts on a regular basis outside of their own following and discretely drummed up interest in their pet food products to pet owners who only want the best for their companions. It all works to strengthen the overall marketing and social media outreach strategies!
Harness the Power of Building Anticipation
It is no secret that no one really enjoys waiting, but building anticipation up during a period of transition is actually a brilliant marketing strategy. If you are launching a new product, whether in person or online, or revamping your media platforms, utilize the weeks before your launch to build anticipation for your product. Drop hints and engage consumers with little strategically timed breadcrumbs that hint at what is to come and allows the consumer to become excited with you and feel a part of the process. For some industries, with tech startups being a prime example, utilize a waiting list that will engage consumers on a regular basis or allow the access to exclusive content or hints as they wait for your launch or re-launch. This engages consumers' desire to feel a part of something larger while staying informed on exclusive material that they otherwise would not have access to.
Generating buzz is not an elusive science, but it does require some hard work and ingenuity. Keeping your online brand in mind is of central priority and will allow you to come up with creative ways to reach and expand your targeted audience. Once you spark an interesting thought with your content and approach, people share their enthusiasm for your brand. Keep your approach varied, true to brand, and interesting and relevant to your audience, and you’ll undoubtedly succeed in hooking in your audience and generating the elusive buzz about your business!