Guest post by Mitt Ray.
There are lots of helpful articles sharing digital marketing tips online. They’re useful, but most focus on basic techniques such as developing a strategy, creating content, choosing the right platforms, and using your analytics.
This guide focuses instead on some newer, lesser known digital marketing techniques you may not have used before. Try these to surprise and engage your audience.
Five little-used digital marketing techniques for your business
1. Publish original studies.
Creating content is an essential part of any marketing strategy. It helps people discover your brand through search engines and social media. There are many types of content you can create, but nothing beats original studies. When you create informative, actionable content based on your original research, it can generate a lot of attention.
People are naturally curious about what they peers are thinking and doing. So they’ll want to read it, share it, and even link to it helping you generate a lot of traffic, social proof, and sales from different sources.
An example is this study on headlines from Buzzsumo that shows relevant data after analyzing 100 million headlines.
It helped the article attract a lot of shares and backlinks. As shown in this screenshot, the article generated over 6,000 backlinks from 860 domains, including sites like Forbes and Entrepreneur.
When you create studies and reports that interest people, it saves your marketing team time as they need to do very little outreach. News about studies like this one spread like wildfire on social media and news aggregators, so people just discover it organically and promote it.
To maximize attention, the study has to be related to a topic that interests both your audience and journalists who will give you free press coverage when they write about your study. So, do some research to figure out what will make them take notice.
If you are in charge of marketing for a SaaS company, you may already have this data in your company dashboard and your technical team can find it. Otherwise, you can create a study by polling your audience with a survey like those done by B2B Marketing Zone, or Social Media Examiner in their annual report.
2. Provide gift cards.
An estimated 34% of people return gifts. Not only does this cause lost profits if you run an ecommerce business, but also drains your customer support team. Time spent managing returns could have been spent on more positive tasks such as supporting customers who want to purchase your goods or services.
One way to avoid this issue and ensure fewer people return products is to provide gift cards or credits people can buy and gift to their friends, family, or colleagues who can later exchange the value of the cards for products.
Here’s an example of a gift card from H&M.
Here’s another one from AppSumo. This was a short-term, limited-time offer to incentivize purchase through urgency. Notice that AppSumo gave away extra credits when people purchased the gift cards.
Extra credits can encourage more people to buy gift cards, even for themselves, as they can use the credits later to get more for less. They act as a future discount. Like AppSumo, putting a deadline on your offer will encourage more people to buy immediately.
Setting up gift card options can seem complex and intimidating, but there are guides like this on How to start a gift card system for my small business. It provides step-by-step tips on how to set up and launch your first gift card program.
3. Use quizzes.
One of the most important aspects of marketing these days is specificity. There is so much competition that the more specific you are about your offer and marketing messages, the more sales you will drive.
Most businesses follow a process of honing in on prospect’s specific concerns later in the funnel through surveys and by tracking email opens and clicks. But with quizzes, you can do this earlier. It’s why this type of content is gaining popularity these days.
When you run a quiz, you can ask people questions in a fun and engaging way, even before they sign up, subscribe, or download anything. This will help you send relevant emails and offers even in the first email.
Tools like Outgrow make it easy to create online quizzes, contests, and calculators.
An example of a quiz is this one from care/of. Right from the start, it figures out the audience.
This helps it promote the most relevant products and maximize sales.
You can also give away a free report at the end of the quiz to entice more people to sign up. This can act as a potent lead magnet.
Make sure you do plenty of audience research before developing your quiz. To maximize participation, it needs to be fun for your sales prospects.
You don’t have to always do a quiz on a website. You can conduct them on social media, too, as networks like Instagram offer stickers that let you run quizzes.
4. Use content upgrades.
Content upgrades are lead magnets you create for specific blog posts. Most websites display one popup on the entire website and then use the same lead magnet again for other opt-in forms. This hurts conversions as people see the same call-to-action all over the website. They can find it annoying, leading to audience fatigue.
That’s why using content upgrades can improve conversions. These are individual lead magnets you create for each blog post. For example, if you write a blog post on how to sleep better, you can give a checklist of things to do before going to bed. Because the lead magnet is highly relevant to the topic of the blog post, more people will sign up.
For an idea on content upgrades, check out this post on 10 content marketing hacks. It has a lead magnet offering 100 content marketing hacks. People who like these 10 hacks will sign up for the 100 more.
Lead magnets like this one can help you achieve higher conversion rates. How well your lead magnet does will depend on how well it compliments the post and how good the post itself is. Use social media research and SEO tools keyword to figure out what brings people to that blog post.
And write a top-quality post before creating the content upgrade. People need to think, “This post is wonderful! I wonder what’s in the content upgrade!”.
Content upgrades are also great for implementing market segmentation on your email list as people will sign up for a lead magnet on a very specific topic. You can promote products related to that topic and generate more sales.
5. Share user-generated content.
Most brands invest thousands of dollars in models, professional photographers, and studios. This makes them look professional and drives solid sales results. But they can do a lot better by sharing user-generated content (UGC). UGC may look too casual, but that’s the beauty of it. People trust UGC, especially if it’s from an influencer they look up to, as it appears authentic.
So, along with creating professional photos, you might also want to publish UGC on your social media channels as Warby Parker does.
This will not only attract customers but also evangelists who will promote your brand for free.
You can also display UGC on your website as the Drunk Elephant does here.
This can increase the conversion rates of product pages.
When using UGC, ask for permission before publishing the image. Also, don’t try to watermark it with things like your logo, as this will make it look less natural.
Wrapping up these uncommon digital marketing techniques
These are some fresh techniques you can add to your content marketing strategy to make it more engaging and entertaining. They may also help you lower your cost per acquisition and give you an edge over your competition, which is likely growing every day as more people are launch new businesses, consultancies, ecommerce sites, and blogs.