8 Psychology marketing principles that work

8 Psychology marketing principles that work

Great marketers are not the ones who follow time-tables and execution. Great marketers are those who understand customer psychology and kindle their emotions, directly or indirectly. They are great communicators and understand psychology marketing principles like the back of their hand.

As a great marketer, the skill to craft perspective-changing content for better conversion rates and results is highly critical. Yes, getting there is challenging, and many of us have miles to go. But, there is, of course, a way to do it easily. Using these 8 psychology marketing principles can help you create compelling copy and messaging to enhance visitor engagement and better convert rates.

Marketing is not a numbers game, it is a compulsive influencing, engaging, researching and converting game. The better you understand your customer’s emotions, their direction of thought and their emotion-driven actions, the better you can tell your story. Remember, emotional appeal and engagement are the greatest keywords for any marketer, whether it is B2C or B2B. And your customer is not a bot, but a bot-hater.

You do not have to be a psychologist to understand or execute your strategy based on these principles. These 8 psychology marketing principles can help you get deep into the game with a significant advantage. Each of these principles can stand on its own, however, use all of them cohesively in line with your domain and activity as a part of your comprehensive marketing strategy for best results.

1. The Framing principle

Visitors come to your website looking for information, product, service or to buy something, which means they come with a pre-conceived notion. Understanding these notions is crucial to conversions because that will define how you place or present your product or service.

framing principle

Positioning your product or service in line with those pre-conceived notions can make the visitor more receptive to the messages and the chances of conversion improve. Understood, you cannot cater to all notions, even artificial intelligence fails in this aspect. You can probably cater to X% of visitors who may have a similar notion or intent. But you do not need to lose out on the rest. The presentation of the product or service can have pre-defined options, used as a menu on the web page.

This is called ‘framing’ or ‘priming’ the visitor. There are 2 crucial parameters to consider. One is the online atmospherics or the design and presentation of your webpage that influences visitors positively. The second is the perspective-changing content. For example, would you say ‘2% of users do not recommend’ or ’98% of users recommend’? Compelling content is always positive. Look deeper into visitor-intent to craft your design and message on the pre-defined presentation options, if you are using them.

We always prime a visitor with specifics, which could be price, problem or quality. According to a study, when a visitor comes in with a specific, it is valuable to him/her, if you add to it. Catering to such a specific and expanding on it can help convert better.

The challenge here is, which frame to use with visitors? For those who are aware of the product, you can frame it why your product is the best. Frame it as a solution to the problem if a visitor comes with one. For those who come with a price point, frame it as what better quality or features you offer and why is the best value for money. Framing can have pre-defined options, as mentioned earlier. The more options you use as visitors choices, the better will be the conversion rate.

2. The Verbatim principle

The verbatim principle is best explained as well constructed messaging or a blog post. In a good blog post or article, the header should serve as the general summary, the section headers should be clear and explain the benefits. If you are reading this, check the presentation of this blog post.

verbatim principle

When messaging follows this psychology marketing verbatim principle, visitors will most likely remember the gist and not the exact words as written or said. This is human behaviour, and they already overloaded us with information.

Messaging with catchy phrasing may make you proud as a peacock, but will it help the reader remember more? And today, most readers skim the article before allocating time to reading it. In short, they are looking for informational value. Short and effective headings will serve the purpose of providing such value, catchy, or not.

3. The Reciprocity principle

Deep inside, all of us prefer to return favours. More so in some cultures, but the temptation to do so is quite common in all of us. Not returning a favour creates a discomfort for many as though they are in your debt.

Today, online communities, shopping options, and a plethora of services have reduced traditional interaction between people. So, the best way ahead is to humanize your brand. Use an attractive character or a mascot to gel with your current branding and start giving out ‘stuff’.

reciprocity principle

The ‘stuff’ need not be physical goods or services which incur costs to you. The best ‘stuff’ you can give away is the intangible value using your top-notch content. For example, this article is to be read by fellow marketers, and these psychology marketing principles can be very helpful in the B2B or the B2C space. Remember, B2B, B2C or B2X, the decision maker on the other end is a human being, not a bot.

However, the value we offer from this article is in the eyes of the beholder. So, the effectiveness of list building also depends on the value you offer through presenting your content. People who read this content should think it valuable before giving their email away. Increasing the value of your ‘stuff’ will improve the value of your psychology marketing and the chances of reciprocity.

Another point that needs mention here is the CTAs. Do not stuff your ‘stuff’ with CTAs. Keep them at the end of the blog or page. In fact, we feel people will contact you without a CTA, if your ‘stuff’ is of real value. And those who do that are your customers for life, nurtured properly.

4. The Clustering principle

Clustering is keeping all similar information in one place to remember it and improve recall. This is an effective means of information storage, and that is how a human brain stores it. A human brain searches ’like instances’ when it is trying to recall something.

Did you know that a human brain is capable of much more than that is used in daily life? Try stretching it and it will stretch further. Don’t worry, it will not snap into madness, though it could snap into a genius or find its own ‘halo’.

clustering principle

For example, you wouldn’t put all your wrenches or screws on separate shelves or containers. You store all of them together and then look for the specific size when needed. So, you are clustering similar products together. A human brain clusters similar information together.

A free recall study used semantic clustering to understand the recall working of a human brain. They gave a group of participants 15 random assorted words to study and remember, asked to recall them after a specific period. Later, they were given another set of 15 words, grouped into topics. Recall was better in the second set.

So, when we create categories on our blog or list product features, they should be in the same section (like information) for better recall by visitors. The reason bulleted-lists are the most preferred way to present information. And, believe us, they work!

5. The FOMO principle

Human beings want to be a part of rewarding experiences. Once we get to know of one, it plagues us with subconscious anxiety until we join in and reward ourselves. It could be a free lunch, a wonderful product endorsed by peers, or a good play that your friends have been to. This is also called Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) effect.

FOMO principle

This works best in psychology marketing. As we already know, word of mouth is still the best marketing tool that works wonders. So, if someone buys a product or service and puts up a great review, the entire tribe will look at it with great interest and delve into what they would ‘gain’ by buying the product. The feeling is more like “why shouldn’t I buy this?” I am sure all of us have gone through this many a time.

Remember, we are all tribal and value other’s opinions, especially of those who are close to us, friends or family. We trust peer insights and truly believe that they would recommend nothing useless. Useful to self or not, we convince ourselves to buy it just because a peer recommended it.

A Nielsen study inferred that about 83% of consumers trust family and friend’s recommendations. 

Putting this psychology marketing principle to use, using reviews, social buttons and testimonials on your web pages, is a good idea. Many of us marketers use this principle without an explanation, because most websites use it. Great marketers are made of in-depth understanding. 

6. The Decoy principle

According to a study, the decoy principle affects everyday decisions by altering our choices according to the way they are presented. 

psychology marketing

In the study, a group of people were asked to choose between 2 options for lunch. The first option was a 5-star restaurant 25 minutes away, and the second was a 3-star restaurant, 5 minutes away. The choices were not clear but tended towards 3-star because of convenience and quality.

Then, a third option was introduced, a 4-star restaurant 35 minutes away. Now, most people chose the 5-star option. Why?

The 5-star option dominated asymmetrically the 4-star option. It was closer and had better quality food. So, a third option made the 5-star attractive. It was the better option. The 3-star restaurant never made it to the list.

So, people will choose a cheaper and convenient option unless they get better value from another option, real or perceived. Therefore, an additional purchase option that may not offer more value for the price will increase the perceived value of the other two options.

This decoy psychology marketing principle helps you to add an offer (decoy) to improve customer perception.

7. The Scarcity principle

How does the luxury market work?

By creating upmarket, heavily priced goods that only the rich and famous can afford. All of us want to own one of those because we feel powerful, owning something that many cannot. The innate desire to own something that is scarce or out of reach is very strong in all human beings.

So, when Violinist Joshua Bell played, the venues were full to the brim. One day, he played a free concert in a subway of Washington D.C. Did you know that he only had 7 people listening though thousands passed by? He played the same music he played on the stage, yet few listened. Why?

Because it was free and not scarce. When you do not get tickets for his shows, it becomes something unreachable or scarce. Because it was free and did not cost the listeners anything.

psychology marketing

Applying this psychology marketing principle, the difference between saying “only X in stock” vs. “only X in stock owing to popular demand” is clear. The latter pulls more customers than the former because the former is ambiguous. Specifics are critical to your messaging, especially those that cater to the scarcity principle of psychology marketing.

8. The Frequency Illusion principle

Human brain is an awesome pattern-recognition engine, built that way for eons. It is prejudiced to pattern because it is programmed to learn continuously. We also known this frequency illusion psychology marketing principle as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.

frequency illusion principle

For example, you want to buy a yellow sedan and researching for the best buy. During these times, you observe too many yellow sedans passing you by, and you look constantly at them to assess vis-s-vis your research information. This may seem to be mysterious, but your awareness is the culprit.

So, when you are highly aware of something, you see the same product or object popping up all around you. We also known the reason as confirmation bias and selective attention.

Applying this psychology marketing principle, we see that the use of pixels creates the same phenomenon online. When a visitor comes to your website and notices your brand, he or she will see your ads (if you are advertising) across the web. The effect it creates is an illusion that you are a big and an influential brand, which you may not be. The frequency illusion principle also affects the visitor’s perception.

It is important to understand the minimalist branding principles here. Your branding should be consistent across your website and your ads for this principle to be more effective and fetch better results.

Using psychology marketing to your advantage

All human beings are wired the same way, apart from the fact how a man’s brain interprets information and how a woman’s brain does. However, leaving the gender alone, they work similarly to interpret sales messages. This gives you a specific advantage in creating a marketing strategy. The 8 psychology marketing principles listed above are for generic use in marketing ethically and not meant of unethical practices in any manner.

They will certainly add an edge to your marketing strategy, going ahead. When leveraged together with proper research and insights, it can help your brand stand apart from the competition.

Conclusion…

Seasoned marketers who believe messaging is the key to conversions widely used the psychology marketing principles. No wonder then, they do not delve too much into figures and percentages. They focus on messaging and other related marketing ‘stuff’ and make these principles an inherent part of their marketing. 

Brands like Nike or Benetton result from using psychology marketing strategies, they are not market leaders by chance, but by hard work and purpose.

In short, great marketers always stand in the visitor’s shoes. The more they do that, the better they will get and better will be the results.

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What, Why, How of Core Web Vitals – fix CWV mistakes

What, Why, How of Core Web Vitals – fix CWV mistakes

Search Engine Optimization got a little complicated since mid 2021. Google’s introduction of Core Web Vitals (CWV) as an important but not a critical SEO metric [Relevance is still ‘king’] has since baffled many a digital marketers. To understand and implement these web performance metrics, they would need a fair amount of technical help.

What are Core Web Vitals?

CWV or Core Web Vitals is a set of web performance metrics that enable Google’s search to analyse and choose the results to display after a user query. The metrics are:

  • LCP [Largest Contentful Paint] – The speed at which a webpage’s main content loads. It is a measure of page load speed.
  • FID [First Input Delay] – The speed at which your webpage can paint pixels to the screen. It is a measure of page interactivity.
  • CLS [Cumulative Layout Shift] – The stability of your webpage while interacting with a visitor without shifting. It is a measure of visual stability.

Page load speed has been a ranking factor for long, however, Google is focussing on all of the three metrics as a part of its ranking algorithms.

What Google says about these web performance metrics?

Google says, integrating these web performance metrics into search algorithms will:

  • Help website publishers to offer enhanced page performance to visitors.
  • Better page speed matters since faster pages generate more leads, helps conversions and enhance advertising revenue.
  • Page performance reduces time for visitors to get where they want, quickly.
  • Making your site rank in accordance to Core Web Vitals will help rankings indirectly, adding to the direct ranking boost by Google’s algorithm.

According to Google, the Core Web Vitals ranking signal is weaker compared to other ranking signals directly related to satisfying a query. Relevance and content still rule the algorithms.

CWV thresholds are assessed at the webpage level. So, webmasters need to meet these requirements, page on page.

Starting May 2021, Core Web vitals will be included in page experience signals together with existing search signals including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.

Google

The effect of Core Web Vitals on Search Engine Optimization

As we already know the process of analysing websites is automated by the use of bots, web crawlers or spiders. These bots analyse content on a webpage and decide when the page can be displayed against a search query. One of the factors that bots check is the web performance metrics.

Since Google’s ranking algorithms are mostly secretive, it is difficult to ascertain how, CLS, LCP or FID actually effect your SEO. Since the inception of CWV into ranking factors in June 2021, many experts have analyzed and created case studies that demonstrate ranking fluctuations due to changed CWV performance metrics. It is understood the CWV as a ranking factor impacts Search Éngine Optimization to a great degree. Here is one such case study by By Barry Pollard .

How does it effect Google Search? A simple search study

I have searched for ‘digital marketing’ at google.com/ncr and I get results as in the figure below.

The first two results have similar content of similar length optimized to rank well. However, Hubspot ranks over Marketo because of the Core Web Vitals metrics shown underneath the search result title and above the description.

Core Web Vitals

The metrics are quite similar, in fact Marketo’s CWV are better than Hubspot’s. However, Hubspot ranks owing to its better treatment of the user search query. Look at the titles and you will understand how they cater to the search query.

Third comes Investopedia which has better CWV metric and still ranks third. This is because it has a different kind of content and is not optimized well for the user query ‘digital marketing’. The title itself says it is more of a definition.

This is just for understanding and only the tip of the iceberg. Search engines are much more complex and evolved than we can imagine, as marketers.

How to see CrUX data in search results?

Now, you must be wondering how I got the CWV CrUX data on my search results. Thanks to my good LinkedIn friend Christian Stenger, he gave me a few insights and guided me to use a Chrome extension. Click on this one and follow instructions. Please note that it will work only for the synchronized Chrome account where it is is integrated.

Why Core Web Vitals?

When a searcher looks for answers, they expect instant gratification. If a webpage is slow to load, searcher may move on to other websites for the same information. And, if a webpage loads like lightning, chances are that the searcher will return to the page, with a related query, later.

Other search engines like Bing or DuckDuckGo may be taking these web performance metrics into account for similar reasons. However, we have far lesser information of their search algorithms like Google. Even with Goole, we can only assume and not infer, however, since it has the king’s size of the search market, and we follow it all the time.

Deeper understanding of Core Web Vitals

As you read above the 3 web performance metrics that CWV comprises of are LCP [Largest Contentful Paint], FID [First Input Delay], and CLS [Cumulative Layout Shift]. Let us understand each of these in greater detail. In this section we shall be analysing this very website’s home page at https://efficaci.us.

Understanding LCP [Largest Contentful Paint] – troubleshoot and improve

Largest Contentful Paint or LCP is the measure of time it takes to load the largest piece of webpage into a browser. It could be a very large chunk of text or an image or even fonts, JS or CSS elements.

Remember, it is not the time taken to load the entire webpage. It loads the largest chunk and benchmarks the entire webpage accordingly. Again, it is user perception. If you are searching for an image, possibly it will load slower than a piece of text.

web performance metrics

According to experts, a LCP score should be less that 2.5 seconds, however, the lower it is, the faster and better.

For the webpage that we have taken as an example, the LCP is 880ms, which is way below 2.5 second threshold.

Core Web Vitals

Improving LCP – For measuring your webpage LCPs, you can use Lighthouse Chrome Extension. There are a few factors that can slow down your webpage LCPs. The following table will help you improve LCP tremendously.

web performance metrics
Understanding FID [First Input Delay] – troubleshoot and improve

First Input Delay or FID is the measure of time from the searcher’s first step and the webpage’s response to it. If a searcher is searching for something, he clicks on your webpage that comes up as a result and the webpage opens. So, the time taken from the searcher’s click to your webpage’s response is the First Input Delay.

FID is a click-to-start-load time, either from an external link or an internal one within the website.

The challenge in measuring FID is that for webpages that show:

“Discover what your real users are experiencing – No Data”.

There is no real wold data to assess it. However, the TBT or Total Blocking Time is a fair estimate going by Semrush.

Ideally, experts say that a FID or approximated TBT should be less than 100 milliseconds.

web performance metrics

Improving FID – The main culprit behind a poor FID are heavy JavaScript executables. You can directly reduce the JS load by optimizing JS complies, parses and executes.

Coming back to our example, you can see that the TBT is 0 milliseconds which is considered excellent.

Core web Vitals

First Input Delay can be comprehensively reduced by following coding best practices.

  • Mininimize unused poly fills and defer unused JS. This reduces execution time.
  • JS can be run on a background thread. Find the right web worker to do this.
  • Long -running tasks can be recoded into smaller, asynchronous tasks.
  • Optimize the webpage for interaction readiness (reduce CSS data fetch, minimise post-process date, keep only on-demand 3rd party code, have a lean 1st party script loading mechanism.

The following figure depicts how Best Practices score on our example webpage.

Core Web Vitals
Understanding CLS [Cumulative Layout Shift] – troubleshoot and improve

Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS is the measure of “page jumps”, a measure of the largest “bursts” of shifts on a webpage’s layout. A layout shift happens in milliseconds, it could be shifting side to side or top to bottom and vice-versa. You may have seen layout shifts in many webpages wherein you clicked something else than what you intended, because the layout has shifted without a warning. The shift normally happens when content shifts from one rendered frame to another. So, CLS is also a measure of how ‘stable’ elements load on to the screen from a website.

CLS is calculated as impact fraction * distance fraction.

The impact fraction is based on frames. It is the ratio between the total area of the frame (viewport) and the sum of all visible areas of all ‘unstable’ elements from the previous frame and the present frame.

The distance fraction is the ratio between the largest distance an ‘unstable’ element has moved in the frame, in any direction and the viewport’s lengthiest dimension, be it height or width.

Ideally, as per experts, a good CLS score should be below 0.1.

web performance metrics

In the example that we have been using, you see that CLS is way below the recommended threshold at 0.02

Core Web Vitals

Improving CLS – Reasons for a poor CLS could be:

  • Fonts causing FOUT (Flash Of Unstyled Text) or FOIT (Flash Of Invisible Text).
  • Dynamic or 3rd party content.
  • Embeds, iframes, Images or Ads without dimensions.
  • Executions expecting network response from DOM  (W3C’s Document Object Model) updation.

CLS can be improved by avoiding layout shifts. We recommend:

  • Define size attributes to all media elements. You can use aspect ratio boxes.
  • Animate transitions logically by providing continuity using context.
  • Refrain from inserting new content over the existing one, when you are not interacting with a user.

Other critical web performance metrics

Core Web Vitals are not limited to the above three metrics we have discussed. There are many more metrics to understand like TTFB (Time To First Byte), TTI (Time To Interactive), DOM (Document Object Model) and DCL (DOM Content Loaded) etc.

These are not as critical as the LCP, FID or CLS for Search Engine Optimization. However, it is important to understand these in order to spruce up the Core Web Vitals performance on your webpages.

Common mistakes to fix before you implement Core Web Vitals

There are many common mistakes like the deliberated assets put up on a webpage, either for assumed user experience or for the need of a particular domain. However, there are some facts that can damage your Core Web Vitals scores. These common mistakes can be avoided by fixing theses:

  • Optimizing Content above the fold – Having interesting content above the fold can be interesting to most visitors, however, to keep your web performance metrics in tact, you will need to prioritise their loading, otherwise they can negatively impact the FID and CLS. If your webpage has sliders, or embeds from social media feeds, SoundCloud or YouTube streams, Maps or photo galleries above the fold, you can well kiss your CWV scores goodbye. All these elements need to be taken below the fold.
  • Custom Fonts – Many designers use custom fonts like TypeKit or Google Fonts. They can add a lot of load and cause flicking on you webpages. Implementing them the right way is critical to avoid low CLS scores. Do not use more than two custom fonts.
  • Optimizing Images – The larger the image , the more time it takes to load and render on a browser. Optimizing images and giving them dimensions is critical to better your Core Web Vitals scores. Use WebP images to compress your images by not compromising on quality.
  • Analytics – Analytic tools like Google Analytics, AdRoll scripts and Tag manager can take their toll on your load times. Choose wisely and use one in a proper manner to keep your Core Web Vitals scores intact.
  • Platform Optimization – If most of the tips and trick we discussed here work towards scoring the CWV metrics, it is time you changed the server, the platform, the CMS or whatever it takes. Experiment and choose, CWV is going to be a major factor that will define search results, going ahead.
Conclusion…

We understand that scoring high on Core Web Vitals metrics is no easy task. We have given a fair warning, right at the beginning that you will need technical help, not to add some more mature marketing expertise.

You are welcome to speak to us about your CWV metrics.

As you have already seen the scores of this website’s home page, you can understand the pain and grind we have gone through to gain that score and derived experience.

Leverage our experience, talk to us today, and we can get you through the CWV threshold.

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Omnichannel marketing is the way forward. Why?

Omnichannel marketing is the way forward. Why?

Customer-centric marketing strategies work better than business focussed ones. Delivering customer experiences has been our forte at efficaci and omnichannel marketing is one of the best enabling tools for us. First up, omnichannel marketing is bespoke and it is unique to every business.

Understanding omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing strategies meet customer needs at their chosen touchpoints to deliver high-end customer experiences. The customer chosen touchpoint could be social media marketing platforms, blogs, physical locations, newsletters, customer delight calls or live chats. 

omnichannel marketing

The most critical aspect of an omnichannel marketing strategy is brand interaction and delivering brand-consistent conversations (messages and interactions with customers) across a plethora of devices and technologies. This is a customer-centric marketing strategy and customised according to the touchpoints, making it a ‘delight’ experience.

An omnichannel marketing strategy should focus on creating a seamless customer experiences, so we can connect all the touchpoints using the data collated, unify them and deliver. 

We should tie each interaction of the customer to all other channels to spin a singular, delightful, seamless, and a joyful experience. In short, it is a unified service offering. A happy customer is ready to give you more business and information in the future.

Example: 

A customer visits your store through a Twitter Ad, puts a few items in the basket and leaves without making a purchase. How do you handle the abandoned cart communication? What should you do to retain or regain the customer?

  • Since Twitter is a preferred channel for the customer, send a Direct Message along with re-targeted ads.
  • You have the email address of the customer, so you should email with suitable content.
  • Since the customer comes from Twitter, he is a heavy social media user. Re-targeted ads on other social media platforms using demographics would be a great idea.

Understanding Cross-channel, multichannel and omnichannel

The objectives of all these marketing strategies are similar, conversion, however, the difference lies in the perspective of a customer. We execute all these strategies in bespoke ways and get different conversion rates.

Look at the comparison table below:

omnichannel marketing

Why adopt multichannel marketing?

There are many advantages to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy. Let us discuss the three major ones.

  • Enhanced data collection through customer journey analysis: Collection of insights and analytics becomes easier and comprehensive because of enhanced customer experiences through omnichannel marketing. You can trace and collate engagement data across channels and touchpoints [Cookies, device id’s, tracking pixels CTRs, open rates etc.] resulting in deeper insights into customer journeys. Customer preferences, interactive behaviour combined with insights can help you identify profitable opportunities to grow faster. Identifying the best performing channels will help create better experiences and you have to tweak them as required.
  • Build better and better customer experiences: While building better and effective campaigns, you can promote better personalisation using internal synergies and collaboration. This will help deliver amazing customer experiences by reducing marketing funnel friction, improving website flows, and creating relevant content. Use enhanced customer experience to drive better targeting through personalisation.
  • Spend more and save more: Fine-tuning your marketing spend gets easier. Increasing spend on channels that work and weeding out others can be an initial strategy. However, more effective campaigns bring better revenue. So, by cutting marketing spend and increasing ROI, it turns out to be a win-win to adopt omnichannel marketing.

Planning an omnichannel marketing strategy

We at efficaci believe in bespoke digital marketing strategies and omnichannel marketing is right up our sleeve, because it is unique to each business.

An omnichannel strategy results from collaboration within a well-integrated business where the major stakeholders are: 

  • Customer Success
  • Sales
  • Product
  • Marketing

Internally, your business has to ask and identify what the above departments expect from customers. The information needs to be collated and frozen. This information should contain, from each of departments:

  • The need to improve the present strategy
  • Recommended touchpoints
  • Touchpoints that are not effective
  • Touchpoints your business is ignoring
  • Touchpoints of core customers

There is no right or wrong marketing strategy. The way ahead is to create an omnichannel marketing strategy, A/B test it, and tweak it as you go. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Critical headless CMS

We have discovered that using a headless CMS is the way to go to create omnichannel customer experiences that are truly effective. The creation part of the strategy, like visual assets, messaging etc. should be segregated from delivery mechanisms.  

The delivery mechanisms and collection of customer data and insights should be a unique process. This is highly critical to collect enhanced customer insights. Again, customer experiences depend on delivery logistics and there are too many delivery platforms out there.

Conclusion

Simply put, customer experiences are highly effective. For experience, wear the customer’s shoes in a buying journey from a business that practices omnichannel marketing . As a marketer, that will be an eye-opener.

At efficaci, we strive to empower brands, accelerate their digital transformation and create bespoke customer experiences for them to succeed and sustain.

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Email marketing in 2022 – Skyrocket your open rates

Email marketing in 2022 – Skyrocket your open rates

The pandemic has revamped the email marketing process in totality. Pre-pandemic and post-pandemic emailing strategies are completely different today. So, email marketing in 2022 is considering the changed customer preferences, and buying behavior to evolve, become effective and deliver.

Adapting to customer preferences and adopting new technology is critical and email marketers today are evolving new processes and changing the way email marketing works.

I listed the expected twists and turns of this industry in 2022 in this article. Let us explore how email marketing in 2022 will upgrade to cater to the changed scenarios.

1. Artificial Intelligence in email marketing

Humanized emails using artificial intelligence are the biggest challenge for email marketing in 2022. Deep personalization is the key to success, and AI will be of little use here. However, AI-enhanced tools can help send triggered emails and see better CTRs.

email marketing in 2022

Many AI tools, like Salesforce and Marketo, integrate predictive analytics that can help generate better and impactful emails. Their lead scoring models are the best and can help swing CTRs your way when the emails are in sync with customer expectations. 

Businesses like Netflix and Amazon are leveraging these technologies and send out behavior-based emails which have great open rates and CTRs. Amazon sends ‘similar product’ emails and Netflix sends emails based on previous watch history.

More interesting is the fact that both use AI tools to construct subject lines that enhance open rates. 

2. Hyper-personalization and micro-segmentation in 2022

Though hyper-personalization and micro-segmentation have been a long trend in email marketing, this year they will be more critical than ever. Mail workflows have to be constructed around your segments, and thinner segments will work better.

Segmentation at the level of ‘buyers’ and ‘searchers’ will not work anymore. Micro-segments within ‘buyers’ and ‘product types’ will become more relevant.

email marketing strategy

The more the segments, the more will be the variety of personalized emails. The more personalized emails get, more the chances of click-throughs. Do not forget to optimize your mail flows here.

Many AI tools are available to create micro-segments. For example, assessments, chatbots, calculators or quizzes on your landing pages can build lists or relevant micro-segments. These tools create relevant and informative interactive content and help general qualified leads with a greater chance of conversion.

Demographic and geographical segments will not cut it for email marketing in 2022. Advanced segmentation based on tastes, needs, habits and behavior will be relevant in this year.

These personalization options will provide value to the customer and increase the chances of click-throughs.

3. Test, test and test

Consumer preferences have changed and therefore, it is only wise to carry on with A/B testing. Guessing will not cut it and testing will be an integral part of email marketing in 2022.

A/B testing will tell us more about the audience and their preferences so that we can send customer-centric emails to create conversions and convert better. Visuals, subject lines, CTA copy, placement and personalization will play a big part in successful email marketing campaigns.

4. AMP in email marketing

AMP is a google innovation that helped serve web pages faster on mobiles. Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is the key and is one of the fast catching trends in email marketing today.

email marketing in 2022

AMP runs on JavaScript, HTML and CSS and helps readers act on the CTAs without redirection. It enables a reader to complete the purchase on the email going nowhere else.

Many email clients like Aweber, SendGrid, Amazon SES and Gmail support AMP based emails. We will see many other providers joining the bandwagon in 2022.

5. Email marketing in 2022 should take an omnichannel marketing approach

Email marketing being one of the best lead-generation tools, siloed marketing will only bring down its effectiveness. A consistent, branded experience across all marketing channels will not only help to brand but ensure that the omnichannel approach gets better open rates and conversion.

Omnichannel marketing strategy will help in customer retention by about 90% compared to about 33% in a siloed approach. This is because of the customer experience such a strategy will create.

A brand that is omnipresent creates a consistent experience across all marketing channels and that is very important to customers.

Ensure that you introduce and practice BIMI – Brand Indicator for Message Identification. This is very important for omnichannel marketing. It is a known fact that about 70% of recipients open an email once they have recognized the sender. Using brand logos along with messaging is critical in BIMI, it showcases it as an authentic email.

When you take the omnichannel marketing route, BIMI helps in building trust with readers, improves brand visibility and recall, defines authenticity and thus commands a higher deliverability and open rates.

6. Accessibility

email marketing strategy

Assistive technologies are getting smaller and effective by the day, and integrating accessibility into your email marketing practices will help take your message a longer way.

There are about a billion people on the planet who are differently abled and taking your emails to them will help growth, especially if you are in the space.

Adding semantic tags, alt tags to images, suited color contrasts and animation will help accessibility, especially with screen readers. This results in an inclusive experience and helps your campaigns to do better.

7. Content tone

The world is in trouble, not only because of politics and COVID-19 but also because of inter-family strifes and bespoke individual issues. So, being sensitive to emotions and sentiments of readers is important. Using an emphatic tone and simple language will help resonate with people better and your content marketing.

email marketing in 2022

During unrest of troubling times, it is necessary to adjust your content and tone along with reducing or completely doing away with automated or scheduled emails. A customer is a human first, and push marketing does not help in such a scenario.

For email marketing in 2022, content should also tone down on aggressiveness and it should filter out inappropriate words according to the situation. Remember, compassion goes a long way in ascertaining customer retention.

8. Email marketing in 2022 will see more visuals

An average human mind processes visuals much faster than test – in fact, 60,000 times faster. Today, about 70% of marketers agree that visual content is critical to any marketing strategy.

Various visuals like videos, 3D images, GIFs, static images, animations are best to use in emails to make them more relevant and attractive. Grabbing attention is the key here, and such emails can do that with ease.

However, the written word is not getting obsolete. It has its own charms and will work after it gets the attention.

Brands that use visuals in email marketing see about 7X better open rates and conversions. Creating that visual oomph will be the primary aim of email designers for email marketing in 2022.

Creating appealing emails will help create an impact on the reader, which will help you grow.

In conclusion…

While adopting the above trends, keep in mind the email marketing best practices. Advanced technologies that are a part of the above trends will stay for some time. Investing in them now can help you make the most of it. Email marketing in 2022 is moving towards better customer experiences, and the more awesome it gets, the more the open and conversion rates.

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Content marketing in 2022 – Emerging ideas

Content marketing in 2022 – Emerging ideas

“Content is king” – repeat that in your mind a thousand times before you consider digital marketing. We estimate the yearly returns on content marketing at $42 billion and that figure is growing constantly, according to a statistical survey. Content marketing in 2022 is going to change the entire way we look at the process by integrating all kinds of content.

Your entire cradle of digital marketing rests on content and it is foundational raw material for all its processes. Content is the only ingredient of your digital marketing strategy that speaks to your customers and prospects, and without good quality content, you can kiss goodbye to all online leads.

This is the reason most businesses are focusing more on creating, distributing and monitoring good quality, relevant and valuable content. As obvious, when the right content reaches the right target audience, it helps grow your business besides making your business more findable on search engines.

So, good quality content is a two-pronged tool that enhances your SERP, besides being a tool to showcase your business in the right manner to attract customers.

Content should always address customer’s needs, problems and behavior after understanding them. Such content creates positive customer experiences and helps lubricate the buying journey.

If you are an existing business or a startup, we at efficaci recommend you to understand, follow these trends in content marketing going into 2022.

a.Relevant and persuasive content

Content marketing in 2022

This year, raise the bar on the quality of your content by focusing on getting your content in front of more people, improving customer retention and getting more followers. Your content should focus on improving trust, enhancing your brand, and improving brand recognition. Customer retention should also be the focus of this year. Use inclusive language and get into a story-telling mode to get repeat visitors to your website. 

User preferences and trends have changed because of the pandemic induced conditions and customers have become more sensitive to choosing the content they consume. So, content marketing in 2022 recommends constant updates to your website and enhancing customer experiences should be the aim.

b. Personalize the content

Focus on Account Based Marketing [ABM] by personalizing content for B2B accounts. This needs the sales and marketing teams to work in tandem. Fostering business relationships should be the focus and ABM will help build trust and brings long-term ROI, along with better branding and brand positioning.

Content marketing in 2022

Practice personalization across your omni-channel marketing strategy as and where applicable. It creates a bond with the user, engages him and, improves the chances of conversion.

c. Use more visuals

Content becomes more appealing and understandable when incorporated with visuals. Many of your readers may not have the time to consume textual content, so using good quality images and amazing videos can help them consume better. Visual content drives more participation, besides improving bounce rates.

Test takes time to read, understand and implement. Whereas images are easier to read and take no time. While videos are also time-consuming, they will consume less time than reading. Enable one way visual communication in your content.

The most important aspect of using images and videos is that a consumer is more focussed on visuals than text. Driving home a message is much easier using visual media. Content marketing in 2022 is going to see more and more use of visual assets integrated into content. 

d. Podcasting

More and more businesses are taking to podcasting, especially in the education niche. Podcasts do not need screen time from the reader and audio connects with the listener on a more personal plane. Audio highly involves and creates better understanding in the listener. 

Another advantage of podcasts is that they sell better depending on the voice, tone and emotions used. Owing to the pandemic, podcasts have become more effective and are being used widely today.  

We can easily deliver certain concepts, or theories that cannot be expressed in text using podcasts. Like videos, podcasts are very effective in showcasing expertise. So, making podcasts a part of your content marketing in 2022 will make it more effective and help create relationships.

e. AI integration

Content marketing in 2022

Artificial Intelligence has permeated most internet based apps and process and leveraging it can enhance your content marketing initiatives. Content marketing in 2022 will see artificial intelligence creating blogs for search engine optimization

AI will also become more prevalent in plagiarism and grammar check tools and will probably enhance your content marketing analytics. Artificial Intelligence will also angle better and relevant distribution of your content and facilitate it in various formats that hitherto take more time and resources.

f. Search engine optimization

When AI prevails in content marketing, search engine optimization will see great empowerment in terms of optimized blog posts and error-less content. Optimization becomes easier and will see a level of consistency. Of course, original content will always rank better and if it solves your reader’s quest or problems, it is even more valuable.

In Conclusion…

Visitor attention spans are minimal and they will see a downtrend with such abundant data. Following the trends we just discussed, it is only wise to implement them to stay head and ensure sustained growth. Content marketing in 2022 will change the barren internet landscape for the better.

Small fact: efficaci started out 18 years ago, albeit with a different name, in the content creation, curation, distribution and marketing niche. Understanding that content is critical to any digital marketing process, it remains our core strength.

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SMM in 2022 will be transformational & effective

SMM in 2022 will be transformational & effective

Social media marketing has grown leaps and bounds in the recent years, and there is no stopping it. Though you get #nofollow links and indirect SEO juice, social platforms help businesses in myriad ways. SMM in 2022 is trending towards transformational change and everything looks positive.

Right from getting traffic, branding, customer service and one-to-one interactions with customers, social platforms also help build a sustainable audience that helps boost business. SMM in 2022 is only going to take-off owing to so many technology and AI-based innovations that have enhanced their efficaci.

2022 has a lot in store for social media marketing. Let us check out a few good reasons and what you should do, and why your business should take to social media marketing, seriously.

1. Customer connect is critical

If not anything, COVID-19 has taught us that guesswork will not cut it anymore. During the pandemic, we did not guess the shortage of housing, electronics or lumber, did we? And, the same pandemic has changed consumer preferences and behavior drastically. This will have a dramatic impact on the economy and ultimately on us marketer’s performance. We, as marketers, have to consider a lot of these changed parameters to assess the customer and customize our marketing strategies to avoid unintended consequences.

A tough ask, but how we market our business will matter, and as a part of it, how we leverage social media will be a game changer. Families that went weekly shopping have stopped doing that and the web-savvy members, usually teens, have taken over the mantle of online shopping. In such a scenario, impulsive buying has risen along with normal shopping. Normal shopping too has changed according to the tastes of the one ordering, and that brings a twist to brand market shares.

smm in 2022

The pandemic has ensured that eCommerce grew big along with consumer shifts. This phenomenon will take sometime to stabilize and come to normalcy, and its impact on marketing has to be assessed internally by businesses.

After assessment, it is critical to stay connected with customers, both past and present, to understand the trends and create successful strategies. This is just the beginning of a sea of change. Stay focussed.

2. SMM in 2022 needs you to stick to basics

Most business will make the same the same mistakes that they have been making. Changes are necessary to gain post-pandemic customers. Businesses need to pull up their socks and pay attention to a few things that should have been. SMM in 2022 has to be pro-active, not reactive.

  • Make videos a part of your strategy – Customers have been at home too long and the demand for video content has grown by leaps and bounds.
  • Display and discuss product or service pricing on the website. Be transparent. The lackadaisical economy during the pandemic has made the customer more price-sensitive.
  • There is a thin red line between sales and marketing. SMM in 2022 needs that line to vanish. Align them to ensure better co-ordination and conversions.
  • Cut down on meeting that discuss 10 year plans of the metaverse. Plan month on month and keep tweaking the SMM strategy to stabilize your customer-base.

We should keep the foundational pillars of marketing in mind at this stage. It will only improve marketing performance.

3. Long form content is back

SMM in 2022 is going to see more long form content. Be prepared to plan your collaterals accordingly. Last year (2021) saw a lot of short form content and this will not work anymore. Observe the subtle changes and trends that are happening on the social video front.

smm in 2022

YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels and TikTok focused on short 15 second message and today they have upped the content length to 60 seconds or 180 seconds.

With Facebook Live Audio Rooms and YouTube supporting Podcasts and Amazon Live Video emerging, it is only clear that long-form social content is back.

Long form content is going to the center stage of SMM in 2022 because social platforms want user to spend more time on them, long form content sells better.

4. Facebook Ads revamped and niche Facebook experiences gain importance

Messenger ads and lead generation ads on Facebook have improved drastically after the 2021 pixel debacle. The platform is working on constructive advertising. The evolved pixel and a stabler conversation API are going to change the game.

More Facebook users are looking for niche experiences on the platforms and for businesses. It is time to deepen the bonds with customers and build trust. Using Live Audio Rooms, Facebook Groups Facebook Reels and Facebook Live are the best ways to achieve these.

Meta (Facebook) will push short form advertisements, visibility becomes the main famous. Facebook is the largest social platforms user-wise, and it is only wise to embrace the new features to build and sustain business through social commerce and branding.

5. LinkedIn rolls out ‘Creator Mode’

2021 saw LinkedIn launch the creator mode. If you are looking to LinkedIn as a B2V marketing platform, you just have to turn it on. It gives you myriad options to build your brand and advertise on LinkedIn using original content across the platform.

Creator mode gives you:

  • Access to creator tools as they roll out
  • Publishing a LinkedIn newsletter
  • Access to LinkedIn live
  • A ‘topics you post about’ section on your profile with hashtags
  • Highlighting your posts
  • Converts your account into a follow account

The creator mode is going to see more tool rollouts this year. I foresee LinkedIn provisioning more value for money with these updates. 

6. The Instagram bandwagon

According to Mr. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, people want to see more entertaining videos going into 2022. So, video definitely needs to be a part of your marketing strategy and there are many ways in which we can leverage Instagram for better SMM in 2022.

  • Instagram Reels – Short video platform that can get you the best organic reach. You can have simple videos here to drive brand messages and traffic. This is definitely a game changer going into 2022.
  • Direct Messages – Creating serious conversations is easy with live video chats or video messages. Connecting with leads is very easy using direct messages on Instagram and ensures that we personalized the videos used with messaging.
  • Instagram Live – Instagram Live can host with 3 guests good with the topic chosen. All audience members will get intimations when the live goes live. For 2022, the intended conversations are ‘intimate’. People are looking for such conversations on social media and taking the trend into your fold is good for business.

Instagram is continuously integrating newer features into the platform with amazing pace. With e-commerce and creator tools, Instagram will introduce ‘overwhelm’, although no more details are available at the time of writing this piece.

Instead of using Instagram as a part-time social media tool, businesses should leverage it like a sales tool to get the best out of this social media platform. Instagram is going to be the star of SMM in 2022.

In conclusion…

Social media marketing in 2022 will change rapidly because of the technology driven tools introduced on the platforms in 2021. The trend of introducing more and more features will continue. I recommend businesses to keep track of all these and leverage them as required for great SMM in 2022.

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SEM in 2022 – Strategise with an ROI mindset

SEM in 2022 – Strategise with an ROI mindset

Search engine marketing or Pay per Click [PPC] strategies in 2022 will be a lot different from what we have been following until now. A lot of new platform features, major innovations and myriad privacy issues are going to dictate how and where we publish our ads. All paid ad processes are going to change and, I expect SEM in 2022 will be promising and lucrative.

Feature innovation in most ad platforms due evolution of AI based technologies has brought in a sea of change in the search marketing function. There are many new avenues to publish and reach audiences in 2022, whether you are planning brand new search engine marketing campaigns or looking to revise existing PPC strategies.

We, as search marketers, always look for a better return on investment [ROI]. let us look at what SEM in 2022 has in store for us.

1. Automation

With Artificial Intelligence taking up the mantle of deep analytics and behavior based decision-making, a lot more vistas in terms of advertisements and A/B testing have evolved on the search engine marketing scene.

Automation using AI saves time and resources, however, manning the automation process will ensure a more effective use of technology.

Human beings make better decisions and, therefore, leaving the automated decision-making to AI makes little sense. When making use of smart bidding strategies, it is wise to keep tabs and tweak the Target ROAS or Target CPA.

SEM in 2022

It is important to decide which elements of a PPC strategy should use automated bidding [using scripts] and which ones to leave alone.

We should monitor responsive display ads and search ads on an individual level to assess performance. Use data points to compare with past manual campaigns and make the right decisions.

2. Track conversions

Analytics is the baseline and the decision-making point for any PPC strategy. As automation takes over, and technology does the hard-work, AI complicates the process by bringing in more and more trackable actions. 

Of course, more trackable options mean more flexibility, but it also means more analytics and backstage work.

The typical processes of tracking transactions, contact forms, phone calls, demo requests, local directions, chats, customer goals, and offline conversions are measurable. Track all these and put a value to each of the conversion goals to understand the total ROI on the campaign. This will simplify your goal-keeping for SEM in 2022.

3. Keyword match types

Las year saw some major changes in keyword match technologies from search engines. And this change warrants a change in your keyword strategy. As far as keyword match types go, SEM in 2022 has made a quantum jump.

sem in 2022

The ‘broad match’ type has is being discontinued and the other 2 types of matches have also seen major changes. This means the old keyword strategy will not work satisfactorily anymore and there is a need for a revamp. In fact, the keyword strategy will become more compact and simpler. You will need to make some structural changes to your keyword strategy to incorporate these changes.

4. Match customers

Long before PPC networks introduced improved targeting, PPC advertisers have been following the mantra of finding the ‘right customer at the right time.’

Today ‘customer match’ is an underrated strategy. However, SEM in 2022 recommends it is time to get back to the drawing board. The reason being the requirement of first-party data in absence of the use of third-party cookies because of the regulatory frameworks like GDPR.

List building and using in-house data is the only way out and therefore ‘customer match’ comes to the fore and becomes the core of SEM in 2022.

This targeting option is old and available on all PPC platforms. All you need to do is to test, slice, dice and integrate into your strategy.

Customer Match has become more accessible and easier to use.

5. Leverage responsive display ads

Many advertisers use display ads to ensure brand messaging as a part of their PPC strategy. These ads have a better reach and they have a simpler creative process. Until now, text ads have been the center of PPC strategies, it is time to change that. This many sound revolutionary, but SEM in 2022 is going to change that drastically.

sem in 2022

The best part of responsive display ads is that they can dynamically integrate all elements of the ad and fit into any ad size, unlike static ads that have to be tailored to pre-fabricated dimensions.

Responsive display ads ) can run parallel to other kinds of ads you integrate into your strategy besides being capable of using Google Ads Performance feedback.

6. Ad Copy review

A never-ending task, but critical to your PPC strategy, always perform this after a review of the keyword strategy. It keeps performance levels at optimum and ensures that your strategy is not leaking money.

SEM in 2022 advocates this to be critical because of the paradigm changes happening to the ad formats, which may render the text ads obsolete in no time.

Search are moving to RSAs (Responsive Search Ads) and they will be the default format in no time. With 4 descriptions and 15 headlines enabled for combination testing, this will ride on the machine-learning technology (AI at it, yet again!).

In the RSA era, we can pin multiple ads with specific assets. This is good news for delivering CTAs, however overuse of pins can be detrimental. And, Google recommendations to improve keyword or headlines are shown in real-time.

In conclusion…

The technology transformations that have taken place over the last year are the reason for the above recommendations. Do remember that technology is rapidly changing and it will introduce quickly more and more changes. You need to keep up the pace and be game to beat the competition at the end game.

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Minimalist branding – A comprehensive guide

Minimalist branding – A comprehensive guide

The current ongoing trend in marketing, minimalist branding has been trending for a few years. According to the grapevine, this trend will speed up and overtake the detailed and gratuitous marketing. Subtle, sleek and crafted with care, minimalism is more complicated than detailed. 

This trend stresses the use of intellectual and psychological abilities of marketers instead of design skills. Also, aptly called ‘more from less’, minimalist branding used very little variety of colors and images to get the message across. 

Minimalism is already clear in the simple landing pages, ads and Instagram. For many businesses, it is a combination of digital and physical. However, for business who stick to a single channel, minimalism is as important.

Though simple and ‘more from less’, minimalism takes a lot more understanding of the brand, its objectives, mission and vision to put in place. 

In this thought-provoking article, let us look at some critical information on how minimalist branding can weave across digital and traditional assets to bring best results.

Minimalism explained

Minimalism has its roots in Japanese design. The Japanese Zen Monks practiced creating sand gardens with the ‘yohaku-no-bi’ technique, meaning “the beauty of blank space”, to improve focus and concentration.

The minimalism movement has its roots in WWII and started just after in the art and music domains. Born out of reaction to the chaos of urbanity and excess of abstract expressionism, minimalism has since expanded beyond the founding ideologies. At core, minimalism is design at its most basic form. Removing excessive use of textures, shapes, colors and other design elements to address an intention or creation is the primary focus.

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe probably pioneered minimalism, he was also the pioneer of modernistic architecture who believed in ‘less from more’.

minimalist architecture

The above architecture is a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe design from over 70 years ago. It is under construction after 50 years of the architect’s death at Indiana University in the USA,

Minimalism emphasizes on exacting focus using a cohesive and unified framework like the building above. The aim is to turn the focus on the product or service, subtly, by calming the mind and enhancing concentration. Do not mistake minimalism to be an art of bringing focus to an image or product with a dark background. No, it is the art of bringing focus and intent by removing all redundant elements.

A minimalist brand expounds the business personality clearly. Creating a new brand or rebranding with a minimalist approach requires brainstorming with all stakeholders in the business. Analytics on customers and present marketing practices are critical elements to consider while working towards a decision.

Minimalism is holistic

Just having a minimalistic design on your brand is not enough. The minimalism should come through in all imagery, content, design and all other digital and traditional elements used to create collaterals, ads or websites. Clean imagery, to-the-point text and lots of negative space are mandatory to create the required minimalist brand. Remember, minimalism doesn’t work half way.

For digital businesses, holistic minimalism is critical. The website design, the content, the blog, social media platforms, and all branded ads that go through the gate should have consistent branding. For traditional business too, all collaterals need to send the same message to the world.

Minimalism is all aspects of business is demanding and creating and continuing the process is handwork. However, over time, when your brand grows, it would be a very satisfying experience to see it occupy a special place.

Minimalist branding is highly elegant and pleasing to the eye. Any inconsistency in such branding, during any exercise, can disconcert to the eye.

Elements of minimalism

Minimalism is about decluttering. Just like the human mind that gets distressed when decluttered, your brand will come across as truthful, simple, trustworthy and focusses on products and services. Minimalism, believe me, is classic and timeless. Ask any fashion designer worth his or her salt and they will agree, even if they do not embrace it.

Minimalism is also about consistent simplicity that not only captures the viewer’s attention, but keeps it too.

All of us keep a lot of unnecessary stuff at home because of our own internal needs. Maybe it is not such a bad thing, however, clutter is clutter, irrespective of the thousand reasons to keep them. Did you ever think to throw all that unnecessary stuff away and getting some clean breathing space?

Anyway, minimalism stands on four pillars:

  • Less is more
  • Negative space
  • Colors, textures, contrast
  • Visual consonance

a. Less is more

I was talking about home a few seconds ago, decluttering your brand does not make it bland. Can you imagine the happiness, when your friend comes home, sees all the declutters space and exclaims “man, it looks so clean…”. What is your feeling? So, when you keep what is necessary and discard the rest, that’s minimalism for you. 

Back to business. Minimalist branding would mean letting your products and services shine through by cutting across unnecessary elements in your logo, website, product design and everywhere else. This is not emptying the space. We require this to ensure that the focus is on relevant elements.

Such an exercise makes your brand look elegant, like your shiny home, and impresses eyeballs. Remember, you cannot just go minimalist by changing collaterals, someone should ingrain the concept into every element and aspect of your business.

b. Negative space

It is normal for a human eye to be drawn to an object that has space around it. For example, you can see a lot of photographs around homes that are frames with negative space around them.

minimalist branding

So there is nothing negative about negative space. The absence of elements in a space is the negative space (designers jargon). Negative space makes minimalism powerful.

The above website template is a good example of website design. Presently, you will see different shades of gray on a wall and a human sitting on the stairs. Imagine, if the white background had a different color or assorted elements, you would have missed this entirely, especially the person sitting. This is creative use of negative space to help the viewer focus on what is important.

No wonder many businesses are adapting to minimalist branding to set consumer focus and grow.

c. Colors, textures, contrast

Minimalist branding does not mean black and white, with shades of gray. Use colors, but choose them wisely. High contrast and loud colors do not go with minimalist branding. Matching colors and tonal gradients will make your brand much more appealing.

Using same colors across collaterals but altering the textures can bring in better minimalist design with a variety.

Use low saturation colors, complementary colors and stick to 2 or 3 colors, no more. These are enough to achieve the desired minimalism by experimenting with placements.

d. Visual hierarchy and harmony

Visual hierarchy is the secret to bring viewer’s focus to elements that you want them to focus on. It is the relationship between visual elements. Designer use grids to place elements and create a hierarchy. This helps them to use sizes and shapes to create the effect that they want.

Visual harmony is to create the correct relationship amongst all elements of a design to get the desired effect. This includes colors, pictures, typography and all other elements that are used in the design. 

Visual hierarchy and harmony together create the symmetry and breathe life into minimalist branding.

Examples of minimalist branding

Most luxury brands are minimalist, however, minimalist branding can have other takers. Luxury brands use minimalist branding with a sense of finesse and not as a science. Let us look at some great examples of minimalist branding that most of us use, one digital and another traditional.

Google

Google’s search page has forever been like this with minimal changes. Other search engines, like AltaVista and Yahoo, had too many attractive elements on their search pages. Think why Google has not only survived but thrived…

For google UX has always been a priority. All of Google’s products like Maps, Gmail, AdSense and AdWords come with intuitive controls and simple minimalistic branding.

Apple

THE man that founded Apple, Steve Jobs was a minimalist himself. He followed Zen Buddhism, and it comes as no surprise that Apple’s first ever brochure said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Apple has always followed minimalist branding in its product design and marketing strategy.

minimalist branding

In fact, all of Apple’s products have minimum moving parts and revolve around the same philosophy of minimalist design. With circles and straight lines as the basic elements, apple has always advertised its simplicity even in iOS and other apps that it built.

Minimalist branding – The pros and cons

As we found minimalism on focus and concentration, it has the highest ‘signal to noise’ ratio. However, minimalist may not set the tone for all businesses. 

Pros

a. Classic design with timeless shelf-life

Minimalism is not new. Every wardrobe has the little black dress or the dinner jacket or an Oxford shirt tucked away for the occasion. It has been there for centuries and these classics never age or even if they do; they do so gracefully.

b. Better branding

Minimalist branding ensures brand recall because of the minimum elements it uses. With the absence of distractions and existing elements creating focus, it will be difficult to forget a minimalist brand.

c. User experience

Minimalism is about printing the minimum number of elements to the users to assimilate information quickly. This weeds out clutter and is definitely a better UX than most quirky designs that we see elsewhere.

Cons

a. Not suited to everyone

A media website that needs to showcase news, videos, graphics and other text cannot be minimalist and it would defeat the purpose. All domains cannot integrate minimalist branding. It is wise to ponder and think through before you opt for minimalist branding. 

b. Audience approval

If you already have a long running successful business, you will want to consider audience approval. Your target audience may not relate to minimalist branding and the entire exercise could fail. Analyze with market reports and data before you take the plunge into minimalism.

c. Negative space risk

Too much white space can be hard to handle. Yes, your design could go either way – elegant and classy, or tacky and bare-bones. And white space projects everything. A minor mistake can be risky. Optimum use of white space is very essential to minimalist branding.

In Conclusion…

Minimalism is not a passing trend. It is a deeply ingrained philosophy because it is classic and timeless. Consistent simplicity is what you need to achieve from minimalist branding. Think Apple or Google. 

There is no compulsion to adopt minimalism. It is your choice and a business decision. As a CMO, if you are looking to opt for it, let us know how we can be of help.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Branding in 2022 – Rebrand for a bright future

Branding in 2022 – Rebrand for a bright future

Branding is going to see a sea of change in 2022. With humanization, inclusivity, and building a social brand becoming important branding in 2022 will explode. Time to be on train or rebrand with a purpose.

We do not limit branding as a concept to your logo design, typography or visual paraphernalia. It is a lot deeper than that and in the digital era, without a one-on-one interaction, is critical to business.

Your online presence is highly critical to growing your business. The content you share, the design of your website and a lot of other factors create a psychological impression on the visitor and speak about your trustworthiness and professionalism. All these factors are decisive to conversion, and your brand is the foundation of all this.

Being a digital marketing agency for over 18 years has given us tons of data and research on branding and we firmly believe that telling compelling stories and communicating USPs is critical to brand building, besides evolving your brand with the times.

Trend #1 – Go retro

Ads and content always yield better conversion when evokes emotions or aligns with them. So, if your business is looking to rebrand or refresh the brand, the best way is to go retro.

With people being glued to social media and mobile phones throughout their waking hours, data chaos rules supreme. We live in a busy world and under a lot of stress.

retro branding in 2022

Getting nostalgic and remembering the old times always gives people the much needed release. The remembrance of a simpler life, a stress-free day, is something we cherish. By going retro and aligning with those emotions, your brand can evoke positive feelings.

Positive feelings will build trust in the brand and help brand recall. So, go ahead, give it a thought and align them with your domain. If you feel nostalgic branding helps, spend a little more time on the drawing board.

Trend #2  – Branding in 2022 will see humanization

Most brands use brand communication to send out content like ads, social media marketing, announcements, press releases, etc. The space out there has become chaotic.

humanized branding

So, people have ignored such messaging and today they prefer brands that talk to them. Also known as conversational messaging, brand talking is the trend today.

This is the first step to humanizing the brand. This enables a better connection with customers and prospects and also weeds out the ambiguity from brand communication. 

User engagement being the top ranked branding aim, brand humanization is on the rise and will remain so.

The difference from the past is that today brands engage with every comment, like or retweet they get as a part of their social media marketing. In the bygone era, brands only posted and did not really care about the reactions or engagement they got.

Today, because of humanization, brands get more engagement, more comments and connect with customers and prospects better, like peers. Building an approachable brand becomes much easier, and it helps conversions. Of course, content is the key and will remain so for branding in 2022.

Trend #3 – Brand with a purpose

purposeful branding

To become more sociable, many brands have moved on to addressing the pressing needs of the society. Aligning the business, its services and products for social appeal is glorious business. The motivation comes from their core mission, leading to changes in visual identity, story telling and decision making.

A business that looks for more than just ‘profit’ will always create a profound impact on the customers. When your business can align with such a cause and create a marketing strategy to execute, it will create more appeal.

Customers will now buy from you because they can identify with the brand that aligns with their values.

You will find many brands that give away a part of their revenue to underprivileged children or to the homeless. These brands evoke sympathy and align with people’s values and sales improve automatically.

Branding in 2022 will see this trend moving up the agenda for many businesses. Empathizing with the audience is again humanizing the brand to a certain extent.

If you are looking to create or rebrand to brand with a purpose, it is time you palled out a strategy and began working on the collaterals to align the messaging and communicate your social priorities. 

Trend #4 – Inclusive branding

Customer expectations have changed over time and today they are more interested in seeing positive physical appearances, diversity and inclusivity. No more is ‘zero’ size, white or blonde, a statement of beauty. If your brand is still following the old norms, it is time for a rethink.

inclusive branding

According to an Accenture study, people prefer and are more likely to buy from brands that are diverse and inclusive. Approximately 80% of the brands that cater to this philosophy agree that they also address cultural and social issues in their branding exercises. For example, we handle certain brands that have different price points for differently abled people.

Celebrity marketing or using well-known people to endorse your brand is over, as a strategy. If I were you, I would prefer to engage my most loyal customers by featuring them in my ads. Real people who have actually used the product or service are always more authentic and compelling. Believe me, it shows.

In fact, a famous brand has been using diversity in its branding for about 40 years now. We are talking of branding in 2022, but this brand went quirky way back and has been reaping benefits continuously.

Trend #5 – Influencer driven branding

Though still nascent, influencer driven branding is the new trend. While I completely based this on numbers and approachability today, it will open up more vistas once it gets data driven.

This is a new opportunity for brand and influencers both to get more engagement besides word-of-mouth.

influencer branding

Branding in 2022 will see data in use, more and more influencers will come to the fold depending on segregation of target audiences. Small and big influencers will get the same opportunities and will be a win-win situation.

The next level of influencer-driven branding could be to showcase influencers as brand ambassadors, which will attract more customers. In fact, influencer-driven marketing will grow to be a $15B industry in 2022.

Trend #6 – Branding in 2022 will be absentia

Branding in absentia or branding ‘without’ a brand is going to rise in 2022. What was a joke in the marketing circles has become a reality and is rocketing.

branding in 2022

Branding in 2022 will see brands putting up ads or hoardings with no brand on them. These ads will only talk about the USP of a product or a service, but will not mention the brand itself.

Customers have seen enough brand logos and mascots, and the recognition has become more of reflex and therefore the trend.

Now, showcasing USPs is one thing, however such ads should have a brand recall. Which means, only those brands that are sure of brand recall should use this trend. So for beginners, we will see this trend mostly amongst the big brands.

In conclusion…

As a digital marketing agency with a pedigree of over 18 years, we understand that the above mentioned trends for branding in 2022 are here to stay.

Going into the future, aligning your brand to these trends, or rebranding on the path to follow them is the best thing your business can do.

It is time to change and once you are on that strategy, things will only brighten up and your brand will be ready to take on the future trends easily.

More Digital Marketing trends for 2022.

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SEO in 2022 – Critical factors to consider & act

SEO in 2022 – Critical factors to consider & act

Google has about 93% of search market-share, according to some online sources. There are differences in data here and Google, of course, will not endorse any. This market-share declined by 1% in the last year and all other search engines grew. And, I do not foresee a substantial decline in Google’s market share anytime soon. However, SEO in 2022 is going to see lots of changes owing to the recent critical updates.

The most growing search engine today, worth a mention, is DuckDuckGo, which has grown over 40% in 2021 alone. A privacy-focussed search engine, DuckDuckGo will see a lot more traction in the future.

Keep this in mind, it is always wise to keep your SEO strategy open to all search engines. In this article, when I refer to Google, I am referring to a search engine. Google’s branding is so awesome that even the most experienced marketers think ‘Google’ when someone mentions search.

Local and generic search results drove over 70% digital traffic in 2020 and 2021. This emphasizes the importance of SEO, going into 2022. From what I can foresee, I recommend taking a research-based, structured approach to the existing SEO function.

More important your SEO in 2022 should integrate the following critical trends to grow your SERPs and build a sustainable business.

Trend #1 Core Web Vitals and Desktop Page Experience

Rolled out on June 16th, 2021, Google’s “Page Experience Update”, ushered in better user experience by measuring “quality of page performance”. Quality of a webpage performance depends on faster load times, mobile-friendliness, stability of page, security (https) and intrusive interstitials (pop-up ads etc.).

Fast pages and page speed have been a SERP ranking factor since 2010. However, introducing Core Web Vitals brings 3 extra dimensions to measure the overall page experience. 

Core Web Vitals, as prescribed by Google, are largest contentful paint, cumulative layout shift and first input delay. Optimize for these factors and Google will understand that your webpage is doing better than the defined ‘EAT’ criteria.

According to Google – “Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value.”

Trend #2 – EAT – SEO in 2022

EAT is one of the most significant ranking variable, and stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust. Though we cannot quantify these factors in terms of numbers or percentages, they are still ranking factors that showcase the quality of your web page.

Taking a deeper look:

  • Expertise – Accuracy, relevance with time and the depth of information on your web page will underline your expertise in the domain. Small actions like author bio’s or links to such bios and regular content audit can take care of this ranking factor to a large extent.
  • Authority – This is measurable in terms of the number of social media shares, citations that you get for the content. Authority is going to be the key to content marketing and promotion for SEO in 2022. 
  • Trust – Trust is always to related to brand, and it defines the perception of your website and brand. Quality standards, references and similar factors can build trust quickly. Incorporate domain related standards and certifications to help your brand build consumer trust.

Google’s BERT update of 2019 (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) was a predecessor to the EAT concept. This update used neural network-based technologies for natural language processing. The aim was to build a deeper understanding of the complete context of a search query. Today, search results consider the context, too.

They retired BERT for the MUM (Multitask Unified Model) update on June 2021. This update overcame the format and language barriers by analyzing previous information about the search query and delivered improved results with lesser internal searches. MUM understands text and images and translates back and forth in over 75 languages, the exact number of languages that Google Assistant caters to. Can you see a relationship with voice-based search?

Google has upped the content quality criteria and businesses that focus on EAT will reap richer rewards in time. So, SEO in 2022 will focus on honest and EATable content.

Trend #3 – 4. Spam, Stuffing, Cloaking, Irrelevant Links and other “Toxins” 

The latest Google update of 17th November 2021 has much to do with optimization strategies that bordered on ‘spam’. In line with the June and July content quality updates, this update cleaned up many websites that used spam, like stuffing, cloaking, irrelevant links and other toxins for black-hat optimization from search results. SEO in 2022 is going to see a sea of change because of these updates.

Keeping away from such stuff is critical:

  • Keyword Stuffing – Overly using keywords on web pages can be detrimental to ranking and Google considers this spam. Optimize with a range of 1% to 1.5% and your content should be good to be indexed.
  • Cloaking – Most certainly a dishonest practice, cloaking is a technique that shows different content to search engines and users.
  • Irrelevant links – Links on third party sites which are not relevant to your domain will not get your optimization anywhere. Similarly, buying links is a dangerous practice too. Believe me, Google can sense them and create its own intelligence to black-list your webpage in no time.
  • Toxins – Other strategies or practices akin to using duplicate content without proper canonicalisations or using too much of advertising on your web page could be toxic. If it has to be for advertising, opt for Google AdSense.

To be in Google’s good books, consider EAT and stay away from all the above. Adhere to Google Webmaster Guidelines to build rankings faster. Google is forever teaching us ‘Honesty is the best policy’, and so did our primary school.

Trend #4 – The snippet problem

Quick searches have evolved through voice and image search. So, snippets that help get a quick insight into the results for a search query, which are available today, will not exist (my prediction). Most times, snippets show misleading information due to cloaking and other practices. Because of the MUM and content/spam related updates, those webpages that are toxic will not show on search results and thus the need for snippets becomes redundant in search engine optimization.

In conclusion…

SERPs will get harder to come by and SEO in 2022 is going the honest way. So, business should put more energies into creating relevant, in-depth content and fine-tune the UX besides their normal SEO process. Gaming the search game will not cut it anymore. It never did.

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