For all the new technologies, trends, and emerging channels we hear about, the best marketing strategies in 2020 don’t have to be cutting edge.

Great marketing strategies connect with customers as humans. It’s those connections that create beloved brands.

In 2020, we will have so many options for how to connect with our customers that sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the point of it all. If we are to build a sustainable competitive advantage with our marketing strategies, we need to refocus on what really matters.

This will be the year that successful marketing strategies focus on building trust.

Effective Marketing Strategies Sell … By Not Selling

People are onto marketers. They can spot your motivation from a mile away.

People are onto marketers. They can spot your motivation from a mile away. Click To Tweet

For instance, they know that when they give you their email address to gain access to something you’ve offered, it means they’ll be added to your marketing list. And they know how to get what they want without giving up too much. Savvy consumers now set up special email accounts, so they can get the discount code and bypass the onslaught of marketing emails.

The best marketing strategies address this by providing real value outside of direct product experiences.

Create Branded Entertainment

We love to be entertained. We want to be moved, much more than we want to be sold to.

Some brands have caught onto this and are producing a form of entertainment that doesn’t feel at all like advertising. The idea is that when you provide entertainment value, you have more opportunities to build awareness through social sharing. And at the same time, you build affinity for your brand.

Check out this three-minute short film by Dove, which some call the most viral video ad of all time.

Not every marketer has the budget to support a video like this. But there’s an opportunity for branded entertainment on a much more attainable scale, too. Think of podcasts and do-it-yourself YouTube videos, both of which have been embraced by many small business owners. Some are even combining the two to give audiences double the options for tuning in.

Collin Austin of Gainesville, Florida, built his first local business selling scooters into one of the largest scooter dealerships in the United States. Now, he has launched his own media production company, Repaint the Wall, which he describes as an “un-agency,” and runs a popular podcast called WHOA GNV.

He interviews members of the community on his podcast, which he also makes available in video format.

The beauty of branded entertainment is that it brings your values to life. It shows your personality. It helps people decide if they really like you, all before you’ve asked them to buy anything. So when it comes time for them to make that choice, you already have a foundation of trust.

Harness User-Generated Content

What better way can you sell without selling than to let your users do it for you.

In fact, your users may be your biggest untapped resource. We live in an age when anyone can be an author, and even the smallest voice can be heard. Where do your target customers talk? Think of any place your business or product could have reviews, and there lies an opportunity.

From allowing comments on your blog and engaging with folks on Quora to celebrating your customers’ homemade videos and saying thanks to folks who mention you on Twitter, tapping into people who are ready to help you is one way to build a culture of trust with your audience.

Effective Marketing Strategies Use Technology to Build Trust

Technology continues to evolve and how consumers get information is evolving with it. There are so many ways to build connections through technology now, many of which will become a part of the best marketing strategies.

Meet Customers Directly in Google Search Results

Content marketing naturally provides value without requiring something in return. Optimizing content for search gives you an opportunity to connect with potential customers when they are looking for information. The potential for building trust at this stage by matching their search intent is great.

But hurdles are rising. Businesses have sunk so much investment into content marketing and search engine optimization that it has produced a glut of material, often poorly written and researched. Readers search for signals of value and trustworthiness as they comb through Google search results, looking for the article that will answer their questions.

Along with taking care to give superior signals of trustworthiness in your content, you should optimize for featured snippets, too. This amplifies your brand’s exposure and also tells customers that search engines feel you’re trustworthy.

SEO as part of effective marketing strategy

In the same vein, optimizing content for voice search can also help close the gap between your brand and your audience. This forces you to consider questions they might ask and how they might ask them — verbally. Getting into the minds of customers helps ground you as a marketer, and thorough, accurate answers can build trust in your content as a source of information over time.

Research What Actually Resonates with Your Customers

It’s imperative to learn what really matters to potential customers and where they are finding what they need. Search engines might not be the only place they’re looking for information that you can help them with.

Social listening technology like Alexa’s new Content Exploration tool can help you uncover content that is generating interest on social platforms—and getting amplified by an audience—for a given topic.

Find trending topics for marketing strategy

Learn from the content that’s striking a chord to help develop your brand voice and insert your unique angle into new and existing content.

Aim for Fast, Responsive Communication

Sometimes marketing strategies blur with customer service, especially when you’re aiming to build trust. A fast response when a customer reaches out to you can help with that. Example of immediate communication with customer in marketing strategy

As folks use more channels of communication in their day-to-day interactions, it’s natural that they want to use them to connect with brands, too. For example, texting and instant messaging are now commonplace for delivering discount coupon codes and deals to customers. Bot applications can help you respond to customers quickly on your website.

Social media is another expected channel that customers use when they’re hoping to reach a real person at a company. It makes sense to plan to be responsive, thanks to customers sharing good vibes that come from feeling heard.

One thing to remember: With all the technology that can be incorporated into marketing strategies, opportunities to build in the human touch can actually help you stand out and grow trust. Be quick to email or call a customer who has expressed difficulty with a product in their online review, for example. Their appreciation can have far-reaching positive effects.

Effective Marketing Strategies ‘Get Real’

We’re all humans here. People want to do business with other people. But marketers often struggle with showing the real, authentic face of a company. It’s natural for business leaders to want to spin a story and create a face that’s perfect in the eyes of the customer. But customers know by now that no business is perfect. And the more we try to gloss over the not-so-perfect parts, the more trust can erode.

Take, for example, when Buffer, a social media company, talked about the mistakes they themselves have made on social media.

That’s not to say that you should highlight every poor decision. But there are plenty of ways to be authentic, short of showcasing blunders.

Highlight How You’re Different

In what ways are you different from the other guys offering the same service — really?

Look to your people. What makes your team different? Perhaps your company attracts people who are bent toward entrepreneurialism, for example.

Or maybe it’s the charity work you do. Or your founder’s story. Or the unique community of users you seem to attract.

You don’t have to spell it out in all your marketing, but even just taking a more human angle on social media or your website’s About page helps.

Empower Your Employees to Represent Your Company

Many businesses have yet to fully tap into one of their greatest marketing resources: their staff. The individuals who work at a company make up who that company really is at any point in time.

Think about it. You probably have influencers internally, folks who everyone goes to for answers. Consider some ways you can engage your employees’ energy to show the human side of your business — and build trust at the same time.

  • Hosting an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit
  • Making informal “day in the life of” videos
  • Sponsoring their participation in industry conferences
  • Encouraging them to post to social media or write up their story for the company blog

Many Types of Marketing Strategies, One Foundation

For all the trends and new technologies that we see emerging every year, the best marketing strategies are still about connecting with people.

Never has it been more important to build your tribe. Whether you do that on social media, in Google search results, through videos and branded entertainment, or by some other means, what matters is that when you do connect, you build trust.

How will your marketing strategy connect your brand with people in 2020?

Start your free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan now to get access to critical data on your competitors, your audience, and popular content in your industry that can help guide your own marketing strategies.

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