How Out of Home Advertising Complements Digital Marketing

Do I need a billboard for my business? Learn how out of home advertising and digital marketing work together for great results.

While scholars believe human societies were first introduced to oral advertising, it did not take long for those old-time marketers to discover the power of signs. At least, they’ve found papyrus advertising posters that date back to ancient Rome, Greece, and even Egypt. In societies with low literacy rates, they relied upon pictures.

In the Digital Age, you might wonder how an out of home advertising agency can possibly still help achieve your business goals. After all, isn’t everything online now? Actually, buying a billboard and working with an OOH advertising agency may serve as the perfect solution to some struggles you face attracting more attention to your social media, digital ads, and business site.

Is an outdoor advertising agency beneficial to digital businesses?

When you think of the largest players in online advertising, companies like Amazon, HBO, Apple, and Google probably come to mind. According to The Outdoor Advertising Association of America, these companies ranked in the top 10 for money spent on out-of-home ads. Netflix, the online streaming service, made it to the top 15. Just as surprising, the OAAA said that tech-related companies made up 25 percent of the biggest spenders.

Together, Facebook and Google will contribute to over one-quarter of the total spend. Not only that, outdoor advertising had experienced constant growth every quarter since the Great Recession, not counting the coronavirus outbreak. According to the president of OAAA, Nancy Fletcher, companies spend money on this kind of advertising because it provides the perfect complement to their social, mobile, and search tactics.

Of course, these days, an out of home advertising agency might suggest electronic billboards and not just static ones. In that way, you might think of them as giant monitors in very visible locations. These allow advertisers to display very slick, sophisticated ads that can cast a very wide net. In other cases, the old-fashioned, static kind may also serve your purposes.

How can a billboard advertising agency help your business?

To understand how an OOH advertising agency might help you find outdoor ad placements to help improve your overall marketing plan, it will help to consider an example. For instance, Apple solicited images from iPhone users to use on the digital billboards they used for their ads. The “Shot on an iPhone” campaign helped demonstrate the types of photos that people could capture with their phones. It also gave contributors and their own social circles plenty of incentive to share images on social sites.

In this case, the digital and outdoor advertising worked together to help Apple enjoy a sort of synergy that they could not have achieved with either one alone. People saw the billboards who might not have visited the company’s digital platforms. In turn, contributors were quick to share their own photos to have them displayed both online and outdoors.

In simpler cases, businesses can use a billboard at the top of their marketing funnel to help attract more attention. Interested people will return to their computers and phones to seek out more information about the quick message they saw while they were commuting or running errands.

Does outdoor advertising work?

Some outdoor advertisers have also used mobile phone data to detect when people pass near their outdoor signage. In that way, the physical and virtual world of advertising merge even more.

For some other examples:

  • A study from Ocean Neuroscience found that almost half of mobile users were more likely to click on an advertisement after first seeing the brand advertised on a billboard.
  • Another study found 46 percent of people said they’d searched for something after first seeing it mentioned on an outdoor advertisement.

Online advertising has grown increasingly competitive and expensive. Ad blockers or simple online ad blindness have also made attracting attention on the internet more challenging. Engaging billboards can help attract more visitors to your business site or social pages and serve as the perfect complement to digital marketing. If you’ve been considering ways to grow your audience, don’t overlook the power of signs.

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Raise Your Instagram Strategy Game With Experiential Sets

Adding experiential experiences to your content marketing strategy can help grow and engage your audience online and offline.

Instagram, the popular photo and video site, will celebrate its 10th birthday in 2020. According to Sprout Social, just about a billion people use Instagram regularly, with about sixty percent of these users logging in at least once a day. While Instagram isn’t the largest social site, it is remarkable for the sort of famously Instagrammable experiences that its devoted audience has come to expect from content providers. As a marketer or content marketing agency, learn one way that you can tailor your Instagram strategy to include such an experience.

Developing an Instagram strategy around experiential set design

Many kinds of businesses have used Instagram as part of their effective content marketing strategy. Lots of other businesses even owe their starts to this unique social platform. As an important example, Instagram has even birthed an entire cottage industry of off-line sets that creative people develop just to generate the perfect backdrop for Instagrammable experiences.

Lately, these typically colorful and well-designed places have been called experiential sets. Fast Company referred to them as a sort of Disneyland for the selfie set, designed to appeal to short attention spans and a be-seen culture. Besides typically charging an admission fee, they also generally have sponsored rooms or galleries.

What is experiential set design?

To understand experiential set designs, it helps to consider some examples. Fast Company highlighted the Museum of Ice Cream’s debut in 2016. It launched in New York City, and then later attracted such celebrities as Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and Katy Perry as it spread to Los Angeles and Miami. Copycats with similar ordinary themes and extraordinary sensory experiences popped up soon afterwards. Some examples include the Museum of Pizza and the Egg House. Of course, the most obviously named one is called the Museum of Selfies.

No matter the theme, they’re always designed with a photogenic quality in mind; however, they usually offer a live experience that appeals to multiple senses, such as feeling, smelling, and even tasting. Naturally, the admission to the Museum of Ice Cream includes a free scoop, provided by rotating vendors, who hope to gain more exposure both offline and online.

This new trend in experiential set design for events has moved to established museums or galleries and traveled as popup exhibitions. Critics have sometimes belittled these sets as dumbing down culture for the digital age and exploiting patrons by letting them pay high admission fees for superficial art and blatant advertising.

Great examples of experiential settings

At the same time, some efforts have been taken more seriously. As an example, The Color Factory has enjoyed serious design credibility with its focus upon color, creativity, and the way people experience spaces. They’ve even collaborated with such prestigious designers as the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. While the developers keep it a kid-friendly place, The Color Factory also appeals to couples on dates, tourists, and of course, Instagram and other social media influencers.

Of course, major brands have started sponsoring their own experiential settings. One good example includes the Escape the Room games that HBO sponsored at SXSW. They provided sets inspired by popular HBO shows, including Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicone Valley. These games immersed players in the shows’ stories in an incredibly engaging way.

Using experiential set design for B2B on Instagram

It’s sort of intuitive to see how a B2C content marketing agency can make use of these experiential sets to help improve brand recognition and grow their audiences. For example, Refinery 29’s contribution to this new industry, 29 Rooms, has had branded rooms from such companies as Smirnoff, Kraft, and Revlon. Non-sponsoring celebrities and social influencers might simply use the interesting backdrops of the venues as imaginative settings for their photos and videos. Meanwhile, the settings themselves may benefit from plenty of online exposure, admission fees, and sponsors.

At the same time, the concept of experiential sets can also lend itself very well for marketers who want to gain exposure for B2B on Instagram and other social sites. It’s important to note that a Bizzabo survey of hundreds of experienced marketers found that 87 percent of C-suite executives think live events will begin to factor much more in their marketing strategy.

Turning life events into Instagrammable experiences

For some good examples of way the executives might consider spending some of their marketing budgets on experiential sets for live events: 

  • Look at the Healthymagination marketing campaign by GE. They designed realistic medical settings that include demos of the ways that their tech helps improve them.
  • For something a bit more colorful and in line with other experiential settings, consider the way that HubSpot has designed their inbound marketing conference, complete with a giant #INBOUND hashtag sculpture to remind attendees how to find their posts and tag their own.
  • If you want to add a high-tech approach, you might even follow Intel’s lead in using immersive augmented and virtual reality tech to create a memorable and Instagrammable experience. One highlight included a hologram of one of their general managers, Gregory Bryant, speaking to the crowd.

Live events can lend themselves perfectly to serving as venues for Instagrammable experiences. Of course, it’s possible to turn the setting into its own event. Businesses can create their own branded experiences, either to keep in their headquarters buildings for visitors or as a popup that they can move around to trade shows and conventions. They can use their sets to highlight their company’s history, products, and community service. All the while, they can turn this immersive experience into something very sharable, so they benefit from both offline and online attention.

Should experiential sets become part of your content marketing strategy?

If you can find an experiential set relevant to your business, you may find that a great venue to produce sharable content. If you’re looking for a novel, competitive edge for your content marketing agency, you might even come up with your own ideas for a photogenic, mini-Disneyland for the selfie crowd. You can improve exposure both online and offline, plus add another revenue stream to your business.

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Podcast Marketing: How to Create Branded Podcasts That Connect

As a content marketing agency or business, don’t overlook the power of podcast marketing to meaningfully connect with your market.

As a business or content marketing agency, have you overlooked the potential of podcast marketing? Even though this might first appear like a niche tactic, you should know this audio-only kind of content has blossomed into the mainstream. Take a moment to learn more about the popularity of this media and how to start podcasting to connect yourself and your brand with an audience.

Why no content marketing agency should overlook the power of podcasts

According to Convince and Convert research, plenty of podcasts have connected and engaged with audiences. For instance:

  • About 70 percent of Americans have heard of various podcasts and over half half Americans over 12 have listened to at least one. Typically, when at least half of the population has done something, it’s fair to consider it part of mainstream activity.
  • In addition, almost one-third of people listen to at least one podcast regularly. This figure represents an increase from just about one-quarter of over-12 Americans from the previous year.
  • To put these percentages in context, about 90 million Americans listen to at least one podcast every month, and 61 million listen each week.

One good thing about podcasts is that they appear to appeal to various age groups, so almost any content marketing agency should be able to find their niche audience for podcast advertising. For instance, you can find more podcast fans under 55, but the numbers are about the same if you’re talking about listeners in their 50s, 30s, or teens.

A few years ago, most people listened to podcasts on their computers but now tend to favor mobile devices that let them enjoy this content on the go. Also, as with radio, people tend to listen to podcasts while they’re attending to another task, such as driving, walking, doing chores, and finishing homework. That fact that busy people can listen to their favorite podcasts while cooking or commuting may also help account for their rise in popularity.

How to start a podcast that connects with your audience

Naturally, some podcast producers enjoy more attention than others. While a podcast can give you a chance to engage with a lot of people, you will always face competition for attention. As a provider of a podcast platform and training, NPR offered some valuable insights to help develop a quick connection with an audience:

Get off to a strong start

According to NPR’s own data, typical podcasts lose up to 35 percent of their audience within five minutes. After that, the dropout rate declines. They say that even mediocre episodes with strong introductions will perform better than great episodes with poor introductions.

Some tips to help engage with audiences right away can include:

  • Ask thought-provoking questions: Get listeners to think about their own reactions to questions. Promise more information that may either solidify or change their views.
  • Jump right into the narrative of a story: Help the audience imagine they can see, hear, feel, or even taste a situation. A few minutes later, you can catch them up with a little background. By that time, you should already have them hooked.
  • Present listeners with a mystery: Offer listeners a mystery or problem that might intrigue or even plague them. Promise an in-depth analysis to help find solutions.
  • Establish a personal angle: Tell the audience why the story is personally important to you. In this case, you may start with more exposition than narrative, but you can use your experiences to help develop a connection quickly.

Re-engage listeners every few minutes

Your strong introduction will help you keep keep listeners engaged. At the same time, you risk losing some of your audience as you move past the intro and into the meat of the topic. Worst of all, you might feel like you’re speaking into a void, so it’s also important to keep engaging your audience to remind yourself that you have one.

For instance, you might invite listeners to send feedback through social media or even contact tools that your platform provides. If possible, you can comment upon some of that feedback during your podcast. Letting the bulk of your audience know that other audience members are also engaged enough to leave feedback also helps maintain interest. Mentioning people who leave feedback and thanking them for their contribution will let them know they’re valued.

Develop good descriptions and artwork

For most podcasts, you will have a chance to include thumbnail artwork and text descriptions that potential listeners can view. Basically, these work like the headlines of news stories that will entice people to give your podcast a try. Try to craft these to specifically reflect both the spirit and content of your episode. The best examples evoke a reaction that will convert your potential listener into an audience member and hopefully, a fan of your brand.

Can podcast advertising help your business?

As with any kind of content, you should define your target market, set marketing goals, and of course include a marketing message and clear call to action. Once you understand what you hope to achieve, you can develop the sorts of content that should appeal to potential customers. You might directly advertise or simply use the podcast as a way to encourage more people to opt into your social media or subscriber list. You can also find podcast platforms that include analytics to help you see how well you’re retaining listeners and of course, eventually converting some to leads and customers.

Successful marketing podcasts tend to focus upon some educational aspect that relates to the business. For instance, Ken Greene represents a financial firm, and his podcasts help his audience learn about such important personal finance topics as investing and saving money or improving credit scores. A pet food company might attract an audience by inviting vets, trainers, and other professionals to a podcast that covers various pet care topics. Just about any sort of business can leverage a podcast to help gain recognition and build credibility.

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Is Airbnb Beating Resorts for Millennial Travel Bookings?

Most Airbnb business comes from millennial travel, so resort marketing needs to offer the travel experiences millennials still crave.

Like a lot of services offered by the new sharing economy, Airbnb’s business model appeals to many millennial travelers. And since millennials now make up not only the largest generation — but the biggest one in history — any travel audience development agency needs to see courting them as key to finding more customers and sustaining growth. Learn why Airbnb appeals to millennials and how hotel and resort marketing might transform to court this large and well-traveled generation.

The popularity of Airbnb for millennial travel business

In order to understand why Airbnb has offered such fierce competition for traditional hotels and resorts, it’s important for an audience development agency to learn more about how millennials view travel. According to Slice Intelligence data, sourced directly from digital consumer receipts, Airbnb enjoyed an almost 90-percent revenue growth during the same period when the large hotel booking sites only increased earnings by about 19 percent.

Slice Intelligence also found:

  • Just about half of the Airbnb customers fell between the ages of 18 and 34. At the same time, that age group accounted for less than 30 percent of Marriott guests.
  • Airbnb customers paid average nightly rates about 25-percent cheaper than hotel guests did. At the same time, they tended to stay longer.
  • While average Airbnb prices matched most closely with budget motels, guests stayed an average of 3.5 nights, which tends to reflect typical stays of more luxurious hotels and resorts.
  • Slice also found that almost 40 percent of their guests booked at least a month in advance, compared to an average of 23 percent on other large hotel booking websites.

Since the Airbnb guests tended to stay longer, it’s fair to assume that many of Airbnb’s customers didn’t necessarily plan to save money on their overall trip. Judging by the fact that they were also more likely to book rooms well in advance, it looks like many of these travelers made careful plans to maximize value.

Choosing Airbnb isn’t all about price for millennial travelers

According to Airbnb’s own survey of its millennial customers, choosing the home-sharing service isn’t all about prices and value. They found this group considers travel an important aspect of their life and many prioritize it over reducing debt, saving for a home, and other long-term goals. Over 80 percent of the millennials surveyed said they wanted travel to offer them a unique and personal experience with a chance to experience local culture. A majority expressed an interest in staying in interesting neighborhoods, dining in locally run restaurants, meeting new people, and enjoying a more adventurous trip.

These travelers probably don’t mind getting a good deal on their room, but they’re also motivated by the chance to set their own itineraries and experience a destination outside of what they may consider the facade of an all-inclusive resort or planned tour. Any travel audience targeting agency needs to focus on the importance of experience for younger adults and not just on prices. Younger adults also felt like Airbnb had a more sustainable and eco-friendly business model since at least originally, it focused upon simply sharing a room in a family home.

How can hotel and resort marketing better compete with Airbnb?

While the millennial generation makes up a large portion of Airbnb’s customers, Resonance Consultancy surveyed members of this group who had booked overnight stays within the past year. A majority still picked hotels and resorts as their first choice. By taking a look at some of the things that these travelers considered important, an audience targeting agency can demonstrate how their resorts and hotels deliver.

Safety and privacy

While respondents typically said that they considered price important, they also cared about safety and privacy. They felt traditional lodgings did a better job of delivering these two important considerations.

Wellness, comfort, and luxury amenities

Millennials may value their travel experience; however, not all prioritized the experience of staying in a local neighborhood over everything else people tend to associate with a hotel or resort stay. For instance, most Airbnb lodging lack the sort of spas and swimming pools found at luxury hotels and resorts.

Business amenities

Some businesses have even turned to Airbnb for employee travel. At the same time, hotels generally offer such services as business centers, meeting rooms, and high-speed WiFi to court business travelers.

Price comparisons

People tend to associate Airbnb with moderate prices, but according to Hotels Online, that comparison doesn’t always hold up. Particularly in some markets, average prices for Airbnb rooms sometimes meet or even exceed the average daily rates in hotels.

Promotions and packages

Hotels can run loyalty programs that improve the chance of repeat businesses. They also generally have the resources to put together experiential packages that might include dining, tours, and other experiences to provide a good experience and a good value.

Local culture

If some guests hope for more immersion in local culture, resorts and hotels are in a good position to come up with such creative ideas as a locally owned restaurant, bar hop, or street market tour. Also, traditional lodging businesses tend to employ lots of local people who can provide friendly, face-to-face service and interaction with guests 24/7. That’s not a resource that Airbnb guests can typically count on.

Sustainability

While sharing a home with local residents appears more sustainable than maintaining a hotel or resort, these traditional travel businesses can do their part and make certain guests know about it. Also, Airbnb has generated quite a bit of controversy lately since some property owners have invested in homes just to use as rentals, which has caused housing problems in some cities and driven up rental rates.

Finding more customers by courting millennial travel

Naturally, successful hotels focus upon knowing their customers. These days, they also need to court more customers by getting to know travelers who may have made decisions to book with Airbnb or other alternative kinds of lodging in the past. If these guests want particular amenities or experiences, traditional travel businesses just need to let their market know that they can provide them and much more.

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Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing: Why Should You Care?

After years of testing different forms of online and offline marketing, marketers still debate the virtues of an inbound vs. an outbound marketing strategy.

Consulting marketing pros may not always help you take sides in this debate. That’s because representatives of an outbound or an inbound marketing agency will naturally have their own biases. Before you decide which types of marketing to invest in, start by learning how inbound and outbound differ and which tactics will produce the best results for your unique business.

What is an outbound marketing strategy?

Outbound marketing refers to typical forms of paid advertising that you may find in print, broadcast media, and of course, on the internet. Some common examples include television or radio commercials, mailers, paid search listings, and banner ads. Businesses usually pay for this sort of advertising in order to gain recognition from a wide audience. They hope this exposure will help improve brand recognition and drive sales.

Pros and cons of doing outbound marketing for your business

Outbound marketing in popular shows, publications, or websites can cast a very wide net, so your business may enjoy a lot of attention. These ads can introduce new people to your brand. You may also try to target your outbound advertising to reach a particular audience. For instance, a business might have their ads run at certain times or on specific websites that are likely to attract the kind of audience they want to court.

At the same time, these kind of ads typically insert themselves between the audience and whatever they wanted to hear or see. If you want to read the news, you may not appreciate having to scroll past a banner ad. Likewise, if you’re eager to watch your favorite show, you may find commercials annoying. For this reason, some marketers disparage outbound marketing by calling it interruption marketing. The advertisement interrupts whatever the consumer had intended to do.

Also, an outbound marketing strategy relies upon talking to customers and prospects, but it starts a mostly one-sided conversation. Generally, you only have a short time or small space to provide your marketing message. Even if some viewers have an interest in your product or service, you have to hope that you’ve crafted your advertisement in a way that appeals to them.

What is an inbound marketing strategy?

If you think of outbound marketing as casting a net, you might picture inbound marketing as drawing people in with a magnet. Businesses strive to get found when consumers search for the sort of content that they or others produce about them. In that way, inbound marketing may inform, educate, and even entertain, and though it’s crafted with a marketing message, it’s not always directly selling.

The internet did not give birth to inbound marketing. For instance, Jell-O almost failed so badly that the owner considered selling off his product rights and factory. An enterprising inbound marketing agency came up with the idea of passing out free Jell-O recipe books in 1904 to literally create an appetite for the product, and the company quickly rebounded.

Today, marketers tend to associate inbound marketing with such internet platforms as business websites, social media, blogs, directories, and review sites. As noted in Impact, 70 percent of consumers research products before making a purchase. The right kind of content should help answer consumer’s questions, solve problems, and in some cases, even generate demand.

For instance, following the early example of Jell-O, lots of food manufacturers publish recipes that feature their products. Other companies may even use less direct kinds of content that are not so much designed to sell but to are crafted to simply attract an audience that matches their typical buyer’s profile. As an example, Casper, a mattress company, publishes a wellness magazine called Woolly.

How to create an inbound marketing strategy

Few businesses know more about inbound marketing than HubSpot. They function somewhat as an inbound marketing agency but are better known for the services and tools that marketers use. According to HubSpot, it’s important to begin by analyzing which models tend to work well for similar companies to figure out which actions to take and which to avoid. Getting started also means figuring out how to develop an infrastructure to use for implementing the plan. For instance, a business might need to add a blog to their business website or create profiles and pages on social media sites.

To develop the tactics to execute the outbound marketing plan, companies might follow these guidelines:

  • Develop buyer personas: A buyer persona describes a fictional example of a typical customer. It might include such potentially relevant information as age, location, income, gender, and even the number of children or profession. Your personas should represent various kinds of customers you may have and could also include something about their unique motivations for calling upon a company.
  • Outlining buyer triggers: Once you’ve developed a sample of buyer personas, you should document any events or issues that might trigger more interest in your offerings. As a simple example, Betty Crocker’s recipe site will tell you that besides making biscuits or pancakes from their baking mix, you can also use it in a simple recipe to make a quick pizza crust. The next time you go shopping, you might remember to add their product in case you get a pizza craving.
  • Defining keywords: Now that you understand your buyer and what might lead them to buy from you, you can develop lists of keywords that they might use to search for you online. You could brainstorm and then use some keyword tools to generate these lists. If you already have analytics for your website, don’t forget to browse past searches too, particularly if you know they’ve led to conversions in the past.
  • Develop goals: Your inbound marketing campaign goals should support your overall business goals. You also need to have a way to measure them. For instance, you may want your business to increase revenue and brand awareness. Some appropriate and measurable inbound marketing goals could include website traffic, leads, and sales generated by the campaign.
  • Document a content strategy: Once you’ve figured out who you want to attract, why they might buy, and what you hope to achieve, you can determine the kinds of content that will appeal to them and where you will distribute them. You will probably need to develop different kinds of content for various situations and stages in the buying process. For instance, top-of-funnel content may appear as social media posts or YouTube videos. Further down the buying process, you could offer case studies or even free samples. For buyers almost ready to make a purchase, demos or discounts may compel them to make a decision.

Should you only rely upon inbound marketing?

Most businesses succeed by engaging in having both an outbound and an inbound marketing strategy. This can produce the best results when both strategies complement in other. For example, some companies even advertise their inbound marketing content by promoting posts on their social sites or paying for display ads for a how-to video on a relevant, third-party blog. Your inbound marketing can help you earn customers by providing them with the information or even entertainment they seek; however, outbound marketing may help you find those people in the first place.

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Using a Reddit Marketing Strategy to Reach Niche Audiences

These Reddit marketing tips will help you reach niche audiences, improve your brand, increase traffic, and avoid common Reddit pitfalls.

Almost every digital marketer knows about Neil Patel. He’s one of the internet’s top influencers and a bestselling author. When Neil Patel calls Reddit the most intimidating social platform, you have to take notice. Intimidating or not, Mr. Patel also says that the right Reddit marketing strategy can help deliver targeted traffic and many other benefits to your business.

Why invest in a Reddit marketing strategy to attract a niche audience?

Reddit does have a reputation for hosting a population of harsh critics and controversial topics. Disrespecting Reddit users with inauthentic marketing tactics will do your brand more harm than good and perhaps even get your account banned from the more prickly communities. Given its reputation, you might wonder if Reddit really has a place in your social media strategy.

Still, according to HubSpot’s collection of Reddit statistics:

  • Over 430 million users access the site and search the site over 46 million times each day.
  • The site gets about 21 billion screen views every month.
  • Reddit has over a million communities, called subreddits, and at least 130,000 of these are active.

You can find subreddits dedicated to almost every interest, from cute pictures of animals to guides to navigating the dark web. As with many other social sites, the most active discussions tend to center around popular culture, public figures, and current events.

HubSpot’s statistics also supported the idea that Reddit users, particularly younger ones, tend to view the site’s crowd-sourced opinions as a great place to research solutions to problems, products, and services. Done well, Reddit can provide a valuable addition to your company’s content marketing strategy.

Even better, a fairly high portion of Reddit users earn at least $75,000 a year and have a college degree. This means that you have the chance to connect with a relatively high-income and educated audience. Even if that doesn’t describe your best market, you will also benefit from the Reddit user’s ability to self-select their communities. Compare that to social sites like Facebook, where users often complain they see ads and content that don’t interest them.

Three important Reddit marketing tips to help attract your tribe

If you’re marketing your own business or offering services from a content marketing agency, you should see how you might benefit from adding Reddit marketing to your toolbox. Make sure you take the time to understand this unique social site before you plunge in.

1. Understand Reddit’s structure

If you just look at the front page, Reddit may look like a very plain bookmarking site from 2005. Indeed, back then, that’s what the original founders pictured. It was only after they added subreddit communities, that this site really took off. If you’ve never spent time on Reddit, the first thing you should do is explore the communities that align with your interests.

Finding communities

Communities have this URL structure: reddit.com/r/subreddit. You can also search for communities and topics in the search box at the top. As an example, a search for marketing found reddit.com/r/marketingreddit.com/r/content_marketing, and more. If you just want to start by looking at the front page, you will also see tags by the titles that tell you which community these popular posts originated in.

Post Types

You may also notice three common kinds of posts on Reddit. These include media posts, text posts, and link posts. For instance, clicking the title of a linked posts will redirect you to the linked page. Posts with such media as graphics, videos, and even polls may tend to attract lots of views. Still, you may find that your thoughtful text posts drive the most conversation and engagements. As with most social sites, a mix of content types tends to perform the best over time.

Voting

Reddit users can vote posts up or down. Obviously, more upvotes will tend to keep your post higher on the subreddit’s page. Posts will lots of votes can even make it to the front page. So yes, you can think of Reddit as a popularity content. Your own popularity will depend upon how well you read the room — or in this case, the subreddit, the quality of your content, and sometimes, your overall reputation, called karma on Reddit.

Profile page

As with other social sites, you can also develop your profile page. That’s where users can see a feed of all of your post history, your overall karma, and how to content you directly.

Digging Deeper into Reddit

Mashable published a beginner’s guide to Reddit a few years ago, but they’ve updated it somewhat since then, so it’s still a pretty good resource for beginners. It will introduce you to Reddit’s unique culture and provide more information about Reddit’s structure and organization.

2. Present yourself as authentic

While you have a good chance to post your message in front of an engaged audience, you’ve also been warned that these users may not, as they say, suffer fools lightly. The tone in subreddits varies considerably, even those with similar topics.

Read the rules

As you would when venturing into any new community, like an old-fashioned forum, make sure you adhere to the subreddit’s unique rules and browse enough posts to understand what kind of posts tend to gain positive notice and which either don’t gain traction or even draw criticism.

Understand the community’s tone

Again, the most popular types of posts can vary considerably between subreddits. If you look at r/entrepeneur, for instance, you’ll probably see a lot of serious case studies that have been developed just for that community at the top. In contrast, r/books tends to favor links to interesting articles about books and authors.

To help you understand the community, you can sort posts in a variety of ways. For instance, sorting by “Hot” will show you the most popular posts. You can also find a checkbox to select such time frames as the last 24 hours, week, or year.

Start slowly

Mostly, you should participate in a subreddit as a friendly and helpful member before trying to sell anything. Reddit users justifiably distrust new accounts with little history because that’s exactly what aggressive sellers and even scammers create. You’ll have a much better chance to post successfully if you also take some time to answer questions or comment upon other member’s posts first.

Before trusting an account they don’t recognize, many Reddit users will check out your profile and post history. If you’ve only ever made two posts that linked directly to sales pages on your business website, you may get ignored or even worse, called out as a spammer. On the other hand, you can win over even the harshest Reddit critics with authentic, helpful, or even witty content, and in that case, they can become your company’s best friends.

3. Figure out what works for you

Really, the right approach and selection of communities can vary considerably. As mentioned above, some subreddits tend to favor different types of content. Others may not specifically gravitate to various kinds of content but will respond better to different topics and tones.

For instance, you can find several popular communities dedicated to GRRM’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books and the popular TV show, “Game of Thrones.” Some of these only tolerate serious discussions, but others gravitate towards light-hearted jokes and memes. In fact, users who didn’t like the strict rules on some of these subreddits started the more accessible ones.

Reddit case study: Transamerica

Search Engine Journal highlighted a case study of the way that Transamerica successfully used Reddit as part of their content marketing strategy. They began by running a sponsored post that surveyed Reddit users to post their questions about such personal finance topics as student loans, retirement plans, and insurance.

During this post’s run, Transamerica made sure they answered each comment and didn’t shy away from using a bit of humor, particularly to diffuse some critics. When some users accused Transamerica of simply trying to market, they didn’t react defensively because after all, that’s what they were trying to do. Still, they marketed by providing valuable content to their audience, which is what content marketing is all about.

Afterwards, Transamerica created content to answer the most common questions. They posted this content within subreddits but returned to the original paid post to find the original questions and link to their new content. In other words, they did exactly the opposite of the kind of hit-and-run selling that Reddit users tend to dislike. This approach benefited the company with better brand awareness, direct engagement, and plenty of content ideas to use on Reddit and other platforms.

Takeaways

Like they say about New York City, if you can make it on Reddit, you can probably make it anywhere. Just take some time to understand this social site’s unique structure and culture. Present yourself as a helpful and authentic community member. Find the right communities and see what elicits positive reactions from members. At first, Reddit can appear intimidating, but once you’ve been accepted into the tribe, you can enjoy a large and engaged audience.

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