Be Successful in 2017 with these 5 Key Digital Trends

digital trend

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Nowadays, there are 5 web marketing tendencies which every decision maker shall better follow:

♦  Social Selling

♦  Social Proof

♦  Influencer Marketing

♦  Growth Hacking

♦  Agile Marketing

These 5 concepts are described in this article.

This article is for you if:– 

> You don’t master all these concepts yet.

> You do not get the sales results you want and you wonder

    how to craft the strategy which would enable you to boost your commercial performance.

> You are pretty satisfied with your 2016 results and look for innovative ways to further strengthen your business in 2017.

> You are aware about the fact that we live in a digitalized world, that the Internet of Things (IoT)

    is labeled as the next big industrial revolution, and that you shall better stay on track

    and develop the skills which are paramount for all your future successes.

We live in a very competitive world. For sure, digital solutions created new industries and many jobs.

But these new technologies destructed many jobs, too.

The world became global. And the economic crisis became global, too.

We see the devastating damages of this crisis every day.

It’s so patent that we can really ask ourselves if all the new technological solutions

positively contributed to our economies or, conversely, if they rather are

a key explanation for the impressive increase of the unemployment rate, worldwide.

Within the economic chain, the digital transformation cuts many steps which are not

mandatory anymore. And by cutting these steps, it cuts many jobs, as a consequence.

The competition is fierce. Today and more than ever, it will be very tough to develop

sales, market shares and margins for the majority of the companies out there. 

Few companies will succeed on the long term, probably less than 10%.

So, here are 5 trends you definitely have to be aware of. Because they will help you build up

decisive competitive advantages in the years to come, and not only in 2017.

digital tendencies

Digital Trend > Social Selling


Some good old commercial methods are not that effective anymore.

Commercial prospection gets nowadays very poor ROI rates, just as example.

There are meany reasons for that.

First, people are fed up of being contacted, for commercial purposes, by sales representatives. 

You certainly already received numerous phone calls from companies wanting to sell their solutions to you.

Until a recent period, you were gentle towards these people.

Today, you close the discussion immediately.

Because you do not want to loose your time. Things have changed.

So, you do not speak with them anymore.

Many other types of classical commercial prospection methods are impacted,

such as door to door prospecting, just as example.

Let’s be clear: in many industries, commercial prospection does not really work any more.

It’s even contraindicated, sometimes.

You may bother your potential customers by implementing commercial prospection.

That’s the risk. And that’s not the best way to prepare a deal.

If you notice that your sales are declining since many years and you wonder why,

it’s probably due to the fact that you did not implement sales methods

which are innovative, efficient and adapted to today’s digitalized world.

This is where social selling comes in.

Social selling can be very powerful if you associate it with other classical sales methods. 

Today, 67% of customers research information on the internet before purchasing in store.

Most of the time, the decision is already made before the purchase in itself.

So, if you manage to properly promote the products you sell

via your social networks, your website and all your digital operations,

you can definitely get a competitive advantage.

Today, 57% of clients finalize their decision before speaking with a sales representative.

Very often, the commercial success happens before the commercial team goes into action.

Only 1% of traditional commercial prospection phone calls are able to generate

an appointment with a prospect. That’s saying something.

That’s the reason why it is utmost important to complete all the commercial actions

wich present very low ROI rates with innovative, effective and ROI-driven commercial methods,

such as social selling. 

84% of decision makers make their decision after having received a recommendation.

That is the reason why it is utmost important to use testimonials and reviews to make the deal. 

To develop a social selling strategy.

Yes, social can sell.

And the fact is that 78% of the sales representatives who use social networks

perform much better than their peers who do not want to capitalize on today’s digital solutions.

If the social profile of your sales employees is outstanding,

there is a high chance that their sales performance will be outstanding, too.

Social performance leads to sales performance.

There are plenty of ways to measure the social performance of sales people.

Social networks and digital tools are key assets for all those who want

to close and develop privileged deals with prospects and future consumers.

And one of the best ways to develop a social selling strategy is to set up

social proof components on a digital platform.

social selling

Digital Trend > Social Proof


What is social proof? 

In his book Influence, Robert Cialdini defines the concept of social proof

as the way people consider a trend as appropriate, valuable and qualitative

for the main reason that other people already considered this trend this way.

It’s a lot about following the crowd.

It’s normal: for most of the topics, people follow the crowd simply because

they do not have the time to make their own opinion.

They rely on the evaluation of other people.

The power of social proof is directly correlated to the level of uncertainty.

The more you are certain, the less you will listen to what other people think or say.

The more you are uncertain, the more the opinion of the other people will influence your opinion.

The power of social proof is also directly correlated to the level of appreciation.

The more you appreciate something, the more it will be important for you.

And the more something is important for you, the more you spend time to make your own opinion.

Because it means a lot to you.

Conversely, if you do not appreciate something, you won’t care.

And if you don’t care, you will mainly rely on what other people say.

Without really thinking. Without being really aware of what you do.

This kind of behavior has a huge impact on sales performance.

If you are able to prove to your prospects and potential consumers that a ton of people

already purchased your solutions before, they will be irremediably influenced

to proceed to the same purchase, too.

So, knowing that, how can you develop a social proof strategy?

Here is a list of 8 actions you can implement in order to establish an efficient social proof strategy:

> Highlight testimonials

Many people do not want to place customers’ testimonials on their website.

They make a mistake.

This kind of testimonials can not really harm a website.

Conversely, this kind of reviews can be very beneficial.

The more you will have qualitative testimonials,

the more people will be sure that you set up high level standards.

> Illustrate with figures

People love figures. Studies prove that figures give people the illusion to order their ideas.

If you have great figures in your favor (number of internet users, followers, awards, etc),

you shall highlight them on your website.

If one of your products is a best seller, indicate it on your website and say that it is a best seller.

The more people believe something is a best seller, the more they buy.

One of the main reasons of the success of a book or a film is … its success.

The reason why many people go to watch a popular film in cinema is that many people

rushed to watch this film before.

> Work with influencers

People believe influencers.

It is due to the fact that influencers implement high standards, in terms of performance.

It is not always explained in the press, but people who become stars or influencers in their industry

are people who worked a lot to get the results they got.

If influencers appreciate your work, try to highlight it on your website.

If you had the chance to work with a celebrity, you shall try to highlight your feat on your website, too.

> Understand the power of storytelling

People love stories.

Since they are babies.

It started once upon a time with Santa Claus.

And it continues through the years.

It would be really a pity not to take benefit of the power of storytelling in order to increase your sales.

Marketers and sales people know that: they never lie, they tell stories.

The art of storytelling consists in

1   searching the very few elements who could speak in your favor,

2   linking the points in order to draw a picture which reflects you and corresponds to your interest,

3   commenting, nurturing and promoting the picture you created in order to increase your sales. 

> Capitalize on your website

Your website is your main platform.

Ideally, you should place the relevant testimonials of your past customers on all strategic pages,

such as: your home page, your contact page, the page presenting your best seller

and of course your page dedicated to your testimonials.

Try to have a ROI and conversion rate approach:

whether you place a beautiful testimonial text or not, on your contact page,

close to your email address, it will have a huge impact on the number of people

who will click or not in order to send you an email and eventually buy your products. 

> Set up a rating system

People love ratings, scores and annotations.

If you use WordPress as a CMS, you can utilize plugins which will help you

install various rating systems with stars.

And the more people see stars, the more they may feel confident

that the product they aim to purchase is good.

> Badges and certifications

People love badges and certifications.

Most of the industries have their evaluation systems and deliver certifications.

If you have the possibility to prove your expertise with the use of badges or certifications,

you shall pass the popular examinations of your industry

and place the obtained distinction elements on your website. 

> Transform your business with the press

Journalists have a huge power of influence.

They can determine the opinion and the behavior of tribes

and even of entire populations.

Journalists can create from scratch the hype and the tribe you need

for all your future financial successes.

This is what happened to famous brands such as Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb or Snapchat.

All newspapers and magazines speak about these companies

and ensure their success and their sales performance, as a consequence.

Journalists often are aware about their social influence.

But they are not always aware how what they write or say

can influence the sales performance of groups of people.

Most of the time, they notice how their writings or their sayings influence what people think.

But they do not really remark how it also influences what other people will earn or not earn.  

They do not always know that social can sell. 

They do not always perceive that the good or bad buzz they create

generates good or bad sales for other organizations

(they don’t see or they don’t really care:

that’s not really their business for their business is to sale information first).

Influential trains often hide financial trains.

So, if journalists love you or if they are your friends, it will be much easier for you.

This is one of the best ways how social proof can lead to sales performance. 

The benefits of social proof strategies needn’t to be demonstrated anymore:

nowadays, 90% of customers read testimonials and reviews of other customers before purchasing.

85% of them read more than 10 testimonials before buying anything.

And 88% trust these customers’ testimonials.

social proof

Digital Trend > Influencer Marketing


Nowadays, influencer marketing is a key trend.

The principle is to work with influencers instead of broadcasting promotional messages

via magazines, newspapers, TV channels or posters in metro stations.

Every industry has his influencers. Some of them are even celebrities.

These people have a huge power of influence. Very often, they are the best of the best.

Working directly with these influencers will enable you to target, indirectly,

population segments which are utmost interesting for your business.

Let’s take an example.

If you develop, with an engineering team, a new kind of revolutionary starting block technology,

you could invest millions in advertisements in TV channels like CNN, BBC or Eurosport.

Or you can work with Usain Bolt who has today 4,49 million followers on Twitter.

One single tweet from Usain Bolt can leverage your notoriety from zero to one.

In theory.

The influencer marketing technique consists in utilizing the influential power

of influential people in order to increase one’s own influence.

In terms of communication, one can say that 90% of people will believe what 10% will say.

In the starting block industry, Usain Bolt certainly belongs to the 10%.

So, if Usain Bolt believes in the added value you create and if he agrees to help you build

the notoriety of your new technology, he will be able to influence the other 90%.

It would be counterproductive to work with the 90%. Because they are too numerous.

And because they do not have really any influential power, too.

Whatever they may argue.

So, it’s much better to work with a few personalities.

And you will win if you work with the best of the best.

That’s simple.

Influential methods are not something new.

In the antiquity, people conquered the supreme power

by using the same kind of influential methods which exist today.

What have changed are the influential techniques and particularly the digital tools

which make possible today to build up a strong influence.

Today, you can contact almost everybody almost everywhere.

You just need an email, or a LinkedIn profile, or a Twitter account.

It’s kind of revolutionary.

By using digital solutions such as BuzzSumo, FollowerWonk or PostReach,

you can determine in a few seconds who are the influencers of your industry.

With tools such as Traackr, Email Hunter or BuzzStream,

you can get the emails from almost everybody.

So, in only one day you can select key influencers, get their email, prepare your pitch

and send them a message. That’s all. After, you just have to nurture the conversation

with the ones who answered you.

How simple.

And in just one day!

Influencer people set up very high standards.

The best of the best are excellent.

They worked a lot in order to achieve this excellence.

So, the best way to be seriously considered by this kind of people is to be excellent, too.

Mediocrity will bring to zero results.

If you want to be part of their world (if you really want to understand them),

you will have to develop the same discipline they impose themselves.

Discipline drives their life.

It’s their lifestyle.

As a conclusion, never underestimate the power of influencer marketing.

Nowadays, influencer marketing methods bring 11 times more results,

in terms of ROI, than traditional web marketing methods.

Yes, it’s gold.

influencer marketing

Digital Trend > Growth Hacking


The art of growth hacking consists in exponentially developing results in record time.

In experimenting and continuously testing a series of web marketing techniques, called hacks.

The test is at the heart of growth hacking.

It’s all about finding the adequacy after a series of tests.

Growth hacking definitions are often complex.

Seal Ellis, who created this concept in writing an article,

could not predict that this concept would gain such a popularity, through a domino effect.

In fact, its description should be simple.

Growth hacking is all about having a rapid success, in business.

Contacting influencers on LinkedIn in order to ensure a quick and efficient promotion

of an innovative product may be called a growth hacking technique, just as example.

There are many ways to ensure the quick development of a brand:

you will be spoiled for choice in terms of hacks because they simply tend to infinity.

No, what really counts is to select the hack or the right combination of hacks

that will enable a new product to take off.

To accomplish a rapid success, timing is crucial. Many studies show that the element

which has the greatest influence on the success of a new company, is timing.

*

The conversion rate is at the heart of the process, too.

Hence the importance to decorticate the conversion funnel.

It’s very important.

All businesses start with a volume of visits. Some visitors will represent qualitative leads.

Some leads will turn into prospects and some prospects will turn into consumers.

And among these consumers, some will conduct regular re-purchases.

The conversion process has to be correctly analyzed, by each of the steps.

A digital platform could for example get many visits but very few sales.

It will then be very important to understand what blocks the buyings.

*

Growth hacking is a quite new phenomenon which was born with the digital revolution.

All the new digital technologies made it possible.

These new digital technologies allow for example to elaborate, test and launch products

with much smaller marketing budgets than in the past.

Social networks make possible the free diffusion of a message

in the space of a few seconds, worldwide.

A/B testing allows to verify a multitude of parameters and variables:

titles, words, designs, colors, CTAs, etc.

The advantage of these techniques is that they allow to build economic models which are scalable.

*

Finally, growth hacking modelizes a set of very academic stages where

early adopters will generate a wave of opinion leaders who will themselves create a mass market.

This modelization is very important because the majority of people purchase

what has already been purchased. Anthropologists know that people buy

what others are already buying. This is the power of social selling.

And many people think like other people think.

That’s the reason why growth hackers will be particularly interested in the people

who will allow the sales of a product to take off: the influencers.

Thanks to influencers, an entire community and even whole populations can adhere to an innovative product.

Or an innovative idea.

Each community is individual. Every community therefore has its own individuality.

The teams that do not work properly elaborate, market and spread urban legends.

Conversely, the teams that revolutionize our societies enter into legend.

During the series of tests, the quality of the control groups is also crucial.

If you decide to test your new product with groups of people,

the samples must be representative. Otherwise you’ll get wrong results.

Let’s take an example: if you have designed a stylish, modish accessory

and you decide to test it with a group of cads, you’ll get ridiculous results,

because of the consequence of farcical and grotesque bias.

*

Growth hacking should in no way obscure the most important:

your product has to correspond to a market which exists.

You can perfectly master hacks and various marketing methods,

but if there is no market/product fit, if there is a mismatch

between a product and a market, you will not succeed.

Whatever the quality of your growth hacking strategy.

At the end, the ideal steps are the ones which follow:   Hype   >>>   Tribe   >>>   Fans.

A great product that creates a great phenomenon.

A community that creates an unbelievable enthusiasm.

And fans who ensure the promotion of this product to everyone around them.

A hype. A tribe. And fans.

Well, something really cool.

Growth Hacking

Digital Trend > Agile Marketing


Traditionally, in most of the organizations of classical big companies,

the measurement milestone is the year. Or the semester.

Or even, sometimes, the quarter.

Concretly, a budget, a strategy and an action plan are elaborated, decided and validated

for 1 year, 6 months or 3 months.

Agile marketing changes that all.

According to agile marketing, the measurement milestone is neither yesterday nor tomorrow.

It’s now.

Nowadays, things are changing in a very rapid pace.

The world is not a stone which is frozen for several months anymore.

Every day is a new journey. And within one day, key strategic decisions

often must be modified and reoriented totally differently. 

You don’t change, you don’t survive.

 

Many things contributed to this evolution.

TV information channels bombard us with new information every hour.

Each time, they create a kind of emergency atmosphere.

The more a piece of information is presented as THE big scoop, the better it will be sold,

which will be very beneficial for the share of audience – and the finance.

Social networks allow the broadcast of information immediately and on a global scale.

With Twitter, you can follow the war in Alep, live. 

Newspapers lost their power of influence. Yesterday, they could build in one day

the opinion of entire populations – and print, diffuse and sell their “product” the day after. 

Things have changed. Within one day, tons of information and opinions

already have been broadcasted through the social networks

before the journalists of newspapers start thinking what they could write in the next 24h. 

This is the reason why most of the popular newspapers set up very qualitative digital platforms

in order to be able to follow the rythm of global information worldwide.

Marketing has changed, too.

With digital solutions, you can get, sort, interpret and utilize tons of datas,

statistics, sales figures, market shares, etc. 

This is the new era of Big Data.

Big Data means numerous datas.

And with numerous datas, you can build a strong strategy and a powerful action plan.

Basically, you can adapt to your market and your customers in real time.

According to a new social, political or economic epiphenomenon,

consumers can create a new tendency and a new market from scratch. In one day.

If you are able to detect these kinds of new markets while they are created

AND before all your competitors, you then create a decisive competitive advantage.

And if your are able to modelize all this and make it scalable

thanks to datas, methods and adapted decision and management systems,

you then create an economic ecosystem which can really make the difference and beat the competitors.

This is where agile marketing comes in.

Agile marketing implements the capability, within an organization,

to adapt instantaneously to the market.

Not in 3 months, 1 semester of 1 year – but now and forever now.

It’s kind of revolutionary.

With this way of perception, every day becomes a totally new journey.

Here is how Wikipeda defines Agile Marketing

agile marketing wikipedia

Agile marketing is all about using relevant datas and analytics

to continuously look for business opportunities or solutions, in real time.

As well as for growth hacking, the test is at the heart of agile marketing.

By deploying tests and experimentations quickly, interpreting the results, rapidly iterating,

and keeping what brought revenues and worked well,

one organization can significantly develop its sales.

At scale, a high-functioning agile marketing company can even run

hundreds of campaigns simultaneously and continuously.

In order to implement an efficient agile marketing process,

you need to have sufficient datas, analytics, and the technologies

which are adapted to your economic model, your consumers and your competitors.

It’s all about making people, processes and technologies perfectly work together.

Technology enables decision makers to capture, aggregate, and manage datas

from disparate systems. Technology enables to automate operations and iterate successes, too.

With technology, marketers can nurture and improve the processes in place,

thanks to customers’ and market’s feedbacks.

Agile marketing is more than a new trend.

It’s a necessity.

If you only focus on quarterly, semesterly or yearly plans, the risk is simply too high that you fail.

Because today and more than ever, it’s impossible to predict the future.  

Don’t do that.

Because if you do that, it is as if you’d try to ensure, today, your future financial successes

by reading in a crystal ball.

Oups.

consultant digital ecriture

 

Written by Jerome Perrin

I help professionals grow their business 

thanks to digital, technology and web marketing

  • Jerome Perrin

    Social selling, social proof, influencer marketing, growth hacking and agile marketing:

    I am looking forward to reading your comment on these key tendencies!

    Cheers

    Jay