Effective ways to connect with your audience online
In the last few months, how many times have you pressed “check-out” to complete a purchase? A lot of times, indeed. Ranging from Groceries, books, cosmetics to inflatable children’s pools, we rely on e-commerce to bring products to our doors, contact-free and quickly, as the pandemic continues. These items range from necessities to not-so-essentials: in April, online shoppers stranded at home in Canada purchased canned quail eggs, sitar strings, and children’s trampolines. Although online shopping has been around for years, it has only recently become truly mainstream. Even though Amazon has been around since the mid-1990s, online shopping only accounted for around 6% of all retail sales in the United States in 2010.
And the present growth rate is phenomenal. Because of the pandemic, internet sales as a percentage of overall sales in the UK skyrocketed from 2.8% in November 2006 to 18.9% in February 2020 – and then skyrocketed again to 30% in April 2020. Before Covid-19, depending on the internet for shopping was not as popular in our daily lives. Online shopping, like the internet itself, was a novelty a couple of decades ago. About 2017, there was a true turning point for online shopping as we know it today. By the end of the previous year, many Americans were “starting to shop online as often as they carry out the trash”; according to the Pew Research Center, eight out of ten Americans bought something online that year, compared to only 22% in 2000.
As smartphone penetration reached 80% worldwide by 2017, more phones in consumers’ hands aided the growth. According to data from 2019, e-commerce accounts for 16% of all transactions in the United States. This equates to $601.75 billion in expenditure. According to Shopify, a multinational e-commerce software giant, global online revenues surpassed $3.5 trillion in the same year. And seeing the people’s interest and inclination towards turning to online shopping for all their needs, popular brands also shifted and concentrated on providing things online. Analyzing the market trend and its growth, many startups also started giving services online only and have recorded immense growth in a short period.
A few Case studies- we will take the example of 3 brands ruling the online conversations. Zomato, Amazon Prime and McDonalds-Burger King Banter
With the changing scenario and people shifting to online shopping for all their grocery shopping, food to entertainment. Many brands tried their hands-on investing and revolutionizing how people see and use the internet for all their needs. Below we discuss three such brands that are ruling the online market and are growing with each passing day.
- Zomato– Indians are passionate about their cuisine. They exist solely to feed. However, it was the food-tech unicorn Zomato that changed the way Indians thought about food. Zomato made food into a company, a lucrative one at that, by bringing food to people’s doorsteps and easing their worries about where to eat with the bonus of excellent discounts and excellent “Live” tracking features. It began operations in the Delhi-NCR area in 2010. Who knew that a simple rebranding of the Foodiebay food directory website would lead to India’s first food tech unicorn? The restaurant aggregator and food delivery company, founded by IIT graduates Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, now serves in over 10,000 cities and 24 countries. Zomato expanded to Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Brazil, Turkey, New Zealand, and South Africa. Zomato has got a lot of support and has raised a lot of money. The unicorn’s success would be incomplete without mentioning its digital marketing campaign, which helped it gain recognition and become a household name.
How it changed the way people saw eating food at the comfort of their homes
Investors have been paying close attention to India’s food distribution market, as it has been to its peers worldwide. Swiggy and Zomato have both attracted a lot of money in the last few years. In this regard, Zomato has approximately 1,50,000 listings from India out of a total of 1.4 million listings worldwide. Every two months, 22 million new users join India’s platform who have never used its distribution service before. Zomato wants to take advantage of this opportunity, even if it’s just a tiny part of it, to expand its food delivery market. When it comes to food delivery, Zomato charges restaurants a commission based on the number of orders they get. Zomato makes money as consumers pay delivery fees because restaurants pay commission to the company for each delivery. After that, the fee is divided between the business and the distribution partners.
Marketing strategy of Zomato
Zomato has a tremendous online presence because of the following strategies-
- Zomato’s primary target demographic is people between the ages of 18 and 35. This group of customers owns a smartphone, enjoys eating out, and also likes to relax.
- The use of SEO has been done to its advantage. Although authentic restaurants such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut account for less than 1% of search traffic, Zomato alone accounts for more than 40% of voice traffic and nearly 2% of top keyword traffic. According to the most recent data from Uber, Zomato has an “amazing” grip on search engines. The amount of organic monthly traffic is enormous. On the other hand, the 35.6 million organic visitors per month look stunning on the graph. The top keywords by country statistics show a slight difference between the US and India keywords, indicating the best SEO strategy implemented by the Zomato team.
- Top keywords are turned into web URLs by Zomato. The tried-and-true method of informing search engines about what the web page is about and its importance to the user’s purpose. The SEO case study for Zomato reveals that the company’s on-page SEO game is as good as ever. On the website, all primary keywords are used, including ‘order food online,’ ‘restaurants near me,’ ‘meal for one,’ and many others. Search engines are redirected to related search queries.
- When it comes to social media marketing, Zomato has the upper hand. Its social media presence makes it prominent among netizens and, on occasion, the punch line to all jokes. The fact that Deependra Goyal, the startup’s founder, is very involved on Twitter just adds to the fun and excitement.
Social media impact
Zomato’s social media approach has been straightforward. Be wacky and inventive. Profit from the currents. Play with memes, speak in the local dialect, and maintain a ‘friendly relationship with your customers. Twitter is also about more than just having a chat. Nobody wants to miss out on hashtags, mentions, and specific profiles. Tweet deck makes it easier to display the feed by simplifying it.
The company also admits to testing Sprout social, allowing multiple users to manage one social media account and better handle email and in-app chat requests. The follow-up tasks can be delegated easily and without difficulty. It’s also more accessible than ever to keep track of results and listen in on social media. The brand places a strong focus on customer engagement and does so admirably. Check it out for yourself. One of the most impressive aspects of Zomato’s social media strategy is that it is not just the handlers who react and make an effort to keep in touch with customers.
Engaging the consumers
Using technology and social media to its benefit, the food-tech startup is well ahead of its competition. Zomato’s website or app is more than just a forum for delivering food to your table (literally) or recommending restaurants. Zomato land and in-app videos have been launched to further the vision of making Zomato a larger food community. This is also why when a user registers or logs in with his or her email or Facebook account. Zomato displays a list of their friends who have registered with the site and follow it on social media. The consumer, in exchange, has access to their restatement recommendations, feedback, and ratings. A scoreboard is also held on the website, which promotes healthy competition among users (friends). The competitors must visit as many restaurants as possible and consume as much food as possible.
Zomato has mastered the principle of email marketing. It talks directly to consumers, reminds them that being a foodie isn’t all evil, or showing them different ways to eat. Zomato was one of the many businesses affected by the coronavirus. Zomato even started contactless delivery and provided proper training to its delivery boys. Thus, ensuring that consumers are not concerned about the food they get.
Using mobile apps to the best
Zomato is primarily an app-based company these days. Whether it’s the app’s SEO, clean interface, or special filters like ranking, hygiene, fastest delivery, cost, and cuisines, it’s a winner in every category. It is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. It has 2.5 million downloads, and its platform accounts for more than 40% of traffic. The app allows you to monitor orders in real-time. Users can communicate with the app’s built-in help, add a card or net banking payment option, leave a tip for a passenger, and obtain his contact information.
How is it ruling the digital market?
Zomato’s digital marketing campaign is not only successful, but it also sets an example for other startups. While researching the Zomato case study, we discovered that digital marketing could lead to a brand’s success and make it a unique name to be reckoned with. The business spends a small percentage of its conventional marketing budget on digital marketing and nevertheless manages to reach billions of people. Even during the coronavirus quarantine, Zomato, like billions of other companies, managed to strike a chord with customers and master the social media strategy. The tweet transports people back to a time when all was fine, and they could indulge in their favorite street snack.
- Amazon prime– Amazon is now worth over $900 billion, thanks to the spin-off of its (more valuable) payment subsidiary, PayPal. The Amazon Prime membership program is perhaps the essential explanation for this. Customers were compensated with all-you-can-eat two-day delivery on their orders for an upfront price of $79, which was a first of its kind when it launched in February 2005. Customers were paid $9.48 for two-day delivery at the time, which meant that if you put only nine of these orders in a year, Prime would pay for itself. Amazon single-handedly — and inevitably — raised the bar for online shopping convenience. As a result, the types of goods that customers were able to purchase online changed forever. Do you have a last-minute gift, or are you at the end of a diaper pack? Amazon has become a viable alternative to the immediacy of physical stores. However, the idea came with many risks, and it created a lot of tension within Amazon. Some managers were irritated that their tasks seemed to be pushed aside for a secret program they did not know. Others worried that Amazon’s most valuable customers would take advantage of the scheme, driving up shipping prices to the point of bankruptcy. And if it succeeded, Amazon Prime would bring significant, unwelcome improvements to everything from how supervisors assessed managers to how the organization fulfilled orders and transferred products from point A to point B. and today, non-Prime members spend and buy less often than Prime members. Prime has more than 100 million paying members around the world as of last year. This is the tale of how the biggest retail breakthrough of the internet age came to be. Despite sound logic and purpose indicating that it could be catastrophic. It’s also the tale of how a seemingly innocuous concept — quick delivery — was able to permanently alter consumer psychology. According to new data by research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon Prime, has significantly grown in size. It has grown over the last two years to 80 million subscribers. According to the company, this is up 38% from last year’s total of 58 million Amazon Prime members. This shows how amazon prime has taken over the digital world and is extremely popular among people.
- McDonald’s– McDonald’s, one of the world’s biggest and most profitable fast-food restaurant chains, has unveiled a digital strategy overhaul. McDonald’s revamps its online presence with a series of digital propositions to modernize and improve its consumer experience. This was done due to declining sales to millennials. McDonald’s is forming a team dedicated to digital customer interaction. The new team is part of the plan to use technology to reach out to consumers and boost sales. Digital orders have increased by 23% in the last four years to $26.8 billion in revenue around the restaurant industry. Some social media strategies used by the brand include-
- McDonald’s uses their social media pages to promote new items, sweepstakes, and community engagement reports. These promotions and programs are timely and important. Taking advantage of social media’s fast existence to remain engaged in their customers’ conversations.
- McDonald’s tries to make their social media platforms feel intimate and welcoming, despite their size. Customer service representatives reply patiently and cheerfully to both positive and negative comments and tweets. Using keyword detection and listening, the fast-food chain joins in on conversations, much to the customer’s delight.
- Transparency is essential in any effective social media campaign, and McDonald’s prioritizes transparency in its social media communications. McDonald’s is holding a Q&A campaign where customers are encouraged to ask questions about their ingredients, goods, and food preparation. These questions are answered on social media and in a video series that details their entire process.
How to communicate effectively?
Social media is a virtual extension of your business, and it’s the ideal place to share your brand personality and expand your fan base. Providing a positive social media experience for your audience will boost customer retention and brand loyalty. To satisfy their needs and desires, you must adapt your marketing strategy for these channels. Below, we discuss some of the effective ways to engage the audience online.
- Engage- ask the audience- Social networking has evolved into a powerful tool for connecting with consumers. It’s never been easier to learn about the target audience’s tastes and views. Social media users enjoy sharing their thoughts, and your fans will always be more than happy to do so for your goods. All you have to do is provide them with something to discuss. Doing a survey or simply posting a query with your material is one of the best ways to do this.
- Implement the feedback- It’s also easy to say what resonated with your audience if you remain involved on social media and keep in contact with them. It’s critical to listen to your customers to learn how to improve your company. Although gathering input is essential for a successful company, it is almost useless if it isn’t put to good use. Make a spreadsheet of all of your customer reviews, with questions and suggestions separated. You should respond to complaints professionally and incorporate any helpful suggestions into your business plan. This should be achieved because customers who see that you are listening to them are more likely to have valuable input in the future.
- Be active on the message box- customers are more engaged if they promptly answer their questions. You need to be more active and prompt to understand what the customer wants and answer their queries as soon as possible. This will make them think that you value them and customer satisfaction is your topmost priority.
- Implement a chatbot on all the touchpoints- Adding a chatbot to your homepage is an easy way for visitors to communicate with you. Instead of waiting for an email or a return address, they will get instant answers to all of their questions. Connecting with visitors before leaving the website makes the chatbot an invaluable resource for customer service. Ensure you have a name and an image so that users don’t think they’re talking to a robot.
- Keep track of the trending media- Sharing and liking the most recent posts about business developments and problems is a perfect way to show your support and participation. Engaging with these posts will improve your credibility as long as you share or react to the honest material and do not offend. You show users, whether they’re potential customers or not, that you care about what’s going on in the world outside of your market, which builds trust and appreciation for your brand.
- Keep track of the trends but miss a few too- following the trends is indeed a great way of keeping your customers engaged. And it also enhances your social media presence, but at times following a trend blindly can lead to more disengaged customers than engaged ones. Some trends keep changing regularly, but it is not necessary to fit in with your concept. You cannot blindly keep on following something just for being in the race. It is, therefore, okay to miss a few ongoing trends here and there.
- Keep it original- stay true to what you are- The allure of social media is that it allows you to build closer relationships with your customers, provide exclusive insights into your company, and create a one-of-a-kind experience for them. Adding relevance to your audience’s lives through your original branded content is the secret to keeping them engaged. Where is the opportunity for your audience to want to socialize with you online if you’re either uploading your online catalog shots or reposting memes? If they’re a fan of your brand, there’s a good chance they’ve seen it all before. You want to create new content that grabs their attention when they’re scrolling. What can you impart to them, what can you share with them, and what can you encourage them with? You can invite your customers in a little closer by producing on-brand content that adds value to them while also highlighting your brand.
Social media plays a very essential role in connecting with your customers. By keeping them connected through emails, messages, and posts, you can increase your presence. Renowned brands and companies are also trying their best to maintain a rapport with their audience so that they can keep them engaged. While people are spending more time online and preferring shopping online, connecting with them through online platforms is the best way to remind them of your presence and evoke their interest in the brand. And these tips are surely going to help the brands connect with their audience online effectively.