Marketing Trends 2022: 14 Essential Trends You Need to Stay on Top of

Marketing Trends 2022

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate how we do business. Because we’ve been unable to meet clients in person, many of us have embraced the online environment to digitise our products and services. This has had the effect of accelerating the adoption of digital technologies by 3-7 years, with the greatest leap into this arena by the professional services.

Marketing trends come and go and keeping up with them isn’t always easy. As a small business, time is at a premium, so the secret is to choose a couple of manageable trends,  and select the ones that suit you, your business and your customers and incorporate them into your marketing plan.

I’ve researched my favourite marketing authorities on what they consider to be the Top Marketing Trends of 2022. And what follows are their predictions.

Trend #1 Authentic Marketing

If there’s a marketing buzzword for 2022, that word is authenticity.

As we continue to be bombarded with media stimuli, the 2022 consumer is more marketing savvy than ever and quickly developing an acute radar for social responsibility and spotting BS.

Pile of Manure outside Newscorp protesting as consumers demand authenticity
(Protest group Extinction Rebellion,

dumped piles of manure outside NewCorp

in Sydney & Brisbane on 4 Sept 2020)

Fed up with the struggle and hype of the past two years, today’s consumer is on a search for realness and transparency. This movement is being driven by the millennial generation looking for genuine, human experiences that enrich their lives and align with their values. Therefore, to survive the future, businesses need to offer a customer service that makes real connections with their customers based on empathy, honesty and trust.

 

What Authentic Marketing Looks Like

Your audience wants the achievable without the hype and false promises.

Authentic marketing is about delivering on this while being genuine and real. It starts with how you express your brand values and your purpose while remaining consistently true to who you are as a brand.

One of the main drivers of authentic marketing is to come from a service mindset—one that places your customers at the centre of everything you do. This means providing premium expertise and advice on topics that interest your audience and add value to their lives while being open and human.

Here are some suggestions:

 

  • tell personal stories that relate to your business. Speak from your heart
  • share interesting articles
  • post photos showing the real, human side of your business, those everyday moments
  • introduce your team. Show your faces
  • tackle issues head-on and be open about successes and failures
  • stop focusing on being perfect —less than perfect content is humanising

If part of your marketing strategy for 2022 is to build a community, then authentic marketing should lead your way.

Quote Less Perfection More Authenticity

Trend #2  Content Marketing Trends 2022

Content Marketing Rises In Popularity

The Covid pandemic has brought Content Marketing back into the spotlight. Here are some incredible stats:

  • Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that more than two-thirds of marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets in 2022. With 1 in 5 increasing by double digits.
  • UK Market Research Company Technavio, predicts a US$417.85 Bn growth in content marketing during the next 4 years.
  • The top three positions being recruited by large businesses in 2022 are in the areas of content marketing. With content creator leading the pack.

Content marketing continues to drive the demand to appear at the top of search rankings. Achieving the coveted position requires an alignment with Google Guidelines, the main one being that quality content is the number-one ranking factor. So, if you’re spending your marketing $ in favour of ads and haven’t invested in content marketing, then 2022 is your time to start.

 

  • The top 4 content marketing strategies businesses are investing in for 2022 are Video, Blogging, Case Studies and Infographics.
  • Blogging is one of most effective and widely popular inbound marketing strategies. This is because it attracts prospects as well as search engines. As one of the best content formats for SEO optimisation, 2021 saw business blogging increase in popularity, and it will continue to be popular in 2022 and beyond.

According to research from DataBox, 68% of marketers find blogging more effective than they did two years ago.

blogging-trends-2022

How to Incorporate 2022 Trends into your Business Blog

  • Integrate your written content with video and imagery to build engagement.
  • Experiment with adding interactive elements such as quiz’s, assessments, surveys and polls to encourage customers to interact with your content rather than passively consume it.
  • Maintain your focus on keeping your ideal client in mind and what it takes to win their business while displaying empathy and building trust in everything you create.

You don’t want to lag behind your competition in search results!

 

Here’s a hot tip:

Pablo Gomez, head of media at data insights company Kantar, predicts that in the field of content marketing, “Sole subscription offerings will become scarce, and premium content bundles will be key to luring viewers in a crowded marketplace.”

Marketing Trend #3  Story Telling

January 2022 kicks off with National Story Telling Week, so it’s safe to say that stories will continue to be as popular as ever. With the official day recognised as March 20, stories in all their shapes and formats will continue to be told around the world.

Storytelling ties in with authentic marketing because it’s part of the human experience. A good story reflects who we are and where we came from. They allow us to believe, dream, share and inspire others. There are many stories to tell in 2022, for example how you started your business, how your products are made and stories of how your product or service can potentially impact lives.

 

Story Telling Marketing Trend 2022

Trend #4  Conversational Marketing

Due to the rise of chat boxes and messaging, users are seeking instant personal connections with brands 24/7. As these tools grow in popularity, they are becoming increasingly central for a positive customer experience. Giving prospects the ability to find an immediate answer to their query, these digital products talk to your clients, one-to-one, in real-time, doing the heavy lifting to qualify leads.

Chatboxes can be the ideal solution for businesses that receive a high volume of online enquiries and are most effective in service-heavy industries like retail, travel, telecom and banking.

Small businesses who don’t see a need for a chatbox can implement this trend by turning to free instant messaging tools on social media platforms: Messenger on Facebook, Instagram Direct, Twitter Direct Message and LinkedIn Messages, as well as tools such as What’s App that offer a direct line from the consumer to the business without the hassle of logging into and downloading emails.

 

Marketing Trend #5 Personalisation

The days of generic marketing are over. These days consumers like and expect personalisation.

Recent data shows that 2 out of 3 consumers remain loyal to a brand due to personalised communications.  

Using personalisation means

  • developing services, products and marketing messages that address the needs and interests of your customers
  • interacting with your customers in a way that’s personal and human, making them feel special and unique rather than one of the masses
  • writing empathetic openings in blog posts that your readers can relate to, inspiring them to think, to feel and be understood
  • using first names on emails and communications
  • offering services, tailor made for individual customers

Trend #6 Niche Communities Boom

Niche communities are a trend you can’t ignore, particularly on social media. The Covid pandemic saw group numbers grow as people looked to connect with like-minded others online. With a growing disillusionment for the standard social network offerings, these vertical social networks will continue to grow and perform well in 2022, due to them offering a more connected, supported experience.

Niche Community Example Organic Farming

Tap into this trend by starting a group on your favourite social platform and offering niche-specific content that fosters conversation and engagement among members. Or participate in this trend by joining a group that connects with your demographic, interests and passions and one where you can offer advice and support to those who ask for it.

Strong online business groups on Facebook include Brisbane Small Business Marketing, Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, Business Chicks, and for writers, The Content Marketing Lounge.

Trend #7  Influencer Marketing Trends for 2022

The idea around influencer marketing is to hire a well-known person in your niche to endorse your product so that you can leverage their audience. It’s been around for a while but has, in the past, been a tad contentious and inauthentic. With certain celebrities being outed as being paid huge $ to endorse products they obviously don’t use and piggybacking on causes for altruistic reasons. Case in point, the furore after the Jenner sisters, exploited dead musicians Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur to launch a line of T-shirts, superimposing images of themselves over the musicians. (The t-shirts were pulled from the marketplace after legal threats).

On social media, where it’s relatively easy for users with a large follower count to achieve fame and become an influencer, the platforms have become saturated with influencers. As a result, this influx has caused users to become jaded and immune to their influence, with statistics showing a slight drop in celebrity influencer marketing effectiveness.

In the spirit of more authentic marketing, businesses can overcome this issue by working with influencers who have smaller but highly engaged audiences and work in a niche area compatible with the business.

 

Influencer marketing will continue to be an important fixture; with the publication of the 2022 collabstr influencer marketing report predicting that influencer marketing will go from being something reserved for big brands with big budgets to a marketing channel used by brands of all sizes. The report states that revenue in this space will grow to US$15 billion by the end of 2022.

 

Marketing Trends 2022 Top Countries use of Influencer Marketing
With Instagram currently leading the way – 48% of influencer marketing budgets are being spent on this platform. (TikTok came a close second – 46%, but as more countries ban the platform, this figure may change significantly in 2022)

Collabstr states that such growth is due to the rise of short-form video, particularly on TikTok, which has since spread to other major social platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Snap Chat. And the significant impact on social media advertising due to Apple’s iOS 14 changes as more businesses create video to promote their products using native advertising. (See Trend #8)

Social Media Marketing:

Social Media Content Trends for 2022

Trend #8  Short-form video

On Instagram

There looks to be a move away from ephemeral content (content lasting less than 24 hours before disappearing, such as reels and stories) towards more permanent content. This is despite the claim from Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram) that Instagram Reels and stories provide the entertaining content users are asking for.

In a recent Hubspot survey of global marketers, 25% of respondents called ephemeral content the least effective trend they invested in.

We’re constantly being told by the people behind the platforms that the average attention span is dropping. However, this is more than likely due to the quality of content. (I have no hesitation watching a long-form video or reading a long post if it interests me).

Ephemeral content

Instagram Reels
Source

Success in the ephemeral space needs something special to make it stand out from others in your industry. So, to get this type of content working for you, take this advice from Mosseri,  ‘get to the point upfront and ensure that your videos are creative, innovative and entertaining.’

 

On Facebook

According to Social Media Examiner, there is definitely a place on Facebook for videos that are short, highly informative, entertaining and easy to consume.  For the past couple of years, Facebook has been predicting that video will surpass all other content on the platform, and it now accounts for almost half of all time spent on the platform, but the sudden growth of TikTok has unexpectedly risen to dominate this space.

I doubt this will harm Facebook because Tik Tok’s domination may not last. As of 9 June 2021, the United States have joined India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in banning the platform. Other countries are investigating the platform, including the UK and Australia.  (Our PM, Scott Morrison, has issued a warning.)

 

Trend #9  Long-Form Video Trends

Longer videos, a feature of YouTube, will continue to dominate the long-form video market as users search the platform for answers to their problems and how to do something.

In content marketing, long-form blog posts and articles lead the way as marketers, burning out from creating an endless stream of content, put an emphasis on evergreen content – content that doesn’t date and may only need updating now and again. Evergreen content tends to be well over 2,000 words and take the form of content such as expert guides, tutorials, Ted Talks, YouTube videos, courses, interviews, case studies.

Even videos and reals are getting longer, although the change is subtle.  A trend for 60 second Instagram reels, Facebook stories and short videos, rather than the traditional 30 second videos, were seen across the board.

 

Trend #10  Advertising Trends for 2022

Native Video  

As more and more consumers block ads on their desktops and mobiles, businesses are looking for ways to leverage advertising that works.

Marketing trends for 2022 will see advertising, particularly ads in the story format, become more popular than ever as Facebook’s organic reach plummets to almost zero.

We will also see a resurgence in Native advertising— it’s currently one of the fastest-growing channels in digital advertising. Native advertising is paid advertising that blends into the user experience of a digital platform. It matches the look, feel and function of the media format, unlike traditional advertising, which interrupts the user experience. It may take the form of a sponsored article, suggested post or ‘recommended for you’ content.

 

Marketing Trend 2022 Native Video Advertising

Trend #11 SEO & Search

We can’t discuss marketing without mentioning SEO and Search. Although these aren’t new trends, in 2022 they’re more important than ever.

Search Engine Journal recently published their 2022 trends blog which focussed on content marketing. Content marketing is important for SEO because SEO is married to content and search engines.

The E.A.T. mantra will continue to weigh heavily on the minds of SEO marketers through 2022, along with a focus on consumer intent.

E.A.T.– Google’s search quality evaluations for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness is based on

  1. the creator of the main content,
  2. the main content itself, and
  3. the website it’s housed on.

There are over 200 ranking factors that remain elusive to SEO experts. Search Engine Journal give it a good crack in this guide.

 

Voice Search

The rise in voice search is growing fast. December 21 statistics in the US show that 71% of people use voice to conduct search queries and predict that ¾ of all US households will own at least one smart speaker.

Similar statistics are likely to be seen in Australia, as we are known as early adopters of technology. So, voice search is definitely something to look into as part of your 2022 marketing strategy.

  • When people search with voice (instead of typing) they tend to use complete sentences so, it’s important to use them in your content.
  • Use question words – who, what, where, when, how, why as these are strongly associated with voice search queries.
  • The use of Rich Answers in your content will aid your success. Rich Answers are snippets of content that answer a direct question, for example

Marketing Trend #12 Branded Audio Content Takes Off

Podcasts

There are over 2,000,0000 podcasts available in thousands of niches. That number will continue to grow in 2022 as more businesses follow this trend. Australia is one of the most popular audiences for podcasts, equal to the United States. So, if you’re thinking of starting a podcast, 2022 could be the perfect time.

Audio Rooms

The popularity of voice has seen the introduction of live audio rooms such as Clubhouse. These rooms act as a kind of live podcast with an audience who can add to the conversation. Despite some misgivings from marketers at its inception 12 months ago, Clubhouse has grown to 4.6 million monthly users, however most of this initial growth was due to its uniqueness. The trend has caught on with Instagram Rooms, Facebook Messenger Rooms and Twitter Spaces following after the success of Clubhouse.

Media Platform Mashable suggest approaching these rooms with caution because the chat rooms are not high-level protected. This means that Facebook can track and access content and that some rooms are ripe for abuse. Such abuse happens when uninvited people crash a video chat and spam it with unsavoury content. This is known as zoombombing because it originally started on Zoom.

 

The Rise of Machine Learning

Trend # 13  AI to Write Content

The second most significant trend in content marketing is AI. A quick definition of this concept is software powered by artificial intelligence trained to generate original, creative content based around SEO.

It’s available. In journalism, AI is used to write news stories and is referred to as automated journalism. As far back as May 2020, Microsoft replaced dozens of contract journalists on its MSN website to write straightforward, simple news stories. Like this example from Deadspin:

Tuesday was a great day for W. Roberts, as the junior pitcher threw a perfect game to carry Virginia to a 2-0 victory over George Washington at Davenport Field.

Twenty-seven Colonials came to the plate, and the Virginia pitcher vanquished them all, pitching a perfect game. He struck out 10 batters while recording his momentous feat. Roberts got Ryan Thomas to ground out for the final out of the game.

Can you tell a machine wrote it?

Some content marketers are warming to AI, but word on the street is that it’s not quite ‘there’ yet (but it’s getting there). The question is will it replace human writers? The word is out that AI is great for helping writers speed up the creation process but it won’t replace the originality, passion and empathy of humans.

Marketing Trends 2022 WallE machine learning

However, AI helps with content creation in other ways:

 

  • For example, it will help identify keyword intent, conduct topic research and allow audience-specific content creation, thereby improving your content’s online ranking.
  • AI will help content creators offer personalised content to their audience. AI tracks user behaviour, preferences and interactions with content resulting in a boost in engagement and conversions.
  • Finding interesting topics for your blog will be easier with AI as it will predict audience reactions and sentiment towards a specific topic.
  • It will help with Grammar – the Grammarly App uses AI in its bag of tricks. It currently helps businesses create well-written content and use consistent branding, word usage, tone of voice and intent.
  • AI is currently used in email marketing – Mail Chimp use AI to help with product recommendations for shoppers and forecasting tools that predict users most likely to buy)
And last, but certainly not least in our list of Marketing Trends 2022 is

Trend #14 Experiential Marketing

If there is to be a second buzzword for 2022, it’s Experiential Marketing. Traditionally the domain of retail brands, these social campaigns (known as engagement marketing) give consumers a participatory, hands-on experience to deeply engage with a brand.

With social distancing becoming less of an issue, consumers are looking forward to getting back to a normal, face-to-face retail experience. And in 2022 we’ll see this experience heightened. Many brands will focus on creating meaningful connections between the brand and its customer. We’ll see branded pop-up shops and customised mobile vehicles (vans, buses, mobile tours and trailers) offering samples, demos, retreats, events, challenges, AR and AI experiences.

Experiential marketing relies heavily on originality and creativity to capture attention and motivate people to experiment with products.

Some recent examples of experiential marketing include

Marketing Trends 2022 Experiential Marketing

McCormick’s Must Switch campaign

Restauranteur Tom Colicchio hosted a pop-up at his restaurant Craft NYC last March to debut his specially designed French’s-inspired sandwich. At the event, instead of payment, people were asked to swap their mayo jars or pledge to switch to healthier condiments, and in turn, they received a delicious sandwich. (Any unopened condiments will be donated to a local food bank.)

Experiential Marketing Trend Hersheys Red Halloween Door

The Hershey’s Door

Halloween saw Hershey’s bring a door to select neighbourhoods in the US for trick or treating in October 2020. It delivered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups via remote control and Bluetooth. In a post on Instagram, they asked fans to weigh in on the door’s next locations, receiving over 15,000 comments.

Dolce and Gabanna's Pop up Store
Dolce and Gabbana’s travelling coffee and clothes Pop-Up Shop in the Hamptons, USA

The pop-up store was housed in a customised Airstream made to look like a Sicilian cart, a nod to the Italian fashion brand’s design DNA. The pop-up ran for a month in summer 2021, ensuring consumers could visit it without encountering large crowds. Customers could also make appointments via email or text message, with the Airstream travelling to their homes.

Conclusion

2022 marketing trends are an integrated mix of the old— the fundamentals) and the new —technology and the latest (the rise of audio rooms), all of which are about creating an experience, that supports a business’s innate desire to connect with their customers on a deeper level than ever before — and vice versa.

This is nothing new, but it’s strong focus is being driven by the consumer’s demand for more authenticity and personalisation.

What does this mean for small businesses? 

  • Stick to the fundamentals.
  • Authenticity will be the buzzword for 2022 as consumers continue to be educated and entertained by brands in ways that surpass the competition in their chase for the marketing dollar.
  • Continue to create valuable content that’s focused on your customer’s needs and publish consistently. And, if you’re not already doing so, start incorporating video into your content, particularly on social media.
  • Incorporate SEO fundamentals into your website content to keep the Google algorithm happy.
  • Advertisers will need to find more creative and less intrusive ways to reach their target audience online, as more people use ad blockers in response to advertising fatigue.
  • Revisit your customer personas to get laser-focused on their wants and desires, including what they expect from you and how they prefer to interact with your business.

Here’s to 2022. May it be prosperous year for your business!

What is Inbound Marketing?

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is the strategy of attracting customers to your business by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to their needs and interests.

Inbound grows your business by building relationships with your customers and empowering them to reach their desired goals at any stage in their journey with your business. 

Marketing Hourglass

How is Inbound Marketing Used?

Inbound marketing uses content to help potential customers find your business even when they are not ready to make a purchase. Developing a relationship early in their search for answers can lead to a preference for your business as they get to know, like and trust you— which can lead to a long-term relationship with you.

As a form of attraction or pull marketing Inbound focuses on visibility and engagement and doesn’t make people feel like they’re being sold to.  It works particularly well for businesses that sell high-value services and typically have a longer buying process than those that sell inexpensive products. Online strategies include blogs, SEO, social media and more.

Inbound marketing is the opposite of push marketing which focuses on taking (or pushing) your products to your customers. Push marketing relies on the more traditional ways of marketing/advertising, such as direct selling via advertising, direct mail and trade shows.

 

Why Inbound?

Because it puts your customers into the driver’s seat, connecting your business with people genuinely interested in what you have to say and offer. It can do wonders for your business via brand awareness, loyalty, engagement and growth. In addition, Inbound is a powerful way to build trust, reputation and authority.

Quote consumer trust

What You Need to Know about Marketing Strategy vs Tactics

What You Need to Know about Marketing Strategy vs Tactics

Marketing Strategy vs Tactics vs Plan

Marketing can be confusing enough. But nothing often confuses new business owners more than the terms marketing strategy, marketing plan and marketing tactics.  Heck, even some marketers get confused. So, it’s no wonder that these terms are often intermingled and thought of as one thing. But there is a difference. The question is, what’s the difference and do you need all three?

What do you think of when you hear the words marketing strategy?

Do images of Facebook Ads, Instagram Reels and Email Newsletters spring to mind?

You may be surprised to know that these are not marketing strategy and that many people confuse marketing strategy, marketing plan and marketing tactics, thinking they’re the same thing. But they’re not. They’re different things.

Marketing-strategy
marketing-plan
marketing-tactics

What is a Marketing Strategy?

A Marketing Strategy is a process that a business takes to identify specific marketing goals. It acts as a blueprint for how the business can reach those goals.

For example, as a new business, your main objective will undoubtedly be to get clients. To achieve that objective, you need to get members of your target audience to know you, like you and trust you enough to become a client and refer you to others.

Therefore, so that your business can position itself in the marketplace and gain a competitive advantage, your strategy may incorporate elements of strategic business planning as well as branding. For example, it may include identifying ideal clients, creating mission, vision and value statements, brand messaging and a website review.

A Marketing Strategy does not list actions to be followed on a day-to-day basis. Instead, it’s in the Marketing Plan that these actions are detailed.

What is a Marketing Plan?

The marketing plan is an extension of the marketing strategy. The plan often includes specific campaigns and outlines the timeframes and methods your business will use to meet the campaign’s objectives. It is these methods that are known as tactics.

Individual marketing campaigns are focused on achieving a specific goal, such as creating brand awareness, building trust, or launching a new product.

 

What are Marketing Tactics?

Marketing tactics are the methods used to achieve the objectives outlined in the marketing plan.

Examples of online tactics may include running ads, using social media platforms, publishing blog posts and case studies, hosting webinars and podcasts, and creating an email or videos series. Offline tactics may consist of running events, participating in tradeshows, networking, PR and sponsorships.

For example, your strategy uncovers a need for your business to build trust. Your marketing plan recommends publishing case studies. The content you create to promote your case studies are social media posts, landing pages and webinars. It’s the case study that’s the tactic.

Do you Need All Three?

Yes.

There’s no point in doing a strategy unless you execute on it. And to do that, you need a tactical plan – they’re symbiotic.

Often marketers refer to all three terms under the umbrella term of Marketing Strategy or Marketing Plan. They do this because it keeps things simple.

(I refer to all three terms as a marketing strategy)

Marketing Strategy, Plan and Tactics explained

How often does a business need to do a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy has a longer lifespan than a marketing plan because it contains the core elements of a business brand as well as the big picture goals.

However, you should revisit your strategy at least once a year to review your goals and marketing activities or to ensure you are still on track.

As the Marketing Plan usually covers short-term objectives, it should be revisited once your objectives have been achieved. Or your goals for the year change.

Top 5 Benefits of a marketing strategy

Marketing is critical to a business because it tells the world who you are and what you can do. It also helps your business define its purpose.

A marketing strategy affects how your business operates by putting the focus on the customer and how your products and services can help them.

A marketing strategy helps a business to

1.  Identify and understand your ideal target markettso you can understand their needs, values and motivations and how your product/service meets these needs. Then you will know how to address their problems in a way that creates value. Which makes your marketing easier.

2.  Save time and money spent on advertising and marketing that isn’t working and helps support your return on investment

3.  Identify competitors. Knowing who your competitors are means that you can keep your eye on them and what they’re offering. It allows you to look for gaps in their offering and things that they do or don’t do well. This can guide you to improve your business offering by improving on or including products or services to gain a competitive advantage.

4.  Differentiate from your competitors so you can develop your Unique Selling Proposition, which positions your business in the marketplace.

5.  Provide clarity and focus while giving your business goals direction and a greater chance of achieving them.

A wise woodsman once said that if he had only five minutes to cut down a tree, he would spend the first three sharpening the axe.

Planning is the Driver of Success

We start a business for various reasons. We want to make a difference, to enjoy the freedom of being our own boss and for our business to succeed and make a profit. But to do that we need customers who like what we do and buy our stuff. And we all know that marketing is the way to achieve that.

Running a business is not easy, and many businesses fail. But planning has proven again and again to be the driver of success. So, no matter what you call it— a marketing strategy or marketing plan, it’s a powerful tool for guiding your marketing, a driver for business success and should be a part of yours.

 

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Forget the Advice Write Like You Talk and Do This Instead

Do you write like you talk?

There are some masterful content writers and it’s common to feel a tad intimidated by how well-written their articles are.

Feeling less than 100% confident in your writing may have led you to search “How to be a better writer” and found the following advice:

‘Write Like you Talk.’

If you’ve taken this advice to heart, be careful because it’s not the best advice.

Although you can get away with it on social media (depending on your business), it’s not good advice when it comes to writing articles. It’s meant for the novice writer— to stop them writing like the mouthpiece of academia. (Unfortunately, even today, many writers still haven’t listened).

Advertising man, David Ogilvy is believed have coined the original phrase, but there’s a word missing from the quote, and that word is naturally.

Write like you talk—naturally.

~ David Olgilvy, Advertising Tycoon

The suggestion to ‘write like you talk’ shouldn’t be taken literally

When someone recommends that you write like you talk what they mean is write in a conversational style. Like a chat with an acquaintance, but with a bit of polish.

When we speak, we don’t usually pay great attention to word choice or sentence formation.  Eavesdrop on any conversation and you’ll hear half-finished sentences, sudden changes of direction, slang, ums and ahs and other filler words. Because as Australian’s this is how we ‘talk’.

Hey, How ya going? Dya wanna have coffee? Nah, sorry, can’t. Gotta go.

Writing online obviously requires more formality than the above example, however too much formality sounds impersonal and stuffy—it requires a balance. After all, you want to sound professional and approachable, but you also want to sound like ‘you’.

So how do you achieve this?

 

Ignore the advice write like you talk and Make Your Writing Conversational

Here’s how

Keep words simple

Don’t use convoluted words when a simple one will do. People will switch off if they don’t know what you’re talking about. Therefore, avoid using jargon, unusual words or sounding like you’ve swallowed a thesaurus.

Use simple sentences

Say what you want to say in the simplest way possible, using simple words, then add a couple of interesting words to spice it up.

Simplicity quote write like you talk

Lose the words you don’t need

Avoid using weasel words (words that suck the life out of the words next to them). These include words and phrases such as just, virtually, a bit, having said that, almost, fairly etc., and are common in a lot of writing. These words are vague, unnecessary and weaken your writing. If in doubt, read the sentence out loud, first with the weasel word, and then without it. If it makes your sentence sharper without changing the meaning, omit the word.

Plan in advance how your piece will connect with your reader

Using a conversational tone with a touch of empathy and blended with personality, will go along way to developing a connection with your reader. This powerful combination works because it shows them that you understand how they feel and what they’re thinking. And they’ll like you for it because as they’re reading they’re thinking— this person really gets me!

So let your personality shine through in every piece you write. Choose your words to match your tone of voice and create a mood for the piece. Plan it out in advance to suit the content. Will it be serious/passionate/informative/edgy/personal/wry or fun?

Then,

Read your writing out loud

Is your writing music to your ears? Does it have rhythm, does it crescendo and fall? Does it flow? Does it make sense. Does it speak to your reader?

When someone reads, they hear the words in their head. And what they want to hear is you speaking directly to them. Like you’re reaching out of the screen to connect.

Here’s how

Give Your Writing Rhythm

To get the rhythm vary your sentence length

A long sentence shouldn’t have more than 25 words.  A short sentence can have one word.  Honestly. Break up long sentences with a short one to add punch.

Keep your paragraphs short

Writing is visual and short paragraphs catch the eye and look inviting to read because they’re surrounded by white space. Unlike long paragraphs, which look discouraging. And please avoid walls of text.

Also,

Use contractions

Contractions are more casual and we use them in conversation. So also use them in your writing to sound more relatable. For example:

  • You’ve instead of you have.
  • Don’t instead of do not.
  • Could’ve instead of could have.

Use interjections to express feelings or sudden emotion

Words like Phew. Duh!  Yikes and Ouch are fun and convey a sense of humour and are suitable for informal and casual language, but don’t overdo it.

  • Avoid them in formal writing if you want to be taken seriously.

To make your writing personal

Keep your one reader persona in mind and write directly for them.

  • Use the word you instead of I.
    You may’, ‘
    ‘Here are 7 tips for you to’
    and so on.
  • Have a point of view.
  • Tell a story.

 

Finally, Edit Well

You may have heard of this well-known phrase—The magic’s in the editing.

It’s a well known fact that no one ever publishes a first draft. Every piece will go through a series of edits before it’s published.

I edit several times. Often I leave it until the next day then re-read it and edit some more.

If you have someone to read it through and edit the piece for you, even better, a different perspective always helps if you’re too close to the piece.

If it’s just you then have a go at using an AI tool like https://ttsreader.com/  to hear your writing. From personal experience I find it amazing how many things I pickup that I missed before.

But what if you’re comfortable writing like you talk?

You may be someone who always dictate your articles. If this is the case, my advice is to do so for the first draft. Then give it some polish— read it out aloud and edit it until you’re happy to hit publish.

In today’s world, where content drives business, there’s no excuse for lazy writing. The reader will not enjoy the experience and you’ll be wasting your time. So please ignore the advice to write like you talk and write like the professional you are.

How to Research a Target Audience to Have a More Effective Business

How well do you know your target audience?

I mean, really know them.

You may think you know them, but if I asked you to describe them, could you tell me what keeps them up at night, or where they hang out online and what they do in their spare time? Do you know what they aspire to in life or what drives them to buy your products and services?

You should.

Why it’s important to research a target audience

Marketers and business strategists are always banging on about how important it is to research your target audience.

For good reason.

The primary principle of powerful marketing is to get the right message to the right audience. So, regardless of what you sell, you need to understand their world if you’re going to succeed in business.

How does it make you feel when Facebook ads arrive in your newsfeed that you have absolutely no interest in? Or what about when you read that article on SEO that completely loses you? It probably makes you wonder why they bother.

One of the most common mistakes business owners make is trying to appeal to a everyone. They create generic messages that don’t appeal to the people they’re trying to attract, and they use language that their audience doesn’t understand.  They’re hoping that by casting a wide net they’ll attract the big fish— but instead they waste valuable time and money attracting the wrong type of customers.

research-a-Target-audience-everyone-is-not-your-customer

Imagine how much easier it would be if you could target your ideal clients —people you want to work with, who energise and inspire you, who want your service and are happy to pay for it.

It’s possible to achieve this through target marketing and target market research.

What is Target Marketing?

Target Marketing is the process of identifying a group of people your business serves, for example, business owners, women or overweight people.

This group of people are called a Target Market.

However, because a target market is an extensive and unspecified group of people, it’s necessary to break it down into a specific group (within that target market). This group will become your Target Audience.

 

The Benefits of Target Market Research

Whether you’re just starting or growing your business, you need to know who your clients are and how to attract them. Without clients, your business has no chance of surviving. Conducting target market research enables you to find the best clients to work with and has many other benefits. You will

  • Develop better relationships with your audience.
    Knowing what creates tension in their business and their lives means that you can empathise with them. This means that you’ll get higher engagement on your messages because your audience knows that you get them‘. You’ll begin to develop trust.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

~Maya Angelou, poet

  • Get more engagement on your content. Because you’ll know what  interests and connects with them

You’ll also

 

  • Be more productive. Creating marketing content will be easier (for the same reason as above)
  • Know what motivates your audience to buy, so you’ll know how to persuade them
  • Know where to find them online and off
  • Better understand how your products and services fit the needs of your target audience, so you can tailor them to suit
  • Learn other ways to serve your audience and develop new products and services that you may not have thought of.

How to Define your Target Audience

Now you know who your overall target market is, it’s time to break it down into a specific category of people within that group. The first step is to decide who will benefit the most from your solutions, who you’re most passionate about helping and who are most likely to buy from you.

These people will have commonalities based around a mix of demographics such as age, occupation or marital status, and psychographics such as aspirations, beliefs and, most importantly, a common problem or need that your business can solve. For example:

  • new mums aged 18-35 who struggle with parenting
  • overweight men over 40 who have irritable bowel syndrome
  • MAMILs: Middle-Aged Men in Lycra who ride bicycles

To narrow this list down even further, you may want to include your own criteria for the types of people you want to work with—those who you consider to be your ideal clients. Or you may decide to work with people from one particular industry. This narrow focus is known as a niche.

Once you have compiled this list, the ‘people’ on this list become your Target Audience.

The next step is to research and discover what makes that target audience tick, and you can reach them.

Happy-client-target-audience

How do you find a target audience?

The idea behind the research is to get as much information as you can on your target audience. The more you know and understand them, the easier it will be to sell and market to them. Therefore, knowing your target audience well is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

1.     A great place to start is to research your client base

Look at the characteristics of your best existing or past customers and for commonalities among them. Then, create a spreadsheet to record your findings.

For example:

 

  • Categorize by demographics: age, gender, location, profession, title and industry and then by psychographics: beliefs about your industry, hobbies, and interests. Include any other relevant or interesting information you find.
  • Add any groups they belong to (networking, social, industry etc.) and any conferences or events they attend.
  • Consider who are the easiest to work with. What qualities or behaviours makes them the easiest?
  • Where do you meet your clients? Are there particular types of people or industries you seem drawn to?
  • If they are past clients, look at what they purchased from you. Then, analyze what were they like to work with, adding anything else you know about them.
  • What do you know about your website visitors and people who have downloaded your offer or signed up for your newsletter?

2.   Go online to Research Potential Prospects 

  • Check out any Facebook groups your target audience may belong to—business groups, industry groups, special interest groups etc. Immerse yourself in the community to understand their problems and see the world through their eyes.
  • When you find someone who fits the criteria of your audience, look at the questions they ask – is it something you can help them with? Look at the answers they give to others. Do they say anything revealing? Have they recommended any businesses? Check out what they post, what links they share, any advice they give and what they’re interested in.  To search for a particular topic within the group. Simply click on the search tool and type in your criteria.
  • Look at your 2nd and 3rd level connections on LinkedIn. Do they have commonalities within the criteria of your target audience? Then, dig a little deeper and look at their activity, what type of content they comment on, what comments they make, and what content they share? When a person shares content from a third party, it’s because it resonates with them.
  • Add these to the spreadsheet.

3.  Research your Competition

Keep a close eye on your competition. If their businesses are selling a similar product to yourself and have been doing so for years, they already know your audience very well.

 

  • Look at their social media platforms and for the content that gets the most engagement. Also look at the people who leave comments. Can you learn anything about them? What type of content resonates with them the most? (This will give you an indication of the type of content you could consider posting).
  • Add these to the spreadsheet.

4.  Look for them when you’re out and about 

  • Practice the art of networking— Visit networking groups, conferences, trade shows and anywhere your target clients hang out. Talk to people who match your target audience—practice 80% listening and 20% talking. Use open-ended questions and pay attention to their body language. Sometimes it’s about reading between the lines.
  • Add these to the spreadsheet.

What now?

Organise your target market spreadsheet

Organize your spreadsheet

By now, you’ll have a lengthy spreadsheet with lots of columns.

Go through the list and highlight the common characteristics.

Organize that list into at least one profile (ideal client persona) based on those shared characteristics,

Then,

Evaluate your decision

Once you’ve done the research and decided on who your target audience is, it’s time to consider the following; ask yourself

  • Has the research shown my target audience to be who I thought they were?
  • Are there enough people in my target audience who need my products and services?
  • Will my target audience benefit from my product and services? Will they see a need for it?
  • Do I understand what influences my target market to decide to buy? what influences my target market to make decisions?
  • Can they afford my product or service? What stage of business are they in? Are they a startup?
  • Can I reach them with my messages? Are they easily accessible?

 

What if you have more than one Target Audience?

Your product or service may be of benefit to more than one target audience. This situation can be challenging and is where segmentation comes into play.

If there are more similarities than differences, the best practice is to have one Primary Target Audience (those you give the most focus to) and one or more Secondary Target Audience(s), who you give less focus to. These people generally have fewer demands for your product or service.

Secondary target audiences generally differ from a primary audience by having different buying habits and characteristics. In this instance, it may be the case that your ‘primary’ target marketing will pick up your secondary audience anyway. On the other hand, it might be better to create separate personas if there are marked differences between audiences.

There is much contention around separate personas because they can be challenging to manage, particularly for small businesses. This article from the University of Queensland covers the consequences of targeting multiple audiences in online ads. Although its focus is on a product (an online game), it’s definitely worth the read.

Researching a target audience may appear time-consuming, but it will impact every aspect of your business and save you a lot of time, heartache and sleepless nights in the future because it will take your business from this:

To this,

So go ahead and schedule a couple of hours in the coming weeks to do the reasearch.  It’ll be the best thing you can do for your business.

I hope this blog post helps you with your target marketing. Please feel free to share it with friends and colleagues that may benefit from the information.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Just leave a comment below.