The eCommerce industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, with worldwide eCommerce sales expected to reach $4.9 trillion by 2021. An increasingly popular way to reach niche audiences online is crowd marketing.
Crowd marketing is a promotional technique that revolves around involving a large number of people with your brand, typically through the use of entrepreneurs and other individuals reaching out to and interacting with targeted audience groups. This is a relatively new yet impactful marketing tactic that has been especially successful in 2020.
As crowd marketing revolves around large audience groups, many people may mistake crowd marketing for influencer marketing. However, crowd marketing goes beyond social media platforms and traditional influencer marketing by tapping into other successful marketing strategies.
Crowd marketing utilizes many marketing avenues to create an impact. While crowd marketing may utilize influencer marketing as part of the approach, it also utilizes search engine optimization, content creation and social media marketing.
As individuals across many platforms interact with your brand’s target audience and backlink to your website, you can subtly gain customers and brand followers. Consumers are less aware of this marketing technique because of how subtle it is, especially since the information comes to them in such a natural way.
For example, consider an eCommerce brand that is trying to sell children’s bikes. A crowd marketing campaign would involve researching popular bike forums and websites and interacting with this niche in a way that subtly encourages them to purchase your product.
One key thing that eCommerce brands need to consider when launching a crowd marketing campaign is walking the fine line between effective crowd marketing and spamming your audience.
Crowd marketing utilizes a variety of platforms to help reach specialized audience groups, including the following.
Thematic forums are an old but respected form of crowd marketing. They are narrowly specialized areas on the Internet and provide an opportunity for users to talk about your eCommerce product.
Thematic forums are similar to social networks, but they are more theme-driven. Think of examples such as Reddit or Quora where there are sub-categories to talk about specific topics. Everything that is posted in a thematic forum should be as straightforward and concise as possible to avoid confusion or the spread of misinformation.
Any content that you organize to be pushed out onto a thematic forum should be relevant and come from an expert or someone of status in the field. The forum itself should be respected and have high web traffic to help increase traffic to your eCommerce site.
Tactics to add to your crowd marketing campaign include comments, product recommendations, responses, shares, questions, etc. The idea is to help cement the individual who is representing your brand as a trusted expert.
Because thematic forums are so specific, it’s important that everything said is accurate. If the wrong thing is said, you may experience backlash that can chip away at the trustworthiness of your brand.
It’s impossible to talk about crowd marketing without noting the prevalence of social media platforms as a helpful tool. Millions of people spend a good chunk of their time on social media; in fact, by the time 2021 rolls around, over 3 billion users will be on social media sites. To put things into perspective, there are roughly 7.8 billion humans on the earth in 2020.
Finding the right platform to promote your brand is an important first step in utilizing social media platforms. Popular options include Facebook and Twitter because they are so text-driven. Facebook groups are an especially popular outlet for crowd marketing.
If you are planning on creating a profile yourself to use for crowd marketing, make sure to first choose the most relevant platform for your targeted audience. From there, choose a real profile picture and fill in any information that helps prove that you’re a real person. After all, no one trusts the opinion of a bot.
Slowly begin to participate in social media discussions on related topics, avoiding sending the same message twice. If someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, avoid answering altogether.
It’s also important to show that you are genuinely interested in the topic at hand, so if you get an opportunity to answer a related question, you can prove to your audience that you are passionate.
Because there are so many social media platforms that have the potential to be beneficial, relying on social media management sites and softwares is a good starting point.
There’s no possible way to track everything that is being said about your brand at any given moment. Websites such as Sprout Social, Mention and Active Campaign are all great tools to utilize.
They provide benefits such as pinging you every time your brand is mentioned online and allows you to plan campaigns around real-time results. These results can shape future campaigns and help draw more positive attention to your eCommerce site.
Simply put, the more your eCommerce brand is talked about online, the more eyeballs will be on your website. Crowd marketing can help generate buzz about your brand and reinforce your position as an expert in your field and your industry.
Publishing useful articles, questions, answers, proposals and comments on a regular basis is a great way to stay relevant on multiple outlets. Think of crowd marketing as sprinkling breadcrumb trails back to your website with the hopes of an increase in conversions.
By utilizing high-quality content in a strategic way, crowd marketing can help your brand build authority by generating positive references and reviews. There’s nothing more important than cultivating trust with current and potential customers.
Brand references are especially important in crowd marketing because they help your brand appear as a credible source of knowledge in a natural way. This method of advertising is a lot subtler than other methods that may be more obvious to the consumer.
Crowd marketing allows you to strengthen your brand reputation by building a community of loyal customers in a natural way. Finding the right niche to target can be difficult, but crowd marketing can help you find that group faster.
Tap into relevant communication channels where your audience is and generate leads through crowd marketing. The more users who engage with your content, the more traffic you will receive on your eCommerce website.
Help direct additional traffic to your eCommerce website by staying relevant on multiple platforms. Building a community with your audience and often utilizing helpful backlinks to your site will help drive traffic.
Make it a habit to look back at old comments and online interactions and update answers accordingly. Great content will last a long time, but links are going to need to be updated occasionally, which can help increase how much traffic your site gets.
In addition to being a user-friendly, affordable marketing option, crowd marketing is also beneficial for SEO, or search engine optimization. Here are some key benefits on the SEO side of marketing.
One of the main benefits of crowd marketing from an SEO perspective is link building. Link building is the idea that your website is linked back to as often as possible on the Internet, which in turn helps to drive traffic and sales.
The right crowd marketing strategy can generate links from blogs, online forums, social media websites, comment sections and more.
It’s important to note that just because crowd marketing can help build relevant site links doesn’t mean it can replace a robust link-building strategy. This strategy should also be implemented in your SEO efforts, not solely through crowd marketing.
The benefits of crowd marketing are clear, so you may be wondering how to begin launching a crowd marketing campaign. Research is the most important part in kickstarting a successful campaign.
If you focus on any preliminary step, let this be it. Defining your audience accurately will play a large role in the success of your campaign. What type of customers is your eCommerce business trying to target and how do these people spend their time on the Internet?
Narrowing down your audience can help set guidelines and manage your expectations about how to execute your campaign. Rushing into the process and showing up in the wrong places can be a big waste of resources.
Take the time to lay a solid foundation for your approach so you start seeing positive results sooner.
Not only should you take the time to narrow down your target audience, but you should also make sure to choose the right platforms. Your campaign will only be as successful as the platform that you’re on, so don’t rush into this process.
Each platform has advantages and disadvantages that you should consider. Think about whether or not your target audience would spend time on a particular platform and consider how they would engage with the content on that site, too.
As you can only be on so many platforms at any given time, don’t try to build a presence on too many sites at once.
Consider your eCommerce competition and understand how they are successfully implementing crowd marketing into their efforts. Note what is working and what isn’t generating responses to guide your decisions moving forward.
Your competitive research should include a wide range of brand sizes. Consider the approach of larger companies in your industry, but don’t overlook the up-and-coming smaller brands as well.
Now that you are gearing up to start your campaign, make sure you also locate a handful of local directories that can be a successful vehicle to showcase your brand. The more places you are present, the higher the chances of finding your consumers and directing more traffic to your site.
As successful as crowd marketing can be for your brand, there are particulars that you need to avoid.
Websites that aren’t credited or trusted by the public should always be avoided. The last thing you want is to willingly associate your brand with a website that isn’t trustworthy. As a general rule of thumb, if you’ve never heard of it, it likely isn’t the best site to be spending your time on.
Be mindful of the forum’s design and language; don’t post on sites that are written in other languages and always link to products that are allowed to be advertised.
The main goal of a crowd marketing campaign is to be as subtle in promoting your brand as possible. Spamming comment sections repeatedly with links to your site or repeating the same comment across multiple websites can backfire and turn people away from your brand.
Crowd marketing is a long-term game that requires commitment and dedication. You won’t start seeing results overnight and it takes thorough research and consistency to reach your target audience in a natural way.
Building a campaign that has so many moving parts can be an overwhelming task to take on. For assistance from digital marketing professionals, turn to our team at Catapult Revenue, one of the top eCommerce marketing agencies of 2020. Our eCommerce experts can help you maximize potential and help you run effective crowd marketing campaigns. Or, if you just want to get more information to tackle this undertaking yourself, that’s cool too! You can still reach out to us for a free marketing audit so get in touch today!
Sasha serves as Managing Partner and VP of Client Solutions for Catapult Revenue, ensuring that all client’s revenue goals are met via Catapult’s marketing strategies.
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