Content Marketing Blog

3 tips for using real-time marketing to change your customer interactions

Recently we blogged about the value of 10x content in an increasingly crowded online space. With so much having already been said about any given topic your new contribution needs to be something special to get noticed.

But there are lots of ways to give your content the edge it needs. It could be more longer and more in-depth, it could have a clever new angle or exclusive information. Or maybe you just had great timing.

Real-time marketing is a tactic many brands use to jump into the slipstream behind a breaking news story, a trending topic on social media or maybe just a single post.

If your organisation is agile enough, it can use real-time marketing to find potential customers at just the right time. That could be an event that’s not directly relevant to you but has captured the attention of people you target. Or it could be that crucial moment when someone is researching or preparing to make a purchase of something you sell.

So if you’re keen to tap into the power of real-time marketing, here are some tips that might help…

1. Get personal with your marketing messages

When you think about real-time marketing the examples that spring to mind are probably high-profile “newsjacking” successes or failures. Newsjacking is when a brand tries to attach itself to a major event or news story with a clever tweet or well-timed meme.

But real-time marketing can be more subtle. Take your company blog, as an example. You’re probably using real-time marketing tactics already to present more relevant calls-to-action (CTAs) to your readers or to keep them on your site longer with links to related articles.

Personalising your content in this way is a great way to build stronger relationships with your target audience and increase the chances of converting them into customers.

2. Stay agile – both internally and externally

There are two elements to this bit: ensuring that you’re communicating with your audience, whilst also maintaining regular communication within your own organisation.

Communicating with your target market means keeping your finger on the pulse when it comes to current trends and events. Engaging on social media is the best way to track current trends in real time. Posting about them as they happen shows you understand your audience’s interests, and aligning your marketing strategy to these means you achieve higher visibility of your ads or promotions, which will lead to more awareness and interest in your brand.

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Marketing in real time is not just about your brands promotion but also about interacting with you audience. It is vital to engage with your customers if they start a conversation through social media, by tagging you in a tweet, posting on your wall or messaging you directly.

New data from Sprout Social, the company behind the hugely successful social media management and engagement platform for businesses, reveals that 1 in 3 customers will switch to a competitor if they do not receive a response through social media. Acknowledging people that get in touch with your brand through these channels will make them feel valued, and important to your business. Throwing in a little bit of humour doesn’t hurt either, as long as you keep it polite.

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Internally, communication needs to be just as frequent. Ideally, a company would have a team of staff that are responsible for acting upon real time marketing, but obviously that can’t always be the case. Staff in charge of inbound and outbound marketing need to maintain communication so everyone is aware of when real-time marketing is occurring, and how.

For example, let’s say a potential customer contacts your company as an inbound lead after seeing one of your posts or suggested products, and begins working with an account executive. If that same person is still on the call list for your sales team, and days later is contacted by a salesperson, pitching the product, you can undo all the good work that first prompted them to get in touch.

If you’re going to make a success of real-time marketing it’s not just a case of spotting the opportunities and coming up with clever ideas to take advantage of them. You also need a “real-time” operational structure that can get your content created, signed off and published before the window of opportunity closes.

3. Be in the moment, and be ready

Perhaps the most important takeaway for real time marketing is being ready to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

One strategy may involve installing chat messengers on your website, so that if consumers are browsing your site and have questions they can simply enter them straight into the chat window and have an almost immediate response. That means you get at them when they’re in the moment, not hours later when they might have moved on to something else.

Consumers nowadays are inundated with so many options that unless you can catch them at the right time you could lose them to a competitor. Think With Google, a site dedicated to providing marketing insights, analytics and data, recently conducted a survey with some interesting results – the overall message being that people evaluate choices in-the-moment.

In fact, 87 per cent of people who have consulted their phone while they were in-store said the information they got influenced the brand they chose.

Consumers on the go can search for products or services on Google using the phrase ‘near me’, and be presented with a page of results matching their current location. If your site is listed in those results there will be a much higher chance of being factored into their purchasing decision.

Amber Denny About the author