What happens when you combine a sport that millions of people are passionate about, with a marketing tactic that is out of this world?
You get what has become one of the most defining sporting events in India in the past decade!
The Indian Premier League (IPL) started with a blast, and 10 years later, it continues to reign supreme – in TRP ratings and viewership. The franchise is synonymous with huge brands and big stars, and the money exchanged is billions (Star Sports bought television rights to IPL last year for a staggering $2.55 billion dollars, an equivalent of Rs 16,347 crores).
So why exactly does IPL attract all the big guns and the money? Are there lessons to learn for us in marketing?
Fortunately the answer is YES! So let’s dive straight in (pun intended).
No need to reinvent the wheel
Did the IPL invent the game of cricket? No. Did it invent the twenty-twenty format of the game? No. Did it introduce the concept of franchising of teams, combining local players with international players, or using cheerleaders to grab eyeballs? Definitely not! So what then did the IPL do?
If you guessed, mixing ideas from successful sporting competitions across the globe to form a potent combination, then pat yourself on the back.
Good marketing doesn’t always have to begin with a unique idea. What’s more important is better understanding of your customer. A seasoned digital marketer keeps a keen eye on his audience, and turns his data into strategies that will work uniquely for his mix.
Go big or go home
The word synonymous with IPL is ‘Big’, whether it’s the stature of players, the sponsorship fees or the marketing budget. The folks at IPL like to keep it big, and lucky for us, we can take a leaf out of their pages for our own marketing efforts.
Remember, starting small is not a crime, but staying small is.
When it comes to content, thinking big is usually associated with virality, and making content go viral is about tugging the right emotions. According to Marketing guru, Neil Patel, this can be achieved in 3 ways.
Research the web to see what topics in your space are gaining virality, and then create better versions of those topics, instead of creating entirely new ones.
Once you’ve done all the hard work of researching and writing, promote. Use the 80:20 rule of content marketing which says, 80% of your efforts in creating content must be utilised in promotions, while the remaining 20% must be used for content creation.
Lastly, be consistent with your content and release more and more fresh content, that’s high on quality.
Don’t please everyone
Even though the IPL introduced Indians to a whole new format of their favourite game and became an instant bestseller, there were still puritans who discredited the franchise. Cricket pundits claimed the game was pulling away the attention from test matches and one day internationals, and many opposed to international players hogging all the limelight.
The IPL was garnering attention far more for the controversies than for the quality of cricket involved, and this had some experts worried. But did all the bad press and criticism stop the organizers from going bigger with the game? No.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to marketing, and you certainly can’t please every customer. It is thus advisable to define a target audience, one that is tightly aligned to your brand’s ethos, values and emotions, than to cast a net that’s wide, thin and not meant for everyone.
Listen to the market
We are leaving you with one last snippet of wisdom that can be picked up from the IPL franchise.
The creators have always been receptive to feedback, and fine-tuned the series incorporating any change they felt would increase their viewership. Whether it is scheduling the matches in the evenings so that people can watch after office hours or introducing innovative photography techniques, the IPL always gave viewers more of what they wanted.
‘Customer is king’ is an adage that will be repeated time and time again in marketing, because simply put, without customers there is no business.
Incorporate consumer feedback into your daily marketing efforts and always be on the lookout for more. Give the consumer what they want, and rest assured, that they will return the favour.
There you go. Those are 4 little snippets of wisdom that every digital marketer can learn from the IPL franchise. Incorporate these learnings into your daily marketing efforts and watch your engagement ratings skyrocket.
Sometime ago, Richard Thaler won the nobel prize for his contributions to behavioral economics. His book ‘Nudge’ talks about why people do what they do when spending money.
It’s not often that we can implement research by a Nobel Prize winner in our marketing strategy, but this one was too good to let go.
Research on behavioral science opens a window into a consumer’s mind, making us witness the thought process that made us buy those pair of skis, which we didn’t need in the first place (because it’s July and, do you even ski)?
Typically, we think we know what our consumer wants and we approach our marketing strategy accordingly. But do we really know what they’re thinking before they buy our product? If we did, we could even successfully sell a pair of skis to a non-skier consumer, during summer!
Here are 5 behavioral science principles that could help bring in more prospects.
#1. Less is More.
Research says that the amount of information a person can hold in working memory is four to five elements at a time.
Research also shows that people rely on unconscious processing and first impressions. To add to that, the first impressions are usually based on aesthetics.
This means, you can afford to cut back on information by limiting it to four or five words or sentences. (PS: that doesn’t mean you cut back on impact). This process is called Chunking.
Chunking: An approach for making more efficient use of short-term memory by grouping information.
Here’s a one line-story that made use of effective chunking, yet retaining impact.
Advertising in the digital media can be tough because people aren’t looking for ads, let alone your ad. But if you did manage to get their attention, make sure your content isn’t bloated with too much information. Further details on your product can be linked with a post.
#2. Don’t Confuse them with choices.
Research says that the presence of too many choices leads to either unhappiness, decision fatigue, going with the default option or deferral – which is the customer walking away from it altogether.
May it be an emailer, or social media post containing products you’re selling, just a few of the best products, or the ones that are trending, can be displayed. If these are appealing enough, your consumer can visit your main product page for more.
E-commerce giant Amazon is a good example for this strategy. It makes use of a clean display that avoids cluttering, confusion and too many choices.
#3. Create an impulsive shopper.
“The combination of loss aversion with mindless choosing implies that if an option is designated as the ‘default,’ it will attract a large market share. Default options thus act as powerful nudges.”
-Richard Thaler, author of ‘Nudge’
On the idea that we humans hate to miss out on things, it is pretty easy to make the consumer believe he wants something. By flashing time sensitive deals and using phrases like ‘while stocks last’, ‘sale ends at 5PM’ or ‘24 hours flash sale’, consumers will have very little time to rationalise.
Also by showcasing products that only have ‘few pieces left’ brings a sense of urgency, leading to impulsive buying.
#4. Make content disfluent.
Making content or matter that is disfluent, makes the person spend a bit more time trying to understand the matter, making it last longer in their memory.
We may think the age old idea of keeping matter easier for the audience to understand might get their attention. But the thing is, you already got their attention, and they might have understood your ‘easy’ content, but would they remember it?
The trick is to challenge them. Or better, let them challenge themselves.
When people see a word or point of matter they can’t comprehend easily, they tend to ponder around it, which is basic human instinct. Our mind tends to wander towards new or unfamiliar elements merely out of curiosity.
Disfluency causes people to process information at a deeper level, making the information more ‘memorable’.
#5. Personalisation rules hearts.
Behavioral science research shows that, in a world awash with generic content, personalisation makes us pay more attention to advertising messages that change behavior. The brain is also drawn to any information that triggers an emotion, be it negative or positive.
Also, the Jivox Benchmark report from 2016 shows that interaction increases significantly by adding geographic and time cues.
Relatability in content and marketing is quite hard because you have to put out a strategy that would hit everyone and still be relatable.
A marketing strategy which is interactive with the audience you’re attracting is the first and easiest way to their heart, and that can be achieved by relatability.
With personalisation, you will be targeting a smaller audience, but you will have undivided attention of the majority from that zone. It’s the kind of personal approach consumers would get drawn into.
Personalisation in content and marketing can also mean quizzes and tests, where the audience can take a quiz to know how much they’re updated on a particular affair, trend or field.
It may seem like behavioral science and digital marketing are worlds apart. They might be, but with the few tips mentioned here, you might just be able to get a bit closer to your buyers’ thought patterns, so as to let you plan your digital strategy more effectively.
We’ve all done it and if you’re a content marketer, there are high chances, you’ve done it too!
You love it and have seen its results over time.
It’s so addictive that once you start, it’s pretty easy to lose touch with how much time you’ve spent doing it.
No, I’m not talking about cocaine. I’m talking about organic content marketing. Sending out creative emails, writing blog posts with interesting titles, and in general, any hair-brained idea that brings traffic to your site naturally over time.
And who else to teach it better than the man himself, Pablo Escobar!!
Okay, you must be wondering, how running a Columbian drug cartel relates to attracting people to a site?
Vamos, let’s get started!
1. Think differently and creatively
When the cocaine market started in Columbia, it was controlled by small cartels and people who weren’t aware of the true value of the powder.
It was Escobar who had this grand vision to ship the powder across America and make millions of dollars. Of course, the rest is history (Escobar, with his cocaine millions, bought half of Columbia).
The lesson here is this. Think of your organic marketing strategy as a long-term strategy. Any real marketer knows that getting traffic to a site with just interesting blog posts and emails will take time, so don’t expect dramatic results overnight. Instead, take small measures towards this greater vision.
Infact, think of it as a small cocaine sapling you’re watering every day. You need to let it grow, harvest it, process it in a lab, and smuggle it across the ocean before you see results. The money will always come (unless the cops catch you, which rarely happens if you’re marketing just content and not cocaine!)
Experiment with a small audience, like Escobar did with Columbia. Always have a target, and then once you do, target your content to reach that defined user base. When the targeted users land on your page, let the content be addictive enough to keep them there and allow them to grow that base with their people; that’s when you know you’ve succeeded like Escobar.
2. Grease the right hands / pay the right people
Escobar had informants in almost every division of the Columbian Law Enforcement Department. These people would tip him off countless times before the cops could raid his place.
He employed kids on streets to do his bidding, track police movements and share vital information.
No, hold your horses, I’m not telling you to recruit young boys and girls to write your blogs.
What I’m saying is, first, create high quality stuff, that’s also engaging, interesting, and informative enough to build your credibility gradually, like Escobar. Then, pay the right people to spread the word, think facebook, linkedin, twitter or other relevant social media platforms, or even influencers and search engines. (PS: Don’t skip this step).
If you’re starting up small, you might have to get your own hands dirty initially, and write a few posts yourself. You can otherwise consider paying a sum to hire quality writers and agencies to write quality blogs. It might also be a good idea to get a mention in a popular blog.
The last part may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. Write quality posts, reach the right people and network your way to the top. Hey, if Pablo could make it to the Columbian Parliament, you can easily get your content published on a popular blog!
3. Diversify your channels / approach
How do you smuggle a ton of cocaine without the cops noticing it? You shape it like a ceramic toilet, ofcourse!
Escobar was known to use many innovative methods to get his stash across the border, and that’s what you should aim for too! You see, for a good organic content marketing strategy to work, you need to repurpose your content to as many channels as possible, all at once.
A post on social media, a blog on your website and an email outreach program, all at the same time is proven to be more effective than using organic marketing in an intermittent fashion. Remember, to keep your audience at the front and centre of everything you do.
There you have it, 3 organic marketing lessons from a Columbian drug lord.
Like this article? Go ahead, comment, share and spread the love, for Pablo’s sake!
You can be the most knowledgeable person in your subject, with writing skills that even literature reviewers will envy and awe. But, every writer and content team in 2018 understands that without SEO optimisation, star quality content will not achieve its viewership and reach targets.
So, with great writing, comes great responsibility – to perform well in Google search engines. And so the new lay of the online land is:
Create for people and search engines alike.
But just how do you walk the thin line between marrying your audience to search engine algorithms? Here are 7 beginner lessons.
1. A short, teaser title that also avoids truncation in search
Most search engines are optimised for titles that are between 50 and 60 words. Anything beyond 60 words runs a high risk of being truncated in search results. And no reader wants to see a half-title, ending with ellipsis either. Your title can include brand name or numbers, but more importantly it should elicit a sense of mystery from the reader.
2. A URL that’s short and sweet
The sin of URLs is its lengthy concoctions of random numbers and letters, that offer no clue to the readers on its content. A URL necessitates keywords that do the job of being descriptive, short, yet meaningful. The URL should enlighten the reader on what to expect at first glance.
3. Meta descriptions
How can words not even present in the main article, hold so much power over page views and readership? Welcome to meta-descriptions. These need to be enriched with words that are targeted towards your audience. It also helps to keep the length of the description between 70 and 160 characters. Now, what would happen if you don’t enter this meta-data? The search engine will automatically gather a random paragraph from your article in its place (which is not always a good thing).
4. H1 tags for competent headings
H1 tags are known to hold high value in SEO ranking of a website. They are the most noticeable piece of content. It is usually an HTML tag that points towards the primary headline on the page. It is necessary that the heading answers the how, what and when of the article, in order to be more receptive. Characters that exceed 70 are prone to water down the impact of SEO.
Protip 1: Crosscheck the source code to ensure your page contains only one H1 tag. While current search engines are technically sound to not confuse multiple headings, this tiny glitch can deal a big blow to your SEO.
Protip 2: If the post is text heavy, like a heavy blog post, make sure to include H2, H3 and H4 headings for reading simplicity and aesthetic value.
5. Keywords, the thesaurus has you covered
Search engines do not particularly like articles overloaded with keywords. So, they have a tendency to ban sites that overuse them. Make sure to strategically use keywords for 2-5% of the entire content. Disperse them among headings, paragraphs and image captions. This is where a great vocabulary (or a thesaurus) comes to the rescue.
6. Eye-popping images
From a visual standpoint, images grab more attention than the content itself. But from an SEO standpoint, it is necessary to use the target keyword in the filename of the image, as well as in the ALT tag. This can ensure additional benefit of the article popping up in image searches. Second, having a large file size can move the reader away from the page, as well as lower your SEO ratings. More importantly, ensure the image aligns well with the text in your article.
7. Internal and External links
In order to show Google that your content is well researched and cites adequate information, links are a prominent part of your SEO tactic. Linking to two or three popular and trusted sites helps boost the overall value of your page, which is sought after by search engines. Also, adding links to your internal (and external) webpages is a great way to increase SEO ratings. Not only does this ensure easier access of relevant content to users, but also aids in search engines recognising your pages. All these translate to a good Google Page Ranking.
Do keep in mind, on-page SEO is just a small piece of the big SEO puzzle. Overall design of the website, ease of browsing in mobile, speed, fonts and quality of images come together to paint the bigger picture. So, make sure to keep these tips into consideration the next time you churn out content for the World Wide Web.