Latest posts by Alexandra Nicola
- Bonus Lesson: How to Meet Customer Expectations with Amazing Content - October 27, 2017
- Lesson 5: The Benefits and Mistakes of Applying Expectation Marketing - October 23, 2017
- Lesson 4: Getting Better at Expectation Marketing, an Actionable Plan - October 5, 2017
In the digital world, there have been several trends that have come and gone. That’s why the winning companies have found a Marketing Strategy that works well regardless of the dynamic nature of the world wide web.
We see that all these changes, as well as the whole experience of the internet, have changed our customer’s behaviors. Not just online, but offline as well.
I’m talking about the immediate urge to check your phone when searching in a shop. Or browsing for a coupon online before buying a new product.
This is what the audience expects to find. The companies that monetize on this aspect use Expectation Marketing, the strategy that actually works.
This is what we’ve learned by researching brands, perfecting the strategy and applying this to our own clients. Now we’ve created this 5 lesson series, where we’ll give you the basics of identifying and applying this strategy.
Imagine this scenario. You need a new phone. So you start searching for it. And you have multiple options. Buying it from a shop online, or even from the manufacturer. You can even go to a shop, at the mall. Regardless of what option you choose, you’ll end up searching for details about the possible model you’d like to buy.
And of course the company. Especially if it’s a brand you’ve never used before, you’ll start to search for information online. This will help you make the decision on your own after you know more about the company. You’ll end up on the brand’s site to find one or more of these details:
- Details on the product
- Process information (repair, refund, support)
- Brand description
- Contact details in case you’ll need them in the future
- See if the brand is still around. See how active they still are on the web. (if they’re not, then that’s a very bad sign).
Here’s where good and updated content will help the phone manufacturer to get you to buy their product by offering you the right information… The key information you need to make your decision.
The truth is, if you can not find all the right details on their website, you will most certainly drop the current research you are doing and start looking at the alternatives.
In this example, we see how the expectation marketing strategy actually works. Its main principle is offering your audience the content they expect to find. They need to find it in order to reach the right decision: the decision of getting in touch with you (becoming a customer or starting a business relationship).
The scenario, we’ve talked about is very common. Actually, 81% of shoppers research online before buying.
According to Retailer Today on online shops, most buyers search for: Warranty information (66%), Pricing (52%), Model Information (51%), Payment information (47%). And do this across 79 days in cases of major purchases.
That’s why expectation marketing is a good approach. Because it offers the potential buyer the content that will help them make the right decision in those 79 days. But let’s dwell more on this topic.
Expectation Marketing is a consumer based digital marketing strategy that focuses on the type of content and information the consumer expects to find in connection to a brand they want to buy from.
Now that we got the definition out of the way let’s focus on how it works.
Expectation Marketing is based on some premises that you can see presented in the example above as well.
- That the customer has a need, to begin with. In the example the need is that you want a phone. This is important because the Expectation Marketing Strategy does not focus on creating a need for the customer.
- That the customer, in his journey of finding a product or service, will search for information. This is a simple assumption, that is backed up by customer behavior studies. Most customers want to know they are making an informed decision. Impulse buyers are very rare compared to buyers who plan and research.
- That the customer has some expectation regarding the information they will want to find on the brand’s site. Some customers search for those details consciously, while others do it involuntarily. Finding the information they expect to find works well for the brand. It offers buyers a feeling of trust. They see that the brand is active on the web, it knows what it is talking about and it is interested in the evolution of the industry. Now that’s a brand you could trust.
The most important of these premises and the one that Expectation Marketing answers best is the third one. In order for the possible clients to choose your product or service, they need to find the information they are searching for.
Therefore, the expectation marketing strategy focused on creating the right content and the amount that the customers expect to see.
But enough theory, let’s see how you can put this into action.
Expectation Marketing means that you’ll focus on creating the content that answers the most frequent questions customers have. This is most of the time evergreen content. You’ll offer the information people actually need and that you can keep on reusing throughout time.
That’s why this strategy is productive and efficient. You and your marketing team will focus on creating very useful content that you can promote continuously.
Let’s take one popular product. Let’s say Coca-Cola. Now think how many times you’ve seen the same content (ad, image, video) reused in their marketing strategy? The answer is simple: several times.
Many of their Christmas campaigns revolves around the same video material.
You can do the exact same thing digitally with Expectation Marketing. You will create pieces of content in order to make sure people never forget about your brand.
Now you have to keep in mind that like most content marketing strategies, this is a long-term one. It will take time to see measurable results of this strategy. But it is a stable strategy that will bring results with little effort in the long run.
Once you set it up, keeping it running takes minimal effort. It’s just about a continuous stream of content.
It’s also a low-risk marketing strategy. You don’t have a lot of changing aspects within the strategy. It’s not connected to this month’s or year’s trend. It’s stable.
My favorite part about this strategy: it helps people who are already interested in your business to gain trust regarding your brand and decide to work with you.
If you can keep them with you during their research phase and meet their expectations, you will never lose them.
You might be wondering how we came to learn so much about Expectation Marketing. It’s simple. We’ve been applying it for years (5 years to be exact) and it brought us so much success that we decided it is time to share it with all of you.
You can find out the details of our journey and how to apply this strategy in detail from our book : Expectation Marketing – the New Marketing System That Redefines Trust for Digital Brands.
To get a short overview of our story you have to understand that at Squirrly, we’ve always believed that good content has the greatest benefits for our community.
We’ve always focused on generating content that would both help and educate our buyers.
We’ve decided early on that in our marketing efforts we’d create content that was written with the needs and focus of the reader in mind. So we’ve always tried to answer our audience’s questions, our customer’s issues and clarify any ambiguous subject in the industry as best we could.
That’s how we soon realized that our Content Marketing strategy was different than what most Software as a Service companies, in our industry, were doing.
We created content based on :
- request in comment sections on our blog
- discussions with followers on Twitter
- email discussions with possible clients
- particular support challenges
- industry questions
We then pushed further and searched what others were having a problem with, in our field, and created content that answered those problems and questions as well.
Our benefits were numerous :
- It made people that heard of Squirrly, trust it as a brand. They always saw that we were active. We post constantly on our blog. On all of our social media profiles, we always post and respond to comments.
- It gave us the opportunity to focus on developing and creating better products. With the information we learned from our audience, it helped us focus on creating better software. We responded to our community’s needs with content and updates. They kept writing to us, because we were so active and they felt that they could really communicate with us, not just the other way around.
- We had a clear back line for larger events. With time we’ve started creating larger marketing events, like webinars, giveaway campaigns and video launches of our products. The reason we could focus on creating the best for these events, was that we had clear and constant posting schedules for our channels.
- It helped us understand our audience better. As we published content that answered people’s answers, we received a lot of feedback that helped us create content better than before. It also offered us a lot of needed feedback on our software and services.
And this is how we came to establish what Expectation Marketing is and how you can apply it to your own brand and site. Our book explains how you can start creating your own strategy for your site.
But in this Lesson series, we’ll focus on the main steps.
Our main focus in this article was to make you see how your marketing strategy can really work out amazingly for you. Regardless of the changes in the digital world, big brands manage to always be in the mind of their audiences. At Squirrly, we’ve learned how they do it and applied it as well. Now we’re here to teach you all about it.
We’ve talked about:
- The changing behavior of audiences online and what you can do to meet their needs.
- What Expectation Marketing is and what its core principles are
- How the strategy works and how big brands apply it
- What we’ve learned about Expectation Marketing over the last 5 years
You can also count on our services to help you create constant and clear content that answers your audience’s needs. In the next article of the series, we’ll focus more on why expectation marketing is important for your business.