The Experience Economy: Immersive Engagement

I took two years of Spanish in high school. Much to my chagrin, this has not translated into my adult self speaking any measurable level of Spanish. My children, who attend a school with bilingual classmates, understand and speak the language better than I, despite never having formally studied it.

The most effective way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it – live and work and spend your time with native speakers so that you are forced to use the new language constantly instead of reverting to your own mother tongue.

Immersion is powerful stuff. Spend a summer break splashing in the neighborhood pool, and you are likely to come out in August swimming like a fish. Grow up using technology and your brain will learn to store less information and remain more open to learning new things. And yes, you know I’ll go there: when you are immersed in a world full of advertisements, you make purchases influenced by those ads without even realizing why you make the decisions you do.

How to use immersive marketing

Want the most effective, engaging marketing campaign your business has ever seen?

Create an experience that is such a constant in your customers’ lives, choosing you feels as natural as breathing.

Digital Marketing done right:

This sort of continual engagement is made so much easier in today’s ultra-connected digital world.

That’s why digital marketing should be part of any campaign you run – very few media are as omnipresent as the phone we all carry in our pockets.

When considering your online digital presence, there are three key aspects to cover. First, and most crucial to the success of the other two, is your own website.

If you have a business, you should have a website. Full stop. Phone books have gone the way of the dinosaurs, and if potential clients cannot find you online they are likely to go with someone they can. But the website you have up is almost as important as the fact you have one.

The golden rule of websites is that they need to be almost effortless to use.

Make sure all relevant information on your site is easy to find. Provide several ways for people to contact you with a single touch. List your address and hours, if relevant. Include client testimonials – curated by a third party site like Yelp, if possible.

Good pictures are crucial. Pictures of your business, inside and out; photos of owners, workers, volunteers, goods and products, events. Make sure the images are sized for the web, clear, bright and uncluttered.

Make sure everything works. If you sell online, for the love of all that is good please make sure your shopping cart system works! Keep your inventory up to date. If you have a blog (and you should have a blog) update it at least 4 times a year.

Related to your website is your online business listing. Make sure you have claimed your business on Google, Yelp, etc. and that the information is up to date. Connect all listing accounts to your website, as well as to any social media accounts you have.

And yes, you should be on social media. Maybe not everywhere, but somewhere. Facebook, at least; it has the most robust advertising program at the time of this article, and the demographics with the most money and time dominate the platform. Know your ideal customer and spend your time and energy accordingly.

Finally, do run online ads. Again, what you run will depend on your business and desired audience. But unless your target client is an Amish grandfather, they are online.

(We offer a full line of digital advertising tools with complimentary design and consultation services, should you find yourself lost.)

Immersion in real life

What about when your customers aren’t online? How can you stay on their radar?

First, this is a place where radio excels. 92% of U.S. adults listen to radio every week. Driving from place to place, at work, while out shopping – there’s likely to be a radio playing in so many places your best future customers frequent.

If they aren’t hearing your ad on the radio, they are definitely hearing your competitors’ – so don’t miss this one.

Brick and mortar as immersive tools

Continuing the real-world contact, if at all possible do have a physical location.

If you don’t have a permanent location, can you do pop-up appearances at local events, markets or fairs? Can you help sponsor a relevant workshop or lecture, in exchange for a chance to display your products or informational materials?

Which really boils down to this: be present. Become a part of the community your clients live in. Hang out in cyberspace, ride the airwaves, pop up or pop in while they are out and about – put the “local” back in local business!

That’s how you do immersive marketing.

Have you stumbled on something we missed or overlooked? We’d love to hear your input! How are you present in the lives and times of your ideal customers?

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