With the proliferation of social media platforms, it’s not uncommon for brands to wonder, “What is the best way to engage with my audience?” While it’s a difficult question to answer, several tactics can be used to determine the ideal response to a customer’s action.
The first and most obvious option is to simply monitor and analyze what is happening on your social media channels to gain insight about what resonates with your audience and how you can continue to connect with them.
A better option is to look at the subcategory within online marketing. This option provides you with a more focused approach in your strategy because you are selecting a specific group of individuals within your target audience. This also helps you determine exactly what you should be doing to attract a certain group of consumers. Take a look at some of the reasons why and how to create a subcategory within your online marketing department.
Why Create a Subcategory?
If you’ve ever been in the retail sales industry, you’ll know that certain products or brands tend to attract specific groups of people. These product or brand enthusiasts will often become your most loyal customers and advocates. If you want to build a successful business, you can’t ignore the power of distinguishing your product or service for a specific group of people.
What you need to determine is which demographic or group of consumers you should be focusing on. It’s imperative to understand the motivations of your target audience so you can design a strategy to delight them.
The Growth of Online Shopping Defies Categories
While the category strategy for retail has shifted to accommodate online shopping, many brands still haven’t shifted to a single approach. Take a look at the growth in online shopping over the past 20 years. Until recently, online shopping was dominated by two approaches: search and banner ads. While both of these approaches work, they are limiting.
With the rise of mobile marketing, more and more consumers are gaining access to content whenever and wherever they want. This is changing the dynamics of online shopping because users can now discover products that they might not have seen if they were restricted to a single approach.
Take a look at some of the statistics. In the US, the retail eCommerce market was valued at around US$16 trillion in 2020 and is expected to hit around $26 trillion by 2025. In 2020, Google Search drove retail eCommerce sales worth around $16 trillion globally.
Even traditional brick-and-mortar stores are adjusting their websites to focus on a single approach despite the dominance of shopping carts in the past. For example, Shopbop launched Shopbop Daily, an online news magazine that covers style, culture and celebrity.
This trend makes it even more vital to establish a subcategory in your strategy because you can then hone in on a specific group of individuals with a shared interest in what you’re offering. With your subcategory strategy, you can design a unique experience for these individuals that draws them back for more.
Creating a Subcategory – The Nuts and Bolts
When you establish a subcategory, you are essentially creating a niche or special interest group within your target audience. This special interest group might be defined by a hobby, favorite fashion style, musical taste, or sports team. Once you have a clear understanding of what motivates or interests your target audience, you can create a strategy designed to attract this audience.
When deciding on the name for your subcategory, it’s imperative to find a word that is both memorable and representative of your special interest. As a general rule of thumb, pick a word that is both short and concise. For example, if your target audience is fashion enthusiasts, you can create a subcategory named ‘Fashion’ or ‘Style’.
As you design your strategy, you must remember to incorporate both virtual and physical shopping experiences because, in today’s world, customers expect to be able to access content and make purchases in the same way that they would in real life.
The Importance of Virtual Shopping
To better understand the role that virtual shopping plays in your strategy, it’s important to step back and understand the history of online marketing. Up until the late 1990s, most consumers accessed the web through desktop computers. Those who had access to the internet primarily used it to search the web or read email. They might also visit a website if it had been bookmarked or they were referred to it by a friend.
Now, with the rise of mobile marketing and smartphones, more and more consumers are getting access to the internet. As a result, virtual shopping is no longer a phenomenon that is restricted to a small number of people.
In today’s world, consumers might visit a website to learn about a product, but they are also likely to do much of their shopping online. According to HubSpot Blogs’ research, 65% of consumers have made a purchase after just viewing a product online. Additionally, 41% of consumers have bought a product that they discovered online and then went on to purchase in a physical store. Essentially, if you don’t offer online shopping, you are significantly limiting your reach to nearly half of your target audience.
How to Create a Subcategory in Your Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve decided that creating a subcategory is a sound idea, the next step is to determine the best strategy for implementing this new initiative. While you can’t force consumers to get involved in your subcategory, you can provide them with a memorable experience that encourages them to join and stay involved. In our research, we found that the best strategy is one that involves both online and offline channels.
To start, develop a content strategy designed to attract your target audience, develop an email marketing strategy, and launch a digital advertising campaign. As part of your strategy, you should also consider incorporating social media channels.
Once you’ve launched your strategy, monitor its success using both qualitative and quantitative measures. This will help you identify areas for improvement and determine the ideal approach for establishing and expanding your subcategory. If you’ve never created a subcategory, this will be an eye-opening experience that will help you determine whether this is something that will be worth pursuing in the future.