People are more likely to buy things from or work with companies that they feel the closest connection to. This isn’t a new development. The term “engagement” has been given a new definition.
So, what defines a customer’s engagement today? Among other things: interactivity.
Many customers today feel that an experience is not genuine or authentic if it is not interactive. This means that companies need to provide potential customers with a way to interact with their product, rather than simply view it online. In the past, leaving a comment on a blog post was enough interaction.
Seven out of ten consumers believe that a brand that uses virtual reality is progressive and future-minded. These brands are different and capture people’s attention.
Although you may have doubts about virtual reality (VR), it is no longer an activity that is only done by marketing departments. Creating a content marketing strategy for VR requires you to understand how to engage your customers interactively. This is different from a written or video-based content marketing strategy, which requires you to engage your customers passively.
What does a sound VR content marketing strategy look like in today’s world?
What is Virtual World Marketing?
This kind of marketing is all about making it possible for your products and brand to do their own promoting through a mix of augmented reality and virtual technology. Even though the technology is fake, the environment looks real. The type of device you use for marketing can either be multi-sensory or just visual. In order to have a fully immersive experience, you generally need a full-reality headset. You can use VR filters to place pictures or objects over the camera view.
There are filters that can be used for marketing purposes in augmented reality. AR marketing is a type of marketing that involves overlaying a virtual image onto the real world for a dramatic effect. The most common virtual reality marketing strategy involves using augmented reality because it is simpler and less expensive than creating an immersive experience with a headset. AAugmented reality does not require a sophisticated desktop computer or a high-end phone, making it more accessible for the average person.
Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. As brands started to realize the potential of this technology, they began using it for marketing purposes. The company Sephora was the first to make augmented reality popular. The cosmetics company created an app that uses augmented reality to make it look like you’re wearing their makeup.
Keys to a Successful Virtual Reality Marketing Strategy
Many people think that virtual reality is only for playing video games and that you need to spend a lot of money on technology to have a good experience. This is not true. You are accessing virtual reality every time you use a smartphone. It is important to understand the VR technology for a succesful marketing campaign. Here are some of the innovative ways to use VR in your marketing strategy:
- You can use VR to close the distance between experience and action.
- For the promotion of a digital experience to enhance your services or products.
- You can promote your existing products or place a spotlight on products still in development. By creating something unique, you can invite consumers to join the experience. The result is both an interest in your creation and an excellent source of feedback.
- You can change the dynamic between consumers and your brand with VR. Consumers prefer the VR brand experience as opposed to clicking in and out of ads and using ad blockers.
- Your engagement rates will most likely improve because consumers come to you instead of finding a way to catch their interest.
- Using VR to distinguish your brand offers you a tremendous advantage over your competition since the popularity of the technology is consistently increasing.
- If you start using VR as a marketing tool now, you gain the advantage of innovating and testing new tactics before the world of VR explodes. Once VR becomes common, you will be one of the leaders in your field.
AR is becoming a popular sales and marketing tool. Your brand can offer consumers a unique mobile experience. AR and VR can be thought of as tools to improve your brand and help sell more products by using mobile devices. Although VR is commonly associated with gaming, it is more than just a passing novelty. It is believed that VR will become a driving force for marketing and sales innovations within the next 10 years.
You can use VR technology to make the experience you offer consumers more immersive, which can lead to more sales and opportunities. You can provide consumers with a free trial of your service or product before they purchase it, which is an increasingly popular way of shopping. You can make shopping more convenient, whether you’re offering test drives for a new truck or launching a new clothing line, by creating an enjoyable experience.
You have the opportunity to add a digital component in addition to your chosen physical location. This digital component can be used to reach a larger audience or to provide more information about your product or service. This means that consumers will be able to access your brand’s strategy that is specifically designed to offer them a related experience. You can use VR to create interactive brochures and business cards that will engage your audience on a whole new level. You can use your mobile device to scan printed materials. This gives them the ability to get different types of information from your brand and to connect with your brand in different ways.
You can use VR and AR regardless of whether your business is focused on selling to other businesses or consumers. There are many benefits to using VR and AR. As the popularity of virtual and augmented reality experiences increases, more businesses will be offering them. If you begin using this technology now, you will be at an advantage compared to others. This technology is already being used by brands to enable consumers to try products virtually before deciding if they want to make a purchase. This is done by creating a virtual model of the consumer which can be used to try on different clothes and makeup products to see what they look like before buying them. This type of service decreases returns.
64% of the time people return online purchases because they were not what the consumer expected. Reducing returns can lead to increased revenue and lower costs. The amount of money you lose from selling a product you can’t resell is decreased. Businesses are already reaping the rewards from VR. Numerous businesses, including shoe, cosmetics, and furniture companies, have reported positive ROI and early success.
Know Which Type of Experience You Want to Create
There are four types of VR experiences you can create, and which one you choose will depend on what you want your viewers or customers to learn (or feel) as a result. Here are those four experiences:
- Live video: By taking a live-action video in VR, you can allow your viewer to watch the video from the point of view of the video’s recorder, panning around to see the experience as if they were there when it happened.
- Live photo: Snap a live-action photo that your viewer will be able to pan 360 degrees around and feel as if they’re standing on the scene. Google Earth recently made its Street View viewable in this type of experience.
- 3D video: Animate a service you offer, creating a 3-dimensional demonstration that your viewers might need to see from a firsthand point of view to properly understand it.
- 3D model: Design a 3-dimensional model of a product you offer, such that your viewers can examine every angle of the item with their smartphone or VR headset.
Viewers can interact with your content in 360 degrees by moving their mobile device around or looking around their periphery while wearing a VR headset.
Know Which VR Tool You Want to Use
The type of VR experience you choose will determine how elaborate you want it to be. Your smartphone’s camera app may not be sufficient.
There are some easy-to-use apps you can download to become a quick VR designer for your business. Here are a few and what they do:
- Android Photo Sphere: This is a native function of most Google and Android mobile devices. Similar to a panoramic setting, it allows you to hold and pan your smartphone camera to capture more imagery — but a full 360 degrees around your standing point.
- Google Cardboard: If you don’t have an Android smartphone, the Google Cardboard app gives you the same functionality as the tool above, as well as video recordings that are immediately viewable in VR through YouTube and the Google Cardboard headset.
- Unity: This app is a game-development engine, but has become one of the most popular platforms for creating interactive and animated VR content beyond simple photos and videos.
- InstaVR: This desktop software allows you to edit your photos and videos into VR experiences in a matter of minutes.
- A-Frame: A-Frame is a web-based VR tool, wherein you use HTML to edit live-action images and design 3D models to create virtual experiences that are viewable in 360 degrees.
Keep Your Existing Audience in Mind
How does your ideal customer consume your content already? Is it through a weekly webinar or Q&A? Or maybe a daily vlog from the CEO’s desk? You can continue your current content strategy while also incorporating VR technology.
If you make Facebook videos, you can produce virtual reality content on Facebook Spaces. Although Facebook Spaces is still a new tool, it’s likely to become a standard on Facebook in the near future. Now is the time to start thinking about how Facebook Spaces can benefit your brand.
Does your business have an app, either for the company website or an event you host? One trend for app-based businesses is to create VR content that can be used with a VR headset that is paired with a Samsung or iPhone. Take the mega-ticket marketplace StubHub as an example. This company has now added a 360-degree virtual reality view to every ticket purchase, allowing customers to have a simulated view from their seats on game day.
StubHub has had virtual views of events available for a while now, but they used to be standard (rather than 360-degree) images. Incorporating VR has helped the brand’s customers have a better experience and figure out what they want to purchase.
How many times have you not bought tickets because you were unsure of the view? StubHub is solving the problem by making its existing content work with VR.
Don’t Just Create Content, Create An Experience
The notion that you need a content marketing strategy in order to produce virtual reality might be misleading. At the end of the day, it’s not the VR content that matters most, it’s the user’s experience. This means that your content should focus on giving the consumer a detailed look at what you have to offer.
Here are two examples of businesses that have applied VR to their marketing strategy in different ways.
Conduct Store Walk-Throughs
Use VR to create a 3D model of your product and take customers on a virtual tour of your store, showcasing your best inventory. Shopify is releasing a new VR app called Thread Studio that will let consumers view t-shirt designs and other apparel in a virtual studio.
After choosing colors and designs that fit their project on Shopify, viewers are redirected to Printful, where they can order prints of their design. This is where they can take their virtual product and turn it into a real-life product.
As physical stores increasingly close, they will be replaced by online stores that allow consumers to browse without leaving their homes.
Offering a Personalized Experience
You can customize your VR to match both the goals of your company and the needs of your users. A good example of someone who would be interested in showing a specific home for sale would be a realtor. A buyer can be given a personalized virtual reality tour that is full of suggestions and information that is specifically tailored for them. For example, if you were trying to sell a car, you might show the potential buyer different models that come in their preferred style and colors. You can create custom experiences by using different formats, such as computer-generated imagery and 360 videos.
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