One of the golden rules of marketing is that the first companies to hop on a new platform usually see the biggest returns on their investment.
Back in the 1990s, it was normal to have email open rates over 90 percent. Back when AdWords first started, it was easy to get highly competitive keywords for rock bottom prices. When Facebook first let marketers run ads, the cost per lead was much lower than it is today.
As platforms become more established, they also end up costing more. That’s why the best marketers usually take advantage of new platforms before everybody else.
Today, Snapchat is one of those early-stage platforms, but it's already incredibly popular. In fact, Snapchat users viewed over 7 billion videos every day in early 2016. They now have over 150 million daily active users, which is more than Twitter.
But, some marketers are afraid to experiment with new platforms because they don’t know how it will fit into their overall marketing mix -- what can you actually use Snapchat for? Engagement? Sales? What’s the real benefit of sending people Snapchat messages as opposed to messages through other platforms?
It can be confusing, especially when you're starting out. Something to keep in mind is that a typical marketing funnel is broken down into three main stages:
Awareness. Prospects learn about your business and what you have to offer.
Interest. Prospects from the first phase take the first step toward becoming a customer by signing up for a webinar or company emails.
Evaluation. Prospects from phase two take the final jump to buy from you, often as the result of a sales call or an email drip campaign.
Snapchat is strongest during the second stage, when you're engaging your prospects and trying to create interest. In fact, research shows that Snapchat gets nearly a 4x higher engagement rate compared to similar platforms like Instagram. Through Snapchat, you can deliver valuable content to your audience to let them see a different side of your business -- one that might not be as visible through another channel.
Here are three ways marketers can use Snapchat to grow their businesses:
1. Offer promo codes.
Brands have had success using promo codes on Snapchat because of how high the engagement rate is.
For example, check out this case study from Grubhub to see how it created a Snapchat story to send a promo code to its audience.
2. Launch products.
You can also use Snapchat to launch new products. For example, the makeup company NARS used Snapchat to give its followers a glimpse of its product line before it was released.
One of the unique benefits of Snapchat is that it gives you permission to create low-budget, informal videos. Letting them see you “behind the scenes,” where you might be unpolished, will help build a deeper relationship over the long term.
3. Leverage influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective channels out there today.
By leveraging influencers, you can capture a much larger audience because your content will be viewed by both your followers and the followers of that influencer. It’s one of the quickest ways to build a massive audience of your own.
Big brands are already doing this on Snapchat. Audi got over 115,000 followers on its Snapchat account by partnering up with the T.V. show Pretty Little Liars through their Snapchat stories.
Another way to use influencer marketing is by asking an influencer to do a takeover of your account. This basically means that they run your Snapchat account for a certain period of time, and post snaps on behalf of you. For example, rapper Pharrell once worked with Adidas to do a takeover of one of its events.
Snapchat is still an up-and-coming platform that has yet to become overcrowded. And, because of that, engagement levels are still significantly higher than many other platforms.
Marketers who jump on it now will see significantly better engagement than those who get on board months -- or years -- later.