Augmented reality has become a hot topic in marketing, but if you are a small business owner or a small business marketer, you may be wondering how this can be a smaller-scale strategy that applies directly to you. Marketers are always looking for the most recent trends and technologies to boost their visibility and attract more customers, so it is no surprise that when talk of augmented reality swept the marketing community, industry specialists began thinking of ways to use it to their advantage. Now it is time for small businesses to start considering its advantages as well, so let’s dive in.
What is Augmented Reality?
For those of you who are not aware, augmented reality involves combining a user’s physical surroundings with a virtual device (most often, a smartphone or portable tablet). As an emerging marketing form, a lot of the biggest projects are obviously expensive endeavors, but there are several things that small businesses can do to stay on top of trends and remain active players. Below explains how and where to look.
How To Stay on Top of Trends and Get Involved in Your Industry
Augmented Reality is not going anywhere, and the key to success with augmented reality for small businesses is really staying on top of trends that can be relevant to your audience. Here are some tips.
Piggy-Back off Other Popular Apps
Pay attention to new apps that are released and are gaining a lot of public attention, especially if they are relevant to your industry. If any of these utilize augmented reality, be ahead of the curve and brainstorm about how your business can benefit those app users directly.
Brainstorm with Social Media AI First
Social media is an increasingly important platform for augmented reality. Not only is it “the place” for user-generated content, but social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are among the top frequently visited sites. With video sharing, live streaming, and other forms of content sharing, augmented reality is beginning to be a daily practice for some. Take, for example, Facebook adding augmented reality “masks” that people can use in their live video streams.
As a reminder, to be considered augmented reality, the environment of the user has to interact and be somewhat altered virtually. So how might small businesses take augmented reality and social media to make something that attracts users? One way is to offer promotions or discounts for customers who live stream and creatively alter (using masks, filters, or geotags) an event you are having or using your products. Give customers credit for “checking in” to your location in a creative way.
Follow Gaming Trends
Several AI games are being developed every day. While not all of them are going viral, some of them are definitely increasing in popularity. More impurely, more games are bound to be coming on to the scene that has the opportunity for small businesses.
Consider Interactive Ads with Sales and Commerce
Sales platforms (think Amazon or eBay) are among the top ways people make purchases online. As augmented reality converges with e-commerce, there are going to be several opportunities for small businesses to engage and boost their visibility and sales. Stay on top of the latest e-commerce trends, but also think about how you can boost your own sales strategy. One way to do this is with interactive ads that can creatively bridge the gap between the virtual and the physical world of the user.
There are so many ways to become visible to your target audience online and with more people shopping online than ever before that if you can catch their attention using augmented reality, you will be able to increase engagement and sales for your brand.
Key Reasons Small Business Marketers Should Care About Augmented Reality
If you are totally convinced that augmented reality is becoming an important landscape for marketers, you may still be wondering why small business marketers should care about augmented reality. Here are the key reasons:
- Technology, especially apps and games, has the opportunity to go viral and get mass exposure. These kinds of events make the job of a marketer even easier to attract fresh and untapped prospects.
- People love personalization and to feel engaged with the technologies they use. Augmented reality offers a high level of personalization, and thus, users feel more connected with these kinds of personalized platforms. If your business can engage this level of personalization, you will be building relationships in no time.
- Retention and return customers are a desirable feature of every small business. When customers are more engaged they are more likely to return and be repeat customers. Augmented reality offers an opportunity for this and small businesses can really benefit from this kind of customer interaction.
The moral of the story is that while you may not be able to design a viral augmented reality game, you can still capitalize on the benefits of augmented reality and incorporate trends into your small business marketing strategy.
Do you have any experience with augmented reality for your small business? Let us know in the comments section below—we would love to hear from you!
Amanda DiSilvestro is the Editor-in-chief for Plan, Write, GO. She has been writing about all things digital marketing, both as a ghostwriter, guest writer, and blog manager, for over 10 years. Check out her blogging services to learn more!