“I think the business model of traditional pay TV is so different from the other services Millennials subscribe to that it just doesn’t fit how they think about buying media.” — Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch
He’s right. Media is evolving to offer users more personalization and control. Today’s consumers want content that comes with them — on-demand content that’s accessible anywhere, from any device. Cable alternatives like Sling TV, Netflix, and Hulu allow users to pick and choose cost-effective content packages on a smaller scale with fewer interruptions, barriers to consumption, and contract constraints. To be successful, brands must develop a digital strategy that reflects these same values.
This model is the future of media (and digital marketing) and companies like Sling TV are leading the charge. Just a year after it’s launch in February 2015, Sling TV already boasts approximately 600,000 subscribers. Their service allows cord cutters to ditch their big, expensive TV bundles for smaller, personalized live TV and on-demand video streaming packages starting at just $20 a month. This is a unique alternative to cable TV and other media services, allowing users to purchase and stream live TV from ESPN, HBO, Disney, and ABC to a variety of popular connected devices.
With nearly 15 percent of Americans cutting the cord and joining the 9 percent who never had a cable of satellite TV subscription, there’s a growing market of almost ¼ of American households looking for a new way to consume media. In this new frontier of media delivery, opportunities have surfaced for media companies to claim market share and digital authority through cohesive SEO and Digital PR strategies.
Below we’ve taken a close look at Sling TV to highlight four best practices and one huge opportunity in search engine marketing to increase customer acquisition in the media streaming industry.
1. Focus on Digital Over Traditional
By nature, streaming media is a digital service that appeals to a target audience who consumes its content online. These brands must develop comprehensive marketing strategies that heavily rely on digital content and user interactions to drive cost-effective conversions in a new market space.
Sling TV does an excellent job constructing an online consumer base through digital outlets. Their cross-channel campaign leverages on-page web content, paid advertising, an active social media presence, and mentions across industry-leading publications to increase awareness and drive conversions. Additionally, affiliate partnerships with digital streaming devices to offer discounted prices for new users increases customer acquisition and removes additional barriers to entry.
By developing a robust digital presence and captivated audience, Sling TV is able to keep their growing fan base informed of new content, influence an active community, and build relationships with enhanced user data. This provides Sling TV with the power to build loyalty and grow its authority at the forefront of a changing media environment that’s ready to cut the cord and invest in smarter media choices.
2. Adapt to Devices
In 2015 mobile usage surpassed desktop and all other devices, signifying the obligation for brands to adapt to changing user needs and expectations. Relative to streaming media, 42 percent of cord-cutters ditched their home broadband service and now exclusively access media content through mobile streaming.
Sling TV understands these user expectations, creating a seamless user experience across devices. Their services maintain consistent usability and feel through the variety of compatible streaming devices including Roku, Amazon FireTv, Xbox One, desktop computers, and mobile devices from Apple and Android.
Additionally, their responsive website offers a consistent user experience across all devices and screen sizes. This allows Sling TV to deliver a unified experience and voice across all content channels.
3. Deliver Real-Time Marketing
Keeping engagement constant and responsive to meet the demand of consumers is essential to the success of digital-exclusive brands. Your brand’s reputation and value is determined by your ability to stay active and visible with consumers.
Sling TV demonstrates exception community management and real-time customer support with a constantly active social presence. Their social team keeps pages lively with the relevant content consumers want to see and builds loyalty with immediate responses to every page engagement — positive and negative.
4. Build Brand Voice
Defining a unique content structure that echoes the values and goals of your brand helps construct the perceptions and expectations of users. The unique perspective reflected in your content differentiates your brand form competitors by isolating niche markets, building brand loyalty amongst consumers, and creating industry authority.
Sling TV has remained consistent from the start with a unified goal — personalize TV. By allowing users the freedom to consume media a la carte and on their preferred devices, Sling TV has redefined the expectations for how traditional media brands approach consumer needs.
The content produced on its site reflects that goal with niche-focused content readers care about. Its audience-specific content shared across social channels stimulates interest and develops strong bonds through relevancy. From a service perspective, exclusive live streaming content from brands like ESPN, HBO, and Cinemax further differentiate Sling TV from its traditional and cable alternative competitors. Furthermore, by leveraging the influence of partner brands, Sling TV establishes its authority and value in an increasingly saturated market.
The Big Opportunity: Search Exposure
Like Sling TV’s CEO Roger Lynch said, brands need to adapt to how Millennials think about media — this includes how they discover and research. For many consumers, swapping traditional television for streaming media is a big leap. There’s a lot of different device and service options that require research before many users feel comfortable cutting cords.
What’s shocking is the lack of visibility these brands have in search results — the primary research method for most consumers.
Google almost any phrase related to “cable TV alternatives” and you’ll find little branded exposure. Few paid ads dominate these searches and the ones that do are frequently from traditional television giants trying to sway users back to the heard. Most frequently, organic results are dominated with articles from industry publications that surpass branded pages and decrease visibility. The gap in search coverage presents the biggest opportunity for streaming media brands to build trust and awareness with users during key moments of the research process.
To establish market authority, optimize search exposure with paid ads, on-page content optimization, and off-page SEO.
The Big Picture For Cable TV Alternatives
There’s a growing competition for streaming media brands in the wide-open search market — the question is who will make their mark first.
Excelling in one area of digital marketing is not enough. Brands need to develop robust and comprehensive strategies that span cross-channel and target audience segments a key moments throughout the customer journey.
Keyword revenue forecasting helps identify the best opportunities for organic content exposure and ROI. Leverage these tools to increase visibility at all stages of the customer lifecycle.
Contact ZOG Digital to learn more about our approach and request a free keyword forecasting audit.