If someone asked me what I do in my spare time, Netflix would definitely be on the top of that list. Netflix has singlehandedly created a service that destroys my productivity. No matter what the occasion, I can always find something to binge watch. If it’s close to Halloween, then I have all the slasher and ghost movies at my disposal. If I feel like just watching some brain-dead action flicks, then Netflix shows me the best of Van Damme, Schwarzenegger and Stallone. And the list goes on and on. This got me to thinking… If Netflix is so great, then is there more that I can learn from it besides how to disable an entire army with my bare fists a-la-Jet-Li?
Netflix Marketing Lessons to Add to Your Strategy
1. Free Trial
I refer to this one as the zombie of the list because it’s a no-brainer. But having a low entry point for users to come in and try your product for free is great for building your customer base. Especially when you know that your product/service is awesome. Netflix basically lures you in and then traps you in it’s never-ending web of kung-fu, romance, sci-fi, and drama.
2. Reusing old content is great… But original content is King
Netflix made its name by giving us all of the new and old TV shows and movies that we love. They built their business by giving us the ability to continuously replay these movies and shows at our convenience. The result was amazing. But now they’ve added in their own original programming. Shows like Daredevil (Awesome!), House of Cards, Arrested Development, The final season of The Killing, Orange is the New Black, and one of my new favorite Sense8 are just a few of Netflix’s original shows that are garnering significant attention. The result – A whopping 31 Emmy nominations in 2014 and 7 wins. While their entire library of content will continue to bring in customers, it’s this original programming that will really set them apart to help them acquire new customers in bulk. Because after all, who wouldn’t pay less than the cost for basic cable for an infinite list of on demand films and TV shows, as well as the top new shows that everyone is talking about.
3. Refresh your messaging to keep people engaged
Netflix regularly refreshes their content, but can you imagine what would happen if they didn’t? We’d all stop caring! As a business owner/marketer we have to remember to regularly refresh our messaging to keep prospects engaged and interested until they convert.
4. Have content available and create an interactive experience
Part of the reason we spend so much time on Netflix is the sheer amount of content they have available. Part of a good content marketing strategy is having enough content accessible for visitors to read and enjoy. And Netflix has a plethora of shows and films for us to watch over and over and over again. The other masterful part about Netflix is their interactive experience. I have spent hours just scrolling through Netflix not being able to decide what to watch.
5. Timely and Relevant Content
Netflix is a marketing machine. Their strategy is amazing and they got it right early on. When it comes to putting out movies and shows they have content ready for you based on season and holiday, as well as creating a list based on your personal preferences. I can’t even explain how many shows I’ve binged based off of Netflix’s recommendations. The marketing lesson here is if you keep giving your audience relevant content, then you can expect an increased rate-of-use or time-on-site.
6. Cross-Sell and Advertise Additional Product/Services
How did Netflix get so much viewership for their shows? Well, hosting giant video ads on your home screen certainly doesn’t hurt. I still remember the moment of excitement I had when I logged in and saw a giant ad for the Daredevil show on Netflix (I’m a huge comic book fan). But this show may have gone unnoticed had I not seen that ad. Additionally, I wouldn’t have been sold on Peaky Blinders or Sense8 had they not tried to cross-sell those shows to me while I was binging on something else.
7. Don’t Stop Innovating
One of my biggest beefs with Netflix was part of the user experience. While I loved being able to scroll through all of the shows, I still felt like the process could be sped up. I resorted to activating Netflix God Mode, but soon after I started using God Mode I noticed that Netflix updated their UX to allow faster scrolling through all of the titles. The new UX also allows for an increased number of titles and categories to be shown. Overall, this was a big win in my book. As a marketer or business owner it’s easy to get comfortable when we think something is working, but to be successful it’s crucial that we never stop trying to innovate and improve the user experience.
Netflix and Marketing
Whether or not your Netflix diet is an unhealthy as mine, you have to admit: they’re a marketing machine. They’re able to build a large customer base through the use of old content, and then use cross-selling, advertising and original content to further grow and expand their reach, while also providing timely and relevant content to keep their audience thoroughly engaged (in my case for hours…). Luckily, we can all learn from Netflix and use their model to help strengthen our marketing strategies.