Ever wondered why we needed Education? Why we needed Law in the country? Why we needed Hospitals? And why we need to go Digital?
Going digital is not a trend anymore rather a necessity to survive your business in pandemic and the period post that.
If you observe the economy and the business surroundings you would notice that those firms who have chosen to delay or have not yet transformed their businesses digitally have been struggling for their survival especially during pandemic.
If you give it a serious thinking and ask yourself – Is this the only option to continue businesses in the future?
Well, you will get the answers by observing your surroundings.
People are not moving out
People are not ready to go out due to the deadly virus plaguing us not just in our mainland but in the entire world. They prefer staying at home and ordering groceries, food, clothes, medicines, paying bills, doing online education, taking online consultations, working from home etc.
In this scenario, going digital is the only choice for businesses. The footprints of retail outlets of the companies have reduced significantly. In such times, digital transformation has now got a new value in the world. At the moment, the only way for businesses to contact customers is through online mediums.
In person contact has been reduced
The government announcing a lockdown in most of the areas, fear of COVID and the growing financial limitations has pushed the people in their own safe zone. They don’t feel comfortable going to any physical outlet anymore.
In such circumstances how to stay connected with your customers?
Your business MUST remain in contact with potential clients and with the general public for its survival. With people not coming out physically, business/companies should ensure that they keep in touch with them on social media platforms and through the internet.
Following statistics supports our thinking:
Key insights from a consumer survey led and reported by Deloitte in its report Global Marketing Trend
As times get tougher, consumer expects more from the brands they frequent.
- More than 70% agreed they valued digital solutions that deepened their connection with other people, and 63% believe they will rely on digital technologies more than they did prior to the pandemic even well after it subsides
- Conversely, more than 25% of those who noticed brands acting in their own self-interest walked away from those brands.
- More than 70% agreed they valued digital solutions that deepened their connection with other people, and 63% believe they will rely on digital technologies more than they did prior to the pandemic even well after it subsides.
- Fifty-eight percent of respondents could recall at least one brand that quickly pivoted to better respond to their needs, and 82% said this led to them doing more business with the brand
In these wild times of uncertainty, people are looking to brands for help— and rewarding those that can meet their most pressing needs in the moment.
Firms can remain visible and accessible to the public and its potential customers by transforming digitally. They can hire a marketing strategist from leading digital marketing agency or company. The strategist/agency will in turn, create their web presence and promote their business strategically.
PUBLIC PLACES remains closed
Public places are closed in most countries to control the spread of novel coronavirus which is a fatal human to human transmitted virus. It has been recorded that it had a harmful effect on the number of people going out duringthe day and visiting businesses or those buying to meet their daily requirements.
If you are the one to take notice of business hoarding on prominent roads you would already know that businesses spend A LOT on their branding, advertising and marketing campaigns to elicit a powerful response and reaction from their customers and the general audience. When one visits their outlet one gets to see what the brand is offering on a real time basis.
With public spaces remaining closed for now and in the near future, the marketing strategy has changed.
BUSINESSES CONFERENCES, B2B EVENTS AND B2C EVENTS LIKE EXHIBITIONS HAVE TAKEN A SET BACK
Public events and gatherings are also not so common in the world now. No sponsors are covering shows anymore and therefore, brands are experiencing less exposure. Companies don’t have any other option other than adding digital means of marketing to sell their products and services. This way, they can bridge the gap between themselves and their customers.
With the onset of 2021, we have entered a new decade and with technology changing at a rapid pace we have listedsome of the latest digital marketing trends and predictions that we would be witnessing this year. To start with let us first understand digital marketing.
What exactly is Digital Marketing?
It is the use of new media to market a brand/product/service/ organization and so on. Though there are a lot of activities that can be done but digital marketing these days relies on the internet.
While we have changed the way we search, shop and spend most of our time by being online, the basic idea of marketing hasn’t changed at all.
Peter Drucker explains it as “The aim of marketing is to know and understand your customer so well the product or service fits them and sells itself.”
Know your potential customer
The first rule of marketing is to make the right offer at the right time and in the right place. At present, the right place is online. Your potential customer is out there on social media getting regular updates on news sites, reading marketing blogs and product reviews and searching about services on Google. All you have to do is connect with them aesthetically.
Decoding the viewership on Instagram or other social platforms, it simply shows that your potential customer is not there to make a purchase in the first instance. They are there to interact, learn something and fill in time.
In technical terms, Social media is a brand building exercise. You show up in their feed, you give value, tell a story and show how you fulfill their need or fix their problem. If you do that, they start recognizing you and they are aware of your presence. You start building a relationship with them and offer value. You establish a meaningful relationship that is based on mutual exchange of give and take.
KNOW YOUR USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
As we all know, there are big fishes in an ocean. We always start small and when we do that you will need to focus on one thing that you stand for that is different from your competition. If we are a small player, we focus on sub – audience rather than going for large audience at once. Understanding your value proposition will help you market to your customers differently than your competitors. With a well thought out USP, you ca decide exactly what you want and plan how you are going to get it.
A good USP can help you work on changing your approach until you succeed because you know what makes you stand out. A well though USP helps your customers understand what value you are offering and how different you are from your competitors.
It tells your customer why they should buy from you instead of someone else. Be creative with whatever you do and commit to consistently showing up.
Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy
An effective marketing strategy and plan will include your objectives or goals, the target audience you want to attract on the web, the product or services that you are going to provide and the digital marketing activities that you are going to implement to achieve your goals.
By taking a strategic approach to your digital marketing plans, you will also be more likely to achieve your goals at a faster pace and visibl9y see grea1ter returns on your investment.
There are 9 broad areas you need to cover to really succeed at digital marketing for your business:
Select your market positioning
The first step to developing a marketing strategy is to select your market positioning. This means that a business has to first select your target market, choose a specialist area and customize your value proposition so that it is different from your competitors. When you specialize in an area expertise, you will clearly demarcate your area of authority and build trust among your potential customers.
Build a great website for your business
Your website is the number one marketing tool that you have. Having an online presence would solidify your brand recognition. It will help your customers to reach you instantly. Likewise, you can even reach a much bigger audience. Those spending most of their time online will proactively know what changes you are making to your business or what value addition you are offering to your customers on time to time basis.
Build a strong brand
While developing a marketing strategy your plan of action must include mission of your business, your personal story and your brand values.Your mission statement articulates whom you want to help with your business and ‘why.’ It’s an integral part of your brand, as it’s a way to build a stronger connection with your target audience.
Sharing your personal story is another great way to build a connection with your target audience. While they get to know how it all started your personal story can inspire many others. Listing your brand values can get you clients with similar values and beliefs and those wanting to connect with you over this similarity.
Content to keep your audience stimulated
Content is a valuable marketing asset for your business, whether it’s written, audio, or visual.
There are two types of content that you can create – your core content and your promotional content.
- Your core content builds a platform or a voice for you to showcase your expertise and position yourself as an authority.
The format for your core content could include a blog, a video series, a podcast, live Facebook or LinkedIn video, Instagram TV, special events, online webinars, an email newsletter, and information sessions or presentations.
- While promotional content helps you to build awareness with your followers or community.
Promotional content includes social media posts that promote your core content and the services you sell. You may also create a range of promotional awareness content pieces such as online poll, quiz, behind the scenes as examples.
Grow your community and email list
At any given time, there’s only going to be a certain number of people who are ready to buy from you. It’s also not uncommon for people to take their time before making a final decision to make a purchase.
Often, ideal clients may need to see or hear from your business many times before they trust you enough to give you their money. That’s where growing your community and email list comes in. It will likely become an essential part of your marketing strategy and plan.
Growing your following on your selected social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, twitter, LinkedIn is an excellent way to build awareness, provide value, and nurture your sales prospects.
Don’t forget to add email list building strategies to your online marketing plan. There’s a direct correlation between the size of your email list and the revenue opportunities for your business.
Ensure you have at least one activity on your marketing to-do list each day to grow your community and build your email list.
Search Engine Optimization ( SEO)
SEO is extremely important for the long term success of your website. If you want your website to generate traffic naturally or organically without you promoting it on social media every day then you must pay attention to your SEO.
Relying only on paid advertisement and onlinepromotion could turn out to be a very costly affair for your business. You need to make efforts on your website building for it to generate traffic on its own by bringing you quality leads.
SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s results. SEO functions by optimizing your content so it will automatically show up on Google when someone searches for your product or service. It helps you convert enquiries into business, giving you a higher conversion rate and building long term networks.
Lead generation is probably one of the biggest challenges for a new business. If you want to generate leads consistently, then you’ll also need to ensure that you’re creating awareness on a regular basis.
Now, while it sounds easy to show up consistently, many small business owners do struggle with this.If you are there to serve your clients, then you will want to start helping them. If you’re struggling with a lack of time for marketing, then consider what marketing automation tools you could use to help you show up consistently. Increase your reach and visibility to more people, which will in turn increase your chances of getting new client leads.
An easier approach would be to opt for paid advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Ads to drive traffic to your website, where people can see your products and services.
Seek out collaboration opportunities
If your business is new, you probably won’t have a large community or strong brand awareness to begin with.However, there will be others in your circle who offers complementary services that you could collaborate or partner with.
If they are an established business, they will have a list of clients who may need your services.And in time as your visibility and client base grows, you’ll be able to refer business back to your collaboration partners as well.
When looking for collaboration partners, take a strategic approach.Develop a marketing strategy that is focused on trying to build fewer, but more thoughtful and deeper business connections.
For a collaboration to work well, there needs to be value in it for both partners.
Find out what your potential partner would find valuable and approach them with the view to give, rather than to receive in the first instance,
Establishing partnerships with other businesses takes time, so ensure you have set aside a good amount of time to build a healthy relationship.
9.Online reviews and Word of mouth marketing
The very first purchase from your prospective customer doesn’t come easily to those new in business. There are a lot of consistent efforts required from the business side to convince the customer to trust the product or service which the company is offering.
The customers are brand conscious as well as cost conscious and will be looking for evidence of results from past customers to give them confidence that they are making the right decision.
An online review from a previous customer can help you convert your first sale. A single recommendation can have far greater impact as it can start a chain of customer building.
A business needs to adopt word of mouth advertising strategies to capitalize on the opportunity.
There are two types of Word of mouth marketing:
Organic word of mouth
Organic word of mouth marketing occurs naturally when people become advocates because they are satisfied with a product and have a natural desire to share their support and to pass on the good word.
Amplified word of mouth
Amplified word of mouth marketing occurs when marketers launch campaigns designed to encourage or accelerate word of mouth in existing or new segment of people.
TOP TRENDS IN DIGITAL MARKETING IN THE YEAR – 2021
No Click Searches or Zero Click search
Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving and focused on providing users with the best digital experiences. To enhance search results and allow users to quickly find what they are looking for Google has introduced the concept of zero click searches.
Boxes in Search Engine results (Position Zero) often come with an image and a short descriptive answer that you’re looking for displayed in an easy to distinguish box. It refers to search results that appear at the top of the first search engine results page (SERP).
Google aims to give users the best possible results as fast as possible. Thereby increasing the users trust and increasing the retention rate of its users, meaning the number of people using it as their primary search engine.
How does google benefit from this?
The advantage for Google is that users stay longer in Google’s own services and move onto other content less quickly. If users click through to organic third party websites then Google is at a loss of these users and cannot target them with its Google advertising.
Users that stay glued to Google are more likely to click on Google Ad, earning it revenue. Those looking for a direct answer to their search query may also be inclined to enter additional search queries, which could again result in a paid click on Google Ad or shopping.
How does business owners benefit from this?
When Google use your website to show information to a user’s query, it shows you’re providing valuable content. To increase traffic to your website you need to add something to these featured snippets that will trigger user’s curiosity and subsequently will make them click on your website for more information. Your next move should be to attract them to your site for more to learn what you have to offer. This way you drive traffic to your website thereby generating revenue opportunities.
Schema Markup is one of the newer forms of SEO. It allows you to boost your rankings on SERPs by providing snippets of useful and timely information to potential website visitors. Schema is a type of HTML markup that was created collaboratively by Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo engineers.
It’s an HTML language that provides information to search engines about how certain pieces of information should be presented in search results.
If you have seen “rich snippets” of information displayed in enhanced search results; these are made possible by schema markup.
Rich Snippet results are more eye-catching than normal search result which can lead to a higher organic CTR. Your first step is to identify the type of Rich Snippet that you want to get. That way, you can use Structured Markup that’s specifically designed to get that type of Rich Snippet in the SERPs.
Implemented correctly, schema markup will boost your rankings and improve your click through rate. Since schema works via HTML, all you have to do is adding bits of specific schema.org vocabulary to your HTML data with a little help from Google.
You can use schema to enhance your content and provide details about your website’s trust worthiness and authority like ratings and reviews. When prospective lead sees your reviews and ranking it creates a favorable response and help them consider your product or service.
Google Verified Listings
If you are a small business operating on a local level, Google My Business Listing provides valuable information and helps in establishing your geographical location.
Having a geographically defined service area with Google My Business listing aids in showing up for “near me” searches. It also lets your customers learn more about your business within top Google Search results. Your potential customer can see your open hours, address and star rating left by previous customers.
In order to make sure your information stands correct, verify your Google Business listing and keep your information up to date.
Voice assistants are software agents that can interpret human speech and respond via synthesized voices. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortona and Google’s Assistant are the most popular voice assistants and are embedded in smartphones or dedicated home speakers.
These voice activated digital assistants can respond to commands, provide users with information and assist in the control of other connected electronics. These continue to huge sellers as some of the households get their work done through them. The popularity of voice search both at home and on our phones has led to one of the most significant shifts in using keywords.
When writing content choose your keywords based on the questions people may ask via Siri,Alexa orCortona.This digital marketing trend is here to stay.
In a report published by statista, the forecasts suggest that by 2024, the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units – a number higher than the world’s population.
Instead of typing a description into Google, users can now upload an image and get information about an item just from a picture. Visual Search focuses on using images to promote online searches of products by consumers. Google algorithm will take the image online and generate buying options of either that specific product or similar looking products.
Platforms like Google, Pinterest and Amazon have embraced this new technology and its paying off well for them. Google Lens, Pinterest Lens and related search tools turn a user’s camera into a search bar. Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said, “The future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords” and Pinterest is functioning proof.
It is estimated that the visual recognition market is projected to become a nearly 40 billion dollar industry by 2025.
Did you know that 62% of Millennials and Generation Z would rather have visual search than any other search technology?
This clearly states that by including visual search features on a website, businesses can extend their reach to these younger generation.
Currently, 21% of Pinterest users search less when they have the option to use visual search instead. Also, over 600 million visual searches are conducted on Pinterest every month.
How can your business leverage visual search?
You can add high – quality images tagged with descriptive keywords, introduce an image search into your online inventory and if your target market uses Pinterest, consider advertising on this platform. Brands that advertise with them get the benefit of boosted search results.
- Having an image sitemap will increase the likelihood of your images being discovered by search engines.
- Use descriptive filenames for images before uploading them to your website.
- Add alternate text to all image i.e “Alt Tags”
Online reviews can make or break your business’s ability to attract new customers or clients. While a company talks greatly about its products or services, those who have taken the company’s service can provide real, unbiased reviews. Having many reviews from verified sources can make your business stand out from competition and start building trust before they even click on your website.
The most credible review for a business to receive is through Google Business. These are most trusted sources, most visible and your GoogleBusiness listing lets people call or visit the website. Facebook is another trusted source of reviews. To increase the number of reviews , provide your customer with a simple link (call to action) to your Google Business listing to leave a review.
Call to Action is a marketing term that refers to the next step a marketer wants its audience or reader to take. The CTA can have a direct link to sales.
Automated and smart bidding
AdWords provide quicker and powerful results. It is much faster than SEO and other marketing tactics. There are a lot of elements to an online advertising campaign. An AdWords specialist handles all aspects of Google Ads campaign. The professional is responsible for setting up campaigns on display, search and mobile Ads to directing keyword research, processing bids and keeping tabs on success of AdWords campaign. The specialistanalyses every piece of data and adjust keywords, bids and ad phrasing. This is indeed a time consuming and exhausting exercise.
What is Automated Bidding?
Google ads created automated biding as a strategy that will help you reach the maximum results on your campaign goals.
When you switch to automated bidding, Google will automatically set the bid amounts based on how likely it is that your ad will generate clicks or conversions. Data is first analyzed from the device being used, operating system, location, demographics and the timing of the user.
All of Google’s automated bid strategies are portfolio bid strategies (an automated, goal-driven bid strategy that groups multiple campaigns, ad groups, and keywords). This means that advertisers can apply their chosen strategy across all of their campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. Some are available as standard strategies (an ad strategy that can be used in single campaigns).
What is Smart Bidding?
Smart Bidding is a term associated with automated bidding and some may confuse the two as being the same thing. However, Smart Bidding is simply a bidding category that includes only conversion-based strategies.
Smart Bidding uses machine learning to maximize conversion results by tracking and analyzing data signals from every search and click. Using this data, Google will either increase or decrease bids based on whether or not it believes a click will result in a conversion. For example, it will set a higher bid for a searcher who is more likely to make a purchase.
There are currently four Smart Bidding strategies:
a) Enhanced CPC
b) Target CPA
c) Target ROAS
d) Maximize Conversions