Even before the global pandemic forced businesses into the online sphere, companies were already embracing digital marketing. Many forward-thinking business owners saw the rapidly developing technology and shifting user behavior and realized that digital marketing offered more benefits than traditional marketing. For one, the usual avenues for traditional marketing were in severe decline. TV, radio, and print use are lower than ever before. Consumers are now turning to the internet for their daily source of news and entertainment, so for a company to reach out to consumers, the best place to go would be on the internet.
How digital marketing helps your business
Digital marketing allows users to interact with their audience more. Traditional marketing was a one-way street, companies forcing their products down users’ throats in various corners of newspapers and in-between their favorite TV shows. Meanwhile, marketing on social media sites allows companies to get real-time feedback from their consumers. By monitoring engagement they can see which ad formats and styles consumers like best.
Another benefit is that digital marketing tends to be less costly. Even if you’re working with a digital marketing agency, making YouTube videos and infographics for your marketing campaign are still significantly cheaper than paying for ad space on a magazine or a commercial time slot on a TV channel. These allowed companies to use more of their marketing budget on better quality content.
Digital marketing also helps companies generate more valuable information about their users, from their age range, location, interests, purchase history, etc., which allows them to create more personalized and targeted marketing strategies.
The digital marketing trends for 2021
With social distancing and physical restrictions still in place, it’s clear that online shopping and internet browsing is on the rise. The question on most business owners’ minds is: how can I use digital marketing to get ahead of my competitors and reach more consumers?
1. Implement more virtual events
Before the pandemic, businesses often used events like seminars and retail fairs to generate leads and make sales. Even though the pandemic may have dismissed any hope for mass gatherings anytime soon, event organizers still held events online. The success of many of these events showed to business owners that consumers are interested in such a format. Virtual events are becoming a popular option among companies because it’s cheaper (they don’t have to pay for venue and catering) and the logistics are easier to sort out. Plus, the turnout for virtual events is often much higher than real-life events. This makes sense as, from a consumer standpoint, it’s easier to participate in an online seminar than it is to drive to the venue and be there in person. For eCommerce, we’re also seeing an increase in the live selling trend, where retailers hold livestreams and show off products to an audience of viewers.
2. Use social media as an additional retail channel
Many businesses used to use social media as a way to mostly gain brand awareness while the transaction was often done on their website. However, new social media features like Facebook Marketplace are now making it easier for consumers to use social media as a one-stop-shop. This means companies should alter their social media marketing strategies to encourage people to buy even without being led to an external site. Take advantage of these new features to lock in conversions faster.
3. Improve your personalization algorithms to build brand loyalty
Consumers like to feel that companies are listening to them and catering to their needs. This means that to keep a customer coming back, you need to know exactly what they need. To do this, you need to gather as much information about them as possible so you can build an accurate customer profile. Search history and purchase history are useful for recommending things they might like or need. Their location also offers helpful clues about what you can offer them (i.e. winter clothes if the location experiences snow or extreme cold). If they are interested in certain hobbies or sports you can also offer them any products you have that they might find helpful.
4. Cater to your consumers’ need for content
Consumers will roll their eyes at a 5-second ad for skin cream but will sit through a 10-minute video of their favorite beauty influencer recommending their favorite skincare products. Users consume online content ravenously. YouTube claims that its users watch over 1 billion hours of videos daily. This means that if you want to keep your users engaged, you need to pump out content for them at least weekly. The catch is that it has to be good quality, topical, and relevant content in a format that resonates with your users. Experiment with various formats, from videos and infographics to podcasts and articles, and identify which get you the best results. Try different editing styles or writing styles and combine that information to nail the formula that your users like best. If you don’t have the skills or personnel for consistent content marketing, you can partner with a digital marketing agency that can provide all the services you need.
5. Take advantage of emerging technologies
Companies are using innovations like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) more often. This is because it gives users a more up close and personal experience and interaction with their products even from the comfort and safety of their homes. Museums are using VR to allow patrons to remotely view their exhibits. Retailers are using AR to show users how a certain lipstick shade would look on them or how a piece of furniture would fit in their room. These technologies help give users a more engaging and interactive experience and are novel enough that they will generate buzz and excitement.
Digital marketing offers many direct benefits to businesses, especially in a time where the online market is more saturated than ever. Digital marketing helps you stand out from the hundreds of thousands of businesses online and foster a more meaningful relationship with consumers. If you want quick and guaranteed results, hire a digital marketing agency to develop a strategy that’s tailor-fit for your business.