The powers that be (covid-19, Mark Zuckerberg, Google, among others…) sent us on another wild ride in 2021. The pandemic is, unfortunately, still as present as ever, which has led to further investment in digital strategies as people remain in home offices on a regular basis.
For all the problems covid has caused for our collective physical health, mental well-being, and social lives, disrupting the growth of online advertising has not been one of the issues. In fact, the industry has grown to the tune of billions of dollars since the pandemic began. The real question is, “which changes are here to stay?”
In this article, I’ll dive into what we learned in 2021, and how we can use that information moving forward.
1. The Website Has Replaced the Store
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t made at least a dozen purchases online over the course of the past year and half. From little things like food or household essentials, to major purchases like cars and homes, there’s a digital marketplace nearly everything you could ever need.
What does that mean for business owners? Website functionality is absolutely essential. This is especially true if your business relies (or could rely on) on ecommerce to drive revenue. Simply put, if you aren’t staying ahead of the latest optimizations, your competitors are, and it’s going to hurt your bottom line.
2. New Channels Are Constantly Opening Up
“Omnichannel” marketing is a term that has gained a significant amount of traction since the majority of the country adopted working from home – aka consuming from home – on a regular basis. Put in its simplest terms, omnichannel marketing means advertising on a several different platforms, preferably with consistent messaging that comes together to create one holistic campaign.
It’s safe to say that over the course of the pandemic, most individuals have explored new content platforms that had previously gone unnoticed. From podcasts on Spotify to YouTube Shorts, it feels like there’s no limit to the content options at today’s consumer’s disposal.
The ‘big guys’ like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google, Snapchat, etc. are still the most important channels to be advertising on for now, but others like Clubhouse, TikTok, Spotify, and several others are deserving of some consideration if your customer base matches their user base.
3. Content Creation Is Crucial
From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, our lives have become one big ‘stream of content.’ Everywhere you look there’s another video, picture, or Tweet that is doing everything possible to capture your attention. The question then is: What are you doing to capture the attention of potential customers?
Not all content has to be sales-heavy or even focused on marketing. If you’re able to entertain your audience, often times that’s more than enough to accomplish your goal of getting your brand some exposure that either increases brand awareness or brand loyalty.
When it comes to the content itself, things like humor and cultural relevance are always a good option. Don’t be afraid to hop on board with the latest social media trend or debate (as long as it’s not too controversial). This is a great way to work your posts into the platform’s algorithms that determine how wide your reach is for your organic content.
4. Flexibility Is Key to an Effective Strategy
Words like “pivot” and “adaptability” have been repeated ad nauseum in the marketing world throughout 2020 and 2021. Though the terminology has become a bit tired at this point, the message is still relevant. It’s no longer advisable to go “all in” on one single marketing plan without having a backup in place should something arise that forces you to make a change in message.
So how exactly do you create a flexible strategy? This question can have several different answers, but I would recommend having an ‘evergreen’ strategy in place at all times. That means if whatever product you’re selling specifically is no longer available, you can quickly pause that campaign and launch one that simply drives traffic to your website, for example.
The bottom line is that you can’t afford to wait weeks to build a new campaign when your current one isn’t getting the job done. Have a backup and you’ll never find yourself without a plan.
5. Social Media Marketing Is No Longer a Luxury
There was a time, not long ago, when having a full-time employee manage your business’s social media seemed like a waste of money. That time has come and gone.
You could chalk it up to another impact of the pandemic, but Covid-19 notwithstanding, all the trends would indicate that social media use was growing consistently in the past handful of years. With user numbers in the billions, there’s no other way to say it: your customers are spending a good amount of time browsing their social media feeds – is your brand showing up?
Whether it’s a well-strategized organic strategy, or a heavy investment in the paid advertising capabilities, social media has options for businesses of all budgets. Perhaps this is what makes it such a useful tool for small businesses who don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to set aside for marketing.
If you don’t have someone on your staff (or don’t want to bring someone on board), consider reaching out to an affordable agency that you trust to get the job done on your behalf. A few hundred dollars a month a go a long way in establishing your online presence and reaching new audiences.
The reality of today’s marketplace is such that digital products are no longer a luxury, but a necessity regardless of industry. From your website to your social media channels, a business which neglects its digital considerations is likely to fall behind…that’s where we come in.
Get in touch to work out solutions that fit your budget and solve the problems that your company is looking to overcome. From consulting to web design, we’re here to help your business grow with the times. Wishing everyone a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!