7 Tips for Online Success
The enduring COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed how businesses function. We’ve seen many business owners move online as employees will continue to work from home or in an adjusted office environment for the foreseeable future. These last few months of our customer’s responses to COVID-19 have given us a clearer understanding of the marketing trends that are being employed and what you can expect in 2021.
What are the key digital marketing trends for 2021 that your business needs to consider to engage and retain current customers and generate more? We’ve compiled seven points where shrewd managers should invest their time and money.
- KEEP YOUR WEBSITE UP TO DATE
With the majority of people spending more and more time online, regular updates that are well executed can help your business grow and lift it to the top; a lack of updates, consequently, can bring you down.
Internet technology is a rapidly developing and constantly changing field. The goal of any new tech stack is to make websites better: faster, simpler, lighter, and more secure. And if you adopt these new technologies — at least those relevant to your business — you’ll always provide your users with the best possible service and user experience, earning a good reputation and good profits.
The benefits of updating your website’s design, code, and SEO are huge. Regularly updated quality content can bring you to the top of organic search rankings, and a modern look shows your customers you're keeping up with the times. Using the latest technology keeps your website safe and earns trust among users and search engines alike.
So how often should you redesign your website? Experts say that 2 to 3 years is the maximum lifetime for a website design-wise. Longer than that and it faces the danger of falling into oblivion. Using new technologies can bring many benefits to your website and your business, help you attract new customers, and eventually increase your profits.
- AUTOMATED BIDDING IN GOOGLE ADS
Google Ads marketers constantly tweak and adjust campaigns, keywords, and bids to get the most for your advertising budget. The problem is all of the tweaking comes at a cost: more hours, and higher management fees. Enter Automated bidding, which allows Google to automate prior moves to adjust your bid in real time.
Now, automated bidding isn’t new, having made its debut way back in 2016. But continuous improvements, especially in the past year, mean that it’s due to break out in 2021. Our increased reliance on automated bidding tactics means that we can devote our time to optimising other aspects of PPC performance, which ultimately delivers a better outcome at a lower cost to our clients.
- CHECK YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING
For B2C businesses that draw customers primarily on a local level, the Google My Business listing provides valuable information about your hours, services, and geographical location. It’s one of the key factors in search.
One tip to implement today: Ensure you have a geographically-defined service area within your local listings as this will help your business show up in “near me” searches. That’s because Google prioritises relevance in their search algorithms. It may seem counter-intuitive to limit your business service radius, but by doing so you’ll more deeply penetrate that market in search results.
Keeping your listings updated also allows your customers to know of any changes in your hours, promotions, blogs, or any other information you would like to quickly convey.
- LIST ON VARIOUS LOCAL DIRECTORIES
“If you own a business, THE most important thing you can do is ensure your local listings are verified and kept current on various search platforms.”
Adding your business to directory sites that are only for businesses in your niche is also incredibly important and every niche has its own directories.
A lot of businesses and business owners who have created listings in the past are all probably sceptical of them for one reason, they don’t bring in a ton of referral business. Some bring in more than others, but in large part, you are not going to be getting dozens of leads each month from these directories. So, if they aren’t directly bringing in business, why should I take the time to get listed everywhere?
Most of these directories send links to your website and they, for the most part, are very authoritative sites. Directories and local listings are an easy way to build up a business’s backlink profile, especially for a small business that has little to no online presence or brand awareness. Search engines especially highly value these links from reputable news websites or authoritative blogs, such as AGRIFOODSA.INFO. Your backlink profile needs to be diverse, and these links do just that.
Niche Directories go a step further because they are not only adding authority to your site but they are also adding in relevancy. For example, a link from Lawyers.com is much more valuable to an attorney site than a link from a home improvement site because it is more relevant. Google and the other search engines look at the types of sites that are linking to you in order to decide how to rank you.
- IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
We’ve had many of our advertisers tell us that they’re focussing on advertising on their Facebook Pages, but is it enough? Social media budgets accounted for 24% of total US marketing budgets during Q2 of 2020, up from 13% last winter. Businesses should be prepared to dedicate more resources to social media marketing in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic creates new opportunities for marketers to increase their reach with new audiences and re-engage with long-time customers.
But this does not mean repeating the same posts a few times a month. For a very affordable price per month, a solid content plan should be compiled, which makes provision for regular posts, monitoring and driving customer responses, and attracting new business. If your business has been putting off adding successful cross-platform social media services to your marketing mix, now’s the time.
- MORE INTERACTIVE CONTENT
Adding interactive elements to your website or social media is a great way to provide value for visitors, get them to engage with your brand, and learn more about them. For example, suppose you are a realtor and add a simple but effective mortgage calculator to your website. You’re now offering value to your visitors while also learning more about them based on the data that they enter into the calculator. This info, in turn, can help you refine your personas and offer targeting.
Other examples of interactive marketing include assessments, quizzes, games, polls, interactive videos, surveys, and contests. Contests are a great way to exponentially increase your reach and visibility, quickly. The fastest way to get your brand in front of lots of new prospects, cheaply, is to have your current customers share a Facebook post of a contest. Many of our clients take it a step further and make it a referral contest, often promising an attractive reward to the client who helps bring in the most new business.
- BE AVAILABLE FOR COMMUNICATION
The availability of products and services is the number one reason customers are switching their brand allegiance right now.
“There is absolutely no point in spending money on any sort of advertising if you are not available for contact by customers or can deliver products within a reasonable time.”
Marketers can meet this challenge in a few ways. The most obvious (if most difficult) solution is to increase the days of inventory on hand of products or the availability of time slots for services. Get creative. For example, with more people working from home and many kids learning remotely, most physicians and dental offices with whom we work have reallocated staff toward more daytime slots and fewer night and weekend hours.
If adjusting stock levels or servicing hours is a challenge (or worse), timely communication becomes paramount. Be clear about what you can and can’t do and set reasonable expectations. For high-volume items, consider placing a banner on your site to indicate when key products will be in-stock. If you aren’t collecting customer contact information, now is the perfect time to create a subscriber list so that you can be proactive with notifying customers of availability changes with an automated text or email.
WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?
While these digital marketing trends don’t represent a complete list, there’s a great place to start when planning your 2021 marketing strategy. If you’re ready to do just that, we have experienced front-end and back-end developers who can help. We’ll be happy to offer assistance with or consultation for shifting more resources to social media and local search, adding more personalized and interactive content, and improving engagement within their customer-facing teams. Get in touch!
- 8 Key Digital Marketing Trends for 2021 (https://dabrianmarketing.com/blog/marketing-strategy/8-key-digital-marketing-trends-2021/)
- Top 8 Reasons to Update Your Website (https://themindstudios.com/blog/top-reasons-to-update-your-website/)
- What is the Importance of Online Directories? (https://www.thesearchengineguys.com/what-is-the-importance-of-online-directories/)