As we approach a year in quarantine, a lot has changed during this time. In the world of marketing, it's been a very dynamic year. If companies were unsure of the role digital marketing played before the pandemic, its importance should be crystal clear now. Having a digital storefront is paramount regardless if you have a physical front door or not. Digital marketing has to be a part of your overall strategy. That is what makes your marketing strategy holistic, as multiple avenues are brought together to work synergistically to support your organization's goals.
I've been working in digital marketing for 10 years now, and while the tools are constantly updating, the principles behind an integrated digital marketing strategy remain the same. The plot twist here is the pandemic. Each of us is experiencing additional fatigue due to all the ways we have been impacted, such as working from home, virtual learning, and distance from loved ones. Not to mention keeping ourselves healthy while managing the emotional toll this period of time is imposing. There is no one in this world that is untouched by this experience. That is why it is important to meet customers where they are.
Not matter if you serve a direct-to-consumer product or business-to-business services, one of the trends this year has been longer lead times from awareness to purchase. The purchase cycles are longer as we're all facing decision fatigue, and many face financial insecurity.
Here are 6 things to keep in mind when it comes to digital marketing in 2021:
1. Meet customers where they are emotional. We're all exhausted, for the above reasons. What does this mean from a digital marketing perspective? This might mean running ads for a longer period of time than you did in 2019 to gain similar exposure. Our attention is easily distracted, so staying consistent is key, especially on social media, which has been turbulent at the best of times.
2. Be transparent. Don't act like the pandemic isn't happening. Acknowledge it and then offer solutions that meet #1 above.
3. Leverage Google Ads. Don't limit yourself to social media advertising. When a person is using Google, they are actively searching for a solution to their problem. By leverage display ads and paid search, increased web traffic and conversions can be made. When individuals are using social media, they are looking to be entertained or connected with friends and family. It's a different mindset. That's why social media and Google advertising can work great together at the core of a marketing strategy.
4. Create moments of connection. If you're creating content, no matter if it is for social media or a webinar, create moments of connection. Most of us have been isolated away from others lacking connection points. Zoom fatigue has also set in, so ask the question, "how can we nurture relationships with our target audience?"
5. Remember your marketing funnel. The challenge with digital is that it's easy to fall into the mindset that people saw your ad, so why didn't they purchase? In order to earn a purchase, a person must know, like, and trust your brand. The first point of exposure in the digital world is rarely enough for a conversion, but it can be enough to help fill your funnel, gaining brand awareness. It is one thing to have a digital marketing strategy, and it is another to have a multi-layered approach to meet customers at each stage in their purchasing journey.
6. Facebook vs. Apple and increased data privacy. You may have read about the changes coming to Facebook advertising due to Apple increasing its privacy on the device level. As a consumer, I'm ok with this. As a marketer, it does pose a few challenges. If you've felt confused about this, you're not alone. You know how in the last few years, there have been more regulations in regards to cookie notifications on websites as well as GDPR compliance? These have been privacy acts that have taken place on the web browser level. Since we live in an app-based world, Apple has decided that we need these types of compliances on our devices. iOS users will soon be able to opt-out of their activity being monitored in apps, which will impact ad delivery and metrics on Facebook. This is why Facebook encourages admins to edit their pixel to have 10 main events to track as data from iOS devices will be limited. The full impact of this rollout is still TBD as there is no definitive date of this happening as of this publication.
As the world continues to evolve and adapt to what will hopefully be a post-pandemic world, the role of digital will remain a vital part of any marketing strategy. Purpose-driven companies have a real opportunity to expand their reach and increase lead generation by driving people to your own media such as your blog or email list to nurture relationships for years to come.
Do you need help creating a holistic digital marketing strategy or execution? Check out our digital marketing services.