Video Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Personal Branding…Have you integrated any of these in your digital marketing strategy?
Make sure you are leveraging digital trends to your own advantage before COVID19 comes to an end. Those who neglect it will be the ones who are left behind. This article is about current trends and what we can expect in the future of the digital marketing world.
I remember the beginning of Covid19 in the US. Everyone was in shock. People were afraid of the unknown. They started stockpiling the pantries. Stockpiling the toilet paper. Interestingly enough, we even had a lack of water in the retail stores. Another major trend was buying weapons. People felt threatened. They did not know what to expect or how long it will last. This scarcity and uncertainty lasted for almost six months. During this time, I have noticed that businesses were in shock as well. Many of them even paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. Many of them in debt. Many filled for bankruptcies.
There is an old saying “Patience by the first strike!”. After the initial shock, fear, uncertainty, and lockdowns, people started adapting to this, now called, “new normal”. So did the businesses. The most vulnerable ones were the ones from the hospitality field, restaurants, coffee shops, travel agencies, even retail stores who were predominantly present as brick and mortar businesses. Large retail chains like Walmart not only survived these changes but even thrived well in them. They have already shifted part of their business online prior to the Covid19. And, during the Covid19 they started adapting even more. Their pickup service suddenly boomed. Initially, the problem was with the lack of the workforce, but quickly they have adapted to the new customer requirements. They even initialized employee replacement with robots in some places. They have started collaborating with Shopify stores. Amazon, which once represented the biggest threat for them, had Walmart as the main competitor now. Walmart was adapting fast to sudden changes, and its earnings sky-rocketed as well. Walmart reported in its Q1 earnings in the US, 74% increase in its online sales (READ).
In August 2020 Walmart released its Q2 earnings. It's U.S. online sales were up 97% — an increase attributed to more customers shopping online during the pandemic, stocking up on household supplies, and shopping for grocery items online (READ).
On the other side, we were all witnesses of the small businesses that managed to cope with this sudden change and those who were left behind and lost their battle. They filed for bankruptcies even before the government issued grants for small businesses in the US. Those who won were the ones who already had a strong online presence. They were already offering pick-up service and online orders. They were not relying only on Google My Business. Typing the keyword + near me does not work the same now as before. The main reason is that customers were spending time at home, ordering their food and clothes. They were spending less time outside. They were in lockdown. They used Google maps less than before.
Service-oriented businesses that already had an online presence and whose services were in high demand had an opportunity to shift completely online. Good examples are financial brokers, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, accountants, digital marketers, IT professionals, and many more. Some of them, like digital marketers and IT professionals, could easily serve global clients. The whole market is online. And, with the help of the major B2B social media platform – LinkedIn, networking with global communities and potential clients has never been easier. True, almost everyone was in shock in the first few months. But quickly, they have bounced back, and continued with content creation, with inbound marketing, social selling, webinars, web conferencing on Zoom, and more. The market has witnessed an increased number of remote jobs. Along with that the need for online teamwork tools such as Monday and Trello has increased.
There has been a real boom in newly introduced digital marketing trends since 2019. These trends continued in 2020 as well. In my opinion, the top five digital marketing trends in 2020 are:
Video Marketing Digital content consumption has increased. Especially in the form of a video. Video content is present on all social media platforms. LinkedIn Live, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live have made a major impact and contribution to online visibility for companies and personal brands. New social media platform – Tik Tok has become a real attraction too with short funny videos targeting a younger audience. When it comes to LinkedIn, video content is consumed the most by business professionals. Video content with captions is simply easier to consume than an article or a text post. Many professionals are scrolling through the LinkedIn content while at work and their mobile sounds might be off. In that case, when they see a video with captions, it might keep their attention longer and they might view the content in full. Another important thing about the video content is that customers like to see the authenticity in a video, a genuine person, vulnerability, someone who shares his personal story. That brings us to the other trend, and it is influencer marketing. This one is closely related to the other marketing trend – client reviews and testimonials. In other words, clients are more influenced by video referrals or testimonials, even though it might be coming from an influencer.
Online searches are now mainly conducted on mobile devices. Therefore, it is a must for your website to be mobile-optimized. Customers are now very demanding. A slow website can easily ruin their experience with your company.
PPC advertising is cheaper now. As businesses are cutting their marketing budgets, Google and Facebook are both losing out on ad revenue. As a result, the ad-buying market is less competitive. Facebook ads are, for example, 15% cheaper, but also conversions are dropping too since customers are adjusting their buying as well.
In 2020 already more than 50% of all online searches are conducted by a voice search. That is another major digital marketing trend. Companies that do not incorporate voice search as a part of their SEO strategy will be soon left behind. We are all witnesses of the increased use of Alexa, Cortana, Siri, Google Assistant, and similar devices. Incorporate voice search with your website to be easily found when your customers search for you by voice. Customer voice search queries are longer than the ones typed on a Google search. We tend to type two-three words in a search bar. But, with a voice search, we use the whole sentence in our query.
Social commerce is on the rise. Businesses continue to grow through shoppable posts, social commerce plugins, and apps. Ecommerce for essential goods is on the rise. Non-essential and luxury goods sold on eCommerce sites is decreasing. Deloitte: “Traffic from social media has grown quickly. In Q1 2019, the share of traffic coming from social media was 6%. This jumped to 8% for Q1 2020. 14% of shoppers are making purchases through social media. Digital sales growth by 18% in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019." (READ)
What can we expect in the future of the digital marketing world? Digital Marketing trends are constantly changing and evolving. It is challenging even for digital marketers to cope with the new updates and digital trends. The two most related online industries, with constant and rapid changes, are the IT industry and the digital marketing industry. I believe that is a good enough reason to have a confidential partner – a digital marketing strategist that will guide you in navigating this constantly changing world.
So, what else is coming as a new digital trend? We can expect to see algorithm changes as search providers, as Google, continue to refine the quality of search results. Video content will continue to be the most consumed content online. You are on the right track if you provide value in this content. Social Selling is on the rise. Direct selling is not working anymore. Customers rely on testimonials. Customers are conducting research about you on Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, even Tik Tok, looking for answers, reviews, and more. Influencer marketing will continue to rise. Virtual reality and augmented reality integrations with websites will be on the rise. Improving customer experience with chatbots will increase too. In a highly competitive market, companies will strive to provide better experiences and retain customers.
Lastly, be prepared to use digital marketing and new trends to differentiate your brand from competitors. Brands will be shifting their digital marketing focus from general brand awareness to competitive advantage. Customers will want to know what makes this brand special. How is this company different from the three other ads listed on the top and below their search online? Do not underestimate the organic reach on LinkedIn as one of the major trends as well. Use the chance to promote your business or your personal brand for free on this powerful platform.
Need help with personal branding? Reach out. That is one of my specialties. Strong personal brand on LinkedIn will open many doors for you, collaboration requests, client inquires, business partnerships. With the right strategy, the sky is the limit.
In the end, hang on there, wherever you are. It shall all come to an end. Make sure you are leveraging digital trends to your own advantage even before it comes to an end. Those who neglect it will be the ones left behind.
Major changes that came along with the Covid19 were the necessary transition from traditional to online businesses. With the increase in the freelance economy, Increase in E-Commerce, customers are spending more time online. Customer trust is at an all-time low. Companies are turning more and more to social selling i.e. to building relationships. Direct selling is not working. B2B companies are turning more and more towards LinkedIn as the major global B2B networking hub. Business professionals, entrepreneurs even investors, and millionaires are all on LinkedIn to search for clients to collaborate find projects to invest in, to find the content that they want to consume. LinkedIn has become a major platform where more than “80% of B2B leads are generated, and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. Great content on LinkedIn can lead to B2B decision-makers back to your site, too. On average, 46% percent of social media traffic coming to B2B company sites is from LinkedIn.” Read more about LinkedIn stats.
Companies are using this chance to stay in touch with their customers, to educate them to show empathy, and to offer help. Once all this is over those who exercise this strategy will benefit from it.
About the Author
Alisa Ploco is a Digital Marketing and Personal Branding Strategist. The owner of Your Biz Mentor LLC, a corporate trainer, LinkedIn influencer, and a LinkedIn course creator. Alisa has seventeen years of corporate and consultancy experience within multiple industries gained by working on three continents. Alisa is a philanthropist, and a passionate giver as well. She is a member of multiple nonprofit organizations. Alisa is a multilinguist. She speaks five foreign languages.