By Bernard San Juan
Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to major shifts in business conditions for both B2B and B2C enterprises. Whether by necessity or desire, consumers are moving their transactions online. For instance, there’s been a massive 129% YoY growth in U.S. & Canadian e-commerce orders and an impressive 146% growth in all online retail orders.
As we’re halfway through 2020, purchasing behavior has become more erratic as consumers grapple with the uncertainty during these trying times. This prompted businesses from all industries to get a leg up from the competition with new marketing strategies and campaigns.
Enterprises that have taken their digital marketing strategies above and beyond to accommodate the shifts in consumer behavior can capture market shares and emerge as market leaders in a post-pandemic world. And if you plan to get an edge in your niche, you’ll have to decipher what’s in and what’s out in the current digital marketing sphere.
How do you know which strategies are still working and which ones are losing favor in the industry? Let’s start with the digital marketing strategies that will have significant impact for enterprises, especially in a post-pandemic world.
Conversational marketing is one of the digital marketing solutions that’s hinged on building brand awareness, customer loyalty, and, ultimately, converting these efforts into leads and sales.
Conversational marketing focuses on different aspects:
- Customer service/support – This primarily deals with direct client engagement and providing customers with valuable information. Whether it’s assistance in navigating the site’s interface or helping them with their refund request, customer support should always solve the customer’s problems or needs promptly.
- Email marketing – Despite some refer to email as an old-school marketing approach, it’s still one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies when it comes to increasing client engagement and solidifying business-customer relationships.
- Customer guidance – This is all about guiding a client through your products or services even after the conversions have been made. This strategy speeds up customers’ adoption of your brand and helps ramp up your conversions.
Conversational marketing avenues occur at the convenience of customers. For instance, if a customer asks about a product at 10am and then follows up on their inquiry at 2pm, it’s your company’s responsibility to respond as soon as possible.
This is where the magic of chatbots come into play. A chatbot is a great tool to have in your marketing arsenal when it comes to answering frequently asked questions. Make sure you have one in your Facebook page or even on your website.
Brand personalization goes hand in hand with conversational marketing. Your business will not resonate well with your audience if you don’t have a distinct brand voice and personality, especially in an era wherein people crave authenticity.
For instance, personalized promotional emails have better unique click rates compared to emails that aren’t optimized. Why? It’s because they’re compelling and don’t sound like you’re just trying to sell a product or service.
Take a look at Wendy’s Twitter account. It’s known for having sassy, sarcastic, confrontational, and even downright tweets. And people love the chatter happening around the brand because it feels like they’re talking to a real person. It was easily a recipe for success.
You can achieve this level of connectivity too once you determine the sort of voice you want for your brand. Use this to fuel your customer engagement stories and monitor how people respond to it. From there, you can adjust your digital marketing based on the data you receive and nurture your brand’s personality growth.
Zoom is one of the companies that was able to adapt quickly from the COVID-19 crisis. Every social interaction, meeting, and event — from your child’s kindergarten class to the NFL draft — has gone virtual, and Zoom has become a central hub in hosting all of those online gatherings.
The takeaway here is that real-time connectivity is more important than ever—and your business can use the same to your advantage.
For example, you can test real-time video programming that you can launch through Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube Live or Instagram Live. For enterprises, this can include product or service demos and interviews with the industry experts. You can even set up an entire conference virtually. Dozens of major conferences have gone digital this 2020, including Adobe’s much-awaited annual summit.
The key is to figure out what your customers want and then leverage simple and inexpensive video resources to provide them with valuable content. Remember: even a video taken with just your phone is still a start!
Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming one of the most important tools of digital marketing. It can sift through tons of data and tailor a unique strategy based on the analyzed information. According to a study conducted by Juniper Research, 47% of established organizations already utilize this tool. By 2022, global annual spending on AI is predicted to reach $7.3 billion.
Digital marketers are starting to use this tool on multiple fronts, such as:
- Chatbots – AI is remarkably efficient in answering basic questions from visitors who are navigating a site. With machine learning, these bots can identify what the user needs and respond quickly to their queries. This quick and accurate engagement method lessens the friction between website and the potential customer, resulting in an overall engaging and positive user experience.
- Content generation – While AI still has room to improve when it comes to content, it can help in producing pieces by taking in valuable information and converting them into traffic-driving articles. For instance, Forbes uses AI tools like Articoolo and Wordsmith to drive traffic to their website.
- Customer behavior analysis – Marketers use AI to analyze the spending habits and behavioral patterns of consumers. In an attempt to drive up sales, businesses use AI to entice prospects and customers using products associated with the items they’ve previously bought.
- Digital advertising – Paid ads experts and providers of SEO services use AI to laser-focus a marketing campaign on consumers who already have potential of converting.
To stay ahead of the competition, conduct research on the best AI tools that digital marketers are utilising and identify which one will best suit your campaigns.
A micro-moment is defined as a person’s unconscious habit to search online using their mobile devices when they want to accomplish a need. This need ranges from looking for answers to a specific question to buying products online – even if it’s on a whim.
For instance, smartphone users usually look up information on Google when they’re already in a store to make a purchase.
Within these micro-moments, a person’s expectations and desires to fulfill those needs are typically at their peak. Conversely, the consumer’s patience is at its lowest, placing pressure on businesses to fulfill the need instantly.
Micro-moments are divided into four categories:
- I-want-to-know moments – When a person looks up information on a product but hasn’t made a decision if they want to push through with the purchase.
- I-want-to-go moments – Consumers will try to find local businesses that offer the products or services they need.
- I-want-to-do moments – A person is trying to accomplish a task and is actively looking for solutions online.
- I-want-to-buy moments – A consumer is ready to purchase, using their phone to search for the product and complete the transaction.
As these short instances are where a consumer’s interest and decision to purchase is at its peak, leveraging micro-moments is a great opportunity for you to entice people to transact with your business. Micro-moments are fleeting, which is why your site and app should be optimized to load faster. As the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot.
It’s equally important that you know and understand when these micro-moments occur. Find out what people are searching, the search terms they’re using, and the questions they’re asking. This will help you create a marketing strategy with the goal of converting your target audience during their micro-moments.
Keep Your Eyes and Mind Wide Open
Combining behavioral customer patterns with technology remain the top option for today’s marketers. Technology has been evolving at an accelerated pace and human behavior and responses to external factors has transformed alongside it.
However, just because there’s a new strategy, it doesn’t always mean it’s going to be effective. Old marketing approaches may still work today, so don’t disregard them when drawing up plans for your next marketing campaign.
There’s still another six months left until the end of 2020, which means there are still plenty of changes in store for the digital space. If you’re planning to get ahead of the race, make sure to integrate the digital marketing strategies listed above, while also discovering rare opportunities along the way.
Remember, digital marketing is an ever-evolving journey and what works now may not be as effective in the next quarter. The biggest strategy you can have is to keep your eyes and your mind wide open.
About the Author
Bernard San Juan has 20 years of experience on the web. He’s a prolific speaker on SEO, Content Marketing, SEM, e-Mail Marketing and Analytics. Bernard is an Instructor for The Digital Marketing Institute, and The Certified Digital Marketing Program and companies like 3M, Ayala Land, BPI and ABS-CBN. Bernard is the Director of Axadra, Managing Partner of Truelogic, and his Mom’s favorite child.