2020 saw many unwelcome changes but brought with it an even larger push towards the virtual that has only served to highlight the need for concerted digital marketing efforts.
The year saw a sharp uptick in virtual events and online shopping, and with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, the switch to virtual looks poised to remain in 2021.
Virtual is Here to Stay
2020 saw hosts of virtual panels, art classes, live performances, and trivia nights. Businesses will similarly want to leverage virtual methods of engaging with consumers as much as possible in 2021.
With in-person events off the table in most places, virtual events are a great way to keep customer engagement up. Companies will also want to mobilize shopping features on social media platforms to remain connected to their customers and maximize revenue.
Screen time was up in 2020, so businesses will benefit from creating virtual communities around their product. Digital communities allow companies to feel closer to their customers and to assess their needs better. Studies have shown that customers spend 19% more after joining a business’s virtual community.
In the world of mass marketing, it’s easy for customers to feel disconnected from a brand. In 2021, customers are turning towards brands to which they can relate and that they trust. Companies will benefit from narrowing in on key demographics.
In a slew of online businesses, companies need to stand out of the crowd. Customers are more likely to purchase from a business that values their loyalty, and clients are more likely to do business with a company that offers tailored experiences. Personalizing content, emails, and products is a sure way to increase customer satisfaction and engagement.
As consumers tire of batch-and-blast emails and generic advertisements, companies are using personalization to their advantage. Think of social media algorithms that highlight content that users tend to engage with or platforms like Netflix who recommend titles based on what viewers are watching.
Customer segmentation is also a great way to tailor marketing to specific people. Customer segmentation involves dividing customers into groups based on similar interests to tailor marketing campaigns to each particular group.
As part of personalization efforts, companies are implementing interactive content to help their customers feel involved.
Interactive content is not a new concept, but its full potential is only just being realized. Interactive content plays a crucial role in boosting a user’s enjoyment of a website. It also brings them into the circle and helps them feel closer to the company.
Interactive content can include anything from quizzes, surveys, and polls to contests and giveaways. Interactive content can help increase word of mouth engagement and is also a useful tool for collecting data on client and customer preferences.
Companies will want to utilize interactive social media features as much as possible to boost their presence in algorithm-based searches and feeds.
No More A/B Testing
A/B testing methods pit two different versions of the same website against each other to assess which one performs better. 2021 will see brands veering away from traditional A/B testing methods, as many are beginning to view the method as ineffectual.
It’s easy to see the appeal of analyzing performance this way, but most A/B testing fails to provide beneficial insight. One issue with a/b testing is that it is inherently biased. When you perform an A/B test, you are testing your own assumptions of what might work.
A/B testing is also time-consuming. It takes about 3-4 weeks for a test to start showing any useful results. Naturally, reliable results require as large a sample size as possible, which can further delay attaining an accurate depiction of the data you choose to analyze.
A Focus on Customer Relationships
Good customer relationships are more than just personalized emails. Fostering customer relationships takes effort, and companies are turning to customer relationship management (CRM) software for help.
CRM is a type of software program designed to boost customer experience and engagement on websites.
CRM’s are vast and varied, so choosing one for your business all depends on your exact needs and budget. At their core, most CRM systems help companies manage customer relationships, track sales, and marketing leads, and analyze data to understand their customers better.
Community marketing also plays a role in maintaining customer relationships. Rather than focusing on acquiring new customers through advertising, promotions, or PR, community marketing focuses on existing customers’ needs to maintain relationships.
Cross-channel integration refers to linking all of a business’s marketing channels to create a sense of uniformity. Cross-channel marketing creates natural segues from one marketing channel to another to ensure all the information reaches your target audience.
For example, traditional marketing methods might see businesses sending email promotions or putting up advertisements as independent entities. In cross-channel marketing efforts, all of the content a company puts out contains similar subject matter that works towards a single goal.