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11 Digital Marketing Strategies You Should be Using in 2020

If you operate a business in 2020, you should be familiar with the ins and outs of marketing. Be it online, in person, or a mixture of the two, the end result is the same: you need to get your name/product/business out to the masses. Unsurprisingly, given that we live in the digital age, a significant portion of marketing is done digitally. Whether it’s over social media, email, search engines, or any of the other various nooks and crannies in the digital landscape, learning what works is key to establishing long-term success. 

While things have changed since the invention of Google, some tenets of marketing have stood the test of time (thus far). Email marketing, for example, is still a powerful force to be reckoned with. In fact, 72 percent of consumers prefer to receive promotional content through email than social media. On the other hand, voice technology, despite being new, is quickly becoming an ever-important marketing aid; with the popularity of devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, more and more consumers are eschewing antiquated search techniques and relying on the power of their voices. Ultimately, incorporating a productive mix of modern digital marketing techniques will help any business get their name out there. 

Without further ado, here are 11 marketing techniques every business should have a firm grasp of in 2020. 

1. Online Ordering/Ecommerce

Gone are the days of brick-and-mortar stores. Ok, maybe not completely, but by and large, people want to be able to buy online. In fact, last year, 69 percent of Americans admitted they purchased an item online. Furthermore, about a quarter of U.S. adults buy an item online at least once a month. Consumers are still buying items in stores, but when they’re able to choose whether to buy in-store or online, more times than not they’ll choose the latter. This is especially true around the holiday season; providing a secure option to skip the line and/or have the item delivered helps consumers with peace of mind and can actually inspire purchases.

A woman's hand holding a smartphone with an online ordering app on the screen

Online ordering isn’t just for stores. People, and especially Americans, like to eat; sixty percent of Americans order takeout or delivery once a week! Offering hungry customers the opportunity to bypass a line, and the bulk of human interaction, is highly attractive. Time is money, and the less time consumers spend waiting, the happier they’ll be. When your customers are happy with your service, they’ll order from you more! Three-fifths of restaurant operators admitted offering delivery generated a noticeable uptick in sales. What’s more, digital ordering traffic is growing 300 times faster than dine-in traffic. Put simply, if your restaurant doesn’t offer online ordering in 2020, you are going to miss out on business. 

2. Mobile Applications

We’ve established the importance of offering customers the ability to shop online. Let’s take it a step further. According to Pew Research, over three-quarters of Americans have a smartphone. Whether they’re checking their finances, firing off a few emails, or ordering lunch, chances are they are using a mobile application specifically designed for that function. In today’s world, the mobile application development market has never been bigger, as there is literally a mobile application for almost everything. But why do they matter?

An illustration of a smart phone with app icons bursting from the screen

For starters, mobile applications make things easier. They put more power and possibilities into the hands of the consumer and aid in developing trust and comfort between the consumer and the business whose mobile application they are using. Not everyone has the time to sit down and boot up their desktop computer anymore. Being able to quickly log in and pay a bill or order delivery is convenient, and consumers trust the secure payment portals offered by most mobile applications. Having a mobile application optimized for use on a smartphone, tablet, or other wireless device means more opportunities to have that mobile application downloaded and interacted with.

Consumers worldwide downloaded 178 billion mobile applications in 2017 and experts expect that number to continue to balloon. In the business world, having a mobile app will increase your visibility, boost your brand awareness, and facilitate trust with your customers.

3. Push Notifications

An illustration depicting a push notification on a phone screen

Once your business has its own mobile application, it becomes imperative you integrate push notifications into the fold. The average smartphone owner (and we’ve established there are many) receives, on average, 46 push notifications per day. But wait, what are push notifications?

A push notification is a notification from a mobile application. Importantly, users do not need to be logged in or engaging with the application to receive the notification. It simply appears as a “pop-up” notification on the user’s device. This can be incredibly useful for letting your customers know when you’re offering sales, promotions, and other incentives. Your message will go straight to the customer’s device, which means it’s many times less likely to go unnoticed. 

In fact, push notifications have an open rate of over 90 percent. That means it literally works like a text message, only without incurring the rates charged by mobile carriers. Plus, you don’t need to worry about overdoing it, as customers can opt-in and out of push notifications at their leisure. 

In a nutshell, push notifications offer a free, efficient way of staying communicative and engaging with your customers. Of course, you have to have a mobile application to be able to use push notifications; but combined together, they are a powerful marketing force. 

4. Voice Technology

The invention of voice-activated devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home means people can create shopping lists, music playlists, send messages, and even control the lights in their homes with the power of their voice. Unsurprisingly, people can now shop and search for products by simply saying “[device command] search for (insert product here).” So what does this mean for your business?

A man's hand holding a phone with voice recognition software on it

In short, your business should tinker with its SEO to enable discovery by voice-related searches. The differences in semantics between typed Google searches and verbalized command searches may be subtle, but profound. People are more likely to speak in real-life sentences. Therefore, it’s important to employ more keywords related to those kinds of searches. 

More in-depth voice technology employs things like virtual assistants, which add another layer of personalization and ease to the mix. Major brands like Johnnie Walker and Domino’s are already utilizing advanced voice technology to interact with their customers and generate a more valuable, immersive experience. 

It is estimated that by the end of 2020, over 50 percent of consumers will be using voice-activated technology daily. You should take all the steps necessary to ensure your product is visible across voice searches. 

5. Video Marketing

Did you know most American adults spend six hours a day watching videos? Yes, you read that correctly. We spend almost the same amount of time watching videos as we do sleeping! There’s a reason Youtube is worth over $40 billion. Put simply, Americans love watching videos.

A desktop computer displaying YouTube

While the bulk of videos are mindless entertainment (like the Chewbacca Mom video or music videos), a sizable chunk are informative and can actually facilitate business. Over 80 percent of consumers agreed that video demonstrations were useful in determining whether or not to buy a product. Plus, almost half of consumers look for a video on a product before traveling to a store to purchase it. 

Perhaps the most telling piece of evidence in favor of utilizing video marketing is this: companies that use video marketing have a 27 percent higher CTR and 34 percent higher web conversion rates than their videoless counterparts. If you’re looking for an efficient way to increase visibility for your business, it may not be a bad idea to look into producing videos on Youtube, Facebook, or Instagram, for starters. 

6. Email Marketing

A woman working froma  laptop, with a cup of coffee in her hand

While not everyone has a smartphone, almost everyone has an email address. Even your grandparents most likely have email, and what’s more, they check it regularly. Though it may seem like the newest developments have dwarfed the power of email, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Email is still a powerful, wide-reaching marketing tool. In fact, 93 percent of businesses use email to distribute content, and a majority of marketers say email marketing has the best ROI (return on investment).

If you have an email address and have been shopping before, chances are you have probably received an email newsletter. They’re a great way for businesses to share promotions, sales, prizes, and news with consumers in a brief, effective manner. 

Because consumers sometimes check their personal email accounts as many as 10 times a day (or more), many agree it is their preferred way to receive brand updates. It’s not overly expensive or time-consuming to send out monthly newsletters, and it can do wonders to raise visibility and brand awareness. While your business might be keen to focus on newer marketing techniques, don’t forget about email!

7. Position Zero

A screenshot of position zero in a Google search

We’ve all Googled something before. Whether it’s “how to bake a cake”, the hours of a local business, or who your favorite sports team is playing next, the results all have one thing in common: we are most likely to trust that very first result on Google. 

Position zero, or the “answer box,” is the very first result that appears when you enter a Google search. It’s right above the list of links and appears in a box. It’s specially formulated by Google to answer the query in the most effective, succinct manner. However, this does not always mean Google will pull the #1 rated organic response. Importantly, they pull the response most appropriate to the question, sifting through numerous SEO guidelines to present that top choice. So why does this matter and how can you help your business earn this coveted spot?

First off, let’s go back to voice searches. When you ask Alexa to find you an answer, that answer is probably going to come from position zero. Not every query has an applicable position zero, but for those that do, the answer is going to come in the form of a statement taken from that very page. But what can you do to get your business to position zero when people search for something related to what you sell or provide?

The most effective thing you can do is regularly produce quality organic content. Snippets should be 50 words or less with short sentences utilizing applicable keywords. The keyword or keywords being optimized should appear, as organically as possible, in the featured snippet code. Any headers should have clear, consistent formatting, and your HTML code should be simple and straightforward. Finally, making your content flashy and engaging is the cherry on top. Follow these guidelines and you just might find yourself occupying position zero this year. 

8. Blog/Long-Form Content

While regularly producing short, high-quality content can help get you to position zero, it is important to produce longer content as well. We are all probably familiar with weblogs, more commonly known as blogs. According to WordPress, over 409 million people view over 21.1 billion blog pages per month!

Blogs are an effective, informal way to engage your consumers. We’ve established that search engines love fresh, relevant content, and what better way to produce said content than via a blog? Make sure you’re using the right keywords and watch as your business climbs up the search results page. 

A regularly updated blog will also help improve your relationship with consumers. By producing informative, valuable, informal content, you’re providing a kind of dialogue with your customers. Provided you have a comment section, you’ll actually be able to interact with customers, answer questions, and give suggestions, all of which should improve engagement and boost sales.

Hands on a laptop typing up a new blog post

If your blog is really good, people will share it. That means more and more people will be aware of your brand, sharing your links and vastly improving your visibility. At the end of the day, that amounts to a considerable amount of valuable free marketing. If you’re not producing high-quality long-form content, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity for business. 

9. Interactive Content

A Buzzfeed quiz

While the comment section on a blog allows customers to actively engage with your company, business, or brand, you can take it a step further. Infographics, quizzes, games, and presentations are just a few of the ways you can turn boring text content into immersive, engaging, and interactive content. 

As traditional content types continue to decrease in engagement, interactive content is more and more attractive. Two-thirds of marketers agree that audience engagement has improved after implementing interactive content. Consumers want all content to be accessible on all devices at all times, and they want that content to be consistently engaging and relevant. So how do you do that?

It’s actually easier than it sounds! For starters, consider implementing the aforementioned infographics into your content. It’s a good way to get a message across and it’s a nice shake up from boring old prose. Remember, video can be interactive as well. Include some video marketing and let your customers interact with you that way! Even if you’re not tech-savvy, things like social media contests can be a great and easy way to engage your customers and spur business. Give it a try and you just might see some truly beneficial returns. 

10. Desktop/Mobile Integration

It is 2020. It’s safe to say your business has a website, or at the very least a web presence. Are you taking all the steps to ensure that the site is accessible across all devices? In late 2016, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic, and for over three years, the trend has continued. 

The importance of ensuring connectivity across all these devices cannot be understated. If your customers can’t access your site from their smartphone or tablet, they’re going to give up on you and move to a competitor whose site does work. If they think your site looks tacky or is poorly designed, they are likely to move on to a competitor. 

The same website displayed on a variety of devices

Since nearly 76 percent of people shop on their mobile devices, it’s important to offer a secure, user-friendly buying experience. Buyers want safe, trustworthy checkout portals, and attractive, well put together pages. Given that there is less space to deal with on mobile sites, it’s important to make the most of it. Avoid blocks of text and instead go for things like infographics, snippets of content, and high-resolution photos. 

Expending the effort to make your site mobile-friendly has never been more worth it. In fact, 61 percent of consumers said they were more likely to purchase from a website that has been optimized for a mobile device. Consider developing a mobile application to take it a step further and make your customers both comfortable and happy. 

11. Know Your Audience (And Plan Accordingly)

Employing the right techniques and tools is only part of the battle. You can follow all the experts’ advice to a T, but if you’re not marketing your product to the right demographic, you’re fighting a losing battle. 

Consider your target audience and gear your marketing toward them. If your target audience is millennials, taper your language and content to their likes and needs. Use their jargon, appeal to their goals and interests, and employ keywords that will engage them. Once you have identified your target demographics, you’ll be able to construct a better approach to appeal directly to that demographic.

Take a look at the makeup of your social media followers. Is there a pattern? Are there any particular posts you’ve made that are more popular than others? Is there a specific persona for your customers? Try to establish an all-encompassing landscape of your target customers and put yourself in their shoes. What do they want to see?

Conduct market research and tinker with your content until you’ve found what works. When your target audience can really connect and engage with your business and brand, your business will market itself!

An audience in a lecture hall

J&E Media Corp is a team of online marketing professionals who understand the search engine ecosystem. Our unique approach to SEO allows us the capability to take your site to the top of major search engines.

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