The digital landscape is constantly changing and evolving, especially since 2019 and the onset of the pandemic. Consumers face a barrage of sales tactics from the moment they wake up. This means businesses, and marketing professionals need to remain alert to changes in order to keep up, and stay successful. Marketing is moving away from stagnant, salesy tactics, and embracing immersive experiences that benefit the customer. As the year comes to a close, here are our top 6 digital marketing trends to watch, and implement in your business, in 2022.
1. Immersive Customer Experiences
Welcome to 2022, where customers no longer care about why your product or service is better than your competition’s. Gone are the days of simply listing features and benefits, and convincing customers why they “need” your product. In this new digital landscape, customers are smarter, have a lot more choice at their fingertips, and a lot less patience.
This means businesses have to work harder to grab attention, and produce conversions. It’s no longer enough to just do a great job of SEO. Driving traffic to the website should then be coupled with engaging, immersive, and entertaining user experiences that create long-lasting brand loyalty, and trust. Going deeper into who your customer is, and using storytelling to allow them to envision themselves with your product or service, is going to differentiate between the winners and losers, in the upcoming year.
Multi-format content is going to continue to be a great tool for increasing engagement. When publishing web content, businesses should ask themselves – would this be more engaging with an interactive image, or a quick video? With the rise in popularity of video content through TikTok, Instagram reels, and Youtube, entertaining, short-form videos are quickly becoming one of the most effective ways to engage with customers. Using a variety of content formats will allow you to optimise your business’s user experience in a way more people can relate to, while also increasing the share-ability of content on your site.
We could go on about customer experience for pages and pages, but we want to mention one more point. With social media, it’s becoming much, much easier to speak to your customers directly. So why not ask them what they want? Ask them what kind of content they like to see, ask them if your website could do with some changes. With Instagram polls this has become much easier than the boring surveys of marketing days past! Not only will your customers give you a great guideline to work from, but it creates a more meaningful, human connection with your customers that will in turn enhance their overall happiness with your brand, and business.
2. Transparent Data Collection
As our use of the internet has evolved, so too have privacy concerns. Third-party data, or cookies, began as an effective way for marketers and businesses to follow their customer’s web use across different sites, and use this to create targeted ads directly to potential customers. However, as our digital world is increasingly beginning to mirror our physical, privacy and data collection concerns have grown, as customers become more suspicious about exactly who has access to their data, and how they use it.
While these changes are great for users, marketing professionals and advertisers are worried. This means huge changes in the way marketers and businesses reach potential customers online. Companies are going to have to rethink their methods, and become smarter, and more creative in how they develop their upcoming online strategies to prepare for these changes.
This curtailing of third-party data presents an opportunity for companies to create a more open, and honest dialogue with their customers. By asking for permission to track and store data, being forthright about which data is being collected, and allowing individuals to opt-in or out of specific data collection, more trusting relationships are going to be formed between companies and their customers.
3. Influencer Marketing
We’ve all heard the term ‘influencer’, and while many love to scoff at what these (mostly) young women do for a job, we should all be paying them a little more attention, as their success and effectiveness in sales and marketing skyrockets.
With the continued growth of apps, such as Instagram and TikTok, businesses are increasingly using the services of these influencers to spruik products and services to their captivated followers. They’re using entertaining DIY videos, and aesthetically pleasing images to grab attention, while simultaneously selling or promoting a product.
The thing is, influencers aren’t usually celebrities. For many small businesses, nano or micro-influencers (1000-100,000 followers) can be an easily accessible tool. More often than not, these influencers are extremely well-known in their specific niche, and it’s this closeness with their followers that’s the secret to their success. By maintaining high levels of engagement with followers through comments, direct messaging, “ask me anything” stories, and real-life content that celebs shy away from, they create a close-knit community of individuals with similar interests, based on trust.
As we move into a new year, more businesses should begin to look seriously at how influencer marketing can help them. It’s a tool that’s not only going to continue to grow, but become more and more affordable and attainable for all businesses with influencers with smaller followings producing a higher return on investment. Also consider how elevating your own personal brand to promote your business can replace the need for external influencers, and allow you to partner up with others.
4. Segmented Content
As we’ve drilled in already, personalised content is king in 2022. Consumers aren’t just interested in generic information anymore. They want to know exactly how your product relates to them, and how it fixes their specific problem, in the shortest amount of time.
This is where segmented content comes in. By separating content on websites, businesses allow customers to self-identify, and choose the most relevant content to them. For example, a florist’s website may have menus on their site for retail or wholesale customers, or for specific events such as weddings or funerals. Not only can the customer quickly and easily access the right information, but by allowing them to self-identify as to where they fit, they will relate more easily with the product or service.
This means not only are your customers instantly more connected, but you can target information exactly to the right audience, and relay the most relevant information to save your customer’s time and effort. If they can’t find the information they need, they will move on to your competitor almost instantly.
This also applies to direct-to-customer marketing materials, such as emails and newsletters. Using our florist example, this business may choose to allow subscribers to opt out of marketing materials related to potentially sensitive days, such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. By doing this, the business shows understanding and empathy, and creates a deeper trust with their customer.
Segmented content is going to continue to become extremely important throughout 2022, as impatient customers quickly search for information most relevant to them, and continue to seek personal online experiences. There is also a huge added benefit in the impact this segmented content will have on SEO, as Google strongly favours content tailored to consumers.
5. Customer Retention & Relationships
As part of the focus on user experience, in the coming year brands will be looking to enhance customer retention in order to maximise their lifetime value (LTV). Retaining loyal customers is far more beneficial and stable for businesses in the long run than new customers, and user experiences will reflect this focus on retention.
A big part of being human is wanting to feel a part of something. When customers enjoy a product or service, and also experience amazing customer service, they’re more likely to speak about it with friends and family, and stay loyal to the brand. Rewarding this with membership programs with legible, valuable benefits will continue to make your customers feel like they’re a part of the brand ‘family’.
This goes hand in hand with building empathy and trust. How often do you see “only for new customers” on promotional material that leaves you, as an existing customer, feeling bitter? This creates a notion of being dispensable, and doesn’t foster feelings of community or belonging. You may get a few new customers out of it, but the ones you already have won’t be sticking around.
Building a sense of community through social media groups and online engagement is a valuable way of adding LTV and maintaining relationships with customers. Your business can offer exclusive discounts or access to sales through these free groups, to give your customers value through the community.
6. Conversion Rate Optimisation
Finally, we arrive at possibly the most important trend of all, conversion rate optimisation (CRO). All the SEO, social media, and personalised content in the world will be for nothing if your website isn’t optimised for conversions. The bottom line is, conversions directly affect your bottom line, so you should be using data analysis to determine how you can better your CRO.
A/B testing is going to be one of the most effective ways of determining how you can improve your CRO. ‘A’ is the control – your existing homepage or purchase page. ‘B’ is the same page, with variables such as fonts, colours, calls to action, or background images changed, to see how this affects your CRO. You may find that a fresh look at your website design and the use of a professional web developer can make the biggest changes.
By doing this test and using real data to check your website’s CRO, you’re giving your business the best chance at success in an increasingly saturated online market.
Are You Ready For 2022?
The digital marketing landscape is an always-moving monster that can seem overwhelming to keep up with. While you prepare your marketing goals and campaigns for 2022, remember to stay fluid and flexible. The digital marketing space can (and does!) change rapidly. By using proven data-driven analytics, you can use the upcoming digital marketing trends to your advantage, and boost your conversions, brand loyalty, visibility, and customer retention.
At Bloom Digital, we have our finger on the pulse of the digital marketing world and can help you, and your business keep up with the times. For website optimisation and SEO, one-on-one coaching, social media marketing, and expert web development, we can help. Watch your business bloom in our capable hands! Contact us today, or sign up for our newsletter for more handy marketing tips.