10 Ways to Bring Your Business’s Marketing Out of the Stone Age

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The old strategies of digital marketing don’t work anymore. The average click-through rate for display and banner ads is 0.06 percent and even Facebook ads have started to disappoint—62 percent of small business owners believe them ineffective.

You need to try something new. Here are 10 ways you can use modern technology to bring your marketing out of the Stone Age.

1. Automation and Machine Learning

The world of digital marketing is daily improving with machine learning. Personalized ads, predictive experiences, audience retargeting, and KPI tracking are all examples of how machine learning is advancing marketing.

Automation, a subset of machine learning, is something that many marketers are already taking advantage of. In fact, if you’re not already leveraging automation sequences in your marketing strategy, you are way behind the curve. More than half of all companies (both B2B and B2C) are using marketing automation.

The most common use for automation is email. Email automation is relatively affordable and gives you more space to deliver a message. Because a large majority of audiences now access email via smartphone rather than a desktop, it’s important that automated emails are mobile-optimized.

2. Upgrade Messaging

Another platform benefitted by machine learning and automation is messaging. Social messengers, chatbots and even texting can be great ways to market to the digital native.

While texting is not an “up-and-coming” strategy, it’s one that many businesses are still neglecting. In fact, a recent report by Twilio on consumer messaging, found that 9 out of 10 people would like to use messaging to communicate with a business. But less than half of today’s businesses—only 48 percent—are equipped to message with customers.

Modern messaging should offer more than just appointment reminders, security codes or special offers. Adding a two-way customer service line can help give your business an edge on competition. Chatbots can handle many complex questions and situations, resolving most initial queries without even redirecting to your customer service line.

3. Optimize for Mobile

Whatever platform you’re on, mobile optimization is critical for successful marketing and SEO. In 2018, 52 percent of global website traffic has been generated through mobile devices. Specifically in the United States, 75 percent of the population actively browses the internet from their smartphones and tablets.

Marketing is all about meeting your target audience whey they are—and they are on their phones! So don’t neglect your mobile presence, speed and appearance.

4. Stick with Social Media

Most marketers know that they need to be present on social media to grow their business, but they’re social strategies are not always fleshed out.

Find out which platforms your audience uses and target the best time and day for activity. Encourage sharing, feedback, and collaboration. Partner with influencers to expand your reach and target your niche audience.

LinkedIn is a relevant marketing and networking space as well. LinkedIn has provided virtual networking opportunities since 2002 and is still the most commonly used social platform for B2B sales.  

5. Go Live!

A unique strategy for social media marketing is live video. Brands share live content to build brand transparency and engagement.

Live videos can be used to offer exclusive content, discount codes, product updates, Q&As and more. If you are at a loss of where to start when you go live, consider repurposing old blog posts or other marketing materials. Followers love the personal, authentic and fun nature of live content. In fact, 82 percent of audiences actually prefer live video to other social posts.

Another perk is that live videos tend to be free! The content doesn’t depend on a professional camera crew or even an expensive venue. And while you can pay to boost your posts after the fact, Facebook and Instagram do the work for you by featuring live videos higher up in their feeds.

6. Be a Thought Leader

Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry has become even easier in the digital age. Engaging with your audience through webinars and podcasts allows you to gain a following that trusts your brand.

Webinars and podcasts are typically inexpensive to create and can be produced from the comfort of your own home. Promote your content ahead of time by having listeners reserve their free ticket or by sticking to a regular podcast schedule.

Guest posting is another way to create brand awareness and thought leadership. Giving away valuable knowledge for free is a great way to build a loyal following.

7. Just Keep Blogging

Blogging is an old trick in the digital playbook, but is still relevant to marketing and lead generation. Brands who blog are 13 times more likely to experience a positive return on investment.

An active blog helps to rank your site on Google. Each post is another indexed page on your website, meaning that there is more searchable content for your prospects to find. Try to post consistently and don’t let your blog become a graveyard. Search engines value fresh content and customers value an authentic brand voice.

8. SEO and Analytics

Staying current on social medias and blogs will help improve your SEO, but there is more that you can do. Make sure sites are secure (https only), mobile-optimized and load quickly.

Additionally, using Analytics tools—like Google’s free service—will help you stay up to date with traffic, demographics and keywords. Monitoring keywords will help you make your brand as discoverable and searchable as possible. Target keywords that are within your reach: good search volume, low competition and relevant to your business.

And when you get the data, do something useful with it! Anyone can track keywords; you need to learn to interpret that data to provide insight and creative marketing solutions.

9. Manage Online Reviews

Word of mouth has always been a relevant strategy for generating business, but in the digital age, the online review has taken its place.

90 percent of consumers say that they read online reviews before patronizing a business, so it’s important to know what customers are saying about you. Use a tool like Vendasta’s reputation management or a small business alternative to help you track and actively collect customer feedback.

Manage all of your business listings to keep them in sync and accurate (including hours, addresses and contact information). 88 percent of mobile searches include the term “near me,” so target geographically relevant keywords to optimize for location-based searches.

10. Experiment with Voice

Voice assistants have transformed the realm of consumer marketing. Now you can get closer than ever to your customers—literally, your voice is in their home.

As search engine optimization (SEO) transfers to voice search optimization (VSO), there are a few key strategies to keep in mind. When asked a question, voice assistants will only read the top answer—not the top ten—so ranking in that “zero spot” is crucial. Long-tail keywords also help to optimize for the style of query presented by voice questions. FAQs, step-by-steps, and any kind of content that can be easily ready by Google will be favored.

While not everyone has a smart speaker in their home, almost everyone has access to a voice assistant on their devices. You may not be prepared to create a flash briefing or Google action, but you could at least try out a few VSO strategies to meet the trend.

Do Something Different

Whatever you do, do something. Take risks and try out new digital marketing tools—this is not a comprehensive list!

Move forward with A/B testing, dip your toes in the pool of VR advertising, or work towards integrating with wearable technology. Today’s audience favors brands that are fresh, beautiful and function perfectly. So, don’t just perfect your marketing strategy, perfect your product.

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