A challenge for businesses is developing and maintaining a good marketing plan that will lead to sustainable business growth during the year. As we move into a new decade and technology plays a larger role in every facet of our lives, there are more marketing strategy options popping up seemingly overnight. While a lot of these are great strategies that can strengthen your overall marketing plan, they aren’t always simple to understand or may not be the best choice. Here are 17 marketing strategies to consider for the 2020 marketing plan.
Marketing Trends in 2020
1. Define Your Budget and Goals
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what exactly your business does before you can successfully implement a marketing plan it’s imperative to define the organization’s business objectives and goals along with developing a working marketing budget. You need to know what exactly you’re working towards and what means are available for achieving them in order to select the appropriate strategies. Be specific with your goals because if your too broad things can get lost in translation and goals may not lead to expected results.
It is possible to achieve marketing campaign objectives on a limited budget through pure creativity. Creativity can be worth an unlimited amount of money. Put together a creative idea and some hard work and you’re bound to see good return down the road.
2. Marketing Personalization
Personalization is the key ingredient to enhance the user experience. The better you can meet a customer’s needs or wants, the more inclined they are going to be to enter into your sales conversion funnel and become customers. Nearly every aspect of digital marketing can be personalized to the viewer based on past interest, demographics, location, past actions, and even more.
By collecting user data through landing pages, advertising, surveys, etc. to segment your email list, email campaigns can be more relevant and effective as well as better targeted based on buying habits, interests, and behaviors. Email campaigns that are personalized receive 29% higher email open rates and 41% higher click-through rates than traditional emails with no personalization.
Companies are competing every minute to grab the attention of visitors within seconds. Providing them with relevant content and a customized experience can make them stay longer on your site and increase the conversion rate. Amazon is a classic example of the world’s leading shopping sites due to their personalization efforts. But you don’t have to be in e-commerce to personalize a website experience for visitors.
Optimized landing pages are typically a visitor’s first interaction with your brand. Landing page personalization can be done in two ways – with the help of better-converting Calls To Action (CTAs) and showing more relevant content recommendations. Research by HubSpot also shows that personalizing CTAs can make websites perform 202% better than generic CTAs.
Review your website to determine the best pages where you can implement personalization with your target audience. Homepage, category pages, product pages, pricing pages, and checkout pages are a good place to start. By personalizing each of these pages, it will help cater to potential new customers.
Marketing Strategy: Personalization
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Helping websites get found in Google searches becomes more dynamic every year, but one thing remains the same, Google is trying to be the end destination of a user’s online journey.
According to Wikipedia, SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement.
As Google changes its algorithm to improve results served to users, a business needs to change to keep the website on top. In past updates, Google rewards websites that are optimized for a mobile device by showing it in search results. Here are two additional SEO strategies to implement in 2020:
Zero Click Search
Being ranked in the number one spot used to be the ultimate goal, but now the coveted spot is actually positioned zero. A lot of you probably aren’t familiar with the term zero-click search, but you’ve likely seen them. It refers to when Google gives you a text snippet as a result of a search query without having to click into the website for the information. This can be a game-changer if you secure this ranking for a high-traffic term. Though the click-through rate tends to be lower as people just read what they need and move on, however, it can still lead to more traffic coming to your site.
Every time you think you’ve mastered SEO, the rules change, and you quickly realize you aren’t the master of all things SEO. Honestly, these days for a lot of businesses having a good Google My Business profile is as or nearly as important as having a good website for a local business. Basically Google My Business is adding your business to Google Maps, which is so crucial. GPS is on every smartphone made today, and Google uses your location data every single time you run a search so that they can provide you with the best results possible. If you have a brick and mortar business, it is essential to have the correct information displayed on your map listings for people to easily find you! One additional aspect of SEO is making sure the address used for your Google map listing is the same anywhere across the internet. Google maps may dominate but don’t overlook Apple Maps or Bing – they have a ton of people searching on those too.
4. Advertising – Retargeting
Have you ever visited a particular website and then for the next week or two noticed that you just keep running into ads all over the internet for those products or services from that website? It feels a bit creepy, doesn’t it? That’s the power of retargeting. The saying in marketing is that it takes 7 or more touchpoints before someone decides to buy from you. Surprisingly retargeting is one of the easiest and most effective advertising strategies you can implement. All you have to do is put a piece of code from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., in the header of your website to insert a cookie on a visitor’s browser and you are ready to start following visitors around on the web.
Digitally this is one of the best ways to move a prospect through the buying process. If you’re selling something people tend to research first, you can track their journey through to the final purchase. Retargeting allows you to create ad campaigns for each touchpoint in the customer journey, re-capturing attention and staying on the top of potential customers’ minds.
Marketing Strategy: Digital Advertising
5. Voice Search
Voice search and voice assistants first began showing up around 2011. At first, they were a novelty but since then it’s become a very often-used tool. With the variety and quality of technology such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant, people are becoming familiar with talking with these devices and getting information from them. Since this is relatively new, there is a tremendous amount of growth potential for businesses, especially with AI technology improving voice recognition accuracy.
Optimize your website content for voice search by mapping out your current website pages with questions that visitors might ask a voice assistant. Keep in mind people type and speak very differently, so keep semantics in mind. One example is someone looking to buy a smart voice assistant. In Google they may type “best home voice assistant”, but to Alexa, they may ask “What’s the best home voice assistant and why?”
One great way to capitalize on voice search is with an in-depth Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) website page. Each question is linked to a corresponding page within your website that provides more details.
Common queries include:
- A direct question.
- A description of a problem.
- A description of a symptom of a problem.
- A brand name or specific feature.
People use their mobile web browsers or phone’s voice search capabilities to get information, such as location, hours, etc.) about local businesses they plan to visit. The more you can optimize your site and content for local search results, the better optimized you’ll be for voice and mobile search queries.
Marketing Strategy: Voice Search
6. Social Media
Brands are starting to rethink their approach to social media marketing since it is getting harder and harder to reach people organically.
If you haven’t already, consider building your own community. Instead of chasing people around trying to get their attention, why not try instead to pull people in? Facebook is putting an emphasis on creating communities. Facebook groups are the key and an amazing opportunity for brands to connect with users and build loyalty. Recent data suggests that 40% of marketers view private communities as a top social trend to prioritize in 2020.
New concepts like ephemeral content, short posts that disappear after viewing, have gained a lot of popularity thanks to SnapChat. It is a great way to increase brand awareness, engage with followers, and reach new audiences.
Fear for Missing Out (FOMO) plays an important role in the success of ephemeral content because it provokes an immediate response – this could be an engagement, a ‘swipe up to shop’ followed by a quick purchasing decision or a link through to onsite content.
Ideas for social media stories:
- Use polls within Instagram Stories
- Add links to your social media Stories
- Add location tags
- Add mentions for other brands
- Invite followers to explore more with clear call-to-actions
If your brand has a local presence, you want to get found when consumers use Stories to search for local businesses. For instance, on Instagram Stories, some location searches have a story icon that allows users to view recent stories that have used the location sticker.
Hashtags are popular on Twitter and Instagram and have a similar effect of driving user traffic to a business for more information. Add in hashtags for cities, towns, communities, or events to get found when someone searches that hashtag.
Social Media definitely isn’t going anywhere in 2020 and is even getting more sophisticated. Businesses need to learn how to more effectively engage on platforms where their audience frequents.
Branding is a critical part of your marketing strategy if you’re looking for sustainable growth. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Branding, if done properly it gives your business a voice and encourages customers to learn more about you.
Brand building is the process of generating awareness and promotion of the services of a company through direct advertising and sponsorship. It brings consumers closer to your brand and gives them the feeling that they’re dealing with a company that cares and feels.
Google actually likes brands because they deliver more of a promise to customers. Ideally, a good brand will offer exceptional customer service and a great product or services, has a great website and customer dissatisfaction is very rare – aka reviews. It’s so important that you get the base right, you need a strong foundation to grow from. You want to preserve your brand for the foreseeable future, keeping your reputation in mind.
People even notice something as simple as page load speed. Don’t be afraid to partner with other brands or try new creative approaches, you never know what’s going to catch fire this year.
Take Control of Online Reputation Management
8. Chatbot Marketing
People are enjoying being able to just chat with someone online about products or services rather than having to pick up the phone and call. It’s truly one of the fastest-growing methods of online communication and not slowing down. Chatbots are simple pieces of software that answer questions and get information. Basically, you can think of them as automated customer support. It’s forecasted that 85% of customer interactions in 2020 will be handled without human involvement.
Chatbots customer service
Most customers have questions and/or like to do some research before they buy. If they aren’t easily able to answer all of their questions right on your website, a chatbot could be the perfect solution. Customer service requests are truly never-ending. Instead of sinking more of your budget into additional staff, consider setting up a chatbot. A good bot can handle related questions, schedule appointments, give store hours and directions, and all the other small details of customer service. Everyone wins when you use chatbots, less work for you and faster answers for customers.
Chatbots for sales
If you are looking for more qualified leads from your marketing efforts, there are a few different types of chatbot campaigns to help push prospects through your sales funnel.
For example, the Welcome Chat in Facebook Messenger presents users with various options such as call, visit the website, take a quiz, even schedule an appointment. Asking questions is the best way to interact with users and help to guide them on the customer journey.
Develop chatbot campaigns for each part of the customer journey and provide users with relevant information to help them make decisions. Think of chatbots like a cross between social media, lead generation, and email marketing.
How to Use Chatbots to Win Business
9. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence marketing solutions offer you a way to bridge the gap between data science and execution. The slow and painful process of sorting through and analyzing huge amounts of data was once an all but impossible process – now, not only is it feasible, but it’s relatively easy. AI assists in leveraging all your customer data, coupled with machine learning, it can anticipate your customers next move and improve their overall experience.
Now AI can understand the world in nearly the same way that any human would, just faster. That means spotting insightful concepts and big themes across massive data sets are easier than ever. AI can even interpret emotion and communication like a human, so they can fully understand the content on social media, email responses, and more. AI helps analyze patterns in social media and search engines extremely quick which provides insightful data to marketers who can then adapt their efforts.
If you haven’t heard of geofencing yet, it may be time to get in the know. Geofencing is the use of GPS or RFID to create a virtual geographic boundary, which enables software to trigger responses when a mobile device crosses the boundary.
Brands can set a location boundary to trigger a programmed action. This may be a push notification, SMS message, alert, display targeted advertising, or create and collect location-based marketing data.
This type of marketing is often used in search engine advertising, online advertising, and social media marketing.
The Google Ads platform allows you to use geofencing on search, display, and YouTube campaigns.
Paid social media on Facebook and Instagram allows brands to “drop a pin” on a map and target a radius around it. Additional targeting exclusions can be set to block in your geofencing even closer than the radius around the location pin drop.
When you create your own Snapchat filter, Snapchat gives you a default geofence at the chosen location. A business can use filters to promote an event. For example, if your audience is college students and you are hosting an event, drop a pin on a college and run a promotional ad for the event.
11. Mobile Optimized Website
Since 2017 mobile devices have accounted for 50% or more of the web traffic worldwide. Google has even started indexing mobile website pages first before non-mobile optimized website pages since the majority of web traffic is coming from a mobile device.
In 2009, the iPhone became a thing. In 2010 Netflix started international streaming, Twitter passed 50 million users, and Facebook announced that they have 500 million users (as of right now they’re at 2.32B). All these happenings ushered in an era of mobile dominance; thus, the mobile internet has grown 504% in daily media consumption since 2011.
Just imagine, at this point, ONLY being able to access all of your accounts on a computer. For some things, it wouldn’t make much difference but for many others, you probably wouldn’t even bother trying. 95% of Facebook users access the site from the mobile app. Instagram came out exclusively on mobile. 70% of all YouTube videos are consumed on mobile devices and make up 37% of all mobile internet traffic, a truly staggering number. All of this is just to show that mobile truly has overtaken desktop traffic in so many ways.
If your website is not optimized for mobile, you’re literally missing out on potential business. 82% of all smartphone shoppers use “near me” searches, so it’s endlessly valuable to show up well on mobile in your area. Local searches are still king to Google and seemingly always will be. If your website is well optimized for mobile, you’ll be able to capture your share of all of those users and increase conversion rates. If a mobile user comes to a site that they have to pinch around on to scroll in and isn’t easy to use, they will leave almost every time. So boost your numbers and conversion rates, ensure you’ve got your website mobile-optimized and prepared to help you get your piece of that mobile pie.
Today, consumers are absolutely pounded with marketing and they are tired and bored of it. They want more. Customers don’t just want to buy or purchase, they want to talk and chat with you.
Conversational marketing facilitates a one-to-one, real-time connection between marketers and customers. Chatbots are a great example.
Therefore, reviews are great on e-commerce websites, why people leave comments on social media posts, why we ask our followers what they think about our content, and why we tune in to Q&A sites like Quora.
Conversations help you get into the headspace of a customer and understand what they may be thinking. The power of social media is that you can ask them. It makes customers feel important and valued when you seek their feedback, and it breeds that personal connection that’s so important for building lifelong customers.
Conversation isn’t just getting feedback but implementing it into every facet of your digital marketing strategy. Use this feedback to craft everything around the audience you’re targeting. This isn’t a breakthrough concept; it’s just refocusing to ensure you’re connecting with your audience as best as you can.
13. Quality Content for SEO
Quality content, not just any content, is undoubtedly an undisputable influence on your search rankings. The first step is to have a keen understanding of what your audience is actively searching on.
A trend that will continue into 2020 is intensifying focus on quality content that goes deeper into a topic.
Blogging is still a huge part of marketing and ranking a website. Having a blog on your website is one of the most cost-effective inbound marketing strategies you can invest in.
True quality content is evergreen and will keep people coming back for more if it’s relevant, accurate, comprehensive, and answers questions that people are looking to solve effectively.
Your content must be formed around what your customers want to know. Do your research before you even start writing and try to identify their biggest desires and concerns. Focus on topics that make them more willing to invest time in reading your blog.
- Keep language consistent from the same brand or persona voice.
- Be open to feedback and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
- Make sure you’re providing some real value to people.
- Be creative.
- Be a resource and an expert for readers.
If you’ve written your content well it could potentially rank on its own and drive even more traffic to your site.
14. Video Marketing
Video is one of the fastest ways to improve your conversion rates and build trust with your audience. Through video, prospects can see what you really do along with your level of expertise. While your video was made to educate, it’s also gaining customer trust and reaching new ones. People are preferring to watch video over reading text.
Q&A videos are a great way to promote customer interaction and have them learn more about you and your business in a way that they’re far more likely to remember.
A lot of people are under the impression that you must spend thousands to produce a quality video, but truly all it takes is some know-how and a little creativity. You can do just about anything with a good smartphone camera and clear audio.
Each video needs to get right to the point. If you waste even a few seconds, in the beginning, introducing yourself or babbling many viewers are going to click right off and go to the next video.
Keep your videos as short as you reasonably can, pack them with enough information to be meaningful but don’t repeat yourself or ramble. End each video with a strong call to action; not just a “thank you and goodbye”, push them to your website and into your sales funnel.
YouTube is still important driving a massive amount of daily traffic so don’t neglect it.
15. Email Marketing
Over the years the email open rate has diminished due to SPAM filters, however, people still interact via email. You may be surprised to learn that 94% of internet users utilize email and 75% of adults online say they prefer email marketing over other methods!
Email marketing can promote your business, inform and educate existing customers, cultivate new relationships with subscribers, offer customer loyalty rewards, and more!
Creativity is needed in both content and subject lines to improve open rates. Make sure to preview your email on a mobile device. Most people will read the email on their smartphone, so its critical formatting is correct.
With this shift towards mobile-first, the copy has become simplified. Gone are long sales copy emails and in its place are concise creative emails.
The evolution of email marketing has some marketers saying it’s more valuable now than ever for building trust and keeping customers returning. The email tools available today make marketing a breeze. You can set up email campaigns, newsletters, and follow up sales messages with a few clicks. One of my favorite email marketing software is Get Response because you can do quickly set emails and schedule. Creating a follow email drip campaign is as easy as inserting emails into a calendar.
16. Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing is a very broad category encompassing many forms of advertisement and marketing. Most things will fall under one of four categories; print, broadcast, direct mail, and telephone.
Print, direct mail, and telephone are not necessarily making a comeback. We will see more restrictions on telephone marketing.
Brands are reconsidering broadcast, with TV and Radio ads are on the radar now. More than three-quarters of US internet users will listen to digital audio formats like podcasts and streaming music at least once a month this year.
Smart speakers are contributing to the digital audio advertising landscape in two ways. First, as an enabler and accelerant of digital audio consumption. Second, as a future-forward advertising outlet. It’s early days for smart speaker advertising, but many brands are eyeing this arena closely.
17. Sentiment Analysis
Sentiment analysis is the automatic process of detecting positive, neutral, and negative sentiments within the text. Machine learning is able to analyze human language and detect emotions within the text to deliver a sentiment breakdown. These analyses help a business understand customers’ needs and feelings so they can adjust messaging. These systems can even be trained to detect difficult things like sarcasm with great accuracy.
This is such a powerful tool for business owners, it gives you deep insight into your audience and you can use that in crafting your marketing plan. You can gauge the response to your brand when a new product or service is released. Sentiment analysis helps predict trends. One good example of this is the financial sector using it with machine learning to analyze corporate sentiment and process historical data in real-time, they can then use that to make snap decisions that drive the market. Do remember that the extent to which it will help you is determined by how far you are willing to go in integrating it.
Repustate has a sophisticated text-analysis API that accurately assesses the sentiment behind customer responses.
Critical Mention is different than the other options on this list because it analyzes news and other publications that reference your business. This way, you can see the sentiment behind stories that are rapidly surfacing to the public. Since news coverage is now a 24/7 affair, it helps to have software that can monitor the internet and alert you to any buzz your business is making.
Social Mention is a free social media analysis tool that provides users with one of the best bangs for their buck. First, users don’t have to create an account or download software. Instead, you just need to navigate to their site and search for your keyword like you would with any search engine. Upon entering your search, Social Mention pulls data about your keyword from every social media site and compiles it into a comprehensive summary.
Marketing today is more complex than ever. But that also means we have many avenues of approach and far more powerful tools at our disposal. Taking the time to put together a good marketing plan and really learn about your target audience and what they respond to should lead to a fantastic return on marketing investment. That paired with consistent organic traffic from SEO can provide a massive and sustained boost to your business.
If you want someone that understands all the facets of marketing in today’s complicated and oversaturated world, you need Edge Digital. We work hard to keep up on the very newest trends and use them to boost ourselves and our clients. If you’re looking for more marketing materials, check out our free e-book with 25 Website Traffic Hacks!
Kim works with brands since 2011 to develop and manage their digital and social media strategies; meet company objectives, such as increasing leads, engagement, and website traffic, utilizing best practices, the latest tools and strategies; and develop quality content. She is a problem-solver who loves a challenge when it comes to increasing sales.