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Redefining Digital Transformation

Many businesses and organizations in 2020 were quickly forced to digitize the way they work, accelerating the pace of e-commerce. The adoption of digital technologies is now the norm, and digital transformation is no longer just about the technology.  It really is about a digital-first strategy and a deep understanding of your internal and external online customers.

We know that a digital strategy wasn’t always the case for organizations and businesses, and this still may seem new.  Many businesses pre-pandemic were still in a hybrid of sorts, especially those slower in digital adoption. Today for any business in order to thrive needs to have in place a digital-first strategy, whether they like it or not. It’s just the world we live in.  The pandemic accelerated many things and e-commerce grew light years ahead in a very short time.  While businesses found short-term solutions to met the demand of their customers, today, nearly all companies are looking for, or already investing in, long-term digital initiatives that will digitalize all their internal and external operations in the years to come.   A business that has committed early on to digital transformation is better positioned today to weather out the storm caused by the pandemic.

Marketing Communications In a Digital Agile World 

Early during the pandemic, as many different business sectors quickly evolved to met consumer needs and habits, they found themselves on new platforms to stay engaged with their target audience. In an oversaturated and even more competitive online landscape, with more people online, getting the right marketing message and hitting the right chords and message with the right target audience will be a challenge as people become more immune to online marketing. Evidence of this was seen at the beginning of the pandemic when click-through rates dropped dramatically on many platforms. Brands will need to redefine and digital transform how and where they met and communicate with the consumer, ensuring that user experience is central to marketing efforts.

Increase Organic Visibility

In order to reach consumers where they are, increasing online awareness through a variety of digital marketing media will become increasingly more important.  In my perspective, how to increase organic search visibility should be an ongoing topic at all marketing meetings. Why? Well, in case you don’t know, every time that Google releases a change designed to improve search results, or a social platform adjusts its algorithm, it may impact the marketing message and the target you’re trying to reach. Organic visibility changes are ongoing. Businesses and brands will need to continually pay close attention to core Google or social algorithmic changes and updates that will have an impact on organic visibility score. Search engine optimization strategies, (SEO) will be the most organic way for attracting potential customers to any website if used in the right way. Think about it for a minute. How many of you when searching for something online click on the second page of search results? Not many would be my guess. Research tells us that the click-through rate on the number one result in Googles’ organic search results, (meaning that the top link you see that is not a paid advertisement)  gets an average click-through rate (CTR) of 32%. Now, you see why everyone online wants to rank for that number one spot !!  So, get to work honey, it’s a competitive landscape on the internet. In order to rank, or even simply maintain your rankings, there are SEO tactics that you should leverage together that can help improve where your brand/business ends up on internet search pages.  Tips I can share from experience are choosing realistic keywords, optimizing your content, and acquiring links for your site. More technical things also include improving your website user experience, making sure your page speed loads fast, or fixing broken links. Even ensuring using your H1 and H2 tags are being used correcting, all these little details are important in order to collectively taking advantage of a smart SEO strategy, one that will help increase organic visibility for any business. As algorithms change, your SEO strategy needs to continue to evolve.

#Trending Video First Marketing

During the pandemic, social networking sites saw an explosion of new users as many people stayed home. Video usage is one of those that saw significantly increased with the new platform TikTok entering the market.  Video marketing is exploding and in response, Facebook released Instagram Reels as another option for users to engage in video sharing. Clearly, the future is video. Video has the power to bring people together in an engaging way to teach, educate and have impactful conversations. Video can be entertaining, news, and a brand message all rolled into one. Moving forward for any brand video is a crucial component of any content strategy. Today’s marketers need video as a marketing tool to reach new and existing audiences. It’s estimated that by 2022, 85% of all consumer internet traffic will be made up of videos. Its also known to be part of that SEO evolution strategy we spoke about above. For example, using video in landing pages increases conversions and 66% of internet users are most likely to purchase a product or use a service after seeing a video. Get this part, research done shows that 95% of a message that is conveyed to a user via video is retained, vs only 10% that is conveyed via text.  Why am I still writing? I see a vlog in my future, watch out I’m coming for ya Instagram reels and Tik Tok, Haha.

Not surprisingly smartphones are the leading choice for video consumption with more and more people choosing to watch videos on their phones over watching television.  As more people continue to consuming video, video streaming will become more of the norm.  So, in order to reach and communicate with these audiences brands will need to place online advertisements on video streaming platforms. There are now so many but some of the most popular platforms are Youtube, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Marketing communication needs to be multi-channel to capture and communicate with consumers where they are.

Rise of the Micro-Influencer

All the above trends and more, leading to the continued rise of Micro-influencers as a must-have for any brand’s marketing strategy. Influencer marketing is expected to grow and be worth close to $14 billion by the end of 2021 showing just how quickly Influencer marketing has grown and matured since 2016.  Micro-influencers proved that they were quicker to reconfigure their marketing efforts and adapt their marketing models to Covid-19 and therefore continue to thrive.  Today majority of brands big and small globally have carved out stand-alone budgets for influencer marketing as it’s now a proven tactic to raised brand awareness and convert sales.  These online social micro-influencers have a dedicated sweet spot following, aka audience, of 10K-100K and engage regularly with their following having a significant influence on purchase behavior and message penetration. It’s also known that micro-influencers allow brands to more effectively measure their marketing performance, which in turn allows for a better measure of their return on investment, quickly becoming a more favorable communications medium to audiences.  Once more, quality trumps quantity, as micro-influencers prove they are more valuable to a business than larger celebrity-type influencers who simply provide mass visibility. The positive track record of micro-influencers in various sectors and industries proves they can actually help sell your product. Micro-Influencers will continue to gain ground as a more focused way to communicate with potential new audiences and establish longer servicing relationships with brands vs larger celebrity-type endorsements. Micro-influencers are also great testers of other marketing tactics that allow for integration.  One for example social shopping, the shining light leading the recovery for many online small businesses. This tactic proving to be highly effective. According to Instagram 130 million users tap on shoppable ads every month. These social posts have seamlessly integrated themselves meeting the consumer where and when they want to be engaged.

Digital First Marketing Approach

The digital transformation needed for business to thrive in a post-Covid-19 world will require developing a digital-first mindset and marketing approaches regardless of the business or industry. Marketing has changed very much and over time digital marketing in a way has leveled the playing field in a very competitive space. No longer do budgets need to be large to make an impact as days of the past. Today, focused and targeted marketing tactics is the name of the game. 

Companies and brands need to always be monitoring and adapting to the consumer landscape no matter if we’re in a pandemic or not. The goal is striving to make every encounter with a potential customer a fantastic customer experience. After all, people prefer to buy from brands they like, know, and trust, and if you can convey that message, that’s winning.

What digital-first marketing strategies do you need to move the needle?

Until next Time ~ Ayri

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