By Jessica Wong
The past two years have shaken up businesses across all industries. They have also changed the way owners and marketing professionals plan their strategies and activities for the year ahead. As 2022 promises to be a post-pandemic year, marketers need to get ready now for a fast-changing environment.
Successful marketing and advertising in 2022 demand an integrated approach that is focused on your customers. Understanding who they are and why they are buying your products and services is the key to effective marketing tactics. Here are some of the key elements to consider for the coming year.
Integrate SEO and SEM
Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a staple of digital marketing activities for years. As part of your marketing strategy, it drives organic traffic to your website. However, SEO is a long-term strategy. Depending on your budget and the keywords your business wants to rank for, it may take months before you see results.
If you are a startup that has just launched its first website, waiting for SEO to drive traffic to you may take too long. Consider adding search engine marketing to your marketing mix. SEM allows you to use keywords to secure a paid-for listing at the top of search engine results pages, above the organic results produced by SEO. Granted, organic results have more credibility. However, until your SEO takes off, SEM can help you be seen by prospective customers. Together, those two tools are most effective.
Create Content for Mobile Devices
Are you planning to update your website or develop it further this year? If yes, make sure your content is mobile-friendly. More than half of all internet traffic comes from mobile phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
A few years ago, having mobile-responsive content was good enough. To stand out in 2022, consider creating mobile-first websites. You don’t need to reinvent web design. However, rather than checking responsiveness as an afterthought, once the design is nearly finalized, you start at the other end of the process. Develop the best possible user experience on the smallest possible screen.
Ensure navigation menus are easy to use and touchscreen-friendly. Structure your content in a way that is easy to digest on small screens. Your organization does not necessarily need to limit content but consider collapsing menus to create smaller chunks of text.
Images are an excellent way of bringing content to life and attracting interest from prospective customers. On the other hand, large images slow your website down. Slow loading speeds are detrimental in several ways: they are punished by search engine algorithms when it comes to your SEO ranking; they may also lead users to abort their attempt to look at your website altogether.
A fast-loading, mobile-first website is a great asset to any company. Plus, it is easier to adjust a mobile-friendly website for a big screen than going the other way.
Streamline Your Omni-Channel Approach
Few businesses today use only one channel to approach their customers. The advantages of using various paths to reach their markets are well documented. They include increased turnover and better customer retention.
Customers choose the channel that is most convenient to them to contact you. This may not always be the same channel for the same customer, depending on their type of inquiry, location, time of day, and many other factors. What remains the same is the high expectation customers have of your response.
According to business intelligence company Gartner, even large organizations continue to fail to deliver a unified customer experience. The authors of the research believe that one in two companies could do better when it comes to delivering a frictionless experience. This has become more important since the outbreak of the pandemic, which has led more customers to connect digitally with businesses.
As a small business, building a streamlined approach across all your channels may be easier as you are working with a smaller team and fewer channels. Small businesses may have an advantage over larger ones in this respect.
Focus Your Ecommerce Activity on Social Commerce
The number of social media users continues to grow. This trend was amplified by the coronavirus pandemic. Even though we are expecting to come out of the pandemic in 2022, social media growth is likely to increase from 3.6 billion users in 2020 to 4.41 billion in 2025.
Facebook remains the biggest and most widely used platform in the U.S. but, depending on your product, you may want to consider other platforms. Instagram has been the leader in harnessing influencer marketing, which is a very effective way for businesses to tap into specific communities.
Another opportunity to consider is user-generated video content on one of the newest social media platforms, TikTok. Like influencer marketing, user-generated content benefits from a high level of trust.
While social commerce currently only accounts for a small share of the United States’ ecommerce revenue, experts expect this area to grow exponentially by 2025. If your business relies on online retail, this needs to be part of your 2022 strategy.
There are only a few weeks left in 2021, so now is the time to start planning your marketing strategy for 2022. Small businesses and startups can benefit from cost-effective digital marketing strategies by integrating organic and paid-for search engine activities and shifting ecommerce spending towards social media networks. Focusing on mobile-friendly content and delivering a seamless customer experience across all marketing channels will put you ahead of your competitors this coming year.