It has been a tumultuous couple of years, to say the least. Yet businesses across industries continue to innovate, identify creative solutions and find new revenue streams. Many of the old ways of doing business no longer apply, and employers and employees alike have learned to be indefinitely adaptable.
The waves aren’t ceasing in 2022. The nation continues to struggle with a pandemic, and supply chain issues are impacting Americans’ daily lives. Throw in complications from the Great Resignation and inflation, and businesses of all types and sizes are entering into the new year with some uncertainty and perhaps a bit on edge. Both challenges and opportunities await, and the nimble, innovative companies will once again rise to the top.
To compete on any level, businesses need to reexamine their marketing strategies and ensure they’re equipped with the right tools and tactics to flourish in this climate. Heading into the new year, consider these resolutions to position your business for growth.
Take a Fresh Look at Your Target Audiences
It’s a new world. That means your tried-and-true approach that worked for decades may no longer fit the bill. The wants and needs of your target audience have likely evolved, as well as the way in which they consume information. In this on-demand-everything environment, it’s important to reevaluate how your customers and prospects interact with the world around them. Have behaviors or habits changed? Are they spending more or different time online? Have new customer segments emerged? Create new personas that are relevant today.
Invest in Your Website
The importance of a functional, user-friendly website that’s designed to tell a story, direct visitors and capture leads cannot be underscored enough. More than a 24/7 storefront, a website today directly impacts revenue, reputation and growth. It’s time to end the “I’ll get to that one day” mentality and make 2022 the year for a new marketing and sales foundation.
Some key considerations with a new website:
Security: This is non-negotiable, especially if you conduct financial transactions on your website or collect customer information, such as names, email addresses, mailing addresses and other data points that people generally want to keep private. Ensure the backend is continually updated, create secure passwords and processes, use SSL encryption and choose a secure web host.
Speed: Google likes websites that download quickly. If your site is bogged down with unoptimized images or bloated code, not only will visitors be turned off, but search engine rankings will also ultimately suffer.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): If you want new customers to find you online, you need a site that is optimized for search engines, in addition to an ongoing “on page” and “off page” SEO strategy.
Content: Fresh content, often through a blogging strategy or landing pages, is crucial for SEO, improving the user experience and augmenting customer service.
Commit to Building a Healthy Email Database
If your email lists are in disarray or housed within the individual address books of the sales team, compiling and segmenting lists can seem daunting. It will take some time, effort and potentially a cultural shift, but the effort is well worth it. According to Litmus’ 2021 State of Email Report, more than 90% of survey respondents said email marketing is at least somewhat critical to the overall success of their company, and 41% said it’s very critical — up nearly 30% since before the pandemic in 2019.
In a society where nearly everyone has a mobile device within a three-foot radius at all times, this makes sense. Email is a crucial communication channel for both B2C and B2B companies in a digital-first world, and businesses are leaving money, leads and awareness on the table if they tolerate haphazard lists. In 2022, commit to investing in an email marketing service provider — and training sales and marketing teams on how to use the service cohesively.
Tell Stories Through Video to Engage Audiences on Social Media Channels
Companies literally have mere seconds to capture attention on social media feeds. A photo is great, but a video is better, especially when it comes to storytelling. People are more likely to engage with a brand if they resonate with a message or gain insights or education. Indeed, the Wyzwol 2021 State of Video Marketing found 96% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or services, and 84% said they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Whether produced professionally or in house, video offers connection and understanding quickly. Experiment with how to’s, profiles, testimonials, product demos, behind-the-scenes tours, case studies, Q&As and more.
Optimize Digital Lead Capture at Trade Shows and Events
Events are coming back, and a fishbowl won’t suffice. In B2B sectors particularly, in-person connections can be critical for building long-term, fruitful relationships. Opportunities for connections abound in 2022, and businesses need to ensure leads are digitally nurtured post-event. In lieu of paper sales kits that ultimately end up in a recycling bin, direct attendees to event-specific landing pages via QR codes. Offer an incentive for email signups and conduct a post-event “drip” campaign to move people along the sales cycle. A drip campaign involves a series of timed emails that guide a targeted list of recipients through a process or unveil valuable information, ultimately leading them to take a specific action. This formula augments the relationship-building process and helps ensure those in-person ties remain top of mind in the future.
Although many uncertainties remain heading into 2022, one thing is certain: businesses need to adapt to a digital-first world and reexamine their target audiences’ needs and wants in this sink-or-swim climate. Efforts connecting websites, email campaigns and social media are poised for success.
Andrea Aker is CEO of Aker Ink PR & Marketing, a full-service agency helping companies increase brand awareness, enhance thought leadership and generate leads. More at www.akerink.com.