Agency Roundup: Experts Weigh In On Digital Marketing For 2020

Since the internet is always evolving, it only makes sense that digital marketing would be, too. These constant shifts can make it difficult for business owners — and even seasoned marketers — to keep up.

But it’s essential to stay on top of industry trends in order to improve web traffic and search rankings. What once proved effective may no longer reflect Google guidelines or user behavior. To ensure that your digital marketing campaigns continue to enjoy an upward trajectory, you’ll want to keep best practices in mind.

In today’s agency roundup, we’ll be sharing some expert insights and provide some guidance on how you can improve your digital marketing strategy throughout 2020.

Consider Content And Context

You probably already know that content is king. But context also matters more now. In other words, marketers need to do more to tailor their content to their target audience and ensure they’re providing information that’s highly relevant and useful.

Google’s recent BERT algorithm update, which was released in late 2019, was intended to help bolster bots’ understanding of natural language in user searches. Simply put, Google is becoming even more advanced. 

You can’t include keywords where they don’t belong or provide basic, poorly-written content that doesn’t appeal to your customers. Instead, you need to produce high-quality content that fulfills a specific need. Rather than writing for search engines, you need to use SEO concepts while putting people first.

“Be ready to adjust content if needed – such as when BERT, Google’s most recent major algorithm change, rolled out this past fall. Tim Wing, Founder and CEO of BlueMatrix Media, says “This was a leap forward in Google’s AI, since it allows the search engine to have a greater understanding of the intention behind the words searchers use, and not just the words themselves. The main takeaway is to make sure your content uses plenty of natural language, and Google will reward that.”

“One of the most visited pages on a business website is the employment page and that trend will only increase as businesses begin hiring once we recover from the effects of COVID-19,” says Mike Winn of RB Oppenheim Associates. “Job opportunities are great SEO content as they are often shared on social media (a ranking signal) and they are excellent internal page link assets to strengthen your cornerstone service or product pages related to the job description. SERPs love authoritative long-form content and a well written job description are a powerful opportunity to attract their attention, so don’t skimp on content. “

“Creating great headlines is critical for great content marketing. Here is a tip on creating a great headline. Follow this formula to consistently generate great headlines,” says Brian Forrester of Genie Jar Digital.

WE HELP YOU ___________________.

Be sure to keep this simple and uncluttered.

Example: Home health care agency “We help you live a full life.”

A Great headline speaks to your target market’s pain points and shows how you can relieve their pain.”

Prioritize Personalization

And speaking of putting people first, you’ll want to think twice about using overly generic digital marketing tactics. Sending out a non-specific email blast simply won’t cut it anymore.

Customers want to know that they matter. And what’s more, you have the insights to show them that they do. You can use information about prior purchases or browsing history to capture a consumer’s attention and entice them to take advantage of a new product offering or a promotion.

If you use means for data-gathering to your advantage, you’ll have an opportunity to tailor lead generation and sales techniques in a way that improves brand reputation and conversions. Rather than treating all prospective and current customers the same way, differentiating and personalizing will show them you care about building a connection.

Reevaluate Digital Marketing Strategies

“I think the current events of 2020 have caused a lot of companies to reevaluate their digital marketing strategies,” says Matt Hoffpauir of Apache Interactive. “Although many businesses are strong in single area of digital marketing, the Covid-19 pandemic showed the value in having a strong holistic marketing effort that allows you to communicate with your customers effectively when the world gets turned upside down.”

“Who continued to perform well when all businesses were shut down and they could no longer reach their customers by traditional means? The companies that had built quality email lists with high open and interactive rates. The companies that had built great social media followings. The companies that knew exactly how to use audience targeting effectively in their online advertising. The companies that adopted voice search SEO strategies early.”

“The recent pandemic showed that digital marketing isnt just a proactive tool to get your message out there, but it can also be an insurance policy that allows you to continue operating when normal routines are disrupted. I feel that this is going to change the way businesses view their digital strategies in the future.”

Multi-Channel Brand Building

“SEO tends to be very focused around direct response or sales activation goals (leads, sales, etc) And that’s important, but you can max out low funnel activation activities and still barely scratch the surface of your growth potential,” says John Crenshaw of UFO Digital Marketing Agency. “I think it’s pretty clear today that brands have a significant advantage in search, so thinking about SEO within the context of a larger, multi-channel brand building effort not only helps amplify those efforts, but it can have a major impact on search visibility directly.”

“Ive found that combining consistent blogging, social media advertising, mini-videos, and staying focused on your customers has helped my clients and my business with SEO and finding new business,” says Avery Nubson of Nufire Marketing.

Don’t Ignore Interactive Media

While static content still serves a very important purpose, it’s not necessarily what gets customers excited about your company. Consumers are drawn to mediums that allow them to connect or interact in some way with a brand. 

That means that your business can’t afford to ignore video creation, immersive ads, social media platforms (including Instagram, Snapchat, and even TikTok), and feedback portals like quizzes and polls. These mediums capture the attention of web users and will make it more likely for them to interact with your pages and platforms. This will allow you to increase your audience and gather data about their preferences. And since analytics are often built right in, it’s never been easier to measure your reach or your progress.

These digital marketing trends aren’t actually new for 2020. But if you’ve been concentrating on other areas of your marketing budget, you’ll want to consider shifting your focus in order to make headway in the here and now.

Don’t Overthink It

Agency Jet, a website development company in Minneapolis has this tip for fellow agencies. “People who visit your site are interested in an effortless experience,” says Colby Wegter. “If you make it difficult for them to find the menu item they are looking for or if they don’t have an easy way to contact you, you’re making it harder on them, which makes it way less likely that they’ll go the extra mile to work with you. In short, make your website easy to use.”

Have A Well-Structured Website

When potential customers need a product or service, most of the time they will be looking for your website to further investigate your business’s information. “A well-structured website is essential to making a great first impression and rating better in search results,” says Danny Amorando of Immersive Marketing Group, LLC. A website needs to have a high grade in page quality, page structure, link structure, server, and external factors (social media presence).

Steven Zahra of Immersive Marketing Group, LLC stands by, “All of this will boost your SEO rating and undoubtedly offer powerful results that will help your website SEO rating”

Link Worthy Content

“We advise clients to invest in link-worthy content. We recommend that clients order content from us that is a minimum of 2,000 words and includes infographics for shareability,” says David Tonic of Tonic Enterprises. “We then recommend to our clients that they provide us with the budget needed to promote the cornerstone content we produced for them.”

Over Communicate

“Today, it is more important than ever to be in contact with your prospects, clients, customers and patients. We are in an era where you must OVER communicate. This is really pretty easy,” says John Arnott of ContentFirst.Marketing. “Go through your past videos and blog posts from your site. Harvest the very best. Then create an automated email series sending a short teaser with a link to the post. Send these 2 times per week during this crisis to keep your brand visible as an authority. Use the same content in social posts and retargeting ads.”

Lean On Your Agency For Projects

“This time of uncertainty provides many brands with the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate their marketing efforts more holistically. Instead of the relentless, always on the acquisition that most companies are accustomed to, this forced slow down should be used to reevaluate over-arching strategic efforts,” says Glen McMurry of SYZYGY. “Most agencies love to engage in this type of bigger-picture work, from evaluating consumer lifecycles to establishing company-wide KPI frameworks and are probably best suited to help since they aren’t as in the weeds as your client-side staff is. Poke around your entire marketing organization, find where there are holes, and enlist outside resources to help dream of the best solutions. You’ll be happy you did it once your operating model returns to BAU.”

Great Customer Experience

“It is so easy to get caught up in the statistics, analytics, and strategy of your SEO that I see many people tend to forget about the ultimate goal…a great experience for your customer/viewer,” says Jessica Rhoades of Create IT Web Designs. “Are you answering your customers questions and needs first? From there, drive the experience with an easy navigatable website full of rich content. You want to solve your customers problem…if you are able to do that in a unique, honest, and easy way you’ll have happy customers. SEO is just one piece of the puzzle that helps you do that.”

Personalized Marketing

“Look for personalized marketing to dominate in 2020 and beyond. We all know marketing is becoming more competitive and expensive by the day. Though it’s clear what the winners are doing differently,” says Brian Robben of Robben Media. “They’re providing specific solutions to individuals visiting their site and converting more customers than general marketers. Take Amazon, who started and perfected this tactic with their personalized upsells and ads. See how well its worked for them? As companies understand how profitable their digital marketing efforts are — SEO, ads, social media, videos, emails — when personalized, this will become a key focus of campaigns.”

Intentional Keyword Research

“While Google’s algorithm still needs some work it’s clear that they’re rewarding the businesses that create well researched, unique, and thorough topical content,” says Stephen Dayton of Dayton Internet Marketing Agency. “I research what keywords and pages drive the most traffic to websites on a nearly daily basis and the websites that focus their pages and posts on a primary keyword with several supporting and relevant keyword phrases are getting the lion’s share of the traffic. Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Be the authority figure in your niche, create quality well-researched content (quality over quantity) and you should do well in 2020 and beyond.”

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