The adage that gen­er­als are always fight­ing the last war is a les­son mar­keters should heed. Marketing’s inher­ent­ly dynam­ic nature requires that mar­keters in every indus­try stay on top of the con­tin­u­ous­ly evolv­ing trends, tools, and top­ics. Tim­ing is of the essence. If you’re “fight­ing the last war” by fol­low­ing your 2019 mar­ket­ing blue­print, you will inevitably fall behind the inno­va­tors who are leav­ing the past in the dust.

So let’s look at some of the tools and strate­gies that for­ward-think­ing com­pa­nies should embrace this year.

1. Superior Websites

It’s 2020 – and there’s no excuse for hav­ing a clunky, unap­peal­ing web­site. On the one hand, themes (or tem­plates) have made it eas­i­er than ever to cre­ate web­sites, allow­ing you to pick designs that most accu­rate­ly reflect your brand’s “feel.” But their rise in pop­u­lar­i­ty also means that your prospects can spot them eas­i­er – a sure tell on how much you’ve invest­ed in your web­site. If your web­site is a cen­tral aspect of the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, these cook­ie-cut­ter themes are inad­e­quate. A well-designed, orig­i­nal web­site will not only increase con­ver­sion rates but also show your clients that you take them seri­ous­ly and that you care about their expe­ri­ence. And let’s not for­get that a web­site that’s cus­tom-designed from scratch will invari­ably match your brand and its unique needs bet­ter than some­one else’s theme.

The bot­tom line: it may be tempt­ing and cost-effec­tive to pick a gener­ic theme, but design­ing an orig­i­nal web­site that tru­ly stands out from the pack is a pru­dent (and long-over­due) invest­ment.

2. Higher Quality Content

By now, most com­pa­nies have caught on to the fact that con­tent con­verts. In fact, accord­ing to research by Hub­spot, 41% of mar­ket­ing bud­gets were spent sole­ly on con­tent in 2019. Not all con­tent is cre­at­ed equal, and deter­min­ing the type of con­tent that will dri­ve your vis­i­tors to engage should be a top pri­or­i­ty. Con­tent for the sake of pop­u­lat­ing a web­site ends up gen­er­at­ing lit­tle val­ue and exudes unpro­fes­sion­al­ism. Still, a shock­ing­ly large num­ber of mar­keters fail to accept this fact, opt­ing to cre­ate con­tent that isn’t under­pinned by any strate­gic con­sid­er­a­tions. To increase con­ver­sions and grow your brand, it’s imper­a­tive that mar­keters cre­ate con­tent with pur­pose and sub­stance. Fig­ure out what your vis­i­tors are look­ing for by mon­i­tor­ing your search fields and ana­lyz­ing traf­fic on your pages, then offer them the insights they can’t find else­where. B2B con­tent, in par­tic­u­lar, needs to offer as much val­ue as pos­si­ble for the least amount of effort. Don’t bore your clients with end­less arti­cles about well-known top­ics. Use your indus­try exper­tise to give them valu­able insights that busy pro­fes­sion­als seek.

3. Video Content

Video Content

Speak­ing of con­tent, the video has been on the rise in the past few years, with more com­pa­nies than ever embrac­ing this for­mat. Thanks to tra­di­tion­al social media plat­forms like YouTube and Face­book, and new boom­ing mar­ket entrants like Tik­Tok, users are now accus­tomed to videos dom­i­nat­ing their feeds. But why is video good for busi­ness?

First of all, videos allow you to offer in-depth demos of your prod­ucts and ser­vices, cre­ate tuto­ri­als for your prod­ucts, and even pro­mote upcom­ing launch­es in a more engag­ing man­ner. And let’s not for­get about live streams; they’re an impor­tant tool for cre­at­ing gen­uine engage­ment with your fol­low­ers. While you’re stream­ing, users can click on reac­tions or ask ques­tions about your prod­ucts in real-time. Live streams are also use­ful for pro­mot­ing your events as they hap­pen, Q&A ses­sions, and much more.

4. Personalized Communications

Per­son­al­iza­tion is one of the most impact­ful ways to make your com­pa­ny stand out and accel­er­ate con­ver­sion rates. In fact, The Sales­force State of Con­nect­ed Cus­tomer Report 2018 revealed that 72% of busi­ness buy­ers expect com­mu­ni­ca­tion that’s tai­lored to their needs. It’s a safe bet that these buy­ers are like­ly to switch providers unless this need is met, so per­son­al­iza­tion goes beyond dri­ving sales – it also plays a crit­i­cal role in client reten­tion. Cus­tomers who feel that their unique iden­ti­ties and pref­er­ences are tak­en into account in com­mu­ni­ca­tions are less like­ly to take their busi­ness else­where. Fur­ther­more, now that every busi­ness is online, alter­na­tives are eas­i­er than ever to find. Per­son­al­iza­tion will help you stand out to poten­tial clients and cre­ate bet­ter expe­ri­ences for your exist­ing ones.

5. Consolidating Martech

In the past few years, the mar­ket­ing land­scape saw a pro­lif­er­a­tion in new tech­nolo­gies that were sup­posed to make mar­keters’ lives eas­i­er through automa­tion and ana­lyt­ics – and for the most part, it has. With­in a few years, the num­ber of martech com­pa­nies expand­ed from approx­i­mate­ly 150 to over 8,000, and more keep pop­ping up. How­ev­er, work­ing with sev­er­al dif­fer­ent tools to man­age a cam­paign can be tedious, cre­ate com­pat­i­bil­i­ty prob­lems, and make you deal with too many cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Martech con­sol­i­da­tion is the answer to the prob­lem of oper­at­ing too many dis­parate plat­forms. If you find your­self fum­bling with too many soft­ware solu­tions, maybe 2020 is the year to step back and look for one solu­tion that encom­pass­es mul­ti­ple func­tions with­in your cam­paign man­age­ment process. Aside from stream­lin­ing your martech capa­bil­i­ties, you’ll spend less time train­ing new peo­ple to use mul­ti­ple solu­tions, as well as get a clear­er pic­ture of your cam­paigns when all data comes from a sin­gle source.

6. Chatbots Are Multiplying

Chatbots Are Multiplying

Cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives are the unsung heroes of every indus­try. They deal with dis­grun­tled cus­tomers and they have to do it with a smile. The only prob­lem is that one rep­re­sen­ta­tive can deal with no more than one caller at a time.

Because of that, chat­bots pow­ered by arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence are becom­ing an increas­ing­ly viable option for many busi­ness­es that want to reduce their cus­tomer ser­vice team’s work­load. They can:

  • Help cus­tomers with com­mon issues.
  • Offer them infor­ma­tion about your busi­ness.
  • Redi­rect them to a rep­re­sen­ta­tive if fur­ther help is need­ed.

Not only do chat­bots save pre­cious time for your cus­tomer ser­vice team, but they also improve cus­tomer expe­ri­ence and speed up res­o­lu­tion times. In short, chat­bots are a must-have fea­ture in 2020.

7. Email Marketing Is Still Going Strong

To the untrained eye, email mar­ket­ing is like shout­ing into the ether hop­ing for an answer that may nev­er come. Under­stand­ably, today’s inbox­es are more crowd­ed than ever – so much so, that many email providers send pro­mo­tion­al emails to a sep­a­rate inbox. While fac­tu­al­ly cor­rect, this sen­ti­ment doesn’t quite define the state of the indus­try. In fact, accord­ing to Validity’s State of Email Mar­ket­ing report, email mar­ket­ing is hold­ing steady and still deliv­er­ing results for most com­pa­nies. Email mar­ket­ing per­for­mance is also linked to increased rev­enue, even though com­pa­nies report strug­gles with catch­ing their leads’ atten­tion and email deliv­er­abil­i­ty. The key take­away here is that while email mar­ket­ing is osten­si­bly a rel­ic of the past, it remains a pow­er­ful tool in your con­tent mar­ket­ing arse­nal. Rather than aban­don­ing or sig­nif­i­cant­ly cut­ting back on it, mar­keters should be opti­miz­ing its effec­tive­ness by:

  • Con­tin­u­al­ly A/B test­ing sub­ject lines, con­tent, and deliv­ery time.
  • Strate­gi­cal­ly seg­ment­ing email lists in order to cre­ate per­son­al­ized con­tent that res­onates with each unique seg­ment of your tar­get audi­ence.

Conclusion

Tech­nol­o­gy has rev­o­lu­tion­ized the way we work, and mar­ket­ing, in par­tic­u­lar, has changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly thanks to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of new tools. From smart web­sites and per­son­al­ized emails to automa­tion, these tools should be part of any inno­v­a­tive marketer’s arse­nal. Glean the lessons from history’s gen­er­als who failed to mod­ern­ize their strate­gies and tac­tics, insist­ing on fight­ing the last war against for­ward-look­ing oppo­nents, and embrace change. Whether an orig­i­nal web­site built from scratch or a new martech plat­form, it will sure­ly enable you to phase out redun­dant tech­nolo­gies.

SOURCE: Search Engine Jour­nal