Globally, advertising budgets haven’t been as negatively affected by the pandemic as many experts had feared. According to Zenith, ad spending had been expected to shrink by 9.1% during 2020, yet the decline for that year is now forecast at just 7.5%. Furthermore, the situation looks more optimistic moving forward.
Zenith expects global ad budgets to grow by 5.6% throughout 2021. Perhaps this is in part because savvy business owners understand that during times of economic uncertainty, it’s best to put more dollars into advertising—not fewer. Historically, brands that increase advertising during recessions are the ones that thrive and stand the test of time. With that understanding, it’s time to take a look at how your advertising dollars will be best spent during 2021.
Adding Interactive Content
In the digital marketing world, content is king. Consumers feel that they can trust brands more when the brand provides reliable, informed content that isn’t overly sales-focused. However, content alone doesn’t maximize a potential customer’s engagement with your brand. That’s why interactive content is so important.
During 2021, look for opportunities to encourage brand engagement with interactive content. This can be as simple as putting up a poll on your brand’s social media accounts or as involved as creating an interactive video. For example, a marketer could scatter questions throughout an informational video. Quizzes and assessments can also work well for a variety of industries. The same is true of games and contests. For instance, customers may be invited to enter a contest by liking the brand on Facebook, sharing or retweeting a post, or referring new customers.
Interactive content can do double duty as a means to not only encourage brand engagement, but also to subtly learn more about your target audience. For example, if you are a realtor, you might add a mortgage calculator to your website. This provides value and engagement for visitors. It also enables you to learn more about their income levels and home purchasing goals based on the information they enter.
Verifying and Updating Local Listings
Local listings are critically important for local search engine optimization (SEO). Businesses that rely on local foot traffic—as well as the local franchisees of national corporations—must prioritize the curation of their local listings during 2021. There are countless local listing directories available online. Business owners (or their marketers) must take the initiative to claim and verify their listings and update their information. Not only does this build backlinks to the business website, but it also enables more customers to find the business.
The most visible local listing directory is also free for business owners. Google My Business (GMB) allows companies to update their hours of operation, service offerings, products, and even photos. Businesses on GMB will also appear on Google Maps. The information will be visible to consumers as they look for relevant products and services in their area.
Updating GMB and other local listings once isn’t sufficient, however. The pandemic has highlighted just how quickly things can change. If your company needs to reduce its hours of service, temporarily shut down, or offer a new service (such as curbside pickup), it’s important to update your local listings promptly to reflect the new information.
Improving Communication Regarding Availability of Products and Services
The pandemic significantly affected the supply chain. Americans, who are generally unaccustomed to seeing empty store shelves, were caught off-guard by the long-term unavailability of products they rely on. The availability of services has also been spotty, given that many businesses had to temporarily shut down or at least limit their service offerings.
Although individual retailers can’t do much about supply chain disruption, they can take steps to mitigate the risk that their customers will shift brand allegiances. Honest, transparent communication is crucial. In other words, it’s necessary for businesses of all sizes to frequently update their websites and other digital channels to reflect the latest availability of high-volume products and services.
Consumers are generally more understanding of shortages if they are told about them up front. It’s best for a customer to read on your website that your store is sold out of cleaning supplies than for the customer to physically visit your store, only to be frustrated by empty shelves. If you do use banners or other website spaces to announce availability, be sure to update them as often as availability changes.
Building Up Your Email Subscriber List
Although item shortages have presented challenges to retailers, they also offer opportunities. Frustrated consumers may sign up for email notifications that alert them when a coveted item is back in stock. This is an easy way to build up your email subscriber list. Along with notifications about in-stock items, marketing emails might suggest other, related items that the consumer might be interested in. Offering special discounts and other promotions to subscribed customers is another smart tactic to try in 2021.
Making Email Marketing More Personalized
With a healthy email subscriber list, your brand can take advantage of a digital marketing channel that reports consistently high returns on investment. These days, it’s common for brands to send out snazzy-looking emails full of eye-catching graphics and bold headlines. That’s why an old-fashioned, down-to-earth letter may capture attention better.
Occasionally, a zero-graphic, no-nonsense email written directly to the consumer can serve your purpose better than a more modern-looking email. Thank customers for their business during the past tumultuous year, and reaffirm the brand’s commitment to putting the needs of its customers first. Include a discount code or other special offer before signing off.
Whether you’re sending a no-frills email or a graphics-heavy e-newsletter, it should always be personalized. Use segments to divide your email list into groups according to key characteristics, such as past purchases, interests, or geographic location. Along with addressing recipients by name, segments can allow you to hyper-personalize your marketing emails.
Salem Surround takes a comprehensive approach toward digital marketing, employing smart tactics that surround your target audience wherever they surf, search, and socialize. Our digital marketing experts can improve your brand visibility while persuasively guiding customers through each step of the buying journey. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your digital marketing plans for 2021.