Hindsight Is 20/20
Were your website and marketing plan ready for the digital demands of 2020? Many were not – even before the coronavirus threw the world into chaos, but especially now. They say that hindsight is 20/20, but that depends on what you see. Looking at your strategy in light of current events, do you see your weak spots as failures? Or do you see opportunities?
We’ve Got 2020 Vision
As we all shelter-in-place for an extended stay in the Upside-Down world of COVID-19, many companies still have important, if not essential, jobs to do and many customers to serve. They know they must keep going, but where? The digital landscape is rapidly changing rapidly and many businesses just aren’t sure what to do next.
Under normal circumstances, we would look for proven and emerging trends to try, so let’s start there. As a leading digital agency in St. Louis, MO, it is our job to follow the latest website and online marketing trends for our clients. It is our pleasure to share them with you. Here are three digital marketing trends to try in 2020.
Website security is of utmost importance always, but it is absolutely necessary in 2020. As more and more communication, transactions, and data handling move online, you need to keep your customer information protected.
Security is no longer just a website feature. It is a core business value.
According to the RiskBased Data Breach QuickView Report 2019 Q3, at the end of September 2019 there were 5,183 breaches, exposing 7.9 billion records. With the ever-increasing risks are you doing enough to protect your customers’ information? The first line of defense starts with your firewall. A firewall can protect against malware and other methods. Vigilantly detecting when large amounts of data are being implanted or extracted from your network and will automatically shut the process down.
Another tip to protect the security of your customers is to separate your payment terminal network from your ecommerce store so you yourself are not collecting and saving payment information. It doesn’t even have to feel awkward for your users if you handle the payment integration correctly. At the very least, merchants should provide options and allow customers to choose their preferred payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal as an additional way to control their own payment security.
SSL certificates are now mandatory to become PCI compliant, which is a must for online businesses.
The purpose of SSL technology is to encrypt the information that’s submitted via your website, so hackers can’t get to it. An SSL certificate is a badge that users can see that signals that your site is safe. Internet users are increasingly aware of their online safety. They’re getting savvier by the minute and most now know what to look out for. Don’t send them the wrong signals!
In the information age, society expects a response immediately, not during the next business day. Not even within the hour. If you cannot answer your customer immediately, they are likely to bounce or lose interest, then go find someone who can. You need to find tools and strategies for starting a conversation with your users so they are more likely to stick around.
Sara Blakely, the founder and CEO of Spanx, started selling Spanx in-person at Nordstrom’s. She was able to guide each customer through her sales funnel. And she was wildly successful at it. Who hasn’t heard of Spanx?
Imagine how much your online sales or lead generation would improve if you could personally interact with every customer like Sara Blakely. An online chat feature added to your website or social media page essentially does that for you. It greets your visitors and gets the conversation started. Chat makes it easy and effortless to capture their contact details for marketing, support or sales agendas, answer FAQs, and give users intelligent guidance toward the content they need…or your checkout pages and lead forms. Website chat helps you leave the frustration of abandoned carts and lost navigators in the past!
A great chat feature can even do these things for you while you’re sleeping…or working, at lunch, in a meeting, or serving other customers. Your website is open 24/7, but the labor cost of 24-hour service hours – even just an online chat agent – can be pricey for many business owners. An AI-driven chatbot can be programmed to intelligently target visitors that are likely to buy or showing signs of confusion and frustration. They can handle easy questions without hands-on intervention. They can even check in with updates or offer targeted assistance to repeat buyers. If you’re concerned about authenticity or sounding too robotic, remember that the technology has come a long way since its beginnings and nearly every major brand uses these tools these days. The fact is, people are just getting used to talking to bots. It’s kind of cool, really. SmarterChild would be so proud.
Chatbots aren’t just helpful for your user experience. They also help your sales team. With conversational marketing, you can let a bot do your lead qualifying for you. Asking questions that will help you understand their needs and recommend the next steps that the potential customer should take in the sales funnel process. There are 4 benefits of conversational marketing that have led us to include chat-bots in our marketing trends for 2020.
- A more human-centered buying experience. (the irony is not lost on us)
- Data collection that includes context about pain points and product features.
- Convert more leads
- Increase sales
Interactive content is any content that has an interactive element. Sound redundant? Yes, we thought so too. Sometimes an example is worth 1000 words.
Here are a few examples that can jumpstart you into the hottest digital marketing trend of 2020:
Quizzes are the most popular example. Even before COVID-19 kept us all indoors and bored on Facebook and Buzzfeed all day, quizzes were white-hot content for marketing. The most shared quiz published in the last 5 years has had 5.4 million social interactions. How many of us have taken a Hogwarts house quiz or what kind of manager are you? Data suggests that many of you reading this have partaken in a quiz or two.
Calculators are unassumingly ubiquitous and extremely helpful from a marketing standpoint. They take more time to develop but the user often does not feel that they are participating in interactive content marketing. A calculator can be a great tool for Realtors (how much is my house worth?), contractors (how much will it cost to fence in my backyard?), or someone in the financial industry to calculate future investments (when can I retire?). By providing a calculator that adds value to your potential customers you are differentiating yourself from the competition to solidify your position as the expert.