Is it not true that in the last decade or so, we’ve witnessed how digitization has transformed businesses and how they operate? In fact, McKinsey Global Institute states that the emergence of these new technologies is affecting economies and sectors across the world. From social media to big data and artificial intelligence (AI), digitization is key to unlocking the door to both growth and survival.
With these tech solutions in consideration, here are ten quick tips to help online businesses grow in 2021.
Omnichannel Customer Engagement:
At the core of every marketing strategy, growing the customer base is the end goal for most, if not all, businesses and organizations. Omnichannel customer engagement enables these companies to interact with their customers and create a seamless experience. It is through an integrated approach to both traditional and e-commerce platforms wherein one can leverage customer engagement. That said, omnichannel is a customer-centric approach – it creates a personalized experience that is consistent throughout every medium.
Through the development of automation at various points in the buyer’s journey, omnichannel can help businesses grow their potential customers. Some examples of automated processes include email marketing, customer chat support, social media management, and content scheduling tools. Among the long-term benefits of this marketing strategy is a loyal customer base.
Awareness of your target audience’s preferred platforms for engagement, and managing it accordingly, can help any business make the most of omnichannel customer engagement. The coronavirus pandemic has augmented the need for online channels, which makes omnichannel marketing strategies much more critical for the consumer’s shopping experience. This is why one has to know how to also maximize their online presence.
Digital Market Segmentation:
In a nutshell, digital market segmentation refers to dividing and clustering your audience or target market into better-defined categories through their online behaviors. Traditional market segmentation, on the one hand, filters your audience and categorizes them into more specific groups; such as demographics, location, interest. In the digital realm, making generalizations about your potential customers’ personalities may be more detrimental than it can be beneficial.
Through segmented digital marketing strategies, an online business can cater to the consumers who are actually part of their target market. By segmenting your audience into actual and potential buyers, a business can see an increase in marketing ROI through personalized digital marketing strategies. To differentiate:
- Your actual customers are the ones who have already used online search to look up a particular product or service.
- Meanwhile, your potential customers are the ones who haven’t considered buying, but they look around.
In a shopping mall, the actual customer is the person who heads straight to a store because they already had something they’d intended to buy. The potential customer is the person in the mall window shopping, and not really going inside any stores. Segmenting your online audience into either customer type can help maximize your marketing efforts.
Know Your Buyer Persona:
Given the rate of acceleration that people are shifting towards online shopping, online businesses will have to review and reconfigure their buyer persona. With the pandemic happening, a business has to understand if their buyers are still the same buyers before the pandemic. More online shopping means that there are more new consumers searching for specific products and services, but are these people finding your business?
As a business owner or digital marketer, build or rebuild your buyer persona for 2021, so you know how to market accordingly.
Reach and Engage Through Content Creation:
Reliance on online presence can only be so effective to a certain extent. Consistent content creation remains to be an impactful way to grow an online business. With more people spending time online, blogs, videos, and stories serve to create the engagement that any business can benefit from. Build your organic traffic by creating relevant content for your customers.
It’s time to move away from the type of content advertising that aims to sell. If you operate your business through a website, create a separate page for your products and services, and create another for blogs or resources. Internet users are smarter these days, and they know when they are being sold something. Informational posts about the benefits of your products and services can create better opportunities for conversion.
Regardless of platform, delivering content that aims to help your users can only build more online presence. Here are a few ways you can develop consistent content for your business:
- For social media platforms, creating a social media calendar helps ensure there are regular posts that fit your business goals and brand voice.
- For website blogging, practice topic ideation before publishing, and keep your posts relevant to your business or organization. Try to stick closely to your niche to leverage your authority.
- As mentioned earlier, knowing your buyer’s preferred platforms can help you make cost-effective marketing decisions. Create the content on the platforms that matter. If your target market is on Tiktok, Youtube, or LinkedIn – that’s where you engage them.
Social Media as a Communication Platform:
In 2021, the need for customer support through social media is likely going to be the norm. The pandemic, for instance, has increased the demand for better communications. With everything online delivered within seconds, most customers on the internet expect real-time chat or messaging support. Social media platforms have enabled this level of engagement between business and customer.
From complaints to inquiries, a business has to engage its customers, and they need to be ready. This includes placing a focus on consumer empathy. Through social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, brands can improve their online businesses by addressing their customer’s concerns at the soonest time possible. Data from 2020 shows that 40 percent of consumers expect a response within an hour, and around 80 percent expect a reply within the first 24 hours.
On Using Chatbots for Customer Support:
Sophisticated problems come with sophisticated solutions. Chatbots serve to provide customers with 24-hour support, and while some people are still skeptical, it can be a cost-effective solution. There are AI-powered chatbots that online businesses can use to interact with customers.
While some businesses will dismiss this technology as impersonal for sounding robotic, these chatbots can be programmed and trained. Automation software exists to help businesses simulate different scenarios for the bots to respond accordingly. This allows a business owner to set the respective ways that the bot can engage in the chat.
Apart from programming scenarios and responses, AI-technology also allows a user to implement a persona for the chatbot. Through personalization settings, the chatbot can be named and given a face, and it can also mimic the tone and language used by an actual human being. This offers a solution for online businesses in need of 24/7 customer chat support. Naturally, how can a business grow if it’s too busy answering messages?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
SEO is not a one-size, fits-all type of solution, but a digital marketing strategy that benefits a business in the long-term. If a business remains to operate online through a website, search engine marketing can help grow its revenue. More people are using their mobile phones to access goods and services, which they usually find through a quick Google search. If your business is not on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP), you might need to reevaluate your marketing strategies.
The competition can be tough, but data suggests that over 25 percent of searchers click on the first organic result on the SERP. Through the use of SEO, an online business can choose to target specific keywords and help their actual customers find their way to the website. However, search engine optimization is more than just ranking for keywords. It’s a customer-centric strategy that makes use of understanding online buyer behaviors.
Online businesses that primarily engage their customers through a website can opt to increase their online presence through SEO. As a digital marketing strategy, this allows your actual customers to find you easily. That being said, SEO does not guarantee results overnight, as it is a careful process that requires time and resources.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC):
Unlike SEO, pay-per-click advertising can help deliver faster conversion rates and earlier ROI. It is another digital marketing strategy that one can leverage with search data and digital market segmentation. Advertisers pay a fee, referred to as cost per click (CPC), for every instance that someone clicks on their ad on a SERP.
As an example, a business that runs a PPC campaign for a product, say “basketball shoes,” will have their ad shown in Google when someone searches for something relevant. The cost per click is often a diminutive portion of a sale. A successful PPC campaign is influenced by different elements such as the ad copy and the landing page.
In 2021, automation technologies can better help online businesses in managing their PPC campaigns. The labor-heavy parts of the work, such as identifying ad placement and monitoring ad performance, can be automated. With their ads optimized, online businesses can choose to focus on understanding where their audience figures into the buyer’s journey.
Given the other online marketing strategies in this list, another quick tip that can help your online business grow is email marketing. Since it’s necessary for a business to determine its buyer persona, email marketing offers a way to keep your actual customers for the long haul. With the pandemic pushing more people online, reaching out to your consumers through email can be beneficial when done correctly.
Typically, users will go through their inbox and skip through emails irrelevant to their needs. If your newsletter is deemed unworthy, it goes straight to the trash bin. This is where customer experience (CX) becomes critical. Understanding what your customer is going through and where they are in the buyer’s journey can help you better leverage email marketing.
As a business owner, creating a memorable experience for your customer through email marketing can manifest through different ways:
- The business can email a “How are you?” card with a digital voucher or discount coupon telling them that they are remembered and valued. This can help boost conversions while building brand loyalty.
- An email can appease customers by providing insights on the business during the pandemic, and the actions are taken to ensure customer safety when in-store. Tell your customers how your physical stores are always sanitized and are safe to be visited.
- A newsletter on what’s in store for the future of the business and what’s in it for your customers can help gather leads. It’s a given that not everyone on your mailing list will want a newsletter, but those who do will gravitate towards your brand.
For any online business looking to grow in 2021, outsourcing some services can be the best course of action. While it helps to hire a team of in-house marketing specialists, it can be costly to maintain these resources. Digital transformation warrants certain skills, and as an online business, you will want to focus on delivering the best product or service to your customers.
The customer of today knows that they can get nearly everything online, so if a business can’t deliver, they move on to the next provider. Gather the pertinent data and study which marketing strategy offers the maximum returns on the least amount of budget spend. A business can also choose to spend on automation software, and outsource the rest.
What the Future Holds for Online Businesses:
It is inevitable that businesses move forward and take some digital real estate if they are keen on surviving. The ten quick tips in this list offer online businesses possible options that can help them survive and grow in 2021. We can break it down into these general ideas:
- Identify who your ideal online customer is
- Implement a cost-effective digital marketing strategy
- Communicate with your audience on a consistent basis
- Manage your resources
Digitization has truly allowed many industries to flourish, and online businesses are not mistaken. The opportunity for growth exists; may we all learn how to take advantage of it.