Guest post by Ronita Mohan.
Digital marketing is so broad that marketers can sometimes over-concentrate on areas that don’t generate sufficient ROI.
High Quality Content
The trend towards “quality over quantity” in B2B marketing started at least four years ago.
That said, there are still brands focused on simply pushing out more content—often at the detriment to the quality of what’s produced. 2020 will see a continued shift in the kind of content created.
Quality is definitely going to trump quantity this year. This will mean creating highly relevant, targeted content that delivers detailed guidance on solving specific problems, rather than general overviews or “101-level” posts.
For instance, writing guest posts has become an extremely popular tactic over the past year; unfortunately, many are so shoddily produced they wouldn’t get past a decent fourth grade English teacher, yet they end up at time on some fairly prominent blog.
In 2020, look for that (hopefully!) to decrease—instead, guest posters will be creating fewer, but longer and better pieces.
Long-form content—over 1,200 words—generally ranks higher on search engines than shorter content, a prime example of the importance of quality (detailed explanations) over quantity (just more posts).
The need for high quality content will extend beyond text-based content—videos will also go longer-form in 2020. Short videos have been all the rage, but look for longer videos to be more successful for businesses this year.
Videos that are informative, that offer solutions to a problem, explainer videos, and humorous videos tend to do better than other types, no matter their length.
This is the kind of quality content that will attract people and encourage them to continue reading or watching in 2020.
High-quality content is expensive to produce. Finding creative ways to re-use content extends its benefits and increases your content ROI.
When creating content—whether visual or text—it should be able to serve multiple purposes and reach varied audiences.
Note this does not mean creating generic content that applies to everyone—generalizing your content may give you wide appeal, but it won’t lead to conversions.
Instead, look at ways to repurpose every piece of content you create. Have a blog post that did well when it was first published? Why not update it for a new audience?
A blog post could also be condensed into an infographic, which will give you more traction on search engines, and can itself be divided into smaller posts to be shared on social media.
Repurposing written content as videos or podcasts also helps you reach new audiences—these require some production, but the newest video editing tools like Animoto, Renderforest, and InVideo, are easy to use, powerful, and affordable.
When creating videos, segment them so you can share short versions, or teasers, on social channels that point back to the full-length piece.
You can learn more about video marketing for Facebook on Biteable to find out the best ways to repurpose video content.
Optimizing the Customer Journey
Digital marketing is becoming more centered on the customer journey than on telling the brand’s story.
It’s only by understanding how the customer finds your brand, engages with it, and eventually becomes an advocate for it, that you can improve the sales funnel.
It isn’t enough to know that people are getting to the checkout page—how are they getting there? What are the larger and smaller steps on the customer’s journey?
For instance, when a prospect hits one of your landing pages, what brought them there? Was it an internal link? Could you make the process easier?
Analyzing where the most traffic is being generated is another key element. If a significant share of your website visitors are coming through Facebook, it is worth investing in that platform.
Alternatively, you can look at why other sources aren’t generating noteworthy traffic so you can shift resources or modify tactics.
Smaller steps on the customer journey should also be taken into account—are prospects viewing posts or blogs about a product but not buying it? That could be an opportunity to explore.
Take the time to follow the customer journey and see where you can improve your process to increase interest and sales.
Today’s online consumers and business professionals are sophisticated buyers. The days of disguising advertising as content are over.
Savvy internet users know when they’re being sold to, and they don’t like it. They are looking for helpful information, not sales pitches. In response, marketers are turning their focus towards authentic storytelling.
Note that storytelling as a sales device remains as strong as it always has been—but the way you tell the story has to be true to your brand and to your market.
Your stories need to support your brand values and be relatable to the audience. Showing one spouse giving the other a new car for Christmas may work for Lexus but it would be ridiculous for Chevy.
Storytelling is also becoming increasingly visual. In 2020, think about how you can create videos, GIFs, and animations that tell engaging stories.
Conduct research to understand the specific pain points of your audience, and tailor your stories accordingly for the biggest impact.
Digital marketing has increasingly become more about building relationships than about selling. People won’t buy from you if they don’t trust your brand.
With major brands and platforms failing to deliver on the trust they promised their audience, the pressure on brands to go the extra yard for their followers is stronger than ever.
In 2020, if you promise your audience something, you’d better deliver on it. Is your brand going green? Let people know exactly what you are doing, and don’t play games with terms like “organic.”
Be as transparent as you can be about the nature of your products, partnerships, the way your workforce is treated, and what you want from your audience.
All this will go a long way in building strong relationships between your brand and potential customers.
Brands can also strengthen their relationships with the community through influencers, outlined why in the infographic below.
Influencer marketing is likely to increase in 2020, but brands need to know how to do it right and optimize these relationships.
Over the past few years, brands have typically chosen influencers based on their follower numbers. But that strategy needs to be re-evaluated in 2020, particularly in light of recent high-profile influencer marketing campaigns that went wrong.
Mega-influencers are definitely a draw, but they can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. Why not look at micro-influencers and nano-influencers instead, who may have smaller follower counts, but greater trust?
These smaller influencers may lack widespread name recognition, but their followers are generally more engaged—which will mean better conversions for you.
Choosing influencers that align with your niche (and your brand values) will make it easier to reach your target audience. Do your research instead of choosing solely based on numbers.
And once you have a core set of influencers who fit your brand identity, work towards establishing long-term partnerships.
A year-long relationship with influencers will not only guarantee you high quality content, but will allow you to remarket to the same engaged audience, boosting your sales revenue.
Using New Technology
Digital marketing practices are changing with evolving technology. Processes are beginning to be impacted by advances in areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR).
AI is being used to power increasingly sophisticated chatbots. Machine learning enables chatbots to “learn” with each exchange, saving customer services time and effort. Creating Facebook chatbots has gotten easier and less costly using Facebook marketing tools like Chatfuel or MobileMonkey.
Social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have successfully incorporated AR functionality, and others are following suit.
Key Digital Marketing Takeaway: Be Open to Change
Digital marketing continues to grow as a share of overall marketing budgets.
Though its breadth of tactics and constant change make it a challenge to master, focusing on the areas outlined above should help you have a successful 2020.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about digital marketing, visual design, and small business growth.
This post originally appeared on B2BMarketing.Technology.