At KeyTech we believe small businesses need real-world Marketing plans that push them towards their ultimate objectives. So we had a look at growing trends, checked some expert opinions, and came up with some best practices for a business with perhaps a limited marketing budget.
1. Virtual events
2020 changed our lives. The unusual online meetings stopped being unusual, becoming an everyday thing. In 2021, finding opportunities in the restrictions, marketers have taken those changes and created new ways for businesses to reach the world. In 2022 marketing will only continue to evolve to match the needs of restricted real-world business, and the opportunities of online business.
This year we have seen big brands such as Channel and Apple present their new collections and products with online-only events. These kinds of virtual events have exploded in the last year. Although many of us are feeling virtual exhaustion right now, there will still be a place for these types of events, even after we resume the events in person because they are hugely more accessible – for example, they are inclusive to people regardless of location or ability.
You’ve probably come across at least a few in the last year: a virtual event can be as simple as a live stream, a webinar, or as complex as a thousand user conference. The reason for the new umbrella term ‘virtual event’ is most likely the fact that these technologies are replacing real-world events. Whatever you call them, they’re here to stay and will undoubtedly grow in our collective consciousness.
Are virtual events right for you?
For many businesses, especially those that relied on physical-events pre-covid, virtual events are a no-brainer. But there’s also a rising opportunity for other businesses to get into the event space, seeing as virtual events represent the knocking down of the huge barriers to entry. So It is a good time to ask yourself if your customers might appreciate or enjoy seeing more of you, and of each other. What could you teach them as a group, and what could they learn from each other, or help each other with? Getting into the middle of this exchange might help position you more as an essential business partner to your customers.
Let’s say you want to try. How might you go about it? Fortunately, it’s not too hard.
Teams live events
If you want to try a virtual event for your business, here we can help with Microsoft Teams Live.
The first thing to think about is what type of experience you want to provide. Microsoft Teams’ Live Events is a solid platform to hold any type of event. However, if what you are looking for are participation and interaction, then unfortunately Teams isn’t your best shot.
Events that run through Microsoft Teams tend to be very formal. Attendees cannot verbally communicate with other attendees or even presenters. The good thing is that this platform does offer a question-and-answer panel so that attendees can submit comments and/or questions during the live event.
If you expect a maximum of 10,000 attendees for your event, and if it does not last more than four hours, Live Events is the platform for you! It’s also worth noting that up to 15 concurrent events can run on a single Microsoft 365 tenancy.
2. Personalized artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence has advanced over the years. Today it’s considered a great opportunity for businesses, companies, industries, and even nations.
AI for marketing seeks to understand consumer behavior: search patterns and interactions. Examples of marketing AI are chatbots.
Mastercard created a Facebook Message bot that uses natural language processing software to decipher what the customer wants and respond as if it were a real person, automating the handling of even some complex queries.
Is a chatbot right for you?
If your business receives a lot of customer inquiries, you could start by expanding a simple FAQ page and. The next step would be integrating those questions into your messaging service, such as your Facebook page. A full-blown, AI-powered chatbot is understandably out of reach for many small businesses, but if you are constantly interacting with customers in predictable ways, it might be worth a look. These Australian companies can help create a fluid chatbot experience for your website.
3. Programmatic advertising
Do you spend a lot on advertising? The same kind of AI advances is helping people manage their ad spending.
One of the new things this year is using AI to automate ad buying so you can target more specific audiences. Real-time bidding, for example, is a type of programmatic ad buying. Automating through bots or specific programs will help you to be much more efficient and faster, which means higher conversions and lower customer acquisition costs.
Although artificial intelligence and programming are a new Marketing trend going into 2022, the truth is that the personalization of a brand will always remain the key.
If you want to stand out in 2022, you need to personalize your marketing. This means personalized content, products, emails, and the rest.
Statistics show that 63% of consumers are very upset with generic advertising blasts. Customizing your content and offering a real experience will increase your sales.
An example of this super customization is EasyJet that launched a data-driven email campaign that uses customers’ travel history with the airline to create personalized stories, which then suggest where they would like to travel next. Approximately 12.5 million unique emails have been sent, which had a 25% higher click-through rate than non-personalized emails.
Another successful example is Starbucks, which uses a gamified mobile app that relies on data like purchase history and location to be as personal as possible. The app allows customers to personalize their drinks and encourages further use with its rewards system, which skyrocketed its revenue to $ 2.56 billion.
5. Video Marketing
Video marketing is still exponentially increasing going into 2022. Forecasts say it will be even more important in 5 or 10 years. Businesses report higher conversion rates with video marketing.
Video is a key factor in decision-making. 52% of consumers say that watching product videos gives them more confidence in making buying decisions online. Video is the simplest and clearest way for customers to obtain information about a product or service.
If your site includes video, it is 50 times more likely (50 times!) To generate organic search results compared to text. Not only do people find video content super attractive, but Google also supercharges the SEO of pages that include videos.
The great thing about video content is that it makes it easy for your content to be reformatted for other platforms. For example, information from a video can be transcribed and used as content for a blog. Adapt and share that video on other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram TV or even cut out small bites for Instagram Reels or TikTok. Another idea is to use the audio from that video to have an episode of a podcast.
Lsd statistics show that the opening rates of an email campaign are higher if you include the word video in the subject, so consumers are drawn to it.
Live video is particularly popular with many companies who use it for interviews, product/service demos, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the brand, such as office life, how products are made, company events, etc.
But Should you bother with video in your own small business?
You might feel that it’s something only larger businesses would invest in. And you’re right, in a sense. But there are many ways to do video, and having a smaller marketing budget does not mean you have to miss out completely.
Have a look at your competitors, the ones you know are a similar size to you. If you see any video in their marketing, this is a big warning that you’ll need to start with video just to remain competitive. If they don’t have a video, great, this could be an opportunity for you.
Your first videos could be a topical discussion with an expert on your team, embedded in your blogs. You can do it with a phone – as long as you and your business look professional, consumers can forgive underproduced video as it’s becoming very normalized. In short, underproduced is better than no video.
They could be as simple as a walk-through of your premises, introducing yourselves and what you do. Especially for small businesses, whether b2b or b2c, customers appreciate realness and integrity.
This is unless part of what makes your business work is shine and polish, in which case you probably should invest in professional video production.
6. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is not a trend. A Mediakix study predicts that the ad spends for influencer marketing could reach $ 10 billion by next year:
The reason for the success of influencer marketing is due to trust, naturalness, and personalization. Consumers trust the opinion of an influencer on a brand or product much more than they trust brands themselves. The trend is clear and 58% of people have bought a new product in the last six months due to the recommendation of an influencer.
Influencer marketing will also be affected by artificial intelligence. Every year AI makes it easier to find the right influencers to partner with by identifying those with better engagement, fewer fake followers, and a higher likelihood of generating a positive return on investment (ROI).
You might consider working with an influencer if your market is an active consumer of influencer content on social media. You’ll still need to propose a campaign, with a defined period of collaboration, and whether you want to bet on micro or macro-influencers.
7. Messages through apps
Social messaging apps are not just for sending emojis to your friends: look at these numbers:
Companies are increasingly using social networks to interact with their customers. On Facebook Messenger alone, an average of 10 billion messages is recorded between people and companies per month.
These statistics show the popularity of social messaging applications. It makes sense to market your company’s products and services where your potential customers are.
Social apps allow you to send messages to your clients directly and in a personalized way. It will also allow your clients to have direct and natural contact with you in a medium they are already comfortable with.
63% of customers return to the website of a company that has live chat. The idea of this type of strategy is to cultivate contacts, deliver information efficiently, increase sales, find your potential customers, and provide real and immediate support and assistance.
8. Smart Speakers & voice search
In 2020, 50% of all searches carried out were by voice and this trend is growing. 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines.
Smart speaker purchases almost tripled between the first quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of 2019, from 9.36 million units to 26.1 million units.
Voice search plays a growing role in providing all the relevant information that people need. Many brands are already including voice search in their digital marketing strategies. This especially focuses on content strategies and actions applied to SEO. It is therefore about thinking about the passages that people will speak instead of writing. Remember to write in a conversational tone, focus on getting featured snippets on Google, and think of keywords people will be talking about instead of typing.
9. Sale on Social Networks
The integration of e-Commerce into social platforms is another Digital Marketing trend for 2022. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest are working to make it possible to buy from the publishers via tags, so the transaction can happen without having to leave the app.
It’s definitely a new twist on Social Networking, making them not only a place to find leads but to convert them as well.
Does this mean anything to your business? If you know your market is active on social media, and you offer products that can be sold online, you should probably start looking at your options here, so you can potentially cut out the middle man (advertising).