Visualize this: you’re still using an old iPhone that dates all the way back to the pre-flat design iOS, but you’re growing tired of your dinosaur phone and want to upgrade. You’re having trouble deciding whether you should stick with Apple and get the latest iPhone 6 or make the switch to Android.
You want to make sure you make the right decision, so you start researching in your spare time. During your lunch break at work, you go on their respective websites and watch their promo videos – but you’re not sold yet. So on your way home, you defer to tech blogs and Twitter to read user reviews of each phone. By the time you make it to the store that night to order your new phone, you’ve already made your decision on which phone you want.
This is the new digital landscape: a complex maze of channels that work together to influence a consumer’s brand evaluation. These days, a consumer’s path to conversion is a lot more complicated, looking less like this:
And more like this:
Therefore, failing to adapt your business strategy to match the current landscape will not only result in a decline in consumer trust but also a drop in sales. What are the current digital trends you need to integrate into your strategy in order to succeed in the online – and offline – world?
1. Content marketing
Gone are the days when consumers only get their news from a handful of sources. Now, all consumers have to do is simply go online to find any information they’re searching for, from breaking news and state of the industry reports to how-to blogs and cat videos. So what does this mean for your business?
Well, first things first, you have to start a business blog (need I say this again?). A business blog on your website can do more than increase your site traffic and improve your SEO. It also allows you to showcase your brand voice while positioning yourself as an industry expert, which has the intangible outcome of engendering brand trust and loyalty with your target audience.
However, it’s not just about the blog; it’s about your business’s entire content marketing strategy. This means that your blog topics, site copy, social media posts, videos, visuals, and anything else you push out to the public must not only be strategically aligned with your SEO and social strategy but must also convey your brand voice and your audience’s interests.
Then, the next step of a successful content marketing strategy is disseminating your content to the right audience at the right time in order to receive maximum content exposure and engagement. Share it on social media, create an RSS Feed email marketing campaign, and leverage any influential contacts you may have to get your information in front of as many people as you can. Then, measure your results, learn from your mistakes, and optimize your content to produce better engagement and conversion rates.
2. Social proof
A report released this past June revealed that contrary to popular social media statistics, only 35 percent of consumers say that social media influences their purchasing decision. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should abandon social media and decry it as a waste of time and money. If anything, it means that you should spend more time refining your social media strategy and understanding your customers’ behaviors.
Remember that regardless of what platform they’re on, people are mainly on social media to connect with people and to share their life events, opinions, and news articles with their connections. Therefore, in order to have an impact on social media, you have to connect with your customers on a more personal level than brand to consumer.
Developing a relationship with your customers is the key to gaining their trust. Their trust will in turn generate earned media, like social mentions, shares, and reviews. This “free” publicity is incredibly valuable in boosting your brand credibility and driving new (and old) customers to your door.
3. Mobile optimization
Last but not least, you cannot – and should not – underestimate your mobile marketing strategy. This mobile obsession is too big for you not to capitalize on it, and it isn’t going away anytime soon either. 60 percent of Internet usage happens on mobile, and people are so attached to their mobile devices that 75 percent of Americans admit to bringing their phone to the bathroom (don’t deny it – you probably do too). So what can you do about it?
As one of this year’s biggest buzzwords, responsive design is the latest Web design trends that you should adopt to make your site more mobile-friendly. However, optimizing your business for mobile also entails understanding your customers’ habits when they’re using their mobile devices and creating a seamless experience for them across all devices.
Because the Web is so interconnected, creating a solid brand presence requires a holistic understanding of how Web, social, and mobile work together. Therefore, remaining on top of digital trends, and acting upon them, is the key to business success.