Classics are classics for a reason: they withstand the test of time.
As we look to 2022, here are the top three digital marketing channels that should take center stage. While none of these channels are brand new, their longevity and ability to adapt to an ever changing environment will continue to help marketers build audiences, attract potential customers, and convert them.
Lifecycle marketing is a term encompassing a range of strategies used to capture customer interest at different stages of the customer journey, from initial awareness to brand advocacy. While lifecycle marketing’s goal is to engage and retain a steady stream of customers, different companies have shorter or longer life cycles depending on their product and service offering. Food and consumer packaged goods have shorter cycles, whereas big-ticket items like cars, furniture, and luxury goods tend to have longer ones.
Let’s do a quick review of the six lifecycle stages.
This is where prospective customers first learn about a company or product. Awareness efforts might include display or outdoor advertising, or an enticing image posted or promoted on social media.
At this stage, marketers share content with the intention that the buyer will take action, such as visiting a website, to learn more. Content efforts at this stage include blog posts, email newsletters, and podcast subscriptions.
At this stage, the buyer is not quite ready to buy. Content will therefore be deeper, addressing pain points or presenting positive experiences from other customers. In the evaluation stage, marketers make free demos or trials available as well as highlight more testimonials.
The purchase stage is where the buyer is about to checkout. Marketers will work with product managers to determine what other content is needed to push the buyer to convert, including discounts, gifts with purchase, and more.
Lead generation may seem more thrilling, but according to Hubspot, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service. Exceptional post-sale customer service will engage buyers and increase profits. Strategies at this stage include things like FAQ sections on site, live chat, and community message boards.
In this final stage, customers become advocates and they choose your company without thinking twice, even if your product is higher priced. At this stage, marketers can extend special offers, incentives, rewards, and other types of recognition for brand ambassadors.
Lifecycle marketing isn’t new, but it’s on our list for 2022 because it is essential for an effective marketing strategy. New options for content creation and analytics are constantly being rolled out, enabling marketers to develop the right piece of content at the right time for the right audience segment.
2. Search Engine Optimization
According to Hubspot, about 64% of marketers actively invest time in search engine optimization (SEO). Since search engines rank websites according to their relevance to a user’s search query, companies cannot pay to outrank their competitors on organic search.
If a company shows up in organic search results, especially on the first page, many users see it as a more genuine and more useful result compared to an ad. Users then view the company as an authority on the topic, and have stronger intent when clicking through to their site. Companies can capture this strong buyer intent by investing time and resources into ensuring that their website and content gets found in search.
There are generally two strategies related to SEO.
On-page SEO is a technique used for optimizing individual web pages to rank higher on the search engine results page and earn more relevant traffic via search engines. It typically includes providing well-written content, placing keywords and backlinks strategically on each page, and making sure that web pages have proper titles, tags, and image descriptions.
Off-site SEO encourages users or shoppers to click on links to your web page, but not necessarily from the search-engine results page. It typically includes social media marketing, such as posts that include a link to your website, and public relations pieces, in which you encourage bloggers and editors to include links to your website from within their content. The more of these external links there are, the higher the likelihood that they will be clicked on, earning your site a higher domain authority and therefore higher visibility on the search engine results page.
Affiliate marketing is a model in which a company pays third-party publishers—for example, influencers or bloggers who have the ability to capture the interest of large audiences—to generate traffic to the company’s products and services. These publishers are known as affiliates, and are incentivized with commissions to find ways to sell the company’s products.
The internet has facilitated the proliferation of affiliate marketing. Influencers can easily share special discount codes and unique affiliate links on the web, via email, or on social media profiles and posts to generate traffic for the brand at scale.
Affiliate marketing is essentially a pay-for-performance marketing program, according to Investopedia, in which the act of selling a product is outsourced across a vast network of affiliates who are paid per lead or sale. Though affiliate marketing pre-dates the internet, digital marketing technologies—including analytics and cookies—have turned it into a billion-dollar industry that can be managed, monitored, and optimized via dashboards. A company running an affiliate marketing program can track the links that bring in prospects and determine which ones convert to sales. Affiliate marketing software can adjust the length of promotions or the discount by publisher, as well as lending itself to other advanced marketing tactics.
As 2022 rolls in and marketers are about to allocate their budgets, they should remember these three strategic digital marketing channels.
This is a guest post from Ashley Scorpio, who is the Vice President of Partnerships at Hawke Media, a digital marketing agency.