By Nikki Carlson, co-founder/co-president of ChicExecs Retail and Strategy Firm.There’s nothing wrong with a newspaper feature or a strategically placed billboard, but if you really want to grow your business, you need assistance from digital marketing. Traditional marketing strategies have their place, but digital marketing should be every business’s go-to because it’s: • Affordable: Digital marketing offers a number of strategies based on the goals and budget of each business. Whether you are interested in online ads or creating an organic video, you can tailor your digital marketing strategy to best fit the budget of your business. • Fast: Speaking of time, you can get an email campaign up and running in less than an hour. That’s way faster than traditional channels, where it can take weeks for a campaign to materialize. • High-volume: If you are looking to reach consumers outside of your local area, blogs and digital content have the opportunity to reach millions of viewers. I recommend following these four trends to grow your business with digital marketing through 2022 and beyond. 1. Video ContentFifty-four percent of users want to see more video content from the brands they buy from. So why are so many businesses leaning into just social posts and blogs? YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok need to have a place in your digital marketing mix. As long as it makes sense for your audience, you can engage with followers on a different level with engaging video content. Your smartphone has a high-quality camera on it already, so get to filming! The more you put yourself out there, the more confident you’ll become at making promotional videos for your website, social media and search engines like YouTube. 2. Personalized Email MarketingThird-party cookies are going away, which means that digital marketing tactics like paid ads aren’t going to be as effective as they were in years past. This is why owned media, like email, is so important. With email marketing, you completely own your subscribers’ data and don’t have to rely on Google or Facebook to access it. That’s powerful stuff! If you haven’t already, bulk up your email list. Ask shoppers to subscribe while they’re checking out their online cart or add an in-store kiosk to encourage signups. You can even offer a free giveaway to incentivize more people to subscribe. Platforms like Mailchimp allow you to send hundreds of emails to subscribers in seconds. But instead of sending out generic email blasts, use your email service provider’s personalization and automation features to truly meet your customers where they are. 3. Online CommunitiesThirty-six percent of Americans say they’re lonely–a number that’s only grown since the pandemic. In a time of increasing disconnection, it’s more important for brands to bring people together. That’s why online communities are so mighty. With the right approach, you can create a following for your business while giving consumers the connection they want so badly. Big brands like Sephora have created entire websites dedicated to their communities, but you can start smaller. Create an exclusive Facebook Group or Discord server to bring your shoppers together. But give them a reason to be excited! Engage the group by:
Replying to comments
Asking them to vote on new features, products or colors
This is your chance to get to know your customers on a more personal level, so use this free digital marketing tool to build your own online community. 4. Mobile-first EverythingAre your website and email marketing built for mobile users first? You might not realize it, but there could be issues with the spacing, formatting and rendering.This happens because business owners usually design their marketing promotions on a desktop computer–but consumers receive them on a mobile device. Weird things happen when you try to translate desktop designs into mobile, and that’s why businesses need to design for mobile-first. You don’t need to be a developer to do this, either! You can use mobile-friendly templates or mobile-optimized templates for your site. The Bottom Line Digital marketing has been the go-to for many businesses for years. But consumer preferences and trends change, which means you have to adjust your approach to get more bang for your buck. Try these four strategies to fine-tune your business.The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.