By Lis Anderson, director, AMBITIOUS PR
When it comes to marketing, 2020 made us adept at being agile and considered in our creativity. Whilst listening to your target audience and measuring the success of everything you do remain paramount, testing the waters of new approaches will help you to remain competitive. Here are five things you should try out in 2021:
- Balance ad spend with a robust content marketing strategy: Content marketing is a very effective way to build relationships with your target audience. It can help you to establish feelings of goodwill and loyalty with your brand. At a time when we’re exposed to thousands of ads a day, content marketing stands out to your audience as rather than talking about you; you are talking about them – your audience. Your content strategy should be informed with in-depth knowledge of your target audience, what makes them tick and what their current pain points and bug bears are. Your content marketing should then be designed in a way that both supports your audience and makes them feel part of your community. You can make your content work harder for you by tailoring it for each of your different marketing channels such as your website, emails and social media. It’s also a great way of extending your reach by appearing in credible third party media outlets. This is otherwise known as ‘earned media’.
- Try paid channels to repurpose your content: Content marketing is highly effective when used across your owned and earned media channels. But if direct leads are the main objective for your marketing in 2021, why not try some sponsored content? Sponsored content is a way of targeting an audience where they’re already looking, plus it’s a great way to repurpose your existing content. It’s a guaranteed method of gaining exposure, but isn’t as disruptive as other forms of paid advertising so it therefore offers a greater level of engagement.When using LinkedIn for your sponsored content, you can add a lead generation form when you set up the campaign. This can turn your content into a new business funnel by providing the contact details of those interested in finding out more to your new business team.
- Host a monthly webinar: Digital video may not be replacing face to face contact long-term, after all its going to be difficult to replace those crucial non-verbal cues but current events have certainly made digital interactions more meaningful. Take your content marketing strategy up a notch and demonstrate your industry insight and connections by hosting a regular webinar. Whether you choose to run them monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, have a think about the topics in advance and advertise your webinar via your website and social media channels. It’s a great way to boost credibility and build brand loyalty. Rather than making it all about you, enlist some independent industry experts to speak on a chosen topic. This should rarely involve a fee as you’re providing a platform for them which is mutually beneficial. The main thing to remember is to think about what your audience can take away from it. If you’re providing expert advice or helping to address a specific issue that they’re facing, they’re more than likely to return for more.
- Get podcasting: In 2020, approximately 15.6 million people listened to podcasts, a figure that’s increasing year on year. They have become a place where listeners engage, learn and grow and for industry experts they provide an effective way to cultivate a deeper relationship with an audience and engage new listeners at the same time. The long-form format of a podcast allows you more time with your audience, so it’s perfect if your products and services are quite complex to understand and you need a platform that enables deeper engagement for your messaging to be effective. Similar to webinars, involving the insight of other experts within your industry will make your content really stand out and be credible among a wider audience. Podcasts are cost effective to create and can be promoted in numerous ways to reach new audiences. Channels such as iTunes and Apple gain high traction, but what about targeting your key industry media? Many online media outlets now either have their own podcast, or will support external ones. And then there are your own platforms to really shout about it.
- Paid social: If you’re a retail brand, you won’t be able to ignore paid social in 2021. With even more of our lives now existing on social media, social commerce is continuing to grow. Facebook and Instagram run multiple paid options. As well as banner and timeline advertising that links back to your website, they’ve now made it possible for a consumer to buy through you without even leaving the platform. This means that you can continue to produce engaging content on your social media platforms that match your audience’s interest, but with the ability to seamlessly sell through it too. Where other forms of paid advertising are facing a decline, paid social may be an effective sales route for you in 2021.
It’s easy to get complacent with your marketing and resort to the tried and tested methods, but to gain a competitive edge and reach new audiences, it’s more important than ever to ‘test the waters’ of new marketing approaches. With effective measurement, trying something new and failing isn’t a complete failure – it’s merely a chance to refine your approach. The worst thing you can do is to not try!