February 15, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Marketers in nearly every industry were forced to throw out their playbooks in 2020 because of the global health crisis. People’s daily lives were changing, so brands needed to try new things to reach audiences stuck at home. Unsurprisingly, internet videos emerged as the best channel for capturing an increasingly online audience.
Data from Voices supports this claim, revealing 199% growth in this category in 2020. And, according to the Voices 2021 Annual Trends Report, videos are the top rising projects for creative professionals. Many people have more time to consume video content now that they’re working, living and playing at home. While marketers adapt their strategies to meet their target audiences’ needs and behaviors, they also create more competition than ever in the digital world.
As an entrepreneur, you might think you need expensive video ads to stand out from the crowd. The good news is that five other digital marketing strategies are affordable and successful:
- Creating blogs
- Running social media accounts
- Sending newsletters
- Publishing reports
- Launching podcasts
This year is your chance to figure out which digital marketing channels and strategies work for your company. But don’t base your decisions on current trends. Doing so can produce lackluster and superficial results. Instead, align your marketing decisions with your business goals while using these three tips to guide you along the way.
1. Be consistent, but leave room for experimentation
Creating routine content is the number one way you can build a bigger audience. Regularly post and update your target audience, and always listen and respond to feedback. When people know their voices are heard and respected, they are more likely to interact with your brand. By doing this, you’ll be able to develop a following — and eventually build a community.
Although your pace should be consistent, the content shouldn’t be. Experiment to see what clicks with your audience. For example, the dog treats brand Greenies tried a different approach to its advertising with a hilarious voiceover ad.
You can also use audience-generated ideas to tap into existing engagement opportunities. For example, users on TikTok began imagining a potential Broadway musical based on the animated movie Ratatouille. So many people jumped on the #RatatouilleTheMusical movement that Disney officially held a benefit performance. Learning is part of creating content, so don’t be afraid to try a different approach.
2. Focus on a few select marketing channels
Identify which channels are most effective for you and which ones present opportunities for growth. You don’t need to master every digital marketing channel available; dividing your attention between multiple platforms or mediums can spread your creativity and efforts too thin.
Instead, apply the 80/20 principle. Invest 80% of your time in one or two marketing channels that see the most engagement and conversions. Spend the other 20% of your time on new features or experimental channels with potential.
Most marketers tend to pick one or two social media channels that align best with their brand and target audience. Considering that the average internet user browses social media for 142 minutes a day, according to a survey from GlobalWebIndex, there’s certain to be at least one platform that your audience prefers.
If your brand sees the most success on Twitter, you may want to look for channels or features that mesh well with your main strategy. For instance, YouTube videos are a popular addition to tweets, and voice tweets offer an excellent opportunity to speak directly to your audience.
3. Become a subject matter expert and showcase your knowledge
Years ago, Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that you can become an expert in a particular field if you invest 10,000 hours into that specific area. The current belief — popularized by Josh Kaufman in his book, The First 20 Hours, and viral TED Talk — is that becoming an expert requires as little as 20 hours of effort. You might not think you’re an expert, but you have unique experiences, insights and advice that can boost your marketing efforts. According to Aberdeen, content marketing leaders enjoy 7.8 times more unique web traffic than content marketing followers.
Write about the topics that you’re most passionate about, and cite authoritative sources that add to your credibility. Blog posts are the easiest place to start because they help you express ideas without constraints (e.g. word count, image dimensions, audio file specifications, etc.). Plus, blogs offer an easy way to collaborate. You can ask colleagues or customers for quotes to ensure that more people read and share your content. If you start with great blog content, you can then repurpose that material for various other channels.
If your 2020 marketing efforts got your organization through a tumultuous year, congratulations! However, don’t celebrate for too long. As vaccines are distributed throughout the world and customer optimism hits new heights, you’ll want to embrace the right marketing strategies for the months ahead.