6 Proven Digital Marketing Priorities for 2021: which ones will you push?

alex-digital-marketing-priorities-setup-v1_top-image-v1

It may be a new financial year for you. Or perhaps you’re wanting to be more proactive to put Covid-19 fog behind you, and leap forward with gusto – or at least be progressive!  How has marketing changed in 2021? What should you focus on?

To give you a few pointers, I’ve clustered some potential Digital Marketing Priorities for 2021 into six areas. Take a look and pick a strategy that you don’t have fully nailed.  Then choose two or three actions from the list to action.

alex-digital-marketing-priorities-setup-v1_1

Be Found

Has your business automated the way new prospects find you?

  • Claimed your Google My Business listing and added your category, posted product updates,
  • Obtained more ratings than your competitors, so you appear on the Google Map pack?
  • Ensured you can be found on Apple Maps as well as Google Maps?
  • Optimised your website to appear on page one for important keyword searches (SEO)
  • Researched, created answers to questions so you come up for long tail “how does it work” and “how much does it cost” questions in the research phase
  • Created videos and short answers to questions so you come up in voice Searches
  • Installed Schema and Rich Snippets, marked up Videos, so your results can be shown in “People also asked” questions and product searches?
  • Listed in major portals who dominate your category e.g. Booking.com, Trademe, Eboss, ArchiPro, Houzz, Grownups, NewZealand.com
  • Updated your Google Search Ads campaigns so your ads are getting an improved click through rate?
  • Set up Bing Search ads?
  • Organised your merchant centre connection and enabled Google Shopping if you have ecommerce?

Be more relevant – connect

  • Do you review your product development every year and tweak your offering or create new products and services relevant to specific customer groups?
  • Have you defined and planned customer journeys to create content for different stages of customer readiness, to keep prospects moving through your funnel rather than escaping?
  • Have you updated your website, post designs and email newsletter templates, with contemporary design that shows you are with it (logo, videos, downloads)
alex-digital-marketing-priorities-setup-v1_2
alex-digital-marketing-priorities-setup-v1_3

Be more visible – build brand awareness

  • Content marketing: Have you developed compelling content and pushed this with a small ad budget in front of prospects?
  • Do your social campaigns lead prospects down a compelling path, with an incentive provided to capture contact details and get more info?
  • Have you explored the idea of Native Ads on news sites to escape ad blockers?
  • Do you understand how programmatic advertising uses machine learning to zone in on engaged prospects?
  • Could you utilise cost-effective digital billboards to build visibility for seasonal promotions, without the expense of printing & installing skins?
  • Why not use Google Display campaigns and video ads driving to landing pages with video and a sign up funnel for generating specific programmes?
  • Have you created an audience in Facebook of people who have visited your web site, so you can remarket to them in Facebook?
  • Reconfigure your email marketing to leverage your contact network and reactivate dormant customers

Be more convincing – demonstrate expertise

  • Do you need to plan some videos help keep people on page and capture attention in social media?
  • Less is more. Does your content need to be reduced into succinct, compelling messages?
  • Does your imagery connect with all your target markets including younger generations or will it scare them off with wrinkles?
  • Have you prepared “you may also be interested in” content that leads people through their journey and answers their “next question” to be ready to buy (based on customer persona and customer journey work)?
  • When it comes to face-to-face or online meetings and proposals, do you have a great presentation & up to date visuals or is it old hat?
  • What promotions, offers, and incentives can you provide to give people a reason to act now?
  • What gated content & whitepapers could you provide to incentivize sharing contact details to download and automate further steps
alex-digital-marketing-priorities-setup-v1_4
alex-digital-marketing-priorities-setup-v1_5

Be more efficient

  • Have you implemented CRM tools & automated email replies, to stand out, follow up or provide more detail?
  • Do you have a good CRM to keep in touch with clients (retain, reactivate, re-engage)?
  • Gated downloads to capture contact details
  • Have you set Analytics goals to track your drop off and attrition points so you can try alternatives and determine which work best?
  • Chat bot is hot. Do you need help to implement Chat bot/Live Chat to ensure speedy customer service or answers at any time of day or night?
  • What actions do you have to retain and reactivate? Don’t lose your clients due to inaction. What does your email marketing plan look like?
  • Could you retain potential leads with Google remarketing to keep in front of people who have visited your website but been distracted
  • Could you expand your shop to Amazon/Facebook/Instagram/Trademe?

Be focused

  • How is your marketing plan looking – prioritise your quarterly actions
  • Be proactive, not reactive by preparing a Social Media Strategy so your posts and content are part of a bigger plan, not ad hoc
  • Guide your staff with a Social Media Calendar helping to clarify the focus for content each month
  • What are your Quarterly marketing goals for yourself + team?
  • Do you have enough inhouse resources to make this happen or do you need some part-time or professional help? Set aside enough time, team & approved budget to make traction
  • Not sure where to start? Work with mentors (like us!) to be accountable and keep momentum
alex-digital-marketing-priorities-setup-v1_6

Next steps

You might have a team you can delegate some actions to. On the other hand, they might be full, or you might like a little guidance as to which area you should focus on.

If you are not sure where to start, then a Marketing Plan could be a good starting point.

If you want help with the whole shebang, then talk to us about our monthly Digital Retainer programmes, starting at $1000/month.

If you have a good website but it’s not generating the leads you expected, then Google Ads and Search Marketing could be good starting points.

If you have a website you are not proud of or would like to move into ecommerce, talk to us about web design.

If your Social activity is a bit ad hoc, then a Social Media Strategy could be a good starting point.

No budget? Consider if you might qualify for some small business grants.

Want to use an inhouse person to keep costs down? Talk to us about mentoring and coaching or getting a Social Media Calendar for them to implement.

Got most things sorted? Explore with us the idea of a one-off project for chat bots, setting goals or dashboards in Analytics or customer journey mapping.

Did I miss something really important? Let me know and I’ll add it! There’s always something more we can do, to be proactive inside our business. Let me know if you’d like a coffee to chew the fat on potential directions (text Rachel on 021 556 560).

Google’s new website mandate: Core Web Vitals

blank

Google sets new goalposts for website performance

 

As a world leading company, Google watches carefully how search behaviour changes. Every so often, Google announces a new standard that web designers have to aspire to, in order to improve customer experiences on websites. They recently announced a new “standard” that websites will have to reach, that is rolling out globally from June 2021, called “Core Web Vitals”.

You will remember a few years ago when everyone had to ensure their website would render on a mobile phone. Everyone rushed to make their websites “responsive.” Then we had to move from http:// to https:// to keep our credit card details secure when we enter payment details.

Next, last year they said they were going to make the mobile version of websites the one they crawled so your seo data had to be set up to work with shorter text on mobile versions of websites.

And Google added a speed incentive: websites had to download in less than 4 seconds or they were penalised and pushed down the rankings if they were slow.
Fair enough. Google knows that you can improve your website’s conversion if the site downloads within 4 seconds.

When Google brings in new standards, they give web designers a heads up, a good 9 months before the change will become a ranking signal (i.e. if your site doesn’t achieve it, your site might fall in search results. They do this by having something called Google Console. Basically we put a bit of code in the top of a website that proves to Google we are authorised to make changes, and they then know who to email when there are important updates such as Core Web Vitals.

So what are Google Core Web vitals?

Core web vitals are three important factors that influence how quickly a page is “usable” to visitors, such as how long it takes to be able to view the information on the first screen before scrolling, and how long before the buttons etc actually start working. Essentially it’s a whole lot of techy nerd things that can be scored, and we have to up the game again to keep speeding up how quickly websites become usable.

What are the specific measurements?

Google uses three specific page speed and user interaction related measurements. These are:

ALEX-Core-Vitals-BLOG-IMAGE-v1

Loading

This is a metric that measures the time a website takes to show the user the largest content on the screen, complete and ready for interaction.  Watch out if you have big banners!  This is influencing a trend to big font headings instead of big pictures.

Google considers only the content above the page’s fold, meaning everything that appears before you start scrolling. This includes images, video thumbnails; background images and text elements such as paragraphs, headings, and lists.  Essentially, the server has to go back and forth and say “oh where’s this website file hosted?  What is the theme? Where is the logo? Now I need the menu, oh and the banner.  Heck where’s the menu? Gee there’s three fonts? If only there was one…”.  The server goes back and forwards to get all the elements.

Google is wanting us to build sites so there are fewer trips to get the elements (some could be clumped together to save trips, like sharing seats in a car).  Google wants us to ensure that there’s no extra bits that are unnecessary that slow the experience down.  For example, sometimes older themes mean you have to bring down a whole lot of stuff for desktop, when you only want the smaller items sized for mobile phones, if you’re on a phone.  Other times, there might be whizz fang bits of code to do fancy moves, but they are actually only needed on other pages deeper in the site – so why have it on the home page).

This metric is called Largest Contentful paint (LCP) and here’s what is considered good, bad or indifferent (yes there is a link later so you can see how your website scores).

lcp

Interactivity

is a metric that tracks the time from when a user first interacts with a web page after entering it, to the time when the browser can start processing that interaction. So basically, the delay between when you click or tap on something like a link or a button, and the time that the browser responds to your action and starts processing it.
This metric is called First Input Delay (FID) and is measured in milliseconds (ms).

fid

Visual Stability

is a performance metric that measures how reliable the page is in terms of what elements move unexpectedly on it. User-initiated shifts of content occur when content on the page moves around due to a user action, e.g. clicking on a search bar and a new menu appears. In contrast, unexpected layout shifts happen when content on the page moves around without user input or prior notification e.g. trying to click on a button and the content moves due to a pop-up.
This metric is called Cumulative layout shift (CLS)

cls

Why is it important to perform well on these metrics?

Over the past few years, Google has increasingly focused on defining evaluation parameters to enhance the user experience. User experience is a differentiator, as well as a fundamental parameter for sites to be found on the web. That’s why it’s not enough to have good content, attractive products, and sophisticated design. Agility in page loading, interactivity and visual stability are essential parts that are not only favourable for the user itself but also direct ranking factors.

So, if you care about your ranking and user experience, you must take time to work on your web vitals before May 2021.

If you’d like to see how you scored on Google’s last speed test, you can check your site here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
To see how your site is looking on Core Web Vitals, the reports are full of technical details and nearly all sites need improving. Yep. Raising the bar.

There is an endless stream of things that can be done, but we recommend allowing a block of 10 programmer hours to work on your Core Web Vitals. It’s a good thing to get done in 2021.

You have any questions about how you can improve your score, email our marketing team or call us on +64 3 3477 477.

alex-core-vitals-diagram-v2

9 signs that your website needs upgrading

blank

Do you sometimes wonder if you should get around to rejigging your website, but other priorities get in the way? Here are some cues that an update could be on the cards.

 

1. The design is not as spunky as it seemed when the site was first built

Websites – just like fashion – have eras.  Remember the boxed-in, squashed sites with columns on the right, and lots of tiny text? The internal pages with tediously long text that went on for Africa?  Plus, large banners that meant you had to scroll before you could see any real information?

Perhaps you’ve seen a competitor website that looks clean and attractive, or you’re yearning for certain web design features that are popular? If your site is no longer visually attractive to you, then your potential customers probably feel the same way. Sight is the most important of all our senses. Design, colours, images and fonts are essential to make a good positive impression.

2. Your business has changed

The only constant in life is change. Your business and products have undoubtedly changed over the past few years.  Your site may not truly reflect today’s reality. Your website is your digital business card – often the key reference point for existing and new clients. Does your current site reflect changes in direction or highlight new products?

3. Team pages aren’t reflective of your current business structure

Particularly among professional firms, the ‘Meet the Team’ page is one of the top three pages.  Does the layout of your ‘About’ and ‘Team’ pages showcase your size and market position?  Does it filter enquiries to relevant team members?  Do you make the journey clear for where visitors could go after they’ve read the content on these pages?

4. It’s a hassle to manage seasonal specials and blog posts

Seasonal offers are a great way to spike revenue. Blog posts are a key tool to demonstrate your ethos.  These are both simple, cost-effective ways of stimulating interest in your site.  Are you able to make these changes quickly and with no fuss, or is this a daunting and time-consuming process?

5. It’s getting harder to rank well on Google

Google – like all tech companies – is constantly changing and “improving” the customer experience – sometimes at your expense. As Google changes its algorithms, factors such as page speed, responsiveness, user experience, search optimisation techniques, and the quality of content get different prioritisation. It is given (by Google) that your website has to change to take these factors into account. If not, your rank will start to slip. If you are not ranking in the top three of page one for at least 20% of your chosen search phrases, you are missing out on business.

web design christchurch

6. You are ranking well, but the phones are not ringing

Turning website traffic into leads is part art and part science. If a site is difficult to use or tired, customers will “bounce” away. Even a more recent site can yield disappointing results.  The stats don’t lie.  A good site needs intuitive and easy navigation with a clear journey and engaging calls to action.  

Analytics highlights quickly where the opportunities are. The answer is not clear cut, but by developing a plan, trialling variations, the results can be significantly improved.  Who doesn’t want 25% more leads?

7. Information is spread throughout your site

We are getting lazier. The idea that if the client wants it, they will trawl for it, is no longer relevant with today’s short attention spans. Ideally, the customer should be able to access the info they are looking for within three clicks – or even on the page they land on. Landing pages allow people to access specific info about the subject they are searching for, on the page they arrive on, and go all the way through to complete an enquiry. This reduces “click-time” and improves the experience.

8. Long loading time

How long does it take your website to load? 3 seconds? Longer? For every second beyond, you lose 15% of visitors. The reasons for slow page speed include old technology, heavy themes, redirects, too many plugs ins, large images. Time to speed up!

9. The mobile experience could be sharper

On average, more than 50% of traffic is generated through mobile users. The performance of your mobile site is even more important than your desktop version. How does your website perform on smaller screens?  Are there mobile-specific features to make it easy for your customers to read the information and to contact you? Not only is your mobile site appearance important for instant leads, Google will also base the ranking of your site on your mobile presence.

Which factors resonate most with you? We should add the need for consistent web updates to the certainties of taxes and death, in our world where Google is King and keeps changing the goal posts.  When you’re ready to explore upgrading your site, our digital detectives would be delighted to hear about your vision, and share some nuggets on new technology and design that addresses the signs above. You can contact us on 03 348 8477 or drop us a line via our contact form

blank