2022 is just around the corner and with it come new opportunities for your digital marketing. Even if you don’t have a crystal ball (we don’t!) there are some things you can do to prepare for your most successful marketing year yet.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the top trends and tried-and-true standbys that we will be focusing on in our own marketing efforts in 2022.
Use a Multi-Channel Approach
This one definitely falls under the category of a tried-and-true standby. In fact, our clients hear this same advice from us all the time.
Seriously. They’re probably sick of hearing it.
Although it may seem efficient to focus on just one marketing channel and do it well, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, if the marketing channel in question is one you don’t own, like social media for example, then you could even be setting yourself up for disaster.
While there’s no need to be on all channels all the time, it is wise to choose a handful to focus on at any given time — and most importantly, make sure at least one of them is a channel you own. That means something like an email list or a website.
Why is that? Well, as one of my clients found out during the Election of 2020, relying too heavily on Facebook Ads, for example, can be disastrous if your business has anything remotely to do with social issues or elections. In the fall of 2020, Facebook pulled the rug out from under countless businesses when it put a hold on all ad campaigns run by businesses in a number of loosely defined “special categories.” From one day to the next, their main revenue-generating channel was simply shut down.
And that’s just one example.
The fact is if you don’t own the channel, whoever does own it can change the rules of the game at any moment, leaving you stuck between a rock and a hard place.
But besides that, by limiting the number of virtual locations where your organization exists, you also limit the possible ways and points of contact potential customers have to find and interact with your brand.
So, in 2022, let’s diversify our marketing channels, shall we?
Embrace Inclusive, Authentic Messaging
This is something we’ve discussed before here at iHartContent. We see 6,000-10,000 ads every day. So how can we eliminate some of the noise in 2022? One of the most effective methods is to uphold social responsibility by embracing inclusive, authentic messaging. In short? Let your company’s values shine through.
At a time when many people are becoming more distrustful of big business, it’s not enough to claim that your product is “organic” or “green” – you have to be the brand that walks the walk.
In our globalized world, culture is no longer confined by geographic borders. In fact, there’s a wide range of cultural differences within each community in major metropolitan areas. It can be difficult for businesses to navigate these complexities and continually evolve their messaging but authenticity goes a long way towards building trust with your audience. That being said, often companies lose sight of who they are and what they do best because trends change so rapidly. My advice? Find yourself again and remember why you got into this business to begin with.
Do you feel a little nervous about letting your values be known? You’re not alone. Read our article on “brandstanding” for some tips.
Make the Most of Your Email Marketing in 2022
Email marketing is making a comeback! In fact, it never really left, it just fell from grace for a time. It should be the cornerstone of every business’s marketing strategy.
Of course, there are different types of email marketing. There are emails that are sent to your current customers with offers, discounts, and other perks, newsletters informing potential and current customers about what you’re up to, and targeted emails based on past purchases to encourage repeat business, among others.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated. And as an added bonus, focusing on email marketing fulfills #1 in our list today of diversifying your channels and focusing on channels you own!
Email marketing is a solid choice for many businesses because it’s relatively affordable and, when done correctly, highly effective. It can help drive sales, make those sales last longer, and keep consumers coming back for more simply because they like getting mail from you!
Tools like Mailchimp make it easy and cheap (even free!) to maintain a simple email list, and to collect new subscribers on your website or other channels. Even if all you commit to is one or two emails a month to keep your list informed, it is time well-spent in 2022.
Use Automation to Customize the Customer’s Journey.
Over the past few years, automation has played a key role in digital marketing, and this trend will continue until 2022. One of the main reasons we marketers love automation is that if used properly, it can be easier and faster to build real relationships with prospects and customers.
Automation software like HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, SharpSpring (all of which also function as a CRM) and countless others provide you with a lot of useful information that can be used to strengthen your sales channels and ultimately improve the customer journey.
So if you’re a data junkie like we are, you’ll get to geek out over all of the insight that can be gained from your prospects.
Since Facebook launched this feature, real-time video on social media has been gaining momentum, and other platforms have quickly followed suit. Our crystal ball (j/k, we don’t have one) says it will continue to rule in 2022!
Real-time live video is a great way to establish a strong connection with your audience, allowing you to show the human side of your business (literally) and answer any questions they might have in real-time.
This is one channel that we are committing ourselves to in 2022 here at iHartContent, so be sure to be on the lookout for our “going live” alerts beginning in January!
Collaborate with Micro-Influencers
Brands who work with smaller niche influencers (micro-influencers) whose values match their brand values will boost their ability to successfully expand their audience and gain credibility among potential customers in 2022.
The key to success, however, is to build relationships that feel real. It’s not enough to chase partnerships with brands or influencers based solely on the number of followers they might have.
Before choosing an influencer to work with, consider the following:
- Ask yourself if their voice is consistent with your brand story? Can you see a real connection between them and how they interact with their own audience in terms of the type of content that is shared?
- Search for an influencer who takes time to build relationships, rather than just chasing the next paycheck. A strong community tends to be built on consistent publication schedules and engagement around events such as blogger road trips or festivals etc.
- Do some research on how they have performed in the past. Have they faced any negative media coverage over content that was not sponsored? Is there a clear record of where and when a post was sponsored or labeled as an ad?
- Get to know them! Don’t just look at their follower count – make sure you study their bio, check out who they are following, see if they have been banned from Instagram before etc.
It might sound obvious but too often brands only get the hard facts and don’t even bother looking at the details around how successful influencers are running their accounts. Just because someone has 100k followers doesn’t mean that 50,000 of those people paid attention to all of their posts last month.
Make the Most of New Features on Social Media
It’s no secret that your favorite social channels want you to adopt all the newest bells and whistles. In fact, many feel that the algorithms will reward you for it with a boost in your content’s visibility.
For example, Instagram recently corrected one of its main flaws when it introduced the ability to include active web links in Instagram stories for all business pages. Previously, only accounts with more than 10,000 followers could use this feature. This development will change the rules of the game for companies who previously had to rely on the good old “link in bio” verbiage.
You can bet that our team at iHartContent will be pulling out all the stops when it comes to sharing stories with helpful content that happens to live outside of the Instagram bubble! After all, it’s one more way to drive traffic to an owned channel like a website or landing page.
How Will You Level Up Your Marketing in 2022?
Marketing in 2022 is going to be a lot different than it was in 2021. New social media features are being introduced, there’s the metaverse to contend with, new trends are emerging, and there’s more competition for your audience’s attention. It might seem like an impossible task to keep up with the latest marketing tactics but don’t worry. You don’t have to do all the things. Even if you give two or three of these tips a try this year, you’ll be well on your way to your most successful marketing year yet.
What tips did we miss? Let us know in the comments!