“It’s October already, time to start thinking about the digital marketing strategies for next year!?”
How many times have you heard colleagues say that in surprise over the past few weeks (Well, not the second bit)? Time flies, and it’ll be December before you know it. You’ll be enjoying the office Christmas party, winding down for a break and looking forward to seeing your family.
But in the back of your mind you’re probably already thinking about your digital marketing strategies for next year too (please take a few days off, there’s nothing worse than SEO chat around the dining table).
You’re probably thinking: what global events are on the horizon that might shape your digital marketing strategies, what trends in inbound marketing do you need to keep an eye on to stay competitive, and what new platforms should you adopt for better marketing ROI?
If you’ve found yourself thinking these things then this article is here to help. Below we’ve listed the 3 emerging digital marketing strategies and trends we believe will really shake up digital marketing in 2022.
1. Voice search is the new SEO battleground
2019 was the year voice technology began to make waves in the consumer electronics market. Virtual assistant technology like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant have exploded in popularity since then and caught the eye of savvy marketers looking for another channel that they can use to get their products in front of consumers.
Voice search is still a new marketing channel but we think 2022 is going to be the year marketers start seriously looking at optimising their content for voice search and incorporating it fully into their digital marketing strategies. Getting ahead of this trend now will put your marketing team in the best position possible if you want to seriously capitalise on these new audiences.
How to Optimise for Voice Search: 3 SEO Strategies for Success
Optimising your content for voice search doesn’t require you to throw out your SEO rule book and start again. Creating voice search friendly content is as simple as making a few tweaks here and there to your existing content strategy. In a nutshell, you need to write in a more conversational, engaging tone and produce content that sounds like someone talking to an Alexa or Siri virtual assistant. We’ve added more in-depth tips below:
Focus on conversational keywords
People don’t speak the way they type, especially when it comes to search queries on Google.
Most people nowadays know the Google algorithm is built around keywords. That means if you want to know what the weather is like in Rome you might type “weather Rome”.
This stilted form of shorthand is very common when you’re typing in a query to Google but if you were to ask Alexa a question you might say “Alexa, what is the weather like in Rome this weekend”.
When we speak we use longer queries and more conversational language. Our keywords should also reflect that by being longer and more conversational in tone. Some examples of conversational keywords could be:
- “What’s the weather like in Rome this weekend?”
- “Will it rain in Rome this weekend?”
- “How hot will Rome be today”
Adding more conversational keywords to your site and page copy will help Google match voice search queries with your content and give you a better chance of being found via voice search.
Create compelling, persona based content
Communicating clearly using language your ideal customer understands is essential if you want to compete in voice search. When optimising for voice search it’s a good idea to have your customers’ marketing persona next to you. This is so you can add the slang, language and unique phrases they might use when trying to find your product or service.
This is generally good marketing practice anyway but it can be especially useful for voice search as your ideal customers could be using some of those terms when asking Alexa or Siri a question.
When it comes to optimising for voice search brevity and relevance are essential. You should focus on:
- Creating detailed answers to common questions and
- Answering those questions concisely and simply
By condensing all the key facts and knowledge a searcher wants to know into one or two sentences it encourages virtual assistants to prioritise those answers as it’s easier for them to convey the information to a querier.
A good way to do this is as follows:
- Create a landing page or blog post which has a headline that asks the question a searcher is looking for.
- Straight after that headline you can provide a concise answer to the question which satisfies the searchers intent
- You can then use the rest of the page to elaborate and add further details and opinions on the topic (essentially doing all the classic SEO good stuff)
This approach helps your content get found in voice search and doesn’t negatively impact your traditional SEO strategy. In fact, the short optimised answer at the top of your page could become a search engine results page featured snippet.
Build pages that answer FAQs
When people voice search their questions usually begin with: who, what, where, when, why and how. A voice searcher is looking for an answer that fulfils one or a number of these needs immediately.
The best way to answer these queries all in one go is with an FAQ page and begin each question with one of these adverbs. Then answer each question in a conversational tone to appeal to the voice search algorithms. Doing this will help you get found for these search queries.
2. Local SEO is where the money’s at
As the pandemic recedes and life returns back to normal consumers want to get out and about in their communities again. Local SEO isn’t a new concept, but with so much spending happening online over the past 18 months we predict people will want to return to face-to-face shopping and finding local solutions to their problems.
Making sure your brand is properly geofenced in your local area and geared towards local SEO should be a focus of any business that sees a large percentage of its income generated in their local area. Independent cafés, bars, trades people and shops should pay special attention to local SEO in 2022 and incorporate it into their digital marketing strategies.
With Geofencing and local SEO, brands can reach targeted customers in their immediate vicinity through texts, emails and social media. Local SEO also gives brands a greater chance of being discovered when people are searching for a solution to a problem online. Those problems could be “where’s good to eat in Soho?” or “I need an emergency plumbers in Bristol?”.
What is Geofencing?
To put it simply, geofencing is a service that triggers an action when a device enters a certain area or set location. Adding a business to Google My Business will add a geofence around the address of your business which means it’ll appear in search results when people are near your location. Think of a geofence as a digital boundary that lives around your store or restaurant on Google Maps.
Queries like these are very intent based and more often than not the searcher is in the decision phase of their buying process. This means for small businesses succeeding in local SEO can be very lucrative. It’s a winner takes all channel so you want to make sure of your top of the results.
But how can you start competing in the local results online?
4 tips for ranking in local SEO
We’ve put 4 tips below to get you on the way to great local listings results. Follow these tips to the letter and you’ll see your business’s local presence increase exponentially.
Create a Google My Business Account
The single most impactful thing you can do to get ranking in local search is create a Google My Business Account. If you don’t have a Google My Business Account these steps here can walk you through making one.
Creating or claiming a business with Google My Business lets you add pictures, opening hours and respond to reviews on your business page. It also displays your business’s location in Google Maps which is really important for local search. If you don’t have a Google My Business Account none of the other tips in this section will work. So if you haven’t already, go and make one now!
Ask for reviews from happy customers
The chance you’re going to be the only plumber, carpenter, restaurant or café in your local area is slim. Every business will have a Google My Business Account so searchers need further information from you to help them make a decision about which service they’ll choose.
This makes your reviews really important. When people search for businesses on Google Maps your brand will appear with a review star rating beside it. This can often be the difference between someone walking through your door or the door of your competition so make sure you encourage positive reviews from all your customers.
Incentivising reviews with a discount or free offer is one way to build up your credibility. Another way is creating an email automation that sends a review request to customers once they’ve purchased a product from you.
Review side note:
The real power in reviews comes from people who leave a comment with them. While it’s great getting lots of 5 star feedback, if people don’t leave a comment about what they liked about your brand it can be difficult for searchers to know why your business is so good. Always try to get reviewers to leave a comment when they give you 5 stars, it’s the extra added sparkle your business might need to beat your competitors.
Optimise for voice search and pay special attention to directions
Yes, we’ve already dedicated a whole section of this article to voice search but we can’t stress enough how important it’ll be in 2022. More and more people are using voice over text to search and their mobiles are the primary tool they’re using when they’re out and about (let’s be honest, no one’s walking down the street with their laptop out).
Making sure your Google My Business listing is optimised for voice using all the methods we’ve mentioned will give your brand the best chance of ranking ahead of your competition. Conversational, brief and clear descriptions are the name of the game and answering those who, what, why, where and when questions will help massively.
Also pay extra attention to your directions, make sure your site and business listing explains clearly how people can get to your business and the different modes of transport they can use to get there.
Produce content based on local events in the area
A classic SEO tactic as far as digital marketing strategies go for businesses wanting to rank in search. This also helps with your geofencing and increases the strength of your sites domain through the production of regular, in-depth and unique content.
The more you write about and interact with the area you operate in the more likely Google will rank your business above your competitors.
3. Hybrid events are the route to success
Events have always been a useful weapon in a marketers’ arsenal. Whether it’s a local meet-up, large scale speaking event or charity function they’re a brilliant tool for building brand awareness, kick starting collaborations and meeting prospective customers.
But the pandemic changed all that. The traditional event went out the window and along came Zoom and other digital event platforms like WebinarJam and HeySummit which championed the benefits of virtual online events.
As meetups and events moved online digital marketers realised virtual events were a great lead generation tool (most required an email to sign up). It was a lot easier to get people to sign into an event from the comfort of their own home as opposed to taking a train or tube to their nearest conference center.
But with the pandemic now on the retreat it leaves marketers with two conflicting impulses, return to traditional brick and mortar events or stay purely digital. The benefits of a real life, face-to-face event can’t be understated but at the same time many people want the ease and convenience of logging into an event from home.
The solution is hybrid events. Simultaneously running the event in person whilst also streaming it to a digital events platform like the ones we’ve mentioned above.
In a nutshell, hybrid events are in-person events with a strong digital component, whether that’s through technologies like AR and VR or live streams where the people watching at home can engage with speakers in the room and talk to the event audience members.
In 2022 fusing digital and in-person events will be a must for any events marketing teams in 2022. At a bare minimum recordings of in-person events should be made available online for others to consume later. Here’s a few tips for you if you’re looking to host your first hybrid event in 2022.
Record everything and run follow up email campaigns after the event
The good thing about digital events is that they’re very easy to document. With cameras streaming 24/7 you can easily hit the record button and capture all the insights for future marketing campaigns.
Some people might not be able to attend your event live or maybe they’re watching digitally and needed to jump on another call. Recording your event lets these people catch up on what they’ve missed and gives you lots of content you can use in a re-marketing campaign.
Whether you keep the recordings behind a sign up wall or release them for free on your website, by recording the event you can make sure the knowledge and insights you gather keep attracting leads to your brand for weeks to come.
Getting these recordings is especially useful if your event doesn’t get as many attendees as you’d hoped. Re-marketing the videos can help you capture more leads and build your brand long after the physical event’s finished.
Check, check and double check all your tech is working
We’ve all been there. Sat in the audience of an event, waiting for the keynote speaker to start, only to find out their presentation isn’t showing on the big screen.
Cue a flurry of people on the stage trying to fix the problem with someone inevitably asking “have you tried turning it off and on again”. This isn’t what you want at your hybrid event. Even worse than that is the possibility of one of your live chats or streams going down in the middle of a session.
Digital attendees are flighty. There are a hundred and one different things competing for their attention and the slightest event hiccup could cause them to switch tabs on their laptop and check Facebook. That’s why it’s vitally important you check and double check all your equipment. Having a technician on stand-by, monitoring the event throughout, is the best way to spot technical difficulties and fix them quickly.
Remember, not everyone is in the room
When you’re presenting at an event it can be easy to focus on the audience in front of you. You can see and interact with them easily after all. But oftentimes hybrid events can suffer from hosts and panel discussions that forget to address the digital members as well as the physical ones.
This can lead to disengagement in your digital viewership when their questions aren’t answered and their points ignored. It’s an easy thing to do, hybrid events are a very new thing and seasoned hosts and speakers may need a while to adjust to a physical and digital audience.
Proper training before the event is a good way to remedy this along with staff members manning the live chat and asking questions on behalf of the digital audience. Another solution is having an event Compère who can manage the flow of questions and conversion to guarantee digital attendees don’t feel left behind.
Do you need a hand with your digital marketing strategies in 2022?
Looking for expert help planning your digital marketing strategies for 2022? We’re an SEO agency in Manchester with a team of digital marketing experts who can help you get found through organic search. Contact us to see how we can help your business online.