By Daniel Adey - Digital Marketing Development Coach
2020 was previously predicted as being the year of ‘digital’. In the end, it turned out to be an accurate statement, but not in the way it was first thought. Due to the global pandemic that is still disrupting the entire world, we find ourselves living, engaging and teaching in a digital manner. A manner in which will see the start of a big change in the way we live our lives moving forward.
We have begun the year in the same fashion as we ended the previous one, with digital playing a massive role in our day to day activities. I, like many people, have children who are being home schooled using tablets and laptops to learn and complete their required tasks. Without knowing, these skills will play a big role in their development through school and could even influence their career path when they come to their final years of secondary school. Likewise, the way we are interacting with our friends and family is now reliant of our digital skills. Whether this be Face Timing relatives or friends, getting involved with a weekly or monthly Zoom pub quiz, or simply sending people meme’s or quotes that will make them smile, we are evolving and developing our digital skills.
With that being said, the way businesses are operating and marketing to their target audience has to be perfect, otherwise it is a case of drowning in a crowded marketplace. 2021 is predicting that many marketers will identify user experience (UX) as being one of the main focal points in driving traffic, sales and retention. Getting your message in front of your audience is only the beginning of the user journey, getting them to engage and purchase is the holy grail every business is trying to crack. Another area a lot of marketers are focusing on is SEO. I have just alluded to the fact that getting your message in front of an audience is only the beginning, and this, for many, is where it all starts. Many times it has been reported that SEO is ‘dead’ during recent years, but only in the ways it was done 10 or so years ago. SEO is a fantastic way to drive real, authentic and organic traffic to your website, especially those long-tail keywords where you know the customer is ready to make a sale. Having these two key areas work in harmony together are going to drive the traffic, the sales and ultimately, the buyers who keep coming back for more.
We live in a fast-paced world where we expect answers at our fingertips, so giving the customer what they want is only the bare minimum of how we all operate in 2021. I believe that exit rates, bounce rates and average session duration are still important metrics to be analysing in your analytical tools, as these indicators highlight if the traffic you are getting, is the correct traffic. If your audience are landing on the page you have directed them to, but only staying a few seconds and either exiting or bouncing, then the hard work you have done to get them there becomes redundant. This may not seem any different to any strategy or plan that has been put in place before, but the importance of it all coming together is as vital now as ever. Going back to the beginning of the post where I spoke about developing digital skills that we are all developing, is highlighted again here. More and more people are using mobile devices to browse and purchase, so the user experience and customer journey on the multiple devices that people use has to be slick and easy to navigate. For example, fashion brands. As we can’t currently shop in ‘non-essential’ stores, online fashion brands are constantly working on developing a better customer journey and user experience on their apps or mobile sites to assist the end user making decisions quicker and being able to checkout with ease.
Looking at this, I believe 2021 will continue to centre around digital as we adapt and continue through another national lockdown and when we eventually go back to our normal way of life, the digital skills that we have learnt and developed will be embedded in teaching, connecting with family and friends and business operations. 2021 – the year digital kicked on.