When you are a busy business owner, years can fly by quickly. This year we are celebrating 4 years in business as a digital marketing agency in DC during a pandemic.
Our team is used to working remotely, but it’s unusual to not be able to see each other in person to celebrate this year.
We started this business knowing that digital marketing was a fast-evolving industry and the trends could shift seemingly overnight. Little did we predict an unprecedented business event – a lockdown and pandemic.
Today we reflect not only on 4 years of helping businesses thrive, but also how things have rapidly changed online.
Google Search from Desktop to Mobile-Friendly
When we started Capital Practice in 2016 there was a rumor that Google would be splitting the search engine from one platform to two – one for desktop and one for mobile. By 2017 the mobile search engine was live.
Today nearly 70-80% of website traffic is from mobile devices. The types of popular keywords have changed accordingly. “Near me,” “Best,” and long-tailed phrases are now more popular.
How Customers Find a Business
These days, customers use a combination of websites to evaluate a business. It’s not just simply being nearest to a customer or ranked #1 on Google or Google Maps. You have to “sell” a customer based on your digital presence.
Yelp and Online Directories
National online directories dominate some industries (real estate, home services, etc). However, in the past year many of these platforms have shown diminishing returns for ad spend.
Reviews and Online Reputation
Customers want to see positive reviews but will also read negative reviews. They evaluate both the number of reviews, but also may be skeptical if you have “too many” reviews.
Social Media Engagement and the Rise of Instagram. Is Tiktok next?
When we started our business in 2016 there were 4 major social media sites for business – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Twitter Falls in Popularity and Changes
We quickly saw a low return on investment from Twitter. We began to recommend against managing an active strategy on Twitter for business.
Shortly thereafter Twitter added more characters to the Tweets and made it more inline with the other platforms. It still shows best returns in certain industries and with breaking news.
Facebook Groups and NextDoor
Word of mouth is still a valuable source of new customers. Now there are community sites and groups where people ask for recommendations.
TikTok for Business
TikTok has seen a huge rise in popularity among individual users. They are now offering business accounts that allow business to add content and mange their brands online.
COVID 19 and the Rise of E-commerce & Virtual Consults
Since we started this business, websites have always been the most valuable digital asset of a business. They are no longer static digital brochures, but an evolving content repository for new people to find online.
As a result of the Phase I guidelines, many businesses started E-commerce stores to capture orders while they were required to be closed. In Phase 2 and 3 many businesses will find that consumers still would like to book or purchase online easily.
Virtual Consults and Webinars
Another result of Phase I and II guidelines, businesses started using virtual consultations to continue to operate. Many industries that were traditionally in-person have found success conducting business virtually and offering webinars to engage new potential customers.
Artificial Intelligence and Marketing Automation
Looking towards the future of marketing, there is artificial intelligence and marketing automation. There are some tech companies that look to reduce costs and improve efficiencies with marketing. Often this takes the form of integrating social media, websites and ads platforms with a customer database.
The technology to connect and track consumers seamlessly to your online profiles is here. However, it still takes an expert to execute a successful campaign. The AI offered by tech companies is still not as good as having a human team manage your marketing.
Making Changes to Your Digital Marketing
If you are looking to make changes to your marketing, ask us for a free digital marketing audit today. We can take a second look at your team’s effort to engage and convince consumers online to do business with you.