Top 5 Digital Growth Strategies to Finish 2019 Strong & Lead Into 2020. You can do it!
Rear-view Mirroring What Worked in 2019 and Planning for 2020!
It’s official. We’ve hit fall and something nice with pumkin spice and all that Octoberfest jazz! That means that we’re only a few months away from closing out 2019, so we figured it would be the perfect time to talk about your 2020 digital growth strategy.
The end of the year is a strange time for us. Personally, it’s a time where we always take a look back at the beginning of the year and see what we did right, what we did wrong, and what we’re planning to do to grow in 2020.
Plus, if we had lackluster growth the year before, we typically have to spend more time at the beginning of the incoming year in analysis mode. So, most of us like to end the year on a good note to take off some of that post-holiday pressure, right?
The end-of-the-year is also when most of us start to see our strategies fade away a little. Whatever worked for you at the beginning of 2019, may not work for you at the end of 2019. Our good ol law, the point of diminishing returns, begins to kick in for some marketing channels and campaigns.
So, let’s take a look at 5 digital growth strategies that will help you finish your year strong and tee-up 2020! (in no particular order of importance)
#1) Use Influencer Marketing (Macro vs. Micro)
By now, you’ve probably gotten the message about micro-influencers — social media users that have 10,000 – 200,000 subscribers. From HubSpot to Neil Patel’s blog, everyone was raving on micro-influencers this year.
Now that we’re two-thirds of the way through the year, how are micro-influencers looking? Well, they’re still insanely good. Micro-influencers weren’t just a marketing bubble (at least not yet) and they continue to put out some impressive numbers.
The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data.
Every social platform attracts influencers to some degree, but Instagram is the gold standard for the group.
Nearly four in five (79%) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%), per Influencer Marketing Hub.
There are two primary ways of categorizing influencers: reach and niche.
- Reach. As a general rule, targeted reach, cost-effectiveness, engagement, authenticity, and accessibility all go up as follower count goes down.
- Niche. Brands can leverage relevant niche influencers to more intentionally target audiences.
Before pursuing a partnership, brands and influencers alike should ensure brand fit, meaning that an influencer is aligned with the brand and product.
Brands should develop a streamlined but robust network of high-quality influencers to diversify their bets.
Brands are likely to increasingly prioritize longer-term partnerships with fewer, more authentic influencers.
Let’s caveat this section. Micro-influencers will start to taper off at some point in the future. The market is just now getting pumped full of marketing money, so, eventually, it will get saturated, and viewers will start to get numb to marketing. But, until then, micro-influencers are still a great way to trigger some immediate inbound growth.
Let’s take a look at some statistics that back that up.
- Expert Voice (formerly Expercity) ran a micro-influencers study that showed that 87% of people are highly likely to follow the suggestions of a micro-influencer, while only 73% of them were likely to follow a “normal” person’s recommendation.
- Internal data from New York Times-owned HelloSociety show 60% higher engagement levels with micro-influencers.
- They are simply more affordable, provide higher engagement statistics, and, most importantly, are in an unsaturated market.
- Also, micro-influencers tend to view metrics differently. Only 42% of them think that likes (which are a vanity metric) are important. The rest believe that engagement level (shares, reach, comments, etc.) is the most critical metric (they’re right!)
- The most common influencer budget is $1,000 – $10,000/year, followed by $100,000 – $500,000/year.
19% of marketers will spend $1,000 – $10,000 per year on influencer marketing in 2019, while 18% are spending between $100,000 – $500,000 per year.
- 7% of companies plan to invest over a million dollars in influencer marketing in 2019.
- This suggests that influencer marketing is leveraged by a range of companies, from smaller organizations to much larger brands.
So far, micro-influencers are working great. Once again, we may all be on borrowed time when it comes to crazy good engagement levels, but influencers will always be valuable top-of-the-funnel growth pillars — in one capacity or another.
So, push some of those marketing funds into those smaller social media accounts. Their audience is highly engaged, and you can get super-targeted — which is excellent for those of you that are in smaller niches.
Pro Tip: There are some interesting platforms such as SparkToro (Rand Fishkin’s new venture), that can help you determine what topics are trending across social media and with which audiences. You can check out statistics from mediakix.com, where you can certainly find good content ammo for your influencer marketing strategy.
#2) Push Out Ephemeral Content
With the introduction of Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories — coming off of the popularity of Snapchat — ephemeral content (content that isn’t permanent) has become a great way to reach customers in those crucial top-of-the-funnel and middle-of-the-funnel stages.
Ephemeral content lets you get hyper-engaging on little-to-no budget. You can push out low-fi content littered in filters and emojis, or post memes (make sure you know what you’re doing here) and GIFs with high engagement levels.
Unlike your main page content, you don’t have to get high-quality on your ephemeral content. Why would you? It’s going to disappear in 24 hours.
Another great thing about stories is that it gives you an opportunity to hit users with sound. Over 70% of people are watching Instagram stories with the sound on! Finally! Sound again!
Ephemeral content was killing it at the beginning of this year, and it’s still going strong.
Make sure that you’re pushing out ephemeral content along with your permanent content.
Pro Tip: Here’s some other ideas for developing short-lived content that will engage your audience:
- share tutorials and how-to videos
- organize Q&A sessions
- feature UGC
- ask followers to share their thoughts via emoji slider or polls
In other words, short-lived content creates a sense of urgency and offer different ways to keep your followers interested.
#3) Create More Videos & Podcasts But in Your Own Channels (Vidyard or Wistia)
We know. You’ve heard this a million times already. You know that you need video, and we’re sure that you’re putting out some video content — but is it enough? Are you doing something of value to your niche audience?
Video is the absolute king of marketing right now, and nothing creates the growth that video can create. No amount of growth hacking or “tips and tricks” blog posts can make up for poor video content. It’s something that you need, and you need to have it now. Wistia, a leader in video platform marketing
On a page with video and text, 72% of people are going to watch the video.
Now, we know that there are tons of platforms out there vying for viewership. YouTube, Instagram, the recently created IGTV, Facebook, and plenty of other websites remain competitive, so positioning your content may get a little confusing at first.
In general, it’s a good idea to use as many content platforms as you can. Try to put out high-quality videos on all of the leading platforms to get a significant growth boost.
Check out what Mad Men-like copy writing skills and VP of Marketing at Drift, Dave Gerdhart is cooking up for some creative videos and podcast ideas. Also for some very interesting Netflix type content from Wistia’s team, check out BrandWagon their new series, I like that this type of video content strategy is directed for niche audiences on a non-Google owned platform for a change.
Pro tip: Since, Instagram TV (IGTV) is in it’s beginning stages, Instagram is boosting videos posted to IGTV to the top of your follower’s notifications. That means that the video content you push out on IGTV is going to be highly visible. Hopefully, this trend continues. Here’s a small warning — IGTV is new, and its algorithm isn’t exactly the “smartest” algorithm out there yet. Also look into Vidyard and Wave Animatron as some cool software to help launch your video content strategies and mini social video campaigns, respectively.
#4) Drop Connections on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s algorithm in 2019 is aggressive when it comes to shared content. Your content is going to be the pillar of your LinkedIn growth, we all know that. But, because of the way that LinkedIn’s algorithm pushes out that content, you might need to compact your connections.
Here is how LinkedIn positions your content. First, it takes a sample of all of your connections and tests your content out on them. If they engage well, it spreads your content to the rest of your subscribers.
So, let’s say that you operate B2B in the blockchain space. If you are connected to a bunch of doctors, marketing firms, and automotive companies, you’re going to have difficulty making it to everyone’s front page.
You want high-quality super-targeted LinkedIn connections. Remember, LinkedIn is going to test your content out on a sample. If that sample is filled with people, who aren’t going to read “Why Whitepapers Are Still Important for ICOs” then your content isn’t going to gain as much traction.
Delete those old connections and all of the connections that aren’t relevant to you or your business. This is especially important if you pivoted your brand.
It may seem a bit counter-intuitive to drop connections because everyone wants to have 20,000 or more LinkedIn connections, but look at it with a real world lens, do you have thousands of “real engaged” friends or some select few, use that as your litmus.
Find and connect with folks that have an interest or potential synergies in what they can offer you and vice versa, make it bi-directional in value, not just numbers of connections for sake of numbers!
Making LinkedIn’s algorithm work for you is about content relevancy, timing posts with different formats from videos, articles, e-Guides, use it as an engagement and amplification platform.
Performing well with the LinkedIn algorithm in 2019 all comes down to relevance. Are your content and your brand relevant for your target audience?
Share content that resonates with people in your industry. Optimize the timing of your posts. Regularly review your analytics. Make real friends and connections. Engage with your industry community through posts and group comments.
Be relevant. Be engaged. Build your authority on LinkedIn.
#5) Be Natural
Marketing strategies are great, and they can really help push and generate fantastic results. But, if you’re only relying on marketing strategies, you’re making a mistake.
For example, some marketers would tell you to try to push for emails before you drop that white paper on your LinkedIn connections. That’s not the best tactic. Find targeted connections, and send them the white paper without asking for anything.
Say, “Hey, I think you might enjoy this content. It seems right up your alley. Get back with me if you liked it! Feel free to share it around.”
You want to be nurturing leads at every part of the buyer’s phase. Don’t try over-marketing. Rely on your ability to sell your product, and create a relationship with your customers.
You want customers to become advocates for your brand, and you want to form real relationships with people. Never let any amount of marketing “tips and tricks” disrupt your human-to-human relationships. Be genuine.
If you’re looking to fill your funnel full of high-quality leads, and you’re looking to take actionable steps towards nurturing those valuable leads, contact us. We offer free evaluations to anyone looking to take advantage of modern marketing strategies that can significantly boost your business growth.