Well… what a year 2020 has been! I remember meeting up with my accountability buddies Seth and Isaac back in January and stating what a fantastic year I thought 2020 was going to be. “It just has a good ring to it” I distinctly remember saying…
I laid out my ambitious plans for the year ahead in that fateful session. I’ve been lucky enough to still be able to execute on some of those plans but many of them had to be put on hold. If you’d told me this time last year how 2020 was going to unfold I never would’ve believed you!
Many business owners are hard pressed for time right now, so here’s the skinny:
- In response to the changes in consumer behaviour and the massive upsurge in online activity from both consumers and competitors in any given field, we are expanding our offering so that we can serve you better.
- To achieve this, we are in the process of setting up a YouTube channel that is dedicated to helping you achieve more with your marketing budget.
- The channel will focus on creating and optimising content for YouTube, to help you get your business in front of the right people at the right time and funnel them into your sales process.
- We won’t just show you what to do and how. If you cross our palms with silver we’ll help you do it too. Watch this space to find out more!
Adapt and survive
2020 has been one of those years where as business owners we’ve had to run in order to stand still.
In response to the two national lockdowns and the multitude of localised lockdowns many companies have had no choice but to move more, if not all, of their operations online.
2020 was no Field of Dreams
There’s more to moving your business online than simply setting up a website – or dusting off your existing site and bolting on an ecommerce store. Of course, we can help you with both of these things – but they’re no longer enough on their own.
We need to take Kevin Costner to one side and gently explain to him that simply building it is no longer enough. The problem is that every business has their own baseball diamond now. People aren’t going to come to Kevin’s farm anymore because there’s an alternative that’s closer… or one with better seating… or that has their favourite hotdog stand – or maybe one that attracts more charismatic ghosts!
Online growth presents opportunities – and challenges
In the space of a few months Covid-19 created 4 to 6 years of growth in the US online economy. It’s a similar picture over here in the UK. More people than ever are turning to their mobiles to shop. And you can bet that once they’ve jumped through the hoops of signing up and adding their card details they’re going to carry on buying in this way, even after Covid-19 fades into the distance.
So, there’s no shortage of customers online right now. But as one of the world’s most developed online economies, competition in the UK online space was fierce even before coronavirus. Now, it’s positively ferocious!
10 blue links… or pale blue dot?
Trouble is, Google still only shows those famous 10 blue links on page one. And over the past few years it’s progressively added more ‘SERP features‘.
Many of these features are designed to give searchers the answer to their query directly on the search results page. No need for them to waste their time clicking through to your site then. These features push the organic links further down. Worse yet, they’re also potentially stealing clicks (and, transitively speaking, sales) away from your business.
All this is not to say that SEO and organic rankings are a waste of time of course. For local businesses especially, a well executed SEO strategy will give you the bread and butter enquiries you need. Over the long term, this regular stream of new business can be obtained at a far lower cost than buying ads, too.
The rising cost of clicks
Speaking of which… There was a time briefly during the first lockdown period in the UK when the cost of clicks on Google Ads fell off a cliff. Nobody was advertising. I think we were all still in shock and few businesses knew how to respond for the best.
But just a few months later, the cost of ad clicks has rebounded. And, since most advertising platforms are auction based, costs have been steadily increasing as more organisations move online. Every business that buys ads now has to face even more competition for those coveted clicks.
You have mail
During the first lockdown I became famous overnight. I’d never had so many CEOs desperate to send me their urgent email communications!
For a brief period of time, the business world collectively lost its head. The hive mind decided that filling people’s inboxes with disingenuous platitudes during these “difficult times” was the best way to stay front of mind.
Trouble was, it made email marketing more difficult overall. People’s inboxes were suddenly overflowing even more so than usual. Many people, myself included, simply switched off from this unwanted deluge.
The volume of those messages has thankfully abated since. Promisingly, lockdown v.2.0 aka “Circuit Breaker” has yet to give rise to another tsunami of hollow sentiment. Lessons have been learned.
However, my inbox is still recovering from the strain. I am simply focused right now on the people I need to be communicating with and ignoring the backlog of unsolicited marketing messages.
Email marketing is certainly not dead, but it might not be the most effective way to reach your audience right now. Read on to find out what we’re proposing as an alternative…
How will marketing change in 2021?
In short, organic, PPC and email marketing has become more difficult this year.
That’s why we’re currently in the process of developing a new range of services.
Amongst this raft of new services, YouTube marketing is going to be our primary focus.
Perhaps that doesn’t sound very cutting edge. YouTube is not exactly the disruptive newcomer it used to be, after all. But that for me is part of the magic. It is well-established and well-known to the point that people now use it as an alternative to Google search – without even realising!
Who remembers when the platform launched in 2005? You could be forgiven for forgetting – the past 15 years haven’t always been that kind to us, after all. But I vividly remember when Google bought it for $1.65bn a year or so later. I didn’t think much of the platform back in those days. And with crazy acquisitions like that taking place, I could see another dot.com bust coming around the corner…
However, on reflection I can see I was wrong. Google have maintained for a long time now that they “don’t have a five year plan” – but they saw potential in YouTube that stretched far beyond the next five years. Fast forward 14 years and it is the de facto video sharing site – and the world second largest search engine!
New opportunities for visibility
So, if it’s becoming increasingly difficult and expensive for your audience to find you on the worlds largest search engine, perhaps at least some of your budget would be better spent on the world’s second largest search engine?
Not every business is going to find its audience on YouTube. But many will – take a quick look at how viewership shot up during the height of the global pandemic. Naturally, some of that will fall away as life gradually returns to normal, but in many countries lockdown was long enough for people to form new habits. Amongst your audience, regularly turning to YouTube could be one of those new habits.
Get your content out there
Lots of organisations had no choice but to move their physical events and courses online. This means they now have huge archives of valuable content just waiting to be shared more widely.
You already know you have an audience for that content since people turned up and quite possibly paid to attend it in the first place. Why not use this opportunity to distribute it more widely?
The good news is that with these new services we’re working on, we’ll be able to help you optimise that content and get it in front of the right people.
The time is now
There are lots of established channels on YouTube already, so it’s easy to write it off as just another crowded marketplace.
But marketing in the 21st Century is all about finding your people: “people like us, do things like this“. Your audience may not be as large as Nike’s but they are passionate about the same things as you. Better yet, they have very specific needs which nobody else can satisfy.
Let us help you get acquainted with them.
Project sponsored by:
Our exciting new project wouldn’t have been possible without support from the New Anglia Wider Economy Grant Scheme.
It is part of the New Anglia Business Growth Programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
New Anglia LEP want to help your business respond to the coronavirus situation and uncover new opportunities.
Take a look at their funding page for more information about the grants that may be available to your business. Some grant awards will allow you to hire specialists to help you with things like digital marketing, for example…