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Joanne Jackson, Business Director

- 21 Jan 2021

B2C Digital Marketing

GUIDE

AUTHOR
Joanne Jackson

Business Director

As a Business Director, Jo navigates her clients through the digital landscape to drive KPIs and future proof their business. Within the last 15 years she has been exposed to an expansive and ever-changing digital mix, and has worked on accounts across all major markets and industries.

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OVERVIEW

B2C businesses faced a slew of disruptions in 2020, which led to accelerated online sales, jumping from a fifth (21.8%) to almost a third (27.5%) of all sales in the UK. Businesses that weren’t digital first either pivoted or served content hoping to stay front of mind when everything eventually reopened.

In this limbo, channels needed to adapt. We saw SEO advising on Coronavirus messaging for landing pages, Biddable Media supporting PSAs around opening hours, and Data defining customers that had never shopped online before.

Integration is essential as circumstances dictate fast turnarounds – a theme that will carry through to 2021. Our teams have shared their dos and don’ts for the coming year, especially for B2C businesses looking to both support their offline offering and grow online.

THINGS YOU SHOULD DO.

SEO.

Prioritise UX. Seriously, almost half of consumers are shopping with new brands and we’ve also seen that users are less brand loyal than ever before. You need to offer value and experience, and UX can help make digital feel more like a service than ever before. This is only going to grow in importance as the arrival of AR shopping comes to different industries – start looking for structured data to support it and make sure your website is ready to capture these kinds of interactions.

A lot of that also ties to the broader focus of making sure customers can find your products easily. That means even if stores remain closed, making sure you are using the Products feature on Google My Business, making sure your product markup is accurate and contains all relevant information, and making sure your product images are well optimised for image search.

Structured data and image optimisation are likely to play a big part in the AR journey, and we know product ratings have a strong correlation with organic ranking results in Shopping, so a focus on products needs to be at the heart of growth this year.

One thing we would strongly recommend is to set up smarter trends analysis dashboards to understand shifts in demand, giving context to changes that are happening in the world. Google’s new search trends insight in Google Ads is a great resource, but you can go further and make your own dashboard tracking search volumes for your products. Businesses that are on top of what’s happening in search will be in with the best chance of capturing organic demand, as well as being able to react quickly to changes in customer needs.

As we’ve seen in 2020, audiences are changing as more people rely on online for their essentials. We suggest taking a look at your demographic data to see if anything is different for 2021. If you reached a new audience in 2020, keep them engaged this year by developing content strategies and landing pages to target their needs. It also wouldn’t hurt to refresh your keyword landscape to see if searches match up to previous years, and give you more steer on where your focus should be in 2021.

PAID MEDIA.

Tailor as much to the customer as possible. RSA, DSA, Dynamic Display – there are now so many options available that can make the experience better for the customer. To do this, understand your audience and their journey. Embrace a diversification of channels and platforms. Every angle serves a purpose when trying to influence customers throughout their journey.

Start utilising customer story creatives (user generated content) to create a more immersive, standout experience that appeals to those with a strong emotional shopping connection.

This is just like how a lot of brands these days use influencer-led creative for that human touch.

Bring in more first party data! The impact of Covid on the high street has seen people flood online, but the competition has increased too. Consequently, the space is becoming crowded so every ounce of value needs to be found. If customers fit a profile that works then you need to be present and maximise the opportunity. This includes understanding and incorporating lifetime value, the value of a new acquisition vs. a returning customer, as a start then factoring these all into your strategy. Google has already added in the capacity to split bidding strategies based on new customers vs. returning ones and if you don’t take advantage of this (soon!) then you will be left behind.

Take advantage of Amazon advertising. It’s growing fast and has far less uptake than other channels. There is a huge opportunity for product owners to benefit from an unparalleled audience that is ready to buy.

DATA.

Invest the effort into joining up the online and offline customer journeys. Our research projects have shown us that customers spend a lot more when they’re engaged both on and offline. The first step is in identifying how customers flick between these channels in the first place. This would open the door, not only to better marketing attribution but better strategies for speaking to customers because we know their real lifetime value and whether or not they’re new to a brand.

CONTENT.

B2C has seen immense growth, and the role of content shouldn’t necessarily change this year compared to last. Be helpful was the mantra of 2020 and it’ll still stay the same in 2021. Offer value or convenience even if your competitor has undercut your pricing and delivery (cough cough Amazon). Building brand love is a hard journey, but it’s worth the investment. The more mental shortcuts you can build in the decision making process the better, it’s how our brains work.

THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO.

SEO.

Don’t keep working with a clunky CMS – it could be holding you back. Doing a migration could unlock your site’s maximum potential. If you do decide to migrate, make SEO a top priority, we’ve seen so many times where businesses need help recovering the traffic lost from a poorly managed move.

On that note, please don’t push SEO site development requests to the bottom of the queue, we promise it’ll have a noticeable impact on your organic performance.

PAID MEDIA.

Stop focusing too much on last click attribution or judging channels in isolation. More people are online and each one is online more than ever. Every aspect of a purchase journey is more frequent, not just the final purchase, and consequently each phase needs to be understood and valued properly. For example, Instagram ads are unlikely to lead to an instant purchase of £300 trainers, but that does not mean activity was wasted. Often the customer will see the ad, and then go on a secondary journey to check reviews, compare prices, consider size availability and look for more product photos before then committing and converting via PPC.

DATA.

Don’t rely solely on single search platforms for success. Our proprietary search intelligence tool, SERP Real Estate, has shown us that SERPs are becoming heavily informational even for commercial and transactional terms, including in-line YouTube video recommendations. This means you’ll want to think about how your brand looks on Wikipedia, as well as the type of video content associated with the types of terms you’re targeting. Not to mention the advent of Google Organic shopping in 2020 which opens up Google shopping for companies with smaller ad budgets in 2021.

CONTENT.

Stop hoarding your first party data, share it with your content teams both in-house and agency side. The insights into customer journeys and purchase blockers are priceless. While you’re at it, expose the trials and tribulations of your sales team to your content team. They’re making content to help the business and a great place to start is to create content that helps your staff do their jobs, ultimately helping the bottom line.

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We’re a multi award-winning, digital growth agency who move fast, work smart and deliver insanely great results. If you’d like to find out how we can power your marketing performance, get in touch.

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