The success of prospecting in 2022 depends on at least two factors. The first one is the personalized and timely offer, and the second one is the channel through which your potential buyers receive it. This article will focus on the latter and consider the top digital marketing trends of 2022. Among them are:
- Voice search
- Zero-click search (featured snippets)
- VR (Virtual Reality) /AR (Augmented Reality)
- Micro-moment marketing
- Conversational marketing, and others.
Top 12 Digital Marketing Trends 2022
Brands need to be aware of the top digital marketing trends to stay competitive ahead of the curve. Check these twelve marketing trends from Belkins, one of the US's top lead-generation and appointment-setting companies. They will help you grow brand awareness, generate high-quality leads, and build rapport with your audience.
1) Voice Search
For the past couple of years, many people have switched to using voice assistants to ask Google anything. And you're probably one of those who prefer having their hands free instead of tapping the smartphone keyboards when searching for answers. That's why this digital marketing trend is also called "screenless internet."
Obviously, the shift to voice search impacts the approach to SEO optimization. Dictated search queries are longer and more precise, but what does it mean to digital marketers? The problem is that voice queries are transcribed anyway, so for Google, they look like regular (typed) search requests. So, unfortunately, separating the two isn't yet possible.
This means that marketers need to add long-tail keywords and even entire sentences while optimizing for SEO. It's also good to think over related questions that users can ask. This will help embrace possible variations of queries. It's necessary to think over simple-language patterns which people use to look for your products, services, and information. It will let you determine voice commands that can take your website to the top of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Also, voice queries are usually used for searching local businesses. So hairdressers, car washes, restaurants, and similar companies need to optimize their descriptions and web pages' content to let potential clients find them.
Tips on Optimizing for Voice Queries
- Create a profile in Google My Business. This instrument is a treasure for businesses of all sizes as this directory's information is used to answer local voice-driven queries. So providing accurate data and quality pictures will help potential clients know about your company.
- Do the data markup on your website. Incorporating schemas and data markups on your website will help structure the information and make it more understandable for machines. This will result in better visibility and a higher ranking of your internet pages.
- Use NLP (Natural Language Processing) APIs. Such software will help you see how machines treat your content and make it sound more natural. This way, voice searchers will be able to "reply" with your web page to relevant queries.
2) Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing remains among the trends in 2022, too, as it's still super-effective. More than half of the existing brands use influencer marketing in some form. And if you're still not among them, it's time to start growing brand awareness and sales with it.
However, finding a popular blogger from your niche who boasts thousands of followers belonging to your target audience isn't an easy and quick task. Moreover, you need to find an influencer ready to collaborate and accept your conditions.
Why Influencer Marketing Stays Popular
The number of social media users grows, and so does the number of opinion leaders. Though most bloggers grow their popularity by working hard, some TikTokers or Instagram users grow their audience by sharing their life moments.
Staying open to subscribers is a good tactic since it helps bloggers gain trust. This trust is translated into more closed deals for you because this audience will most probably buy recommended products.
Many agencies offer cooperation to famous bloggers and standardize influencer marketing for businesses. They also know how to optimize the promotional and advertising activities quickly, so turning to such intermediaries makes sense. Such agencies monitor marketing trends and have hundreds of existing and new influencers ready to collaborate. This way, agents allow companies to focus on other business tasks.
3) Email Marketing
Email marketing doesn't belong to the latest digital marketing trends, but it is one of the most effective online marketing tools. That's because users don't feel obliged to open and read emails immediately. Moreover, they have time to check a company's social media profile and its representatives, check reviews, case studies, and some feedback.
The success of email campaigns depends on the quality of your email list. So, when using zero-party data (received from questionnaires, customer profiles, or pop-ups) and first-party data (obtained from subscriptions, purchasing history, on-site browsing), make sure that these users agree to receive promotional emails from you.
However, buying business leads from third parties can take your email campaign to spam and even block your domain. Also, it's vital to comply with data privacy requirements and keep your contacts' personal information secure. This means you can never pass it to other people or entities. The main rules for treating PII (Personally Identifiable Information) in Europe and the USA are GDPR (General Data Protection and Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act).
Personalization is the key to making your cold emails successful. However, after Google announced that it would restrict third-party cookies in 2020, companies started using alternative tools to research relevant trigger events. Those usually include recent likes, reposts, publications, joining relevant groups, corporate events, etc.
When a recipient sees a subject with congratulations on obtaining the CFO position in company X, it's hard to ignore such an email. That's because people like sharing their success with others. But on the other hand, marketers need to balance being personal and well-informed, so their prospects don't think that lead researchers spy on them.
4) Social Media Marketing
Social media remains an important and influential way of reaching potential clients for many businesses. So both B2C and B2B social media marketing have reserved their place among the digital marketing trends this year.
your business profile humanizes your company and becomes a new persona across the virtual worlds of the internet.
This way, your brand can build relationships with every existing or future customer. And your B2B social media marketing identity will impact every interaction with prospects. Moreover, your audience may help you get valuable insights and recommendations. And, of course, each connection or friend is a lead that can one day become a buyer.
After browsing the products on Instagram, users know that they can follow the tap link and go to the company's website. From there, they add items to their cart and make payments. However, some businesses use social networks to sell products directly. This means that after interacting with a brand and checking the product's features on a social network, users can check out right on the page of a company's social media account.
How Successful Are Your Social Media Activities?
Businesses need to answer several questions before launching campaigns on social networks:
- What does my audience prefer? Explore your ideal customer in detail: learn which platforms and content your target audience prefers, check its interests and preferences.
- Which content strategy meets my prospects' requirements? Estimate how frequently your subscribers will read your posts, what topics they like more, and what you want them to feel after reading your publications.
- Which metrics will measure my performance best? You probably use Google Analytics to analyze the behavior of your website visitors. Choose similar metrics here and check how to measure them.
5) Video Marketing
You can skyrocket growing traffic to your website and let more potential clients know about your brand by making marketing videos. Younger users and adults often prefer video format and enjoy watching videos from smartphones and tablets. So, if you're not yet leveraging this type of content to promote your products or services, it's time to join the video marketing trend.
Whether it will be a short clip in TikTok, Instagram reels, a brief story in Meta, a video stream of a podcast episode on YouTube, or a webinar in Zoom — make sure it is high-quality and relevant. Will your video marketing strategy be focused on entertaining, educating, or demonstrating your corporate values?
Or will these clips show how people feel when using your products, or will they demonstrate the benefits they get? Whichever way meets your digital marketing strategy, keep in mind that video content helps to:
- Grow sales
- Increase website traffic
- Improve brand awareness.
That's because catchy and relevant videos on various platforms stand out, address social media users more personally, and help potential clients know your product better.
If you plan to get started with this type of marketing, remember that shooting and editing high-quality videos requires investment. So you'll need to buy some equipment and hire an in-house team of 2-4 people. Also, this team will need to cooperate with your content marketing manager closely.
These employees will schedule the content plan, write scripts, communicate with the participants, consider technical and administrative issues — there's a lot of work to do before the actual shooting. Then they will start recording videos, selecting soundtracks, adding visual effects, and editing the film. Another important thing is to choose the right metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of promoting your brand with videos.
6) Content Marketing
Content marketing stays on the list of digital marketing trends in 2022. Companies can attract high-quality leads with content, nurture prospects, and motivate them to make a purchase. Content marketing is also known as inbound marketing since it attracts customers instead of reaching out to them. The proactive approach is referred to as outbound marketing, and both of them are invaluable for the company's overall success.
The main content features are the delivered information's value, relevancy, and consistency. And only high-quality content can attract high-quality leads.
If the first things coming to your mind when you hear the word "content" are blog posts, website home pages, descriptions, and other pieces of text, be advised that it's only some part of it. Videos, audio files, infographics, images, GIFs, social media ads, banners, text, and any combination can be content.
Today, no business can grow without good content. And when a company is new, its founder or managing director can craft short posts for social media, share some video content, and even write blog posts. However, it's always better to approach content-related marketing tasks professionally and delegate them to specialists from the very beginning. This way, the CEO will focus on making strategic decisions while the content team does its job.
A Dedicated Content Team
According to marketing trends, your team of content creators can consist of four people and include the following roles:
- A content manager. The critical responsibilities of a content manager are orchestrating the whole team's efforts and ensuring that every process is organized. This professional also needs to track and analyze the performance of the team.
- A content writer. This specialist will have to conduct deep research on the topic and share the core information with readers. Writers can craft nearly everything –- from detailed long reads to catchy Instagram posts.
- A content designer. Except for required tech skills, designers are artists who create. These people need to craft images and design various content pieces, following the brand style guide.
- A content editor. This role requires basic skills in every stage of content creation. Among them are checking grammar and tone of voice, preparing images for uploading to CMS (Content Management System), and sometimes moderating comments!
Seasoned companies with significant marketing budgets can also afford to hire a chief content manager. This person will be responsible for top-level tasks like aligning sales and marketing efforts, setting annual and quarterly goals, aligning the content with the business strategy, etc.
7) Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing helps businesses engage potential customers in conversations. Cold outreach emails or digital advertising on social media are examples of one-way communication. And real-time dialogue with your website visitors allows for two-way interaction.
That's why marketing through talking or messaging with a sales rep becomes more effective and engaging. Moreover, connecting to your prospects through the channel they prefer, and at the moment they need it, allows growing trust in your brand. In addition, building a rapport becomes more accessible and faster.
And this means that through the dialogue-driven marketing strategy, your sales team can convert leads into customers instantly. For this purpose, your reps can use popular messengers, social media platforms, chatbots, phone calls, or SMS.
How It Works
The key stages of a conversational marketing approach include:
- Starting communication with a website visitor. When a popping-up welcoming chatbot window appears, you tell the potential customers that you value them and are ready to assist right away. The prerogative of such chatbots is that they use machine learning algorithms to process queries so they can help people 24/7.
- Understanding users' needs. With relevant questions, Artificial Intelligence behind the chatbot identifies at which part of the buyer's journey visitors now are. Do they only try to learn more about your brand or have issues with payment? Or do users want to make sure they get a discount or want to return the product for some reason?
- Qualifying the lead and closing the deal. With the series of questions, chatbots do the pre-qualification of the leads and, once needed, forward them to call center operators or sales managers. These specialists assess which sales funnel stage leads belong to and start nurturing them or closing the deal.
Positive customer experience is critical for any business and product type. And a dialogue-driven approach is a great way to keep potential customers happy.
8) Mobile Marketing
Marketing through mobiles and tablets is among the top lead-generating digital marketing activities. In the mobile-first era, smartphones have become the primary instrument for interaction with the digital world. But communicating with your audience through social media, emails, Google ads, smart bidding, etc., requires a connection to the internet and basic digital skills. In comparison, SMS and MMS service, together with offline apps, don't.
Mobile-focused approach to marketing allows for embracing more potential customers within a longer period. For example, older people may not have an account on any social media platform or messenger. They even can live without Gmail. And if they join the virtual world of social networks, they can still switch off any notifications.
This means having no rapport and real-time interaction with potential clients for many marketers, which translates into lost leads and money. But we usually keep the SMS or MMS delivery on, so these services make us available nearly 24/7. And there's a high chance that you'll read or at least preview the first sentence before deleting the message.
Requirements for Using Mobile Service for Growing Traffic
Before forwarding potential clients to your landing page or website, make sure these resources are ready for this. Here are the key features it needs to possess:
- It has to be quickly downloadable and responsive. Does it take five seconds for your website to download? Don't CTA buttons forward you to the action-taking page immediately? Are some links inaccurate? You need to make your web page shine.
- It has to be optimized for all mobile browsers and devices. When pictures overlay the text, the font is too big or too small, or your prospect needs to move the scroll box to read the product description, you lose a lead.
Benefits of Marketing through Mobiles
Now onto the benefits: let's summarize the two advantages of the mobile-first approach in marketing.
- It embraces audiences between 10 and 90. Almost everyone has a mobile, so the audience of SMS recipients is much larger than your promotional email lists.
- It boasts higher open rates. If we can delete or move to spam an email or a direct message, you probably won't do that with an SMS or an MMS. However, don't make them too long or big.
9) Micro-Moment Marketing
Micro-moment marketing works when you suddenly decide to eat pizza and open Google Search to find the nearest pizzeria. The digital marketing industry now distinguishes the usual search intent and an immediate (micro-moment) one. And mobile-first experience has a significant impact on micro-moment-driven searching as it is done from smartphones and tablets.
According to Google, the micro-moment queries fall into four categories. People search for the following:
- Information to know
- Things to do
- Places to go
- Products to buy.
And users expect immediate answers from search engines. For instance, with a "Croissants cafe" input in your iPhone search console, you mean "Give me the list of the nearest cafes where they make croissants." That's the example of the micro-moment classified as "I-want-to-go." So, the requirements for digital marketers grow as they have to optimize the information about their business for micro-moment queries.
Deeper Understanding of Micro-Moment Marketing
Micro-moment search intent is the beginning of your customer's journey and an ideal time to appear on the top of other brands in search results. But to communicate with your potential clients effectively, you'll have to learn some basic things. But above all, you need to:
- Have the information ready and optimized. The data about your business needs to be complete, correct, relevant, updated, and SEO-optimized. You can use Google Analytics for such optimization. So, make sure there are no old pictures, outdated information, inaccurate addresses, etc.
- Include only relevant and helpful data. Since we are all super busy these days, no one has time to read wordy descriptions, non-informative feedback, and reviews. Help your potential customers get exactly what they want.
- Deliver your offer quickly. Even a brilliantly crafted digital business card, a proposal with recent information, or a shining website can stay unnoticed. This happens because of poor content optimization, so the search engines don't rate it high enough.
Offer the Shortest Route to Solution
Each business owner wants to share as many details about offered services or products as possible. But every potential client needs to find the relevant content as quickly as possible.
Try to shorten your users' paths to the solutions they need — by making a minimal number of clicks.
For example, you can offer checking-out with one click from your online shop. And since a website is one of the primary marketing tools, make sure that it uses advanced technologies and responds to users' queries almost immediately. Impressive design, logical structure, aligned text, and clear CTAs (Call To Action) are must-have elements that help your business lead generation.
10) Zero Position Searches by Google (Featured Snippets)
We like getting answers quickly, and Google lets us have them without clicking through search engine result pages. Earlier, we opened the first organic search result below several related ads. But now, definitions and relevant data appear at the top of the Google search holding the so-called "Position 0" or featured snippets.
Internet users are happy to have the Zero Position spot because it gives them instant and precise answers. And depending on the query you input into the Google Search Console, the snippet can include lists, graphs, images, and other helpful data. For example, if you ask how to do something, search engines will return the numbered list of steps.
When you need Google to explain a term, you get the definition. And for the "top 3 cookie brands,'' a list of those three will appear. Google even answers the questions you're only going to pose with its "People Also Ask" section. And once you need more information on the subject, click the source link below the text. But how do web pages get into the Position Zero box?
Ranking for Featured Snippets
Getting into the featured snippets is challenging but not impossible. The main feature of the text placed in the Zero Position frame is that you can't get this competitive advantage for money, so it doesn't work like Google Ads.
The algorithms include the text from several top organic links, so the good news is that everyone has a chance to appear at the top of the search engine results.
But your marketers will need to analyze the keywords and questions relevant to your topic and industry. It will be a good idea to create the list of queries you want to target, check what snippets already exist for those questions, and analyze your competitors' content. And keep in mind that if your SEO marketing activities won't get you to Position 0, there's still an option to attract business sales leads.
Getting into the "People Also Ask" Section
The idea of optimizing for the "People Also Ask" section is simple: you need to think over the questions that your B2B leads will ask next. However, doing so isn't so straightforward as you need to concentrate your SEO content marketing strategy around those questions. Moreover, testing approaches will help understand which queries appear on the top.
11) Marketing With Virtual And Augmented Reality
Do you think that machine learning and neural networks behind the VR/AR technologies can only be used in gaming and are aimed at younger consumers? Read on to learn a little bit more.
AR in Marketing
You can make the experience of your target customers outstanding and often unique with augmented reality. That's why many brands incorporate this technology into their sales and marketing campaigns. The possibility to check a product's features before buying is fantastic. For example, AR helps wear new clothes, try makeup, or test-driving a new car — this digital marketing trend is still on its rise.
AR adds text, graphics, and sounds to the real-world picture. This way, companies can grow their brand awareness, personalize the buying process for each prospect, and sell faster. AR won't take you to some new virtual place, as this technology only complements the given reality. Users need to install some apps on their smartphones and leverage interactive experiences right from their mobile devices.
VR in B2B Sales Lead Generation
Virtual reality has nothing to do with the natural environment you're in. VR technologies let you open the doors to the digital world with its surroundings and audio effects. And often, you can use your hands to interact with it. Whether you're playing golf or attending a cocktail party, it's only a fantasy. But this illusion can become a decent marketing tool that brings real revenue.
If you haven't come across VR technologies in sales, it's probably hard to think over exact use cases for prospecting sales leads. And many VR marketing campaigns don't have a direct selling approach. Instead, they can appeal to human feelings and emotions to motivate them to make a purchase. And here are some examples of how companies apply VR and AR.
Examples of Using VR/AR in Sales and Marketing
- Create a cartoon. If you sell goods for kids, an animated film with some story about your brand or appealing messages can be a great way to impress children.
- Shoot a film. Whether you show how great it is to possess your products or tell someone's story, a well-crafted short movie is an excellent instrument for motivation.
- Show a performance. Does your business belong to the fashion industry? Then your potential customers will appreciate seeing the top fashion show as if they sit in the front row.
- Add AR functionality to your business profile on social media or a business card. Or incorporate it into your marketing messages through various channels, or promote your AR offer through relevant apps.
12) Non-Profit And CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Campaigns
Imagine there are two identical products you want to buy. But you know that the first item is produced by a socially responsible company, while the second isn't. You probably choose the first, and this consumer behavior is predictable. People prefer CSR brands because they feel like they also support their community when buying from them.
That's how social change encouragement, fighting against hunger, global warming, health issues, etc., can generate as many business leads as other marketing efforts.
Non-for-profit incentives positively impact the company's image and, in the end, can grow revenues.
It's also important to remember that CSR activities are critical for people of certain ages, especially for Generation Z and millennials. This way, businesses need to conduct their audience research and adapt their marketing strategy to each segment.
That's why you'll need to focus on various aspects of your corporate social activities. For example, this can be a position against job discrimination and harassment expressed on social media channels. Millennials also appreciate ethical attitudes to employees and prefer companies that share the same values.
Skills that Are in High Demand
In 2022, no company can be profitable without an online presence. Having websites, landing pages, and various social media accounts has become the new normal for big organizations and startups. Since the pandemic, the need for professionals with good digital marketing skills has been growing steadily as technologies only evolve. And here are several most popular specialties of digital marketers:
- Social media managers. Americans spend several hours a day on social media. So, finding B2B sales leads there is always among the marketing activities of new and seasoned companies. So, businesses will still need specialists scheduling posts, adding appealing images to the text, creating catchy hashtags, and managing ad campaigns.
- SEO specialists. Search Engine Optimization is the key to growing traffic to your website. But in 2022, SEO goes far beyond adding keywords and getting to the top of Google's first page. This position assumes collaboration with the content team, designers, and developers to grow conversions.
- Digital marketing analysts. Assessing digital marketing strategy is critical for the successful operation of your company. And today, there are plenty of tools powered by Artificial Intelligence that provide your marketing team and C-level executives with smart insights.
- Content marketers. Professional copywriters, editors, designers, and content managers are your company's voice and image. They help create your brand identity and find the right words for your audience.
- Video creators. Almost everyone likes videos, so this is a dynamic, trending, and always-fresh way to connect to your prospects. However, you won't achieve great results with poor-quality videos, so camera operators, scriptwriters, sound producers, and presenters are in demand.
The digital space changes rapidly, and so do digital marketing trends. For marketers, following key tendencies in business lead generation helps fill in the sales funnel and grow revenues. Micro-moment marketing, non-profit activities, influencer marketing, featured snippets, VR/AR marketing, and other effective activities join the list of the key digital marketing trends this year.