There’s no doubt that businesses have had a rough couple of years. And while we aren’t out of the woods yet in terms of public health, you’ll have to forge ahead if you want your brand to thrive.

Fortunately, there are ways to connect with your customers without the need for physical interaction. Digital marketing has become essential for businesses in recent years, but especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The need for digital marketing remains, but this area is ever-evolving. That makes it tough for even experienced SEO professionals to know where to focus their efforts.

With a brand new year upon us, it’s time to plan out your 2022 marketing strategy. Here are just some of the elements you’ll want to include to make an even greater impact.

Diversify Your Approach

One of the most important things to remember when building your 2022 marketing strategy is to diversify. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket.

In the past, you may have found one type of content or a certain distribution channel worked better than others. While that may still be true, that line of thinking can hold your brand back.

Not only can this limit the audience you’re able to reach, but it can also be problematic in the event of a major update or disruption. If Google changes its search algorithm or a widespread server outage impacts the main marketing platforms you use, you might be out of luck without a backup plan.

Developing a more holistic approach to your marketing is just plain smart. Under ideal circumstances, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience of potential customers. And if the worst should occur, you’ll still be able to drive traffic and sales to your site without too much of a setback.

Basically, you shouldn’t discount any aspect of digital marketing. Even if it’s brand new territory for you, it could make all the difference – but you’ll never know until you try.

Rather than relying on just one or two methods, research what your competitors are doing and fill in the gaps when developing your 2022 marketing strategy. Ultimately, taking a multi-pronged approach to marketing will almost certainly yield better results.

Make It Personal

Personalization has been big for the last several years, but you’d be surprised by how many brands are ignoring this small-but-impactful shift.

According to statistics compiled by Forbes:

  • 91% of shoppers are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized offers and relevant recommendations
  • 72% of consumers will engage only with personalized messaging from a brand
  • 63% of customers will stop buying from brands that don’t follow the best practices for personalization
  • 71% of shoppers feel frustrated when their buying experience feels impersonal

In other words, it doesn’t always pay to appeal to the masses. You need to create and nurture a genuine connection with your customers if you want them to stick around.

In order to do this, you need to know your customers. The more you learn about them, the better equipped you’ll be to provide them with the information, products, and services they’re really looking for.

Aside from nailing down your buyer personas, you’ll also need to gather pertinent data from your website visitors to provide them with better recommendations.

There are a lot of great ways to gather this information. Newsletter sign-ups, webinar enrollments, surveys, customer profiles, and purchase history can provide you with a treasure trove of intel that can help you personalize your marketing just for those customers.

One important caveat here: you shouldn’t rely on third-party cookies to acquire information. Google has already announced that it plans to phase out this feature within the next year or two for the sake of user privacy. Making the switch to first-party cookies can allow you to gather this data yourself while still protecting your website visitors’ online experiences.

Once you have more information about your customers, you can pivot your content marketing strategy to include those customers, send out tailor-made email blasts, and serve more relevant ads online.

Utilize Local Listings

Local SEO is more important than ever, especially for small business owners. If you’re looking for a way to reach customers in your community in the coming year, you need to add local SEO to your 2022 marketing strategy.

There are a number of different ways to optimize your site for local search, including the use of geographic keywords or terms like “near me.” But you’ll also want to head off-site to connect with consumers in your area.

Local listings websites can be an excellent way to raise your online profile, improve your reputation, and drive both traffic and sales. Local listings directories or citation websites are fairly easy to use and can increase your overall web visibility and authority.

There are several local listings platforms you should consider, including Yelp, Yahoo! Local, Facebook, Foursquare, the Better Business Bureau, and Google Business Profile. GBP (formerly known as Google My Business) is one of the most impactful, as it’s free and can make a huge difference in your visibility in SERPs. You’ll also want to consider listing your business in other directories that are relevant to your industry, including Angi, Thumbtack, Zillow, TripAdvisor, The Knot, HomeAdvisor, and many more.

To make things even easier, you can use a service like Yext PowerListings to add your business information across multiple platforms at once. Using a white label SEO company like Semify to handle your clients’ local listings can further streamline the process (and make these services even more affordable) while eliminating the possibility of inconsistent or duplicate listings.

Manage Your Reviews

These days, most consumers believe in the power of online reviews. In fact, most customers will give just as much weight to these reviews from strangers as they would recommendations from friends and family. Almost 80% of customers say they trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations!

Without online reviews for your business, customers will have a more difficult time trusting you. And where there’s a lack of trust, you’ll also find a lack of sales.

Not having enough reviews doesn’t necessarily mean you’re providing a poor customer experience. Consumers are far more likely to leave a review when they’ve had a negative encounter with your brand than a generally positive one. But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to have a non-existent review presence.

As part of your 2022 marketing strategy, you’ll want to include online review generation and management. This effort needs to be consistent if you want to heighten your brand perception and overall awareness.

You can start by asking customers to leave a review on a specific platform, like Facebook or Google Business Profile. Let them know what a difference their review can make and send out a direct link that will allow them to quickly share their thoughts.

Alternatively, you could use a software platform or outsourced service to increase your online reviews. Automating this process can help you obtain reviews without a whole lot of effort. Plus, these methods can often be more effective than a DIY approach.

Whatever technique you use to acquire more reviews, make sure you’re doing your part to manage them. You should never ignore a review, whether it’s positive or negative. Make sure to respond within a day or two and seize the opportunity to show off your brand values and dedication to customer service. Never take reviews personally. Remember: prospective customers will care more about how you respond to a review than the review itself!

If you’re able to increase your online reviews, you’ll generally increase your visibility in search results – which means more traffic and more sales for your business. Customers won’t be as hesitant to take a leap of faith on a company that has a lot of satisfied customers.

One word of warning, however. Most people won’t trust the authenticity of a brand that has only five-star reviews on these platforms. Research conducted by Northwestern found that the ideal rating ranges from 4.2 to 4.5 out of 5 stars. The majority of customers will perceive five-star reviews as too good to be true and, therefore, less trustworthy. Buyers understand that negative reviews will happen – and in many cases, they can actually be a good thing for your brand, providing you handle them correctly.

Prioritize User Experience

Your 2022 marketing strategy shouldn’t only cover your keyword selection or ad campaigns. You also need to ensure that your website provides a positive user experience across the board.

Google has emphasized the importance of UX with recent updates, including its Page Experience update that finally rolled out this past summer. While the effects of that algorithm update may have been mildly overblown, according to some SEO experts, the principles covered will continue to serve as important ranking factors moving forward.

The reality is this: you can optimize your site all you want. But if the site itself is frustrating to use, it really won’t matter. Customers will simply leave and look elsewhere for solutions.

As you develop your digital marketing strategy for 2022, don’t dismiss the importance of user experience on your website. At a bare minimum, you should ensure your site is mobile-friendly and accessible on all devices. Your site should also be fast, secure, and easy to navigate.

When in doubt, look to the Core Web Vitals. These newer metrics can tell you a lot about your site’s performance and whether you’re unknowingly creating problems for your customers.

A responsive and speedy website is essential to attract customers and to get the most out of your 2022 marketing strategy. It really is that simple – and you can’t afford to skip this step.

Embrace Video Marketing

Video content is one of the fastest growing areas in digital marketing. Brands that don’t get onboard will miss out big time.

A recent Wyzowl survey illustrates the power of online video marketing. Users watch an average of 16 hours of video online every week, with 84% of research participants saying they’ve been convinced to purchase a product or service after watching a brand’s video. It’s no wonder that 86% of businesses used video marketing in 2021.

Video marketing can seem intimidating at first, but you don’t necessarily need a fully equipped sound stage to create compelling video content. You can hire an animator, graphic designer, ad agency, or outsourced service to create videos for your brand that you can share on your website, in emails, and on social media platforms.

Video has become even more pivotal during the pandemic. At a time when in-person events are deemed too risky, webinars, video events, and even short-form video content (like TikToks and Instagram Reels) allow customers to connect with brands in ways they might not otherwise experience.

When building your 2022 marketing strategy, make sure to factor in video marketing. Start by creating an inside look at your brand or new products you have on the horizon. Help customers get to know you and provide answers to their problems. Share something entertaining, unique, or helpful. You don’t have to be an aspiring filmmaker to create compelling video content that converts.

Don’t forget to add an optimized transcription for your videos! Not only will this make your content more accessible, but it’ll also help potential customers find it online.

Consider Using AI

Artificial intelligence is a touchy subject for some business owners, as they might be afraid to relinquish control or hesitant to give the impression of replacing human workers with robots.

We need to rethink the way we regard AI. Instead of using it as a substitute for human interaction, reframe it as a way to supplement.

In many cases, AI can help you get more out of your marketing efforts. When resources are stretched too thin, artificial intelligence can streamline processes, remove redundancies, and alleviate mistakes.

When you use artificial intelligence as part of your site’s chatbot program or to automate your online ad bidding, you can actually help your staff succeed while achieving better results. Your team doesn’t have to waste time on mundane tasks, nor do you have to hire in-house to cover those processes. Instead, your employees can concentrate on the other aspects of your marketing strategy that need a personal, human touch – and AI can fill in the gaps.

You shouldn’t necessarily rely on AI for certain essential processes, as it can definitely remove the human connection that customers want to build with brands. But when developing your 2022 marketing strategy, you may want to consider where automation and AI can help your brand achieve your goals.

Optimize For Voice

The jury is still out on the true impact of voice-powered search. It’s been a hot topic over the past couple of years and is certainly becoming more prevalent. Although some underplay its importance, we’d recommend that you cover your bases and err on the side of caution.

Undeniably, voice searches are more popular than they used to be. According to Backlinko, 65% of consumers aged 25 to 49 say they talk to their voice-enabled devices each day, while 21% of respondents in a recent survey said they performed voice searches weekly.

Why? Because hands-free searches are much more convenient and capture a sense of urgency among consumers. That means there’s a lot of buying power that you could be ignoring if you fail to optimize for voice search.

This won’t require a drastic overhaul of your approach; you’ll just want to add or consider a few extra details. Long-tail and location-based keywords, FAQ pages, and schema markup can all increase your visibility in voice search results.

Since mobile customers are more likely to use voice search technology, think of voice SEO as an extension of your local SEO strategy. Those who use voice-powered search are typically looking for quick, nearby solutions, so don’t squander the opportunity to reach these customers.

Build Authoritative Backlinks

We know that building quality backlinks for your site can increase your chances of appearing in search results. Your on-site SEO matters, but so does what you do off-site.

Earlier this year, we asked, “should you buy backlinks for SEO?” While the answer to this isn’t always straightforward, most experts agree that it’s better to acquire high-quality, relevant backlinks organically.

Having a link-building strategy is still crucial in 2022, but your approach may differ from previous years. Instead of focusing on quantity, you’ll want to zero in on quality. Make sure the links you receive are from authoritative websites that are relevant to your business and audience.

You’ll also want to build a diverse backlink profile that represents a healthy mix of no-follow and do-follow links, different types of anchor text, and various types of placements. Check out Backlinko’s guide for an even more in-depth look at link-building.

Get Active on LinkedIn

Having a social media presence is a must for your brand. Even if you aren’t getting a ton of leads and traffic from certain platforms, you at least need to maintain an active presence to maintain a sense of legitimacy and connect with customers.

LinkedIn is one of the most important social media platforms for businesses in 2022. Whether you’re looking for qualified candidates to fill open positions or you’re on the lookout for leads, the way you position yourself on LinkedIn matters.

The platform is growing rapidly and is uniquely positioned at a time when the public’s distaste for Facebook (and Meta) is increasing. According to HootSuite, it’s actually the most trusted social networking platform in the country. And if you’re able to establish yourself as an industry leader on LinkedIn, your brand will most certainly benefit.

Unlike other social networking sites, LinkedIn is really all about business. Users go there in order to connect with others in a professional way. So it makes sense that LinkedIn should play a part in your marketing strategy for the new year.

Not sure where to start? Begin by connecting with others in your community and your industry. Share your insights, engage with others’ posts, and publish new content frequently. There’s a whole science to LinkedIn marketing, but at the very least, you’ll want to make it easy for customers and collaborators to find your business (and to find you as a business owner) on the platform. If you give them a reason to follow, you’ll be on your way to improving your brand recognition and perception.

We Can Help You Build a Better 2022 Marketing Strategy

Your business deserves to have an impactful and effective digital marketing strategy. We know it’s not easy to keep up with evolving trends in technology or to execute these plans on your own. Whether you’re looking to promote your own agency or you need a better plan of action for your clients, we’re here to help. To learn more about joining our white label SEO reseller program, get in touch with our team today.