2020 is here. It’s fun to reflect on the fact that classic “future” movies included years that have already expired. Back to the Future 2 was so very close to predicting that my beloved Chicago Cubs would win the World Series in 2015, and they won in 2016. We did not have robots in 2005 like “Bicentennial Man” predicted either. My car doesn’t fly. A quick caveat, I still find “Roombas” slightly “Jetson-esque” but that’s beside the point. Despite outlandish futuristic films falling short, it is truly amazing that I am constantly connected to the world. As we enter the new decade, my expectation both as a consumer and digital marketing professional is that businesses small and large are plugged in too.

As we are firmly gripped in “The Digital Age,” consumers with disposable income are now those who grew up utilizing the internet and social media. Products and services that once did not require the internet to establish and grow their business are now dependent. For example, lawyers are only recently seeing the true impact a strong Digital Marketing campaign can have on their bottom line. Check out “Cost Per Click” prices for attorneys across Google PPC campaigns. They’re unreal. Businesses dependent on referrals lean on their website to convey their credibility to potential clients. I booked a hotel, rental car, and flight today all from my phone and never once talked to a human being. 

And while that might seem terrifying, the reality is the same. If your business hasn’t gone digital, the time is now. The internet will only become more expansive in our day to day lives, and the way we use that network will continue to evolve. 

One of our strengths at Alter Endeavors is creating the strategy, assets, and campaigns that help clients, who previously had no need to go digital, completely transform their business. Here are three things we express to our clients right from the beginning:

1) You won’t get far without great imagery.

We don’t shop online with our brains. We shop online with our eyes and our emotions. Within seconds, we make decisions online. Our goal at Alter Endeavors is to keep people on your site longer than the standard three seconds, however, consumers will base their decision on whether to stay or go on three things in that time period: 

  • Do I trust the brand?
  • Do I feel connected to the brand? (Does it have a compelling story?)
  • How will this purchase improve my life?

Strong imagery is paramount for any digital campaign. Facebook and Instagram ads can have more sway over buyers than ever before, but only if there is some familiarity or connection with the brand. The latter is only possible with strong brand imagery — be that photography, graphics, or video. This is especially true for products at a higher price point. I’ll risk $20 on a brand I’ve never heard of, but without strong visual assets, no way am I spending more than $100 on a product. 

2) If it’s not easy to buy, people won’t do it.

This one seems straightforward but it’s worth repeating and exemplifying. It’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus on “why” someone should buy your product, but considering the “how” is equally important. If it takes longer than 5 seconds to reach checkout, personally, I won’t follow through and purchase the product. I challenge you to visit your own website and see if within 5 seconds you feel you’re not only compelled to engage, but also see a clear path to do so. Better yet, ask your child to do the same. Kids have grown up in “The Digital Age” and their expectations of a website are far higher in regards to user experience than you or I (this is my opinion, but I’ll gladly defend it in the comments if you feel inclined to disagree). 

Don’t forget that if you have an e-commerce site, the “how” also includes customer follow-up such as purchase confirmations and shipping notifications. As of 2018, 96% of Americans have made one online purchase in their life. Once they purchase a product on your site, how easy is it to contact you with further questions? Do they feel secure enough to repeat business with your brand? 

3) Here’s proof that social media works.

It’s easier to explain this with a story, so I’ll do just that. 

I have been craving Italian food. I love to cook, and I make a mean brown butter sauce, but I’m specifically craving tortellini which is not a pasta I am particularly adept at cooking. So today I decided we would find a new local restaurant. I followed the hashtag “tortellini” on Instagram and viewed the website of 5 different restaurants. I followed each account and went through their photos. I specifically went to a social platform looking to buy, followed content that would help me decide in an educated manner and was influenced by strong brand imagery, storyline, and ease of information. 

I understand restaurants are low hanging fruit, but the real point of that story is our purchase behavior online. We expected the brand we would “convert” with to have a strong presence on social. We expected to be able to find a wealth of quality images, engaging content, and that we would quickly find their platforms. I literally took one off the list because I could not figure out whether or not the social platform was actually the restaurant I was looking for. 

A strong Social Media campaign has the potential to increase customer acquisition but it needs to be done right. If your brand doesn’t have an overall strategy that is both consistent and engaging, then you likely won’t see the benefit.

This applies to your website as well. Our goal is to create the conversation on social media, then create the environment to convert on your platform – aka your website. If your website messaging doesn’t support the messaging you’re creating via social media, you immediately create a disconnect with your customers. A strong social media campaign should align with your brand and dictate the content and user flow on your website. Put simply, our most successful social media ad campaigns drive users to specific pages or specific objectives. 

Yes, 2020 is here.

Maybe you felt some strain in 2019. Maybe your business suddenly plateaued. Or maybe you embraced the writing on the wall and it was your most successful year ever. Regardless, the year 2020 is the year you need to go Digital – don’t leave your business in the last decade.