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The Australian Digital Marketing Strategy Guide 2022

The Future Health of Your Business Relies on Great Marketing

For as long as I’ve been writing about marketing, I’ve talked about how critical a great marketing strategy is to ensure the future health of your business. After all, marketing plays a huge role in determining the future demand for your offering. And when demand for your offering is low, so too are your sales and profit.

At this point, we all know that marketing is an investment, not an expense. History has proven that those who market their businesses aggressively during tough times will reap the benefits during good times in the form of increased market share.

Once again, the past 12 months have shown that, for some businesses, options were limited with lockdowns having negative impacts. That said, many industries and businesses enjoyed a strong year despite, or even as a direct result of changes in consumer behaviour.

To those who were unable to maintain or increase their marketing spend over the past year, all is not lost. Now is the time to start chasing down those of your competitors who used marketing to break away from the pack in the past 12 months. It’s never too late to get moving.

I encourage you as a marketer or a business owner to continue learning from history. You need to keep your marketing efforts front and center whilst navigating your way through what has become a very unpredictable world.

All the best,

James Lawrence

PS. I’ve included a special offer for readers of this guide. If you’re interested, you’ll find it at the end.

Chapter 1: Marketing Strategy and the Big Picture in 2022

What You Need To Know To Ensure Your
Marketing Plan Has Solid Foundations.

1. Myth Busted: Digital Marketing is Not as Measurable as You Think

The rise of digital brought with it a belief that all marketing activities could now be measured. Gone was the slogan, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don't know which half". With this came an obsession with hard metrics like cost per click, cost per lead and cost per sale. For some marketers, things have moved so far that they won’t invest in activities they cannot measure.

One of the scariest things we hear when speaking to clients is that they intend to make all of their decisions based on data.

One of the scariest things we hear when speaking to clients is that they intend to make all of their decisions based on data. That's because digital marketing has a dirty little secret: marketing data has serious issues and limitations and used poorly will deliver us far less than we think. Sometimes, it will do as much harm as good.

Attribution Confusion

Even if you understand attribution models, I encourage you to read this short section. Getting this step right is critical to knowing how effective your marketing is. Even more importantly, it’s critical to understanding how to allocate your efforts and budgets.

Attribution, simply explained, is how you credit separate channels, or touchpoints within those channels, for the role they played in a prospect’s path to purchase or goal completion. If people visited your site a single time and then either converted or left for good, attribution would be simple. The channel that drove them to the site, let’s say Google Ads, would be correctly attributed the full value of the purchase or goal.

Attribution is a critical part of making decisions, but you need to know what attribution means for you, keeping the full buyer journey in perspective.

But what happens in the real world, where most paths to purchase are complex and involve multiple visits on possibly multiple devices? Which channel deserves credit? Is it the one that drove them to you in the first place (known as first-click attribution)? Or is it the channel that delivered them to you when they finally reached the goal (known as last-click attribution)? Alternatively, does it make more sense for you to equally value all the channels that drove a particular person to your site prior to them converting (this is called linear attribution)? These are only three of many ways to attribute credit to different marketing channels whenever a goal is reached.

Attribution is a critical part of making decisions but you need to know what attribution means for you, keeping the full buyer journey in perspective. Chances are that your analytics platform is defaulting to a lastclick attribution model.

Ask yourself: How complex is your buyer journey? How likely is it this model undervalues the earlier stages in the buyer journey and over-values the final stage? How is this affecting the way you judge the performance of each channel? What impact is this having on how you set budgets and select future channels?

No One Channel to Rule Them All

As an industry, we've become better at recognising the complexity of the buyer journey, the multiple channels used to target buyers, the reality of multi-device usage and the greater sophistication of remarketing and retargeting.

There's no real silver bullet to developing and changing your digital strategy overnight, and any one tactic alone won't work. A winning strategy is going to include the main channels used by your prospects as part of their buyer journey. For many prospects this includes a combination of organic search, paid search, social, email marketing and display.

Social Media Channels

The complexity of the buyer journey, the use of different devices by individuals and the fluidity with which we move between channels means it is now virtually impossible to measure with certainty the impact of all digital marketing activities. Just because it's data, doesn’t mean it's right.

TASK:

As a first step, take some time to sit down with your team and agree on a small number of metrics that will genuinely give you insight into how your marketing activities are contributing to company profits. Then work backwards to develop and improve campaigns to get those metrics moving in the right direction. But don’t forget, consistency is key, and to start with, keep it simple and sceptical.


Review the channels you're currently investing in and consider introducing smaller campaigns in new channels to support your overarching strategy. For example, check if there is scope to run a generic display retargeting campaign for your website visitors, introduce email marketing, or run a brand-based search campaign.

2. If Data is the ‘New Oil’, a CRM is Your Very Own Refinery

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing your company's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. CRM technology like HubSpot, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics include tools used by sales, customer service and marketing teams and are constantly evolving.

While big companies have known the value of stroing, analysing and drawing insights from customer data, it’s increasingly becoming a must-have for smaller businesses as well.

COVID proved the value of a great CRM

When COVID hit in 2020, it became clear very quickly that businesses which had an up-to-date, extensive and well-segmented database of their customers and prospects had a massive head start in kick-starting their sales compared to those businesses which had to generate new revenue from strangers.

What is the Primary Goal for your Digital Marketing Strategy?
Source: Altimeter Digital Marketing Survey, Q2 2019

Those who simply had a database were at a disadvantage when compared to businesses that had this contact data stored in a system that allowed them to send and track emails, understand who was doing what on their website, and have an up-to-date snapshot of a contact when they were talking to a salesperson.

A CRM became a powerful tool in assisting businesses to drive revenue quickly. It also allowed businesses to pivot into new revenue areas by taking the message quickly and cheaply to existing contacts.

What should a CRM look like?

If you don’t have a database of customers and prospects, or you’re still using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel to manage your database, then it’s high time for an upgrade.

At minimum, you’ll want to choose a tool that brings together your marketing campaigns and sales pipeline into one single customer view.

We use Hubspot in our own marketing. If you’d like to chat to us about how HubSpot might work for you then get in touch. There are numerous other CRMs and marketing automation platforms and the most important thing is to find the one that best suits your needs. Bigger is not always better when it comes to CRMs.

Practical Ways to Use Your Database

Gone are the days where a database was simply used to send bulk emails. An up-to-date database, powered by appropriate technology, can see you doing the following:

  • Sending 1:1 or bulk emails to specific segments of your database. This can be based on demographics, custom field or even behaviour.
  • Uploading your contacts to tools like Google Ads and Facebook to build lookalike audiences. This means those platforms will take your audience and find more people just like your existing contacts to show your ads to.
  • Uploading your contacts to tools like Google Ads and Facebook to build lookalike audiences. This means those platforms will take your audience and find more people just like your existing contacts to show your ads to.
  • Sending targeted SMS messages.
  • Being alerted when contacts take valuable actions on your website (such as viewing a certain number of pages or visiting a key page like a pricing page).
TASK:

Review your databse of prospects and contacts. How extensive is it? Do you currently invest money in maintaining and growing this list? How eaily can you send segmented emails? Or see, at a glance, every interaction a contact as had with your marketing campaigns and salespeople? If your CRM technology does not allow you to take the actions outlined in this section, it's time to investigate the right options for your business.

3. Strong Brands Make More Money

In addition to the need for marketing beyond performance-based campaigns, there is also a strong reason for running brand-focused campaigns. Brand awareness has traditionally been a core goal for marketers with a view to generating positive associations for customers towards their products and services.

There is an argument that marketers need to increase the time and effort spent on activities that introduce people to their brand and supporting them in the early and middle stages of the buyer journey rather than obsessing over strict ROI at the bottom of the funnel. Essentially, aligning marketing efforts (and measurement) with the real-world buyer journey.

Consider the results from a survey of marketers from 2019. 37% said that increasing brand awareness and brand health was the primary goal of their digital marketing strategy. This was followed by an increase in the number of leads. What's not clear to many is that both these goals are highly interrelated. It is significantly easier to generate new leads if your brand is strong.

It is significantly easier to generate new leads if your brand is strong.
The Rise of Messaging with Customers at its Core

In the words of American author and public speaker Donald Miller, brands need to stop playing the hero in the story and instead invite customers into the story.

With social media now an indispensable pillar of digital marketing, Miller’s StoryBrand Framework (and variations thereof) has become pivotal in explaining a business’s value and bringing customers along for the journey with interactive and personalised content.

There remains in 2022 a significant advantage for businesses who re-imagine their message in a way that better explains their value as it is perceived by their prospects. There should be less focus on the brand itself. Instead, communication should tap into the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators driving not only purchasing decisions but also brand-to-customer relationships.

Marrying Brand with Actionable Digital Marketing

You don’t need to overhaul your entire brand to make a profitable change to your digital marketing strategy. One could argue that there is scope to include a range of relatively low-budget, high-return 'brand-based' campaigns that are ’always-on’.

Examples include a brand-focused, value-based display retargeting campaign, via the Google Display Network, targeted towards website visitors. Another one is a brand-focused Google Ads display campaign.

The question about whether it’s worth paying for people searching for your brand via paid ads is a long-standing one. At Rocket we are big fans of these brand campaigns and time and again we’ve seen them deliver strong results. The advantages of such campaigns are:

  • You can control the message searchers see in an ad (as opposed to the generic organic results listing).
  • An ad can direct searchers to a landing page of your choosing.
  • An ad allows you to maintain top position even when competitors are bidding on your brand.
  • Running brand ads allows you to dominate the search engine results page (SERP). (This is particularly true on mobile).

Anecdotally, as well as in tests we have run, when branded search has been turned off, the uplift in organic results plus the savings in the cost of branded search does not equate to the revenue that has been lost.

TASK:

Review your marketing budget for 2022 with fresh eyes. Separate media budget you spend on brand campaigns vs other bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns. Remember, brand campaigns will always be cheaper and generate a stronger ROI than regular campaigns. This is OK though; the regular campaigns are valuable in introducing new people to your offering and these are the people who in the future will possibly be running brand searches. Ideally, you should be running both types of campaigns.a

4. Adopt Automation to Scale

Marketing automation platforms have been around for over a decade and adoption levels are now very high. If you are in a competitive space, not having a marketing automation platform effectively running significant parts of your business will mean that you won't be able to compete when it comes to marketing, sales and maximising value from your customers. In the long run, this may mean needing to invest a higher percentage of your revenue into your sales and marketing efforts. Bottom line, you’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table compared to your competitors.

Whether it’s large platforms like Marketo, Eloqua and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, or platforms suited for smaller and mid-market businesses like HubSpot, Autopilot and Infusionsoft, you need to assess the right platform for your business and commit to it. Don’t choose a marketing automation platform which is too big or too small for your needs.

Automation is not just limited to your sales and marketing platform. All the channels we play in are continuously toying with machine learning and artificial intelligence - another change you need to assess seriously depending on your needs.

Default to Responsive Google Search Ads

For some years now Google has been investing heavily in automation and machine learning. Each year has seen exponential improvements in Google’s algorithms. One area they are pushing hard on is what they call responsive ads.

Responsive ads are those where you enter a number of headlines/descriptions/images that you want to test, and Google’s machine learning generates the combination it thinks is most relevant to a particular search query or display area. As impressions build-up, it is able to optimise these combinations to get the best results. Given the power of this search giant and its monopoly in the search engine world, it makes sense to test these ad variations for your campaigns.

What’s more, Responsive Search Ads (RSA’s) will become the default Search Ads format from 2022, with Google removing Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). ETAs are the classic Search Ads that you generally see on the search results page on Google. Any ETAs that are currently set up will continue to run indefinitely past June, and can only be paused or deleted.

Your Audience Expects Personalised Emails

Many marketers are already increasing email performance by including personalisation based on data collected via intelligent platforms and with the incredible targeting abilities of the already available ad-tech.

This opens unexplored opportunities to be more meaningful and persuasive with email nurture campaigns. It's important to note that simple personalisation, focusing on things like first names, is not going to generate the best results.

Contextual targeting, conversational tones and active segmentation are a must to succeed with high engagement rates and responses on email. Most marketers do a reasonable job of segmenting based on demographic data (e.g. send Email A to Job Title X, Industry Y and Lifecycle Stage Z). This is a great first step but far from what is possible (and expected by prospects).

It's time to get smart. Your prospects know when emails are automated and when they are personally sent. If you're proactive in your email nurture series, you'll be able to blur the former to seem like the latter and drive more leads and sales to your business.

Leaving Everything to Automation is a Bad Idea

The big players like Google and Facebook will continue to push marketers into using their suite of automation options when running paid campaigns. The challenge will be to determine when this works in your business' interest and when it doesn't. There is no doubt that over the long term, automation will bring many benefits to the lives of marketers, but the question in the short term is when this will be the case and when it won't.

Marketers need to be smart in determining when machines can do things more effectively and at a better level than humans. Most importantly, you need to use your judgement to identify the moments when technology won't understand the intricacies of a campaign and the nuances of your audience. This is where that human touch will still be needed.

Regardless, the truth of the matter remains - businesses, even small ones, can no longer succeed without a highly tailored approach to audience segmentation as prospects now expect more than generic correspondence. This can only be achieved at scale with automation.

Our prediction - businesses without marketing automation won't compete.

TASK:

Take a moment to review your nuture flows. Find gaps in how your nurture based on behavioural data. Has the prospect opened the last email? Has the prospect attended the last two webinars? Did he prospect download the whitepaper on 'Topic X' that is related to the webinar you're trying to promote now? HAs the prospect visited your pricing page?

Create smarter, better emails (mostly plain-text ones) based on these findings.

5. Your Mobile Visitors are as, or Possibly More Important Than Your Desktop Visitors.

If mobile users have been the poor cousins of your digital strategy then it's time to shake things up.

Mobile searches account for more than half of web traffic worldwide in 2021. Responsive websites are a no-brainer and most businesses have got that covered. Now, marketers need to give mobile the attention and respect it deserves.

TASK:

Log in to Google Analytics and see what percentage of your traffic comes from mobile devices. Do you dedicate this much of your thinking, design, testing and optimisation to these valuable users? Can you honestly say your mobile experience is the equal of your desktop experience?

Prospects rely heavily on mobile as their primary device to research, share and make purchases. All assets in your digital marketing toolkit need to account for this tremendous growth and shift in buyer behaviour.

Here are some ideas around mobile and what you need to be aware of in 2022.

Here are some ideas around mobile and what you need to be aware of in 2022:

Email Marketing for Mobile

Mobile-optimised email marketing is a must. Mobile accounted for 46% of all email opens in 2020 (HubSpot). If you aren’t tailoring your emails for mobile users, some might argue, why bother sending it? With an increase in mobile adoption (especially wearables), email marketing needs to adapt as well. This means possibly smaller-sized emails, adopting a layout that works across devices, minimal content length, and more.

The trend with mobile shows an increased activity within the body of the email itself. So, marketers need to start including buy buttons, full catalogues and full menus within the body of the email with the goal to cut down the path of conversion, particularly for time-sensitive mobile users.

Email Marketing for Mobile
Mobile searches have exceeded desktop searches each year since 2018. Plus, Google has switched to a mobile-first index.
SEO for Mobile

Marketers need to future-proof their digital strategy by optimising their site for searches on mobile. Mobile searches have exceeded desktop searches each year since 2018. Plus, Google has switched to a mobile-first index. So, if you've ignored mobile SEO previously, it’s time for a change.

The best ways to optimise your site is to review and improve the speed of your site, implementing designs that focus on the content that shows ‘above the fold’ of the page, introduce the site search feature and display your call-to action higher up on the page.

TASK:

Run your site through Google's mobile-friendly test and review the results. Make a decision around investing time and energy into the mobile version of your site. Another reliable way of checking your site's capability is using SEMrush.com to generate a report on your site's performance. Finally, don’t forget to simply browse your site on a mobile device as if you were a new visitor. What needs to change?

6. Good Content Marketing = Great Leads and Sales

Not everyone is ready to buy. This is as true in your industry as it is everywhere else. We see too many marketing campaigns that assume the person reading the message is ready to buy today when it’s simply not the case.

Estimates suggest that only 3% of people in any market are in a position to make a buying decision at a specific point in time.

What are you doing at the moment to find and nurture the 97% of people who are not ready to buy today? Most of these people are probably not aware you exist or possibly not even aware that solutions like yours could add value to them now or in the future. These people won’t be interested in your search ads and are highly unlikely to see the value in your paid social ads or your display ads.

Often the best way to deal with these top-and-middle of funnel audiences is via a content marketing strategy.

What is content marketing?

Simply explained, content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain an audience. It can take the form of videos, blog articles, eBooks, webinars, emails and more. Ultimately, it has the express purpose of providing value to specific personas so that when they are ready to consider a purchase, the company who has been creating so much value for them is top of mind.

Rocket resources page

There are a number of important points to consider:

  • You need to understand your personas and their problems if you are to create valuable content for them.
  • The content has to be highly targeted and solve a specific and timely problem (i.e. it has to be genuinely valuable).
  • Wherever possible, you should exchange your content for an email address (by offering a downloadable ebook or a webinar, for example) or the ability to cookie a visitor on your website by driving them to it to view the content. Doing this will allow you to continue delivering them value as they continue through their buyer journey.
  • Try not to stick to a single type of content. People consume content in many different ways and it’s important you recognise this.
  • Work hard to ensure your content appears in multiple places. Your buyers don’t spend all their time in a single place and your valuable content needs to find them wherever they are.
  • Great content should be reused and repurposed. An eBook should also become a series of blog posts. Blog posts should be used in EDMs. A short video can be made to promote the key concepts in a more complex piece of content.
Promotion is more important than content creation

A common failure we see is marketers putting all their efforts into creating content and very little effort into its promotion. A piece of content is only as good as the number of valuable prospects who see it and value it.

You need to put at least as much time and money into promoting the content as you did into creating it. In fact, creating the content should be no more than 25% of the total effort on a piece of content. For successful pieces of content, the amount of time and money promoting the content will eventually dwarf the resources invested into creating it.

Important: A Focus on Creating Quality Content Will Pay Off

Gone are the days when average content will drive great results in content marketing. Our advice to you is to focus your resources on creating great and valuable content for your audience.

Even SEO, which has historically rewarded average content created regularly, is nowadays rewarding quality over quantity.

Finally, content marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. People not ready to purchase today are unlikely to change their mind because of a single piece of content from you. For content marketing to deliver leads and sales, you need to produce quality content on a consistent basis for a sustained period of time.

TASK:

Before you start creating content make sure you understand your audience. The first and most critical step in this is to create accurate buyer personas. Use our template to get started. Only once you have done this will you be able to start working out the content that is most likely to deliver the most value. Once you’ve got this done, it’s time to map out their buyer journey.

Chapter 2: Everything You Need to Know About The Best Performing Digital Marketing Channels of 2022

What’s Working in Google Ads, SEO, Paid Social, Email Marketing and Video Right Now.

7. Take Google Ads to The Next Level in 2022

Google Ads is a platform that is constantly evolving. New ad types are being rolled out. Previously effective strategies are becoming less useful. Extra levels of automation mean less work, but they often go hand-in-hand with less transparency.

Here are three key points to watch out for while designing your Google Ads campaign in 2022:

Importance of first-party data

Privacy issues and control over one’s data are becoming greater concerns for internet users. Consequently, Google is now encouraging businesses to use first-party data (i.e. data that users voluntarily provide) in order to run better ads.

This data can include names, phone numbers, and email addresses that you can export from your CRM and upload to Google Ads to build more relevant and targeted audiences.

In September 2021, Google introduced a new Offline Conversions Import (OCI) helper tool. The aim of the tool is to provide a clearer picture of the customer journey from search to sale. This will ultimately help to bridge the gap between ads and offline data such as inbound calls to the business, contact lifecycle stage and deals closed won. This is a massive win for B2B marketers that deal with long sales cycles.

Know Thy Competitor

Why reinvent the wheel when you can take inspiration from your competitors? When it comes to Google Ads, treat your competitors less as rivals and more as friends or even mentors. Use tools like SEMRush and SpyFu to identify the keywords your top competitors are using as the basis of their search campaigns. You should also review the ad copy they’re using to narrow down on the pain points of your prospects. Plus, it’s a good idea to compare your landing pages and promotions with your competitor’s and identify opportunities for improvement.

Old News, Worth Repeating - Landing Pages

Tying things back to the earlier point on brand awareness and messaging, your Google Ads campaign is only as good as its ability to convert visitors into prospects. The buck stops at your landing page. It doesn't matter how well you choose your keywords, how clever your ad copy is, or how effectively you optimise your campaigns - if your landing pages are not providing a great, relevant, buyer-centric message and user experience, your campaigns will sink.

TASK:

Review your Google Ads campaigns. Is there scope to include automated bidding for your prospecting search campaigns based on maximising conversions? Do you want to hit a target Cost Per Acquisition for your brand campaigns? At a minimum, discuss these options with your campaign manager.

Open your landing page and test what you see on these four key parameters, putting yourself in the searcher’s shoes:

  • Am I in the right place? (This is what you do/offer)
  • Do they offer the service I need? (This is more detail on what you offer)
  • Is this service/product right for me? (These are your typical customers)
  • Why should I choose you? (This is why your business is perfect for the searcher)

8. Find New Opportunities in Social Media in 2022

Paid social is still one of the most effective tools in any digital marketer’s arsenal to effectively communicate with customers and prospects. Social media platforms are constantly changing, updating and adding new features, so it can be hard to keep up.

While the fundamental strategies around the right audience, right message and right time remain, here are the twists and turns marketers need to watch out for in 2022.

Facebook Recommends 'Short and Sweet' Copy for Ads

Circa 2019, Facebook took Pascal's "If I Had More Time, I Would Have Written a Shorter Letter" philosophy to heart with their Ads Manager and rejected any ads with more than 20% text in it’s images. Although recommended, this requirement is no longer being enforced.

However, not all Facebook ad placements have the same copy character limits and “slots”. Marketers need to be agile in this dynamic ad environment and make clever adjustments to creative, as well as craft succinct copy to maximise on-screen space. 

You need to be mindful not to include critical copy in sections which will not show on certain placements. For example, Instagram does not support ‘Headline’ and ‘Description’ while video ads and “in-stream” don’t support ‘Description’. The workaround for this is to edit copy by placement or exclude placements that don’t work for you.

Sound On: Spotify

We are each bombarded by over 4,000 ads on a daily basis. Yes, daily! And that's on the lower end of the spectrum according to a 2017 study by the Forbes Agency Council. In a world that is overwhelmed with visual messages, audio ads might just give you some breathing space.

Audio ads are not new. Radio ads have existed for almost 100 years. They continue to exist because they're effective for many brands. However, they're expensive, tough to measure, and for some demographics, no longer highly relevant. That's where Spotify comes in.

Flexible and effective for smaller budgets, the combination of compelling audio and visuals plus never-seen-before (for audio ads) targeting options delivers a formidable case for trialling Spotify in your marketing mix.

A B2B Marketer's Must Have: LinkedIn

Despite its clunky ad interface and questionable user experience for marketers, LinkedIn stands strong as the obvious channel for B2B marketers. This is especially true for prospecting campaigns focused on lead generation.

Year-on-year, we’ve seen huge growth in LinkedIn, a network that now boasts over 10 million Australian members. It's likely that your prospects turn to LinkedIn to stay uptodate with industry news, share information and job updates and follow thought leaders and companies that resonate.

In LinkedIn, prospects are attuned to learning something new and native sponsored content can successfully drive targeted traffic to your site. With sponsored InMails, you get twice the opportunity to catch the attention of your audience - one on the LinkedIn platform itself as a new message and then in your prospect's email inbox. Plus, there are notifications to support the InMail being sent.

Lastly, there's also scope to send out InMails with inbuilt Lead Forms within LinkedIn. These can integrate with many popular CRMs that can pull in more data fields like city, postcode, job title and the like directly from LinkedIn. Bear in mind that with Lead Forms, prospects don’t visit your site and may not be retargeted as a result.

All these factors make LinkedIn an attractive option for lead generation and it’s an area we’ve seen clients enjoy incredible results in.

TASK:

Check the last five ads you put up on Facebook or Instagram - do they encourage interaction with your target audience? Are you getting genuine comments with people tagging others who may be interested in your products and services? If not, it may be time to rethink the narrative.

Don’t have faith in marketing via LinkedIn? Run a test within your business to connect with at least 30 people in your target market with a short note to go along with your connection request. If more than five people respond positively, there’s a case to invest additional marketing dollars behind an InMail campaign that can deliver a stronger, sales-focused message to your target audience more effectively.

9. SEO is Very Much Alive. Just Different.

In the digital landscape, SEO stands strong as a veteran - the old but reliable way of driving quality traffic to your website. However, with the changing nature of the industry, your SEO strategy needs to keep up to remain a valid part of your digital marketing strategy. With Google’s continued dominance of this space, adapting to its changes is absolutely worth the effort.

Voice Search is Finally Here (And so is Conversational Marketing)

It’s fair to say that whilst voice search is up, it hasn’t yet been a game changer in search in Australia. We believe there is still plenty of change coming. With almost 40% of US adults owning a voice-enabled device and likely similar numbers in Australia, 2021 could mark the point when marketers need to start considering voice seriously when devising digital campaigns.

To support this change, businesses will have to take a step back from formal language and adopt what is now getting traction as 'Conversational Marketing'. This includes rapid adoption of interactive, personalised and relatable website copy that 'speaks' to your target customers. We've all got to change the way we create content to make way for voice search or risk losing traction on the web.

Position Zero – Better than the Best

Ranking #1 on Google's SERP is no longer the position a brand needs to target. With voice search and impatience trending among consumers, Google's featured snippets are often the answer to a given query.

Featured snippets, and other pieces of instant information displayed by Google, means searchers don't need to click through to your website to get the information they're after. According to research conducted by marketing analytics company Jumpshot, over 60% of Google's searches now lead to no clicks (or website visits) at all.

Crafting copy based on search intent has always been the norm for SEO-specific content. Now, it's become essential. Marketers need to create and publish shorter and smarter copy that answers their target audience's most pressing questions promptly.

Long-Form Content

In the past, there was a push to publish short pieces of content frequently. However, over time and with Google's changing algorithm, it is now considered better for SEO to publish long-form content. Such webpages have the potential to become content pillars of your site from an SEO point of view, ranking for multiple semantic keywords in one shot, increasing the time a person spends on your site, reducing bounce rates and, most importantly, providing your target market everything there is to know about the one thing your business is an expert at.

Marketers can take one step further in the content-creation process and introduce interactive elements to the webpages to make the piece more attractive. Think polls, calculators, and quizzes. These items make pages more shareable, thus expanding reach and, as a result, quality traffic.

Think polls, calculators, and quizzes. These items make pages more shareable, thus expanding reach and, as a result, quality traffic.
User Experience - More Important Than Ever

The days of dubious site owners cramming keywords into their content and hiding it from viewers to trick seach engines is long gone. These days what works best for search engines is what works best for humans. This means a website that is fast and secure, works well on mobile devices, and presents information in a sensible and logical way.

Last year Google updated its algorithm to incorporate Core Web Vitals, three metrics that capture how quickly a page loads. As a result, the team here at Rocket actually rebuilt our website from the ground up to ensure it was as light and quick as possible. Site speed affects not only how search engines rank content, but is strongly correlated to user engagement and conversion rates.

But user experience is more than just how fast your website is. You should ask yourself how easy it is for your target audiences to find the content they are looking for. If a page requires ten clicks to get to, you can be sure that search engines will not consider it to be premium content. By mapping out the desired user journey for your target audiences, you can structure your site accordingly.

SEO - The Gift that Keeps Giving

SEO demands an investment in time and resources, but consider this: more or less every other marketing channel you care to name involves an ongoing cost for the leads or sales generated. This includes Google Ads, TV, radio, print, trade shows and even referrals. When a business has momentum through organic search, leads and enquiries don't have a hard cost per acquisition in terms of buying media. In a longer, more drawn-out sales process, SEO is the 'net' that captures prospects during the stages of awareness and consideration and hence fuels the fire for nurturing and re-engagement through remarketing and retargeting. 

In summary, SEO has changed dramatically in recent years and further changes are no doubt on their way. For these reasons, we understand why some marketers have distanced themselves from SEO. Our advice from experience is don't be one of these marketers. SEO is a long-term game with a solid ROI. The only way to win is to keep playing. 

TASK:

Speak to your sales team and brainstorm a list of the most common questions prospects ask during their first meeting. Note all of these down and publish the questions and answers as long-form content on your site. Make sure to include the keywords you’re trying to rank for in the process.

10. Video is for Winners

Video and animation in digital advertising drive results. Having run a huge number of campaigns across different industries and channels we know that typically campaigns are more effective when video or animation is used.

2019 was the year video reached a tipping point and industry reports show a significant increase in video marketing spend year-on-year since then. If this is a space your competitors are playing in, you need to consider it seriously as an element of your broader digital strategy.

Production Quality Shouldn't Stop You
The great thing about creating effective video content is that it doesn’t need to be hugely expensive.

Viewers are not expecting Steven Spielberg quality. The video needs to be relatable, engaging and deliver value to the viewer.

The point being, depending on your industry, you might not have to invest heavily in equipment, location and the like, as you would if you were creating an ad for TV. Well-executed, low-cost production with a smartphone, good quality microphone and, most importantly, great quality content will do the trick in most instances. Think less bells and whistles and more value-delivery and personalisation.

YouTube for Prospecting

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine with over 34.6 billion monthly visits (Source). In Australia, it’s currently the second-most visited website (Source). Millions of Australians watch YouTube on their TV screens each and every day.

The great thing about YouTube is that you don’t have to be a big brand capable of spending millions creating an ad and buying media to promote it. We’ve seen lots of awesome examples of YouTube ads shot on an iPhone with someone talking directly to the camera. The bottom line - if that person is giving genuine value to the audience then the right people will engage with it.

Year-on-year, industry stats reveal that marketers are investing less in the Google Display Network for prospecting while increasing their investment in YouTube. An important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t approach YouTube with a pure cost-per-lead mindset. Video on this channel is often most suited to driving engagement with viewership, engagement and retention. This eventually contributes to brand awareness and sales in the digital marketing ecosystem. That said, we’ve also run successful prospecting and lead generation campaigns. As always, it depends on the offering and its audience.

Invest for Versatility

Videos are versatile pieces of content that can serve different purposes across multiple channels. This will further improve the ROI from the original production costs. A well-scripted product or service explainer video goes a long way to simplify your value proposition on your site. It can be used on YouTube to capture leads and be indexed for search. It can be posted on Instagram and used in paid ads. It can be transcribed and posted as a blog in addition to your regular content. The video can be edited to introduce multiple calls to action depending on your campaign. Videos can also be used to drive people to your site with email marketing.

Video is the most popular way for people to learn about brands and products. In 2021, it is here to stay and it’s time to work out how it can deliver the most value in your marketing mix.

Want to learn more about advertising on YouTube? We’ve written a guide to using YouTube Ads for Australian businesses!

TASK:

Get hold of the most camera-friendly person in your team and get them to interview your team members, with one customer-centric theme in mind. Use a selfie-stick and your phone to record the video and be prepared to be surprised. You can use these videos as a test case on your social channels. Even if you don’t, at worst, you’ll be left with inspiration you can use for content creation in the future.

9. Email Marketing - The Most Underrated Marketing Channel

It’s well known that email drives one of the highest ROIs when compared to other digital channels. Yet many businesses are reluctant to invest time, effort and resources into good email marketing.

Despite this being out in the open, we find businesses that have invested heavily in paid channels, build extensive databases of contacts, but hesitate to work out a systematic approach to email marketing. Some businesses fail implement email marketing at all.

Microsegmentation in Email Lists Delivers Better Outcomes

Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue (Source). Marketers are moving away from sending blanket emails to their database. Instead, the trend is moving towards creating better segments based on demographic data like location and buying role along with behavioural data like page views, past email clicks and the like. Better segmentation will also enable strong personalisation opportunities.

The same email message can be easily duplicated and slightly tailored to different segments to make a bigger impact - a better open rate, click rate and read rate. You can find some detailed tips on segmentation tips in this blog article on boosting email marketing campaigns.

Expect Inaccurate Email Engagement Stats

Apple’s privacy protection features for Apple Mail that were released with iOS 15 stop marketers from tracking IP addresses, email opens and forwards, time stamps, geolocation, device type and browsers.

With 46% Australians using iPhones (Source), we can assume close to 50% of your email marketing stats will be inaccurate. Essentially, any email campaigns relying solely on open rates may become unreliable. A/B tests based on open rates will also stand statistically insignificant. Automations based on email opens will become trickier to design.

Interactive Emails are Here and Here to Stay

As it is with any content, well-designed, dynamic, interactive emails are increasingly gaining attention from marketers who want to get cut-through in their prospect’s mail-filled inboxes.

Interactive emails can include multiple features like GIFs, embedded surveys, slide-shows, roll-ver effects on images or CTA buttons. Interactive emails don’t require the recipient to open a link a new tab to take action and thus, reduce the number of clicks required to get the result.

Such emails are bound to gain higher engagement rates. 2022 and beyond, we are bound to see email marketing platforms making it easier for marketers to build and send interactive emails.

TASK:

Review your email stats to check ‘Opens by Email Client’ which breakdown your ‘opens’ by GMail, chrome, Office, Yahoo Mail and the like. Accept that the opens from Apple Mail will be unreliable. Work with metrics other than open rate such as click rate, reply rate and unsubscribe rate. Adjust your automated email scripts so they make sense even if someone has not opened prior emails.

Time To Make It Happen

There are two things we’re sure of in 2022. Firstly, change will be ever-present. Secondly, for all this change a lot of things will remain the same. This is particularly true of the core elements of good marketing. These will not change. Right message, right place, and right time will continue to be critical to your marketing success.

Among the numerous lessons of 2021 is the reality that how you respond to a challenge will go a long way to determining what your future looks like. Marketing is more competitive and, in many ways, more democratised than ever before. For most businesses, future success requires a strong and effective digital marketing presence.

In 2022, well-executed email marketing and nurturing will continue to drive sales and engagement. Search efforts, both paid and organic, will be crucial to siphoning off the traffic of the highest intent. Social channels like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn will continue to allow you to build targeted audiences and prospects for high-quality traffic.

A winning strategy is more than ever going to require multiple channels and highly effective messaging targeted at your key personas. Empowering decision-makers with the right message at the right time will drive your strategy further per dollar, capturing the attention of your prospects while they are researching or looking to buy.

If there is anything the team at Rocket can do to help or any question we can answer to help give you clarity, don’t hesitate to be in touch at rocketagency.com.au/contact or 1300 059 620.

Good luck in 2022 and beyond!

James Lawrence

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