7 digital marketing trends that every accountant should know in 2020

We live in a day and age when marketing moves at a rapid pace, and consumer interests and behaviours have become increasingly hard to predict. Accounting firm owners and marketers can no longer stick their heads in the sand and pray that what worked before will do wonders today, or rely on educated guesses (read: assumptions) before launching a product or campaign.

Below is a summary of the top seven digital marketing trends accountants should know this year:

1. Increased emphasis on consumer privacy

In the last few years, many major global corporations have been reprimanded for poor data security and user privacy policies. Tech giants such as Facebook and Google, have repeatedly come under fire for their large-scale customer data breaches.

In 2018, British Airways faced a record fine of £183 million for the breach of its security systems after hackers carried out a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on their website.

This year, an increasing number of accounting firms are looking at deploying efficient solutions to protect consumer data privacy. Ever since the GDPR was enacted in 2016, taking precautionary security measures has become a must.

Further, new and better identification methods or Know Your Customer (KYC) solutions are being developed to help mitigate fraud, improve security, and gain insights on customers across different devices for effective marketing strategies.

For example, the UK startup HooYu, a provider of ID verification and fraud investigation services, has combined both traditional methods of data security, such as database checks with more advanced techniques such as ID verification and facial biometrics.

Consumer privacy is one of the recent trends in digital marketing for accountants to gain prominence.

2. Social media for customer service

Social media is establishing a growing role where it helps consumers reach out to businesses if they are dissatisfied with a service or a product, or need some form of assistance. A Bain & Company report states that consumers who get their queries or complaints resolved from businesses on the platform spend 20-40% more on them.

Similarly, social media offers an opportunity for accounting firms to connect with their target customers and increase brand engagement. In 2019 alone, 28% of consumers used social media to interact with a brand. 23% of them believe it is an excellent way to get 24-hour customer service.

Email and phone may currently be the top communication channels, but digital methods are moving up the chain.

social media for customer service
No wonder, businesses are now investing resources in developing a rigorous social media presence, all for the sake of interacting with their respective target customers spread in the digital realm. Leveraging social media for boosting customer satisfaction will be a priority.

3. The rise (and rise) of long-form videos

Long-form videos are one of the newest trends in digital marketing for accountants of 2020. It is often misconstrued that shorter videos have better responses and engagement rates, owing to the short attention span of human beings. Let me tell you something – this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

A 2017 report from TwentyThree, a video marketing platform, states that the videos that were shorter than five minutes only garnered 30% engagement from users while those videos that were longer than 15 minutes garnered about 50% engagement.

rhe rise and rise of long form videos

These statistics, combined with the fact that the average consumer spends 88% more time on a website with video content, shows that long-form videos can get people interested in a brand’s messaging.

As of today, Instagram allows users to upload 1-min long videos. However, the visual social media platform launched IGTV in 2018 in a bid to enable its users to tune in to for long periods because, well, longer videos work.

So, even though it is assumed that shorter videos are easily consumed and shareable on social media, the strategy is not always effective.

4. Focus on content quality over quantity

As content marketing takes prominence, well-written, original content is a no brainer. However, the average consumer sees as many as 5,000 or more ads daily but only find 153 ads of value. That shows that, in this digital day and age, they crave transparency and authenticity more than anything else from businesses. It’s time to accept that quality trumps quantity, asserts CMI.

Posting too much content is not only challenging for businesses but also overwhelming for consumers. Imagine being bombarded with ads, notifications, texts, and emails regularly? That sounds terrifying and exhausting.

rhe rise and rise of long form videos

Thus, for that very reason, the focus has shifted to providing content that is relevant and to the point, and not long-drawn-out and repetitive. Businesses can benefit from sharing content consistently rather than oversharing too much content.

5. Conversational marketing

This is perhaps the biggest trend in digital marketing in 2020 not just for accountants but also for other industry specialists. In the age of live chat, consumers expect to interact with businesses wherever and whenever they like. Don’t worry – this sort of thinking is not new. Human beings always have and always will expect conversations to be helpful and personal.

The only difference is we now have the technology to have such conversations at scale. That’s what makes conversational marketing possible in today’s world. An Oracle report claims that 80% of marketers and sales professionals either already use chatbots or plan to use it by the end of this year. Sephora’s chatbot is an excellent example here.

conversational marketing

Other forms of conversational marketing include email, Facebook Messenger, SMS, and Slack – all of which allow businesses to connect with their target customers on a more personal level and in real-time. Conversation marketing will enable them to build a rapport with them and turn them into loyal customers.

6. Email personalisation for boosting conversions

Personalisation is already a key element in digital marketing, but will its importance and use rise in 2020? Definitely! As technology takes over, most of the user actions on social media and chat are automated. However, nothing beats the human touch.

And since 65% of consumers still prefer interacting with businesses on email, it makes sense to personalise the marketing strategy for that medium.

Personalized email marketing, for example, is said to generate a median ROI of 122%. In fact, 62.26% of consumers feel “happy” and “excited” responding to personalised emails from a business. Birthday emails, too, tend to generate 342% higher revenue per email than standard promotional emails.

Canadian tea retailer DAVIDsTEA’s newsletters are phenomenal. Check out this one:

email personalisation for boosting conversions

By employing email marketing tools such as MailChimp, businesses can gain customer insights and reports on the number of clicks, bounces, open rates, and other metrics. The data helps them send personalised emails to a targeted list of email recipients, thus increasing engagement and conversion rates.

So, if a business sends a monthly standardised email to all its customers, it won’t have much luck with that. In fact, it is losing out on a massive opportunity with personalisation.

7. Integrated SEO for all marketing channels

This is the last of the digital marketing trends of 2020 for accountants. According to Stanford research, 75% of consumers first look at the company website to decide its credibility. And since nearly 93% of all web traffic comes through search engines, businesses must leverage SEO.

Moreover, SEO and marketing have to go hand-in-hand. Organic promotions don’t bring results anymore. Today, there are smarter algorithms in place that allow only a select few websites to rank on the first page of the search engines.

That being said, just adding a few keywords in the content won’t take business very far. It is vital to integrate all the marketing channels with SEO, so that customer engagement is high everywhere, and not just the website.

These marketing channels could include PR, social media, billboards, or any other traditional/digital platform that can benefit a business’s organic performance as a whole.

Summing it up

There are major trends in digital marketing for accountants that have emerged in the past few years, and many more continue to rise in importance today. Whether you are a business owner or marketer, your key takeaway from this article should be kept up with new technologies and discover new marketing strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Are you ready for 2020? If not, contact us.