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COVID Has More People Doing More Online

We are only beginning to understand the long term impacts of COVID on our day-to-day lives and behavior. One thing is certain, people are doing more online. Savvy businesses are adjusting their marketing accordingly.

We have all had to embrace doing more online. Running to the store was mostly taken off the table. Curbside pickup and online ordering became necessities.

COVID-19 has forced consumers to become more comfortable with shopping online, sometimes in categories they might never have expected. For some, this forced trial was a catalyst for adoption.

According to data from Dotcom Distribution’s 2020 e-commerce consumer survey, nearly 31% of consumers expect to routinely make more online purchases than they did before the pandemic.

New Frontiers for Online Shopping

According to Bloomreach’s State of Commerce Experience study, 50% of customers are shopping on digital channels for products they’ve never bought online before. Expectations are high. People expect a quality experience that makes the process complete, seamless and easy.

The days of “we’re doing our best in these unprecedented times” are gone. Brands need to get serious about their online experiences to capture business.

That same study found that 53% of customers will not buy from the same business again after a negative experience. This highlights the need for Brands to know their customers and meet their needs online.

Online Purchasing Behavior

According to Dotcom’s study, the top five categories consumers reported purchasing most online prior to the outbreak, in order, were apparel, electronics, home goods, accessories, and food and beverages. The biggest categories today are:

  • kitchenware
  • books
  • toys and games
  • crafts
  • exercise equipment
  • gardening

Consumers have largely shifted their attention and spending to digital channels for all their needs, marking a major opportunity for brands and retailers that can offer a positive online experience. Now is the time to invest in tools that help you understand your customers so you’re better positioned to get business and secure loyalty.

What Action Can You Expect from Online Engagement?

Your company is likely on social media to connect with your audience and to get them to take beneficial action. But what is realistic to expect? Nielsen Norman Group has identified 6 types of interactions that users have with companies on social media.

They identified the following core interactions, illustrated in this image in order of frequency.

User interactions with businesses on social media

Make Your Social Content Meet These Needs

Discover: Can I find something interesting?

Brands that help people to connect with interesting information tap into the interest in discovery.

Research: What is this? How does it work for me? How could I use it?

People look for content that helps them understand the people, products and services they encounter. Information that goes beyond pitches and sales language to help with understanding is the most valued.

Engage: Am I interested in the content the company posts on social media?

When someone gets excited about a brand, they want a way to feel connected. Social content helps them to feel connected in an ongoing way. This content nurtures a sense of ongoing relationship and makes it easy to share with others.

Purchase: How can I buy it?

Every brand loves when people come to buy. Businesses benefit when they make the process clear and easy. This is probably the most desired action. Not that it is not the top motivation for users.

Support: Can you help me solve a problem?

Problems have a way of cropping up outside of business hours. Brands that have an effective online presence help users get answers 24/7. Online content should help solve common user problems.

Promote: How can I share my experience with others?

Sometimes users want to create their own content related to brands. An online presence on the platform they are using lets them connect with the brand more meaningfully than a text mention.

Elements of Great B2B Headlines

All of your business-to-business (B2B) content starts with a headline or title. Those words are the most important part of your writing. The right headline captures the reader’s interest. Without it, the rest of the content will never be seen.

Focus on Your Audience

As you review the advice below, remember that your headline and content needs to speak to your audience. Some of the advice may be more or less applicable to the audience you need to reach.

Know your audience. What do they like? Need? Get turned off by? Make sure all of your content is written with the needs and interests of your audience in mind.

The Best Headlines…

Research shows:

  • The words that come first in the headline have the most impact on reader interest
  • Headlines that introduce steps (“How to”) and lists (“x Tips/Ideas/Ways/Things”) get the most attention
  • The numbers 3, 5 and 7 create interest
  • Headlines that suggest forward-looking and predictive content provoke curiosity about industry developments
  • For B2B headlines, a focus on practicality and industry insights wins out over emotional appeals

7-12 Word Headlines Are Best

Headlines that are 7 to 12 words get the most B2B engagement. Shorter headlines work best for B2B messages.

SEO Considerations

To build in search engine optimization (SEO) know the focus keyword for your content and make sure that is part of the headline.

Do some research to understand the words that your target audience uses when looking for the content you are providing. Sometimes these are a little different than the words you would naturally use. Whenever possible, factor keyword vocabulary in your writing.

The words of the headline are a strong signal to search engines about the topic of content. Using the keyword first or nearly first in the headline is best.