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2021: A Year in Review

3…2…1…Happy New Year! 

But hold on, let’s look back on 2021 before we wave our goodbyes, after all this has been a year filled with amazing opportunities and of course, not without its surprises. It taught us a thing or two about looking on the bright side and always finding a way. 

As a digital marketing agency working with startups and SMEs, we’ve been on a roller coaster of a journey this year and are excited to share some of our latest learnings with our readers. After all, sharing is caring!

Presence without being present 

“Covid changed everything and we all had to adapt” – a phrase that is quite literally as old and tiresome as Covid is itself. Nevertheless, it’s naive to deny the fact that the way we interact, network and connect with professionals has taken a decisive turn in the virtual direction.

What did this mean for businesses, particularly the SMEs? Well, it simply meant that they had to put a different sort of effort into getting their audience’s attention. For instance, where they could normally attend an event and get exposure to potential customers, they now had to learn to attract the same people to an online event they were hosting, convince them to attend and better listen in throughout the entire duration. 

But what were the tricks that have been particularly effective for Yay!Starter’s clients you may ask? During the last year, we had a particular focus on setting up and running webinars for small and medium businesses. So, here’re our top B2B webinar tips: 

  1. Sharing discount codes at the end of a webinar
  2. Securing well-known and respected industry leaders as speakers is crucial
  3. Social media promotion is mandatory

Reminders have to be sent out to the attendees (it’s better to be more than one!)

This might not sound like rocket science but trust us when we say that this works! As audiences realised that events would continue to take place online for quite some time, the scepticism wall came down and we witnessed a real boom in the online events sector. 

Here at Yay!Starter alone, we managed to run a few successful webinars – 25 to be exact – including both one-off events and webinar series! This, in turn, generated our clients over 100 Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and brought in invaluable contracts. 

On the other side of the coin, 2021 showed us that online events didn’t just gain popularity but have put cold calling into its grave (at least for the time being)! It’s not only less common to receive a B2B cold call nowadays but many would also find it strange – “This could have been an email” sort of story.  Even though Covid hasn’t been the only reason that put cold calling into hibernation, it definitely played its role. What were the other factors, you may ask? 

Generational differences 

Millenials don’t have much against calls but aren’t huge fans of receiving or making calls that aren’t pre-organised. They can’t prep for it, they don’t expect it and it seems rather a waste of their time. 

Gen Z, on the other hand, finds calls outdated altogether. Everything they want to communicate can be an email, a WhatsApp or a LinkedIn message, so why bother having a call at all? 

Data quality

As it’s becoming increasingly simple to find virtually anybody’s email address, the need for up-to-date phone number databases is proportionally decreasing (and so is the offering in the data market). 

For instance, we found out that for some of the newer industries the business data offering is almost non-existent – eCommerce is the prime example here.  

Mobile phones replacing landlines 

Be honest, when was the last time you actually used a landline to make a call? Probably in your hotel room when ordering that late-night dinner from the Room Service. Aside from that, most of us have switched to using our mobile phones in both personal and professional lives. Given this, it’s becoming increasingly hard to reach anybody through their direct line number.  

What’s up with iOS14 and its not so fun games?

The iOS14 update, even though it didn’t exactly come out of the blue, still surely made thousands of marketers bite their nails. 

For businesses and marketing professionals, the iOS update meant that a big chunk of valuable data they used to base their decisions on was gone.

Was it stressful? Yes… Was it the end of the world? Definitely not!  

To help businesses continue successfully advertising on Facebook, there were a few tricks Yay!Starter used and advised our clients on:  

  1. The conversions will show lower numbers, but don’t panic – they’re still just aren’t getting tracked as they used to (note: up to 40% of conversions may go untracked these days)
  2. You might experience delays in reporting, and yet again, don’t panic – the reports will be generated 2-3 days later than before
  3. Do yourselves a favour and enable Facebook Conversion API to hold on to whatever data is still up for grasps
  4. If using Shopify CMS, add Facebook to Sales Channel, if using Woocommerce: add plug-in integration. Most major CMS providers have come up with helpful integrations by now
  5. If you’re an app advertiser, consider creating separate iOS 14 app install campaigns: an app is allowed one ad account, nine campaigns, and five ad sets per campaign
  6. Configure and use other data tracking and analytics solutions like: Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, Lead Forensics, Mixpanel, etc.

But regardless of the iOS14 update, Facebook advertising remains a powerful tool to expose your product to a large audience, and it would be unwise to dismiss it as a powerful top of the funnel channel. 

LinkedIn, what happened to you?  

LinkedIn is many professionals’ best friend for anything related to networking, looking for new job opportunities and just scrolling through the feed for some “I gave this homeless pigeon spare change on my way to an interview and turned out the pigeon was the business CEO” kind of content.

But besides that, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for lead generation campaigns, particularly in the B2B space. We’ve been good friends and LinkedIn has always been quick to respond, but this year, LinkedIn started taking ages to get back to us…what’s going on? 

The reason so many LinkedIn outreach campaigns were slower than before was due to its recent imposed limitations on the number of weekly connections. Now that we can only connect with a hundred people per week, it surely will take longer than it used to go through a list of a thousand contacts to deliver any meaningful results… 

Do we have another trick up our sleeves? Oh yes!  

To help push Yay!Starter’s clients’ LinkedIn outreach campaigns, we advised using several LinkedIn profiles to send the connection requests from. For instance, if there’s a technical person and a business person in your company, you might as well set up 2 separate campaigns and target different personas to make sure your campaign moves twice as fast  – connecting with 200 people per week using 2 profiles as opposed to connecting with 100 people per week using just one profile.

We are hiring! But are we?! 

Been looking for some new talent for what seemed like the entirety of 2021? You weren’t alone…

In addition to all of the above 2021 challenges, there has been a massive talent shortage in 2021. And what was the solution? Self-reliance.

  1. Working on employer branding has never been more important – especially the online version of it, which goes hand in hand with your digital marketing efforts.
  2. Investing in upskilling your current members of staff. They already know what’s what and who’s who so why not teach them how to do what they don’t know yet? Yay!Starter invested dozens of hours in upskilling our in-house members in such areas as lead generation, sales, soft skills including presentation and building client relations, website build process and much more! 

In a nutshell…

As another 365 days have gone by, our team at Yay!Starter has tackled and overcome many challenges that 2021 threw at us. 

It has been another year of learning, growth and delivering amazing digital marketing campaigns for our clients worldwide. 

Want to hear more about what we did for our FinTech, eLearning or eCommerce clients in 2021? Let us know!

We are ready to take on 2022… actually wait. At the moment, we are ready to take our well-deserved holiday breaks and recharge our batteries before plunging into 2022 with even more creative ideas and a desire to be the best in the game!

See you next year!