The Great Online Marketing Boom of 2020

I couldn’t take it any more and this weekend, I did something I haven’t done since college.

I cut and colored my own hair.

It wasn’t as disastrous as I’d feared, but I miss my stylist Cristy more than I miss most family members. I’ve visited Cristy every couple of weeks for the past decade and now I haven’t seen her since March.

I also bought a margarita in a ziplock to-go bag that same day. Which, I didn’t ever do in college — but totally would have. If someone was selling Margaritas in a baggie from the fifth floor of Frisch Hall, I would have lined up. (Why did no one think of this!)

You may be thinking, “Welcome to the club” and wondering why I’m telling you this — something you already know. None of us have likely had professional haircuts in awhile and to-go cocktails are a thing.

I’m writing this now-benign story for myself. So I can reflect on how quickly things change — and how quickly we as humans adapt.

If had written this in February, it would have sounded like the kind of nonsense a frequent ziplock-margarita-drinker would write.

The point is, things change.

And as a lot of states here in the US start to open up, we’re about to see another huge tidal shift.

Businesses that before March weren’t online, now have new assets they’ve never had before — email lists, social following, and ecommerce. And as their businesses pick up again, they’ll want to figure out how to leverage these assets to be even better off than they were before.

I’m calling this “The Great Online Marketing Boom.”

And if you’re already in the business of making sales online — social media specialist, copywriter, graphic designer, web developer, or marketing consultant… this means a boom for us too.

I predict that in the next two month, people in these industries will be the new “essential workers” … the key to growing our economy and ushering in the new online marketing revolution.

So many businesses over the last several months were forced to take their business online and our obscure world of internet marketing has now become mainstream. The exciting thing is that these businesses created an asset that can continue to be used long after their physical doors open.

I’m also hosting a discussion about this very topic tomorrow and how you are in a great position to help.

You can register for the discussion How to Reopen Your Freelancing (Even if You Never Closed) here.

While everyone will become an internet “expert,” the few of us that have been doing this longer than the coronavirus has existed will be in high demand.

(As a side note, while sitting down to write this email, I saw this article about how reopening is creating a stock market rally)

Here’s a few of the industries I think marketers will thrive in during 2020

When I started working in the “online learning” space, very few people in my “real life” were taking courses online. It took awhile to explain the concept at parties and my parents still aren’t quite sure. But now, my dad (an MRI engineer) had to build his own online course for training new employees and my 10-year-old gets tutoring from Khan Academy — a huge player in the space for many years. Now that people have discovered the convenience, fun, and value from learning new skills online, the course market is going to grow and grow.

Similar to online learning, athletic coaches have discovered how they can connect with their athletes outside of the traditional practice schedule. There are apps to track an athlete’s health and monitor if they’ve been doing home workouts. Athletes also have access to world-class coaches and specialists to work on specific parts of their game in a way they never have before. And I haven’t even started on how pro sports are leaning into this online world by connecting and interacting with fans (soon they’ll figure out how to monetize this with custom offers based on who you follow on Instagram, just wait!)

A few years back, I posted on my Facebook wall that I was trying to buy some art for my home. I was frustrated because none of the artists’ websites I found had any information about how to actually buy the paintings, other than going to a physical gallery in a big city. That’s all changed now. Artists are selling directly from Instagram and creating pop-up virtual galleries to share each others’ work. Now that online shopping is a mainstream activity (remember the first thing you bought online… terrified you’d get scammed?) … expect to see more artists and entertainers looking to market in innovative ways. This is a fun market that will be doing amazing things this year.

My partner KC is from a beach town in New Jersey that relies heavily on tourism and the season starts in just a few weeks. The businesses on the shore have only a few months to make their entire income. There’s so much fear an uncertainty about what this season will look like that the major attractions are marketing hard. And most people, being stuck in their own town for the last 3 months, are ready to get out and experience other places. Look for a tsunami of travel blogs, pics, and marketing campaigns in the next month.

Fitness trainers and health coaches used to be limited by their studio space. And building out a large studio was an expensive, risky venture. Now, great instructors and trainers can serve unlimited clients virtually. And while a small percentage of these trainers understood the opportunity to grow online before, now even small-town trainers see that they are not limited by their location. And if you’ve worked with online fitness businesses before, expect to be in high-demand.

My new favorite cheese maker, Step Ladder Creamery, located in California, has been using their dog to attract followers and tour-goers on Instagram. My local restaurants all installed online ordering and started taking pictures of their menu items. While take out was the sad step-sister of the dining experience, restaurants and food vendors have had to find a way to make that experience amazing too. Don’t expect them to turn off this revenue stream any time soon. They’ll just be looking to leverage it in new ways.

In general, I’ve not struggled regularly with mental health. I had postpartum depression after the birth of my daughter and mainly struggled alone because I didn’t feel it was “worth” talking to my doctor about. But over the past several months, like many people, I have become acutely aware of what I need to feel ok. And I haven’t been ok. Suddenly, my insurance company, FB ads, and the like were showing me the resources I could use to maintain mental health. These resources aren’t going away and people are realizing the need for virtual counselors, coaches, and support groups.

Everything above needs tech to support it. Already, SaaS and Ecomm companies are stepping up to the plate by making systems for online marketing and selling easier to use for the average consumer or business owner. Google Classroom had to be simple enough for a 7-year-old. Online ordering had to be simple enough for a diner owner that doesn’t even have a credit card machine. And more systems are created to scratch more itches, those systems need marketing to get their solutions out to people who desperately want them. (That’s where you come in).

I am beyond excited for what’s coming next.

And now is the time to get in on sharing your expertise with these markets. Let’s talk about how to position yourself for this new, exciting economy.

Join me tomorrow for How to Reopen Your Freelance Business (even if you’ve never closed).

Been a direct response copywriter since 7th grade when I wrote a 30-page sales letter asking my crush to the dance. freelancecoop.org