As 2020 comes to a close, it’s time to consider the upcoming year: how we can improve our digital marketing efforts and how we can stay on top of this ever-changing landscape.
Looking back on 2020, I think we can all agree that the year did not unfold as predicted.
Businesses were affected — both negatively and positively — in 2020 because of the global pandemic.
How will this affect marketing in 2021?
For many businesses, 2021 business goals will be geared towards making up for lost time and continuing to innovate online. With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout still in its early stages, it’ll be a long time until the global economy is back to normal.
With this in mind, we’re going to look at seven emerging and growing trends for 2021; what they are and how your business can jump on board.
1. Online Improvements for Brick and Mortar Businesses
The coronavirus pandemic forced companies to innovate and pivot online in order to continue meeting consumer demand. Businesses who only recently made the move to digital will need to focus on refining and improving their online processes.
If this sounds like your business, consider the following:
- Has your website traffic decreased or increased during the last year?
- If you’ve recently introduced e-commerce capabilities, are you receiving as many conversions as expected?
For your business to be successful online during this unprecedented time, you need a user-friendly, optimized website. Don’t let a poor website hold you back.
2. Ranking for Zero-Click and Local Searches
A lot of marketers and SEO professionals already know that it’s getting tougher to rank organically on Google. Thanks to an increase in paid search and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features, the real estate on page one of Google is diminishing. This is having a knock-on effect for websites, as we see a decrease in organic clicks while paid clicks are slowly increasing.
Furthermore, zero-click searches on Google are going up. A recent study by Rand Fishkin found that more than 50% of Google searches end without a click on other content. What is a zero-click search? This is when you land on a search results page after you input your query and Google gives you the answer to your question, meaning that you probably do not need to click-through.
As many businesses remain closed due to lockdowns, optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) for local search is now critical to ensure you are found online by your local community.
Google My Business allows you to manage your online presence and post updates — as you would on social media — that searchers can check out. Keeping your GMB up-to-date is not only good for informing visitors about your latest news — like whether your opening hours have changed if you’re running a promotion, and so on — but it’s also great for SEO.
An updated and optimized GMB can help you appear higher across Google, on both Search and on Maps.
How to Improve Organic Clicks and Rank for Zero-Click Searches?
What our SEO experts recommend:
- Focus on Local: If you focus on utilizing The Google Local Pack (Google My Business) and improve your position to rise in the ranks on maps, you are guaranteed to improve your organic clicks.
- Create high-quality content: Focus on creating valuable content for your audience. Research keywords, trends, and analyze the competition. Ensure that your content has a good word count, readability, a mix of visual media and your website has a user-friendly design.
- Add questions and answers: To rank for Featured Snippets, use your content to answer frequently asked questions across different pages on your website. By doing this, you have the opportunity to appear in a Featured Snippet, and up your organic clicks. When writing content for this, ensure that you add the appropriate schema to help Google identify your questions and answers.
3. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is the process of using software to automate your marketing activities during different parts of the marketing funnel. It’s about optimizing your time and discovering which customers your sales team can focus their efforts on.
It allows you to automate manual, repetitive tasks: sending emails, follow-ups, reminders, and reports. This consequently makes the entire process faster, more manageable and more personalized.
There are many benefits to marketing automation, and it’s something your business should make a priority in 2021.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
- Increase revenue: By automating cross-sells, up-sells, promotions, and combining this with better lead management, you are likely to see your sales increase.
- Reduce costs and save time: Once you have built your automated campaigns, you can send thousands of personalized messages in a fraction of the time.
- Multi-channel marketing: The biggest benefit of marketing automation is having the ability to target customers with highly personalized content across different channels.
- Less manual work, more creativity: Utilizing marketing automation gives your team the time to focus on other areas of the business.
4. Hyper-Targeting and Personalization
We briefly touched upon personalized messaging in the last point, now let’s dig deeper.
Generic ads are a thing of the past — personalization will be crucial in order to meet customer demand in 2021. In recent years, big brands like Amazon and Netflix have paved the way for personalization and targeting, and now consumers expect the same level from other B2C brands. It’s become crucial to get the right message, to the right person, on the right channel, at the right time.
A study by Infosys revealed that 86% of customers said that personalization has some impact on what they buy. What can your business do to make an impact on your customers?
How To Personalize Your Customer Experience
- Retargeting on social media: With Facebook’s advanced targeting features, you can target people who engaged with your brand or website.
- Product/Service recommendations: Offer product and services recommendations based on previous purchases.
- Personalized Offers: Create personalized promotions, offers and coupons for customers based on their previous purchases.
5. Branding and Online Reputation Management
Online reviews continue to be vital for all businesses, not just B2C. Many potential customers turn to websites such as Google, Glassdoor, Yelp and other industry-specific sites to read company reviews. If you’re not managing your business’s online reputation, you could be losing out on potential leads and sales due to negative reviews.
How Your Business Can Improve Its Online Reputation
In 2021, you should prioritize online reputation management, which can include monitoring reviews and ratings, and social listening.
TechWyse offers services in online reputation management — so you don’t have to worry about what appears when potential customers search for your business.
6. Optimize for Voice Search
With the exponential growth of voice products in 2019 — like Amazon Alexa and Google Home —- and the increase in usage of voice search apps, like Siri, we can no longer ignore the need for voice optimization.
In addition, research shows that older generations are more likely to use voice search, as 64% of those aged 55 and over say that they prefer to use voice search to look for information compared to 47% of users aged between 18 and 34. This research suggests that using voice can make technology more accessible.
How to Optimize for Voice Searches
Here’s what our SEO experts suggest:
- Long-tail keywords: Use very specific and descriptive keywords. You can’t just rank for keyword density anymore; you have to rank for the exact questions your customers are asking.
- Consider the user intent: Use conversational language and consider the questions your customers are asking. For example, try putting “near”, “how-to”, and “buy” in the content.
- Create local content: Research shows that 22% of voice searches are for local content. Create local content, such as location pages and blogs, to drive this traffic to your website.
7. Visual Content Continues to Dominate
In 2021 marketers and businesses need to continue creating content to increase brand awareness, improve SEO, build credibility and convert leads into customers.
Why is Visual Content Important?
A recent study conducted by Cisco predicts that video will account for 82% of overall internet traffic by 2022. Furthermore, 91% of B2B buyers say they prefer interactive and visual content to static content.
Businesses are expected to double-down on video content in 2021, and with the growth of AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality), along with TikTok and Instagram Reels, means that marketers and businesses alike need to get creative to keep consumers’ attention.
Don’t get left behind; start thinking about how your business can utilize visual content and stay ahead of your competitors.
What Kind of Visual Content Can You Create?
- Live streaming: events, conferences, webinars, behind-the-scenes, and promotion/competition announcements are a great way to showcase live content and get your audience engaged.
- “Snackable” videos: otherwise known as short-form video, for use on social media and websites. This could be anything from a gif to a 15-second video or animation. After all, our attention spans have lessened, so it’s imperative to capture your audience’s attention in the first couple of seconds.
- Interactive content: infographics, quizzes, polls and online assessments that can enhance engagement and lead generation.
- Immersive brand experiences: albeit more challenging to create, an immersive brand video, experienced with a VR headset or created as a 360-degree video, can be a unique way to tell a story to your customers.
2021 is the year for ramping up your digital marketing strategy.
With the unpredictable year we had in 2020, businesses can’t afford to sit back while their competitors dominate online.
Will you be incorporating any of these marketing trends into your 2021 strategy?
Originally written for TechWyse.