Updated: Nov 15, 2021
The ongoing pandemic has changed the way in which most businesses now operate. We’ve started to see more products and services going digital. Many employees have also started working remotely or are currently following a hybrid setup. Several months of varying customer responses have enabled us to gather insights on digital marketing trends that are expected to thrive in 2021.
Do you know which key digital marketing trends your business has to consider in order to engage and retain customers? Or which will generate more leads and revenue?
What may have worked a couple of years ago likely won’t work now. For the best results, you’ve got to stay on top of the trends. Thankfully, we’ve looked into eight areas where smart managers can invest their time and resources in 2021.
1. Engage and Retain With Social Media
Companies need to be prepared to set more of their resources to social media marketing this year. According to experts, social media budgets accounted for around 24% of total marketing budgets in the United States during the 2nd quarter of 2020. This percentage increased from 13% the year before.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers have increasingly prioritized customer retention. The same will happen in 2021, especially since the pandemic has significantly increased the amount of time that people spend online.
This change in consumers opens up new opportunities where marketers can increase their reach to new audiences and re-engage loyal consumers. For a few hundred dollars each month, a smart social media marketer can create a content plan, share posts regularly, monitor responses, and drive new business.
For small businesses that have been putting off social media in their marketing strategy, now would be a good time to get started.
2. Local SEO and Google Listings
For any business, one of the most crucial things you can do is to make sure your local listings have been verified and kept updated on different search engines. That’s because B2C businesses that bring in customers mainly on a local level can use Google My Business listings to provide their potential customers with details about them.
It’s one of the primary factors in search, and many business owners are overwhelmed with how many directories are actually out there. This is why it’s important to make sure that you have a geographically-defined service area in your local listings. With this in place, you can help your business become more visible when users make “near me” searches.
This approach works because search engines prioritize relevance within their search algorithms. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, limiting your business service radius locally can help you penetrate deeper into search results.
Also, keeping local listings updated can help customers become aware of any changes in your promotions, hours of operation, blogs, and any other information you wish to convey to them.
3. Improved Ways to Communicate Availability
According to a report by McKinsey, one of the reasons why customers switch brand allegiances is due to the availability of products and services.
There are a few ways marketers can meet this challenge today:
One solution is to increase the days of on-hand inventory of products, or the availability of time slots for your services.
You can also be creative. For instance, since there are more people working from home and children learning remotely, many doctors and dentists have reallocated staffing toward daytime slots with fewer hours at night and weekends.
If it’s difficult to adjust stock levels or servicing hours, timely communication becomes essential. Ensure that you’re clear about what you can and cannot do and set out reasonable expectations.
As for high-volume items, consider putting a banner on your website indicating when these key products are going to be in-store.
If you haven’t been gathering customer contact details, now would be a good time to start. Creating a subscriber list allows you to stay proactive in notifying customers of changes in availability through an automated email or text message
4. Google Ads Automated Bidding
Marketers using Google Ads are consistently tweaking and changing their campaigns, bids, and keywords to get the most out of their advertising dollars. The problem with this is that doing all of this tweaking results in more hours spent and higher management expenses.
This is where automated bidding comes in. This is a feature that allows Google to automate prior moves so it can adjust user bids in real-time.
Automated bidding isn’t something new, as it was already introduced back in 2016. However, continuous enhancements, particularly in the past year, mean that it is due to become popular for this year.
Using automated bidding tactics can allow Google Ads marketers to devote more of their time to optimizing other areas of pay-per-click performance. This ultimately provides a better outcome at a lower expense for clients.
5. Voice Search Becomes Even More Powerful
Although voice search may not currently be a part of Google’s algorithm, it is still affecting current search engine results. Queries made through voice often provide varying results compared to when a user types a text-based search.
In SEO, businesses should start becoming updated with voice search components, especially for their consumers who are starting to switch over to this medium. According to voice search experts, content has to be specifically adapted for voice. It has to be more conversational and direct so that it syncs well with search queries.
Doing so can help improve traffic by staying relevant while being more visible to potential customers.
6. Better Retention Through Segmentation
Since keeping existing customers requires less money than earning new ones, marketing experts specifically recommend putting more effort into the latter stages of a buyer’s journey.
After all, satisfied customers tend to share the word with their friends and give out referrals that help boost revenue. These are the people who will most likely provide honest and direct feedback concerning issues that can only help strengthen your brand.
That’s why it’s important to keep them informed regarding changes in the organization or processes that impact your relationship with them. This can be done through email marketing or engaging with them through social media.
By gathering details and segmenting customers, you can save on costs while continuing to deliver on your solutions. It’s also possible to target them more cost-effectively in this manner, which can help stretch your investments even further.
7. Content Will Be More Interactive
Incorporating interactive elements into your social media channels or website is a great way to give value to visitors, have them engage more with your brand, or learn more about them.
For instance, let’s say that you’re a realtor and you provide a simple yet effective mortgage calculator on your website. You have now started offering value to your visitors while also gathering data about them based on how they use your new calculator. This information can help refine your personas as well as offer-targeting efforts.
Other forms of interactive marketing you can do include polls, quizzes, assessments, games, surveys, and contests. Contests are particularly a great way to improve your visibility and reach.
One of the fastest ways to get your brand in front of new prospects without much cost is to have your existing customers share a Facebook post of your contest. Many clients even take this a step further and change this into a referral contest that promises an appealing reward to clients who help bring in new customers.
8. More Focus on Employee Engagement
Human resource professionals recognized early in the COVID-19 pandemic that it would affect employees and productivity in the months to come.
For many individuals, this was the first time that they had ever worked far from their office. Such an experience may have been liberating for them, however, the thrill may have started to wear off by now.
Add in the distractions of children at home and the stress of mixing work and chores, and it’s no wonder that many employees are suffering from low morale and productivity.
That’s why companies should keep their employees connected, since motivated workers are able to communicate better with one another. It also ensures that client outcomes are much better.
Being the owner or manager of a business, it’s your job to ensure that your customer-facing teams understand that they can still work together in achieving the same goals despite not being in the same office.
Make sure that you set up several communication channels and be ready to share successes with the whole team on each of these channels. If your employees are motivated, engaged, and happy — they’re likely to share this online. This not only gives your online reputation a huge boost but will also help your brand image and awareness.
Although these digital marketing trends aren’t just for 2021, they make for a great start when planning your marketing strategy this year. Looking at this as a whole, marketing managers and CMOs can improve their capabilities by shifting more of their resources to local search and social media, while adding interactive content and improving engagement within customer-facing teams.
Learning about these eight key digital marketing trends can help you improve your site traffic, bring in more leads, and grow your sales, all while retaining your loyal customer base.