It’s hard to say what anything will look like in the coming months, this year especially. With all of the major worldwide events happening in 2020 and continuing into 2021, many marketers aren’t quite sure what to expect in the months ahead. There are a few things that we know for sure - people are slowing down and becoming more conscious about how they spend their money and what they spend their time on. The attitude of many people has changed a lot in the last year, which impacts their spending habits and behaviors alike.
Some trends that we’re seeing for 2021 are trends that have been on the list and on the rise for years. Many of these trends that we listed out below have only become more relevant and more valuable to brands over time. While your marketing team may not be able to implement every one of these types of marketing strategies, it’s important to know what some of these opportunities are.
We have a few ideas of what trends we will most likely see in 2021 and hopefully, we’ll be able to see a lot more than just the inside of our homes as the year goes on as well.
We’re starting off with one that many people think is overrated or ineffective. The truth is, influencer marketing is highly effective and you’re missing out if you’re not utilizing this type of marketing. People trust the opinions of influencers and other people that they follow. Celebrities share promoted content on social media because they have a large audience, but oftentimes, the more micro-influencers have a more significant pull with their followers because ‘they’re just like us’ and live a more normal life similar to the regular person that you want to buy your products or service. If this type of marketing intimidates you because of how much some of the higher tier influencers are charging per post, story, etc., start with a micro-influencer and see how that works for your brand. The most important thing here is to make sure the influencer you’re choosing to work with matches what your brand represents, and that their followers are your ideal customers.
Social media has changed a lot in the last year and in the last few years. Many people have decided to take some time off of social media, while others have completely changed what they’re sharing and posting to their stories and feeds, including making more of a stand on social and political issues.
Stories - Instagram stories and Facebook stories, have become increasingly popular and are trending to continue growing as well. These are great at reaching people where they are and creating that sense of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out) if you don’t watch the stories, since they’re gone after 24 hours. It also creates more opportunities for engagement with followers because of the polls, question boxes, and other features on Instagram stories. The swipe up feature (if you have enough followers to earn the swipe up function) creates more opportunities to get more traffic to your site, along with the shoppable feed posts that allow people to purchase your products directly in the Instagram app. The best part is that social media is free, it just takes a lot of time to create, monitor, and engage while staying consistent with your brand messaging.
Partnering with other brands and promoting the collaboration is on the rise and is a creative marketing strategy. With the pandemic still raging on, many large brands have been partnering with small businesses or local businesses to alert people that these small businesses need our help more now than ever. These partnerships are great for offering a bundle of products or services from both brands for a limited time, creating a sense of urgency and FOMO as well. People that are loyal to either brand like to have something that isn’t always available to the public and that seems to be a good marketing trend going forward as well.
This goes along with what we talked about with social media trends, but this is happening off of social media as well. Company websites are changing the tone and messaging online by mentioning how they’re responding to the pandemic, social issues, and political issues. Many users online have noticed when brands aren’t acknowledging the events in the world around them, it comes off as tone-deaf and unrelatable, or disconnected from your audience and what they’re experiencing or going through. Other topics that will continue to be relevant and trending are sustainability, goodwill or purpose-driven content, and inclusivity.
Not only is it less work on your designer, but people love to see content, photos, and reviews from people that look like them and are ‘regular’ people rather than celebrities or people that were paid to promote your product or service. User-generated content is very valuable and a great way to promote your products or services. It has been a big part of marketing especially in eCommerce businesses, but it is continuing to grow into other types of businesses as well. This will continue to rise and grow this year as well.
People are often looking for answers or solutions quickly and right when they want them. It’s important to meet your customers where they are, but also to provide easy-to-consume content that they can easily and quickly digest. These types of content are newsletters, podcasts, and short videos. A good marketing strategy is to have different varieties of content and different mediums as well. For people who don’t like to watch videos, have a podcast that shares similar information; for people who don’t read blogs, try to get them to subscribe to your newsletter with shorter bits of content instead.
“AI can analyze consumer behavior and search patterns, and use data from social media platforms and blog posts to help businesses understand how customers find their products and services.” AI is continuing to grow in general, but especially in marketing tactics and evolving marketing strategies. This is something to continue to watch and consider for your 2021 marketing strategies.
Customer service plays a big role in how happy customers are with your brand, if they’re likely to give their business to you again, and if they’re likely to recommend your business to a friend. It’s important for brands to continue to invest in their customer service tactics for 2021. Chatbots can be very helpful in directing people to the right areas on your site, or even having a chat feature on your website rather than a phone number to call can significantly improve customer experience on your website and with your brand.
Video marketing has been on the ‘marketing trends’ lists for years and continues to be a strong and evolving way to get your brand’s message across. Short videos typically perform much better than longer videos. It’s important to always include captions on your videos because many people watch with the sound off and it’s easier to reach a wider audience. You can also create a transcript and you can turn the transcript into a blog post, use the audio for a podcast, add it in an email campaign, along with sharing it on social media. Video marketing isn’t going away any time soon.
Visual search refers to using images and descriptive image alt tags on images to get discovered or gain traction. Even if you don’t have Google Shopping Ads running, customers like to see a visual search option of the products that you sell. Optimize the product images on your site with all relevant keywords in the image alt tags for more opportunities for your product photos to appear in search results.
Micro-moments refers to ‘when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.’ You want to be one of the brands that are there for customers when they’re actively searching for information or to buy something. Use the imagery below to help figure out where your brand fits into this model and how you can meet your customers where they are and deliver. This is going to become an even bigger trend this year as people continue to look for information or products online with whatever task they have in front of them at the moment.
I probably wouldn’t have a smart speaker if Spotify didn’t send me a Google Home for free, but I have to admit, it is very helpful. Make sure your website is optimized for voice search capabilities because this is only going to rise as time goes on. Ensure your site is very searchable with short snippets of information that answers many different questions that your customers may have.
I know, no one is surprised that content marketing is on this list. Content marketing continues to be a major part of digital marketing and will continue to grow immensely. If you have been putting off creating a blog for your business or haven’t added more content to your product pages because you didn’t think it would do much to help, we give you permission to stop reading this blog and go work on that content right now (you made it to the end anyway). “Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without blogs.” Don’t discount the value of content marketing!
While many things have changed and life looks very different this year than in years past, many digital marketing trends are ongoing. The biggest change is the attitude or perspective shift of your audience. Take into account that people are all looking for a sense of normalcy, looking for brands to be more inclusive and socially responsible, and looking for you to be wherever they are. Looking for help with your marketing strategy? Contact our team today to see how we can help grow your business in 2021.
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