2020 will go down as a year that altered the course of history. One of the major implications of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the fact that it has accelerated a switch to all things digital. The world has had to adapt the way that it communicates and does business – social media usage has skyrocketed; businesses have adopted a ‘virtual’ way of working and work from home (WFH) has become an accepted business practice.
Here are the leading digital marketing trends expected for 2021.
Interactive content does not only promote more engagement, it also improves the user’s enjoyment.
Interactive content like quizzes, open-ended questions, surveys, contests, giveaways, polls, calculator widgets, etc., can do wonders for your brand. At the very least, they increase the length of time users engage with you which helps your standing in algorithm-based searches and feeds. But more importantly, people want to be engaged, so interactive content almost always improves your user experience.
Another trend that is not new but rather newly popular is customer segmentation. The idea is simple: instead of a small number of large marketing campaigns targeting general audiences, it is better to have many small marketing campaigns targeting specific audiences.
Customer segmentation means grouping your target audience by certain traits or behaviours, such as demographics or shopping habits. This allows you to more accurately tailor your content to suit their preferences; for example, having two separate email lists for big spenders and small spenders and sending different newsletters to each that feature different products.
Google frequently updates their local SEO algorithm, so if you are a local business, you should continuously update your business’ appearance in local results too. In a way, local SEO is even more powerful than broad SEO—people searching for a specific type of business with their geographic location have more intent to purchase, so it is easier to convert them.
For starters, you must get verified by Google. You can do this by signing up for Google My Business and either claiming your listing or creating a new one. This helps you rank higher in Google SERPS and gives you the chance to offer additional information about your company to online searchers.
According to McKinsey, the availability of products and services is the number one reason customers are switching their brand allegiance right now. Marketers can meet this challenge in a few ways. The most obvious (if most difficult) solution is to increase the days of inventory on-hand of products or the availability of timeslots for services. Get creative. For example, with more people working from home and many kids learning remotely, most physicians and dental offices with whom we work have reallocated staff toward more daytime slots and fewer night and weekend hours.
If adjusting stock levels or servicing hours is a challenge (or worse), timely communication becomes paramount. Be clear about what you can and cannot do and set reasonable expectations. For high-volume items, consider placing a banner on your site to indicate when key products will be in-stock. If you are not collecting customer contact information, now is the perfect time to create a subscriber list so that you can be proactive with notifying customers of availability changes with an automated text or email.
Chatbots will continue to be an important part of digital marketing in 2021. This AI-based technology uses instant messaging to chat in real-time, day or night, with your customers or site visitors.
Surveys show that:
• Chatbots will power 85% of customer service by 2021
• Top benefits of chatbots are 24-hour service (64%), instant responses to inquiries (55%), and answers to simple questions (55%)
• 63% of respondents prefer messaging an online chatbot to communicate with a business or brand
• By 2022, chatbots will help businesses save over $8 b billion per annum
Video marketing is one of, if not the, most important marketing trend today and likely for the next 5-10 years. These numbers show the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy in 2021:
• 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video
• 72% of businesses say that video has improved their conversion rate
• 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions
• 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video
Video is by far the most popular way customers want to learn about new products:
Social Media and Influencer Marketing
Social media is a powerful tool in the hands of marketers, enabling lead generation and customer retention. You just need to know how to deal with it, as people now require more and more brand transparency and customer support.
According to DataReportal analysis, 3.96 billion people worldwide use social media today, roughly 51% of the global population. Wow…. That is a lot!
The social media users ramped up their access to all major platforms due to lockdown and quarantine. As the pandemic recedes, the most powerful demographics will continue product research and purchase, beginning with social media platforms. So, try to be present, creative, and responsive.
Influencer marketing deserves special attention.
According to Rakuten, 61% of shoppers interact with an influencer at least once a day, and 35% – multiple times a day. More than that, 87% of people are inspired to shop by influencers. In 2021, brands’ messages and products will be promoted in collaboration with brand ambassadors on such visual platforms as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc.
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