COVID 19 UPDATE - So...we needed to re-visit the original article we were writing since we are publishing this in 2020 now and we are in the middle of a pandemic that...
While 2020 has presented many unique challenges, 2021 looks set to only add to the turmoil of an ever-changing digital marketing landscape. There have been some stand-out trends in the sector this year, but it's clear that doubling-down is set to be the key to digital marketing success in 2021. Making sure that all of your current marketing strategies are as finely-tuned and as impactful as possible is going to become the main target for marketers in the next quarter, rather than the usual changes of adopting new technologies. If you're looking ahead at what to expect from your digital marketing team in 2021, here are the key trends to expect and how to better utilize them for better business management.
Social Media Investment
Love it or hate it, social media is going nowhere in 2021. Organizations are going to be investing a lot more money and resources in social media marketing. Currently, a social media budget is around a quarter of a marketing budget, but that will need to increase in 2021. As consumers spend more time online than ever, they are spending more time on their social pages, and that means brands need to be there to engage with them. When social media marketing encourages both brand loyalty and sales, any business that is yet to establish itself on social media is going to lose out in 2021 more than they have in 2020.
Local SEO and Google Listings
This has become a basic step for any business with a physical premises and/or a predefined target audience within a geographical location. If you have yet to double-down on your local SEO strategy, then it's time to start paying a lot more attention to it. The goal is to rank higher on 'near me' searches, and that means making sure that your Google My Business listing is filled out, up to date, and fully optimized so that it's easier for Google to categorize you. While this has been a key step to take for the last few years, it has become such a critical step that any business that is not focusing on local SEO is going to fall even further behind.
5G is coming, and that means even more people are going to be using their phones to browse and buy online. Already, a slow-loading website will be harming your conversion rates, and search engines will punish you if your web pages take too long to load. In 2021, there will be no excuse for a slow-loading website or landing page. There are more website hosting platforms than ever before, and researching which is best for you and your business has never been easier. Look at a SiteGround hosting review and compare it with other platforms. Choose the one that will load fast and will grow with your brand.
There are estimates that by 2025, 75% of US homes will have a smart speaker, and in 2020 as many as 71% of those who already own one used it once a day at minimum. Make no mistake; voice search is going to be the great filter when it comes to brands and online visibility in 2021 and beyond. Voice search has been growing over the last five years, and it's only going to become more vital. For digital marketers, voice search poses some challenges. First is the priority on becoming 'position zero' on SERPs. This can be hard to achieve, and it can be a mixed blessing because it might improve brand reach but it can also reduce your click-through rates. Too important to ignore, voice search is going to mean a content adjustment as much as an overhaul of your existing SEO strategies.
When so much of digital marketing is about engagement, it's no wonder that interactivity has become of such vital importance in 2020. From quizzes and polls on social media to online calculators for realtors and car showrooms, getting consumers to be active on your pages is going to be a big change in 2021. Not only can those interactive elements provide value to your potential customers, but it can also become a valuable source of data, meaning that you can learn more about your customers and their buying journeys. Contests and surveys let people feel involved in your brand story, and their low cost means that the ROI can be stellar.
Even More Automation
From software that will bid on your Google Adwords to technologies that will make it easier to deliver messages on multiple channels, automation should already be a key part of your marketing department's resources. There's a lot of repetitive manual tasks in marketing, and they will often take your key players away from carrying out more profitable tasks. Evaluating the success of a marketing campaign is no longer a time-consuming role that can take months to deliver. Instead, data can be collected, analyzed, and a report automatically generated with all of the relevant facts presented in easy to understand ways. Automation is affecting every industry, and marketing is no different.
While there has been little in the way of new trends or technologies in 2020, marketers have still been kept on their toes. If you want your business to continue to grow in 2021, it's time to make sure that your marketing team is positioned well enough to be able to take advantage of the trends that will continue to grow in importance in 2021.