2020 has brought with it many unexpected changes. Businesses of all sizes have adapted to public health requirements that have changed the way consumers shop for goods and services. Organizations across industries are more reliant now than ever before on the internet to attract new customers, keep current ones, and conduct secure transactions.
The changing marketing landscape has shifted the focus to automation tools, building a community presence, and showing customers how your business differs from the rest. It is very possible to take advantage of the sudden changes that have been brought on by the pandemic, and a comprehensive and up-to-date strategy is key to staying competitive and maintaining high revenue through digital marketing in 2021.
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Local small businesses
With widespread closures and reduced hours of brick-and-mortar stores, more small business owners are concentrating on strengthening their online presences. As the chart below illustrates, consumers have been likely to avoid in-store shopping if possible.
This is likely a trend that is going to change the way people purchase goods and services in the future. Establishing trust and standing out from the crowd is crucial when it comes to marketing online, and making sure your listing is Google verified is an important way to do that. Customers can easily find hours, contact information, geographic location, and any other information you want to share without second guessing whether it is accurate or up-to-date. Google verification will make your business be more reputable and give you an edge over competitors that have not verified their listings. Additionally, your site will appear in all Google products, such as Google Maps, which could boost your SEO results and connect you with more localized customers.
With the increase in demand for home delivery has come an increase in pay-per-click ads. Since more businesses are making use of this service, it is important to make sure your content doesn’t become lost in local market noise. Targeting your ads to your community and creating personalized advertisements will enable you to reach customers that are looking for the services you provide.
While email and blog content have been effective in the past and continue to be strong marketing tools, visual-forward content is expected to be popular digital marketing in 2021. More consumers are engaging with Facebook Live and Instagram livestreams, through which brands can interact with customers, broadcast tutorials, or introduce viewers to new products. Livestreaming in general has seen a massive increase in 2020 due to quarantines and city-wide lockdowns. Since these platforms are free, livestreaming is a cost-effective way to build brand loyalty and communicate with your audience.
A study by Sprout Social Index found that 45% of consumers rely on suggestions through social media to find new accounts to follow. Making sure you are advertising on social media is critical. As a result of the pandemic, many communities prioritize shopping locally in order to build the local economy. Now is a good time to focus on building your social media following, posting content regularly, and communicate openly and professionally with your customers. Interacting with other businesses and engaging in mutually beneficial advertising relationships can also help build your position within your community and reach more customers.
National small/medium businesses
SEO is evolving beyond meta tags and code. Google uses complex algorithms to deliver the best results possible for every single search. Going above and beyond to make sure your content is the best available will likely result in better SEO results. The following are key factors to earning higher rankings in 2021:
- Headings/descriptions that directly address and answer queries
- Fast mobile load times
- Local business verification
- Clear, uncluttered website layout
- Unique content
Analytics tools, such as Pagespeed Insights, can make determining whether your website is optimized for search engines easy.
Influencer marketing has been growing in popularity for years and is especially effective amongst Gen Z and Millennial consumers. These generations are beginning to encompass more of the American consumer market, so working with content creators with large social followings might be a good option depending on the type of business you are operating. A 2020 study by Kantar showed that almost half of Gen Z consumers have made a purchase decision based on a recommendation by a social influencer.
Automation has been saving business owners a lot of time and money over the past couple of years. Advanced automated services are becoming more widespread and available. One service expected to gain popularity in digital marketing in 2021 is mobile automation. It’s no secret that people rely on their mobile devices to shop, communicate with businesses, and browse for services. In fact, more than 50% of internet traffic comes via mobile devices. Mobile marketing automation allows owners to learn information about mobile users that visit their websites, such as:
- Device type
- Browsing habits
Once you’ve collected this information, you can start sending automated content. Options include:
- SMS updates
- In-app messages/coupons
- Push notifications
Due to the convenience it affords, people are sending questions and comments to businesses via social media, either through reviews, comments, or direct message. This is a great opportunity for brands to represent themselves in a positive, customer-oriented way. In fact, one study found that 49% of respondents said they will unfollow brands due to poor customer service. When customers engage with your business on social media, it’s critical that you maintain the same level of professionalism and quality of customer service that you would in-person. When customers reach out on social media, they are generally expecting a quick response. In one survey, 79% of respondents said that they expect brands to respond within 24 hours of reaching out. It’s important to respond quickly in order to increase brand loyalty through strong customer service.
Among the newest trends in marketing technology is voice search. As of 2020, nearly 5.5 million U.S. adults regularly make purchases via their smart speakers, and 52% of people who search by voice expressed interest in receiving information about deals, promotions, and sales from brands. By the end of 2020, it is estimated that about 50% of all online searches will be voice-activated. A custom SEO strategy based on consumer voice search preference and behaviors can offer a lot of insight into connecting with your customers based on common search phrases. Making sure your website or app is optimized for voice search is a relatively new concept intended to allow users to find your content based on verbal search phrases, which differ from those typed into a browser.
A Statista study indicates that, at various points in 2020, 52% of U.S. adults were shopping more online than they had been before the pandemic. This major surge in eCommerce has underscored the most modern tools for digital marketing in 2021. Many organizations have embraced this change for the wider range of customers the internet enables them to reach, as well as the time- and money-saving benefits of automation. Investing in automated advertising channels, such as email marketing and PPC ads, can result in high return on investment (ROI) and increase your customer base.
More than ever, people are following brands on social media for updates regarding COVID-19 closures, in addition to product and sales information. 57% of consumers follow social media pages in order to get this kind of information about businesses they patronize. Social media is a great way to meet your audience where they are, especially considering there will be an estimated 225.61 million social network users in 2021 in the United States alone. It’s important to take advantage of this line of communication and express what sets your business and products apart.
As illustrated by the chart above, social media use is widespread and has been increasing year-by-year. Consumers often follow and interact with brands they like on social media, so it is important to maintain an active social presence that provides users with useful, engaging information.
If you are looking to fortify your digital marketing strategy for the coming year, contact Dragonfly Digital Marketing today. Our experts work with businesses of all sizes to identify the most lucrative marketing methods that work to develop online presence, expand customer bases, and make use of the most up-to-date marketing technology.