Digital MarketingMarketing Trends

We are only about three and a half months away until we are officially in 2021. With each year comes a handful of new marketing trends. Just because we are still in 2020 doesn’t mean you can’t get a leg up on your marketing strategy and start planning for your best year of marketing yet!😉

In this intuitive blog, we will be giving you the 9 most anticipated digital marketing strategies that you need to know for 2021.

Get a head start by implementing these right away and watch your marketing efforts climb to new heights.

Without further ado, let’s jump into it!

1. Voice Search Optimization – Future of SEO

“Hey siri, where’s the nearest taco restaurant?” 

“Alexa, what is the capital of New Mexico?” 

We have all done a voice search before, and while voice search might seem like a second thought when it comes to your digital marketing plan, it definitely shouldn’t be.

In fact, the voice search market has exploded in the past few years and is only getting bigger.

Don’t believe me? check out these voice search facts & statistics: 

  • 55% of households in the US are expected to own a smart speaker in 2022.
  • 58% of people have used voice search to find information about a local business.
  • 72% of people who use voice search devices claim they have become part of their daily routines.
  • As of 2020, 62% of Americans said they have used some kind of voice assistance technology.
  • 65% of 25-49 year old’s speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once a day.

Optimizing for voice search means optimizing for the lightning speed at which your niche operates. People don’t have the time or the desire to type everything into Google. 

Imagine you are getting ready in the morning and it is raining more than usual, so you need to know if traffic is worse than your typical morning commute. You’re in a hurry, naturally, and don’t have time to pick up your phone and check the traffic.

What do you do? You ask your phone or home speaker system, “what’s today’s weather?

Did you know that the top reasons why people use voice search are:

How to Optimize for Voice Search in 2021 – Voice SEO Tips

  1. Begin with keyword research – include question phrases, long tail keywords, and relevant words such as “near me, best, in, with, how-to” 
  1. Analyze, rethink, and restructure your content – look for holes you can fill so it’s built for voice searches. Including a FAQ for:
    1. Product pages
    2. Services pages
    3. About Us page
    4. Blog Posts
  1. Structure your content to reflect a conversation – voice search is less formal and more conversational so this is the likely tone your audience will use when conducting a voice search. Ask yourself how your ideal user would ask the question.
  1. Make sure your website speed is optimized – when we think of voice search, we think of speed. If your website is not optimized for speed, you won’t be the first piece of content that is pulled to answer a voice search question. This includes mobile speed as well.
  1. Capitalize on long-tail keywords – Think about your long-tail keywords and focus on these keywords as if they were a question. Remember, voice searches are almost always in a question format. This includes structuring subheadings in blogs to reflect a question.
  1. Activate your Google My Business, Bing, & Local directory listings for local voice searches –  with 58% of people using voice search to find local business information, you need to set up your Google My Business, Bing, and other local directory listings. 

2. Non-Linear Customer Journey

The days are over of business assuming that each customer is on the same buying journey. We must stop assuming our customers are following a traditional pattern and instead remember that each customer is a multifaceted consumer.

One person’s experience with purchasing a product or using a service will be different than their neighbor.

The idea of the linear customer journey essentially says that each customer will go from A – B – C- D – E, with E being a purchase. 

A linear customer journey is the marketing funnel, which includes: 

  • Awareness 
  • Interest
  • Consideration
  • Evaluation
  • Decision
Credits: TrackMaven

However, this is definitely not the case for every consumer and we need to debunk the idea that each consumer will participate in each step, chronologically or even at all.

Have you ever been to Target? I’ll be honest, I walk to that 70% off clearance rack, and I can 100% say that my customer journey jumps from awareness to purchase in a matter of seconds😂

The idea of a non-linear customer journey is that a buyer may go through random touch points before making the final decision; which is why it’s essential to cover the foundation. 

3. AI Chatbot Marketing

Chatbot marketing will continue to take over in 2021, and should be looked at as an essential feature of web design.

Since the Google Algorithm is expected to change in 2021, there will be an even bigger emphasis on user-experience.

Incorporating artificial intelligence-powered marketing to your website will do nothing but improve how your users experience your website, thus helping you improve your site metrics and increase page ranking.

Chatbots aren’t only great for your customers,  but also for your team as well. 

Let’s take a look at how chatbots can benefit teams and customers: 

  • Chatbots can cut operational costs by up to 30%.
  • 64% of internet users say 24-hour service is the best feature of chatbots.
  • 37% of people use a customer service bot to get a quick answer in an emergency.

Incorporating a chatbot function to your website can do the following: 

  • Scale-Up & Streamline Your Business
  • Guide Customers to the Right Products
  • Help Reduce Your Abandoned Cart Rate
  • Build a Positive Rapport & Gain Trust with Customers

4.  Hyper-personalized Brand Messaging

For years now, we have all been inundated with targeted ads and messaging from brands. 

Whether it be an email marketing campaign to keep a brand on top of my mind or an abandoned cart email to remind you of all the late-night shopping you were doing the other day.

We have seen it all, and while I admit on occasion these personalized messages excite me, there are just so many that often I just skip right past them.

Why? Because sometimes it’s just not what I want or care about at that moment. 

That’s where hyper-personalization comes in.

Hyper-personalization is a robust combination of both behavior and real-time data collected from multiple channels. This enables you to tailor your messaging to the T to produce relevance and higher conversion potential.

Hyper-personalization isn’t only great for your customers, but it can also increase your sales.

Here’s what consumers has to say:  

  • 59% of shoppers believe that it’s easier to find interesting products on highly personalized online retail stores.
  • 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that recommends products.
  • 57% of online shoppers are fine with providing personal information as long as it benefits them.
  • Personalized display ads have a 10x higher CTR (Click Through Rate) when compared to traditional display ads. 

How to Hyper-Personalize Messaging in 2021? 

  1. Start by collecting data – you can better understand the message your audience wants to see. Send out surveys, conduct polls, and quizzes, and get your audience excited about telling you what they want to see.
  1. Utilize advanced technology tools such as AI and machine learning  will help you offer the types of products your target audience actually wants.
  1. Deliver a customized offer – understand your audience’s previous buying behavior and then generate offers that are specific to exactly what they want.
  1. Use various channels to spread your message – this isn’t just for social media, so use hyper-personalization for all of your communication channels, including email campaigns, social media, on your website, and anywhere else your audience might interact with your messages. 

5. Always perform A/B testing – your first attempt at hyper-personalization probably won’t be your last, so always A/B test your messages. See which message has a higher rate of interaction and continue to test and tailor your messages.

5. Transparency Demand by Consumers

To be completely candid with you, 2020 has been quite the year, and I think almost anyone could agree. This year has brought an absolute demand for transparency from business to customers.

No more shady deals or companies profiting off of false promises. Today’s consumers won’t have it, and if you aren’t being 100% transparent in all that you do, you will suffer in 2021. 

Don’t believe me? From a study conducted by Sprout Social, they found that: 

  • 86% of Americans say transparency from businesses is more important than ever before.
  • 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency.
  • 85% of people say a business’ history of being transparent makes them more likely to give it a second chance after a bad experience.
  • Nearly nine in 10 people (85%) are more likely to stick by a business during a brand crisis if it has a history of being transparent.
  • 89% of people say a business can regain their trust if it admits to a mistake and is transparent about the steps it will take to resolve the issue.

What do we mean when we talk about transparency? From the same study from Sprout Social:

The largest number of people say transparency is when businesses are open (59%), clear (53%) and honest (49%).

Why Does Business Transparency Matter to Consumers?

It’s important to remember that transparency will always equal trust for consumers. 

For consumers, business transparency means:

  • Always being honest with your audience.
  • Sharing the truth about various company operations.
  • Sharing relative information about performance, sourcing, pricing, and business value.
  • Owning up to past mistakes and ways how you will create change.
  • Always being open with your customers – they are the reason you are a business.  

 We live in a time when being called out can happen to any business. Social media platforms provide a space for ANYONE to talk about their negative experience with a brand. 

People want to know that their money is going to a company that is ethical and honest. With the increased demand for social transparency, if your brand is not taking to social media and content to show you are ethical, you might lose out on valuable customers. 

How Can Businesses Become More Transparent in 2021? 

  • Solidify core values and make them part of your message.
  • Be transparent in every aspect of your business by sharing information with your employees and your customers.
  • Don’t manipulate your price, just be honest.
  • Don’t beat around the bush – let people know what’s going on and get straight to the point.
  • Be candid about your experiences.

6. Content Marketing Becomes the Epitome of Sales

Content is definitely a marketers favorite word. 

But content marketing is great for ANY business and will benefit from a strong content marketing strategy.

Frankly, content marketing will drive your sales. There is no doubt about it. Consumers want content, and usually, it will drive their decision factor to buy a product or service. 

Content marketing can increase your sales by improving a number of things, including: 

  1. Education about your brand, product, or service.
  2. Trust in your brand.
  3. Brand recognition.
  4. Awareness. Even if you’re a small business, the content will put you on the map.

7. Content Clusters Drive SEO Results

Writing blogs is an excellent way to help boost your SEO and to create brand recognition. 

But, have you noticed that you write and write blog posts about ideas you think will rank well, but still haven’t increased your position on SERPs? 

Then, it might be time to restructure your content strategy. In comes content clusters.

The topic cluster methodology incorporates important pieces: 

  • A Pillar Page – a long-form blog post that covers one umbrella topic.
  • Content Clusters – smaller blogs that go into more depth about topics covered in the pillar page.
  • Hyperlinks – a strong, interwoven linking strategy that takes your audience on an educational journey to the pillar page and each cluster content. 

Not sure how to create a content cluster? Take a look at an example from our blog:

We wrote a comprehensive guide to marketing strategies for law firms. This piece of content is HUGE, clocking in at over 8,000 words. 

From this piece of content, we have been able to branch out and create smaller pieces of content that all link back to the one pillar page.

Such as our SEO for law firms blog:

And a social media for law firms blog:

With each blog linking back to our pillar page as well as internal linking to each other. 

Creating a topic hierarchy and one extensive pillar page will (hopefully, if fully optimized) rank and then your customers can interact with your other content on the page. 

8. Micro-influencers Rise in Social Media

What do you think of when you think of influencers? Maybe the athletic influencers that are always posting new workouts in Gym Shark or Nike apparel on their social media channels? 

How about the food influencers who cook meals and just ~happen~ to be using a specific brand of cheese in their dish? Not surprised at all.

But, influencer marketing is much more profound than your favorite celebrity talking about a new eye shadow palette they love, and to be frank, any business can benefit from using micro-influencer marketing. 

Micro-influencer marketing approaches using influencers but on a smaller scale. Your brand will partner with an influencer on social media who has between 1,ooo to 10,000 followers. Micro-influencers are more tuned in to their specific niche and typically yield a higher engagement rate with their followers. Your brand can really dive in and create more meaningful relationships while expanding your reach when partnering with micro-influencers. 

What Are the Benefits of Partnering with Micro-Influencers? 

For one thing, micro-influencers have a higher engagement rate

  • Instagram users with fewer than 1,000 followers generated likes 8% of the time
  • Users with 1,000-10,000 followers earned likes at a 4% rate
  • Users with 10,000-100,000 followers achieved a 2.4% like rate
  • Users with 1-10 million followers earned likes only 1.7% of the time.

Another benefit is that micro-influencers have a more refined and engaged audience. Since their following is a smaller scale, they typically have a higher engagement rate with people who have thousands to millions of followers.

Plus, micro-influencers are a more economical option, and you can usually find a micro-influencer that changes around $500 for a post. 

Lastly, as you are working towards building trust with your brand, using micro-influencers will feel like a more authentic approach to influencer marketing. 

Using micro-influencers shows that you are more concerned with getting your products into the hands of customers that will actually appreciate it and become long-term customers vs just getting your brand out there to sell to as many people as possible.

Using micro-influencer marketing will help your brand grow and create a group of dedicated customers. 

9. Interactive Content 

Not only do consumers want content, but they want interactive content. 

What exactly is interactive content? 

Interactive content is all about participation. Instead of simply reading a post, your audience will be drawn to perform an action. This will produce higher engagement and keep your audience on your website for longer. 

The internet is obsessed with interactive content, I will go ahead and say that. In fact:

  • Content with visuals gets 94% more total views (source: Buffer
  • 81% agree that interactive content grabs attention more effectively (than static content)
  • 79% agree that interactive content enhances retention of brand messaging
  • 79% agree that interactive content results in repeat visitors and multiple exposures
  • 75% plan to increase their use of interactive content in 2016 (source: Klicks

What am I talking about when I say interactive content? Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Quizzes

Creating quizzes can be a great start to your content strategy. Take a note from the quiz queens – Buzzfeed. 

Did you know that one Buzzfeed quiz has been viewed over 22 MILLION times?? Not only that, but it has been liked over 2.5 million times on Facebook. 

Side note – I’ve totally taken this quiz and I guess I should live in NY?? 

Not only that but 96% of Users who Start BuzzFeed Quizzes Finish Them.

Quizzes offer a high retention rate and get users excited to engage and participate in them. Quizzes can also help lead consumers to purchase a product and work as a lead magnet.

Take the company Prose for example. They offer custom hair care products, but in order to be able to know what products to get, you have to take a quiz.

It’s short, engaging, and sells its products. 

The catch, in order to take the quiz you need to give your email. 

Webinars and Video

Another great piece of interactive content is webinars and videos. 

Webinars and videos can be wonderful eLearning tools that you can use to interact with your audience all while sharing your vast knowledge about your niche. 

Webinars are great for getting to know your audience a bit more than simple social media posts and blogs do. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to showcase that you are an industry leader all while promoting trust in your brand. 

We love hosting webinars. Take a look at a webinar we hosted recently. 

We used social media and crafty LinkedIn strategies to market our event. Once someone signed up for the webinar, our guests were given a space to introduce themselves and interact with the other guests. We did this to foster engagement, excitement, and a sense of community. 

Here, we wanted to increase the interaction that our audience had with the event. We posted this the day before the event to try and increase engagement with the event and establish a bit of a community feel to the event.

Are You Ready for Digital Marketing in 2021?

The new year will be here before we even know it, so are you ready for the new marketing trends to emerge? If you aren’t sure how to implement any of these trends into your own marketing plan, let us know how we can help you!

Drop us a comment letting us know which trend you are most excited for!

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