Well, 2020 kinda sucked didn’t it.
But 2021 is a new year, there’s things to look forward to and new marketing plans to put in place. Not many marketing teams put their 2020 plans in place before they had to start working on the fly, and we saw a few things emerge in the chaos that have changed the way we market to people.
But, are those things we saw in 2020 just a flash in the pan? Or are they long lasting changes that we can expect to see in the new year.
Here’s what we think are going to be the digital marketing trends of 2021 that will have the most impact.
Any business that didn’t have an online presence before 2020 probably does now after closing the high street during lockdown meant online was the only available avenue to sell to customers.
As you can see from this research by Statista towards the end of 2020 Ecommerce made up more than 35% of all retail sales in the UK. We have no no doubt that there will be some resurgence in the high street when people are able to get back to some kind of normal, but many have now seen the benefits of having an Ecommerce website (even alongside a physical shop).
Not to mention, many people now just prefer the convenience of shopping online anyway.
Call them virtual events, call them webinars, call them what you want, we became very familiar with them during 2020.
It started partly as a novelty and partly as a necessity. And then eventually it got to the point that everyone and their dog was dressing sales messages up as virtual events.
In 2021, virtual events will continue – not least because we don’t really know when physical events will be allowed again.
What may change is the big “set piece” events will give way to smaller, more community focused events.
What we’re hoping for is that virtual events will stop being an excuse for brands to talk to their mates and start to offer value to customers.
How many times have you heard someone in marketing say ’email is dead’?
Many do. Emails don’t work because people don’t like spam in their inbox, and there’s a million and one social media platforms to use now instead to get in front of people.
That, of course, is complete rubbish.
Email marketing remains one of the best and most effective forms of marketing there is, especially for startup marketing. Sure, people don’t like spam emails but the answer to that is simple – stop sending them spam emails.
Instead, break your email list up into specific groups, figure out what they need or want to know, and tell them in an engaging way.
Making use of live features in apps
Live streaming really has taken off on the internet in the last few years. Partly driven by lockdowns, but also because people are beginning to understand how to use them to engage an audience in a different way.
Instagram lives are widely used by businesses and individual to hold live Q&As with an audience, or to do live interviews with industry figures.
If you’ve got something that will be of interest to your audience – and can get over yourself being seen live on camera – then live streaming and event, interview or Q&A could be a good way to go.
Whether it’s sustainability, climate change, mental health, gender/ethical inequality & acceptance we’ll surely see more brands continuing their crusades to be seen as being socially responsible.
There’s a lot made of consumers being more likely to support brands that align with their morals or ethical values.
Whether that’s true remains to be seen.
Much of the evidence actually points to the fact that most consumers still value lower prices, a good deal and customer service over a company’s stance on a given issue.
According to this study by Morgan Stanley, 49% of customers rate a business’ “moral compass” as neither important or unimportant, somewhat unimportant or just not important at all.
Still, we fully expect to see brands trying to stand for something in 2021.
Rise of the micro and nano-influencers
Influencer marketing is becoming widely accepted within society and brands collaborating with micro/nano-influencers are seeing trends in establishing true/positive customer relations with their audience.
However, after a few bad headlines over influencer marketing in the last year we expect brands to be much more choosy over the influencers they decide to work with.
More importance on audience segmentation
This is another one of those marketing tactics that has been a part of marketing since the very beginning, but that more marketers are finally started to take seriously again.
Instead of blanket marketing to a broad audience, dividing audience into niche groups offers targeted messaging allowing brands to tailor their content effectively to different audiences that have different consumer values.
Especially online it’s much easier to be super specific in your ad targeting so you reduce the risks of losing your budget and actually get some ROI.
We’re all hoping that at some point in 2021 we’re going to see High Street’s open again, which means more people on the streets, and more people looking for local shops again.
There’s a big opportunity now for those high street shops – especially those which now have an online presence as well – to get their Local SEO on point so they can be found again by local shoppers.
Better to start doing this work early so by the time the country opens again, you’ve already got the work done.
The percentage of people who are now willing to buy something directly from a social media page has been on the increase for the last few years – and we wholly expect 2021 to see that trend continue.
B2C brands would be wise to start creating ‘social media shops’ to help customers pay for things simply and quickly.
Voice searches are thought to make up roughly half of all searches on the internet now.
Voice search has already changed the focus of SEO and is one of the reasons long tail keyword searches now make up the majority of searches today. We’re no longer looking for specific keywords, we’re using key phrases and questions.
This is definitely something businesses should be taking into account for their SEO and content marketing strategy in 2021.
Rise in voice search thanks to advances in smart technology, could be something for brands to consider when looking at overall SEO strategies.
Are you ready for 2021’s digital marketing challenges?
It goes without saying that last year saw marketers face a challenge they never could have been coming.
As we – hopefully – hit the backend of the covid crisis and start to return to some kind of normal, how confident are you that you’re ready for the SEO and digital marketing challenges for the new year?
If you think you might need some extra help, get in touch.
Or get a free SEO consultation and build your marketing plans around some solid information.