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8 Digital Marketing Trends To Watch In 2021

While much of the business landscape has shifted toward adopting technology in the workplace, the impacts of the coronavirus accelerated that transition, leaving many businesses with the nuanced task of embracing the digital universe in a way like never before.

As we all continue to fight the spread of the virus, it’s becoming increasingly clear that our world won’t return to pre-pandemic times. The forced digital revolution, it seems, is here to stay. 

Several business leaders predict our pandemic-spurred reliance on technology will extend to the future, making digital marketing crucial for both companies familiar with the online world and those who are relatively new to it.

2021 marks a new year of hope and opportunity, especially in the marketing space. Here are the top 8 trends we expect to see and implement throughout the year. 

1. Lean Into Local SEO

When you think about digital marketing, you likely imagine your efforts reaching audiences far and wide, and while broad appeal and influence are meaningful, it’s also vital to prioritize your local listings. What does that look like?

    • Make sure your local listings are verified and current. Perhaps your hours have shifted, be sure your Google My Business listing reflects those changes. You want people to be able to find you as easily as possible. You can also update things like your services and geographic location.
    • Create a geographically-defined service area. This level of specificity helps your business appear when people type financial advisor near me, for example. 
  • Write local content. Is there a special charity event happening in your town that you want to highlight? Perhaps a new development geared toward retirees is going up near the city center, and you want to write a post about why your area is a great spot for retirees. Hone in on these (and other) local topics to propel your local SEO.
  • Clearly list your area on your website. This is perhaps the simplest of all the options above. If you want to rank for “Durham Financial Advisor,” highlight that longtail keyword on your home, about, and service pages for example.

Leaning into the local flare will be especially important for businesses that primarily see clients face to face like dentist offices, optometrists, family doctors, coffee shops, artisan boutiques, and more. This strategy might not be best for every firm, but we anticipate seeing many businesses favor their local roots.

2. Keep An Eye On Voice Search

Google’s algorithm doesn’t yet accommodate voice search, but that hasn’t stopped people from embracing this search tool. Between Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, it’s becoming easier than ever for people to search for information by simply speaking to their smart devices.

Hubspot found that 52% of people said that they use a voice assistant and Google voice search queries have ballooned 3400% since 2008. The prevalence of voice technology is likely to further change the way people search for information in the coming year and beyond. 

What does this mean for brands? There are several potential changes, namely optimizing content for voice searches. You can do that by writing clear and engaging titles and adopting a more conversational style to your blogs that will better link to voice search queries.

Keep in mind that all of this will need to be tailored to your business and audience. Conversational for a millennial audience means something different than conversational for a retiree-audience. It’s all about tapping into your audience’s needs and making your marketing efforts as tailored to them as possible.  

3. Get Ready For Social Commerce

Buying patterns are always shifting and over the past year, many brands have seen a spike in purchasing products/services via social media. 55% of consumers have made a purchase through a social media platform and 71% use social media as inspiration/research for specific products.

There are several ways that this trend toward social commerce can impact your brand. Depending on the platform you use (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest), you can set up another channel for people to take the next step in the buying journey. 

Streamlining your process makes it easier for people to interact with you. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to purchase your products, so if social media is a big lead generation vehicle for you, adding a commerce component could be an innovative step for your business. 

4. Weave In Interactive Content

Businesses are continually searching for more engaging ways to connect with their audiences and what better way to do that than implementing interactive content? I know from personal experience that anytime a brand I engage with has a quiz, I’ll take it and hand over my email address. Adopting a similar strategy can also be incredibly powerful for your brand. 

Interactive content gets your audience involved in the process and can be a great way to introduce your brand and services. Remember, if you’re asking people to hand over their email address, you need to provide them with high-value content/information in return. 

For you, that might mean you have a set of calculators that will help pre-retirees plan for their taxes in retirement, or maybe you build a “My Retirement Number” calculator that helps give guidance to clients on how much they will need to save to support their lifestyle.  Let’s take a look at some other types of interactive content:

  • Quizzes
  • Calculators
  • Games
  • Polls
  • Contests

Build a quiz that helps people set goals for themselves or that reveals their unique “money mindset” as other examples.

5. The More Personal You Can Be, The Better

Perfectly Planned Content has always believed in personal content. Why? People connect to people, not businesses. A photo of your socially-distanced office picnic or a personal story to kick-off a blog post are both incredible channels to engage your audience and connect in an authentic way. 

Given the separation from friends, loved ones, coworkers, and colleagues over the past year, many people are finding more joy and fulfillment with personal connections. As we know, people make buying decisions more on emotion than logic, and being personal can provide the emotional capital needed to make genuine and lasting connections with your audience. There are many ways to make your marketing more personal:

  • Share family or office-related content on social media.
  • Use a personal story to connect to your blog.
  • Spice up your newsletter with additional colors like firm updates, reflections, and announcements.
  • Shoot a video.
  • Create a webinar or masterclass.

While you certainly don’t need to do all of these things, you can select the ideas that best reflect your brand. 

6. Don’t Shy Away From Brand Activism

Remember, people connect to people. Brands have taken this idea a step further by embracing causes and organizations that they care about and proudly displaying that in their marketing efforts. While this doesn’t mean you have to jump into a political spotlight, it does encourage brands to be more vocal about charities they support, volunteer efforts they engage in, and how they are working to make the world a better place. 

People want to do business with brands that fit into their ideology, and demonstrating your charitable efforts is a great way to start that conversation. 

7. Cozy Into Nostalgia Marketing

Ah, nostalgia, it’s one of those things that feels like a safe space you never want to leave. Nostalgia in marketing works because it pleasantly evokes a particular moment in the past, one that feels comforting and even a bit amusing.

Several large brands have latched onto this idea like Liberty Mutual, Cheetos, Ikea, and more. Nostalgia marketing is all about tapping into your audience’s emotional self, drawing those important feelings and connections to the product by building an experience. 

If there is anything you can take away from this section, it’s that you want to build a memorable and pleasant experience for your customers. 

8. Go Live

Social networking is a great way to connect with prospective clients, clients, and even centers of influence (COIs). An increasingly popular social feature is starting a live video. This function allows brands to engage with an audience in real-time, making a more direct connection than a pre-recorded video or webinar. 

Hubspot found that in 2019 viewers consumed 1.1 billion hours of live video, suggesting that this method of consuming content is just getting started. Nearly every social platform jumped on this bandwagon, so whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, or Twitter, you’ll be able to add live video to your social media strategy. 

Live video is a great way to engage your audience in an event or experience with your brand virtually. 

Keep your audience front and center

Trends come and go, so as long as you embrace them in a way that aligns with your audience, you are more likely to find success. It’s exciting to see what’s on the horizon and the many ways you can embrace new strategies to best connect with your clients in an authentic and engaging way. 

Are you ready to take your marketing efforts to the next level in 2021? Schedule a call with our team to see how you can reach that goal!