Digital marketing has transformed, perhaps forever, the world of business—and the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated this trend even further. The pandemic has changed and upended the ways businesses operate, and with experts saying the crisis may extend until the end of next year, different industries and business sectors, both big and small, need to find ways to help their brands stand out in a saturated digital sphere.
Here are some digital marketing trends businesses of all kinds need to watch out for in 2021.
Local SEO and Google My Business
In a time like the COVID-19 crisis, when everyone needs to abide by intermittent government-mandated lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, businesses need to be able to update their consumers about their ever-changing opening hours and must regularly update their Google My Business listing with key information that customers will need to be able to locate and contact them at any given time. A key element is a solid SEO strategy, which will remain paramount in helping small businesses rise up in search rankings, increasing organic traffic, and finding potential customers. Consult with a trusted and reputable SEO service firm to help you create effective strategies and engaging content that will help your business attract customers.
Continued focus on social media
With more consumers staying in their homes more than ever before, a continued focus on social media will remain key, and business organizations must continue to dedicate more resources to social media marketing. In the time of a pandemic and a recession, customer retention must remain a priority for marketing teams and business owners. This time of uncertainty is crucial for business owners and marketers as they must be able to continue to increase their reach by finding new audiences and re-engaging loyal and long-term customers. During an economic downturn, marketing resources should be the last expense owners should cut back on, and the COVID-19 crisis is no exception, with social media being at the forefront of providing distraction and entertainment for many consumers.
Clear communication with the audience
Since a pandemic can cause massive disruptions on supply chains which can then affect inventory and stock availability, businesses and brands need to be able to communicate with their audience clearly about the availability of their products or services. On top of everything it has changed, the COVID-19 crisis has also changed in profound ways what consumers value and how willing they are to shift allegiances in a second, especially with the widespread accessibility that digital shopping provides. Businesses can help retain customer loyalty by increasing their stocks of on-hand items and time-slots for services. If these are impossible, brands need to be able to communicate transparently with their audience about the lack of availability of these products or services, so they can help manage the consumers’ expectations. A subscriber list can be a helpful tool in notifying consumers about availability adjustments with an automated email or text.
Engaging and interactive content
Silicon Valley insiders have told BBC that social media developers and engineers deliberately make their platforms “addictive” to users, primarily for financial gain. Thanks to the designed infinite scroll, users are much more likely to mindlessly scroll over their feed without giving particular thought to all the content they’re consuming. For this reason, brands have to work harder to catch social media users’ attention and to stand out in a sea of content. One way to ensure audience engagement is by creating content that will provide value to your visitors and allow them to get to know your brand better while at the same time gets them to engage or interact with the content you put out. For example, if you’re a financial consultant, you could incorporate a simple budget calculator into your website and other platforms. Other examples of interactive and engaging content include quizzes, polls, games, interactive videos, contests, surveys, and having people share your Facebook or Instagram posts. You could incentivize their participation by doing a giveaway contest and by offering rewards to your viewers who win in the games.
Focus on our shared humanity
But more than ever, the biggest trend digital marketers and brand owners need to know is the importance of “humanizing” brands. The last thing brands want is to be out of touch with consumers’ current reality and hardships. Smart businesses, regardless of their size, know that authenticity, sincerity, and transparency will be key to connecting with people in 2021. So don’t be afraid to explore vulnerability in your branding, and let consumers know they’re not alone in the fight.