Marketing is a must for all businesses across every industry. Getting the word out about your products and services is essential as you work to grow your business and appeal to a wider audience of potential customers. But marketing is also an area that changes rapidly, based on the shifting needs and behaviors of consumers. Looking ahead at the changing needs of consumers and understanding the current and forthcoming digital marketing trends are the best ways to stay ahead of the curve.
Digital marketing utilizes digital technologies to promote services and products. This part of the concept of marketing focuses specifically on anything that can be shared and viewed on a digital device, such as a computer, tablet, or phone. It differs from traditional marketing methods in that it is only available online, while print marketing includes brochures, flyers, billboards, printed advertisements, and other tangible, physical items. Because technology is constantly shifting, the methods used in digital marketing are ever-changing right alongside the technological advancements.
Digital marketing trends identify the behaviors of consumers and work to capitalize on those typical behaviors. Marketers look at what works for their companies, as well as what is working for other companies, to determine what trends are successful and which are starting to wind down. In identifying the trends, marketing professionals must also determine their own business goals and how they will monitor their results.
After a year of uncertainty and confusion, those in the digital marketing space must look at what is currently working for their business, as well as what might shift as conditions and behaviors change. Looking ahead at the digital marketing trends for 2021 has a unique feel, coming out of a year when marketers were forced to adapt quickly and make sudden changes to accommodate the, well, unprecedented year.
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Many business owners and company leaders find it difficult to keep up with the ever-shifting trends. After all, this is an area where voice search engine optimization and artificial intelligence are a significant part of the everyday, at least for now. In today’s online-heavy landscape, people are on their devices more than ever before. If you fail to keep up with the latest trends, your business will lose out on opportunities that are only available to those who are willing to invest the time and resources needed to compete.
As we look ahead to the year 2021, it’s clear that certain marketing strategies are here to stay, while others may be critical now but shift in the future as people get back to some semblance of normal life. Take a closer look at some of the key digital marketing trends to implement and how each can benefit your business.
As mentioned, artificial intelligence is of utmost importance in the marketing world. You don’t have to build your own fleet of robots to monitor your outdoor areas and predict criminal behavior, although Uber and Microsoft have taken steps in this direction. Instead, your business can implement AI in smaller, more manageable ways. If you have a website, consider adding a chatbot that is powered by artificial intelligence. You can build the chatbot tool with answers to questions that visitors to your site frequently ask, helping to offload some of the burden being placed on customer service representatives.
Other methods for adopting AI into your digital marketing strategy include analyzing search and behavior patterns, utilizing data from blog posts and social media activity, and personalizing communications to your client base. Many businesses have already started using artificial intelligence to sustain a competitive advantage, move into new business areas, reduce costs, and meet the needs of customers and prospects.
Along with adopting artificial intelligence, companies are having to create new strategies when communicating with clients. People can tell when they’re being targeted and sold to, and it can turn people off to a brand or company. We live in a time when marketing has become more subtle, and people are looking more for connections than advertisements. When a potential client has a question, they want to speak to someone right away and get an immediate answer, according to the results of a survey posted by Business 2 Community.
The purpose of conversational marketing is to facilitate a real-time connection between that potential client and someone at the company who can provide assistance. You might set up a chat line that is connected 24/7, or you may choose to set up a response system with AI that can answer questions or connect the individual to someone who can help. The goal of this form of digital marketing is to boost the user experience and foster a culture of engagement where people can get answers and help, right when they need it.
If your brand includes products, video marketing simply must be part of your strategy. Consumers have spoken, and more than half feel that watching a video makes them feel more confident in making a decision to purchase something online. In the same study, 70% of respondents reported sharing a brand’s video on their own social media platforms, while 65% of people who view a video will visit the vendor’s website to get more information.
Although marketing products and services with video content isn’t new, it’s one of the digital trends that is expected to stick around for the next five to 10 years. In order to appeal to a wider audience, make sure your videos always have subtitles and offer an engaging experience to viewers. You can also rip the audio from the video to use in a podcast or other audio marketing tool, and utilize thumbnails from the video in email marketing campaigns, social campaigns, and other marketing efforts.
Gone are the days when people read every email that comes through their inbox. DMR reports indicate that the average American employee receives over 120 emails every day. Simply sending a marketing blast isn’t enough to get your content in front of the right audience as those on your list may not even read the email in the first place. In order to stand out and increase your open rates, your emails must be personalized to appeal to those on the receiving end.
In order to truly personalize your content, you will need to go beyond adding the person’s first name to the subject line. The information should be based on the behavior of the recipient. For example, Cadbury’s launched a personalized video campaign that used data from viewers’ Facebook profiles, including location, interests, and age. It matched this data with a potential Dairy Milk chocolate flavor that they might enjoy, generating a 33.6% conversion rate and 65% click-through rate. Look at past behaviors and potential interests to make your content more interesting to your audience members.
Influencer marketing has also skyrocketed as a technique in the recent past. A study performed by mediakix reports that the total ad spend for influencer marketing could get to $10 billion by 2022. Artificial intelligence is also a factor in this marketing trend, as businesses are using the data generated with AI tools to recognize images, identify false engagement and fake followers, and determine the overall influence of specific posts.
By working with influencers who have a strong following of people who trust their recommendations, you may reach a wider audience. Influencer marketing is especially beneficial in certain industries, where consumers are more willing to make purchases when they see the results or effects of a particular product.
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King,” and that phrase has continued to resonate with marketers since it was published. Content is an essential component of every digital marketing strategy and has been for the last five years or more. Content can apply to all businesses, regardless of size or sector, and it fuels all digital marketing channels. You need content to build and update a business website, stay in communication with your prospects and clients, and even create videos that will appeal to viewers.
Now that you have a sense of what digital marketing trends can positively impact your company’s bottom line, the next step is determining how to implement them in your own business strategy. Some of these trends require significant investments, both in terms of the time and financial resources they will take to put into place. However, making smaller changes to create a more customer-centric experience can be a cost-effective way to get started. Follow the steps below to implement trends into your business marketing strategy.
The first step is outlining the budget your business has set forth for marketing efforts. By understanding what you have to work with, you can decide which of the trends fit into the budget and will deliver the highest returns on investment. This step also allows you to determine what you can afford. If your budget is smaller, building an arsenal of video content may not be feasible right now, but you may be able to afford fresh content for your site regularly that will help to keep your search engine rankings high.
In order to get a sense of what is working in your industry, you need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing in their marketing and outreach efforts. If you’re constantly seeing ads for a competitor pop up on social media, you may want to think about putting up a few of your own targeted ads to funnel interested parties to your website. Sign up for competitor email communications to get an insider’s look at how they’re speaking to their prospects and clients. You can also browse their websites and assess how their content is laid out and presented.
Outsourcing your marketing efforts is often a necessity, particularly when you’re part of a smaller organization that doesn’t have professionals to handle every aspect of the shifting digital marketing landscape. If you’re not able to keep a content creator on staff, partnering with a content creation agency can get you access to the content you need, when you need it. If you’re planning to build a chatbot and utilize AI into your website, you may need to outsource the backend development to someone who has done this work before.
As mentioned, conversational marketing is a major trend right now as companies strive to provide a more engaging experience to their clients. However, implementing this strategy doesn’t mean you have to handle every marketing task manually. Look for ways to automate steps in your processes, whether you’re setting up drip campaigns to ensure your clients receive the right communication at the right time or auto-sending email responses when people submit inquiries on your site and social channels.
Marketing automation platforms are available for companies of all sizes, and they have unique tools built right in that make it easier to set up automated responses and tasks. Consider automating your lead generation, email marketing, and content marketing to lessen the tasks that fall on you and your team.
A business simply can’t afford to fall behind in digital marketing. By staying ahead of the trends and looking for ways to boost your strategy, your organization can continue to thrive and appeal to a wide audience of targeted individuals. Harnessing the tools that work and finding ways to generate leads and provide a better customer experience is essential in your overall marketing strategy.
At CopyPress, our goal is to simplify the work that goes into marketing a business. We’re a full-service content production agency that is dedicated to helping businesses scale their content needs. Our one-stop-shop can be the partner you’ve been looking for, providing you with content writing, promotional services, and design work to boost or supplement your SEO strategy and get you in front of the right audience. Contact us to learn more about the services we offer and how we can support your business goals.
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