Last year (2020), we wrote about how marketing was changing in real-time. You probably experienced that change daily in the real world. Meetings were quickly replaced by Zoom calls, our social life – by social media, and working from home became the norm for many. To meet consumers in their homes, even marketers that resisted it before finally embraced social media and digital marketing. Though we all know that marketing is ever-changing, this has never been more true than over the last year. So one year in here we are once again asking ourselves “How do we keep our businesses relevant?” and “What are the most important strategies to focus on this year?” Here are some marketing lessons learned and how you can apply them in your business.
Optimize Your Website’s Usability
Coming in May 2021, Google is rolling out an update called Page Experience. It will use new metrics to measure site load time, interactivity, and visual stability. All of these things will now impact your website’s search ranking on Google. To start, if Google rates the user experience on your website as being great or the best, it will guide consumers and browsers to that page over the others. Anything that might frustrate a user on your website (slow load time, for example) will get your website moved down the results list. This means brands will need to optimize their websites more than ever before.
Optimize for Voice Search
Another way to optimize your page in 2021 is with search engine optimization (SEO) that is compatible with voice search. Trends are showing that consumers have gotten more comfortable with their voice-enabled devices since they have had a year at home to practice with them. About a quarter of Google users use voice search to get details about a local business. To make sure your business stands out as the first result spoken back, make sure your page is optimized.
Focus on Customer Retention
Companies have survived 2020 by retaining customers. Brands that are struggling can turn things around in 2021 by focusing on more effectively reaching their existing customers. For example, personalized push notifications, loyalty incentives, and newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with consumers directly. They will keep them coming back to you year after year.
This past year consumers and brands also took stances on social justice issues. Many brands promised inclusion and change and did not follow up on those statements, which turned many customers off. An easy way to solidify and retain the relationship between your brand and the consumer in 2021 is by showing them that you follow your word with continued action towards your goal whether it is social, environmental, or sustainability.
Go Live to Connect
In 2020, we were learning about TikTok and how it could be an option to enhance your digital marketing strategy. Now, TikTok is an integral part of many brands’ marketing plans, with 500 million users in over 150 global markets. Brands are finding ways to stay relevant with consumers that are comfortable getting information from social media and through video. Creating hashtags, challenges, and how-to videos allows customers to interact with your brand while simultaneously promoting your business.
The newest way to go live on social media is with Clubhouse. Clubhouse is an exclusive iPhone-only app where users can host and join different conversations, kind of like a live podcast. Instead of broadcasting to listeners with no feedback, Clubhouse lets the user get involved in the discussion. Topics range from music to home improvement, to early retirement, and much more. Currently, you need to be invited by another user in order to join the Clubhouse. Similar to Facebook, this may change over time. The informal nature of the app is a great way to start conversations going about your field of expertise and involve potential clients.
As we said in 2020, using video allows you to let your customers see you, hear you, and stay connected even while apart. In 2021, going “Live” will be one of the most successful digital marketing trends. Whether you do this via TikTok, Instagram, Clubhouse, or Facebook, going “live” is an inexpensive option to stay connected with your customers. Having a team member answer customer questions, show how to do something related to the business, or explain and show off a new product are all ways to incorporate live audio and video into your marketing plan.
Digital Marketing in 2021
In conclusion, 2021 is shaping up to be another year where we embrace new trends and adapt to new challenges as a society. Your business needs to be able to stay relevant, and accessible to your customer base via search engines, social media, and video. And remember, we may not all be in the same boat, but we are in the same storm. Marketing can be a useful tool to weather it together.