5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

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The global pandemic had an impact on every business and industry in 2020. And one of the major implications of the Covid-19 pandemic has been that it has accelerated a switch to all things digital.

Almost all businesses had to adapt the way they communicate and do business – social media usage has skyrocketed and businesses have adopted a ‘virtual’ way of working.

Keeping in mind how fast marketing technology moves, and the unpredictability of consumer interests, shopping habits, and behaviors; any business that has the intention of remaining competitive in today's online landscape must adapt to the rapidly evolving changes in digital marketing.

Here are 5 digital marketing trends that you have to pay attention to in 2021.

1- Live Interactions with Virtual Events:

No surprise here, virtual events is the first on our list of digital marketing trends for 2021.

Virtual events started out of necessity, but are here to stay because of their ROI and accessibility. They provide new experiences for your audience to engage with you outside of your traditional sales messaging.

Keep in mind that going digital means getting even more data and insights from your event, which provides more ways you can show value if you tracked the right metrics. With virtual events, you have the ability to expand your reach beyond the confines of geography, and it also allows for more targeted, personalized messaging.

However, a successful virtual event requires a switch in strategic thinking, the right partners for content and technology, and adding interactivity in order to foster engagement, keep attention, and pull off a virtual event that is as exciting as your in-person plan, if not more.

There are lots of options that you can deploy in a way that makes the most sense for your audience, format, and content.

Here are some best practices that you could implement:

- Using conversational formats instead of rote webinar standards which can help attendees feel more relaxed and engaged during sessions especially when you have a great moderator.

- Virtual product showcases and real-time illustrations during sessions can take the place of some of what attendees are used to seeing on the show floor, while virtual lobbies can help you with crowd control and give attendees a valuable chance to chat and introduce themselves.

- Having features like feedback and Q&A sessions built into your platform helps you better handle audience interaction, manage the information flow, and boost engagement, and ensure that conversations are a two-way street.

- Finally, you can use polls and surveys to break up your content flow and include contest or raffle elements to add some fun and excitement while working as an additional incentive.

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2- AR and VR Integration:

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are the two major technologies that are overtaking the present and future of business, from product development to storytelling and creating engaging content.

Moreover, AR and VR marketing allows your business to bridge the gap between experience and action. They can help you craft a 3D experience in place of a physical one, which strengthens the engagement and interaction between your business, its products/services, and the customers while encouraging conversions in interesting ways at the same time.

Some of the false ideas about AR and VR that they are primarily for gamers and require heavy investment in technology. In fact, access to smartphones means that the average consumer can now enjoy AR and VR experiences.

Virtual Reality (VR):

One of the key benefits of VR that it changes the dynamic between businesses and customers. Rather than using ad blockers or clicking out of ads as quickly as possible, people seek out VR brand experiences. This means improving your engagement rates as people come to you, rather than you need to attract them.

Augmented Reality (AR):

AR is an emerging trend in marketing and sales strategies that can help you drive sales and enhance brand value through mobile devices. It can help you provide your customers with unique experiences with the convenience of tapping into their mobile devices, leading to increased business opportunities and sales.

Embracing AR and VR technologies as marketing tools will distinguish your brand and provide a huge competitive advantage, especially as the technologies are only going to become more popular.

Many businesses have already started implementing these technologies into their customers’ regular shopping experiences, by enabling consumers to try products before they buy them, with augmented shopping experiences becoming increasingly popular. For example, Ikea customers can now access an AR app and see a 3D illustration of furniture in their home spaces before making a purchase.

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3- Chatbots:

In third place on our 5 digital marketing trends for 2021 list is Chatbots.

The growth of online and e-commerce purchases, coupled with a chatbot’s ability to interact with customers and mimic real-life interactions, made it a very attractive go-to solution for businesses.

• But how could you fit chatbots in your marketing strategy?!

Chatbots are a unique opportunity for marketing, whereby you can use them as a source of direct interaction for information and data collection, as well as to drive customer engagement and website traffic.

Customers usually use chatbots to get a quick answer to a question, resolve a complaint or a problem, get a more detailed answer to a query, or find a human customer service agent.

Here are a few reasons why you should follow this digital marketing trend in 2021 and include it in your marketing strategy:

- Chatbots can save time and money by automating conversations that would otherwise require an employee to answer, while also avoiding the fatigue caused by answering the same questions again and again.

- They can make your brand proactive by automatically sending a welcome notification when a person arrives on your website or social media profile making the user aware of your chatbots presence.

- Chatbots can move your customers seamlessly through the sales funnel, generate leads, and increase revenue by using direct messages to gather information necessary to provide effective support and guide users through their buyer’s journey.

- They can also guide users to better results and outcomes by asking them a series of qualifying questions then route them to the best place for them to find the information they want. Think about it as an automated and interactive navigation tool.

- They can help businesses in providing customers with personalized experiences and “After Hours” support.

- They can provide your social media marketing team with insights on why people are reaching out to you while enabling you to analyze customer feedback and data.

- Last but not least, larger engagement capacity by enabling you to interact with your customers in a unique way.

With most of the social media channels providing chatbot features, including chatbots to your business’s marketing strategy has become easier than ever.

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4. Position Zero:

SEO efforts aiming for Position Zero is one of the most dominant digital marketing trends for 2021.

Position Zero is the information Google offers at the very top of the search results. It is also called the “Google’s Featured Snippet”, which is enhanced to draw user attention on the results page. It can come in different forms, paragraph, list, or table.
Position Zero has been shown to improve stats dramatically, including visits, click-through-rates (CTRs), and conversions.

When it comes to SEO, zero is the new number one. It helps you boost traffic and sales, as well as establish brand expertise by providing the definitive answer to a question.
Well, surely you think this sounds great, but how can I rank for Position Zero?!
Here are some best practices that would help you achieve Position Zero results:

• Identify the Right Position Zero Opportunities:

- When it comes to featured snippets, not every search result has a featured snippet, and not all markets are created equal.

- But, if you are in a market where there is a need for clear answers to frequently asked questions, your industry uses terms that need an explanation, and/or you have data that can be presented in tabular format, then featured snippets are likely a great opportunity for you.

Find Great Keyword Phrases and Candidates for Featured Snippets:

- Start with keywords you already rank well for. Most featured snippets come from high ranking results (good content always wins).

- Higher-volume terms get snippets more often, and longer queries that are comprised of six or more words tend to show featured snippets.

- Since the purpose of featured snippets is to answer questions, explicit questions like “who,” “what,” “how,” “where” and “why” search queries will obviously often have featured snippets.

- Particularly if you search on general questions, you can find additional keywords that result in featured snippets in the “People also ask” section in the SERPs.

• Write In-Depth Content:

- When it comes to winning at SEO, quality content that helps users is the only way to go.

- This includes writing a long content with at least 2,000 words, picking an evergreen topic, exploring multiple angles of the topic, explaining the subject thoroughly, and aim for one of the common forms of featured snippets (paragraph, list, or table) and directly answer the question in your chosen keyword phrase.

On-Site and Off-Site SEO:

- On-site optimization means making sure your page is optimized for search engines. This includes using your focused keywords in page titles & Meta descriptions, properly using H1-H5 tags so that search engines can understand it, include alt tags on images, and link to other helpful content (internal-links).

- On the other hand, off-site SEO comes down to link building and social media by encouraging others to link to your content. You can do this by offering helpful content at the right moment.

You can check out how I can help you reach the right audience at the right time with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) on Google Ads here.

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5. Customer Segmentation:

The fifth and last trend on our digital marketing trends for 2021 list is Customer Segmentation.

It’s no secret that some customers are more profitable than others. But for them to be profitable over the long run, businesses must understand how profitability correlates with customer segmentation.

Customer Segmentation is breaking your customer base through grouping the target audience by certain traits or behaviors (ex: demographics or shopping habits).
It is one of the core pillars of inbound marketing, which enables you to tailor your content to suit the preferences of each segment of your audience more accurately. This will increase the engagement with your targeted audiences and the success of your marketing campaigns.

Keep in mind that the list of customers in each segment would look completely different, depending on the type of business model and data at your disposal. Recognizing these differences will allow you to tailor your approach to the needs of each customer segment and effectively serve them.

When it comes to customer segmentation strategies, there are many strategies that your business can follow depending on what you are looking to achieve. For example, an IT company selling software to businesses will have a different goal than a start-up business selling goods directly to consumers. Their customer segment requirements, needs, and buyer’s journey will look nothing alike.

• A few customer segmentation types include:

- Basing your segmentation on demographics (age, location, gender, income level, etc…).

- Leveraging psychographic data to segment your customers by their opinions, behaviors, and attitudes. This would work best for social media advertising.

- Segmenting your customers by how they engage and interact with your website and marketing material in order to increase conversion rates.

- Segmenting your customers by their shopping habits and how often they buy from you. Customers who repeatedly buy from you could fall into the loyal customer segment and receive discounts on purchases.

- Segmenting customers based on their intent on your website. For example, webinar sign-ups and attendees are more likely to convert into customers.

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