There are many components required in successful digital marketing campaigns. From search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) strategies to content marketing and social media, developing and managing a comprehensive campaign can be overwhelming. Digital marketing is only going to be more challenging as technology develops and search engines focus more on creating an optimal user experience.
With the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the subsequent stay-at-home orders, people saw just how vital online business is and will continue to see it prove its necessity well into 2021. As you move into the new decade, the following are some of the biggest trends to watch for as you develop your digital marketing campaigns.
Whether people are searching through their mobile devices or Alexa or Google Home, voice search is becoming more and more popular. At the same time, many of the terms that people use to perform voice searches differ from traditional text searches.
If you want to be the first result when people do a voice search for a relevant term, you need to optimize for voice search. Optimizing for voice search will mostly consist of using conversational phrases in your SEO strategy, which should be common practice today even for traditional searches.
People love to watch videos that cover the same information they would otherwise have to read. Video marketing was popular in 2019 and 2020, and it will only become even more helpful in 2021. There are many ways to use video marketing to your advantage if you want to appeal to a wide range of audiences.
For example, you could create live videos via Facebook and other social media outlets that instantly attract views and engagement. You can also create videos that highlight a product or service and demonstrate it. While event marketing may be more difficult due to COVID-related postponing or cancellations, recording video of events and interviews with attendees is also often a great way to showcase your brand. How-to guides and other in-depth presentations are also popular.
There are so many ways to use video marketing to your advantage, and those possibilities will continue to grow in the coming years.
Also known as the Featured Snippet, a no-click search means that people don’t even need to visit a website to get the information they want on search engines. No-click searches offer incredible convenience to users, but they can be incredibly frustrating for businesses that want to turn those people into customers.
Although there’s no guarantee that people will visit your site from a no-click search, you can at least work to increase your chances by optimizing for Featured Snippets, i.e., position zero. In some cases, people may want more information that goes beyond the snippet, leading them to click through to the source of the snippet.
It’s not enough to be able to watch or read content today – people want to interact with it. There are many ways to enable people to interact with emails, social media posts, and other types of content. For example, you could:
- Create polls and surveys for audiences
- Encourage people to take part in a contest involving user-generated content
- Provide calculators for rough estimates and quotes
- Include options within the content that customizes the content for the user
Today’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities allow you to optimize your marketing campaigns more easily than ever before. Simultaneously, other types of AI are making it harder to rank in search engines.
There are many applications for AI in digital marketing. For example, Google RankBrain’s AI is working to push more relevant results for users, with a much deeper understanding of context clues compared to the old days of SEO. Marketing companies can also use tools with AI to automate their processes and provide them with deeper insight into user behavior. AI can also help customize the buyer’s journey based on each user’s preferences without the need for many manual processes.
People expect instant response times from the companies they trust, and they don’t have much patience for poor customer service. It’s a good idea to have live chat functions on your website as much as possible, but you may not always be able to hire people to operate chat every moment of every day.
If you can’t have a person on chat at all times, you should always have a chatbot as a backup with realistic contextual responses. A good chatbot will be able to answer basic questions, put people in touch with the appropriate team member, direct people to a contact form or another webpage, assist with scheduling consultations or calls, and perform other tasks that keep people moving along the sales funnel.
Social Messaging Apps
In addition to chatbots, you can also make use of social media messaging apps. Billions of people use Facebook Messenger alone every month, which means you’ll be missing out on a vital opportunity to communicate with your audience. You can use messaging apps on Facebook,WeChat, and other platforms to give leads and customers an easy way to contact you at any point.
VR and AR Applications
As people crave interactivity beyond basic interactive content, you can also give audiences a unique experience using virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) technology. For example, businesses could give tours of back offices or other facilities in a more interactive behind-the-scenes video using VR and 360-degree cameras. Meanwhile, another company may enable customers to “try” a product by interacting with it in AR through a virtual representation.
As VR and AR technology improves, there are going to be even more possibilities available for businesses of all types.
When making a buying decision, prospective customers want to hear what past and existing customers have to say about a service or product. A company can have the best website and top-quality content to market its offerings, but a deal-breaker could be the reviews that reveal whether the company is reliable or shady.
People trust recommendations from people they know, but they’re also likely to trust the testimony of strangers if they seem legitimate. So, if you want to get people to finalize their purchases and ultimately turn to you instead of your competitors, you should work to encourage positive reviews. Even if you get poor reviews, don’t ignore them regardless of how true or false they may be; instead, respond to them appropriately with an apology and explanation and show that you care about your customers’ experience with you. Thanking people for positive reviews can also go a long way in convincing others to buy from you.
Smart Bidding and Programmatic Advertising
Advertising and managing Google Ads campaigns used to require a lot of manual work, but those days are no longer. Programmatic advertising and automated bidding using AI are making digital advertising easier and faster. Try to take advantage of smart bidding for your PPC campaigns for better results and increased efficiency.
All of these trends are going to continue shaping the future of digital marketing well beyond 2021. If you can keep these trends in mind and optimize your campaigns to take advantage of them, you’ll be able to flourish in this increasingly competitive industry.