Changing trends in digital marketing and SEO in 2021

As much of the world was breathing a collective sigh of relief and bidding 2020 a less than fond farewell, the digital marketplace was revving up to implement new strategies in response to technological advances and new consumer behaviour.

While it is safe to trust the accuracy of many predictions regarding digital marketing and SEO trends in 2021, if 2020 taught us anything, it is to maintain some flexibility even if you feel your plans are flawless.

It is likely you already have a sense of the ever-evolving nature of digital marketing and Search Engine Optimisation. Consistent change and updating are necessary for you to stay ahead of your competitors, but you do not need to fly blindly into the new year.

 

In this post, you’ll learn about the hottest digital marketing and SEO trends in 2021. Additionally, we’ll provide actionable tips to help you reach your true online potential.

 

The Times Are Changing

The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant and, in many cases, lasting alterations regarding how businesses interact with consumers and each other. We’ve also seen changes in how consumers make purchases, as well as the mindset behind those decisions. These include:

  • One of the many areas the pandemic upended is the way we do business. Quarantines and lockdowns necessitated a degree of proficiency with online commerce. The shift occurred among all demographics, even those with little or no previous experience in the digital marketplace. While Gran and Pap may have once been reluctant, they are now in the thick of the world of virtual commerce.
  • In addition to business to consumer changes, we see a move in business-to-business activities. According to a McKinsey report, only 20% of companies hope to return to in-person B2B transactions. Even though some of the COVID-19 restrictions are no longer in place, 75% of businesses say they prefer the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online interactions.
  • Changes in consumer attitudes and what shapes purchasing decisions bear the mark of the Coronavirus. The pandemic’s swift and sweeping impact on Australian businesses left behind scars that will remain even as the economy recovers.

As a result, we see a widespread emergence of what the McKinsey report calls’ a more mindful Australian consumer.’ To thrive, digital marketers must tap into the mindset of this consumer and devise new strategies to influence sales.

 

What Do I Need to Know About the Mindful Consumer?

While some of the tried-and-true marketing methods are applicable, here are a few crucial touchpoints to remember:

  • Over 50% of Aussie consumers use new shopping behaviours.
  • More than 30% of Australians say they will spend more time searching for promotional goods or shifting to less expensive brands.
  • Ethical and sustainable practices are growing concerns to all Australians.

 

The mindful consumer

Australian consumers are becoming more mindful in 2021.

 

How Do I Market to the Mindful Consumer?

Even though digital marketing is experiencing shifts on several fronts, there are some time-tested ways to reach consumers. Some tweaking and adjustments are necessary for optimal results, but this is a case where you should work on retreading as opposed to reinventing the wheel.

 

Social Media Marketing

Connecting to various forms of social media is not a new concept. However, according to a July 2020 report, connecting to social media puts you within reach of over half of the world. In addition to such a vast number of people, the amount of time individuals spend connected to their social media is at an all-time high. A savvy digital marketer can leverage this new reality in several ways.

  1. Live-stream interactive events. Depending on your niche, you can create various ways for your customers to (virtually) rub elbows with you and your staff while exploring your offerings. Live streaming also offers the unexpected benefit of virtual accessibility. The phenomena played out globally as entertainers and athletes made virtual personal appearances. This idea has profitable applications, as well as a way to generate buzz for your brand.
  2. Social commerce. Trust in paid advertisements is declining, and a reported 75% of consumers reject ads as false. The growing trend is to look towards social media reviews and testimonials to help with purchasing decisions. By dedicating time to interact and respond on social media, you will build your brand while increasing a bond of trust between you and your consumers. In many cases, winning over one consumer can snowball into a much more significant following as well as more profits and an enhanced online reputation. Placing yourself in this position also makes transactions faster and easier for consumers who still have low attention spans and limited patience.
  3. Relationship marketing. Social media provides you with a unique opportunity to reach your customers on a different level than other digital marketing forms. Do not miss a chance to engage with your customers. You also will have an opportunity to collect useful information in exchange for small niceties. Present visitors to your social media channels the option of sharing an email address or referring customers in exchange for a discount code or promotional free shipping.

 

Email Marketing

When considering email marketing’s options, remember that this is NOT a suggestion for you to blast vast numbers of contacts with the same hit-or-miss information. In 2021, you need your messages to be targeted and personalised.

Here are a few tips to help you connect with your customers via email:

  1. Consider email marketing tools to assist you with segmentation and other ways to pinpoint how your target customer ticks.
  2. Focus on customer-centric ideas and mind your tone of voice. If you are in an industry that took hard hits from COVID-19 such as the travel or hospitality sectors, you will want a confidant, soothing, and positive tone. Stress how beneficial your services or products are and your preparedness to help.
  3. Give practical advice and timely suggestions, so customers see the value in an email from your company. Keep in mind; your customer is looking for an experience. If you help them achieve an experience, your value will skyrocket.

 

Content Marketing

The idea of Content Marketing is well known, and the phrase frequently used. Additionally, it is more important in 2021 than it was in the past. Prognosticators have (erroneously) predicted the end of content’s reign as king for years. However, businesses struggling to win over consumers’ hearts and wallets will need content in the appropriate context.

 

How Can I Use Content to Make an Impression on Mindful Consumers?

Understanding the areas that touch consumer’s hearts and resonate with their values sounds a bit daunting. Here are a few examples of content in the proper context that is meaningful.

  1. The Focus on Home – Even though quarantines and travel restrictions forced the notion of the home upon the citizens of the world, scores of people were surprised to find that they liked being at home with loved ones. Now, although restrictions are easing, home is still overwhelmingly popular. By shifting the content of your marketing into the context of comfort and safety of home, you can tap into the ‘no place like home’ mentality and connect with your customers.
  2. Show Your Social Awareness – Amidst the medical trauma brought by COVID-19, a wave of social consciousness swept the globe. In big cities and small towns in nations across the world, people gathered to fight for the rights of those who have nearly no voice. Since the awakening of individuals, numerous multinational corporations, as well as small and medium-sized businesses loudly and proudly, displayed where they stood on vital social issues. Tapping into social awareness is not a small task. Before you begin to show support for a cause, be sure you know the ins and outs. The one thing worse than coming across as apathetic is appearing to hop on a bandwagon disingenuously.
  3. Reassure and Redirect – In times of crisis, unscrupulous characters find ways to exploit fear and profit from panic. Rather than be a party to this kind of marketing, digital marketers have a unique opportunity to help people to be strong in the face of uncertainty.

By creating personal narratives and sharing stories that uplift and offer hope and comfort, businesses are helping those suffering under the weight of the pandemic.

 

Search Engine Optimisation

A discussion about trends in the New Year would be incomplete without touching on several significant developments within the realm of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in 2021.

Because your company’s position on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is consistently vital to your success, there are several new trends you may want to consider implementing.

 

Improve and Increase Your Video Use

Video is a powerful tool to use in your company’s SEO strategy. When you consider the volume, as well as the enhanced quality of online video, it is easy to see why you cannot afford to ignore this trend.

Here’s why:

  • YouTube presently has over a billion users, and that number is continually growing.
  • Approximately 43% of Internet users want more video content available.
  • It is projected that by 2022, 82% of online activity will be in the form of video.

As you can see, video should form a key pillar of your digital marketing strategy.

 

How Can I Improve My Website’s Video Content?

To be sure your web page has killer video content, there are a few points you should consider:

  • Keep SEO in Mind and Optimise Your Video – Fine-tune all of your details and make sure everything is in order, including your keyword in the title, audio, and video optimisation, and show your authority in the video.
  • Create Neatly Organised Sections – Your content will make more sense to Google’s crawlers, as well as your visitors, if categorised properly.
  • Provide a Transcript – Typically, the automatically generated transcripts are passable, but there are times when they are a source of frustration. Rectify this issue by attaching a transcript.
  • Follow Google’s Lead – The search engine giant put out content called ‘A Reintroduction to Featured Snippets.’ This is certainly a sign to consider.
  • Optimise for Local Search – The importance of your standing in local search results is not new. However, the growth of terms indicating immediacy is worth your time and attention. The pandemic forced people to look inward to their sphere, and increased convenience is encouraging the stay. Here are a few telling statistics regarding changes in Local search:l
    • A 150% growth of searches that include the words “__ near me now.”
    • More than 200% growth in searches with the words “open + near me + now.” The phrase points to the many changes seen in the business world since the pandemic. Your potential customers want to learn if you are still in the area and when you are accessible.
    • A 900% growth in searches using the words “___ near me today” as well as “__ near me tonight” This is an excellent example of fine-tuning the “open + near me + now” idea.
  • Make a Plan for Google’s Core Web Vitals to Impact Your Rating – The rollout of Google’s Page Experience and Core Web Vitals update should begin near the end of May. While the search engine giant gave businesses lead time, you may want to review Core Web Vitals’ basics ahead of the upcoming changes. For more information, visit https://www.bradkrussell.com.au/google-core-web-vitals/.
  • Build Your Online Authority Through the E-A-T Method – E-A-T is a part of Google’s way to judge if you can back up your posts with substantial expertise. It is no longer sufficient to post content (especially in areas of finance or health) without having a knowledgeable person behind the content.
    • E stands for Expertise – Google wants to know if you have an expert or expert source to back up your claims.
    • A is for Authoritativeness – Are you able to point to yourself or someone associated with you as an authority on a topic?
    • T refers to Trustworthiness – In a time when hackers and security breaches abound, knowing that your customers trust you is priceless.

 

A Core Web Vitals Summary

  • Loading (Largest Contentful Part) – The LCP measures how fast the main content loads on a website. The optimal amount of time is 2.5 seconds or less.
  • Interactivity (First Input Delay) – The FID score demonstrates the time it takes for a web page to become interactive. The goal is for a site to become interactive within 100 ms.
  • Visual Stability (Cumulative Layout Shift) – The CLS is a measurement of web page stability; the target CLS score is less than 0.1.
Google's Core Web Vitals

Google’s Core Web Vitals will play a vital part in SEO in 2021 and beyond.

 

What Other Steps Can You Take in 2021?

When looking at this sampling of top digital marketing and SEO trends for 2021, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Digital Hitmen understand this and if you should feel as if you are in over your depth, feel free to contact us for assistance.

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