Without question, so much has happened this past year. Many of these events have drastically altered the Digital Marketing landscape. From changing consumer habits due to the pandemic to Google updates, those changes are surely here to stay. What worked early last year may not work today. The same could be said when working with different types of clients.
With that being said, Digital Marketers should take note and work to adjust to these changes. In Digital Marketing, it’s all about adapting to constant change and being flexible in changing your online outreach strategy. When it comes to trends, there are nine trends we as Digital Marketers need to get ahead of. Let’s take a look at these, shall we?
Voice And Visual Search
Today’s consumers are looking for easier ways to find what they’re looking for online. At the same time, they’re also looking for more convenient ways to do that as well. They would really love it if they didn’t have to type or leave their couch. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that voice search has become more important by the day.
The same can be said about visual search. The infamous saying that ‘a picture means a thousand words’ has become truer today than it has in the past. When it comes to visuals, marketers need to focus on image alt-text and sitemaps to ensure success. As for voice, they need to focus more on conversational keywords as opposed to computer text. For more tips about optimizing for voice search, check out my previous blog post here.
Experience Marketing (EM) has also become an evolving trend to look out for in 2021. This talks about how customers define how businesses respond to them and not vice versa. Every customer touch point – online reviews, web chats, surveys – turns into opportunities to discover vital insights to enhance the customer experience (CX).
That’s why you want to go further than just traditional feedback methods than just metrics like the Customer Effort Score (CES). While these do tell you how happy customers are, it doesn’t tell you what to do with that information. EM does that via these three ways.
- It deepens the reach of data mining across customer reviews and survey responses.
- It develops insights in seconds via machine learning.
- It alerts the right people and uncovered patterns in customer data.
This helps teams to move quickly and make more informed choices on how to improve that CX.
User Generated Content (UGC)
When it comes to content, online consumers are much likely to trust that of regular folks than they do traditional advertising. Consumers today crave experiences with brands that are enjoyable and inspire them to take action. They also want proof before they buy and want to make sure that they’re making the right choice.
UGC helps build communities, relates to regular folks, and allows brands to meet their customers where they’re at. On top of that, it goes a long way in helping brands generate lots of content. UGC not only helps provide that social proof brands. It also helps build relationships with customers. With that said, brands should consider making UGC part of their online marketing strategy.
With what has happened during this past year, It has become increasingly important to manage your reputation online. Whether you get good or bad reviews, you always want to respond to them promptly. It’s not a deal-breaker for potential customers if your brand gets a bad review. It all comes down to how you respond to it. The best way to respond is by showing that you’re committed to resolving their situation
One thing you should never do is try to game the system by creating fake reviews. That never ends well as customers look to multiple review sites to ensure that a certain brand is legit. Customers also check to ensure that brands will positively advance their cause. The best way forward is to listen to the customers’ concerns and work towards a solution that best benefits them. By going this route, they’ll view you more favorably and you’ll be more likely to end with a great review.
In today’s online world, people prefer brands that best relate to them and are more human. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from you if you provide them a personalized experience. That same HubSpot study also states that 99% of marketers say that personalization helps advance customer relations.
Whether you’re starting an email marketing campaign or creating web content, you must keep these stats in mind. Work to tailor that content to better meet the specific needs of online consumers. Also, don’t be afraid to share your story. After all, people love stories that speak their minds and make them feel that your brand relates to them.
That’s why you want your content to be relatable to your audience and not just about your brand. That’s how you’ll be able to stand out amongst the crowd online and gain good-paying customers.
User Experience (UX)
Without a doubt, it’s vital to give your online audience an excellent user experience (UX). This means that you need to do several things to make that happen.
Make Sure That Your Website Is Up To Speed
Site speed is a key factor when it comes to consumers choosing to stay or leave a site. Each second matters in this case. If your site takes too long to load, people will leave your site for your competition. That’s why you need to work to make sure that your site is up to speed. The GTmetrix Speed Test is a great tool to use to check your site speed and will give you details on how to do so.
Make Sure That Your Website Is Seamless Across Devices
You always want to make sure that your site is easy to navigate across all devices whether it’s mobile, desktop, or tablet. This means that you need to do these three things to make that happen.
- Use responsive design to allow your website to adjust to the screen size of the device being used.
- Make your content easy to see.
- Ensure that site users don’t have to pinch to zoom in.
By keeping these steps in mind, you’ll help ensure that the UX of your site will be very good.
Content That Is Easy To Consume
In this day in age, people are always on the go. With that said, making your content scannable and easy to read is vital. This means work to create content that is easy to read via a standard reading level. You must have a Flesch Reading Ease Score between 60 and 79 to achieve success. To go the extra mile, aim for a score of 80 or higher.
The Ease Calculator helps check your score and guides you while you write your content. Grammarly also helps you make your content easy to read for your readers. It also helps you catch mistakes you thought you’d never make.
Here are some tips below on how to make your content easy to read.
- Make your paragraphs no more than 3 to 5 sentences long.
- Divide your content with sub-headers and make sure your H3 headers are below the H2 ones.
- Add bullet points as needed.
Also, use the Inverted Pyramid writing style. This is where you put your key points at the beginning and then work to entice readers to read more. With this method, your readers will be able to better scan your content text and be able to derive value. This makes it more likely that they’ll take the actions that you want them to take.
Influencer Marketing will be even bigger this year compared to last year. As mentioned earlier, today’s consumers look to brands that are authentic, human, and can relate to them. Study shows that 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than they do corporate ads or celebrities. That’s why brands should take note of this and make influencer marketing part of their plans.
When considering influencers to partner with, go for those who would best relate to your brand. It can be tempting to court macro-influencers like baseball players but that might not work for your brand. If you’re a smaller brand, you should consider micro-influencers. They may have a smaller following but they are cheaper and would do best at relating to your audience. All this is vital to keep in mind when considering influencer marketing.
Link-building is an essential part of any brand’s Digital Marketing plans. With that said, it will only work if you don’t cut corners and actually use this practice to build relationships. One thing you never want to do is to seek links that are not relevant to your brand’s cause. You also don’t want to buy links either. Those type of Black-Hat SEO tactics makes you look spammy and loses you credibility with your audience.
The best way forward is to seek links with others who will best benefit your brand’s cause. It will help you build trust with your audience and gain credibility with the search engines. Once again, Quality over Quantity is the way to go with link-building as is the case in other marketing situations. It will be a win-win scenario for both you and your linking partner thanks to your disciplined approach to seeking high-quality links.
Consumer-First Strategies Help Transform Your Brand For The Better
There’s no doubt that putting the needs of your valued consumers front and center is key to success. It will also help you overcome these fast-changing trends and help you stand out amongst the online crowd. This will also help you in your quest in helping your brand become that next great story. With that said, keep these nine trends in mind and you’ll help transform your business for the better.
What other Digital Marketing trends should brands keep an eye out on in today’s online world? What other strategies should brands adapt to grow their online presence and ensure success? Questions? Comments? Please feel free to share this article and share your thoughts below.