Small businesses were challenged like never before in 2020, which means 2021 will be an especially important year for standing out from competitors. With new trends coming from giants like Google and Facebook, as well as plenty of new companies making an appearance, many small businesses will be changing up their marketing strategies for 2021.
Here are some strong digital marketing trends for small businesses in 2021.
A Diverse Media Mix
The days of utilizing only one marketing platform are long gone, and marketing campaigns should now consist of multiple platforms targeting multiple audiences. Although a digital marketing strategy was essential in 2020, 2021 will bring some new players.
A combination of platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, along with new platforms like TikTok, should be considered when planning any digital marketing strategy. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, more than 70% of small businesses planned to use social media to find new customers in 2018. Learning the different social media platforms can help business owners find their target audience where they already are.
Creating a diverse media mix for any digital marketing campaign is also one of the most budget-friendly ways to market a small business. Digital marketing across multiple channels allows for the segmentation of audiences and testing which platforms are working best for which campaign — and optimize based on the results. Yet it allows you to cater campaigns to specific audiences.
“Most marketers agree the personalization helps advance customer relationships and provides measurable improvements in business results,” according to the University of Maryland. “The focus here should be to match people with the most relevant content and consider how different customer personas want to receive marketing messages.”
A variety of media options will help an advertiser find their audience where they are. Narrowing a target audience will also personalize messaging and campaigns towards that audience.
Event & Video Marketing
This year has been the year of the virtual event, from daily meetings on Zoom, virtual conferences, or online classes. Video has taken on an entirely new form in 2020. Consumer video is expected to make up more than 82% of Internet traffic by 2021.
Live Facebook streams, large events done through video, TikTok, YouTube, and more are popularizing video across all platforms. Thirteen percent of all video traffic is expected to be live video by 2021.
Although many events will go back to in-person the mastery of virtual events is a skill that will remain useful. Along with events, video content creation and video advertising are likely to become even more popular in 2021. While video creation can be expensive and time-consuming to produce, viewers on many platforms do not expect highly-produced content.
With the economic implications of the 2020 world, consumers are still very interested in shopping locally. Businesses need to showcase their digital marketing campaign to local audiences, whether or not they a physical location. This will allow the business to be seen as a local trying to stay afloat — even after the economy improves.
Because “local first” is important to many consumers, staying visible locally will be incredibly important in 2021.
One way you can do this is with local SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of optimizing your content both on and off of your website. It shows the search engines who you are and what you can offer to their searchers. SEO can be one of the most useful marketing tools for your business.
One of the most important pieces of local SEO is maintaining a Google My Business listing. This allows a business to enter details like hours, photos, services, and location. When someone searches for the business or industry, an optimized Google My Business listing will help the chances of being shown at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Some of the other ranking factors for local SEO include reviews, links, personalization, and social signals.
Although it may seem obvious, many companies don't think of user experience (UX) as a part of their marketing strategy.
User experience includes improving a customer's journey from awareness to sale to retention. Although important for customer happiness, user experience is also now a factor in search engine rankings.
Search engines utilize several factors that tell them if a user is having a good experience on a website. These include interactivity on the site, load time, content, mobile-friendliness, and how quickly a searcher returns to the search engine.
User experience has become important to search engines like Google. This is because their goal has always been to get the right information in front of the right searcher. According to Google, 50% of people say they won’t purchase from a brand that has a poorly designed mobile site.
Despite the challenges of 2020, small businesses have the chance to grow and thrive in 2021. Utilizing a diverse media mix, event marketing, video advertising, local SEO, and UX are ways that small businesses can find their audiences.
Creating a new marketing strategy and embracing digital marketing trends for small businesses will help set them ahead of their competition.