6 Online Marketing Trends to Consider for 2021

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As we close off 2020 and set goals and intentions for the new year, it’s important to look at your business and marketing strategies.

Setting a plan in place for where you want to focus your time and energy, and what will make the most impact on your business, is essential if you’re looking to achieve growth.

Marketing trends and platforms evolve each year, and it’s important to keep up so you don’t get left behind. We can see this with a quick historical overview, recognizing that it hasn’t been that long since the preferred marketing medium was an ad in a newspaper. Since then, we’ve moved through a number of channels, from print magazines and billboards to television ads to websites, Google ads, and SEO strategies, to email and social media platforms offering direct access to individual consumers.

Each year seems to give rise to new platforms and tools that promise better access to the consumer. While you don’t need to jump on every single trend and platform (and we recommend you don’t – you’ll wear yourself out!), it is important to recognize what changes and strategies will benefit your business.

Here are some of the marketing trends you should consider focusing on for 2021.

Inclusivity and diversity

It’s important to note that this is not actually a trend, but rather something that should become a pillar of your organization. If you need help in this area, read this post on marketing in uncertain times.

2020 brought light to a lot of issues plaguing our society. Maybe most notably was the rise of  Black Lives Matter, an international organization and movement fighting racism and police brutality against Black people.

If you have a platform or business of any kind, speaking out against injustices like this should be commonplace – with values of diversity and inclusion being at the core of your messaging and company.

Whether you’ve failed in the past and are looking to make reparations, or are just starting out, diversity and inclusion are important pillars to speak on (regardless of if it makes you uncomfortable).

This can look like many things: donating regularly to related causes, conducting internal audits to ensure all your employees are paid and represented fairly and that their opinions are heard, and ensuring your hiring practises are inclusive (and are less about just filling a diversity quota and more about creating a work environment where everyone feels safe and heard).

Voice-based searches

Voice search is simply using your voice to search for things rather than typing them out, and with the rise of virtual AI assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google Home, and Amazon’s Alexa, these searches are becoming more commonplace.

What does that mean for your business? Essentially, you need to focus more on your SEO strategy (search engine optimization). In order for one of these virtual assistants to respond with your site information, you need to be ranking number one in that particular search.

Hone in on what users are searching for and ensure that your website clearly displays this information. Here are some more tips for optimizing your site for voice search.

Shoppable posts

More than just sharing photos, Instagram has emerged recently even more so as a platform for online selling. Adding a website link or link tree to your account bio, “swipe up” links in IG stories, and partnering with influencers for branded or promotional content has become commonplace, and with the latest update, it’s clear that Instagram is favouring businesses on the platform.

The “shop” link is now prominently featured along the bottom of the screen, allowing users to easily shop featured brands and companies without leaving the app.

If you sell physical products, take advantage of this! Set-up your online Instagram shop and regularly promote your products to create an extension of your merchandise revenue stream.

User-generated content

As social media continues to become more saturated with brands and businesses, it’s important to find ways to stand out. Rather than posting stagnant “broadcast” style posts that offer little value for the user, opt for user-generated content whenever possible.

This encourages users to get creative promoting your product or brand (with the chance that they might be featured on your account), and gives you access to free content. Making authentic human interactions is a great way to grow your brand organically, and user-generated content allows you to easily build that connection as well as trust with your audience.

Rather than simply relying on what a company is saying about their own product, people have social proof from other consumers that love and appreciate the offering or product, so much so that they’re willing to share about it!

Short-form video

If the rise of platforms like TikTok and the popularity of Instagram Reels is any indication, users are looking for short-form video content. As social media continues to dominate with visual experiences, it becomes increasingly important to create content that stands out.

Short-form video content easily captures people’s attention, is easy to digest and consume, and allows for increased engagement.

Plus, it’s less work for you! This content doesn’t have to be complex or a huge investment. It can be as easy as giving your employees’ account access for a day to see what they come up with! We’ve got a ton of ideas for your video content strategy here.

Customer segmentation

Customer segmentation is becoming easier with advanced technologies that allow you to dive deeper into the interests, demographics and other personal information of your consumers. You likely already know the importance of getting familiar with your target audience, but how much do you really know about them?

Get to know your audience further and create a segmentation strategy. The more you know and learn about your customers and the more you can target content to specific consumer groups, the more clearly you’ll be able to speak to that group’s pain points, and the more likely your customers will feel heard and valued.

Simple ways to start checking in with your audience might be checking the analytics on your website (demographics and geographics, popular content, page views, etc.), looking at your social media insights (which content is performing well?), segmenting your email list based on the different ways users can sign-up for it, and using chat boxes to ensure consumers are being led in the right direction.

Final thoughts

As a business owner, you likely already feel stretched thin and like you can’t possibly commit to another project, platform, or marketing initiative, but it’s important to recognize what’s truly working and good use of your time, and what things can be delegated or removed from your schedule.

Ask yourself:

  • Where did you spend most of your time and energy in 2020? Do these reflect your sales?
  • If not, where did most of your sales or growth come from? These are the places to focus more of your energy and time on moving forward!
  • Where is your target market hanging out? What are they consuming? Are there any new platforms or concepts that you’re interested in testing out that reflect your audience?
  • What can you remove or delegate from your schedule to give yourself some extra bandwidth for these new plans and platforms? Remember that you don’t need to be everywhere.

If you need help with any of this, we’d be happy to chat!

Written by VOR Team Member, Jasmine Irven. Jasmine is a Certified Meditation Teacher and a Registered Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach (RHNC™) …and expert social media and content marketer.