Every year, we see lists of the top new marketing trends. And every year, we wonder if the list will be worth recommending.
Have we done the things on these lists? Many, not all. Do we recommend all of those things to our clients? No.
Want to know why?
Because most of those lists aren’t created for small businesses.
Sure, every business can use video marketing and some level of automation. But a small business is less likely to need 360-degree videos, AI technologies or augmented reality. New tech is great, but not worth it when we’re still trying to be consistent with our blog and email content.
So we’ve created our own list of marketing moves for 2021. It’s part trends list and part catch-up list. You know, the make-up work so you can catch up with the rest of the class (your competitors).
Why play catch-up now?
It’s important because your customers are now on digital more than ever. Consulting firm McKinsey says digital adoption has jumped 5 years forward in just a few months during the pandemic. So those customers who’ve started interacting online for the first time are getting more comfortable with the digital world. And 75% of them said they’ll continue after things go back to normal.
Digital adoption has jumped 5 years forward in just a few months during the pandemic, per McKinsey.
As McKinsey says, having a good website – one that beats your competitors’ – will be more important than ever. So will your digital marketing.
Top marketing moves for small businesses in 2021
Before we begin, know that you should have a good business website and a couple of social media accounts in place. If you don’t, get those together first. Your website is especially important as it’s your home base online.
1. Content marketing
If you’ve dropped the ball on content marketing, now is the time to pick it back up again. We’ve recommended content marketing to our clients for years and it still tops our list. It’s a challenge for many entrepreneurs, but a worthwhile investment, especially now that more people are online.
Content marketing is about creating and distributing good content consistently to attract and retain a specific audience and, ultimately, get them to take action.
This blog post is an example of content marketing, so are newsletters, emails, social media posts, videos, case studies, infographics and more.
Use long-form content
Go longer with your content as short 500-word posts aren’t enough anymore – for Google or your audience. This doesn’t mean you have to write 1,500 words for every article though. Pick 2 or 3 topics under your main area of expertise and create longer “guides” for those topics. If you run a flooring store, for example, try writing the “Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Home in Texas” or something similar.
What content trends are we seeing in 2021?
More interactive content
Give visitors an immersive experience with quizzes, polls, contests, calculators, assessments and other items that get readers to engage and take action. To see an example, take our quiz: Are You Ready to Hire an Online Business Manager?
Memes and nostalgia in social content
In 2020, we’ve seen a rise in meme content for the younger set (13- to 35-year olds) and nostalgic content for older audiences. This type of content lets you connect in a way that’s not sales oriented and conversational. It’s a trend that will continue into 2021.
2. Google ranking and local SEO
Search engine optimization is a process that helps your website rank higher in Google searches. This is a must for businesses that want to appear in local searches.
What SEO trends should you focus on in 2021?
Longer, quality content & the EAT principle
Longer content keeps visitors on your site longer and this is a good sign for Google. It’s also more likely to get linked to and shared by other sites, which can lead to more traffic.
The quality of that content is also crucial if your site is to rank higher. Google now uses the EAT principle (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) as a measure of good content.
Make sure your site is mobile friendly
Google will no longer show websites that aren’t mobile friendly. This actually started in 2019, but is worth repeating as more consumers go mobile in 2021.
Be sure to set up your Google My Business (map) listing
With most people using search engines to find local goods and services, your listing in Google Maps is critical. Use it to list your company information, host customer reviews and post weekly updates for more attention.
3. Video marketing
Consumers like to do business with companies that have similar values and you can make that connection more easily with video. When they see you speak on camera or get a behind-the-scenes look at your business, they feel like they get to know you, your company and what you stand for.
Consider using video for how-to or explainer videos, tutorials, product information, customer testimonials, interviews, behind-the-scenes or “how it’s made” videos, live stream videos and funny videos.
Video can be shared on all social media platforms and your website. Facebook and Instagram also allow you to do Live video, which can be effective in many ways.
What’s ahead in video for 2021?
Production values have relaxed considerably
You don’t need a professional videographer these days. Customers actually prefer to see real, authentic stories, so a smartphone and good natural light will do.
Length of videos is not as important
While we usually recommend short videos, especially to start, longer videos can be just as effective. This depends on the topic and how much information your fans want, something you can test to find out.
A final bit of advice
We hope this has given you a few ideas. Above all, we recommend you be willing to change and adapt.
As events in 2020 have shown, strange and unpredictable forces can reshape our businesses and our customers’ needs. This calls for us to be flexible and willing to adapt if we want to have a long, successful future.
We look forward to seeing your business succeed in 2021. If you need help or a free consultation, send us a note.
Planning for next year? These posts may help:
> Which Marketing Tactics Should You Start with First? An Action Plan
> Real Advice About Setting a Marketing Budget for a Small Business
> Why Small Businesses Need Local SEO
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