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While the COVID-19 pandemic is still rampant throughout the world, many are wondering what that means for 2021, especially for small businesses that have already faced so many challenges this year. The restrictions worldwide have been forcing a shift in how these businesses operate, and with many typical avenues of getting in front of your target audience limited or blocked altogether, have also changed the way they have to market themselves. With so many businesses looking for an online outlet to support their sustainability, we have awesome data and insight on what the marketing trends could look like come 2021. Here are a few:

  1. Social Media Marketing
    We know- marketing on social media is nothing new. But, there are more people online than ever before, creating more opportunity to capitalize on how they research and interact with products, brands, and organizations. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on social media marketing your business in 2021. Despite the pandemic, marketing budgets are trending upwards again as businesses try to get in front of their audience via hyper-targeted, visually captivating social media ad campaigns. If your budget doesn’t allow for ad spend right now, that’s okay too- just make sure you are showing up consistently, posting regularly, providing value, and engaging with your audience to drive new sales. Social media is also a way to stay in touch with past purchasers and retain current clients. If you’ve been putting off developing a content plan, now’s the time. 
  2. Google Listing Optimization and Local SEO
    With many communities struggling right now, many are looking to support local businesses. Keeping current on various platforms is imperative for business owners. Make sure your local listings are verified and up to date. Your Google My Business listing contains valuable information about your company: hours, address, website, services, and location. Having a geographically-defined service area within your local listing directory actually helps your business show up in “near me” searches. This is because many search engines prioritize relevance in their search algorithms. Imagine losing out on a customer because your information is incorrect. Claiming your listing also allows you to respond to reviews. AND IT’S FREE.
  3. Artificial Intelligence
    AI is making an appearance in businesses in many different ways, from business processes to marketing.  It can analyze data, enhance communication, track sales and conversions, and even project customer behavior patterns. AI can analyze data such as search patterns and behavior from social media and search engines to help companies recognize how their customers find them, and how to optimize the customer journey that leads to a purchase. Another form of AI is programmatic advertising, which means automating ad buying to target a more specific audience. You could even use AI in the form of a chatbot for customer support that can respond to questions and engage your site visitors when they visit your website. It may sound intimidating, but it’s a smart move, freeing up countless hours of your time with market research and sorting through data to find trends. 
  4. Interactive Content
    If content is king, imagine what interactive content can do for your customers’ experience. This exciting content is a great way to get people to interact with your brand. The more they interact with your brand, the more they build a rapport with you and the more likely they are to buy from you. Shoppable posts, polls, quizzes, surveys, GIFS, assessments, audits, and games are all a great way to keep your customer buying journey engaging. 
  5. Video Content
    Sure, video marketing was big in 2020 too so it may be nothing new. But, with 60% of customers reporting that watching product videos before a purchase gives them clarity and confidence about their purchase, it’s hard to leave out as a trend going into 2021. Great content should create an experience for your customer. If done right, a video showcasing your product, your service, or your brand can really resonate with your audience, making them excited and mentally satisfied before handing their money over to you. 
  6. Retention via Segmentation
    If you want to get your message heard, it needs to make it to the right people at the right place and time. As a business owner, getting your products or services to resonate with your target audience is at the core of marketing. Segmentation can help you get the most out of your marketing efforts, as it allows you to direct your resources at the right audience with the right message. Businesses still making a post pandemic comeback can save some budget and bring in money if they segment their lists properly. 
  7. Live Streams and Webinars
    Livestreams and webinars are a good way to interact with your audience and establish yourself as a leader in your industry. Whether you are launching a product, sharing something special with your customers, or teaching them your trade secrets, a webinar or livestream will increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website and social media. Q&As, masterclasses, behind the scenes, how-to videos, and stories are all ways to accelerate the know-like-trust process in buying, ultimately expanding your customer reach and acquisition. 

What’s next? While these marketing trends don’t represent a complete list of marketing strategies, they do give you an idea of where to start when planning for 2021.