The world of digital marketing moves quickly To be competitive, it’s vital for small businesses to not only keep on top of current trends, but to be looking ahead at future trends, tools and technologies as well. Now is a great time to start planning your digital marketing efforts for 2021, so with that in mind, here are my predictions for digital marketing trends and tools that could have a big impact for your business next year.  

marketing trends

Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing automation is a powerful way to nurture leads, upsell, recover revenue and save time in the long run. How? Email marketing automation involves setting up email sequences, or series of emails that are automatically sent to your contacts based on pre-determined events or triggers. These can be time-bound, or based on actions performed by your customers.

Some common examples of automated sequences include abandoned cart follow-ups, welcome emails or lead-nurturing sequences sent after someone subscribes to a list, and upselling emails triggered by customers purchasing a certain product. It all depends on your offering and customer journey, but there are plenty of ways to get creative and offer value. Once you’ve invested the time and effort into setting up your automations, they’ll continue to work for you for years to come. Given that the RIO of email marketing is estimated to be as much as $40 for every $1 spent, and social media reach is almost impossibly competitive, you’ll definitely want to make email marketing automation a priority in 2021!  

Local SEO

It seems that Google is placing more and more importance on local map listing results. If your business relies on local customers, make sure your online listings are up to scratch heading in to 2021. Having a Google My Business listing increases your chances of showing up in organic search results, or even Google’s ‘local pack’ (the first few listings that appear with an interactive map at the top of the search results when someone searches for services ‘near me’).

So, it’s vital that you claim your Google My Business listing. It also helps customers quickly get the information they need about your business. If you’ve already claimed your listing, make sure you update it with important information like your opening hours and contact details. Making sure your business is listed on other business directory sites like Yelp and TrueLocal can also help your chances of ranking on Google for local searches. 

ECommerce and Shoppable Social Media Posts

Unsurprisingly, eCommerce has seen a huge boom around the world in 2020, as coronavirus lockdowns prevented customers from shopping in physical stores. A study from Facebook shows that there’s even been growth amongst non-digital natives like Gen X and Baby Boomers, with 80% of those surveyed shopping online during the pandemic. And it’s predicted that these new online shopping habits are here to stay.

So, if your business has been slow to adopt eCommerce, now is the time to make the change, or risk getting left behind in 2021. If you already sell online, make sure you’re making use of product tags on Facebook and Instagram that allow users to shop without having to leave the platform. Reducing the barriers to purchasing could help you increase your revenue in 2021! 

User-generated content

User- generated content is online content that is created by your customers, in which they interact with your brand or product. Think social media posts, photos and videos that your customers upload and tag you in. With organic social media reach and engagement getting increasingly difficult for brands, user-generated content is a clever way to cut through the noise and get attention.

Why? Social media users are savvy, and can quickly spot branded content that feels like advertising, and scroll straight past it. User-generated content, on the other hand, can blend in with content posted by our friends and family, meaning we’re more likely to stop and engage with it. On top of that, it provides social proof and helps spread brand awareness, as customers post about and endorse your products. User-generated content can be particularly powerful when used as part of paid social media campaigns, so I strongly suggest developing a strategy to encourage your customers to tag you, and send you as much user-generated content as possible in 2021. 

While it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing world of digital marketing, these four tips are a great place to start when looking for ways to connect with your audience, nurture leads and increase conversions in 2021.