As we move closer to a new year, there is always a tremendous interest in digital marketing trends. After the year we’ve just had, though, predicting the future is somewhat daunting. However, here are some trends for 2021 that your business needs to consider if you want to engage and retain customers and generate more traffic, leads, and revenue.
Did you know that your website is often the first impression a potential customer forms about your brand? And even though a website has more longevity than other digital marketing elements like social media and SEO, you can’t ignore web design trends if you want to make an excellent first impression.
We asked Impact Group Marketing’s Partner and Director of Digital Marketing, Becky Chumley, to give us her predictions for the web design trends we may see in 2021.
Top 4 Website Trends:
1. Fast Website Load Time
“Website load time will continue to be a significant factor for SEO,” said Chumley. Ultra-fast loading time isn’t a new trend in successful web design, but it is still a top priority for websites that want to rank high in search results. Recent studies show that visitors leave a website if it takes longer than two seconds to load – and they usually don’t ever visit the website again.
2. Video and Professional Photography
“As people start to rely more on visual pieces of content with fewer words, video and professional photography will become even more important. TLDR (Too Long, Don’t Read) is real, and if pictures or video can tell the story, the content will be better received,” Chumley explained.
Most users scan content instead of reading it, and large blocks of text intimidate and overwhelm your audience. Video provides the information they need quickly and easily, which is why YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.
One thing 2020 showed us is that we need to give everyone equal tools to be successful, and no one should be excluded. Web design must factor in the needs of people with disabilities. Having a site thatall visitors can navigate and engage with is more than just providing an excellent user experience and good customer service. It can also boost your SEO, help you reach a larger audience, and increase conversion.
“Companies are going to be making adjustments to their websites and rebuilding old websites to ensure that they are accessible for disadvantaged people. A lot of government entities were sued during this election cycle because their websites were not ADA compliant,” said Chumley.
The use of chatbots was one of the fastest-growing web design trends in 2020 and will likely continue to be one of the biggest trends next year, too. Businesses are beginning to use bots to provide consumers with quick answers and solutions. Bots also ease the load on their customer service teams.
“Most people don’t want to talk on the phone. If given the option, many lean towards the instant feedback of a chatbot to provide the answer they need,” explained Chumley. In fact, a recent study shows that 74% of users prefer chatbots when looking for answers to simple questions.
Now that the world of marketing has become more digital, it’s critical to adapt your brand’s content marketing strategy. Content marketing trends – like blogs, social media, and e-books – allow you to connect with your audience on a deeper level and add value to your brand.
We asked our Content Manager, Kristin Beach, to share her predictions for the new year. “I think the best mindset to have going into 2021 is to be flexible and open-minded because you never know what’s around the corner,” said Beach.
Top 3 Content Marketing Predictions:
1. Create Content that Connects
“I think one of the trends we will continue to see in 2021 is the idea of inclusivity and creating content that anyone can connect with,” Beach said.
Consumers want to do more than just buy from a brand – they want to connect with you. Creating content that is inclusive and purpose-driven helps cultivate a sense of community and belonging.
2. Use Video to Give Content a Voice
Video marketing will continue to grow in 2021, but not just because of in-person restrictions. Live video was trending even before the pandemic because it’s a useful and quick way to educate your audience and communicate your message. Most consumers want to get information quickly, and video marketing is the best way to accomplish this.
Google’s research shows that 70% of researchers and buyers watch videos throughout the buying journey. Your audience may not take the time to read an article, but they will watch an engaging three-minute video that provides the information they need.
“People can’t rely on in-person meetings anymore to maintain relationships. So, I think we will see a continual increase in the digital marketing efforts of companies with the creation of videos to provide the personal and relational aspects that people are missing right now,” Beach explained.
3. Put Your Audience First
“If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected and that we need to be adaptable and willing to change our content strategy on a dime,” said Beach.
Content marketing is active and dynamic, and it’s essential to let your audience guide you to create relevant content. Focus on your follower’s needs and what they respond to – then be willing to adapt as needed.
Top 3 Paid Advertising Predictions:
We asked our Digital Marketing Manager, Emily Tate, to share her predictions for the new year. “Before this year, we knew that having an online presence was important. But 2020 has accelerated the tradition from brick and mortar stores to online shopping,” said Tate.
1. Diversification Will Become More Important
With so many ways to advertise online, there are more platforms than ever to reach your target audience, and different platforms will resonate better with different target demographics. For example, “it’s likely that Instagram will work best with a younger audience and Facebook will be more effective with an older audience,” explained Tate.
2. Ad Messages Must be Perfect
Writing good ad copy will become more important than ever. It is important to understand who your customers are as people, not as data points. “A poorly written ad can backfire and hurt your brand,” Tate says.
3. Video Ads will Continue to Make an Impact
Video ads are incredibly effective because you already have a captive audience, making it easy to drive more impressions and potentially, engagement. In many instances, a video ad will reach more people than an image ad for the same amount of ad spend. “Using a combination of image and video ads is a winning strategy for optimizing your ad spend dollars,” said Tate.
2020 was filled with unprecedented change, and digital marketing has evolved to accommodate new habits and demands of both consumers and brands. We predict 2021 will see continued digital engagement and transformation. If you need a partner to help you grow and adapt to these new trends, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed in the new year!