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Team Savoir Faire uses its mastery of mentalism while predicting the top digital marketing trends of the coming year as well as a prediction of small business trends for 2021, too: 

Small business marketing trends 

Our world got turned upside down in 2020, thanks to the global pandemic that most of us weren’t anticipating or ready for. While there’s a vaccine on the horizon (for all of us, hopefully) in 2021, it will still be a long time before business goes back to “normal.” Even then, some of the adaptations are likely to stay with us long term. Think of touchless menus at restaurants. 

For small businesses, it’s time (past time, really) to embrace all forms of digital marketing. If your customers and prospects are going to be engaging with you via the devices in their hands, then you must be set up to meet them there. That’s everything from a mobile-first website; to strong optimization so you show up in searches; to a strong presence in Google My Business; to thoughtful usage of email and social media to engage your audiences. It also means providing your customers and prospects with the things they want – again, think of those menus – easily and professionally in digital format. 

And signage. Don’t get us started on signage. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for dozens of hand-written signs on your doors and windows. Not when there’s cheap and easy access to printing everywhere from Staples to your local copy and print center.

Email marketing

Email is the great granddaddy of digital marketing. Each year, someone proclaims email’s death knell, but we know it’s here to stay and remains an important part of your marketing toolbox going into 2021. It will continue to evolve and change as everything tends to do (If it didn’t, we’d still be reading boring, plain text emails with content we likely didn’t want and don’t care  about). 

Personalization and segmentation will remain key strategies to improve conversion rates and engagement, and marketers will find ways to get hyper-personalized even at scale. We will also see content become more relevant and integrated with other digital and traditional marketing efforts as marketers try to break through the noise. 

Digital noise greatly increased in 2020 due to a shift to a more digital world among pandemic fears. With 2021 looking to be a continuation of 2020 behaviors for shopping and information seeking – at least until a vaccine has reached a majority of people – email will play a greater role in influencing buyer decisions. 

Email will need to truly convey products in a way that, previously, only physical interaction could. As such, 3D imagery and video will be a big email trend in 2021 as will other interactive features. But be wary. Just because email marketing services are creating solutions that allow carousels and video in email, it doesn’t mean the recipient’s email software or client will display it properly.

Content marketing

Kick off content in 2021 with a KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid (minus the Stupid, of course, and no physical kisses just yet). The bulk of the past year has been complicated enough, so direct, honest and clear messaging via your content will be expected – and appreciated – into the new year.

Potential customers find you because of your content, and they give you a try and often stick around when that content answers their questions or even solves their problems. Sometimes, your product or service isn’t the best option for everyone, and that’s OK to say. Smaller companies found new, loyal followers in 2020 by helping people get the support they need via webpage content, blog posts and emails. Here’s your opportunity to help folks by sharing what you do better than everyone else. 

Ecommerce marketing

Ecommerce is going to continue to grow in value and volume and provide retailers of all shapes and sizes the ability to earn value and revenue by creating an omnichannel experience for their customers. Search engine optimization (SEO) will play a key role in this as well as social media and highly-tuned paid channels. Digital marketers will need to become smarter and more agile to better understand and adjust to the data. 

Speaking of data, Google’s GA4 launch will continue to evolve and change the way data is collected and viewed. Hopefully, we will also see server side deployment of Google Tag Manager (GTM) in 2021, which will help sites see faster page and load times. Up until now, the GTM product has contributed to the issue and not the solution.

Social media marketing

Don’t waste your money or time on buzzy newish channels such as Parler, that grow in popularity overnight. Yes, there are millions of users on this “free speech” channel, but as its content isn’t moderated, it’s also “anything goes.” Do you want your brand associated with that? Nope. Stick with these four old-school channels for your B2C and B2B communications: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. And, if you’re not posting content regularly to at least some of these channels already, why not?

Paid marketing

A blend of social advertising, Google advertising and a targeted approach using account based marketing will be critical to appropriately reach your target audiences in 2021. Diversification among advertising vehicles will be critical to data capture and overall success. Google will continue to add controls and limitations on the data you can obtain and use effectively unless you pay for it. 

Mobile ads will take precedence across Google ads products and in sophistication as mobile devices continue to evolve. Testing of targeting, messaging, creative, landing page experience, etc. will be critical to ensure that your goals and business objectives are consistently being met.

Search engine optimization

SEO in 2021 will evolve considerably as Google fights to remain on the top of the search market as antitrust lawsuits play out. Additionally, Google plans on using AI technologies quite a bit more to further the search engine rankings from a more “human” element. That effort will continue to evolve how search queries are performed and how they should be interpreted in terms of their meaning and relationship to the desired results. 

Additional performance criteria will factor into the algorithm as Google evolves its core metrics tools in Search Console and makes it part of the algorithm. Mobile and voice recognition will continue to drive and evolve search results, and websites will need to perform well in these areas to stay on top.

Team Savoir Faire also predicts that small businesses will need a good partner to help them make the most of their marketing efforts in 2021. We’re always up for a solid partnership, because helping small and medium-size businesses reach their ultimate potential is what motivates us. Reach out if you’re considering a marketing partnership. 

We’ll also look back to this post once 2021 really gets rolling to see how accurate our trend predictions turned out. If they’re 100%, we’ll consider adding a new tool to our marketing toolbox: soothsaying.

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