6 Marketing Strategies for 2021
1. Optimize for Google’s next update
With Google’s Page Experience Update coming in May 2021, new metrics called Core Web Vitals—which will measure site load time, interactivity and content stability—will start to impact overall search rankings.
“Basically, anything that could annoy a user of the page may negatively impact the Core Web Vitals metrics and lead to a lower ranking in search results for that page,” said Mark Coster, owner of web design agency Web Design for Businesses.
That means brands will have to start optimizing for Core Web Vitals by being more user-friendly than ever before.
2. Start selling on social
Another burgeoning trend with potentially far-reaching implications is social commerce.
Bruce Biegel, senior managing partner of management consultancy Winterberry Group, expects to see more focus on social commerce in 2021, along with new marketplaces, to shorten the customer journey from search to conversion.
3. Follow statements of purpose with action
2020 was also a year in which consumers and brands alike took stances on social justice issues.
“After the murder of George Floyd and the global human rights outcry we saw in late May, companies and brands will need to continue their promise towards inclusion and cultural competency efforts,” said Tara Miremadi, digital brand manager at health and fitness marketing agency Margaux Agency. “Many statements were released, but the key for brands looking to solidify their relationship with consumers is how they follow through with continued action.
Kent Lewis, president of digital marketing agency Anvil Media, believes brands will do this in 2021 as they “appeal to enlightened consumers that care deeply about a company’s purpose and commitment to social and environmental sustainability.”
4. Build trust
Meanwhile, the pandemic accelerated a trend in which consumers are looking to spend money with brands that not only share their values, but brands they trust.
“As consumers have become even more selective of where they spend their money, they want to know the businesses they support have their best interests in mind,” said Colin Palfrey, CMO of espresso equipment retailer Majesty Coffee. “Building trust doesn’t require a big budget. All you have to do is make a promise to your customers and keep it.”
Mark Wood, CEO of glass fence manufacturer National Pool Fences, agreed brands have to focus their messaging on giving consumers peace of mind—even after the vaccine.
5. Optimize for voice search
We’ve seen voice search in previous year-end predictions. However, 2021 may be the year it really takes off as consumers used their voice-enabled devices more while they were at home during the pandemic.
“This in turn meant people were more willing to explore what their smart home devices could do and open a dialogue with them and begin to learn and rely on them,” said Polly Kay, senior marketing manager at window covering retailer English Blinds.
As a result, brands should optimize for voice search by focusing on longer-tail keywords that reflect how consumers ask questions or make requests verbally to stay ahead of the curve.
“Much [like] Google introduced mobile-first ranking for SEO even in instances of user searches on desktop devices, so, too, is it highly likely that as the popularity of voice search queries increases, Google [will] place a heavier weighting on ranking and rewarding content that successfully meets the needs of voice searchers,” she added.
6. Lean into local SEO
Speaking of which, local SEO is another marketing strategy to make a repeat appearance on this list. This time, it’s because brands can update their Google Business Profiles via their Google My Business Accounts to include pandemic-friendly details like online appointments and curbside pickup and delivery, said Sarah Blocksidge, marketing manager at digital marketing agency Sixth City Marketing.
For more COVID-conscious SEO local SEO tips, check out 13 SEO Strategies for SMBs During COVID-19.
“Since everyone will still want to stay in close proximity to home, but also support small local businesses, it is important to make sure your Google My Business account is optimized and active,” Blocksidge added. “Having strong reviews is also a part of this, on sites like Yelp and [the like] because if a customer needs to hire someone for any type of service, they will want to read up on other people’s positive (or negative) experiences on how they are handling safety protocols and [the like].”