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The holiday season is upon us again, and we are just a few days away from closing yet another year — labeling it as strange would be a massive understatement. We think you’ll agree that the last twelve months have been one helluva roller coaster ride with one curveball after another.  But YOU made it. Congratulations! All your grit and hustle got you through one of the strangest years in recent history!

Let’s raise a toast to the anomaly of a year that was and to you who survived it and also to the fresh New Year that we will soon ring in — brimming with opportunities to create, contribute & thrive in your industry while forming meaningful relationships along the way. We are excited to be right by your side as you soar to new heights of success.

To give you a significant head-start, we decided to put together this article highlighting 5 of the biggest marketing trends that businesses – big and small – will use to make a substantial mark even in the most competitive industries in 2021. Use these to explode your business in the next twelve months!

Video Marketing

Video Marketing: Have you recently ever spent a weekend or even a day without watching any video content at all? Probably not! And you are not alone. They’re everywhere, and for a good reason — humans are wired to find videos more engaging and memorable (retention rate for videos averaging at 52%) than just text. In a Wyzowl survey, 84% of respondents state that watching a video of a product or brand convinced them to make a purchase, and videos are the favorite type of content that consumers like to see on their favorite brand’s social media.

Don’t go all-in without knowing this though — Social media platforms prefer videos hosted through their native platforms.  They receive a higher click-through rate (CTR) than text or a static image, are shown to more of your followers, and get placed higher on the user’s feed compared to those shared via an external website, like Youtube. To maximize your results, post it straight to whichever platform you’re targeting!

Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation: 2021 is all about making existing processes faster and more efficient in bringing you closer to your goals. This cannot happen without marketing automation, which increases sales productivity by 14.5% while reducing overhead by 12.2%. You can offload labor-intensive,  tedious, repetitive tasks to these sophisticated marketing tools and free up time – and— money — to make magic happen in other critical facets of your business!

Here’s more good news —  the marketing areas that automation holds power to transform can make a massive difference to your marketing initiatives very quickly! Take a look:

  • Content automation: Automation can help you amplify every part of content marketing like email, social media posting, topic ideation, and even content creation.

Here are some ways content automation can elevate your marketing efforts:

  • publish error-free content using tools like Grammarly
  • Transcribe podcast or webinars with Temi
  • Streamline SEO, leads, and social media posts across all platforms with Hubspot
  • optimize content with targeted keywords using tools like io (we need to get your content read, don’t we?!)
  • find popular topics that are in demand with tools like Buzzsumo
  • translate content to other languages
  • get fresh content without human intervention with AI-driven tools like Quill
  • Email marketing: Emails produce $38 ROI for every dollar spent. It’s not just bringing new business, email marketing keeps old customers coming back for more — 80% of business professionals believe that emails help customer retention. The key is to personalize content to individual customer segments. Here are some tools for help:
  • Lock leads into lists with OptinMonster
  • Run contests and giveaways to add subscribers to your list with RafflePress
  • How unforgettable is your email? Are they even being read?Use CampaignMonitor to find out
  • Use autoresponders like GetResponse to “Wow” your subscribers with value-filled email campaigns!
  • Social media: Use Hootsuite to auto-schedule social media posts weeks in advance. During those busy days, weeks, and months where time seems to be flying away, it can be challenging to send tweets or posts on Instagram and Linkedin consistently. Advance scheduling is a lifesaver in chaos. They even tell you which posts are getting the best engagement so you can publish more of that content type.

Community Marketing

Community Marketing: The year 2020 forced people to take the bulk of their conversations online, and this trend will continue to thrive in the new year. Everyone is on the hunt to find tribes of like-minded people on Reddit (in just Reddit alone, there are 130,000 active communities), Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms, where they can share information and learn something new. These communities give people a place to come together to network and collaborate on topics they’re super-passionate about.

When contributing to online communities, remember to serve, not sell. No one wants to be hit with a hard-pitch while trying to have a meaningful exchange of ideas. So, remove your marketing hat and contribute without thinking of selling — that will come when people align with your contribution and authenticity. If you publish content to solve someone’s problem genuinely — your presence will grow, and your absence will be noticed and missed. If consistent with your efforts, you will start growing your tribe, which will trigger the happy-cycle of new and repeat business.

Executive Branding

Executive Branding: Having an online presence is more of a necessity rather than a choice. And, no, not just for your business, but for you too. When a prospect wants to know if they can trust a brand and its product, they’ll often look up the senior executives. Plus, people like buying from people, not companies. Neilsen’s report shows that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people instead of company ads. Starting 2021, with the intention to grow a personal brand will help you cultivate a one-on-one connection with your potential customers from day one. As trust grows, so will business!  You will also get the remarkable opportunity to build yourself as an authority figure in your industry. In an age where misinformation runs rampant, having credibility is crucial to success.

For a robust personal brand, here are four things to get right:

  • Thought-leadership content – Publish thought-provoking, compelling content consistently that’s full of your authentic personality. Don’t be dry or talk corporate.
  • Active social media profiles – Have a profile separate from your brand’s profile, and keep the conversation going on it. Reach a new audience and build trust with them through your post on your social media.
  • Public relations – Get your voice out there by saying yes to executive interviews, offering quotes or sound bites to relevant channels. Get your name out there to stick and shine. Let the visibility compound overtime. Haro is an excellent platform for this!
  • Sign-up for speaking engagements: No social media post or article can provide the same level of intimacy as speaking to a group of audiences. Bag opportunities at industry events, seminars, and webinars where you can talk with your prospects live.

Doing Good is Good for Businesses

Due to the recent insanity that has been the COVID virus, many businesses have launched altruistic programs in order to help those who are struggling to get by. This is not only an amazing thing to do for people who are in need, but also a great way to grow your business and retain high quality employees.

These kinds of programs offer incredible opportunity to help others, as well as provide great PR & social media content to share as well as let the world know that doing good can be good for business. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, we’ve included some samples below.

  • Toast Service Creates a “Rally for Restaurants”: The point of sales service Toast has recently launched a program to encourage buying gift cards and ordering take out in order to support local restaurants suffering during current COVID lockdowns. They are also offering $250,000 in matching contributions to the World Center Kitchen & Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.
  • Gas South Donates Profits to Children in Need: Gas South has a clear & simple corporate purpose, “be a fuel for good”. Taking this message to heart, they have committed to donating 5% of profits to children in need. Not only is this a powerful initiative, it has also done amazing things for attracting talented employees. Read more about it here
  • Pharmaceutical Company, Eisai, Delivers 2 Billion Tables of a Drug for Free: The Japanese company recently released 2.2 billion free tablets of its drug against elephantiasis, a very painful and disfiguring disease that threatens 886 million people in the world. By championing social causes like this, Eisai has grown to being one of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world!

Doing good can be an incredibly powerful tool to help create positive change in our world as well as help promote and grow your business. Creating these kinds of initiatives also encourages other companies do to the same and hopefully helps make a few lives a little less difficult.

So that’s it! That’s our final wrap-up for the digital trends set to accelerate many businesses to success in 2021.

We want to thank you so much for being a part of our community. We want to encourage you as we move forward together into hopefully a better & brighter 2021 – we hope it’s full of new goals, new inspirations, and so many new achievements for you!

As always, you can follow me, Dacia Coffey, on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn pages.
You can also catch me on LinkedIn live each Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 EST for a live discussion on anything and everything B2B digital marketing.