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In our increasingly digital world, it pays to stay on the cutting edge of marketing trends. New technologies, advertising platforms, and online social sites are developed each day, and trends come and go like wildfire. Plus, thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the world is more digital than ever, and competition is fierce.

If you’re looking to outrank the competition in 2021, read on to learn 4 marketing trends that are here to stay.

Create a Solid SEO Strategy

When it comes to your marketing, you’re nothing without a comprehensive SEO strategy. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a field of digital marketing that focuses on helping your website “rank”, or show up on search engine result pages.

When it comes to search engines like Google, any given search can yield hundreds of pages of results. The typical user, however, only looks at the first one or two pages. Through search engine optimization, digital marketers aim to get their websites to show on those first few pages for any searches that are relevant to their business.

SEO ranking

SEO can be a complex and highly technical process. It involves website content, images, site structure, metadata, and more. The good news, however, is that small and fairly simple changes can lead to big results. Here are small but effective ways to get your business ranking higher than your competition’s.

  • Ensure your site flows logically: An easy-to-navigate site isn’t just easier for visitors to access, but it’s easier for search engines to crawl, too. Build a logical site flow using easily understandable menus with subtopics whenever necessary.
  • Feature your top-performing keywords: A quick search in Google Analytics will reveal to you which search terms most often bring users to your site. Use these search terms in your site content and brainstorm blog posts and other pieces of content that feature these terms.
  • Never keyword stuff: In the early days of search engines, some SEO strategies involved excessive usage of keywords in order to rank for those searches. These days, search engines are privy to the overuse of keywords solely for the purposes of SEO and will ding you for this practice.

Don’t Underestimate Social Proof

In days of yore, when a consumer was interested in new products or a new service, they’d look at what friends and family were doing and inquire about their experiences. What did they think of a recent purchase? What was their experience working with that company? Are they happy? Would they do it again?

These interactions were the early ancestors of what’s now known as social proof. Social proof is the concept that people are most likely to do what the people around them are doing. You’re more likely to go to a crowded restaurant than an empty one. You’re also more likely to use a company that your friend used instead of taking a risk on an unknown business.

Two men smiling at laptop

Studies on social proof date back to the early 1950s with the Solomon Asch conformity experiment. This study showed that, when given a test, 3 out of 4 participants in the study would give an answer they knew was wrong, as long as the majority of other test participants believed it was correct. Whether you call it conformity or simply deductive reasoning, social proof works.

In marketing, social proof is one of the most effective free tools available to your business. You can leverage your existing social media profiles, Yelp or Google Business pages, and more to incentivize future customers. Simply place links to them prominently on your website, like in the header or footer of your site. That way, no matter which page users are viewing, they’ve got a direct link to your social proof.

If you have a strong quote from a happy customer, feature it on your website! You may also want to include the number of satisfied customers you have or any other strong social proof factoid. For instance, you can see on MedCline’s website that there is a powerful quote about the product.

MedCline landing pageSource: MedCline

Explore Affiliate Marketing Opportunities

Affiliate marketing brilliantly combines two extremely effective marketing strategies, social proof and discounting, into a powerful tool. In affiliate marketing, you allow consumers and other businesses to become affiliates of your business and incentivize them to promote your business by offering them a share of the revenue. The result is a small profit for them and more business for you.

By now, you’ve probably come across affiliate marketing a hundred times. It’s the custom promotional coupons you see promoted in blog posts, on social media, and in other places. Chances are, whoever is promoting that coupon is getting a kickback from your purchase. That may be free services or products, a discount on their purchase, or a percentage of the sale.

Affiliate marketing certainly isn’t a new strategy, but it’s one that’s become more widely available over the past several years thanks to affiliate marketing platforms and networks. As a business owner, you can set up on a platform or network as a merchant. You’ll set the terms for your affiliates, including commissions, tracking, and more, and the platform or network will connect you with tons of affiliates ready to market your product.

Try Podcast Advertising

Podcast advertising is the new broadcast advertising. Podcast advertising has taken over in a big way; businesses are expected to spend $500 million on podcast advertising in 2021.

Two men recording podcast

It’s no wonder why. Podcast advertising offers benefits that were never available via broadcast advertising. While businesses once used 10-second live ad spots to promote their products, they now use pre-recorded ad spots that are personalized to every episode and can be listened to over and over again for years to come. Plus, it’s a cost-effective marketing strategy. At an average of $18 per 1,000 listeners for a 30-sec spot, you can reach 100,000 listeners for just $1,800.

Marketing is always evolving—but some strategies are tried, true, and here to stay. If you want to edge out the competition in 2021, use these 4 marketing trends to do so.

Matt Casadona

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys the San Diego life, traveling, and music.

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