2020 Digital Marketing Trends – 3 to Follow Right Now.

As you look at whether your 2020 marketing needs a mid-year pivot, don’t forget about your digital marketing. As always, digital experiences – including your website, mobile user experience, social presence, blog and other digital content must be a critical component of your overall marketing strategy. And especially now, there are some compelling reasons to reexamine your marketing presence – and follow the 2020 digital marketing trends that will make a difference going forward.

We recently had a terrific discussion with our longtime partner, Jason Sirotin, co-founder and CMO at Brain Bytes Creative. In it, we tackled a lot of big ideas, including three 2020 digital marketing trends that smart businesses will want to follow:

  • Digital Trend 1: Audio. “Hey Siri.” “Okay Google.” “Alexa.” If you’ve uttered these phrases (or heard anyone else say them), you know: audio search is becoming more deeply embedded in the way people live and work. So, it stands to reason that audio content is going to matter. Right now, you get answers in the digital assistant’s voice, based on text-based content. That’s not going to change, especially with requests for quick facts. But increasingly, we can expect to hear answers directly from the experts. Which means that now is the time to start creating podcasts and other audio elements for your pages. That way, when people ask the right questions, you and your brand representatives will give them the answers.
  • Digital Trend 2: Proximity and Location. You know that old real estate saying that the three most important things for any business are “Location, location, location?” Well, with everyone largely carrying their search devices around with them, search engines will favor results that are nearby. That doesn’t mean that you should pepper every other sentence of your online presence with your location(s) – Google will rightly see this as inauthentic. But you should make sure that search engines can easily recognize where your products and services are.
  • Digital Trend 3: Your Most Important Location – Online. There’s another old saying, newer than the one about location: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” That’s never been truer – especially with brick and mortar businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19. Increasingly, many of those businesses will reopen. But until consistent behaviors, treatments and a vaccine reduce the risks associated with face-to-face interaction, the ability to do business online is more critical than ever. Be sure that you give clients and customers the ability to do business with you without having to enter a building or engage face-to-face with staff. And make that experience as rich, full-featured and above all easy as possible.

Beyond those trends, two other important messages for marketers emerged repeatedly. First, as Jason says, “The work is never “done” (nor should it be).” Remember that digital marketing, like all marketing, is a marathon, not a sprint. So, yes, look at what has worked in the past, but focus on what will be necessary for the future. As Jason explained, “Google and the other search engines are continually learning and evolving. Your digital presence needs to do the same.” Google has been focusing on Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (EAT) since 2018. However, their most recent core update includes adjustments for relevance because what was authoritative and trustworthy last year may no longer be so today. Your content must come together as a continually updated, interconnected web of relevant information, reinforcing your authority and connections to others who trust you.

Second, do it right or don’t do it at all. A successful digital presence requires ongoing research to make sure your content matches the way people are searching. Jason recommends using tools like Google Keyword Planner, Serpfox and SEMRush. It’s also important to couple those tools with regular Google, Twitter and Instagram searches for terms, as well as searches of competitive and complementary sites (i.e., similar businesses in different industries). A clear-eyed interpretation of the data is essential to eliminate the problems of inherent bias. And while conducting this research isn’t difficult, it is time-consuming.

In other words, effective digital marketing is something that your team probably can do, but there are good reasons to partner with experts – for advice and direction, if not for the continual work of content development. Either way, as 2020 shapes up to be a watershed year for many businesses and industries, now is a critical time to capitalize on the trends that will make a difference going forward.