The digital marketing landscape is always changing and growing in complexity. Staying on top of the trends should be an instrumental part of your national marketing plan. Here are some things you need to know to set up your brand for success in 2021.
Since the pandemic began, consumer attitudes and purchasing behaviors have shifted. When customers change their behavior, you must change your marketing along with it. The KPIs you previously used to measure the success of campaigns may no longer be as relevant. You also might not be able to rely on historical data to provide benchmarks. You will have to pivot your strategy to include “the new normal.”
As you refine your 2021 marketing strategy in a climate where things are changing rapidly, ask yourself:
- Has the pandemic affected my marketing KPIs?
- Is my historical data still applicable?
- Have we responded to changes in consumer behaviors?
Boost Your Brand
To address these questions, focus on your branding to ensure that potential customers are staying inside the sales funnel until they are ready to come back. Thirty percent of internet users plan fewer visits to retail outlets, even as consumer confidence is going back up due to easing of legislation and social distancing orders. Maintaining an active brand awareness campaign is the best way to predict a consumer’s likelihood of using your franchise’s products or services.
Leading indicators of brand awareness include:
- Website visits
- Social media engagement
- Search volume data
- Brand awareness surveys
Optimize Your Website for Google’s “Page Experience Update”
Your website is your franchise’s greatest asset for both customers and prospective franchise owners alike. How often your website shows up in Google search results can make a huge difference in the success of your brand. As we head further into 2021, one of the biggest challenges your website will face is how it weathers those dreaded algorithm updates.
Fortunately, unlike most of Google’s algorithm updates, Google has given us plenty of notice for the latest big change. Originally planned for mid-May, the Core Web Vitals and Page Experience update will add page experience to Google’s ranking system beginning in mid-June 2021. What does this mean? In addition to traditional SEO, or search engine optimization, ranking factors of a website, such as keyword relevance, this update is designed to highlight website pages that offer great user experiences.
We all know how important it is to have a website rich with relevant content, but how well does your website work for your users? The Core Web Vitals below are the new benchmarks to discuss with your website development team to ensure your website is optimized before the update.
While the load speed of your website as a whole has been a major factor in ranking up until now, Google is taking this one step further and focusing on the load speed of individual webpage elements. Simply put, the image and text elements on your webpages need to load quickly. Google is using a metric called Large Contentful Paint, which is the length of time it takes the largest image or text block visible to render, relative to when the page started loading. To provide a good user experience, the largest image or text box should load in 2.5 seconds or less.
What is web interactivity? This is how the user communicates with your website. First Input Delay (FID) measures the time from a user’s first interaction with your site (i.e., when they click a link or tap on a button) till when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction. Measuring FID is like measuring the time from placing an order at a restaurant to receiving your meal. If a user clicks on a button to learn more and it takes a long time for your website to respond, the chances of the user becoming frustrated and leaving your website increases. To provide a good user experience, the action that happens after a click or tap should be less than 100 milliseconds.
Imagine you are browsing through a website and as the page is loading you see the button or link you want to visit. Just as you click or tap the button it unexpectedly shifts, and you end up going to the wrong page. This frustrating action is called Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) and is a major factor in creating a bad user experience. CLS tracks the visual stability of the content on your page, and if your layout is shifting as it loads, it can be very distracting to users. Google will now measure the distance the elements shift as your page loads. Your score should be less than 0.1.
It’s essential, especially after the pandemic triggered shifts in consumer behaviors over the past year, to stay on top of digital trends and Google algorithm updates. With more consumers than ever shopping online, maintaining SEO rankings must be a top priority.