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Ignoring These 4 Marketing Trends Could Cost You in the Long Run You should definitely include these four strategies in your marketing budget this year.

By James Jorner

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Although the pandemic made executing marketing plans and 2020 goals a chaotic process, the good news is that we have a fairly good idea of what you shouldn't ignore in your marketing campaigns. Now you have the chance to implement new strategies and be several steps ahead in 2021.

Whatever you do, don't reduce your marketing budget. It might look like you're saving money, but you're losing it in the long run. Marketing your business is how you're going to increase sales and keep your business thriving. Cutting costs in your marketing budget is going to short circuit your business. Take the time to double down on your marketing initiatives while your competitors are cutting back on theirs — an advantage you don't want to miss.

To help you decide what should go into your marketing budget this year, here's a list of the four marketing trends you shouldn't ignore:

1. Chatbox interactions

In 2020, people started doing everything from shopping to having meetings in front of their screens. But online platforms underutilized one particular service: chatbots. According to Zendesk, the number of businesses that offer any form of self-service, live chat, messaging or chatbot is less than 30 percent. This makes the chatbot fresh ground for businesses, and is definitely worth inclusion in your 2021 marketing budget.

Chatbots run on AI-based technology, which enables businesses to chat with customers in real time. This technology can then answer questions and even tailor recommendations to customers' needs. As an example, Levi's Virtual Assistant uses data provided by customers to sort through Levi's available styles and point the customer in the right direction. Customers are able to use the assistant for style suggestions and can even get recommendations for the right pair of jeans.

If there's one motif that has been evident during the pandemic, it's the need for deep connection. And although chatbots have other benefits, their ability to provide personalized services is a must have in 2021.

Related: 10 Tips for Creating a Great Chatbot

2. Searchability through SEO and social media

SEO is not a quick-fix strategy to create overall growth. It yields fruit over a long period of time, hence the need to keep it in your marketing budget this year. Investing in SEO is a wise decision for any business that wants to thrive in 2021, as it helps increase the visibility of your content, products, services and your business as a whole. But to get the best results from SEO, you have to take things a notch higher by monitoring your SEO statistics and the progress you make at each point in time.

Unfortunately, this part of SEO intimidates a lot of people. Some businesses eliminate this hassle altogether by getting an SEO consultant to help out in monitoring, analyzing and presenting this analytical data in a way that can be mentally digested.

But it doesn't end there. It's also important to create a budget for social media, as social media platforms have evolved from being major communication mediums to search engines of their own. Throughout the pandemic, more people have been using social media platforms as ways to gain access to specific content. The takeaway from this trend is to give attention to improving the searchability of your posts on social media. YouTube, for instance, is a search engine of its own. Make it a point this year to pay more attention to your choice of titles, descriptions and tags. The closer you title your videos to the way your target audience searches for information, the higher your chances are of having your content noticed. For other social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, you'll have to find the best hashtag categories for your content. The more specific, the better.

3. The power of video marketing

Video is the darling of content marketing. It's easier to consume, more relatable for viewers and more visually stimulating than other forms of content. Video is also a great tool for organic reach and conversion when placed side-by-side with other forms of content such as text. Thanks to Google's algorithm favoring video content, it makes all the more sense to use video for your marketing goals.

Related: Connecting With Your Target Audience Through Video

4. Relatability through influencer marketing

In 2020, emotions were high. Brands that could show emotion around dealing with the lockdown and subsequent stress made people feel a little less alone. But along with the need for brand authenticity, consumers have exhibited a desire to connect. Through influencer marketing, brands are able to personify lockdown experiences with their customers, thus drawing more people to the brand. As 2021 year brings a level of uncertainity, it's only logical to pump some of your marketing budgets into influencer marketing alongside other tactics.

2020 was an unforgettable year in the marketing space. But if there's anything we've learned over the past year, it's that flexibility is key. Take these four marketing tactics as staples in your 2021 marketing budget, and focus on what consumers care about most — personal connection, searchability, relatability and authenticity.

And if perchance we're left to deal with another crisis, you can rest assured that you'll crush your 2021 marketing goals.

Related: 4 Tips to Avoid Influencer Marketing Catastrophes

James Jorner

Business Development Manager

James Jorner is a digital marketer and social media advocate who aims to help businesses identify, connect, and engage their audience through digital media channels. He's the head of digital at Effective Inbound Marketing.

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