New year, new you, maybe a new marketing strategy? To no one’s surprise, the digital marketing world is full of content about what trends you should be following in 2021.
But as you hone your B2B marketing strategy this year, be wary of hopping on board with all the latest trends, because not every digital marketing trend is worth the investment.
So rather than looking at what you should be doing, we’re going to tell you how to avoid tactics that don’t have a high ROI. If you’re banking on one of these tactics, then we have one thing to tell you:
On that note, here are the five digital marketing trends B2B brands should ignore this year:
Navigate this post:
- Pop-up ads
- Posting too much
- Focusing only on the content
- Assuming Google can do your SEO work for you
- Focusing on followers
When visiting other company’s sites, you’ve probably been greeted by pop-up ads that say something like “Sign up to receive the latest insights” or “Don’t leave—why not take a look at our blog?”
These pop-ups are annoying, as some take up the entire screen and can even block the back button. How to exit isn’t always clear, or the X button is hard to see. Sometimes the same ad pops up every time you visit a new page on the site.
Emily Gorman, digital and UX strategist at Foundation, sums up why pop-ups are bad for marketing:
“Pop-ups are aggressive. As a visitor to a website, we want to feel in control of what content we consume or interact with (or not), but when websites have pop-ups, we’re forced to interact with them and it takes away that feeling of control. Not only that, but the pop-up breaks your visitor’s attention from the content they were reading and that you worked hard to create and get them to. If pop-ups seem like a good solution, then you need to reconsider your UX. No one is going to miss your pop-ups.”
Pop-up ads also slow down website performance, which can affect your SEO.
Even so, lots of websites use pop-ups to try and boost their subscribe and opt-in rates. Sure, you can get more conversions, which is why marketers still suggest using pop-ups. But they’re going to make users dislike visiting your website and not want to come back.
According to Nielsen Norman Group, modals (the technical name for pop-ups) are the most unpopular form of advertising on both desktop and mobile. Modals are even more disliked than auto-playing videos and deceptive links.
The bottom line: Pop-ups bother people.
And if people are bothered, they will be less likely to continue reading your content or checking out your products and services.
Replace the pop-up with something like a side tab or subscription box, and work on making your content more valuable—if you offer something good, your users will keep coming back.
Creating content that engages users while also monitoring the success of your efforts takes a lot of time, energy and creativity.
The truth is, many companies post too much content.
They think pumping out post after post will increase their brand presence and their reputation as an authority in the industry. And they think if they put everything online, people will find what they’re looking for and search engines will index their website.
The opposite happens:
But how much is too much?
Over 4.4 million blog posts are published each day. It’s not uncommon for brands to publish five to 10 pieces of content each day in order to get noticed. Meanwhile, their audience feels bombarded, and content with real value gets lost.
You see, you want to be creating and distributing content that converts.
When it comes to digital marketing, quality beats quantity. Quality connects with your audience and makes your brand more memorable. If you can produce content that meets your readers’ needs, you are already winning.
Chad Pollitt from Relevance explains the advantages of prioritizing quality over quantity: “Really good content—especially very helpful material—can make a positive impression on those folks that consume it. It will also most likely create signals Google’s algorithm will recognize as positive and thus reward the content with higher rankings.”
So distribute content regularly, but don’t post just to post. You’ll find that your audience will engage more if you’re consistently creating content that is meaningful.
Sometimes when B2B brands start to focus on content, they can forget to keep up with the “social” aspect of social media.
Here’s the thing:
Social is supposed to be “social” which means taking the time to engage with your audience, beyond just publishing content. Social media engagement can help produce a lot more awareness of your brand than traditional marketing.
An organically shared post from your company could reach hundreds or even thousands of people at no cost.
Social media has also become the preferred tool for customer service. When people go to social media for support, they expect a quick response, opening the door for your brand to offer a positive experience.
This is a huge untapped opportunity—80% of brands are under the impression that they deliver exceptional social media customer service, while only 8% of customers agree.
Do it right, and you’ll build loyalty among your customers.
And whether you like it or not, there will be negative feedback. It’s part of doing business. When you get these comments, respond nicely, and show you care. Don’t let the negative comments keep you from engaging with your audience.
The secret to social media engagement is hard work and consistency. If you put in the effort to engage regularly and respond promptly, the investment will bring you positive results.
While Google is getting a lot better at both understand the true intent behind what someone is searching for and filtering out bad content, one thing remains true:
Completely ignoring SEO and assuming “Google will figure it out” isn’t a good idea (yet at least).
Before you put a lot of time into your next piece of content, think about how SEO could help. In fact, it’s important to understand the connection between UX and SEO as well. Both are focused on one thing—people.
SEO tactics can help you rank in search engine results for relevant inquiries, pushing more prospects to visit your site. In fact, 57% of B2B marketers say that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing tactic.
And that’s why 61% of marketers say that boosting their SEO and improving their online presence is a main priority.
Blogging is a great vehicle for SEO, because search engines love websites that are updated. They want to deliver the most up-to-date content possible to people who are searching for answers. So regularly update your blog with new, relevant content that’s optimized for search, and Google will be happy to broadcast your site to a bigger audience.
Don’t ignore SEO.
If you ignore SEO, you’re missing out on opportunities for more traffic, more conversions and more success.
Still, while SEO is important, not every post has to rank.
Will ranking help? Sure.
Is it always the goal? Nah.
This is why it’s often hard for many SEOs to get a seat at the table.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all things must rank or it’s a failure. pic.twitter.com/iwlzJkTO8N
— Ross Simmonds (@TheCoolestCool) January 17, 2020
Vanity metrics are great for making your digital marketing results look good.
They include data like social media followers, subscribers, pageviews in Google Analytics, average time on page, and any other metrics that can look great on paper but don’t necessarily translate into business value.
Vanity metrics can be confusing because they lead your team to believe you’re getting results, when in reality these numbers don’t offer any real information about your growth or success.
That’s why focusing on vanity metrics and vanity metrics alone is a bad idea.
You want to focus on metrics that are actionable.
For example, the open rate on your email campaign alone isn’t going to tell you too much. Is 20% good? Maybe 30%? On its own, the number isn’t going to tell you much.
But—comparing the open rates of two subject lines in an A/B test can tell you which one works best. Metrics like these can indicate what changes you need to make to achieve the outcome you want.
And with the right data governance in place, the metrics you measure will be even more actionable and easy to understand.
Two more examples:
- Monitoring which content brought in leads that converted to prospects or even customers
- What actions a lead took on your website before they converted.
Don’t let vanity metrics distract you! Focus on other key metrics that can help your digital marketing do more to support your business goals.
If you want to hit the digital marketing ground running, now is the time to fix any weaknesses in your strategy and root out trendy but unhelpful practices.
By taking a proactive approach and focusing on the trends that matter, you’ll start seeing results and growing your brand in 2021—and in the years to come.
Unsure of which digital marketing trends are worth following? Request a free consultation with one of our digital strategists today.
[Updated Jan 07, 2021]