Do you sometimes wish you could predict the future? Well, although I can’t exactly do that (trust me, 2020 would’ve been very different otherwise), I still love thinking about what changes can we expect to see in the online business and marketing space, and how should I adapt my own business in the process.
So in this post (or you can tune in directly to the podcast episode), I’m sharing my top 7 predictions in business and marketing that we may (or may not!) see happen in 2021.
So first things first, I think this year will really be the year of listening.
I’m sure you noticed it too, but I’m seeing a very big rise in audio content consumption online right now. Podcasts, for example, are gaining more and more momentum every single day – in fact, in the most recent study it appears that there are now over 1,750,000 podcasts out there and that number was just at 1 million in April 2020.
It’s not a surprise of course as people have been spending more time at home during the 2020 lockdown and had the opportunity to start a podcast. Of course, not all of those 1,750,000 million are actually active podcasts, but I think that the increase in numbers is a great indication of how audio content is gaining more and more popularity.
Another good indication for that is the rise of the Clubhouse app, which I’m sure you have seen people talk about a lot recently. If you don’t know what Clubhouse is – it’s an audio only and invite only platform where moderators (i.e. any Clubhouse user) can create rooms with a topic of their choice, and host a panel around it. You can also just listen in if you don’t want to actively participate in the conversation, so it’s kind of like you would be listening to a podcast interview with multiple guests.
I personally am still experimenting with the app but I’m enjoying it so far, although it can be quite time-consuming and productivity-draining if you want to really be a part of it. But what I do love is that you get to meet a lot of new people and there’s way more diversity on the platform right now than on Instagram, for example. This may change in the future, but since the app is in beta mode, I believe the developers are still trying to figure it out themselves.
Whether it’s gonna stick around or not? Good question! I think it has potential, especially if you’re not the type of person who likes to show your face or do silly TikTok and reel videos but you do have value to share.
So, with all that in mind I think audio content will be growing a lot in 2021 and may really catch up to video. Although this definitely doesn’t mean that video is taking a step back – it’s still going to be very popular and I think we will see social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest favour video and animated content even more than before.
So if you’ve been thinking of launching a podcast or a YouTube channel – really… now is the time to make it happen!
With all that in mind, my second prediction for this year is the rise of raw, unfiltered conversations.
And, again, that’s why Clubhouse is gaining popularity so quickly since the conversations happening there are live, in-the-moment, and cannot be saved or replayed (due to privacy).
In general, I see how content has changed even in this past year with less picture-perfect posts, more authenticity, less BS and less sugar coating. Now, don’t get me wrong – it still happens, of course! There are still influencers who try to sell us “the good life”, but I think the general audience is just getting more tired of it.
When I was discussing this with a friend of mine recently, we came to a thought that we’ve been told so much BS by the press, media, and government in 2020, that we’re just tired of it all and just 👏🏼 want 👏🏼 the 👏🏼 truth. The real stuff. What do you think?
Now this doesn’t just apply to politics of course – it’s more true than ever in business as well. Some of the best conversations I’ve had, some of the most listened to episodes I’ve published – were all the unfiltered, honest, raw kind of stuff.
So I think that this year we’re gonna have much more conversations like that and I would really like to see it translate also not just in the way we talk about our business but how we run our business as well. How we talk to our clients. How we sell products and services. How we teach, etc.
I also think that this unfiltered approach may help a lot with impostor syndrome that so many business owners are experiencing with because what they see online and what happens behind the scenes is not always the same. That’s definitely something I’ll be working on more this year and I’m excited to see how, hopefully, this will shape the way we do business moving forward.
Alright, prediction number 3 is that virtual events will continue to rise this year. Even beyond lockdown – if we ever come out of it! I think it’s no surprise that due to the pandemic a lot of events and conferences that were supposed to take place in 2020 went virtual, and guess what? Nothing bad happened! The world didn’t collapse! In fact, this year I’ve seen more new virtual summits, events and collaborations pop up than ever before.
And I think for many businesses, big and small, it showed that virtual events have a lot of advantages from smaller running costs to reaching a much larger audience from all over the world. So even as we come out of lockdown and life gets back to its “new” normal, I believe we will still continue seeing a lot of virtual events and summits take place – because of the potential for such a larger impact.
Now if you’re considering running a virtual summit this year then I strongly encourage you to listen to episode 019 with Krista Miller from Summit in a Box where we talk about how to scale your business with virtual summits, and also episode 021 with Jaime Slutzky where we talk about the tech side of running a virtual summit.
The next prediction I have is a shift in the online education world as customers want faster results and become more impatient for growth.
I think that generally our attention span online has decreased more than ever this year. Again, this is largely due to the fact that many people were forced to work from home, create new routines, and their focus had to be divided between work, family, home, etc. Companies like TikTok and Instagram really took advantage of that by allowing you to consume content faster than ever before, yet spend way more time on the platform as well.
And I see how this impatience ~ or more like hunger for growth ~ translates in business as well, especially in the education industry. I predict that what’s gonna happen is that while there are going to be more and more course creators and educators in the industry, customers will be more attracted by products that give them faster results and instant gratification.
This has been particularly clear with the rise of mini offers. You know, those $27 dollar digital products that upsell you to a near $100 basket in the end? Yeah… I definitely spent a couple 100s on those in the past 🙂
The reason why they work so well is because (a) they solve a very specific problem, so they really focus on one particular pain point, (b) they are easier to consume – you don’t get a ton of stuff to go through, so you don’t get super overwhelmed by the solution, and finally (c) you get instant access to it.
I remember the first time I saw one of those, I thought to myself – how are people making money by selling such value-packed products for just $20-30 dollars? But in reality this product is just the first step of a much a larger sales funnel, which makes it a very smart marketing strategy.
So because people are getting more impatient and hungry for faster results and gratification, I believe this will impact the education industry with a rise of mini-courses, mini-offers, but also longer coaching programs may become more expensive due to scarcity.
In addition to that, I think this may also potentially change the way we work with clients, especially if like me you tend to have longer project timelines. Client expectations may shift in favour of shorter delivery times, which means we must streamline our business and automate as much as possible so we can work faster and still provide the best client experience possible.
So I encourage you to look at your own processes, at your own timelines and see where do you spend your time in your business, how can you optimise it, how can you work faster without losing on quality, etc.
To continue the discussion on the rise of online events and customers’ hunger for faster results, I believe we’re gonna see an increase in live paid workshops in 2021. I’ve seen some designers and online marketers doing this really well in 2020 and it’s something I’m personally excited to introduce in my business this year.
Just like with mini offers, it allows you to deliver value on a very specific topic – so really providing a specific solution for a specific problem. And the great thing is that you can then turn a live workshop into an evergreen product that people can continue to buy.
Now you may be wondering what’s the difference between selling live workshops and selling pre-recorded mini courses? The reason why I think both will be on the rise but people may pay extra bucks for the live experience is because of the need for the raw, unfiltered way of doing business.
Live experiences give you the opportunity to ask questions, contribute to the conversation and really immerse yourself and connect with the expert – which isn’t something you get with a pre-recorded workshop or webinar, for example.
In fact, I hope that pre-recorded webinars will actually take a step back as I personally really dislike when entrepreneurs pretend to be hosting a live webinar but it’s actually a recording. We know, guys!
So I’ve been preaching this for such a long time and I really wish more business owners heard me on that. I think that this year understanding and knowing your ideal client will become more important than ever.
Now I know, this may seem very obvious to some of you but try to be honest with yourself and really ask yourself: how well do I actually know my target audience? How well do I know their pain points? Their frustrations? What is their level of awareness when it comes to their problem? The solutions that are out there? My solution?
Knowing your audience like it’s your childhood BFF is going to be so freaking important, and even though I’d like to think I know who I’m speaking to pretty well – I am still planning on diving even deeper into that to target my communication as much as possible.
Being ultra specific on who you’re targeting in your marketing is going to be key to grow your audience organically this year. Actually, in 2021, I expect that there’s going to be a much stronger emphasis on organic presence and growth due to the new privacy changes announced by Facebook and Apple recently. Facebook ads costs are going to be higher than ever, so we will have to rely more on our current audience this year and growing our presence organically as well.
And finally this leads me to my last prediction, which builds on what I just said about knowing your ideal client – I believe that gaining people’s trust will unfortunately become harder… BUT your audience, customers and clients will be more loyal to you as well.
So while it may take longer to connect and convert people due to information overwhelm, increasing competition in the online business space, and also increased caution and resistance from customers, once you convert them I believe you’ll have loyal customers for life… or for the life of your business at least!
The need to find “your” person is so high right now. So while people may be “shopping around” for longer, once they find their “One” (aka you!) – they will stick to them.
So building these strong bonds and relationships with your audience, and especially with your existing clients, is going to be incredibly important in 2021. Not only you’ll need to focus on delivering more value-driven content, but I really encourage you to focus on creating the best possible client experience for your current clients in order to increase their lifetime value and promote repeat and referrals.
So here are my seven online business and marketing predictions for this year. Now I’m sure that this may all sound a little overwhelming and like you got a lot of work to do – don’t we always 😅 – but even though these are the seven things that I personally think will play a big role in the online biz space this year, I suggest you only focus on 1-3 areas and excel in those, rather than trying to get everything done at once.
Be mindful of your time, your skills, availability and remember to always keep you target audience in mind by choosing strategies that will be attractive to them first and foremost.