Following the pandemic's impact on businesses globally, many cannot wait to bid farewell to 2020. Nevertheless, the massive shift in all areas of business has led us to ponder on upcoming startup trends for 2021.
The focus is obviously “digital-first”. Nowadays, businesses are revamping their business models, develop an authentic digital presence, and restructure their communication strategies. More importantly, consumer attention (& engagement) is now mainly captured online.
With this in mind, here are the startup trends you should think about:
1. Start A Business Podcast In Your Niche
According to Edison, at least 67 million Americans listen to podcasts every month. Currently, the number is experiencing a meteoric rise, and many startups try to catch the wave. Podcasts are one of 2021’s top startup trends when it comes to increased authority, authenticity, and customer engagement.
Take SwanBitcoin for example. The relatively new cryptocurrency exchange entered a very saturated market and still managed to amass an audience. How? They created the Swan Signal Podcast and regularly produce high-quality content that attracts their ideal customers.
All in all, here are some of the benefits you can get when starting a podcast:
- Increase your credibility within a specific industry.
- Lots of content to repurpose in social media and blog posts.
- Promote your brand personality through the host and the guests.
- Capture the attention of your audience for an extended period of time, improving top-of-mind awareness.
- Expand your business connections through collaborations with other business owners and influencers in your industry.
- Podcasts make it much easier for Startup accelerators to understand who you are, what you do, and how much expertise you have.
So, how do you get started?
- Start with planning the podcast episodes you'd like to air for your company. This includes reaching out to people in your niche (DMing, connecting on Linkedin, cold emails, etc.)
- Get the right software and equipment for your podcast; this includes a mic, headsets, and software like Adobe Audition or Audacity to record and edit your podcast. You can even rent this equipment from many coworking spaces.
- Sign up for podcast hosting - this is the service that stores your audio files and shares them to podcast networks like Spotify and iTunes. Some of the best podcast hosting sites include Buzzsprout, Spreaker, and Transistor.
- Get your host on the show and start recording!
2. Redistribute Old Content
In our volume-centric creative world, businesses need to produce tons of content and distribute it among all channels their customers are using.
If you haven’t already, start by creating valuable “primary” content (e.g. blog posts). Then use it to produce micro-content that can be distributed on social media channels. For instance, once you start your podcast, you can post its video on YouTube, small snippets on Instagram or Twitter, and audio clips to podcast networks.
Redistributing content is an effective way of ensuring you always have something new to offer. And depending on your business, you can get creative about all the potential implementations:
- Turn a screenshot of your tweets into an Instagram post or story
- Take your Instagram stories and crosspost them on Snapchat and Facebook
- Post your TikTok clips on Instagram
- Find your best social posts and share them as carousels on LinkedIn and Instagram
- Turn your best tweets into infographics which you can later implement within blog posts
3. No-code Tools - New Startup Trends 2021?
If you visited some of the best startup conferences this year, you might have noticed that no-code is starting to increase in popularity. In short, no-code refers to the process of building websites, products, and apps without any coding.
Bubble, Adalo, and Glide are examples of no-code tools and are expected to increase in popularity over the next year. While they are still rather limited in terms of usability, these tools will continue to evolve to accommodate entrepreneurs of the future.
Of course, there are also success stories of no-code products. An example of a company that used these tech startup trends is GiveLocal. The business developed a web platform to purchase gift cards from local stores that were shut down due to the pandemic-related lockdowns.
The product took a total of three days to create. Shortly after, it was acquired by USA Today and rebranded to Support Local. Therefore, it is important to keep such business startup trends in mind. Learning no-code basics can help you:
- Create a blueprint for your eventual product.
- Understand how you want your MVP to work.
- Help with the internal testing and idea validation phase.
- Spend less money and time at the earliest stages.
While no-code may not be very evolved at the moment, many startups could benefit from them within 2021. These startup trends 2021 are mainly a nudge to help you better direct your research efforts while we are entering into the new year.
4. Focus On Community Building
Why is a community manager important for your business?
In short, they ensure that your business has a relatable, original, and dependable voice - all while increasing engagement on all platforms.
More specifically, community managers ensure that:
- Your audience has a massive (and long-term) engagement with your brand.
- Reduced costs for customer support due to an increase in user-generated content.
- Increased participation in loyalty programs or subscription programs.
- Increase in beta testers for MVP products, and feedback received through them.
- More referral traffic to your website, which turns into more leads for your email list.
- Social signals increase the position of your social media pages in the SERPS.
Think of your community manager as the liaison between the ideal customer and your brand. This is the individual that comes up with creative ideas to make your brand more accessible to your audience.
As for the preference of the public, statistics speak for themselves. 83 percent of Facebook consumers prefer brand personality. In many ways, the way you “build a tribe” should receive as much emphasis as email marketing did over the past two years. Therefore, when it comes to 2021 startup trends, make sure you explore the role and decide whether your business needs it.
As you start focusing more on building an audience, remember that a community manager is not a subtask. The same is true if these are labeled as Social Media managers.
As Hubspot's community manager Krystal Wu indicates, when the community manager speaks, your company speaks. Therefore, these should be treated with the same care (and pay) as any other employee in your company.
5. Use Video-Based Social Platforms
One other future business trend to review is the adoption of video-based social media platforms like Reels and TikTok. The use of such channels has increased this year because of the need to raise awareness.
TikTok has significantly soared in the global market. The platform is currently looking for ways to expand its advertising and publishing options, making it a platform to keep in mind for 2021. Instagram Reels is another video platform option you can use to promote your business.
But how can these platforms be used to support your startup? All you need to do is:
- Create content that attracts your ideal customer (not always promotional)
- Create video ads for your products and services (if the budget allows)
- Use influencer marketing to reach a new audience (start with multiple micro-influencers and work your way up)
6. Use Video And Interaction Design
Interactive design techniques are also something to look out for in 2021. Some of the design trends you can incorporate for your business include:
- Interactions that go beyond mere clicks on static CTA buttons. GIFs or animated CTAs can be more “catchy”.
- Sending newsletters with GIFs (like Robinhood does).
- The use of 3D graphics for web and mobile user interface.
- The use of augmented and virtual reality.
7. Influencer Marketing
Every year, the amount spent on influencer marketing increases at an estimated 12.7 percent of the annual marketing budget. In The Power Of Influence report, Altimeter advises companies to spend at least a quarter of their marketing budget on influencer marketing.
Because of the ever-growing ROI that businesses experience when promoting through influencers, the tools and developments in the industry are evolving as well. One significant shift is the blend of B2B with B2C influencers in cross-promotional tactics (e.g. giveaways).
Ocean Spray is an example of a company that diversifies into multiple areas of influencer marketing in 2021. The company is banking on honest and personal reviews and opinions that come from influencers. These non-celebrity influencers include:
- Social influencers
- Event speakers
- Brand employees
- Content creators
- Industry analysts
- Brands and publications
8. Automating Communication
When talking about automated communication, we only refer to certain parts of the sales funnel. More specifically, we look at machine learning and how it boosts relevance and enhances the personal tone in communicating with customers.
Air Canada recently used Persado’s Natural Language Generation to conduct an interesting experiment in their customer support department.
- By using an anxious language tone, the company increased its engagement by 3%.
- When they used a more exclusive tone, they experienced a 5% drop in engagement.
Why did this happen? Well, many could argue that this is simply how a particular segment of a target group reacts to different situations.
After extensive testing to understand what your audience responds to, machine learning can improve the efforts of both your marketing and customer support department.
Let’s take marketing for example. Studies have shown that proper implementation of AI and machine learning tools for targeted customer emails can:
- Increase campaign revenue by up to 27 percent.
- Increase open rates by up to 19 percent.
- Reduce email sending volume by 2 percent, which saves on cost.
Building a business is a flexible challenge that requires equal parts of adaptation and innovation. The previously discussed emerging trends of 2021 are bound to change the way business is done. Those who choose to welcome these changes will remain ahead of their game and keep growing in a period of global uncertainty.
To summarize, the eight trends that you should keep your focus on as a business owner include:
- Start A Business Podcast In Your Niche
- Redistribute Old Content
- Using No-code Tools
- Focus on Community building
- Using Video-Based Platforms
- Using Video And Interaction Design
- Adopting New Influencer Marketing Strategies
- Automating Communication