Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

As much as we would like to think otherwise, COVID-19 has permanently changed consumer behavior and businesses around the world. As the world got used to working from home, businesses found new and innovative ways to address the changing consumer needs. The crisis accelerated digital adoption. Thus, the urgency to transform digital marketing practices are felt more than ever.

At the dawn of the New Year, 2021, let us look at some of the most crucial digital marketing trends that would affect small businesses.

The Changing Face of a Digital World

Many small and medium size businesses feel that have been unfairly treated by the legislated business shutdowns during the pandemic. Big box national chains could stay open. Smaller chains and main street retailers find themselves competing with these larger chains in a way never experienced previously.

While online shopping has heated up, large brands are moving quickly to produce apps. Witness the transformative role of food delivery apps in the ability for the local pub deliver take-out meals during COVID.

A wide range of apps is allowing people to stay connected, healthy, and informed while being safe at home. Apps are enabling businesses to improve service and customer satisfaction while maintaining social distancing and lowering sales costs during the pandemic and economic recovery.

Apps are costly to develop and not within reach for many smaller businesses. This translates into intensified competition for many business sectors and industries, with special challenges for smaller businesses who may have neither the user base nor the investment dollars to create an app.

New Approach to Digital Marketing

Let’s face it, not all businesses can have an eCommerce platform or create an app for their business. Nonetheless, to meet emerging customer needs in this new digital era, small businesses need to rethink their business models.

Being competitive in this transformed online world means implementing a technical upgrading of your website, upgrading your own skills as a digital marketer, and pushing yourself to learn and understanding the valuable analytics data on your website and social media platforms.

In raising the bar for your business’s online presence, being successful in this more intensely competitive environment also means taking time to gain a better understanding of your customers, their needs, and their online behaviour using the powerful analytics tools that are becoming the norm.

E-commerce or a Multi-channel Approach

The amount of time people spent online soared in the last year, which opened opportunities for some businesses to continue to operate despite pandemic shutdowns imposed by governments. The winners were those companies around the world who were able to rapidly change their processes to accommodate the massive shift to digital marketing platforms. These early responders found the customers who were looking for products and services online while bricks and mortar shops remained closed and consumers fearful of the spread of COVID inside shops and malls.

E-commerce was the big winner, but non-e-commerce businesses have also had to re-invent their sales processes to maintain an online presence and to deliver consumers a seamless purchase experience. In this new pandemic world, how can your business fully tap online opportunities, whether your business is suited to an e-commerce website? There are important trends and developments which you should be aware of, so that you can position your business to stay vital, to thrive, and to be competitive.

If you have an e-commerce site or were amongst the quick COVID responders who immediately installed e-commerce when the pandemic hit, what should you do next with your online store to be competitive?

1. Multi-channel approach

Take time to align the in-store experience with the on-line experience. This includes having adequate payment options, a streamlined checkout process, providing clearly defined exchange and return policies, and the pick-up options for local shoppers.

2. Re-imagine customer experience

You created a great user experience in-store when you were bricks and mortar shop. Now you must re-think that experience for your online shoppers. Since an online store allows you to grow your customer base, you must look at your online users’ needs with new eyes and make some adaptations to suit these new consumers.

3. Get more traffic

New, emerging e-commerce behavior is revealing that you may be able to expand your trading area. Today’s consumers want what they want, and they do not care where it comes from. If you can serve faraway markets, you may be delighted to find keen consumers there. Your willingness to scope out these opportunities can be a lucrative new source of revenue. However, an essential element is that your website delivers a flawless online shopping experience. Figure that out and you are on your way to converting more traffic into sales and exciting success despite COVID!

Small Business Competition Intensifies

The pandemic is deterring consumers from shopping at main street retailers. Those dollars that might have been spent in a local boutique specialty store are now being spent in a big box store. Retailers are asking themselves how they can eventually win back these customers who are now developing new shopping habits at a big box store.

To meet this intensified competitive environment, your SEO strategy becomes even more important. Gone are the days when inexpensive (and unaccountable) SEO will help your business. As a digital marketer your growth will depend on your ability to bank on your online user experience to create conversions.

Subscriber-base Is Your Biggest Asset

One of the most valuable conversion opportunities from your website is your ability to build your email subscriber base from your website traffic. If this task seemed too trouble-some or too time-consuming in the past, in today’s slow growth intensively competitive business environment, developing and tapping your subscriber base can mean the difference between survival and growth.

Once established and growing, a subscriber-base will deliver data to you which can offer you firsthand insights into what your customers expect from you. To analyze your first-party data, you will first need to generate it. The email subscriber base delivers one of the best returns on marketing dollars. Do not ignore this latent revenue stream any longer.

Re-evaluating Social Media Presence

With a presence on so many social media platforms, many small businesses are finding it difficult to stay active and relevant on all of them. On the bright side, this year the trends suggest you will no longer need to have a presence on numerous platforms.

A more focused approach on social media is the need of the hour. For small businesses, this means figuring out the platforms that really work for them. The challenge is to create engaging content on limited platforms to make the best of it. Taking this back to creating a follower or subscriber base, social media is an ideal tool to promote engaging content, start a conversation with your customers, and build relationships that will last.

So, these according to us are the 5 big Digital Marketing Trends in 2021 that would affect small business – and present your most urgent priorities in positioning for revenue growth. Are you geared up for it? Get in touch with us for a 2021 version customized digital marketing strategy for your business.