The last 18 months and everything it entailed forced us all to look at our businesses. What were our strengths, and our weaknesses and what was the ‘new plan’ in order to survive? What does digital marketing in 2021 and beyond look like?
It’s been a hell of a ride, but… we think it’s fair to say that businesses are tired of talking about COVID-19 and want to get back to planning ahead.
Business owners and entrepreneurs are an innovative bunch and the most successful businesses and brands took their existing strengths and developed new ones. They adapted their systems, remained flexible in an ever-changing world, listened to their customers and sought out new opportunities. So whilst we’re looking to the future and a return to ‘normality it makes sense to take what we’ve learned and make it work for our future plans.
Here are the key things which successful businesses have focused on, and that should remain a part of digital marketing in 2021 – post-pandemic.
Prioritise The Bottom Line
During uncertain times smart businesses focus their efforts on marketing methods that are tried and tested. When budgets are tight it makes sense to use marketing channels that have a proven track history and provide good ROI. Many businesses have reassessed their spending in order to prioritise ways to bring real value to their business and their customers. This means a shift in strategies to be more data-driven and develop marketing and sales funnels that drive repeat and new sales.
This could mean keeping a tighter rein on the performance of social media campaigns or managing ad spend more closely. Short-term results shouldn’t be the only focus, however. Whilst tools such as ads are great for bringing in sales, strategies to build brand awareness are equally important for long-term growth. The best marketing strategies combine both conversion-focused AND brand-awareness tactics to build a strong and engaging business with long term value.
E-commerce is a trend that was already accelerating throughout 2018/2019 and the pandemic launched it forward even faster than before. With the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, more people than ever went online to buy everything from food to furniture.
As a result, Statista now estimates that there will be 2.14 billion global buyers online by the end of 2021. In 2019 e-commerce sales accounted for 13.8% of retail worldwide which then jumped to 18% in 2020. Projections show that e-commerce sales are expected to rise to 19.5% by the end of 2021. It’s also important to note that 61% of all online retail traffic comes from mobile devices.
This means that it’s more important than ever that a website is mobile friendly and shopping apps are growing in popularity. That doesn’t mean that the desktop experience should be neglected. Whilst mobile outperforms desktop in bringing in website traffic, most online sales still take place on a desktop.
More than 1.3 million new users joined social media every day in 2020, that’s around 15.5 new users every single second. In January this year, there was a reported 4.2 billion (53% of the population) active social media users – that’s a lot of people. 99% of those users are accessing social media using a mobile phone and spend on average 2 hours and 25 minutes browsing each day.
Mobile commerce also increased by an impressive 31.5% in 2020 and is expected to grow further. Many brands are using the shop function in Facebook & Instagram and the live shopping opportunities in apps such as TikTok to drive sales. In a time when shoppers couldn’t browse the rails with their friends, seeing videos or lives featuring items on real people provided them with a connection to products.
Similarly, many service-based businesses have used their social media platforms to reach out to their customers in a time when human connection was scarce. Consumers want to be educated, entertained and take part in conversations with people and brands that they relate to. With cinema, galleries, theatres and music venues closed many people also looked to social media for inspiration and motivation.
Whilst forced to stay apart many people have embraced their communities and come together like never before. Whether that’s supporting their high-street and buying vegetables from a local greengrocer, or joining a group of like-minded people online. This year has changed the world as we know it, and also the people in it.
An urge to help and be aware of the impact of their actions has been at the forefront of many peoples minds. This has resulted in many consumers demanding more from their purchases and taking time in their decision-making. For many, this means that they only want to buy brands from businesses and brands that represent their values.
Now is the time for businesses to make their values and opinions clear. Whether that is standing behind social movements, or making careful choices with their supply chain. Businesses need to select the right partnerships with suppliers and collaborators to ensure that they represent their true values. And most importantly they need to communicate this with their customers. It’s not enough to use sustainably sourced packaging, customers need to know about it; via branding, web channels and social media. Only then will they develop a connection with their customers and become more relatable.
A Unique Voice
When formulating marketing plans businesses need to keep their customer (and their needs and wants) at the forefront. They should do this by creating content that really speaks to their customer and talks about their values and opinions. To do this it’s important to have a clear idea of who your customer is and who you are as a business.
Businesses that have a clear brand, company message and marketing find it easier to grow their customer base, and those customers are very loyal to the brand. They listen to customer feedback, take note of trends and current affairs and make it clear where they fit into it all. Companies such as Innocent do this brilliantly by clearly communicating exactly what their product is, their business ethics AND their personality.
Digital Marketing In 2021 – What’s The Plan?
We’ve covered quite a lot, so here’s a quick summary to keep it all together for you.
- Focus on the bottom line and use data to make decisions, but don’t forget about building brand awareness and long-term consumer loyalty.
- Take all or parts of your business online – e-commerce is bigger, better and here to stay.
- Use social media as a digital billboard – from events to shopping the opportunities are limitless.
- Create content that represents your values and connects with your audience.
- Find your voice. Connect with your customers and stay relevant.
We hope we’ve given you some food for thought and maybe inspired you to take another look at your digital marketing plans. We’re always available for a quick chat about any web or digital marketing questions you might have. Our team will be happy to help, just drop us a line or give us a call.