Digital Marketing Trends that will Dominate 2021 & Beyond

2020 has been a crazy year. Everyone is still reeling from the pandemic, but business continues evolving in the digital space. 

As we all adapt to so-called ‘new normals’ in 2021, people stuck at home have set the tone for seeing an absolute explosion in digital marketing trends.

The only way many businesses have connected with their customer base is online and selling to them via eCommerce. While we have always had eCommerce, 2021 is the year it will rocket.We’ve seen big-name brands and smaller businesses adapt to new government regulations, and adjust their marketing in some new and refreshing ways. It’s been evolving almost weekly, and the following are five stand out digital trends we see for 2021 emerge.

1) Trusted Brands Rule!

Everyone was hit hard in 2020, and we are just recovering. Like a bad hangover, it’s lingering on and on. The whole COVID dilemma has somehow led to a shift in consumer behaviour where local is becoming the buzz word. People tend to shop locally from sustainable brands, give back to the community, and are trusted. So you have to start adjusting your branding to reflect this. Ask yourself these questions: is my business giving back to the community, and what environmental footprint is it leaving. If you feel that you are doing the right thing for your community and the environment, scream this out on your website and let everyone know about it. Why?The Australian Retailers Association says: Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said they’re currently buying more environmentally friendly products than they were five years ago, and 81% said they expect to buy more over the next five years.And Forbes states that;  81% of millennials say they want to support brands with corporate citizenshipThese figures are enormous and should be a wake-up call to all traders in Australia wanting to grow their market share. You have to start remodelling your brand ( you might even look at some graphic design tweaks to your logo, website, social media accounts, blogs and email campaigns) to reflect the taste in consumer buying sentiment.Next Steps: 2021 is the year you draw a line in the sand and make those changes. Work on your branding with a new mindset. Critical elements for your business mantra need to be the environment, corporate responsibility, equality and community. Check out these sustainability projects you may want to get involved in.
Implement these changes in 2021, and you’ll be attracting a whole new customer base for the next couple of years.

Corporate sustainability is the new buzz word for businesses. Photo Credit: Corporate Sustainability Reporting in Australia

2. Update your website

When was the last time you updated your website? Is it a relic of the past? When was the last time you spoke to the agency that built your WordPress website? I bet it wasn’t recently. Online business is booming in 2021 as more people are at home browsing the web looking for things to buy in between zoom calls. You have to make sure that your site equipped with the latest must-have features.If you offer your customers a fantastic user experience, then they are more likely to buy from you. Get it wrong and ignore your site, and you’ll be left well behind by the other big brands and online businesses that invest in future-proofing their website.Next Steps: Look at your website critically and ask yourself this question: ‘Would you buy from it?’ If not, then it’s time to invest in a new website ASAP.

3. Dynamic & agile business survive

2021 is the year businesses will have to adapt and be highly agile to survive. Those that are quick to respond to change and adjust their business models to suit market conditions will be the ones that come out of this more robust than ever. Next Steps: Audit your complete online digital strategy such as your SEO, Adwords, Social media, the whole shebang and see what needs fine-tuning etc. You might find that you need to spend more on your SEO to cement your online rankings for the post-pandemic world or refine your social media to reflect your new company ethos regarding corporate responsibility.

4. Ramp up your digital marketing

Aussie businesses can’t survive if they ignore their digital marketing. Relying on word of mouth or one marketing channel is no longer a viable option. You have to be going hard on all digital platforms. As this pandemic continues into 2021 and 2022, businesses must realise that the online space is the only place. Improving your online visibility through SEO, Adwords, content marketing, social media will become a necessity as time rolls on.Nest Steps: Make the call to a digital or web agency and start looking at all your marketing options. Set aside a decent budget for this and be prepared to commit to it for the long term. By this, I mean at least the next 12 to 24 months.

5. Consistency is the key

The new normal, which could be here for the next couple of years, is a mix of work at home and a few days in the office. People are now so used to zoom meetings and work from home, which has also impacted their buying behaviour and consumer patterns.They are at home and browsing the internet to buy a pair of shoes, a new top or jacket for winter or the next painting for the wall. Perhaps they have decided to do a bit of home decoration? They are certainly not travelling for the next year or maybe two, so why not splurge on something else? Hence online shopping and the need for trades has skyrocketed and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. You are at home and staying local for the rest of 2021 and probably 2022 – get used to it! Businesses need to understand the situation and marketing to this captive, stay at home market. And, the only way to do this is to pump up the SEO and digital marketing. It’s the only way forward, and you have to be consistent with this. In times of fear and uncertainty ( think the end of Job Keeper ), businesses like to rein in advertising budgets. But this is the wrong mental approach. SEO is the perfect medium for you to take the lead and be proactive during uncertain times.People are still buying, and they will always be shopping, so give them what they want.Next Steps: If you’ve been on the sidelines with SEO or have stopped marketing your business, now’s the time to be aggressive and look at investing for the future. Get cracking, as things look like they will be this way for a few years at least!

Make 2021 the year you do something serious with your internet marketing!

For this to happen you need to be working with the right team; simple as that! At HMD we have worked closely with all our clients to help them navigate through these times and guess what? They are doing really well. Check out the 300% increase in organic traffic for Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers over the last 12 months. Or, the 287% increase in consumer engagement for Motorola over the last 6 months.

About the Author


Steven Waldberg is one of the directors of Hopping Mad Designs and has been helping Australian businesses with their marketing for over 22 years. You can read more of his marketing insights on the HMD blog.


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