Digital marketing trends 2021

27 Feb 2021

25 Small Business Digital Marketing Trends You Can't Ignore in 2021

Lydia Profile

Lydia Carrick

Digital Marketing in 2021 is going to be an interesting topic.

In some ways, it is no different than before – Customer-centric marketing with a relatable brand story is the key to business success. Sharing this story across multiple channels in a structured way will gain exposure, backlinks, and social media followers.


2021 is going to be a year of experiences. So many people have been couped up for over a year due to the pandemic. Grounded airlines, cancelled events, and lost jobs have seen the average consumer or business stay still. And 2021 is the year everyone will make up for it.

So, what do you need to know about digital marketing in 2021? What channels are going to be popular?

Here are 26 things you need to know about digital marketing for small business in 2021


1. Leverage The "Fear Of Missing Out"


After a year of nothing, consumers alike will be taking every opportunity that comes their way. The "Fear of Missing Out" or FOMO can make your customers excited for something different or anxious to find out more. 70% of millennials say they have bought something because of FOMO. You can leverage this through sales or social proof.


2. In-Person Events


We've all spent the last year couped up at home, so most people are going to want to escape their four walls. In-person events for both B2B and B2C are going to be a great way to engage your local or national community. Taking over a stand, bar, community hall or convention centre for the day will allow your audience to explore the outside world.

"But surely in-person events are offline marketing?" I hear you cry! Any good event is supported by a strong digital strategy, from using sales funnels to sell tickets to using hashtags to show attendee activity.


3. Virtual Events


2020 was the year of Zoom, and the trend continues into 2021. Webinars, virtual networking and other online events will be a vital part of all small business strategies. These virtual events allow you to tap into audiences from anywhere in the world. Your audience can enjoy the event and watch reruns from the comfort of their pyjamas.

Ultimately, online events are cheap to run and promote, meaning you get a fantastic return on investment (ROI).



4. Mobile Page Speed



Google Web Vitals is hanging over the 2021 SEO landscape like a dark cloud. Website developers are frantically moving to stabilise their websites and speed up pages.

Web Vitals is a change to Google's search algorithm, which prioritises fast-loading websites in search. The difference is a positive thing for both Google and Businesses alike.

Just look at the stats:


5. Customer-centric brand stories


We're moving into a time where customers hold all the power. A single bad review going viral could shut down a business. Customers can shop from all over the world. There's so much choice!

A customer-centric brand that focuses on impressing customers will stand out from the crowd. This means making sure returns are simple to complete. That your customer service agents are helpful and polite, that your brand speaks directly to the customer's wants, needs and desires.


6. Diversity and Inclusion


Marketing works best when it's relatable. We want to see people who look like us enjoying a product in a way that matches our culture. We live in a multicultural society, and your campaigns must reflect that. Your product offering, influencer portfolio and your brand ambassadorship should reflect this.


7. Live-Streaming


More and more social platforms are implementing live video. Live streaming is going to be huge. Facebook live viewings spiked by 50% during lockdown periods, while on Instagram live video rose up to 70%. Going live helps your customers see the people behind the brand. Letting your personality come through will help your customers connect to you as people, which can trigger loyalty.


8. Charity-driven campaigns


With so much negative press in the world, being a positive influence can be a welcome change of narrative. It could be raising money, being ethical in your product sourcing or supporting local students. Your business should be seen as a positive influence on the world around you.  



9. Conversational Marketing



ChatBots are everywhere. These tools are a great way to cultivate customer relationships through a clever use of chat responses; you can guide your customers through your sales funnel much faster. You can also get them to the right customer service agent to help solve your problem.

As chatbots become more prominent, customers are more likely to expect to see them, even on the smallest of websites.

video trends in 2021

10. Video


Most social media sites favour video in their algorithm. Video increases the time on the page as they capture the viewer's attention. We've all been there, watch one video, and three hours later, we are still going.

Getting on camera isn't easy. It's a skill that needs to be built up. But the return it will have for your business is well worth the extra effort.


11. Personalisation in Email


Email marketing is far from dead. You can get some incredible results from your mailing list. But, emails need to be personal and feel like a 1:1 conversation. Tapping into your audience's wants, needs, and desires is the key, but you should also try to integrate personalisation into emails. Use names in subject lines. Talk about items similar to ones they've bought. Most email and CRM platforms allow you to pull all kinds of data into your emails. Explore and see what resonates with your audience.


12. EAT Signals


As scams become more sophisticated and pseudo-sciences gain more popularity, Google will most likely place far more emphasis on it's EAT ranking factors.

EAT stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust. These are factors that Google uses to ensure that your content is correct and high-quality. You can grow your EAT scores by including the author's name and giving a full bio, guest-blogging on relevant websites or podcasts, and keeping your website updated.



13. Clickless Search results



Google wants to make sure you have the results you need as effortlessly as possible so that you keep coming back. Part of this strategy is building in tools into search results, such as the calculator tools, business listings and Snippets. These tools give searchers the answers they need without you needed to even click on the website. In fact, 50% of searches result in clickless results. This is bad news for website owners who rely on that traffic to monetise their sites.

You can combat this by focusing on keywords that drive high clickthrough rates and also making sure your titles and meta data are so irresistible that people can't help but click.


14. Voice Search


 Voice search has been a massive buzzword over the last few years. Everyone claimed it would change the world, but actually, there hasn't been the enormous take-up that gurus were predicting. Voice search will continue to bubble away in the background, but it won't mean a massive shift in the way you optimise your website.


15. Image search


Humans are visual creatures, and image searching is going to increase, especially in eCommerce. Google Images and Pinterest Lens search are two create examples of visual search. You can either search through keywords or use an image as the basis of your search. This is an excellent way for customers to browse. Make sure your Image SEO is up to scratch, and you have some presence on Pinterest.


16. Increase in PPC in search results


All search engines need to make money. A Search engine is relatively expensive to run and scale, as you need a lot of technology, servers and talented people to make it work. Therefore, most search engines, including Google, will increase paid advertising visibility and placements, meaning a decrease in organic search.

But while PPC is expensive to run, you can get a fantastic return on investment. If you want to explore this avenue, always consult with a PPC expert before spending a single penny, as mistakes can be costly.


17. AI in PPC


As the reliance on PPC continues, the technology will rapidly improve. Google has already released a load of AI tools within Google Ads to help your campaigns. Other third-party tools are also on hand to help optimise and streamline your advertising spend. Again, these tools can be expensive, but if you have a good margin on your products, it's a no brainer.


18. Gen Z


As Gen Z grow up, and their buying power is increasing. They are more likely to live at home with their parents, so they have disposable income. They are also more likely to support liberal causes and be activists in some capacity, whether it is feminism, LBGTQ+ rights, Black Lives Matter or other cause.

Targeting Gen Zs will be powerful to your business and bottom line, but you need to show you genuinely believe in the same causes they do. They are very internet and technology savvy, so they can see the usual marketing techniques from a mile away. Understand their language, motivations and needs, and you can easily dominate the market.


19. TikTok


TikTok is the platform everyone is talking about. And for a good reason. Gen Z and younger millennials are all over the social network, creating incredible videos and showing their creativity. Little Moons Ice Cream went viral on TikTok with over 53.4 million views – which is fantastic. As a result, sales have jumped by 700%, which is even better!

Getting a TikTok strategy that works is hard, though. It takes a lot of resources and effort to keep producing for the platform. But the results prove it pays off. So if you can, go for it!


20. Instagram Reels


While we're on the subject of social media video, Instagram Reels are also worth investigating. The platform always pushed new features in the algorithm, and as this is a direct attack at a competition (TikTok), Instagram are going all in to keep users on the platform. They've even said they would demote reels with a TikTok logo in the algorithm. So if you're exploring this platform, make sure your reels are fresh content.


21. LinkedIn Video


Linkedin is another site which is massively pushing video. However, LinkedIn is a slight anomaly, given it's a more professional platform. Your videos should be helpful and focusing on solving the needs of the audience. Despite what people say, humour is an excellent tool to use on LinkedIn, so don't be afraid to put your personality across in a way you deem professional.


22. LinkedIn Slides


LinkedIn slideshows are a fantastic tool to get across industry information, hints and tips in a fun and memorable way. Slides can be created using tools like Canva, Adobe Spark or any other design package. A good slideshow tells a story and is memorable.


23. Facebook Groups


Facebook Groups are becoming increasingly popular. Small businesses can utilise these to help- grow their audiences. There are two approaches small companies should take.

  1. Setting up your own group
  2. Interacting in other groups

Setting up a group for your business is easy, and you can grow it by promoting it to customers on their invoices, receipts or through your mailing list. Try to keep your group solely for customers, as they already know your business well enough to give you their hard-earned cash. Facebook groups are the perfect way to encourage repeat orders.

Interacting in other groups is trickier. You will need to use your personal profile to jump into groups that complement your brand, such as local or hobby groups. Be helpful, give fantastic advice and generally be a nice person. Build up trust and slowly drip feed your brand into your comments in a natural way. People buy from people, even in the digital age.


24. On-Trend UX Design


When designing your websites, you need to ensure your business stays on-trend. Dark mode, animations and 3D graphics are all the rage at the moment. Getting the right design that suits your customers' needs is imperative to your success. Even the smallest design change can make a massive difference.


25. Website Personalisation


Amazon has set a standard with eCommerce, which has filtered into every website ever. Amazon shows users recommendation based on their purchasing habits, as well as data gathered from their various other businesses, such as Alexa (Smart-home), (Website tracking) and Amazon Web Services (hosting platform). Tailored approaches help to retain customers as they keep coming back.

Your website should be a personalised experience. If you can, build in product or service recommendations to your website. There are plenty of tools out there that can create great personal experiences for your customers.


26. Micro-Influencers


Influencer marketing has been around for AGES. But, while the prominent influencers are charging vast amounts of money for little return than awareness, millions of micro-influencers are willing to work with you to promote your brand.


So, these are the small business digital marketing trends for 2021 that you cannot afford to ignore. Getting all your marketing channels in order can be overwhelming at times but consulting experts in marketing can help you achieve your goals. Lennie & Stan is always here to help, and you can book a completely free, no-commitment call over on our calendarly page.