THE 4 BIGGEST DIGITAL MARKETING TRENDS OF 2021

The top tips small businesses and in-house marketers need to know this year + how to implement them with success in your business

Every year, as we open our calendars to January 1st, we’re simultaneously met with the inevitable flow of lists of “The top (insert number) biggest marketing trends for (insert year)”. 

And for all-rounder in-house marketers and small business owners juggling it all, those blogs, videos, and reports can get a little overwhelming: 

Which ones are worth following? 

How do I prioritise?

Is what I’m doing now still okay? 

When you’re trying to keep on top of the latest trends in your industry and the marketing world abroad, the pressure to ‘be everywhere’ and ‘do everything’ can get, well, a lot. 

That’s why at Grevillea Marketing, we’re doing our 2021 trends list a little differently from the rest. We’re focusing on four simple trends and overarching ideas to guide your approach to digital marketing this year. From the rise of audio marketing to content that’s not all-sales, you’ll find helpful tips alongside achievable inspirations to help you implement them into your business straight away. 

It’s all part of a sustainable approach to marketing that champions quality over quantity. Always. 

After all, we could all do with a bit less on our plate in 2021, right? 

  1. 2021 Digital Marketing Trend #1

Audio marketing that’s not *just* another podcast

Record players and radios may have become a forgotten medium in a world of visually-driven branded content. But as marketing expert, Daniel Newman, pointedly raised, just like trends in fashion and food, everything old eventually becomes new again. And this year, there’s nothing more nouveau in digital marketing than the power of your voice, with online audio now surpassing radio in popularity

Digital marketing via audio is a mobile, snackable form of content that connects you more intimately with your customers, helping truly foster a community. Better yet, it’s scientifically proven that listening to audio content elicits a deeper emotional response and simplifies your audience’s experience down to one sense – allowing them to better absorb and retain the valuable information you’re sharing. But what does that mean for marketers wanting to harness another one of the five senses? 

Well, if you’re anything like us, when you hear the words ‘audio’ and ‘marketing’ you instantly think of podcasts. But *record scratch*? Audio marketing is no longer limited to your audience’s morning commute playlist. Enter: Clubhouse. This drop-in, invitation-only, time-bound, audio-chat social platform has soared in popularity during the first weeks of 2021 as a means of casually connecting and learning across a range of topics. Once you’ve secured an exclusive invitation, you can follow and engage with friends, celebrities, and (our favourite) leaders in the business world. Clubhouse builds a unique loyalty and allows you to jump on timely events in your industry without the need for perfectly curated content. 

Our favourite inspiration for this digital marketing trend:

SEO-powerhouse Kate Toon is doing some pretty great things with Clubhouse! She offers 100% free business-related chats, sharing all her knowledge as an incredibly accomplished businesswoman. 

Your audience may not be as large as Kate’s, but with this platform, you don’t need it to be. Simply polling your audience on what they’d like to see, and what time would suit them best is all you need to do. 

  1. 2021 Digital Marketing Trend #2

Snackable, short-form video content

First, it was long-form video that reigned supreme in the digital marketing world…then our attention spans became shorter…and shorter. Yep – it seems the rise of short-form video content is here to stay, with 54% of consumers wanting to see more branded videos, and it’s only getting more bite-size. In 2021, snackable, digestible, shareable video content like IGTV, Reels, Stories, and TikToks will continue to be incentivised by social media platforms with increased reach to build a stronger, more engaged community. 

But when we think of Reels and TikToks, as business owners we assume we need to muster all our coordination to do tacky dances, or point at words on a screen, to go viral. Luckily, that’s not the case, especially when that style of video may not be appealing to your audience, or work for you as a content creator. 

Instead, success with video can be found in what is doable and realistic for you. Because ultimately, if it works for your brand and your audience, that’s all that matters!

Scrub Lab is an Australian scrubs brand leading the way in fashionable and functional workwear for health professionals. Scrub Lab is also not your typical viral Reels star – but they’ve certainly hit the nail on the head when it comes to snackable content! 

From 15-second videos showcasing their newest colourways, to friendly snapshots getting to know the faces behind the business (check out this cute example below), Scrub Lab has harnessed the power of Reels and seen phenomenal success while creating content that feels right for them. And you can do the same in 2021!

Our favourite inspiration for this digital marketing trend:

  1. 2021 Digital Marketing Trend #3

eDMs that nurture (not just sell)

Electronic Digital Mail (or eDM) has come in and out of fashion more than platform sneakers and flared jeans. And at the moment? It’s seeing a surge in use – though primarily as a sales tool for almost half of marketers. But in 2021 digital marketing should be centred on a community-first approach, with email helping bring trust to the forefront of communication with more people (particularly as global email users are projected to surge to 4.48 billion by 2024). Social media, blogs, and paid ads aside, email truly has the potential to be an essential extension of your business and your community, and every sequence shouldn’t be seen as a sales strategy. 

Instead, no matter how small your database, use email to tell stories, educate, enrich and inspire your community.  Because delivering value-filled emails written with a relationship-oriented approach, means your audience can open their email without feeling pressured to open their wallet at the same time. And while this is ultimately your goal (we all know you need $$$ to grow your business), you’ll be able to truly connect and nurture relationships that lead to a conversion. It may be more of a long game, but it’s certainly worth it, with eDM having the second-highest ROI of any digital marketing tool. 

The benefit here is that you can also build your community uninhibited by algorithms. Forget paying for clicks or stressing over declining reach,  when you choose to nurture your contacts via eDM there’s no worry they could all disappear. 

Our favourite inspiration for this digital marketing trend:

The brain behind creative and uber-funny ‘OkDork’ often places links to his latest Youtube videos in his emails to keep them light, engaging, and clickable with no ‘sales-ask’ in sight. 

  1. 2021 Digital Marketing Trend #4

A new way of content marketing

Specifically, a new way that’s sustainable and organic. Not in an environmentalist way, but in the ‘maximising-what-little-hours-you-have-in-the-day’ way, because let’s face it: quality content is time-consuming. As a result, it often falls to the bottom of your to-do list, compounded by a kick in the guts from social media that sees organic posts reach just 5% of your audience (and declining). But in 2021, organic content can reap oh-so-many rich rewards, even if it doesn’t reach that many people! Because if you’re creating content you and your audience love, the reach doesn’t matter as much –  it’s the people you’re engaging with that do. 

And speaking of reach, drawing out key ideas and repurposing your content can not only cut down on how much time you spend creating it, but can increase the number of touchpoints you have with your audience. Developing one blog can lead to an ecosystem of evergreen email, social, and video content that ensures no matter how your customers like to consume information, they can consume yours. P.S: Grace DeBruin offers a great guide on repurposing content, with a focus on quality over quantity.  

Another great content-related trend emerging in 2021 is the use of personal, insightful content over perfectly-curated feeds and basic captions. Long-form captions and playful videos that allow brands to drop the ‘profesh’ facade and showcase the humans behind it is truly a winner this year, alongside being super selective about where you choose to show up. 

Our favourite inspiration for this digital marketing trend:

Tuckshop Knits don’t just make unbelievable cute wooly threads, they nail their digital marketing with content that just feels like ‘them’. This reel (below) showcases the reality of running a small business, allowing owner, Sheridan, to connect on a more personal level with her audience (and to the tune of over 8000 views and 54 comments!). Ultimately, her success (and yours) all comes back to creating content you love and empathises with your audience’s unique customer journey.

 


So after reading through all of that, how do you feel? We hope it’s nothing less than inspired and excited! The last thing we want is for you to reach this paragraph here and feel overwhelmed or unsure where to begin! Harnessing the power of audio, video, email and organic content for your business’s digital marketing in 2021 is possible. It’s all about embracing sustainability, releasing the pressure to ‘do it all’, and focusing on what feels right for you and your audience. 

What’s your take-away?

We’re all about action here. So here’s your fun-work (homework but make it fun):

  1. Pick one of the four trends we’ve discussed that most appeals to you, and aligns with your business goals. Is it joining Clubhouse? Or building on your email database? 
  2. Whatever it is, dedicate some time this week to focus on your strategy behind it. Research tools already out there, trial different platforms, survey your audience, and put a rough, step-by-step plan with achievable milestones to start implementing that strategy. 

If you’d like help with uncovering the right 2021 digital marketing trend for your business, book a discovery call with us! We’ll discuss what you’re all about, and how you can get around one of these trends to go further in the new year. We guarantee you’ll (virtually) walk away better off than when you arrived!

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