What Will Online Marketing Look Like in 2021? Part 1

As we take on 2021, we have a lot of open questions.  These remain unanswered for all of us.

  • How soon a large number of people get the COVID19 vaccine?
  • When will the pandemic end?
  • When will we return to business as usual?

The last one is the ones business owners like me think about the most.  You have this idea about what things will look like when this is over.  That’s not going to be happening right away. As we slowly emerge for all these things will likely be different from what we had before.  It is crucial for all small business owners to start thinking longer term as things evolve slowly, and I do mean slowly, into the new normal.

Because things are so different from what they were in previous years, the marketing trends for 2021 are different.  Here is what I see on the horizon.

Focus on Customer Retention

I’ve talked about this a lot and it’s probably not news to you.  It costs much less to retain customers than it is to win new ones. In 2021, we should all put a lot of emphasis on customer retention. This is a “hold it steady” recommendation.  Given the global crisis, that’s definitely a winning approach.

Social media and email are good tools for this.  Make sure and encouraging existing customers to follow you on Facebook if they aren’t already.  Ask them to subscribe to your list.  This increases your ability to stay in touch with them.

It’s not a bad time to offer special deals.  Make sure to  keep them informed and remind them of why they chose you, your products, and your services to begin with.  That should be a priority.

Product and Service Availability as a Priority

We’ve all experienced issues with product availability as well as with delayed deliveries due to the pandemic. (Think items like toilet paper, where even places like Costco still have shortages.)  Of course, you have to make sure customers have access to your products, and services. If you are having issues with product availability, make sure you reach out to customers and explain to them what’s happening.  Not getting the product is bad.  Not knowing why, makes it worse.

If you can financially, it may make sense to increase your inventory.  Beef up your ability to ship products out quickly. For companies providing services, you may need to think about extending team member hours, providing curbside pickup, and making other adaptations to meet your customers’ needs. At the same time, you’ll need to communicate VERY CLEARLY.  If you are experiencing delays and shortages, communicate to minimize the risk that customers will abandon you for a competitor.

Marketing Automation 

Marketing automation has been a trend in digital marketing for years now.  Many of my readers know my team and I specialize in small business automation tools like Infusionsoft by Keap and ActiveCampaign.  This trend isn’t changing. 51% of companies are already using marketing automation tools as of the end of 2019.  They are used more in B2C companies. However, 58% of all B2B companies have said they plans begin using automation.

Automation can include everything from simple email autoresponders to complex solutions putting chatbots and digital assistants. Chatbot technologies are within reach for any small business thanks to free chatbot builder tools like Chatfuel and MobileMonkey. You no longer need to bring on a more expensive programmer to build effective bots for your business.

Read part 2 of this article where I continue elaborating on several other 2021 marketing trends.


Jorge Diaz

Jorge is an online marketing evangelist, speaker, author, coach, consultant, and adviser. He is the founder of Jorge Diaz Online and digital agency Larry Jacob Internet Marketing. He's leading a movement dedicated to transforming small business thinking. Having spent 20+ years in corporate software development and 8 years building small business online marketing systems making use of marketing automation platforms like Infusionsoft, Jorge has worked with hundreds of owner led businesses to increase revenue, systematize lead generation and grow their businesses.

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