What’s different in digital marketing 2021?

Estimated reading time: 3 min

Digital strategy and your website in 2021 is the title of a seminar I’m giving tomorrow (sign up here). And I’ve been revising and updating my slide deck for the event. This is a training session  have been doing since 2014 with no change in the title and quite a lot of change in the content.

What has changed in 2021?

I have done a lot of thinking – what really is different this year compared to last year and 2019? And I have come to two conclusions

  1. Nothing
  2. Everything

Why so trite an answer?

Digital strategy remains the same – how we I use digital channels to reach a target audience and the website remains the centre of that strategy for most businesses.

But the business world is transformed, we are open to new ways of working, we are up-skilled massively by the lockdowns and forced business adaptation caused by the lack of international travel and trade; our customers are similarly changed in skill and attitude.

Customers are very, very different from the past.

Here in New Zealand new organisations are springing up to help businesses transition into digital – Manaaki is one – birthed from a need for emergency business advice during Covid-19 and now transformed into an educational service funded by Government. Its Digital Academy got 190 applications for just 30 spots. And it’s shortly to launch another work stream, a Digital Doers Academy. Both are backed by real advisors who teach and also coach users in how to apply the learning.

Similarly, NZTE had a lockdown programme, Digital Beachhead, which has now morphed into an additional coaching service to help firms implement and adjust their internal working processes to deliver the digital recommendations.

Digital speed is your challenge

For my slides, I find that much of the advice remains the same – there’ve been no huge algorithm changes, the toolkit is little changed and maybe voice social media is the only big “new, new” thing.  And that’s still nascent and definitely not mainstream, nor commercial, nor particularly useful for most firms.

But what has changed is speed and frequency.

The increasing localisation of search, the rapidity of digital updates, ecommerce product launches and impatience of customers means that we have to do things and re-do them or re-check them much more than in the past. Some are sending ever more EDM content; others update social media with growing frequency and when I check the regularity of search engines spidering my websites, it is also growing.

My frequent advice is to set task reminders on a more frequent but less onerous basis. Having time set aside for little-and-often type maintenance on your digital properties is essential. It has been very effective for my clients – try it yourself.

Overall, keep to the basics, supply information to search engines in a way that humans and machines can understand and do your updates continually. We no longer have to persuade customers that digital works – we just need to be present for them when they are looking for us. Go do it.

 

[Disclosure – both Manaaki and NZTE are clients.]

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