Digital marketing has evolved a lot over the last few years. A concept like artificial intelligence, for example, was not cost-effective a couple of years ago, but it's now growing more commonplace by the day. So, for a brand’s marketing plan to continue to stay effective and relevant, it has to review its digital marketing strategies continuously.
The following are some of the most innovative digital marketing strategies that are expected to make a big impact in 2021. While these eight strategies are far from a complete list, they will steer brands in the right direction. The majority of these expected trends are fuelled by authenticity becoming increasingly important to consumers and an improvement in the functionality of digital channels.
8 Digital Marketing Strategies for 2021:
What Is Digital Marketing and Why Does It Matter?
In a nutshell, digital marketing refers to using digital technologies to reach your marketing goals. These technologies include business websites, email, search engines, mobile apps, and social media pages. A digital marketing strategy helps you to market your products or services by means of online channels like your website and Facebook page. Without a solid digital marketing strategy in place, your brand will not be agile enough. As a result you will fall behind and, make no mistake, your competitors will take over your market share.
Digital Marketing Strategies for 2021
1. Incorporate artificial intelligence
Last year, artificial intelligence (AI) began to play a more influential role in digital marketing. What makes AI so attractive is that it can examine search patterns and behavior much better. Thanks to recent developments, AI can be used to identify how your target audience typically behaves which empowers you to predict more accurately what your customers actually want. For instance, with AI you can use data collected from social media sites and blogs to gain insight into how your customers discovered your business.
In 2021, it is expected that the use of chatbots specifically will increase rapidly. While some businesses still prefer more traditional ways to offer customer service, many have already made the smarter switch to chatbots. One reason for their growth in popularity is the seamless experience that it can give. Thanks to developments in AI, you can sync your chatbots across various social media platforms. So, you can set up your website’s chatbot in such a way that it will also automate answers for direct messages that you received via Twitter or Facebook.
2. Create (even more) video content
Video marketing is not a new concept at all. Increasingly more brands across the world are starting to incorporate video into their marketing strategies. As a matter of fact, according to video marketing statistics by HubSpot, 54% of people actually want marketers to create more video content.
Not only are videos what consumers want to see, it is also easier for businesses to shine the light on their product’s features and advantages, especially if you are trying to sell an interactive product like a toy. Though, if this is not the case, you can still use video effectively. There are many different types of videos that you can create such as interviews with experts or a quick behind-the-scenes update.
Thanks to advancements in technology, creating captivating video content has also become a lot easier. Today, it's much more affordable and less time-consuming which means that even smaller brands can create videos that are up to standard.
To help you get started, it's best to upload videos to social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and, even, LinkedIn. Instagram and Facebook work particularly well as video content plays such a fundamental role on their sites. According to TechCrunch, Facebook alone gets more than 8 billion video views per day while Animoto has found that 49% of consumers have watched at least one video on Instagram TV. After uploading your videos to these sites, remember to keep a close eye on how your videos are performing over a couple of days to optimize your strategy.
3. Use creative search methods
While voice search is at this moment not part of the algorithm used by Google yet, it is still a good idea to get ready. More consumers are growing comfortable with visual search and voice-activated tools like Siri and Alexa as this technology is becoming easier to access. As a result, digital marketing strategies will have to focus more on incorporating sitemaps for images and image alt-text. Also, the content must be optimized for voice search specifically by making it more direct and conversational.
4. Create a comprehensive sales funnel
Marketing content that is created for mass consumption will no longer be good enough. While it is straightforward, simple and not that expensive, it does not offer the personal effect.
Some people who visit your website will be brand new customers while others will be returning customers. As there will be different types of customers who will visit your website, it's important that you create content for the different stages of their journey as the same sales pitch will not resonate with all of them.
This is where a comprehensive sales funnel fits in. Marketers many times spend a lot of time on creating top-of-the-funnel content that evokes interest, but forget to create content that will maintain the attention during the middle and bottom of the funnel. As a matter of fact, experts often suggest that you must spend more time on the later stages of your buyers’ journeys.
By using data-driven marketing and including animations, videos, infographics and even possibly podcasts, you can make your marketing content more versatile. You can also try to answer the frequently asked questions your target audience has in your content or look at past behavior to display the most relevant services and products to your target audience. In short, you want to ensure that you personalize all your messages and that the content on your website takes on different formats and topics.
5. Provide interactive content
Interactive content such as questionnaires, polls, contests, puzzles and embedded payment calculators can grab your target audience’s attention instantly making them a popular choice these days. After all, who does not like to piece together a puzzle? Young and old enjoy this type of content that requires some input from them.
Not only does including more interactive elements offer more value to your target audience, but your brand can at the same time use this to find out more about what gets them excited. So, it really is a win-win for everyone.
6. Concentrate on creating a community and network
Big businesses can afford to spend a lot on social media marketing to attract more viewers. Though, if you are a new or small business, this pay-to-get-view model will not work for you. Instead, you will need to be willing to pay for ads every now and again.
An answer to this marketing challenge is to leverage the features offered by, for example, Facebook and create a group for your business where you can build a community. By creating a group, a business can strike up a conversation with its group members or use this platform to respond to questions or complaints. What makes this a great digital marketing strategy is that it will give the members of your target audience who joined your group a sense of exclusivity. When done right and managed properly by an appointed admin, such a group can be an invaluable PR resource.
All in all, brands should dedicate more time and money to social media marketing in the coming year. The global pandemic has meant that people spend a lot more time online and this has changed how they research products, services and businesses.
7. Make influencer marketing a key channel
A survey completed in 2019 by the Influencer Marketing Hub found that businesses can make $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. This was prepandemic. The global COVID-19 pandemic is set to boost the impact that influencers have on consumers’ purchasing choices even further. Lockdown regulations and stay-at-home orders mean that people visit brick-and-mortar stores less frequently and instead turn to influencers for their opinions. Live-streams also became more popular as it manages to create a type of “in-the-moment” feeling that consumers missed out on because of the pandemic.
The advantage of leveraging influencers is that they can speak from personal experience. They can share authentic and impartial opinions that consumers prefer. Their honest thoughts create trust and resonate better with consumers than what your traditional marketing can hope to achieve. While influencer marketing is not a brand new concept, it is expected to become even more popular among Internet users as well as brands.
8. Do good things
In 2021, it will become even more important for brands to do good things. The need for transparency and inclusivity will be greater as consumers will no longer be able to connect with a brand that they perceive as untrustworthy and unethical.
So, in 2021 brands will need to work harder at creating more authentic and deeper connections and proving to target audiences why they should believe in their brand and products. Purpose-driven and goodwill campaigns, like sponsoring free accommodation for frontline medical workers or donating personal protective equipment, are strategies that more brands will embrace in 2021.
It will also become important for brands to show how they are involved in campaigns aimed at increasing inclusivity, especially with reference to eliminating racial inequality. It is key that brands use their digital marketing to communicate that they share their audiences’ views on diversity and social sustainability.
There will also be a continued emphasis on environmental sustainability. Consumers are searching for brands that ensure their packaging and systems are sustainable and, overall, take our environment into consideration.
Tips for Planning and Implementing a Digital Marketing Strategy
While it is great that you are now more clued up with what the trends are for 2021, you still need to complete a few other steps before you it's simply full steam ahead. The first step is to determine your objective. What is it that you actually want to achieve with your digital marketing strategy? For example, it could be to increase site traffic, generate more sales or simply grow your list of subscribers. Once you have a clear goal, it will be much easier to plan your actual strategy.
You also need to identify your target audience clearly. If you feel lost, begin by looking at your current and previous customers. Are they mostly men or women? Are they local or from all over the globe? What are their pain points? Armed with this knowledge, you will have a much better idea of whom you are actually targeting with your marketing content.
Lastly, remember to take the time to measure your results. If you fail to put in place systems to measure your results, all these digital marketing trends will be worthless. You need to make time to analyze the data frequently. Though, most of your time should still go towards marketing your brand instead of checking the data. Ideally, you want to check your data once a week and then let the data drive your next action.
Wrapping Things Up
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that brands, whether they liked it or not, had to embrace digital channels more to deliver their services as well as to market it. We can expect that the use of digital platforms, analytics, and AI will only increase in 2021. By making the most of the evolving nature of digital marketing, businesses can deliver a more seamless customer experience, boost the traffic to their website, get more leads and grow their sales.