For nearly all businesses in 2021, it’s safe to assume that much of your marketing strategy is digital. Nowadays, everyone is almost always online and on-the-go, and you want to reach your consumers and observe their behavior from where they spend their time.

However, when you’re growing a business, it might seem as though the ever-changing digital landscape is a tough nut to crack. With the sheer number of tasks and other responsibilities that need to be done, how could you possibly build, maintain, and fine-tune an agile digital marketing strategy that will work for 2021 and beyond?

In this guide, you will learn all you need to know about digital marketing strategies to help improve your online presence and grow your business.

The Need For a Digital Marketing Strategy

If there’s something 2020 has taught us, it’s that the internet has become so integral to our lives. Many businesses have been forced to pivot and change how they work. And with a great number of people now staying and working from home for longer, more products and services are moving online, while many employees continue to work remotely for more hours. For this reason, your digital presence is more important than ever in 2021 and beyond.

You should be prepared to put in more work and resources into your digital marketing strategy and online presence. An effective strategy will let you reach more customers, increase your web traffic, engage with your existing audience, and generate more leads and revenue.

How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy

So that we’re on the same page, a digital marketing strategy is a plan that essentially outlines how your business will achieve its marketing goals through online channels like social media and search engines. Most of the strategies will specify the online channels and tactics to use, and how much should be invested in each of these tactics and channels.

Here are some of the steps when it comes to creating a digital marketing strategy:

Brand definition: You want to start out by outlining your brand or using your brand guidelines to define how your brand will come through in your online campaigns. This entails thinking about your brand voice, your unique selling points, and your value proposition.

Create buyer personas: Establish exactly who you want your business to reach with buyer personas. Consider your user demographics along with the intent that compels users to buy your products and services, and engage with your business in general.

Have SMART Goals: Create Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely goals that should guide your strategy. Have the short-term and long-term goals of your organization in mind while at it.

Select your strategies wisely: Choose strategies that suit your business. Focus on the techniques that provide the most value for your business instead of just following trendy strategies blindly.

Have a budget: Have a realistic budget for your digital marketing efforts, and work to work within that budget.

Brainstorm your strategy: Planning out your strategy will help guide it to success. If you’re publishing content, have a content calendar, and if you’re doing ads, determine your ad spend.

Launch your campaigns: Working with your plan, launch your campaigns in the different channels. Make sure that these channels feature the appropriate tracking information. For instance, your website should contain the tracking code for your Google Analytics.

Monitor your results: Measure and monitor how your different strategies are fairing by tracking their performance. Use tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics to keep tabs on your strategies and their ROI (return on investment).

With the steps above sorted, your business can launch its first digital marketing strategy. In the following section, we’ll cover some of the best tips to get a head start over your competition in 2021. Take them to heart and consider integrating them when outlining your own digital marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing Strategies for 2021

Currently, the trends seem to revolve around general humanization, tailoring content to suit the individual rather than mass appeal for more personalized engagement, and addressing real issues. There’s also more optimization in terms or the technical and mechanical aspects of digital media, along with fine-tuning the behind-the-scenes areas like SEO and campaign structure, which are some of the details that your audience won’t see.

Here are our top digital marketing tips for 2021 and beyond.

SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been one of the most effective digital marketing strategies, and will still be for many years to come. It typically involves optimizing your website such that it ranks highly in the search engines for phrases and keywords related to your business. The more keywords you optimize for and the higher you will rank, the more the people who will see your website and engage with your business.

Going into 2021, your end goal for SEO should be optimizing for more SEO visibility by ideally reaching “position zero”. This refers to Google’s “Featured Snippet” feature in search, which works differently than other search result entries. These featured snippets appear as a small box strategically located on top of the results page. Perhaps more importantly, it displays extra, relevant information with the attempt of answering the user’s query without the need to click on any links.

While it might sound counterintuitive to forego clicks to your website, the amount of recognition you get as a thought-leader in the space will far outweigh the single click or visit. Furthermore, the featured snippet will sometimes be read aloud by Google Assistant in voice searches.

To attain the featured snipped spot, there are certain things you need to have in mind. For starters, the featured snippets are generally ideal for long-tail keyword phrases like question. These come in different forms, from straight-up definitions to step-by-step lists, to even videos and more. The key here is to match your content with the appropriate format.

So, be sure to answer the keyword question as succinctly and clearly as possible, ideally with a table structure or with bullet lists.

Engagement and Retention

In 2021, you should be ready to invest more time and resources into your social media marketing strategies to enhance your online presence. An effective strategy should let you reach more customers, engage with existing ones, and increase web traffic. Make sure that your business is ahead of the pack with an intuitive user-interface and well-designed user experience, along with social media campaigns that complement your website beautifully.

A great approach to this is to tap into the idea of sustainability and inclusivity. In 2021, people are more passionate about environmentalism and inclusivity. They want to ensure that the brands they engage with are just as passionate and concerned about the planet as they are. This is especially true for the younger consumers.

The key here is to communicate your inclusivity and sustainability efforts through your content and branding to make them part of your identity. Of course, there are many ways to achieve this, depending on your brand, including displaying a prominent banner on your site and discussing it regularly on your social media pages. You may even use subtler methods like conveying green themes in your visuals or even through branded reusable tote bags.

Overcoming Ad Blockers

About 27% of internet users are expected to use ad blockers in 2021 and many online marketers are struggling with having their primary traffic stream cut off right at the source, including PPC (pay per click) campaigns.

The first thing you want to do is find out how big of a problem this is for your business. Your ad analytics and data should be able to give you the details. Based on your target audience and where you post your ads, the damage might be negligible.

However, if much of your ads are falling victim to ad blockers, your best bet is to adapt. No need to try convincing your audience to change their preferences. You can just readjust your advertising budget to suit the other promising or fruitful campaigns, such as sponsored content or influencer marketing. Younger audiences are generally responsive to influencer marketing, and switching to it might work much better.

Use Interactive Content

This has technically been around for quite some time, but few businesses leverage its power. Interactive content is usually very effective at improving engagement and promoting user enjoyment. Content such as quizzes, surveys, open-ended questions, polls, giveaways, contests, etc. can do wonders for your digital marketing strategy.

At the very least, interactive content will help increase the amount of time the user spends engaging with you, which helps the standing in algorithm-based feeds and searches. More importantly, users like being engaged, and interactive content will always improve your user experience.

Plus, this form of content forms an integral part towards personalization. By allowing users to have their opinions heard and providing their input, they tend to feel a more personal connection to your brand. Don’t forget that you can use this media to collect vital data on user preferences, such as website or product improvements.

Local SEO

If you are a local business, you should know that google updates local SEO algorithms quite regularly, and you should aim to update the appearance of your business in local results regularly too. Local SEO is in a way more powerful than general SEO, as people searching for a specific product or business in close proximity have a higher purchase intent and it’s much easier to convert them.

For local SEO, you need to get verified by Google; usually by signing up for Google My Business and creating a new listing or claiming your listing. This will help you rank higher in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages, and will give you a chance to provide additional information about your business to local online searchers.

You also want to incorporate local keywords quite conspicuously in your SEO. Prioritize your city/town name as a top keyword, and go the extra mile to incorporate related keywords. For instance, if your town or city has a popular landmark or a quirky claim-to-fame, be sure to mention it a couple of times.

Optimize Images and Videos for Visual Searches

Did you know that you can now submit an image for search or take a photo and search for context on Google? Well, with tools like Google Lens, it’s now possible, and as more users discover these search options and techniques, it will gradually change the overall SEO landscape.

To make the most out of these visual searches, you should make sure that your video and image SEO campaigns are in proper shape. Some of the basics to have in mind include:

  • Have a dedicated image sitemap or add images to your sitemap
  • Always include alt text with your image descriptions
  • Use HD or top-quality images and videos
  • Always include SEO keywords in the filename of your images

You should also get familiar with Google Lens, particularly if you have an ecommerce store. When you do this right, you’ll be able to take traffic away from the popular brands and competitors whenever shoppers do picture searches for products.

Bonus Tips

Some digital marketing strategies are tried and tested, and they will continue to be game changes in 2021 and beyond. So, don’t forget to optimize for the following:

  • Shoppable posts: Publishing posts on social media that directly connect the user to product checkout generally increase conversions by making the payment process seamless.
  • Micro-influencer marketing: If you’re able to attract enough micro-influencers, who are basically average people with a more-than-average social media following, you can achieve numbers as big as those you’d get with top influencers, usually at a fraction of the effort and cost.
  • Voice search optimization: As voice assistants continue to become popular, voice searches are continually upending traditional SEO strategies. However, people don’t use the same keywords when talking as when they type. Change your SEO strategy to incorporate speech keywords.

Bottomline

Digital marketing remains to be one of the most effective ways to reach new customers and increase your revenue. Of course, the best strategies will be very individual to your business, which is why it’s impossible to create a one-size-fits-all digital marketing guide.

Nonetheless, your main goal should be to map out the different actions you need to take to achieve the goals you want. So, as long as your strategy communicates that, you have effectively nailed the basics of building a digital marketing strategy for 2021.