A Quick Guide to Digital Marketing in 2021

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While marketing trends continue to evolve, new channels crop up, and old ones fade away, the same basic principles stay the same. If you were doing all the right things already, your digital marketing campaign will not be substantially different in 2021 than it was in 2019, for example.

For businesses owners who are not sure if they have been doing the right things in the first place or are perhaps just getting started and looking for a checklist, here it is:

1. Focus on Social Media

SEO is key for gaining traffic and conversions to sales, but with the competition being so strong, new and small brands might struggle to gain a significant rank within the first six months to a year of its launch. One smart way to make contact and stay in contact with prospects is through an effective social media strategy.

How to do this effectively:

  • Identify and visualize a buyer-persona
  • Pick the three most relevant social media channels to your buyer persona
  • Optimize your business profiles
  • Determine the most relevant content form for your buyer persona
  • Create content consistently
  • Use hashtags to widen your reach if you will be using Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

 2. Provide Value

Value remains the content marketing watchword, and it cuts across every facet of your digital marketing strategy. For example, when it comes to search engine optimization, Google gives higher rankings to websites that provide high-quality, authoritative content that is capable of helping users resolve their needs.

The same is true for other digital marketing channels such as social media, where you must be careful to provide more value than sales pitches and other promotional content. You may find the jab-jab-hook formula (two pieces of informative/entertaining content for every one of sales or promotion) useful when creating a social media content plan.

High-value content is also relevant for email marketing. Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to connect with prospects and convert them. While you will already need to have an effective social media or SEO strategy to collect emails, once you have a mailing list, be sure to use it effectively by providing valuable content to your mailing list.

How to do this effectively:

  • Refer to your buyer persona to figure out what their interests, challenges, and aspirations are
  • Do some keyword research
  • Use tools like BuzzSumo and Google Trends to find out what people are talking about

3. Build an Offline Brand

Given that this article is all about digital marketing strategies telling you to build an offline brand may sound counterintuitive. However, the truth is that the offline and online marketing worlds are not as separate as many people believe them to be.

There are two reasons why building an offline brand is crucial for your online efforts. The first is the fact that people still tend to choose brands they are familiar with over those they are not.

Secondly, one of Google’s ranking factors is offline brand authority. From Google’s perspective, the bigger your business is in the real world, the more likely you are to offer helpful, authoritative content online since you are likely to be an expert in the field.

How to do this effectively:

  • Host promotional events at an offline venue
  • Ensure that your physical address is capture on your website and in Google Maps
  • Work on a bit of PR to ensure that your business is mentioned in one or two local newspapers that have an online presence too (so that Google can pick up on these SEO signals)
  • Advertising

4. Start Using Video Marketing

Video marketing has been around for a while now, and it certainly does not appear to be going anywhere any time soon. With video sharing networks like YouTube reaching unprecedented numbers, more consumers are showing a preference for video over most other types of content.

Video marketing is also an excellent–though widely overlooked tactic for SEO, as content that contains video tends to rank better for the same keywords.

How to do this effectively:

  • Provide valuable content
  • Work with other, more influential people or get an influencer to share your content
  • Include a compelling call-to-action

5. Rely on Data

Many business owners simply trust their instincts or do what everyone else is doing when it comes to digital marketing. While this approach does pay off from time to time, structured decision making based on objective data is a secure way of approaching marketing. The renewed emphasis on data-driven marketing has made data science and data analysis highly demanded skills, and you can learn all about this here.

With an abundance of analytics tools now available, from Google analytics to SproutSocial, to SEMRush, the data you need to inform your decision making is widely available and generally free.

How to do this effectively:

  • Use analytics tools like Facebook’s Page Insights provide you with information on who your main users are and how they interact with your page. This will aid in the creation of a buyer persona.
  • Use Google Analytics to analyze your website traffic to uncover the areas where your focus will be required.
  • Use tools such as SEMRush to carry out competitor analysis and uncover key trends in your industry.

6. Guest Blogging

Most niches online are heavily saturated, and readers tend to have developed content blindness. No matter how great your content is, you’re not likely to successfully get this out in front of many people unless you already have a sizeable chunk of traffic or a decent social media following. Instead of putting in the effort to write a great piece of content that never gets read, you might want to try guest blogging instead, aiming to publish on high authority websites consistently.

How to do this effectively:

  • Be sure to produce a high-quality piece
  • Always include a link back to your website or social media channel

As noted already, digital marketing is not likely to change substantially in 2021. While newer techniques such as artificial intelligence might play a more prominent role, the tactics and strategies will largely remain the same.