The wonderful, evolving world of digital marketing keeps us on our toes, am I right? I mean, a mere three years ago did you know what a chatbot was? Much less how to optimize for it?
Yes, it used to be all about SEO, amazing content, and social media, and don’t get us wrong, it still is. But, now there’s so much more…
That said, technology is making advances and that means your digital marketing strategy needs to, as well. Don’t get nervous. We’re here to give you a comprehensive list of our favorite smart digital marketing strategies to try in 2021.
Without further ado and in no particular order…
21 Smart Digital Marketing Strategies to Try in 2021
These handy little guys are moving up in the digital marketing world. Using artificial intelligence (AI) to answer a user’s question or comment instantly, no matter the time of day, is a buyer-pleaser.
This provides a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week connection with your target audience and helps customer service soar. Chatbots will also save you some money, as you won’t need to pay an actual person to do this job. Other benefits include:
- Real-time responses
- Quality customer service (no frustration)
- Correct documented intel on the buyer’s entire process
In a world of AI, we could all use a little personal touch here and there. Offer some personalized marketing to your customers. You can do this in any number of ways: email campaigns or content and/or products directed to a specific group of people.
People like to feel valued and understood. You know who’s bought from you in the past, give them a VIP coupon or email them about an event coming up in their area. Send them some product recommendations.
Doing personalized marketing inspires a loyal following.
3. Conversational marketing
Chatbox, smart speakers, AI, all of these are great for real conversation in real-time. Give your customers the connection they’re looking for by optimizing your SEO for a conversational tone. In other words, optimize for how humans actually talk to each other.
Conversational marketing is great at promoting an awesome user experience (UX) which means both buyers and search engines like it.
4. Shoppable posts
Creating shoppable posts puts an end to buyers getting redirected to external websites. Doing this fosters a feeling of ease and trust which will ultimately contribute to sales and put an end to abandoned shopping carts.
Wouldn’t you rather buy those boots directly off Instagram, rather than have to open an account with a store you don’t know yet? Of course.
If you have an ecommerce business, shoppable posts are right up your ally. With over a billion users, social followers follow millions of different shopping brands. Yours should be one of them. And your followers should be able to buy from you quickly and easily.
5. Voice search funnels
Voice search is getting more and more popular due to its ease and all the technology out there making that ease possible. Phones, pads, computers, smart speakers, to name a few.
It’s no longer recommended that you optimize for voice search, it’s demanded. If you want the search engines to recognize you in a competitive market, make sure you can be found by anyone at anytime on any device. Already, over 50% of searches are made by voice.
So, how will this drive your sales? When customers can find you and interact with you where they are and how they want to, your brand becomes their go-to. Create an SEO strategy that nurtures the conversational tone necessary for voice search so you can offer the interaction your buyers are looking for.
6. Video marketing
Video marketing is killing it already and its popularity will stay in full-swing for quite some time. It’s a proven method to improve sales, gain brand loyalty, and connect with your target.
There are so many amazing technologies now when it comes to your video marketing strategy. People love it and it doesn’t cost a ton of money. In fact, with the high-quality found within most smart phones, it’s practically free to create a pretty stellar video.
Video is perfect for our mobile-world because they’re easy to see on handheld devices, they’re quicker than a read, and they’re super informative. Create optimized videos and get the search engines to notice you because Google loves what the people love.
7. Interactive content / quizzes
Who doesn’t love a quiz, that’s we always say! That’s not true actually, but some quizzes are actually pretty fun. They ignite interaction and that leads to brand awareness and that leads to brand loyalty.
Get engagement flowing by offering up some entertainment with quizzes, videos, polls, augmented reality. Users are really connecting with interactive content these days. It’s a unique way of displaying your brand, getting noticed and remembered, and it nurtures dialogue between seller and buyer.
8. Social media messaging apps
Literally BILLIONS of people are using social media, which means your business could be connecting with literally BILLIONS of people. Are you? Okay, billions may be a bit excessive for most businesses, but you get where we’re going with this.
Meet the people where they are and message them all about your business. Social messaging is a huge platform for brands to get their name in front of the right people at the right time. They offer the personal touch buyers are looking for, too. Double win.
9. Automation / Artificial intelligence (AI)
We’ve been singing the AI song for a while now and that’s because businesses are incorporating it more often than ever before and we have reason to believe that won’t stop.
The possibilities with automation and AI are endless, truly. Think automated customer service, automated sales, AI marketing endeavors…
Want more reasons? Let’s go.
- Better and faster customer engagement
- Tools to predict customer behavior patterns
- Chatbots that offer 24/7 service and quality user experience
- Top-notch content creation by AI
- Optimizing benefits for voice and video
- Lead generation
- Personalized emails and specials
- Suggestions to your buyers on auto
- More sales, less cart abandonment
- Lower costs for your business
- More time for your business
10. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is loved because it’s real people using your product and the masses love to see real people using a product because it gives the product street cred, it’s not a boring ad, it doesn’t feel salesy, and people generally trust the influencer.
When done right, this is a great way to get your brand a following that will lead to sales that will lead to loyalty. This means your influencer must have their own REAL followers and be a genuine inspiration to your brand.
11. Micro marketing moments
Micro-moments are relatively new to the digital marketing world and defined like this: “an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need- to know, go, do or buy.”
How can you work micro-moments into your marketing plans? Be where your customer is in real-time. This doesn’t follow the standard sales funnel model. With quick and easy access to what they want now, customers are able to act on their needs immediately, meaning their behavior is more unpredictable than ever. So, what should you do?
- Know when your customers want to buy
- Show up for them at that moment
- Provide quality and relative content
- Keep the purchasing process simple
12. Omnichannel marketing
Looking to increase engagement, sales, and customer retention? Omnichannel marketing is just what the doctor ordered.
Omnichannel marketing is when you advertise your brand consistently and cohesively across multiple marketing platforms, like email, social media, and even off-line. In doing this, you’re connecting with your buyers the right way: through personal messaging, great UX, and brand awareness that allows for engagement.
AI can contribute greatly to your omnichannel marketing success through tests and data intel on a buyer’s journey. The better you know your buyers, the better you can sell to them in the places they visit most.
13. Visual search
Ohhhh, this one has us excited! Visual search allows users to use pictures in a search rather than words. Want real-time augmented reality? Uh, yes, please.
What’s it do? Take a picture of something and easily find out what it is, where it is, how much it is, etc.
How do you use it? Google Lens, Pinterest Lens, CamFind, Bing Visual Search. I mean, we hate to say it, but Google it. You’ll find an app that will work for you. And so will your users. So, you need to optimize your biz for it.
14. Social media stories
These babies are awesome for those of us suffering from the fear of missing out, which is most of us. Almost every social media platform has a stories space. Since the story only lasts for a short period of time, people are desperate to see what others are talking about.
Why is it a great idea to create stories?
- Engagement and traffic
- Brand awareness
- New buyers
Keep your stories unique, compelling, and engaging, add a quiz or a poll and your location, and don’t forget a CTA (call-to-action).
15. Push notifications
Don’t wanna spend your budget on an email campaign? Don’t have to. You can get quality leads and buyers with push notifications. They’re immediate and they work. The best part… you can personalize them.
If you want to reach out to those who have abandoned their cart or paid you a lot of attention, but not followed through, push notifications will help you get the sale.
16. User-generated content (UGC)
We all love a good deal and that’s precisely what you can offer a user if they share your amazing, unique, and relative content.
Asking your buyers who already know, trust, and love you to help spread the word of your business isn’t a big ask, toss in an incentive and everybody’s happy. Not only will you get your brand in front of more faces, but you’ll increase engagement and sales.
Think outside the box as far as incentives go. It doesn’t have to be a coupon code it can be 1:1 dollar match for a charity or a you-buy-one-we’ll-give-one. Keep it fun and interesting and your people will love it.
17. Customer journey mapping
A customer journey map tells you about each and every experience your customers have with you from first-time encounter to loyal customer. It’s called a map because it’s a literal map- or at least a visual representation of the relationship.
When you understand the customer journey you can see the way they perceive you. This gives you invaluable insight into their buying process, pain points, UX, and oh, so much more:
- Insight on where and how customers interact with you
- Understanding the logical order of the customer journey
- Providing perspective on the entire sales process from start to finish
- Illuminating the actual buying experience and how to achieve the desired buying experience
- Shows you where you need to focus
Localized targeting is a legitimate digital marketing strategy that’s been around for quite some time; however, focusing on geo-fencing is a little newer.
When optimized for geo-fencing, you’re giving real-time location information to your user, this is a big plus for brick and mortar businesses.
Let’s say that you’re a mechanic and a user is looking for a mechanic while driving through your town and a push notification pops up showing your location, you’ve done a good job with your geo-fencing campaign.
19. SERP position zero
What’s better than position one on Google? Position zero. This is the snippet that comes up first and answers a query without the need for another click that sends the user to a new page.
How do you get it? First and foremost, you must be voice search engine optimized (VSEO). Usually this snippet comes up when a user asks their question and your content is a 1:1 match for that question, while giving a truthful answer.
20. Website security
People, people, people, have Equifax and Marriott taught you nothing? You MUST have a secure website. Honestly, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts when it comes to this. Your audience will get on your site and either believe it to be safe, or they won’t. When they don’t think it’s safe, they bounce.
Bouncing is bad and the search engines take it seriously. Be responsible with your customers’ personal information.
The best and easiest way to prove you’re a safe site is to be sure your site is ranked as HTTPS. It’s usually free and requires little to no technical know-how. Look into it now if you’re not currently a safe site.
If you can, show a security seal of trust in a big way on your website, this will encourage trust, too.
21. Privacy marketing
Just like with security, privacy measures must be taken seriously when working with the public. No one wants to get 150 spam emails a day after they sign up with your company. Don’t let that happen.
Keep personal data personal, it was given to you and you alone. If you want your brand to be trusted, earn it by knowing your true audience, creating relevant content, and providing a connection for engagement.
Buyers want to feel they know the brands they buy from, so get to know them and never give up their details.
Bonus: Tried and True Digital Marketing Strategies
Yep, there’s a lot of new digital marketing trends that you need to wrap your head around, but whatever you do, don’t forget about the oldies but goodies. All those marketing strategies that are so last year, are actually so THIS year, too.
It’s important to use those always-relevant rules of a successful digital marketing campaign WITH the newbies. When worked properly and together, your business will reap the benefits.
Let’s go over a few of the big ones…
Okay, it’s a given and almost every digital marketing strategy is about SEO (search engine optimization) in some way. But SEO is still THE key player and if you want to get to the top of Google you have to do it right.
Keep your content on point, optimize, and stay relevant.
Let’s go a little deeper with SEO…
A major part of SEO and digital marketing is creating a killer content marketing campaign. This is something the search engines look for and if you’re not giving up well-written, unique, and true content, you’re gonna fail.
Backlinks, blogs, landing pages- all of these need to be insightful and provide value to your readers in order for Google to want to be your friend.
Content going beyond 3,000 words is going to be a go-to for your digital marketing strategy. People want to find all the answers they’re for and they want to find them quickly.
Your long-form content should have all the important information, be easy to scan using numbers or bullet points, and offer a place for questions and comments, all while targeting the keywords the users are using.
How long-form content will help you:
- Users will spend more time on your page
- Bounce rates go down (because you provide the answers the users are looking for)
- Provides constant traffic with evergreen content
- Social shares go up
- Google likes it- add relevant backlinks to lots of relevant words and you have a recipe for success on the search engines
You’ve been doing it for years and you’ll need to keep it up. There are so many tools out there to help make the keyword research process quick and effective. Use them!
You know the search engines give the top spots to those sites who are most relevant to the user’s search. So keywords really matter here. Once you’ve got them, keep in mind related terms, questions, phrases, conversational tone, etc.
Still an ever-present player in the digital marketing game, use all the old social media practices while incorporating all the new.
Be seen where your audience is, be original, be bold, be real. The goal is to find a band of loyal followers who not only trust you and buy from you, but who get their followers to trust and buy from you too.
Technological advancement is coming from every corner and you can’t ignore it if you want your business to get to the top (or stay on top).
Incorporating the new digital marketing techniques with the old will give you the necessary edge to succeed. We get that it may appear to be overwhelming, but keep in mind that there are loads of tools to help you, as well as businesses devoted to getting your business the best digital marketing campaign possible.
Marketing is an ever-changing, breathing entity, grab it by the horns!