The start of a new year always inspires a fair amount of reflection on the efforts we've made in the past and whether we were able to achieve the goals we set for our businesses. The digital landscape has had a significant impact on how we market products and services to clients these days, and each year brings a new wave of technologies and platforms that promise exponential revenue growth. This can leave marketers feeling a little overwhelmed when trying to take stock of how their department is currently performing versus how it could be performing. If only there was a secret formula to help you select the right digital marketing tactics for your particular industry...
If you're facing the new year burdened with the task of coming up with an innovative marketing plan to please your stakeholders and enhance your company's competitive positioning, you may be surprised to learn that this is not achievable through tactics alone. Yes, there are fantastic opportunities to sweep up some low hanging fruit and get a spike in sales, but that's not sustainable in the long run and may even damage your brand.
2021 is going to belong to the businesses who craft robust digital marketing strategies with a hyper-focus on the needs of their customers. You may have already started applying inbound methodologies to your campaigns, realizing that customers are increasingly unresponsive to the hard-sell approach of your previous efforts. However, if you're still cold calling and wasting your marketing budget on outdated advertising models, 2021 is undoubtedly the year to revolutionize how your business generates and converts leads by applying an inbound marketing philosophy.
To help you get started, we've highlighted the steps you need to take to formulate an effective digital marketing strategy for the new year.
#1: Define your goals
As with any plan, you need to have direction. By setting specific, measurable, attainable, and timely (SMART) goals, you will be able to build a framework that your entire team can get behind. Your goals should be based on your insights into how your organization is currently performing so that you can ascertain what is achievable and feasible.
Start by reviewing the metrics from your digital assets (your website and social media channels) and evaluate how your audience is engaging with your online content; this will help you to recognize where you may be falling short. From this point, you can set the goalposts for how much traffic you'd like to generate and what your conversion rate should look like.
#2: Discover your buyer personas
Many businesses think they know who their target audience is. Perhaps you did a basic study at the start of your general business plan and have stuck to that blueprint ever since. The reality is, consumer purchasing habits are evolving and are strongly impacted by digital trends. By not gaining a thorough and up-to-date understanding of your buyer personas, you are missing out on the opportunity to tailor content directly to the audience you would like to capture – something that is crucial to digital marketing in 2021. Personalization is where much of your marketing efforts should be headed in order to gain the attention and loyalty of your customers.
#3: Optimize your website
Poor user experience (UX) and slow loading times are hugely detrimental to all businesses. Furthermore, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you could be isolating a significant portion of your market. In 2017, over 2 billion customers were projected to make an ecommerce transaction on a mobile device. If your website is not tailored to address the need of mobile device shoppers, 2021 is the year to revamp your online sales platform and enhance its features to bring it in line with current commercial standards.
#4: Create high-quality content
Yes, yes. We've all heard how important it is to write blogs and publish content that is written with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. Targeting the right keywords is still going to be a massive factor in your digital marketing strategy for 2021, but many businesses get caught up in the tactical aspect of this and wonder why traffic stagnates or eventually drops off. It's essential to take the perspective of the customer here. More and more businesses are entering the digital sphere and competing for their attention. Your buyers are exposed to constant streams of information that are increasingly difficult to process.
If you're going to create content – whether that's video, podcasts, or blog articles – you should always ask yourself this question:
How is this piece of information solving my customer's problem?
Always strive to add value to every interaction you have with your prospect. We are still focussing on driving them through the sales funnel, but the customer journey needs to get smarter and genuinely helpful to the buyer. Build your authority by not only advertising your own business but also sharing industry insights with your customers, starting conversations, and using your social media platforms to nurture communities and engage real dialogue.
There are many exciting opportunities to grow your business in 2021 by applying an inbound methodology to your digital marketing strategy. The key takeaway is to make sure you are always placing the customer at the center of every decision you make and being consistent in your messaging. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you to achieve your goals in 2021, click here to get in touch. We’re a friendly hive of digital marketing bees that understand what it takes to scale businesses online in the new decade, so drop us a line and let’s get started.