#marketing

Best Digital Marketing Growth Strategies For 2021

From AI and influencer marketing to branding and content marketing. Find out what are those revolutionary strategies of 2021!

Aušrinė Bakasėnaitė
Aušrinė Bakasėnaitė

Jun 17, 2021 9 min read

marketing-strategy-2021

 

At the beginning of each year, marketers around the world start the lookout for the best marketing strategies they can implement during the upcoming year. However, that interest shouldn’t die out by the middle of the year: your marketing strategy is a constant work in progress. In this article, we’ll take a look at eight digital marketing growth strategies you need to keep an eye on if you want to boost your digital presence in 2021. 

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

There is no denying that artificial intelligence is the future. Even human-to-human fields such as HR and customer support are part of this revolution, as AI-powered recruitment software and automated tools become increasingly common. 

It’s no wonder that AI made its way to the world of digital marketing too. Chatbots are one prominent example of AI in marketing you’ve probably interacted with. Created to streamline customer communication and ensure superior customer experience, chatbots saw a 92% usage increase since 2019. Because of 24/7 availability and quick response time, more and more consumers are willing to interact with chatbots. 

As this demand grows, many companies invest resources to develop chatbot technologies. As a result, chatbots are becoming more sophisticated, and it’s harder to differentiate them from real humans. 

Other uses of AI in marketing can be faster research, data and predictive analysis, sentiment analysis, and personalization of products, among others. AI-powered tools like MarketMuse and Curata help you inform your content strategy by analyzing your existing content and suggesting relevant keywords. All this information then allows AI to better understand what your customers search, and how you can better target them.

As the existing tools improve, and new technologies emerge, AI is sure to be at the heart of digital marketing and global business. Brands that will adopt AI as part of their marketing strategy will see accelerated growth and gain an advantage over their competition.

2. Voice Search

With the rise of smart speakers and voice assistants, voice search has seen rapid usage growth in a short time. According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, 74% of respondents have used voice search at least once in the past month. In the case of smart speaker owners, the number is considerably higher at an average of 11 search queries a week.

As AI is improving, smart assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google are learning to return more relevant search results. As a result, people turn to voice search more and more often. With this rise, voice search has started to have a significant impact on SEO, making many businesses start optimizing their content for voice search. 

As the usage of smart assistants is growing, voice search turns from an optional marketing strategy to an absolute must for any business. Take your time to understand the search intent of your customers, the most commonly used keywords, and what devices they are using. Then, use this information to inform your marketing strategy and optimize your content accordingly.

3. Influencer Marketing

Any list of top digital marketing strategies would be incomplete without influencer marketing, one of the rising marketing trends. You may have even heard the term here and there as more businesses turn to influencer marketing to promote their product.

So, what is influencer marketing? At a fundamental level, it’s a strategy that uses leaders in their niche to promote a specific service or a product. You can think of it as a mix of word-of-mouth marketing and celebrity endorsement.

The rapid growth of influencer marketing started on Instagram in 2016 and doesn’t show signs of stopping. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry is expected to reach $13.8 billion by the end of the year. 

The main reason for this growth is, of course, the effectiveness of influencer marketing. Because the relationship of content creators and their followers is built on trust, influencer marketing has proved to be a highly effective strategy. In fact, 92% of consumers trust influencers more than other marketing and advertising forms! 

Due to this effectiveness, more and more companies are putting in time and resources into influencer marketing. As people get tired of hard sell and in-your-face marketing, the authenticity of influencer marketing allows businesses to expose themselves to larger audiences.

4. Video Marketing

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that video marketing is among the most important marketing strategies today. And there are numbers to prove it: 

  • As of 2021, users watch more than 4 billion videos on Facebook and 5 billion on YouTube daily.
  • 52% of consumers feel more confident about an online purchase if they see a product description or an explainer video. 
  • Brands that use videos see 27% higher click-through rates.

As millions of brands try to stand out in the oversaturated online world of today, it’s not surprising they increasingly turn to video content. Video content offers brands innumerable ways to interact with their customers in meaningful and memorable ways. Some use an online video maker to create more professional video content.

The growing number of online video creation platforms further escalates the video marketing trend. Brands no longer have to break a bank to make videos. It is now possible to create videos for Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms in minutes, making videos a low-investment strategy. But before you publish it, make sure to add subtitles to your video. This way you'll allow people who are in noisy environments to follow your video regardless if they have headphones or not. 

Other benefits of using videos in your digital marketing strategy are improved SEO, higher SERP rankings, and increased traffic.

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you aren’t new to digital marketing, now and then you’ll probably hear that “SEO is dead.” As ever, the answer is negative: SEO is not dead, it’s just changing. Moreover, it’s as important as ever. As 80% of users concentrate on organic search results, ranking high on SERP can be vital for many businesses.

As search engines improve, customer preferences change, and trends come and go, SEO strategies professionals use also shift. Going all-in with the strategies that worked two or three years ago may not bring you the same results. While you need to pay attention to SEO trends daily, make sure to include this innovative mentality into your employee onboarding process of these professionals. Even though keyword stuffing and link building can help you land desired results, you still need a fresh strategy. 

To ensure top-ranking SEO performance, it’s essential that you always stay on top of ongoing trends, new SEO extensions and implement them in a well-thought-out way. In 2021, some of the more prominent SEO trends are structured data SEO, voice search, video content, featured snippets, original content, and influencer SEO.

6. Social Media Marketing

No list of digital marketing trends would be complete without social media. While AI, SEO, and other strategies play a big role in brand promotion, social media still remains the main place where brands nurture authentic and mutually respectful relationships with their customers. 

That being said, social media is not static. Facebook and Instagram hashtags are no longer enough to guarantee your brand exposure. To succeed on social media, it is essential that your brand always stays on top of current trends.

Some of the social media trends to watch in 2021 are shoppable posts, live videos, user-generated content, and VR experiences. The rise of Instagram Reels and TikTok has given a boost to short-form video content, which is another trend that is not going away anytime soon. In fact, many tools nowadays allow you to create unique videos for social media to boost engagement. Another reason for these to become popular is that they allow people to make money in a shorter period. As users’ attention spans are decreasing, long-form content on social media becomes less and less relevant. But more than anything, users are looking for authentic brands that provide them with value. 

7. Content Marketing

Being an inseparable part of SEO, content marketing is one strategy that is here to stay. And much like SEO, content marketing is a long-term investment: it doesn’t bring overnight results, but the efforts put into creating quality content for your brand pay off over the long term. 

According to industry experts, there are several trends that are coming to dominate content marketing in the foreseeable future. Here are some of them:

  • Long-tail, niche keywords: the obvious benefit of long-tail keywords is that they are more specific. While these types of keywords have smaller search volumes, they help brands target a narrower, more interested audience. 
  • AI-powered content: as discussed earlier, AI is making its first steps into content marketing. By analyzing keywords and data, AI tools like Contentyze simplify the content creation process by writing optimized captions, headlines, and even blog articles.
  • Repurposing content: this strategy allows businesses to always have evergreen content without putting in much work. You can assemble articles on similar topics into an eBook, turn an old article into a video, or assemble statistics into an infographic: the opportunities are endless.

Invest in tools for social listening, grammar checking, and proofreading, and content planning to make your operations more efficient. As ever, the main focus should be creating quality content that meets the needs of your customers.

8. Branding

In times when consumers are spoiled with choice, branding is more important than ever. As the quality of your product or service is no longer enough to make the customers stay, brand loyalty becomes crucial. Therefore, while an abundance of promotional channels opens doors to large audiences, you shouldn’t neglect branding. 

Branding is far from being the visual component of your product. In fact, eye-catchy visual design may be one of the easiest steps towards establishing your brand. Online tools such as logo makers, color scheme combination pickers, random shape generators allow those even with no design experience to create appealing visuals. 

Branding is a combination of your visual style, brand voice, social media style, the way you interact with your customers, how they perceive you. These components give meaning to your business, and distinguish it from the sea of competitors, making your customers come back.

9. SMS Marketing

In the era of social media and email marketing becoming popular, there is a risk that SMS marketing might become less effective. However, with the latest trend changes it’s becoming clear that this tool is becoming more and more crucial. This is due to the fact that SMS marketing helps keep a closer connection and stronger relationships with your clients. You can utilize those close connections by converting your emails to text messages and increasing the reach of your email campaign.  

Whether you’re an ecommerce platform or a SaaS business, you definitely have to give it a try to get in touch with clients via SMS. This allows you to send updates, important info regarding purchases, and customer activity notifications. So, get your SMS marketing tool if you want to succeed in your marketing growth in your field.

10. Referral marketing

If you’re still hesitating whether or not you need to craft a referral marketing strategy, the answer is ‘yes’. Even though technology has taken over almost every aspect of our lives, human interaction still remains an important factor. Especially when it comes to B2C businesses, it’s crucial to build a name that will be only beneficial to you. 

This forever-young marketing tactic is called word-of-mouth or referral marketing. What it does, is it helps build stronger trust and longer-lasting relationships with your customer or prospects. You can have the most unique email subject lines crafted individually, but in the end, you’re communicating to humans. After all, regardless of your field or industry, you want your business to be referred to as reliable, trustworthy, and respectable. So, make sure referral marketing becomes a piece of your overall growth strategy. 

Conclusion

Here are our top marketing trends you should pay attention to this year. While this is far from being the exhaustive list of current trends, these are the ones you can’t ignore. 

Study them in-depth to learn more about how you can effectively incorporate them into your marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid to try new tools and technologies. Rather, be open to implementing them in ways that will best benefit your business.

Published on Jun 17, 2021

Aušrinė is an SEO specialist whose scope of interests includes digital marketing, advertising, and business psychology. Her writings are focused on data-backed insights and divergent ways to keep up with the ever-changing marketing trends.

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