Dmitrii Kustov is the Internet Marketing Director and Founder of Regex SEO located in Houston.
All of the challenges presented by 2020 have made it difficult for many businesses to effectively plan their marketing strategies for 2021. Even though 2021 already appears to be on track to be as unusual as the previous year, it doesn’t mean there’s no good way to plan your marketing strategy for this year. In fact, I believe strategic planning is even more important in uncertain times because there’s far less room for error.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Focus on digital.
With a pandemic still raging out of control, it’s no surprise that digital marketing should be a major focus for any business marketing strategy in 2021. Some of the digital marketing trends that are gaining traction and should be considered important factors for your 2021 marketing plan include voice search optimization, native advertising and transparency.
Dive into search.
Fueled by advances in technology, and especially advances in artificial intelligence, search is fluid and constantly evolving. To stay relevant, it’s important to stay informed about what’s happening in the world of search.
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Currently, some of the most-watched trends in search include voice search, mobile search and visual search. These emerging trends may require changes in your SEO strategies and should be watched closely this year to determine how your business can best capitalize on these developments.
With many people isolated at home, social media has seen a surge in usage as everyone looks for ways to stay connected. With the uptick in social media use likely to continue, there are great opportunities for businesses to capitalize on the additional views and increased visibility on social media platforms.
Creating relationships with social media influencers and focusing on social e-commerce are two great social media strategies to focus on in your digital marketing plan that can have an immediate effect on a business’ bottom line.
Tap into video.
These days, almost anyone can take a high-quality video, edit it like a pro and stream it via high-speed internet to anyone anywhere in the world. Interestingly, the availability of video content has made users want to consume more video, not less.
Businesses can take advantage of the demand for video content by incorporating video marketing into a digital marketing strategy. Videos can help your business better connect with your audience, increase your reach and build your following on a variety of platforms.
Video content can be shared across multiple platforms and used in a variety of ways. You can experiment with different types and styles of videos to see what resonates best with your audience and gives you the best return on investment.
Thanks to social media and online chat, businesses have the opportunity to form much more intimate connections with members of their audiences. Customers love engaging with businesses where they feel heard and can interact in fun and unique ways. Anything that makes your audience feel more personally recognized is a good first step. Essentially, you want to put a face to the brand. These days, people are investing in high-quality products and a sort of social capital. They want to support businesses they like, run by people they like.
Social media gives businesses direct access to the voices of their customers. Engaging with customers and listening to collective feedback can offer a lot of insight into your business and marketing strategies. For example, social media is a perfect place to test new ideas on a small scale, or you could generate ideas for new products and services by listening to the wants and needs of your audience. Go beyond simple chatbots and review mediums; invite your customers to curated email feedback sessions or use social media as a dual-function customer service channel.
Work with influencers.
Ad blindness is a growing factor in digital marketing, and it can negatively impact the value of paid marketing in many cases. One of the best ways to work around this is by working with influencers in or adjacent to your industry.
Influencers have a dedicated audience of followers, and a personalized endorsement will act as a bridge introducing an influencer’s audience to your brand. Engagement rates between influencers and their audience are significantly higher than less personal forms of marketing, due in large part to the relationship and trust built between the two. For visibility metrics, you can get a major bump in engagement or reach by working with the right influencers.
Follow the data.
Data will help you understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing your business, and when used properly, it can help you maximize the return on investment of all your marketing efforts. For example, highlighting successful campaigns can help you replicate them more effectively in the future.
Test and monitor new strategies.
Data provides an excellent failsafe when you’re testing a new technique. For example, if you create a guest post for a third-party website, track how much traffic is sent to your site through the post and whether the audience completed an objective, like signing up for an email list, making a purchase or more.
Then, compare the results to the time and financial investment of creating and submitting that post. In most cases, you’ll need to acquire data over time to truly test out a new technique, but even early data can show you if you should add more resources or scale back a new strategy.
Whenever possible, you should incorporate A/B testing into your marketing strategies to get an apples-to-apples comparison of how marketing strategies are performing in real-time. The data provided by monitoring and testing new and existing strategies will provide a lot of insight into how you can improve your marketing ROI.
Focus on the foundational marketing techniques that have made you successful in the past and update them as necessary. Even in the midst of uncertainty, a solid marketing plan will help you navigate the difficulties and finish 2021 as a success.
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Author: Dmitrii Kustov, Forbes Councils Member