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In 2020, we saw just how important digital experiences are as a global pandemic made virtual interactions the only option. In 2021, brands that continue to embrace digital transformation and foster virtual engagement will rise to the top. Meanwhile, brands who struggle with digital marketing and have no clear virtual strategy will also struggle to gain customers.

This article will explore digital marketing strategies to help you accomplish your business’s goals for 2021.


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Goal: Improve brand awareness

As a startup and even as an established company, improving brand awareness is crucial to building a strong brand.

If improving your company’s brand awareness is one of your 2021 goals, start with a clear brand identity and document it. If you haven’t yet, develop brand and style guidelines to ensure everyone representing your brand is on the same page.

Once your entire team is on board with your brand, you can implement the following digital marketing strategies to drive brand awareness in your target market.

Strategy: Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long term strategy, which is why it’s crucial to get started right away. By optimizing your website for search engines (typically Google), you make it easier for your target customers to find you when searching.

The best way to approach SEO is by starting with your audience and their needs. Consider the pain points they may be facing and what their desires are. From there, identify the questions your audience will ask in order to overcome those pain points and reach their goals.

Develop high-quality content that incorporates and answers those questions in a way that truly provides value to your target audience. Use a tool like SEMRush to research keywords on your topic. You’ll want to identify terms that are searched frequently but aren’t too competitive. Be sure to include internal and external links in your content, and utilize keywords to hyperlink text whenever possible.

Unfortunately, this strategy does take time to show results, but it’s important to keep building quality content. Over time, you’ll start ranking higher and higher for more and more keywords. As you gain traction and your website gains authority, it will get easier to rank for new keywords.

Strategy: Public relations

Public relations is an underrated strategy for improving your brand awareness and actually goes hand-in-hand with SEO. Public relations, or PR, is a strategy that utilizes different media outlets to spread the word about yourself or your company.

When seeking out opportunities, focus on publications with audiences that align with your target buyer. Typically, a good PR strategy will involve guest blogging, interview pieces, and featured media. Look for opportunities to showcase your knowledge and provide strategy recommendations in relevant publications.

By getting featured on authoritative websites with backlinks to your own site, you’ll improve your own domain authority. Be sure to promote any media features you land on your personal and company social channels.

Strategy: Social media

In addition to media features, your company should publish on social media regularly. Depending on the demographic makeup of your audience, you may choose Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, or Twitter. Typically, we recommend starting with just a few channels (2-3) and really mastering them.

Give your profile a new year refresh:

  • Update any About or Bio copy to reflect your most up-to-date brand

  • Ensure all contact information and business hours are correct

  • Add any new information that may have been missing

Social media can be an enormous time-suck, so we recommend using a tool like Buffer or Missinglettr to automate your social posting and ensure consistency. Depending on the platform, typically anywhere from three posts/week to one post/day is recommended.

If you’re worried about hitting those benchmarks, focus on quality first. Once you’re comfortable, step up your posting frequency. Posting bad content just to post will lead to people unfollowing you.


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Goal: Convert prospects into customers

We’re guessing new sales are on just about everyone’s list. While COVID-19 and economic hardship have made sales difficult in 2020, new sales in 2021 will be that much more important.

It’s essential to remain empathetic and compassionate during these times. While the pandemic has been raging on for many months, many more have died, lost their jobs, or lost their homes. Opportunistic messaging poses a risk as coming off in poor taste and can be detrimental to your brand image.

Keeping tone in mind, explore the following digital marketing strategies for converting customers in 2021.

Strategy: Content marketing

Content marketing is an excellent inbound strategy that educates leads, qualifies them, and allows individuals to progress themselves through the sales process.

Content marketing hinges on many of the same strategies we explored above for SEO. By developing high-quality content that answers your customers’ questions, you’ll establish your expertise and start overcoming sales barriers.

In addition to blogs on your website, consider creating downloadable resources your prospects and customers can use. Use a gated form to request some information from your viewer when they download your content.

For example, if you’re an investment firm, consider creating a checklist on relocating your retirement fund after a job change. Not only will this content be helpful to your audience, but it’s also timely considering recent events.

Once someone has downloaded your content, use the next few strategies to continue nurturing the lead.

Strategy: Email marketing

Send one-on-one emails out to your qualified prospects to share your helpful content and keep in touch. These should be individuals who have downloaded content in the past or meet certain criteria. Either way, be sure to only email individuals who have given you permission to do so.

While you should be careful not to spam prospects, it’s a good idea to email around once each week to stay at the top of their inbox. Once you get a response, carry on with your normal sales process. If not, continue sharing relevant content with helpful advice and consider getting creative. After a 4-6-email sales sequence, we recommend sending a final “Are you interested?” email before stopping.

Outside of sales emails, email newsletters can be a great way to stay in touch, without being sales-y. Instead of reaching out once each week, typically email newsletters go out once per month with your most valuable content only.

Strategy: Webinars

With in-person events out of the realm of possibilities, webinars can be an excellent way to connect with prospects and share your expertise. Consider hosting a webinar that teaches your audience something new, how to overcome a common pain point, or how to do something better.

If there are any companies you partner closely with, you can do a webinar together on a complimentary topic. Each company has a featured topic expert who presents on their topic and answers questions. Time can be split evenly between speakers or you can use a panel-format to share insights at the same time.

Strategy: Case studies, interviews, and video testimonials

Your best salesperson is your happiest customer. Explore opportunities to highlight your customer success stories via case studies, interviews, and video testimonials. Your customer benefits from getting brand exposure and helps you communicate your value proposition more effectively.

Consider using email marketing, social media marketing, and more to distribute your success stories to prospects.


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Goal: Retain and expand existing customers

Depending on your business model, it can cost significantly more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. While new sales will always be important, it’s always crucial not to forget the existing customers you do have. In fact, Bain & Company and Harvard Business School report that “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.”

Explore the following strategies for retaining customers in 2021.

Strategy: Customer education

One of the most common reasons a customer will leave is because they don’t understand your value. Make it easy for a customer to get the most out of your product or service with written and video tutorials, online resources, and more.

Consider creating a user group on Facebook or LinkedIn for your customers to connect and share how they use your different products and services.

Strategy: Client satisfaction

The net promoter score is a way of determining how loyal your audience is to your brand. A net promoter score of 10 is ideal, indicating that those customers are promoters and extremely loyal. Individuals scoring between 8-9 are passive promoters, while individuals under 8 are detractors.

Focus on improving client satisfaction to ensure ongoing customer loyalty.


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Goal: Crush 2021

Just because 2020 was rough doesn’t mean your 2021 has to be too. Take the pivots in stride and explore how you can utilize new strategies to drive growth for your business in 2021.

Need help refining your strategies for the new year or not sure where to start? We can help! Drop us a line at hello@zealousadvertising.com

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