Let's face it, 2020 has been strange, and 2021 hasn't shown any signs of getting better. The positive note is, many businesses seem to have found a way, good or bad, to deal with the special and unprecedented outlook. In this blog, we'll talk about how to create results-driven digital marketing strategies in 2021, amid the on-going COVID threat, based on our successful experience of growing businesses even during COVID.
Data STILL IS and ALWAYS WILL BE key to successful results-driven campaigns
Last year (2020), we helped companies grow even during COVID, by identifying the changing trends in keywords, and consequently SEO; applying tailored tactics to grow areas that had the most potential; periodically measuring results to refine marketing strategies.
We've been doing what we've always done, AB testing, heat maps, keywords, email campaigns, etc., and it strengthened both our and our clients' belief that results and data should be the major factors that guide and evaluate your marketing campaigns and strategies.
As a result, we grew marketing leads by 30% through COVID, which resulted in a 10% year over year growth in sales qualified leads and revenue.
*these clients weren't medical related, so COVID did not provide a boost to their marketing and sales.
If you are interested in finding out how we can do the same for you, you can request a consultation here.
You should have KPIs in every step of your marketing funnel
Same as ever, in every step of your marketing funnel, from demand/lead generation, to lead nurturing, and sales enablement, there should be data monitoring all your marketing efforts and activities in these steps, to give you enough information to filter out bad or even mediocre behavior or campaigns.
Personalization Based On Buyer Persona
In 2021, if you are still calling your email blast your email strategy (or vice versa), something's not right. And yet, some companies are still utilizing email blasts as their main digital marketing strategy, and hoping that someday someone from the right department in the right company will open the email and click on the CTA - although it wasn’t specifically meant for him/her in the first place.
A lot of people think, that if instead of saying "hello there", they begin their emails with "hello (name)", they've mastered email marketing, but in reality, it's just like one thinks he's got his driver's test handled when they know what a steering wheel is. It's definitely necessary, but who else doesn't know it?
Personalization should be about creating customized buyer's journey and buyer's experience through Buyer Persona segmentation, personal-specific campaigns, contextual marketing.
It all goes back to data. Your detailed and personalized email campaigns should generate a structured set of data to inform you which particular sets of emails are received well by whom, at which stage, for what purpose, e.g. connecting, nurturing, and/or closing (the deal).
There are tools like Sparktoro to help you understand buyer's interests and online activities.
“According to recent research, 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and 75% of users never scroll to page 2.” (Neil Patel)
Everybody wants to be on the first page of google. There are close to 20 million companies in the US, and only 10 spots on Google's home page. You can imagine the competition in SEO. Many people know SEO as keywords, but it's much more than that. There are two sides of SEO - on-page SEO and performance SEO.
On-page SEO should always be on point. On-page SEO includes things like page titles, duplicate pages, meta-tags, etc., all of which should be taken care of at the time your site was built, and if not, shortly after.
Performance SEO, on the other hand, takes more strategy, including keyword strategy, content strategy, pillar content strategy, etc. With the many updates Google has made, keyword stuffing no longer works.
Google's recent updates have been focusing on how people search, and what answers their queries best. Google is, after all, a search engine COMPANY, that relies on providing great experiences to acquire and retain users.
Performance SEO is typically implemented in a few ways
Keywords and Keyword Research
Many people are familiar with the concept of keyword research. You search for words and phrases that you want to rank for in one or more keyword tools, and then find out the volume, and your ranking. Some tools, like Moz or SEMrush, gives your more information like difficulty (how difficult it is to rank for a certain keyword) and click through rate (once your appear in the search result for this keyword, how likely are people to actually click on it, which is the goal).
Internal, Inbound and Outbound Links
See our blog on What Are Backlinks and Why Are They Important.
Internal links are the easiest to build, as easy as outbound links, simply because you have you have full and complete control over your site (if not, something isn't right). These links tell Google how your site is structured, how your information architecture guides your audience. A well linked website tells Google that visitors may get a lot of useful information from your site, furthermore, it decreases your bounce rate, which is another good signal to Google.
Inbound links are the most difficult to build. To be more specific, quality inbound links are the most difficult to build. Sure, you can build hundreds of websites and have links on them pointing to you. But in Google's eyes, these links are more spammy than useful. You want quality websites to link back to you, especially relevant websites. Much like in real life, quality links are like celebrity endorsements, the more famous and reputable the celebrity is, the higher quality the link is.
Pillar content goes together with your internal linking strategy, you wanna make sure your are building a few key focal points/pages, supported by other pages and/or materials on your site.
Content marketing is a huge topic, which deserves a blog by itself, and I will write one in the near future.
Content marketing typically takes the form of blogs, ebooks, white paper, etc.. Usually the very top of the (marketing) funnel content strategy focuses on blogging, which can be, and should be, produced frequently, with the right and targeted SEO strategy.
Content marketing also helps address queries, questions, which is the most popular form of search on Google. Over the past several updates, Google is moving away from the repetition of keywords on webpages to favoring pages and websites that directly answer the questions or queries well.
Sales Enablement is a bottom of the funnel activity. Many companies handle marketing leads by handing them over to sales right after they have been generated. Since leads came in different ways, some through a white paper download, some through a quote request, they are on very different stages of their (buyer's) lifecycle. Therefore handling them exactly the same way may not be the most effective or optimized way.
Sales Enablement includes:
Sales materials and assets creation
Systems and support (including marketing automation platforms and CMS)
Cross-selling opportunity discovery
New channels integration
Sales team coaching (marketing and nurturing methodology)
Sales staff on-boarding
Many years ago, HubSpot defined the buyer’s journey with a unique funnel analogy as “Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.” Even back then, the funnel didn’t end until a transaction happened, and in many cases until a promoter was born.
Outbound Marketing is a proven way of generating marketing results. The difficulty is that most of it cannot be properly tracked, so you can only have a very high-level idea of your Marketing ROI (Return On Investment). With new marketing technology and platforms, Outbound marketing has evolved as well. Trade shows now have lead tracking systems, which gather leads for you to put through your marketing funnel; PR releases are mostly online now and some of the platforms provide transparency in their reaches and conversions. PPC (Pay Per Click) is also a more and more important marketing channel now, especially for eCommerce companies.
Outbound Marketing also helps your inbound/digital marketing efforts, in that it gives people repeat, endorsed impressions of your company, so more people are likely to search you on Google, and when they see you being referenced elsewhere, they are more likely to clickthrough, etc., these are all factors contributing to your inbound/digital marketing growth.
To have a customized analysis of your marketing strategy, request a free consultation here.