The internet has certainly revolutionized the way we do business. The print ads, billboards, and cold calling of the past had their time, but marketing today is all about reaching potential customers online.
In fact, 2020 reports provide a wealth of data that show how businesses are using online marketing channels like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to reach more users than ever before. The question is, where do we expect digital marketing to take us in 2021?
In this guide, we’re revealing the top digital marketing channels for 2021 based on 2020 data and future projections to help your business get ahead of the curve. You might be surprised how online marketing can be used to scale your business to new heights.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing refers to all forms of marketing that take place across a variety of digital channels, including computers, smartphones, and other digital devices. The term most often refers to online marketing methods such as social media marketing, SEO, email marketing, content marketing, PPC, and blogging.
In 2021, it’s anticipated that if you don’t have a website or a strong online presence, you’re likely to lose out on tons of potential customers. That’s why you need a holistic digital marketing strategy that employs a variety of platforms and works to give your business a competitive edge.
Benefits of Digital Marketing:
- Reduces advertising costs compared to traditional methods
- It’s the easiest type of marketing to track
- Provides valuable insights into your audience
- Has a wide reach
- Is effective at generating leads and traffic
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing has long been one of the most popular and effective digital marketing channels for businesses. With email marketing, you are able to grow, engage, and market to your own list of subscribers, increasing your chances of turning passive users into paying customers.
Businesses can utilize a variety of methods to grow their email lists, including promoting downloadable content, capturing email addresses on their website, and retargeting users who engaged with paid ads.
Here are a few statistics from HubSpot that show why email is anticipated to be one of the top marketing channels in 2021:
- Roughly 80% of marketers have reported an increase in email engagement over the past 12 months.
- The number of global email users is set to grow to 4.48 billion users by 2024.
- Promotional emails are the most common email type that marketers are investing in.
2. Content Marketing
The goal of content marketing is to create and share relevant, engaging content that gets your audience interested in learning more about your brand, products, or services. The most common types of content marketing include blogging, infographics, visual content, ebooks, and lead magnets.
Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) companies alike can use content marketing to grow their email lists, inspire social shares, increase downloads, and generate more leads or sales. The beauty of content marketing is that you can get as creative as you like and easily track success with content marketing analytics.
Here are a few statistics on why 70% of marketers are investing in content marketing in 2021:
- Web traffic is among the top two most-common measurements of success for content marketing strategies.
- Nearly 40% of marketers say content marketing is a very important part of their overall marketing strategy.
- 86% of companies produce blog content compared to other formats.
3. Social Media Marketing
Most of us are familiar with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These platforms are great for staying in touch with friends and loved ones. They are also powerful tools to grow your business.
An active social media marketing strategy allows you to reach more potential customers, engage existing followers, and driving traffic to your website. It can also be a great complement to your content marketing and paid social media advertising campaigns.
The top social media sites (in order of Monthly Active Users) include:
- Tik Tok
4. Search Engine Optimization – SEO
SEO is a type of digital marketing that involves understanding what users are searching for in search engines (namely, Google.) Then using that insight to rank your website for the terms users are searching for. SEO is one of the main drivers of organic (unpaid) traffic to websites.
With SEO, you are able to rank for the keywords users are searching for to find businesses like yours. This means you can rise above your competitors in organic search and drive more traffic to your website and online channels. There’s a reason why 64% of marketers invest in search engine optimization.
5. Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC
PPC is a paid form of digital marketing where you run ads and pay a fee for every user who clicks on your ad. While PPC may take a higher initial investment, you’re likely to see faster returns compared to organic marketing methods.
The most common PPC advertising platforms are Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, and Instagram Ads, though there are many other platforms available. The key to success with PPC is targeting the right audience with the right content at the right time. Your goal is to drive clicks through to your website, landing page, or messenger box to turn users into customers.
6. Video Marketing
87% of marketers say that video has increased traffic to their website. As such an eye-catching and creative medium. Video marketing is one of the best channels for drumming up views not only on platforms like YouTube but also on social media and on your website.
While creating amazing video content takes a bit of finesse, it can certainly pay off. You don’t need any fancy equipment – just a recording device, the topic you want to cover, and (ideally) video editing software like iMovie (which is free!). You can then post these videos on your website, YouTube, or Vimeo to generate views and traffic.
7. SMS Marketing
Text messaging has been around for a while but is on the rise as an effective digital marketing channel. Once users have opted into your list (required), you can send them special promotions, updates, appointments reminders, coupons, surveys, and much more.
Need proof that SMS is one of the best digital marketing channels? Consider that the average open rate for text message marketing campaigns is 98% – compared to a 20% open rate for email marketing. Also, SMS response rates are 295% higher than phone call response rates. (source)
8. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing could be considered to be more of a monetization strategy than a marketing strategy. Due to the fact that affiliate links alone can be a main driver of revenue for websites. Essentially, affiliate marketing allows websites to earn a commission by promoting another company’s products or services.
To get started with affiliate marketing, you simply find a product you like, join the company’s affiliate program (if they have one), promote the product to others, and then earn a commission on each sale that you make. You can promote these products on your website, on social media, via email, or directly to consumers.
9. Influencer Marketing
It’s said that influencer marketing goes as far back as the 1920s but it’s popularity certainly skyrocketed with the introduction of social media in the early 2000s. (Note that it could be argued that social media started as far back as the 1970s, but “social media” only became common vernacular around the time of Facebook, Instagram, and the like).
In a nutshell, influencer marketing involves partnering with well-known people and brands who will then promote your products or services to their existing audience. Influencer marketing is powerful because most influencers have a niche audience that’s highly engaged. And very likely to buy the products the influencer is promoting.
In 2018, there were 3.7 million brand-sponsored influencer posts on social media – a number that’s suspected to increase well into 2021. Brands can use influencer marketing to their advantage in reaching niche audiences, gaining more social media followers, and driving sales.
10. Podcast Marketing
Podcasting is relatively new and presents exciting opportunities for businesses looking to engage their existing followers and reach new audiences. Not only can brands promote their podcasts on social media, but Google is working to transcend voice/ podcasts to drive traffic as well.
To launch a successful podcast, you should cover topics that are of interest to your audience, provide valuable information, and always include a compelling call to action to entice listeners to learn more. Then you can use many of the marketing channels in this guide to promote your podcast to a wider audience.
Here are some interesting podcast marketing statistics to consider:
- As of April, 2020, there are over 30 million podcast episodes in existence.
- 75% of Americans age 12+ are now familiar with podcasting. (Edison Research, 2020)
- Monthly podcast listening reached 37% in 2020.
- Podcasts now reach over 100 million Americans every month.
The internet presents near endless opportunities for businesses to reach more customers across a variety of channels. From SEO to social media to email, you have many digital marketing channels available. If you want to drive more traffic and generate more sales.
One of the best ways to win over more customers is to convert users who have already expressed an interest in your brand. That’s why Visitor Queue provides website visitor tracking. To provide you a list of fresh leads from your website every single month. Use Visitor Queue along with your ongoing website and digital marketing strategies to scale your business in 2021. Start your free trial.