7 simple digital marketing hacks for 2021

Two people working on digital marketing hacks on laptops

Digital marketing trends are changing constantly. Each year brings new marketing strategies based on user preference that need to be identified and integrated into the strategies of large and small business marketing strategies alike, otherwise there's serious money left on the table.

When it comes to online search, Google is way ahead of the competition, being responsible for 94% of total organic traffic and 96% of all smartphone search traffic. This makes getting your business on the first page of Google the single most important factor for your digital marketing success.

The good news is that whether you are a small home-based business or a large organization, when it comes to Google’s search engine algorithm, only those who use the best techniques that have been approved by Google get to see their website on Google’s prime real estate – the first page.

Let's take a look at some simple hacks that digital marketers can use to make sure their business websites get ranked higher on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and make the most of those leads.


Simple digital marketing tips to embrace in 2021

 

1. Optimize your email strategy

Email has been around for years, but it's not going anywhere just yet. According to HubSpot, roughly 80% of marketers have reported an increase in email engagement over the past twelve months.

Another exciting statistic for all those who are thinking of using more emails in their marketing campaigns is that email marketing has the highest return on investment for small businesses. Of course, that’s only going to be possible with a well-crafted email with concise copy and engaging message.

One of the most effective marketing tools is the ability to segment your email marketing strategy to match your customer base - for example, marketers constantly use the holiday season to offer incentives to their customers, such as discount codes to a customer who left their website with an item in the shopping cart.

 

2. Use the AIDA formula

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Here's a description from Lucidchart to show how it can be used in marketing:

AIDA marketing model visual explanation

 

This marketing strategy has been around for a while - since 1898, to be exact. And guess what? It still works.

In fact, AIDA works extremely well on almost all marketing channels to grab the reader’s attention, create a sense of want, pull on their heartstrings and provide them with a solution to their problem. This proven formula has been used in the past, is still being used today, and should definitely be used when marketing a small business in the year ahead.

 

3. Embrace video marketing

Video has grown into a driving force for digital marketing, and this trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact, according to research, videos will account for nearly 82% of consumer internet traffic by 2021.

Live and branded videos are two of the most popular trends in video marketing at the moment, and people are continuing to find new and interesting ways to engage their audience with video content.

The beauty of using live video is that it’s interactive and allows the audience to be part of the conversation by calling in or leaving a comment that can be answered during the live session, so this is a great tactic for audience engagement. It’s estimated that by 2021, live video will account for 13% of all video traffic, which makes it an excellent strategy for businesses that are constantly thinking outside of the box.

Contrary to popular belief, creating an explainer, how-to or product description video does not cost you an arm and a leg. All you have to do is invest in a good camera and microphone, or you can even use your smartphone. Rather than spending large amounts of money on expensive editing tools, you can use apps that are powerful enough to create a professional-looking video.

To enable the video to generate more search traffic for your website, remember to make it well-thought-out, contain informational content and address a defined problem that your ideal customer is facing.

Optimizing the video you upload on YouTube with relevant keywords will increase the chances of your video getting more views. And pay extra attention to the video’s title - it should sound unique and engaging. For example, “Learn how to tie a bow tie” does not sound as good as “Learn how to tie the perfect bow tie.”

While there may be many videos on a similar subject matter on YouTube, the idea is to make your content stand out from the rest.

 

4. Create novel content

The content that you put out will act as currency for your marketing strategies. While creating the usual blogs and articles is good for generating traffic, simply writing content that informs your audience just won’t do. More and more businesses are learning the importance of engaging with their audience. In fact, many successful brands are already using content that engages their audience along with content that educates.

One type of content that is growing in popularity is novel content. This is the content that is put alongside the conventional content of blogs, articles, ebooks and videos. Similar to videos, creating content that engages your audience is also possible via polls, quizzes and contests, where the audience gets to vote or share their opinions on a particular subject. Try to keep this content relevant to your business.

Expiring content, which seems to have been inspired by the Snapchat model, is also continuing to gain popularity amongst the younger crowd. Expiring content remains on your website or social media for a certain amount of time before being removed. This creates a sense of urgency in the readers that can encourage them to take action. To entice your audience while using expiring content, you can include a discount code to your content that’s displayed for a limited amount of time before being removed.

 

5. Know the difference between marketing and branding

Those who are investing in online marketing need to understand the difference between marketing and branding. While these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, their meanings are very different.

When it comes to the consumer, your brand is not going to be the product or service you provide, but rather the logo, website design, and the message across all platforms that you send to your customers. In other words, branding is how the audience will perceive your business.

On the other hand, digital marketing uses tactics that are designed to reinforce your branding efforts. This means that your marketing efforts should enhance your brand’s message and not have an opposite effect. However, this is where many small businesses fall flat, as they use marketing campaigns that focus more on their product or service instead of building interest and nurturing a community on social media platforms.

Blatantly promoting your product or services on social media will not help you create your community of loyal followers. It may also have a negative impact on your brand’s overall appeal for your audience.

 

6. Make good use of Local Services Ads (LSAs)

LSAs, or Local Services Ads, are similar to Google Ads, but are very different when it comes to their effectiveness in promoting your products or services or increasing your sales. In short, Local Services Ads are pay-per-lead ads that have now begun popping up at the top of Google search results. Initially released in 2017, LSAs are slowly gaining ground and rolling out to small markets as well.

Example of Google local services ad showing cleaners in Boston

 

Currently, LSAs seem to focus more on home service providers, such as electricians, locksmiths, painters, house cleaning and plumbers. If you provide any of these services, it’s time you used LSAs to increase your reach. However, there is little doubt that their use is going to spread to other businesses as well.

Until a year or so back, most search results produced some obvious ads right at the top of Google’s search results page, which people seldom clicked. Unlike Google Ads, you don’t have to pay for clicks, but rather for leads that are relevant to your business.

Here’s how Local Services Ads work:

  • You get to set a weekly budget that is based on the average amount of leads you expect to receive.
  • Leads can be disputed if you think they are irrelevant or not useful. If successful, the leads are credited back to you later.
  • While you might end up spending more than your average weekly budget on LSAs, the model makes it unlikely that you spend more money each month, which is going to be the average budget in a week that’s multiplied by the average amount of weeks in any given month. Setting up your Local Services Ads is also relatively easy and does not come with a steep learning curve.

If you have patience, using LSAs could be useful in generating leads, however, if you are a startup or small business on a shoe-string budget, then testing the waters of LSAs might not be for you right now.

 

7. Be smart with SEO

Some people say that SEO is dead. We beg to differ. In fact, search engine optimization is more important than ever when it comes to getting your website indexed on Google. While SEO trends continue to change, one area that Google seems to be focusing on is differentiating between search and intent.

For instance, using terms such as “web design Miami” could display web design companies while “web design company in Miami” could start displaying job boards.

Google places snippet example in search

 

This means that to succeed with your SEO strategy, you need to segment queries that you want to rank for and make competitor analysis a big part of your SEO strategy.

If we’ve learned anything from the past, it's that when it comes to online marketing, the proven methods of marketing are still around, and keeping your marketing strategy simple really does work.

Tried and tested methods of digital marketing provide small businesses with a guideline of what strategy should be used where to improve your digital marketing results. But that being said, these formulas are not written in stone, which means you need to keep on tweaking your digital marketing strategy to get the best ROI.


For the best digital marketing results, you need your apps to work in tandem. Use PieSync to connect data across your marketing tools and with your sales and support stacks for the most accurate view of your leads everywhere.

About Dave Brown

Dave is a digital marketing professional who specializes in (and writes about) digital marketing trends and strategies that companies can use to attract more visitors to their website, convert leads and close sales. Dave loves everything that has to do with online marketing for small businesses, SEO, cheesy one-liners, professional sounding jargon and cats.