• Top 10 Digital Marketing Practices To Adopt For Your Business In 2021

Top 10 Digital Marketing Practices to Adopt for Your Business in 2021

Strategies to Boost Growth in the New Year

It’s safe to say no one could have predicted the topsy-turvy world we all faced in 2020. While it’s still impossible to know exactly what the future holds, employing good digital marketing practices that foster customer experiences and build long-term relationships is essential to success this year and years to come. Here are some trends to adopt in 2021 to increase your ROI:

  1. Email marketing
  2. Browser push notifications
  3. Podcasts
  4. SMS marketing
  5. Interactive content
  6. User-generated content  
  7. Live experiences
  8. Purpose-driven missions
  9. Visual search
  10.  Snack ads

Email marketing

This is not a new trend, in fact, we’ve been touting the benefits of email marketing for years. During this pandemic, with people sitting at home behind their computer screens, email use has skyrocketed. Hubspot reports 80% of marketers reported an increase in email engagement over the past 12 months. 

Using email marketing allows brands to personalize messages and create deeper connections with customers. In turn, it’s possible to push readers to click calls to action (CTA) and increase ecommerce sales.

With the number of global email users set to grow to 4.48 billion users (half of the world’s population) by 2024, this is the year to take advantage of ways to grow your subscriber list and reach out to your target audience.

Browser push notifications

While push notifications have been used for some time on mobile devices, with more people staring at desktop screens throughout 2020, web browser push notifications now reach people where they are active. They prompt users to sign up for a newsletter, return to an abandoned e-commerce shopping cart, or interact with newly posted web content.


Another product popularized during this pandemic was the podcast.  In 2020, more than 155 million people tuned to a podcast every week.  It’s likely why so many brands, including McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Slack, GE, and Rebuild SoCal Partnership have turned on their microphones.

Podcasts have allowed companies to reach customers in a new and engaging way. When brands take on topics that are relevant to the target audience, listeners not only take in valuable information, but they also engage with CTA.

Why consider this trend this year? Almost half of podcast listeners are aged 25-44, a popular consumer to target. Getting in the podcast game now also means that when these listeners are able to get back to the gym or drive to work,  they will be able to take their favorite podcast with them.

SMS marketing

Now that 92% of Americans have a phone that can receive text messages, and 91% keep it within arm’s length at all times, text messaging has risen. Brands using SMS marketing are finding great success with 98% open rates and response rates that are 295% higher than phone call marketing. The best part: 75% of consumers want to receive offers via text rather than any other source. Thus, your customer is likely very open to hearing from you via text. Make this the year to send them.

Interactive content

Today’s consumer wants to interact with brands and brands have a greater capacity to engage customers by providing interactive content. Additionally, more impactful data can be collected because while you are able to see how many people read a blog post, it’s not always possible to understand the impact. It’s clearer to see how many people:

  • Take a quiz
  • Use a calculator
  • Watch a video
  • Play a game

By implementing interactive elements in 2021, it will be possible to utilize more exact metrics to guide your overall marketing strategy throughout the year. You’ll not only be able to win loyal brand advocates, but be better able to target your messaging.

User-generated content

Another form of interaction that works as a fantastic relationship builder is user-generated content (UGC). While this trend isn’t new, it’s been amplified over the years. In the past, brands may have only employed online feedback options. It’s now possible to incorporate UGC in various ways throughout the customer journey with concepts such as hashtag campaigns, and sharing of photos and videos on social media. 

UGC is highly successful for creating trust and promoting authenticity. In fact, studies show consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say UGC is authentic compared to brand-created content.

Live experiences

People are realizing how much they miss conventions, speaking engagements, and other events where they could interact with brands. Companies had to get creative in 2020 and by the end of the year, 82% of all internet traffic was live streaming. 

Continuing to utilize live events such as Q&A sessions, demonstrations, and classes allows brands to feed the needs of consumers. Because live experiences also create a feeling of urgency and importance, stirring those emotions can also drive more sales.

Purpose-driven missions

With social unrest, a pandemic and an economic crisis, consumers are leaning toward brands that are helpful to their fellow man. There’s been a shift toward purpose-driven business and marketing efforts that drive those messages.  The 2021 Hootsuite Social Trends report states, “The smartest brands will understand where they fit into customers’ lives on social media, and they’ll find creative ways of fitting into the conversation.” Creating authentic campaigns during these turbulent times help customers recognize where their favorite brands stand.

Visual search

Two years ago, HubSpot stated, “visual search will change the way you market” because, at the time, studies found “the average person has the ability to recall 65% of the visual content they see almost three days later.” This trend can’t be ignored today because it is much easier for users to upload images to do searches on Google and Bing. Brands are now jumping on bandwagon and utilizing tools that allow shoppers to take a photo of:

  • Barcodes: To find info about a product.
  • Books: To get a summary and read reviews.
  • Clothing: To find items and places to purchase.
  • Plants: To learn about species and care.

Snack ads

This has nothing to do with your favorite cheesy puff or cookie. Instead, it’s one of the best new ways to engage consumers online. Most brands find that they lose the user’s attention with long videos. A snack ad video is 10 seconds or less. These attention grabbers are perfect for reaching a younger audience. With so much going on these days, a snack ad can bring your brand quickly into focus for your target audience.

Incorporating trends

While this is not a comprehensive list of all that’s new and available, if these trends have you thinking about ways to improve digital marketing, make 2021 the year you abandon outdated marketing practices.  

Contact us and have a conversation with the T.E. Digital team. Let us know your goals and we’ll help you get to where you want to be.  

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About the Author:

John Walker, Co-founder of Talent Evolution and Chief Solutions Officer, has more than 20 years of online marketing expertise in social media, mobile, video and viral campaigns. He has a strong background in digital capabilities including Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC).

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