Top 10 Digital Marketing Strategies for SMEs
There is very little that remains static within the ever-evolving world of digital marketing.
Small- to medium-sized enterprises that wish to remain ahead of the curve should be well aware of the most effective strategies in this day and age.
However, this is often easier said than done.
There are numerous different techniques, and some will naturally provide more viable results than others.
It can therefore be somewhat challenging to separate the wheat from the chaff.
This article intends to highlight some proven digital marketing strategies that are particularly relevant to the 2021 marketplace.
Managers and stakeholders will then be able to leverage the proper utilities at the appropriate times.
Let's take a look at some excellent digital marketing strategies to consider and the advantages that each can provide.
The Increasing Prevalence of Artificial Intelligence
The notion of artificial intelligence (AI) has existed since the dawn of the computer age.
The only problem is that experts required decades to develop software capable of handling such complicated algorithms. Thankfully, the future has now become the present.
Artificial intelligence can have a massive impact on digital marketing strategies, particularly those employed by larger firms required to collate massive amounts of data.
Not only can AI provide solutions that we might not have otherwise discovered, but it can compile this data in a fraction of the time associated with traditional in-house methods.
Here are some of the most pronounced benefits of AI in 2021:
- Big data can be collected and analysed with a greater degree of clarity.
- Marketing solutions can now target a more discrete audience.
- Marketers can customise publicity campaigns to offer a more “organic” feel to the end-user.
- Marketing strategies can be easily modified following changing industry conditions.
Let us also mention that AI will provide businesses with a competitive advantage, crucial when revenue generation has become so critical.
Other advantages include reduced staffing costs, more streamlined in-house operations and accelerated levels of growth.
The Rise of Programmatic Advertising
It only makes sense to continue this article by mentioning programmatic advertising, as this strategy has been heavily influenced by artificial intelligence.
In the past, advertising approaches tended to be based on four discrete parameters.
These included the keyword, the location, the time of the day, and the customer's location.
The issue here is that such top-down approaches were not often able to segment a niche target audience effectively.
Through the use of AI, programmatic advertising can now bridge such a seemingly large gap.
It is possible to glean a great deal of information regarding a specific demographic.
Some important metrics can include past purchasing habits, the average amount of money spent, which devices are accessing your website, which pages prove to be the most popular, and even lifestyle preferences based on previous search engine metadata.
To put it simply, programmatic advertising will provide a much more refined marketing approach when compared to previous strategies.
Most of us have interacted with chatbots from time to time.
These useful widgets perform basic tasks such as answering questions or expediting the check-out process after making a purchase.
In the past, the capabilities of thee chatbots were somewhat limited due to algorithmic constraints.
They have now become much more advanced and highly interactive.
Perhaps the main advantage of any chatbot is that it is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Thus, help is always close by if a customer happens to have a question.
Furthermore, these bots can appreciate individual buyers' unique history, allowing them to provide personalised and logical recommendations.
Chatbots can likewise perform repetitive tasks with ease (such as filling out customer information templates).
Businesses can then return their focus to other tasks such as client relations and product development.
These are some of the main reasons why chatbots are expected to become even more pronounced throughout 2021 and well beyond.
Highly Informative Logos
It is a well-known fact that logos are crucial in terms of establishing brand identity.
This was just as accurate hundreds of years ago before the dawn of the digital age.
However, things have slightly changed.
Not only do logos need to be clear and resonate with the brand in question, but some have taken on a decidedly interactive flair.
Of course, clicking on a logo will typically take a visit back to the website's main page.
Some individuals have designated specific portions of a logo (such as a mission statement) in the form of a hyperlink.
In other words, clicking on a particular area will take users to individual web pages.
This is valuable for two reasons.
First, it enables potential customers to learn more about the products and services being offered.
Secondly, increased links between internal web pages are looked upon favourably by Google.
This may help to boost search engine results page (SERP) rankings over time.
Remote Marketing Practices
You can argue that the recent COVID-19 outbreak has forever altered the digital marketing landscape.
Not only have countless businesses been forced to rely upon their virtual presence to remain afloat, but consumers are more reliant upon the digital community to perform everyday tasks.
Even once the world returns to a semblance of normalcy, it is likely that such trends will continue to exert an impact.
We are, therefore, seeing a rise in remote marketing.
In a general sense, remote working provides businesses with numerous opportunities that might not be otherwise possible. Examples can include:
- More flexible working hours.
- Greater levels of accountability.
- Delighted employees.
- Reduced costs associated with in-house overhead.
These are just as relevant in terms of digital marketing. Thanks in part to the Internet of Things (more on this in the following section), employees can now instantaneously collaborate even when located miles apart.
You may share information in the blink of an eye while those with the proper credentials can access marketing analytics.
As this trend began well before the global pandemic, it is expected to gain even more momentum throughout 2021.
The Internet of Things
It has already been illustrated that the Internet of Things has played a role in working remotely.
However, we are only scratching the surface of its capabilities.
One of the main intentions of IoT is to provide a much more integrated workplace.
Mobile connectivity and a greater degree of centralisation are two other examples to note.
So, how does this translate into the world of digital marketing strategies?
In a word, we are referring to more efficient collaborative opportunities.
Let us use logo design as an example.
In the past, any designs would have generally been passed up through the “chain of command” until they reached an individual (such as a team leader) who would make a final decision.
This was a relatively inefficient process.
Thanks to the Internet of Things, designs and employee feedback can be collated into a centralised database for easy review.
This also encourages workers to become more involved in the marketing process due to a decidedly hands-on feel.
Viral Video Content
It is a foregone conclusion that video marketing is one of the most powerful publicity tools at the disposal of any organisation.
This only stands to reason when we remember that we live within a visually oriented society.
Most experts predict that such a trend will continue for at least the next five or ten years.
There are several reasons why video content has become so relevant.
First and foremost, viewers can easily share it between different potential customers with the click of a button (up to 70 per cent of consumers state that they have shared at least one branded video.
Furthermore, videos can compress an impressive amount of information with a relatively small package.
Videos are highly entertaining, and unlike large blocks of text, they are much easier to view on smaller device screens.
A third and final reason why you should incorporate video marketing within any existing strategy involves exposure.
Did you know that a page is up to 50 times more likely to enjoy higher Google organic search results if it contains an embedded video?
Why is this the case? Google has begun to look favourably upon sites that contain video content.
Thus, it tends to rank these pages higher, ensuring a greater degree of exposure.
The lesson here is simple: always include videos within any digital marketing strategies.
So start producing viral video content using this online video editor to boost brand awareness.
We are already aware that social media is a powerful digital marketing tool that should never be overlooked.
As this maxim has existed for more than a decade, it does not need to be stressed further.
However, we should still examine an individual facet of social media marketing. This involves the growing prevalence of influencers.
Brands are now using influencer marketing campaigns to better connect with their audience base.
After all, any company will obtain a significant amount of digital “clout” if a well-known social media personality promotes it.
This is sometimes referred to as “ambassador marketing”.
Brand ambassador marketing is also a highly effective way to spread word of mouth compared to traditional approaches such as posting updates on a static news feed.
Influencer marketing is beneficial for brands that already enjoy a strong base of followers.
We should therefore expect to see the number of social media influencers grow in 2021.
Visual Search Trends
One of the most exciting advancements concerning digital marketing involves the growing possibility of performing visual searches on Google and Pinterest sites.
What is a visual search?
Like a textual search, users will input data (such as an image) to be provided with relevant results.
The main difference is that websites are beginning to use advanced algorithms to interpret the data contained within an image (such as a pair of shoes).
By interpreting these details, search engines will soon be capable of providing visual results.
The main reason why this is important involves the fact that many users are now accessing the Internet via mobile devices.
It is much easier to search with an image as opposed to typing out blocks of text.
Google has already recognised this trend, introducing a visual search engine known as Google Lens.
So it stands to reason that websites which contain numerous product or service-related images are more likely to rank higher.
It will be interesting to see how this trend continues to evolve throughout the remainder of 2021.
Some of us may already be using products such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to perform basic online searches.
Unsurprisingly, this technology is expected to take on a life of its own.
Voice searches will therefore become more commonplace during 2021.
Researchers have even predicted that the global voice search sector will be worth 20 billion dollars by 2022.
The possible issue here is that businesses will have to adapt their marketing approaches accordingly.
Consider these two examples of a search query involving the same product:
- Plumber London
- Where can I find a qualified plumber near London?
The first example represents a standard text query, while the second typifies what is often seen within a voice-powered search.
The syntax and grammar are pretty different between the two.
Businesses will, therefore, need to adapt their content to embrace a more “human” touch.
It is also necessary to include relevant long-tail keywords, as these are more likely to be used when performing a voice-powered search.
2021 and Beyond
We can now see that 2021 has many exciting things in store when referring to digital marketing strategies.
Therefore appreciating which strategies should be employed is one of the best ways to enjoy success in the coming months.
Although no one is certain what the future may be, there is no doubt that the digital domain will continue to dominate the online marketing community.
Author bio: John Keohane is the owner of JK Services, an electrical contractor who believes that marketing, especially digital marketing strategies in today's age, is vital for all size businesses, especially SMEs.