Build Your Digital Marketing Safety Net for 2021

2020 made organizations across the spectrum – ranging from associations to community banks to manufactures – reevaluate their business models and transition to more digital-centric methods of engaging with their communities. As we all hope to return to a more normal life in 2021, realistically, that is not going to be the case. While the direct impacts of COVID-19 may continue to late summer and beyond, the new models for digital engagement are likely to become permanent and part of new expectations of customers, members, and other stakeholders.

Many experts believe we will not see a return to normal behaviors until Q3 2021, and some other experts’ hypothesis that we will never return to our pre-2020 version of normal. The one tactic to help your organization next year is an impactful digital presence that engages visitors, members, customers, stakeholders, and more. Your organizations’ digital capabilities are the safety net that will keep your company more stable regardless of what 2021 has in store. This digital marketing safety net intersects with prudent financial decisions and thoughtful organizational strategy to position the company for a more proactive 2022.

Gated Content

Gate your content and collect valuable insights about your audience. Gating content is the practice of requiring your web visitors to fill out a form or join a subscription before accessing a portion of your content. Gating information can be a contentious decision among your content and marketing team. It is theorized some users may turn to other sources instead of filling out the form. This can lead to traffic moving to a competitor’s content. However, there are guidelines to ensure that visitors will not turn away from your content because of a form.

  • Keep your form simple with few requirements
  • Determine the content’s value to the reader
  • Gate content thoughtfully
  • Ensure you are supplying content specific to your audience
  • Your content is useful and unique original

Gating all content is a mistake, but gating a select number of helpful resources will let your organization know the demand for a specific subject and the engagement level of that user. If you have a generic article with information easily found elsewhere, do not gate that content. However, if you are offering a reusable worksheet specific to your audience, that should be gated.

To help decide if the content is worth gating, use the flow chart below. Notice that this chart is not gated as there are many similar charts available online.

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Flow Chart on Gated Content


Offering a community-building environment will lend your organization rapport and credibility as your website will be a place industry professionals go for valuable insights and information on current events affecting their lives.

Focus on SEO

As more organizations and businesses come online, it will become more difficult for your website to be found amongst the digital noise. The best way to combat losing traffic or even increase your current web traffic is to focus on search engine optimization (SEO).

First, your website needs to be in alliance with current technical or on-page SEO standards. On-page SEO includes items such as your title length, H1 tags, alt text, and a variety of other things. Check out our upcoming “On-Page SEO Checklist” for a full list of changes you can make to improve your technical SEO.

Once the technical SEO is complete, pivot your energy to building backlinks and content that will rank on Google and other search engines. Earning links from other sites with a low spam score will boost your post’s page authority and allow your piece to rank higher on search engines like Google. When making new content, you should start by researching keywords that your company has enough domain authority to rank.

SEO takes a significant amount of time but getting the right traffic to your website, organically can save vast amounts of money for your organization. The average AdWord cost per click (CPC) in 2020 was $2.40. If you gain 500 users a month through that one word, you are saving $1,200/ month. Put a special emphasis on SEO and make 2021 the year your company ranks organically for its most valuable keywords.

Customized User Experiences

Build customized web experiences for your website visitors. Website customization takes time but often increases a visitor’s time on the site and improves conversion rates. To start building customized experiences, your organization will need to build personas or examples of your prime target users with demographic, psychographic, and behavioral information.

Once you have this data, your internal team or web partner can use various tools to customize a visitor’s experience, showing website traffic information such as specific services, blogs, or case studies that match your audience.

Update Legacy Content

During “normal” times, there is often a push to continuously move on to the next great thing. Utilize the last few months of a slower business environment to update content. For this step, you will need to know what content is best to update.

Things to consider when deciding what to update include: historical page traffic, the number of outside websites linking to the content, and the relevancy of the subject matter. For instance, employee spotlight blogs that only received minimal traffic are not worth rewriting, but a “how-to” blog that received high viewership at one point should be modified to fit current standards.

Tips to re-work content for higher traffic

  • Update the publication year 
  • Put the current year is the title
  • Link to more current sources (especially any broken links)
  • Push on social channels 
  • Find new backlinks 
  • Add more graphics with alt-text

If the content topic is outdated or not well-received, do not be afraid to delete it. Extra pages of content make it difficult for your web traffic to find the good stuff. On the technical side, immense content pages that never get viewed and lacks backlinks weighs down the website’s domain authority.

Prioritize Accessibility

Ensure accessible web for all potential visitors. Websites and other digital presences provide visitors with vital information, including education, commerce, health care, recreation, and more. As a result, it is important for content to be equally accessible to those with disabilities.

Designing your website to be accessible and adding accessibility features, such as alt-text to images, HTML tags, closed captioning to video media, and title tags will open up the site to more potential consumers. Additionally, it protects your organization from possible lawsuits for failing to meet ADA requirements for web accessibility. Web accessibility is nuanced and different for every type of website. For more information, check out our 2019 webinar, “Web Accessibility is Not an Option.”

Invest in Training

Our company mantra is “The web is fluid and always moving forward,” meaning that things always change and advance. In all things technology, there is a need for continuous education. Use this year to give employees the chance to learn a new skill that will make them more efficient when business is booming again.

Training is always important, but education is always a good use of time when there is downtime. Here is a list of our teams favorite and cost-efficient certifications:

  • Acquia Certified Developer – D8
  • Acquia Certified Personalization Pro
  • Google Ads Search Certification
  • Growth-Driven Design Certification
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Google Ad Cert Symbol
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Acquia Certified Site Builder
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Acquia Certified Personalization Pro
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Growth Driven Design

While 2021 will be a challenge, there are many opportunities for your team to get ahead. A digital marketing safety net only includes a few of the numerous opportunities that come with digital transformation. To find solutions that are more tailored to your business and will increase revenue in the short term. Please check out our other resources or schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today. Here’s to an amazing, successful 2021 and beyond.