15-point checklist for planning your 2021 digital marketing strategy

12/18/2020 |


2020 was a doozy of a year. While businesses scrambled to shift their market, go virtual, or pivot entirely, the importance of digital marketing became ever more clear. As you prepare your agency for the New Year, you’ll need a solid game plan that will make 2021 a great year for both you and your clients!

Follow this 15-point checklist to develop a winning digital marketing strategy for your clients.

1. Evaluate Your 2020 Results

We know you may have missed your goals and benchmarks this year, and that’s okay. Take the time to review your analytics and assess your progress, and guide your clients to do the same. What strategies had the best ROI? Did you notice that you generated more conversions from a specific channels? Create an end-of-the-year report, then develop new goals and tactics for 2021.

2. Look at New Opportunities

Many of our clients found themselves making major changes to deal with the COVID era. As the saying goes, one door closes, another opens. Help your clients find the silver lining by identifying new channels, products, and markets to emphasize in their 2021 digital marketing strategy. Would it be worth their while to make more video content? (Probably.) Can they nurture more leads with informative webinars or Zoom events?

3. Make Goals for 2021

If you haven’t yet implemented SMART goals as part of your digital marketing strategy development, now is the time. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This concept is more than a philosophical exercise: it’s a highly productive framework for both you and your clients to map out growth and perform the necessary work.

4. Conduct Market Research

Market research is always part of the early stages of strategy development, but it should be re-done every year if not more often. This is especially necessary if your client pivoted or shifted their offerings during 2020. As businesses grow, it’s well worth revisiting market research. Is the target audience the same? Are there new competitor on the market?

5. Evaluate New Platforms

2020 was a good year for social media, with Snapchat and TikTok continuing to gain traction, LinkedIn expanding its features, and Facebook/Instagram becoming more integrated Help your clients evaluate their current social media presence. Is it worth their efforts to continue advertising on Facebook? Should they pour time and resources into TikTok? Is their content performing well?

6. Audit Content

You know that outdated content, tone-deaf tweets, and broken links can seriously damage your clients’ reputation as well as their SEO. As part of a 2021 digital marketing strategy, audit all digital channels to identify content your team can remove, update, correct, or repurpose into something new.

7. Create a Content Bank

If 2020 taught us one thing, it’s that content truly is king. People in lockdown have been consuming digital content at unprecedented rates. Help your clients prepare to keep up with demand by building a content bank. This is a good time to help them establish thought-leadership topics, content pillars, and lead magnets to grow their audience — not to mention plug-and-play social content!

8. Plan a Content Schedule

It’s no longer as simple as planning out marketingMonday” or “#ThrowbackThursday” for your clients. Today’s consumers expect an exciting mix of content, including live streams and other virtual events, helpful videos, and interactive content. Static content just won’t do, but you also don’t want to play it by ear. Help your clients plan out their overall content schedule for all their campaigns, events, promotions, and community-building content.

9. Build a 2021 Hashtag Vault

Hashtags are the key to discoverability, especially on Instagram, but your clients need the right combination. It’s up to your agency to know the list of banned tags (some of which are surprisingly common/innocent), which tags resonate with the target audience, and how to choose the best high-volume/low-competition tags for your clients’ content. Do your research now and be prepared to tweak the hashtag vault regularly.

10. Prepare an SEO Strategy

Experts say that we should continue to see an emphasis on high-value content, local listings, and voice searches as the decade progresses. Make sure that your client’s SEO strategy is ready for anything: prioritize local SEO, keyword/topic research, and content that is optimized for Featured Snippets and voice search.

11. Develop an Analytics Strategy

Are your clients getting the data they need from basic analytics? Sure, each platform provides native insights, but integration is the name of the game for digital marketing. Make sure that your clients’ digital marketing strategy includes a plan for measuring results and analyzing data. Check out third-party tools such as Sprout Social, Meltwater, etc. for social listening, advanced analytics, and robust reporting.

12. Re-think Your Tools

How much are you and your client’s spending on SaaS “solutions” that just drain the budget? With so many project management, CRM, and content management tools on the market, it’s time to look at new options. If your current system works for you, great. But if your complicated ecosystem of Trello boards, Asana projects, Google docs, Mailchimp campaigns, etc. is getting too expensive, look for a tool that can eliminate redundancy and streamline your process.

13. Look for Ways to Automate Tasks

Following from #12….if you’re still not automating your marketing, you’re doing it wrong. There is absolutely no need to keep doing manual social media posts, followup emails, etc. Look at tools such as HootSuite, Later, HubSpot, etc. depending on your clients’ needs. We don’t know what’s in store for 2021, so by freeing up your clients’ time for customer service and human interactions, you’ll make everything a little easier and happier.

14. Let Go of Bad Tactics and Topics

Throughout this checklist, look for ways to trim the fat. If your client’s PPC campaigns aren’t netting enough qualified leads, help them reshape them — or shift more resources to content marketing. If you’ve been trying to restore your client’s former glory on Instagram but can’t recover their followers, it may be time to start a new account. Don’t be afraid to treat 2020 as a reset — and 2021 as an opportunity for better tactics and new growth.

15. Evaluate the Budget

Once you’ve completed all the steps above, you should have a clear picture of the goals, tactics, and schedule that will best work for your client. Now, it’s time to streamline their budget. In 2020, it quickly got expensive to run emergency campaigns or push out ads to new digital markets. With lessons learned under your belt, you can help your clients prioritize their spending and start recoup their losses from 2020.


There’s a lot to do before 2021, but with this checklist in hand, you can help your clients prepare for digital marketing success. Remember, there’s always an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of 2020 — and look forward to exciting new horizons!

Need help crafting digital marketing strategies that deliver results? Reach out to Beard Marketing Solutions and let’s ring in the New Year with marketing that works!

Go Beyond The Blog

Get your copy of our free ebook “15-POINT CHECKLIST FOR PLANNING YOUR 2021 DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY” and get even more information.

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