The Biggest Marketing Lessons of 2021 (And How to Use ‘Em in 2022)

Jan 13, 2022

After a turbulent 2020, we all probably hoped that 2021 would be a clean slate. (Please, just no more Tiger King.) But as we look back at the past year, it’s clear that we’re still trying to navigate these uncharted waters—especially folks marketing for small businesses.

To survive the pandemic in 2020, most companies were focused on simply getting their businesses online. According to Twilio, COVID-19 accelerated companies’ digital communications strategies by six years.

In 2021, with loads more online competition, the focus shifted to standing out online—to 40% of small businesses, that’s their biggest fish to fry in the coming years.

If you’re part of that 40%, we’ve got good news: You don’t have to “fry” these challenges alone. There are many new tactics and tools out there that can help you create marketing material that’ll lure and hook your online customers—and we’ve reeled in seven helpful posts that cover them here.

Thanks for the lessons, 2021. Here’s how we’ll use ‘em in 2022.

7 Marketing Trends You Gotta Know About For Your 2022 Strategy

1. More privacy regulations are on the horizon—here’s how to pivot your paid advertising strategy.

Digital privacy has been one of the hottest topics in 2021. The Apple iOS 14 update made headlines all year and for good reason. Users can now opt out of tracking across apps—heck, they’re invited to—which means you’ll be missing out on a lot of data to retarget your prospects.

And this isn’t the only privacy factor adding friction to your marketing. Web browsers are (or will be) blocking third-party cookies, making it difficult to track users across websites as well. Safari and Firefox already do so—and Google plans to follow by 2023

Privacy features are becoming the norm, which means you’ll have to further adjust your PPC campaigns. So get a step ahead. In this post, you’ll find five advertising hacks to help you tackle privacy restrictions.


2. Landing page strategy is shifting: What still works and what doesn’t?

We’ve helped marketers build landing pages for more than 10 years—but let me just say our tips and tricks are a wee bit different today. Yes, some still remain (stick to one CTA link, people), but recent conversion data has also uncovered new best practices—and a staggering amount of landing pages that don’t apply them.

For example, a jaw-dropping 2018 study showed that 29.5% of landing pages had more than 500 words of copy. That’s a lot to read! If these businesses had lowered their word count to fewer than 100, they could’ve joined the pages converting 50% higher. Oof.

That’s why we created this new landing page guide—it covers up-to-date landing page strategies that are proven to increase your ROI. Keep this trusty handbook in your back pocket. It’ll come in handy this year.


3. Online competition is becoming increasingly fierce. Here’s how you can make your landing page stand out.

We hate to say it, but there are businesses online selling the same thing as you. (Yes, we thought rollerblades for dogs was a unique idea too.) With 500,000 new web pages going live every day, there could be thousands of landing pages out there competing for the attention of your prospects. 

How do you veer them away from your competitors’ landing pages and towards yours? Through unique landing pages—like this interactive one by Jigsaw. It requires visitors to move their cursor to reveal the headline, which makes the message more memorable. Find more creative ideas (and examples) in the post.

Recommended additional reading: For more inspo, you can find 27 high-converting ecommerce landing page examples in the Ecommerce Lookbook.


4. Marketers are still making common landing page mistakes. Here’s what you need to avoid in 2022.

If you’ve ever researched how to create high-converting landing pages, you’ll find lots of things you should be doing. (One CTA, got it.) So you do them, publish your page, and its conversion rate falls flat. What gives?! 

Sometimes, the answers lie in what you shouldn’t be doing. Yes, you could be checking off all the boxes—including common landing page mistakes

Like, are you directing all your prospects to one landing page? ‘Cause that could be the culprit to a lower conversion rate. According to HubSpot research, companies with 31 to 40 landing pages get seven times as many leads as businesses with only one to five of ‘em. Businesses with more than 40 landing pages create 12 times more leads than the folks with one to five. Woah.

We outline three more common mistakes in this blog post (and more importantly, how to make ‘em right).


5. Businesses are beginning to leverage AI copywriter tools to save time and pump out more content.

We all know that great copywriting is essential to stand out in the marketing world. The copy that scores the most clicks is unique and personalized—but, uh, that can be easier said than done. (Thanks, writer’s block.)

You’ve probably heard of AI-powered copywriting—maybe even considered trying it out yourself—but have some hesitations. (Can a robot really write human-like copy?) While these tools aren’t perfect, Forbes Agency Council asserts that they’re among the top 14 ways marketers can leverage AI in 2022. 

As a copywriter myself, I like to look at them as my assistants. They create the bulk of the content, then I can swoop in to punch it up and give it my own personal flair—which exponentially shrinks the time I spend on crafting up copy all by myself.

(Pretty cool, huh? Give our free AI copywriter a try to see it in action.)


6. Video marketing is great for many things—but 2021 data shows it won’t do much for your landing pages.

Video content is a marketer’s best friend. We’ve all heard the stats—video marketing is more engaging and often leads to a higher return on investment. So adding video to your landing pages would increase conversions, right?

Wrong. In 2021, we sifted through 35,000 landing pages published between late 2020 and early 2021 and found that videos do not boost your conversion rates. In some cases, they could actually harm them.

This graph here shows that the vast majority of pages—with or without video—have similar conversion rates. In some industries, like education, the inclusion of video could significantly reduce page performance. You can find more graphs comparing video performance for social media and mobile traffic sources—they’re extra juicy!—in this post.


7. The most successful marketers are working with AI—here’s how you can too.

Okay, we’re going to stop being so coy. AI is your ticket to competing in 2022. We’re not the only ones who believe it. According to Salesforce Research’s State of Marketing Study, marketers’ use of AI soared between 2018 and 2020, jumping from 29% to 84%. If you’re not using it, your competitors are

And that’s why we pivoted our platform to include all sorts of AI-powered marketing tools (hello, Smart Traffic!)—so you can work with them to boost your ROI. We call this approach “conversion intelligence.” Big brands are already using AI to their advantage. In 2017, Netflix reduced the number of people switching to rivals and saved $1 billion by using machine learning to make personalized recommendations. While we’re happy for you, Netflix, it’s time we level the playing field for small businesses.


Small Business Marketers: It’s Time to Set Sail

Sure, the pandemic may still be around this year—but with these tips and tools in your marketing kit, it’ll be smooth sailing even in the roughest waters. You’ll know just what to do to make your marketing stand out from the crowd and wow your customers. Get your pan ready, this fish is ready to fry in butter.

The question is, will you do it? 

Yes, AI-powered marketing tools can seem intimidating, but in reality, most of ‘em are intuitive and straightforward. Trying these new strategies, approaches, and tools is the perfect place to get your feet wet. 

And might I add, when you take the leap and work with AI, you’ll begin to see results. Don’t take our word for it. There are plenty of small business marketers who are already succeeding. Daniel Parscale from CD Baby used Unbounce’s AI-powered optimization tools to get a double-digit lift in his conversion rates. Mats Moy quintupled his consulting business’s growth by using machine learning to automatically optimize visitors’ path to conversion. And now you can too. 

So give it a shot—there’s a free trial with your name on it.

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