It’s been a tough year. The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic upended people’s lives and forced them to change their typical behaviors. Many consumers are working, eating, playing, and shopping from the safety of their homes. According to Deloitte, only 41% of Black Friday shoppers in the U.S. said they’d shop in-store in 2020, compared with 61% in 2019. People are avoiding brick-and-mortar stores, leading to massive growth in e-commerce.

Companies have noticed. Organizations that were lagging behind have quickly undergone digital transformations in order to meet consumers where they are. Every day, marketers reach out to audiences via social media, email marketing, and other online channels. So, while more people are online than ever before, competition for their attention is at an all-time high.

Unfortunately, this creates a lot of clutter. People are flooded with dozens — if not hundreds — of messages and advertisements daily, and they don’t have time to sift through each one. So how can you break through? The answer is simple: by updating your company’s digital strategy for 2021.

In order to separate your business from the rest, you must make customers the center of your digital marketing strategy. This means you’ll need to overcome fresh pain points, meet new needs, and cater to a mid-pandemic audience. Now isn’t the time to play it safe and rely on the same tactics you used in the past. In fact, outdated strategies will likely harm, not help, your company. What you need now is a bold customer-centric inbound marketing strategy.

Digital Strategies to Break Through the Noise

The key to capturing audience attention in 2021 is creativity, empathy, and precision. When audiences scroll through their inboxes and digital feeds, they want to see unique, relevant content that speaks to them. Here’s how you can make your company stand out online:

1. Find out how where your ideal customers get information.

Spend time observing your target audience. Where are they consuming content? Are they asking Alexa questions, scrolling through social media, or searching websites on Google? Once you determine a pattern, you can promote your content on those specific channels. This ensures that your hard work is being put to good use. Also, don’t be afraid to embrace new platforms (like TikTok) and updates (like Instagram Reels). Early adopters gain an advantage with customers because their competition has yet to catch up.

2. Prioritize effectiveness over volume.

You need to target your audience at the right time with the right message; you can’t mass-produce content and hope something sticks. Today’s customers have their choice of emails, videos, photos, and posts, so they will only consume the messages that speak to them. That’s why it’s important to understand your audience’s specific pain points, wants, and needs. The pandemic has changed a lot of consumer behavior, so you may want to rethink what your audience wants to see right now.

3. Work on conversion optimization.

No matter what channel your audience frequents, it’s likely they’ll end up on your website at some point. Your website should look good and load quickly, but, ultimately, it’s the user experience that determines whether consumers will make a purchase or not. To improve your conversation rate, you’ll need to identify what prevents visitors from buying. Once you know what the problem is, you can ideate possible solutions, such as adding lead flows to specific webpages or optimizing high-performing blog posts with calls to action.

The best way to surpass other companies in 2021 is by updating your digital strategy and truly connecting with audiences. As you follow these three steps, download this inbound campaign checklist for a framework to help solve your marketing problems.