It is safe to say that 2020 will be a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. We have seen a lot of press coverage about household names struggling and going into administration. But there isn’t much focus on the SME’s who have had to make difficult decisions regarding their businesses.
It is a well-known fact that marketing is usually one of the first business functions to go when hard times hit, but history has shown that this is the downfall of many businesses. Without marketing, people will quickly forget that your business exists. Your competitors are probably having the same conversations as you about budgets and if they cut their marketing budget and you carry on promoting yourself then your products or services are more likely to be noticed. Let’s look at what you can do to get ahead of your competition in 2021.
SEO for your personal brand
People buy from people so take some time to build your personal brand and become known as an expert in your field. This is separate from your business’s brand but it will have a big impact long term. Post on your personal Linkedin profile regularly, tell people what you are doing, share good news and relate to your audience – if something happens that is relevant to your market then post about it. Comment on other people’s posts, write articles on Linkedin.
There are a lot of other things you can do to build your personal brand like writing content, get a press release in the media, give free hints and tips where you can. Whilst these won’t make you immediate sales it will help build your reputation as an expert.
A lot of businesses use social media as a sales tool rather than a brand awareness tool. They post on there every day with the call to action is ‘buy this now’ then they don’t get any engagement. For 2021, accept that social media might not get you leads or sales but it will help you build your brand.
When you are writing your posts make sure they do one of the following: inform, educate or entertain. This will help with your engagement levels.
One of the good things to come out of lockdown is that all the networking events went online. A lot of them have decided to keep it that way for 2021, so take advantage of as many of these as possible. Whilst you might not meet new customers at these events, you will meet people who you might be able to collaborate with and people who may be able to refer business to you.
The key to a good marketing strategy is storytelling. Don’t forget that storytelling has been a human pastime since the stone age – we love a good story and a story is much more memorable than facts or statistics.
The story you tell might be about your business, yourself or it could be your customers’ story. Think about how you want customers to react to the story, do you want them to laugh or cry? If you can create strong emotion with your audience then this will create a connection between them and you.
The customer journey on your website
Take some time to look at your website and make sure that your customer journey is getting you conversions. If you have analytics installed then this will show you what areas of the website you need to work on.
For example, if your call to action is to fill in a form then make sure that the journey to get to the form is clear. You either need to have a button that links to the form or a form at the bottom of the page.
Remember that marketing strategies are not a one size fits all, what works for someone else might not work for your business. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and during those quiet periods focus on other elements of your strategy such as public relations, video marketing or content.