The past year was tough on everyone. It brought absolute chaos to the global economy, with the small business being especially affected by the numerous restrictions and safety measures.
With the COVID-19 epidemic still raging across the world, you might wonder have the rules changed? Is it going to be impossible to run a successful business and to develop new marketing strategies?
The short answer is no, it is not impossible. However, it is not without its challenges. Because the fact is, all the industries have gone through an intense period and the consequences are long-term.
Here you can read about an essential aspect of running your own business and how to deal with the uncertainty that comes with it.
That way, you can be prepared for the new business venture in the year 2021, minimizing the potential risks, optimizing the process, and increasing profit.
New trends and effective marketing strategies
Once you handled technical things such as registering the company, determining the budget and alternative financial sources, finding the location, etc it is time to determine your target audience and tailor the marketing strategy accordingly.
Due to the constant development of modern technology digital transformation of the business world is inevitable. That means that marketing strategies are ever-changing as well.
To keep up with those changes and follow the new marketing trends requires around the clock investment of both time and money.
It can sound overwhelming but it definitely isn’t an impossible task. And the reward is going to be well worth it.
Target audience: Gen Z vs Millennials
While for many marketers Millennials still make up a significant portion of their target audience, they are slowly being replaced by Generation Z as the main source of potential customers.
This shift is happening not only because Generation Z is coming of age (or rather has been for the past few years now), but mostly because they are the generation that grew up in the digital era.
You can already see the link can you?
With marketing strategies evolving to a more online-based form, Generation Z is more likely to respond to these new approaches.
They are also a more diverse audience which can be more challenging for marketers but provide them with more opportunities as well.
Expand and diverse
When the time is right (and only then) start thinking about branching out and diversifying the customer pool.
This process needs to be done gradually and with a lot of thought behind it so don’t rush into it. Take that step only once your company is fully ready to adapt and expand to a more global approach.
Until then, it is better to have a solid, more targeted marketing strategy that is focussed on a specific group of people (or even just a fragment of your desired audience), than to try to reach as many customers as possible on a wider level.
Different social media platforms have been thriving during this period affected by COVID-19 and they are more relevant than ever as a part of an efficient marketing strategy.
But it not as simple as it sounds, you have to know how to approach it properly in order to achieve the desired effect. There are some things to keep in mind when establishing a social media presence for your business.
Build a brand
It isn’t just about one product or service that you are offering to your customers. It is about the story. Creating a cohesive brand that people can respond to and relate to can make such a difference.
We all like to hear a good story and people tend to choose a brand that they can identify with, rather than a big, soulless corporation.
So, paying attention to details as well as the larger picture (the image of your business as a whole) will guarantee a larger reach and a stronger bond with your customers.
By forming a brand that people can trust, your customers are more likely to recommend your company to others, while staying a loyal consumer themselves.
Improve on your video and picture game
Visual aids such as pictures and videos are there to boost up engagement but it needs to be a well-thought-out plan.
Photos on your company’s social media account have to be carefully selected and curated in a way that tells a story about your brand and creates a strong and recognizable visual identity.
Video can be an even more direct method of conveying a message.
To present your company in an interesting manner you can use so-called explainer videos.
And if you are new to this and not sure how or where to start, try a video proposal template to help you out at the beginning.
By making an imposing video (and doing that the right way) you are reaching a larger audience, attracting more customers, and overall making a bigger impact on the online sphere.
Think apps such as Zoom and Instagram lives.They are free and engaging, a perfect way to connect with your audience without them leaving the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Not only that you are presenting your brand in a fun and appealing video form, but you are doing it on the spot. No need for pre-recorded video scenarios here!
The fact that the video is not edited in any way, but it is live streaming, is something that will strengthen the trust and loyalty customers have for your company.
Establish a community
Instead of seeing other businesses as strictly your competitors, try looking at it from a different angle.
Connect with other brands that are in a similar niche as your company and establish a strong online community.
Not only are you supporting each other by exchanging experiences and advice but it is more likely that your page is going to be suggested to their followers (and vice versa).
Customer service has to be on point
In the instant culture we live in today, social media platforms have become a crucial part of marketing.
It is also a new way to manage your customer service.
Yes, email and phone service are still used as an official customer service way of communication.
But, phones usually have work hours and emails don’t feel as personal as a direct message.
And customers like to know that they can communicate directly with their favorite brand.
Being on social media implies pretty much around the clock availability. With instant accessibility, customers are expecting fast replies that come with it.
And there is another aspect of DMs that makes them superior to emails. Unlike a generic, automated email, with DM there is a more tangible sense that there is a person on the other side, typing the message.
Still, the best approach is to have well-rounded customer service on multiple platforms, covering all the bases.
To accomplish all of that sounds like quite a task, doesn’t it? Luckily there are certain software (depending on the channel you are using for customer support) to help you stay on top of everything at all times.
With poor customer service, you are risking losing followers. According to various research, almost half of consumers claim that they would unquestionably unfollow a brand for unsatisfying customer service.
That is a risk that no brand can afford!
Keep it cohesive: Another important thing to have in mind is the tone of voice.
The way you write posts and captions and the way you are replying to customers has to match the voice of your brand.
For first-time business owners, the concept of search engine optimization (SEO) could sound slightly intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. Done properly, it is an efficient and affordable marketing strategy.
In case you are not entirely sure what search engine optimization actually is, it is a method of manipulating the chosen search engine and its algorithms to recommend your page to consumers as an optimal solution to their inquiries.
The main thing you need to focus on are keywords (or rather search queries). Carefully chosen keywords are what will boost the visibility of your page and its ranking on Google (or some other search engine).
Keep in mind, that in this instance, quality is more important than quality. Overcrowding the search engine with a large number of keywords can accomplish the opposite effect.
Additional note: However, attracting potential customers to your website is only half of the job.
In order to make them into actual spending customers and prompt them to come back, you need to collect their information.
By doing so, you are able to adjust your content and make offers that they would be interested in.
All of that requires some extensive work that you don’t have to do on your own. There are certain lead generation tools that can make that task a whole lot easier.
Even though it might have lost some of its previous significance, email marketing is still a valuable marketing strategy, especially when it is combined with other ones.
But it is important to mention that the form of it needed to change over time, and a generic template-based email just won’t do the trick anymore.
Your customers expect more!
Just like you have to pay attention to the voice of your brand, you need to personalize your business emails to match that tone of voice and the need of every individual customer.
There are several factors to gather and analyze (with online tools already mentioned in the previous segment) in order to customize the emails:
- history of online purchases, etc.
Around the clock availability
Another way to maintain an online presence at all times is to sync up all your data on various devices.
Since mobile phones are rapidly replacing larger and bulkier devices, most of your customers are managing their online purchases on their phones.
That causes the necessity for a constant availability on your company’s part as well. In other words, it would be a smart idea to be able to access not just email and social media, but also all the other data via your phone.
For exactly that purpose, there are tools such as Chrome Kiosk Mode that could provide you with everything you need in the palm of your hand.
Integrated online-offline customer experience
The last year was hard for all businesses but it additionally proved how vulnerable are physical stores with no online presence. At the same time, online purchases skyrocketed.
However, actual physical stores are not completely doomed (they just have a long way to recover) as a lot of customers still prefer buying in-store rather than online.
For that reason, it is important to take full advantage of increased digitization while also maintaining the same level of service in stores.
Imagine if their online and in-store experiences are not in sync! That would surely reflect negatively on your company’s reputation.
To optimize performance, improve communication within your company, maximize productivity, and overall keep everything in check both online and offline you can use task management tools. These tools are minimizing the risks of any discrepancies, making sure your customers’ needs are met.
A marketing strategy that is adjusted to a more focused, locally-based level is not a novelty concept in the business world.
Narrowing the geolocation could help you deliver a personalized message about your brand to a smaller group of individuals that are more likely to spend money on products or services in their local area.
Yes, this highly-focused approach only targets a selected set of customers instead of casting a wider net, but that means the marketing spend is reduced and valuable budget is not wasted on those prospects that are unlikely to result in a sale.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a strong connection and support of your local community.
But, for the time being, instead of visiting your local market and mingling amongst the potential customers, focus on the online approach to local marketing strategy.
Once the situation with the coronavirus improves, consider doing just that, presenting your company directly to your local community on some sort of local event.
Because there are certain strength and trustworthiness that comes with a word of mouth recommendation that no online strategy can match.
As you can see marketing strategies are quite diverse, but they all serve a similar purpose, to aid you in attracting and retaining customers, growing your business, boosting up your sales, and increasing profit.
To make sure you are covering all the bases, the best move is to combine different strategies rather than focussing on just one.
By implementing your marketing strategy in such a manner, you are expanding your reach across multiple platforms.
And remember, as banal as it sounds, reach only generates more reach.
This article 6 Ideas for Your 2021 Small Business Marketing Strategy appeared first on Entrepreneurship In A Box by Dragan Sutevski
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