The pandemic has changed the course of every single industry, pushing some forward to greater growth (such as e-commerce), while stifling others (such as hospitality). For some, the health crisis has meant a greater need to set out on their own, so many people have turned to entrepreneurship as a way to establish some level of financial security. Then again, existing small businesses are facing growing competition in local and global markets alike.
Now that customers spend so much of their time online when engaging with companies, digital marketing has become more essential than ever before. Brands both new and established need to elevate their digital output, implement smarter, more customized strategies, and come up with creative ideas on how to engage customers to retain their trust in the midst of this crisis. Your small business needs to look to tried and tested marketing as well as new and emerging marketing trends. Here are a few you should focus on in 2021!
Social media engagement on the rise
Building genuine connections with your customers is best achieved with a strong social media strategy. Now, when so many people are dealing with so much stress and pain, your role as a small business can be to help create a digital community where your audience feels they are not just seeing pushy ads from another business, but where they can interact with you regularly and feel like part of that community.
Use social media to create engaging, educational, and uplifting posts. Selling will come as a result of creating relationships, not the other way around. In 2021, social media will be used as a way to help people bond and build closeness, especially in the era when social distancing is expected to stay relevant for a good, long while.
Ongoing content output and optimization
Content is not just a vessel for SEO. Even though it’s crucial to establish your ranking, the primary purpose of your content should be to provide valuable advice, information, and guidance for your customers. This kind of “free” value creates a certain reputation around your brand. With the right kind of content, you can become the leading authority figure in your niche.
Make sure that your content for 2021 covers relevant trends, customer pain points, and valuable information. The more you can give, and the more you’re able to connect with your customers with your content, the easier it becomes to establish trust, loyalty, and repeat business.
Double down on professional SEO
With more players to compete with and more customers turning to digital sales and communication, your small business needs every advantage to retain its position in the SERPs. To stay competitive, small companies are relying on the resources and expertise provided by professionals, to implement the latest in SEO and preserve their ranking. Search engines constantly change their requirements, and it’s vital to create a strategy that accommodates such changes and updates.
For example, experts like AdVisible have noticed an uptake in voice search among customers, which has affected how Google and other engines rank content. In turn, that means that you as a small business need to optimize with new keywords in mind to show up for the customers who research your product using voice assistants.
Empower customer-made content
A customer-centric mindset is becoming the norm for brand-building and for digital marketing. What that means is that you will need to encourage and empower customers to actively take part in creating your brand experience. Yes, influencers will remain relevant in inspiring customer trust, but now more than ever, customers should be the ones in the spotlight.
From your brand’s perspective, that means starting more social media competitions, asking customers to write reviews and testimonials, encouraging them to take part in polls and surveys, etc.
Customers’ blogs, videos, and hashtags with a photo of using your product or service can also be of great help. It instantly creates a sense of community among your customers and those considering the option of buying from you, when you leverage authentic content made by those who love your brand.
Elevate your customer service efforts
One great advantage your small business has over larger competitors is the ability to interact on a much more personal level. With a well-managed social media presence, a strong email newsletter campaign, and quality content output, you have a wonderful basis to give your customers the attention they need every day. The pandemic has pushed more people to want more direct customer support, help in making purchase decisions, and one-on-one interactions to make up for the lack of in-store visits.
To create the same level of personalization and engagement, you need a team of customer support agents that know how to communicate your brand message consistently. With a high influx of customer queries, you might also want to consider AI chatbots on your site, to take over a portion of those less complex responses. Support and service will be vital in 2021 to make people feel valued, heard, and relevant in your brand’s eyes.
Some might use aggressive advertising as a primary source of leads, while others tend to trust their word-of-mouth to keep their small business going. In 2021, balance is key. You will need to find out where your customers spend their time and then make sure your communication on those platforms is on-brand and customer-centric. People want to feel valued and taken care of, and not experience another stressful interaction in the midst of this chaos. How you position yourself can make that happen, as long as you recognize what marketing strategies make the most sense for your own small business.