The new year is always a good time to get a fresh start. For businesses, 2020 was all about keeping up, reacting quickly, and trying to stay afloat. Though the pandemic will inevitably follow us into 2021, you can prepare by building a marketing strategy that positions your business for long-term growth.
Get ahead in 2021 with these eight tips for rethinking your marketing strategy.
1. Apply What You Learned in 2020
Chances are your business had to pivot your marketing in response to the pandemic. Maybe you launched a content campaign or built up your online presence through digital advertising. Whatever new ideas you tried, now is the time to analyze your results. Mine your data to understand what tactics worked best and what messages resonated most with your audiences, then carry them through into your 2021 marketing plan.
2. Refresh Your Branding
Even in a normal year, brands can shift and change as the business grows. With all the uncertainty in 2020, your brand likely evolved to meet the challenges. Take a close look at your branding to see if it still represents your brand values, your business, and what you have to offer. If not, take time in 2021 to give your branding a refresh to help you reconnect with your audiences.
3. Revisit Your Target Audiences
Just as your branding may be due for a refresh, your target audiences are also worth a second look. How we do business has changed, which could mean your customer base has changed too.
Perhaps you offered a new product or service that caters to an entirely different audience, or your existing customers took advantage of expansions in your product line. Find out by looking at your sales data from the past year and identifying common characteristics among your top customers. Once you determine who your target audiences should be, you can customize your marketing efforts to speak to their values and interests.
4. Focus on Building Trust
Trust is the foundation of customer loyalty, and now more than ever, loyalty is essential for a business’s success. That’s why in 2021, most of your marketing efforts should be focused on building trust and strengthening relationships with your customers.
Content marketing offers an opportunity to do just that. Content comes in many forms, but it all boils down to giving your audience what they’re looking for. Whether that’s education, entertainment, inspiration, or solutions to their biggest challenges, putting out regular, relevant content will demonstrate your brand’s value and expertise, giving your customers a reason to return again and again.
5. Personalize Your Campaigns
Personalization is not just “nice to have”—it’s an expectation. If your marketing messages aren’t relevant to the recipient, they are more likely to be ignored or deleted. By leveraging your customer data, you can create highly targeted content for both digital and print.
Here are some quick wins in personalization:
- Align the messaging to your audience’s interests, values, and needs.
- Use images that reflect who your audience is. Demographics are important, but remember to focus on other characteristics too, such as lifestyles, activities, and locations.
- Make suggestions or recommendations based on past activity.
- Visualize data in an infographic, like a customer’s history or involvement with your business over the past year.
6. Create Brand Experiences
Gone are the days when marketing was a one-way conversation. Now there are so many ways to engage your customers with your brand. In 2021, try your hand at some of these marketing techniques.
- Develop interactive content that fosters engagement, such as videos, quizzes, or games.
- Spark a conversation and empower users to respond through comments and direct messages.
- Curate user-generated content to add authenticity to your brand, such as customer photos, reviews, and testimonials.
- Go above and beyond expectations by sending personalized packages to complement your virtual initiatives.
- Create immersive brand experiences with an experiential marketing approach.
7. Incorporate Print into Your Marketing Strategy
If you’ve been focusing your marketing efforts primarily on digital platforms, the new year presents an opportunity to re-examine the value of print marketing for your business. Print grabs attention and allows you to create memorable touchpoints in the customer journey. It also helps you sidestep the challenge of digital fatigue by reaching consumers in a different medium. Plus, print can bolster your digital marketing efforts by driving traffic to your website, social media pages, apps, or other online channels.
8. Ramp Up Your Online Presence
Your website is still one of your brand’s best marketing tools. While other digital channels are great for engagement, your website is where customers will go to learn more about your business and to make purchases.
First and foremost, you want your website to be optimized for search engines so people can find it. SEO is an ongoing process; it’s a good idea to regularly evaluate your content and address any technical issues with your site before they impact your rankings.
But beyond that, take time early in the year to make updates to your content depending on how your business has shifted during the pandemic. Does your site include information about new products or services you offer? Does it reflect your new hours and operating procedures? Is it easy for users to find how to contact you? If not, these are some quick changes to make to your website to ensure a more user-friendly experience.
Most of All, Stay Agile in 2021
While we’re all hoping for a resolution and return to normal life in 2021, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Make sure that any marketing plans you put in place are still nimble and flexible, so your business can adapt quickly to unexpected changes.