There’s no denying the fact that 2020 was extremely rough on many (if not most) businesses. For example, small business revenue is down since January. On top of this, Yelp data shows that 60% of business closures related to the pandemic are permanent

Probably, you were one of the business owners that spent a good portion of 2020 looking for ways to survive. But as the calendar turns to 2021, it’s time to focus on the pivots you can make for the better. Here are five that deserve your attention:

Focus More Marketing Resources Online

Businesses around the world have closed their doors to customers. Some will reopen; some won’t. But one thing holds true across the board: There’s never been a better time than now to invest more marketing resources online.

Gone are the days of driving business through local marketing, such as signage and billboards. People are looking for convenience, and this often means using the internet to gather information.

For example, maybe you’re the owner of a small boutique. In the past, you relied heavily on local marketing, word of mouth, and foot traffic to generate sales.

Now, roughly 50% of Google searches have local intent. If you want to be found online, you need to invest more time, money, and resources in being found online.

This means strategies such as:

  • Generating more high-quality content
  • Sharing more information on social media
  • Taking full advantage of email marketing
  • Focusing on search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Considering the benefits of pay per click advertising (PPC)

When you invest money online, you’re putting your brand in front of a large audience. This is how most people are finding your business, so it only makes sense to take steps to boost your presence.

Seek Ways to Cut Marketing Costs

Even with hopes that the pandemic is starting to slowly fade away, there are concerns among many business owners that 2021 will be a repeat of 2020. And that’s bad news in regards to maintaining a healthy marketing budget.

The first step in cutting costs is deciding what’s essential and what’s not. This is all about knowing where you’re achieving the greatest return on investment (ROI).

For example, if you’re winning big on social media but getting no return from email marketing, it may be time to shift resources.

As IM NewsWatch has reported, in the US and around the word, governments are focusing more attention on inclusion of people with disabilities in all parts of society, including access to the web. In=f you don’t already have a good grasp of the principles of inclusive web design, investing in web accessibility training classes could have a positive impact later this year. The more you and your staff understand how to remove barriers to your content, the greater your audience, and thus your potential revenues.

You have to personally decide what fits into your marketing budget, what doesn’t, and how to balance funds to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. 

Focus Heavily on Conversion Rate Optimization

With an industry average website conversion rate of 2.35% (2.35% of visitors convert into customers), it’s easy to see if you’re underperforming or outperforming your competitors (who are likely to have an about-average conversion rate). Even if you’re happy with past performance, 2021 is going to be a big year for improving conversion rate optimization.

You may be finding it difficult to grow your audience, prospect list, and sales during the pandemic. That’s all the more reason to focus on conversion rate optimization.

Driving more traffic to your site can take time. For now, your audience is your audience, so you must make the best of it. Small optimizations, such as tweaking content style and colors, can pay off in the long run.

For instance, if your website has a 3% conversion rate, three out of every 100 visitors, on average, will make a purchase. If your average order value is $100, 100 visitors to your website are good for $300 in sales. But what if you could bump your conversion rate to 4%? This would result in $400 in sales for every 100 visitors to your website. It’s easy to see how a small increase in conversion can add up over the long run.

You don’t necessarily need a larger audience to make more sales and generate more revenue. Make do with what you have by A/B testing the key elements of your website, tracking the results, and tweaking your strategy as applicable.

Dedication to Personalized Content

Personalization was the name of the game in 2020, and that’s going to be even truer in 2021 and beyond. Forget about the days of approaching every potential customer in the same manner. Personalization is more important than ever. It allows you to connect on a deeper level, which improves the odds of making a sale (or getting an opt-in, or other marketing goals).

Here are five statistics from Instapage that show just how important marketing personalization has become:

  • Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates
  • 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized
  • 88% of U.S. marketers reported seeing measurable improvements due to personalization, with more than half reporting a lift greater than 10% 
  • Lack of content relevancy generates 83% lower response rates in the average marketing campaign
  • 79% of organizations that exceeded revenue goals have a documented personalization strategy

Now, do you see why personalized content is no longer just an option? It’s a must if you want to make the most of your marketing efforts in 2021.

Consider Freelance Help

There are two primary reasons to consider hiring a freelancer: 

  • To save money when compared to the cost of hiring a full-time employee
  • To gain access to a specific skillset, especially one that requires significant expertise.

In 2020, many companies saw their revenues take a big hit. Subsequently, they had no choice but to reduce the size of their team. If your marketing team isn’t nearly as robust as it once was, hiring a freelancer could be the perfect middle ground.

You’re able to get the help you need, without all the overhead of hiring and managing a full-time employee. If you need access to a specific skill set—such as a writer or social media manager—you can get that with a freelancer.

It’s a leap that many companies are afraid to make. They’ve never worked with freelancers, so they worry about the process of doing so in the future. Throw this thinking out the window in 2021. It’s time for a new approach.

Are You Ready for 2021?

Most people — business owners or not — are excited to put 2020 and all its problems in the past. They’re looking forward to starting fresh in the new year. If this sounds familiar, don’t wait another day to consider the many pivots you can make in your marketing.

Agile leadership is more important today than ever before. A marketing leader who feels the “status quo” is good enough is likely to face the same troubles in 2021 that they had in 2020. Agility in the digital era means continuous innovation.

With so many emerging digital marketing tactics moving to the forefront, it’s not always easy to decide which ones deserve your attention. That’s why it’s imperative to give yourself enough time to compare your options and make informed decisions.

There’s no way of knowing what 2021 will throw at you and your marketing team, so the best thing you can do is keep track of growing trends and make changes as you see fit. Doing so will put you in the best possible position to succeed in the new year. It’s our goal at IM NewsWatch to make keeping up with marketing trends both simple and quick. We are glad to have you on this journey with us.

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