What a year! 2020 presented challenges that caught many small business owners unaware. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the economic landscape and entrepreneurs are pivoting. No matter what products or services you provide, there are strategies you can put in place to help your business rebuild in 2021. Here are ideas to consider as you look at your marketing budget.
1. Practice Transparency
It’s no secret businesses are struggling. Many consumers are committed to helping small businesses during this time so honesty is the best policy. If you’ve had layoffs, production slowdowns, or distribution shifts, let your customers know that you’re up and running and ready to serve their needs. You can spread the word through grassroots marketing like postcards or flyers, through email or newsletter distribution, and with website updates. You can include behind-the-scenes images, videos, or stories to help your customers feel connected with your business.
2. Take Advantage of the Calendar
In addition to the usual holidays on the calendar, there are plenty of creative observations you can take advantage of. Special days and observances can help spark your creativity and ideas for customer communication, promotions, and sales. Some interesting observations include National Hobby Month, Hugging day, Coffee Lovers Day, National Boss Day, Small Business Week, and more.
Do an online search to see if there are hashtags being used for specific days so you can incorporate them into social media posts. This is an easy way to get new followers or increase engagement. Keep our calendar handy this year when planning marketing strategies:
Marketing Calendar 2021: When to Promote Your Business.
3. Have a Sale
From Black Friday through Christmas, consumers are hit over the head with all kinds of sales. News flash - your customers will never grow weary of a good discount! Don’t stop after the traditional holiday season in December. Use sales to attract new customers and engage customers who purchased from you in the previous year. Here are more ideas you can use to increase your bottom line: Tips and Tricks to Increase Sales for Your Small Business.
Auditing your website should be a regular task. Make sure your site is SEO optimized, easy-to-use and mobile friendly. If you are producing content for your site, are you regularly updating, using keywords correctly and writing in a clear, concise style?
Here is a comprehensive article with tips and examples to help you get started: How to Improve Your Website: 15 Ways to Fix Your Site Immediately.
Your budget may be tight at this time but if you have some wiggle room, consider donating to an organization in need. Explore high-profile opportunities to give away a product or service. Churches, temples, schools and other organizations often have silent auction nights or similar events to raise money. Dress up your offering with a creative gift basket or other display. Is there a fun run or other type of athletic event in your town? Donate water bottles branded with your logo. If there’s a local street fair, hand out balloons to the kids and coupons to the adults. (Who doesn’t love a helium balloon and a coupon?)
5. Start Networking
Networking is always a good idea for a small business owner. Check out local business groups, your Chamber of Commerce or trade shows to get involved and meet new people. Meetings might be online as the pandemic continues but that shouldn’t stop you from engaging and making meaningful connections with other business owners or potential customers.
The SmartBiz Blog has a post to help get you going: How to Turn Every Event into a Networking Opportunity.
6. Step Up Social Media Activities
For small businesses, the ever-changing social media landscape can be overwhelming. For easy-to-digest information, review this post from the SmartBiz Blog: Small Business Social Media Tips. Social Media advertising can be micro-targeted to reach the audience you need. You don’t have to break the bank either. Putting just a little money behind a post can get you the attention your business needs.
Securing the manpower to keep on top of social media might be difficult. If you need help, consider hiring a freelancer: Small Business Marketing Tip: How to Hire a Social Media Strategist.