7 Marketing Tips for 2021 – Growing your small business during COVID-19

7 min read
28 January 2021

Everything there is to say about COVID-19 and 2020 has already been said. So, we won’t. While some jobs have gone and some businesses have closed, there’s many more who’ve weathered the storm. 

With the new year already in full swing, there’s once again an air of optimism. It may be cautious, but it’s still optimistic.

The team at Kelly+Partners want you to be better off. To step into the new year with your best foot forward. Here are our best marketing tips to help you and your small business achieve this and make the most of 2021.

Maybe you’ve dusted off those shelved 2020 marketing strategies. Or perhaps you’re thinking about trying some new things – let’s face it, there’s been some pretty creative marketing right throughout the past twelve months. Look at the way restaurants and other food outlets have pivoted, not to mention some of our client spotlights

However you decide to market yourself, remember you only have to do one thing at a time. Pace yourself. Don’t become overwhelmed by trying to do everything all at once. One thing is perfectly fine, so think about what will give your business the biggest push and start from there. 

1. Identify your opportunities for quick wins

Do you know what your competitors are doing well at online? Are you regularly monitoring their website, social media and digital marketing activities? Find the balance between competing against your competitors in areas you think you can improve on, while also finding areas that your competitors may not have found yet!

Think your competitor is dominating Instagram but isn't paying attention to their Google listing? Seize the opportunity to gather Google reviews, improve your Google photos and update your location-pack details! Ranking in the Google Pack is one of the most valuable ways of acquiring new leads online.

2. Get to know your audience and your customers

Every business on the planet that can be online, is now online. And they’re all competing for customers and their dollars. This is why you need to have a thorough understanding of who your customer is and what services they need. We’ll be mentioning websites, SEO and social media later but before any of that, you need to understand your core target audience. 

Extract all the customer data you have and utilise it to your best advantage. A great way to start is by learning how to understand your website analytics and traffic - who is coming to your website, what are they looking for and how long is it taking them to find what they’re after?  

Another important question to find out is where do your customers exist online? After all, if your customers are all on LinkedIn, don’t waste time marketing on Instagram. One way you can look to find this out is check out your website’s Google Analytics stats. Here, you’ll be able to look where you are acquiring website traffic from. You could also consider adding a question to your contact form, or as part of an initial phone call screen, to ask clients or customers to let you know how they found out about your business. This will  give you a better idea of where your leads are coming from. 

Do your customers want to chat to you? Set up a calendar where they can directly schedule appointments. Online scheduling also helps you manage your time. That’s a win/win right there. There are lots of apps and online platforms that can assist with your online scheduling. So it’s worth checking out what options are available to determine which tool will work best for your business needs. 

3. Freshen up your online content

There’s no denying the whole world went online in 2020. In some months, it was literally the only way we could conduct business. People took to social media to stay connected which saw platforms like Zoom skyrocket. 

For many businesses, this meant the stark realisation that their online content wasn’t up to scratch. Websites were a bit messy. Customers weren’t quite sure what you offered. Contact details were out of date. Social media wasn’t engaging, or you were focussed on the wrong channels for your business.

Content is more than just the business basics. It helps your customers get to know you and helps position your business as an industry leader and a trusted authority. Celebrating your team and community online is another great way to help personalise the business. 

If you're not 100% sure you're website is up to scratch, it might be time to give it a makeover. Start scheduling social media content and do it regularly. And don’t forget about your LinkedIn (the free version works just fine!) Now is also a fantastic time to make sure your ‘Google my business’ listing is up to date! 

4. Get your SEO and SEM sorted - once and for all 

If you’re yet to harness the power of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), then you need to learn. It’s no longer just a way to grow your business, it’s now a bonafide marketing tool and one of the best things you can do for your business is to bring in the professionals. With every one of your competitors also online, you need to make sure your business gets found in the first place and before theirs. And that comes down to keywords and great SEO. 

But SEO optimisation takes time. Anyone who promises to make it happen overnight is not telling you the truth. SEO is a long haul option but it is well worth the effort. 

There are plenty of platforms out there that can tell you exactly what your customers are searching. Try using a free app such as Google Trends or Neil Patel’s SEO analyzer to get started and search words associated with your business and industry. And if you're really serious about getting your business found on Google there are some great paid SEO tools that can be an invaluable addition to your businesses marketing tools. Some of our favourites include Semrush, Serpstat, Ahrefs and Keyword Finder

At the end of the day, if you have a gardening business in Sydney’s inner west, you want to make sure your website comes up on the first page when searching terms like ‘Gardeners Inner West’ and the only way to do that, is reiterating it over and over again in your website copy and captions.

Once you begin to see your website SEO working for you, or if you’re looking for faster results, maybe you’ll want to spend a few dollars on some Search Engine Marketing or SEM. This is when a business pays to appear in search engine results. Google anything and look at that first page, you’ll see what we mean with the results appearing at the top of the page next to a bold ‘Ad’ label. 

While it will never replace good, organic SEO (Google really likes to reward hard working websites), it’s a great option if you have the money to put towards it.

5. Communicate with your customers

You can have the fanciest website and the best looking socials but without communication, it’s all for nothing. You must engage and communicate directly with your customers and on the platform where those customers choose to spend their time.

Let’s use Instagram as an example. With over 1 billion active monthly users, 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram. So if you have a product based business, then engaging on social media and communicating your point of difference can have a great return on investment when done well.  

The main thing to be aware of when it comes to socials is that there is an expectation that it’s a two-way communication channel. So only venture down this path when you have the ability to actively engage with your customers on a regular basis - that includes responding to comments and answering questions.

6. Get your video on

Video content is everywhere. In 2020, we’ve watched dancing grandmas and skateboarding cranberry juice drinkers become instant social media superstars. So why aren’t businesses getting in and using this tool that is obviously so effective at attracting attention?

Website video has been around for a long time and recently, all the major social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn, are making sure video content is easily accessible for their customers. 

You can invest in professional video content or just whip out your mobile phone and start filming. People connect with other people and getting your face into your customers hands (so to speak) is good for business.

7. Measure your marketing success 

Once you’ve started using one or all of these marketing tips, it’s important to keep track. Of course, to measure your success, but also to see where your customers are hanging out and what they’re responding to. Sometimes it’s the content you least expect that becomes the most popular on your website or social media. 

But while you’re tackling your marketing, getting your website freshened up or working on engaging content, don’t forget to keep your all-important bottom line in order. If you don't have a marketing budget to cover your annual activities from events to social media subscriptions and signage to advertisements, it's time to get in touch!

It's also important to keep a big-picture image in mind and ask yourself why you want to invest in marketing? Maybe it's to attract new business and leads or maybe it's to encourage your existing customers to spend more with you. There are so many reasons and benefits to spend a little bit more time and effort in 2021 fixing your marketing and brand function. 

Feeling inspired? Be sure to follow Kelly+Partners on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook and join our K+P online community! 

Keen to spend some dollars on marketing but you’re not sure how much you can access? We’re here to help. Call your client director or click here to book an appointment where we can discuss your small business finances.