Has 2020 been a good year for businesses? You might have uttered a resounding 'obviously not' before that question even ended. But I would say — it depends on who you ask.
Okay, let me regain credibility before it's too late and you think I'm a total space cadet. Regardless of who you ask, 2020 has definitely not been the 'easiest' year for businesses in the traditional sense. In fact, the pandemic has likely caused the most disruptive year for business owners ever. But if you're wild enough to sit down for a cup of coffee with your local digital marketing friend, they might tell another tale.
Because as many large and small businesses alike have seen their conversion rates fall, marketers on their toes have quickly flipped through the digital channels to create a new customer experience designed for this irritating yet inescapable 'new normal.'
So if you're looking for marketing guidance that will help you ring in the new year with a bit of pep in your step, we have a few tids and bits that you might find [extremely] helpful. Be warned — this ammo isn't made for an explosive marketing budget. Though the tips to come can help just about any CMO, they're all budget-friendly, i.e., made for those that need a few proven snippets and takeaways to help strengthen your business in real-time.
And as we so badly long for 2021 to reboot the universe, those marketers amongst us still face the daunting task — how do we plan for the new year when everything is still such a mess?
Ready to turn that frown (and your bottom line) upsidedown? Let's dive in.
Marketing Strategy Resolutions You Need to Make
You may not have the budget to fund a massive omnichannel digital marketing strategy, but you're not the only one. So how are similar businesses and digital marketers able to create momentum and brand awareness without fancy, cash-thirsty marketing campaigns?
Focus. That's the number one thing you can do to actually achieve your digital marketing goals in the coming year. Focus on what you can control, and do it well.
Sure, millennials and all those young folk are forever coming up with new digital marketing trends for everyone else to follow (TikTok anyone?). But the truth is, there are simple things you can do to create big waves in your online marketing without spending thousands on Google Ads and influencer marketing.
Convenient for you, the Lone Fir Creative marketing team has bundled up some kindle to light a fire under your 2021 marketing strategy. Take it directly from a marketing agency, these things can absolutely get you going in the right direction next year.
1. Clean up your homepage
When was the last time you took a step back and really evaluated your homepage? It’s ok; we’ve all neglected what is possibly the most important page on our site. But 2021 is your chance to amp it up.
Hear this: you likely don't need a massive web design overhaul to create a big impact on your website. By simply ridding your homepage of unnecessary words and design, it will be easier for your visitors to click that button or fill out that form. So pull up your homepage and ask yourself these questions:
- How could you get your point across using fewer words?
- Is the design distracting from getting the user to the next step?
- Do the words and images on your site quickly and clearly tell the user how you make their life better?
Streamlining your homepage will increase conversion and get your business more leads. And it all starts with a simple step — clean up your messaging. Most brands struggle to clearly state what they do and why that matters to prospects. Don't be one of those brands.
A foolproof way to get a quick gut check is to have someone who doesn't know what you do look at your homepage. Can they tell you what your business does and how it improves their life? If not, it's time to reframe how you're talking about your brand.
The good news is that messaging can be one of the most cost-effective improvements you make for your business. You can do it yourself, and even if you pay someone else to do it, it's a one-time fee to gain a filter for every piece of content and communication your company puts out. If you do nothing else in 2021, revamp your messaging.
Just by being more clear about what you offer, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how many more people convert on your pages. And if you need a hand, let us know. It's kind of what we do.
2. Add video to your sales process
In a post-covid world, video is no longer an option; it's an absolute. With face-to-face interactions dwindling, you need to jump on the video bandwagon.
Now, video marketing is a seriously misunderstood creature. Many people think it requires massive budgets and a full production team. Granted, if you're trying to film a Superbowl commercial, you might need a bit of cash. But for the rest of us, any phone made after 2012 will do. You can even use that tiny little camera on your laptop that may or may not be a portal for the underground government to spy on you (kidding...just had to have some fun!)
With social media tools prioritizing video, 'organic-looking' video is more friendly than ever. Quality content no longer means using an 8k camera with a set of actors and directors. It just means saying real things, as a real person, to real people.
Free tools like Vidyard or Loom make it easy to include videos in emails, contracts and presentations. You can take a video selfie while taking a walk around the block and post it on LinkedIn. You can create a recording to anchor on your website's chatbots. It's almost silly how simple it is to create videos. Here are some ideas for using video content in your sales process:
- Personal intro video prior to sales call or meetings
- Verbal explanation of detailed deliverables in contracts
- Walkthroughs of processes
- Introductions to other team members that would work on a client's project
*Pro-tip: If you're using HubSpot, Vidyard has a pretty awesome integration that makes adding video to 1:1 emails really easy.
3. Tap into your sales team for content ideas
Your sales team is a treasure trove of ideas to fuel your content marketing and email marketing efforts. After all, sales reps get asked more questions about your products, services and brand than anyone else in your company. Support your sales team, create delicious SEO juice and get more leads by creating content around the questions they field all the time.
Sample sales support material:
- Our Brand vs. Competitor 1 vs. Competitor 2
- Sample timeline to deliver your product/service
- How our product/service will provide ____ in ROI
I promise, if you ask your sales rep for 30 minutes of their time and tell them you want to pick their brain about the questions prospects are asking, they will LOVE you. And after you see what that can do for your business, you will LOVE them.
4. Introduce marketing automation
Oh, wait — you don't have your own secret artificial intelligence machine learning algorithm? Well, I guess you're out of luck. Sike!
There are so many tools already built that can supercharge your digital marketing strategy for a relatively low amount of effort. Now, out of the suggestions we've made, this one will likely cost the most up front. But the return is priceless. No matter the size of your business, marketing automation brings three primary benefits:
1. Saves time for your sales team so they can dedicate more effort to warm leads.
2. Ensures leads don't fall through the cracks and automatically nurtures leads to a sale.
3. Keeps your brand visible to your prospects by automating nurture series.
Marketing automation doesn't have to be expensive. While we love to use platforms like HubSpot (and there are a ton of benefits that come with that), there are plenty of other platforms out there that are more suitable for smaller operations. The important thing is that you find a platform that allows you to trigger an email series off a form fill. The more fancy you get, the more triggers available, but to start out, a form trigger will do just fine.
Here are some ideas for incorporating marketing automation into your marketing:
- A series of nurture emails that follow a form fill and continue to educate the prospect
- Email reminders to schedule a meeting after a prospect fills out your contact form
- Task reminders to contact a warm lead
The Bottom Line of Digital Marketing in 2021
2020 has been filled with many 'unprecedented' events, but with the uncertainty has come a handful of innovations. 2021 is your chance to break out of your shell and try new things in your business. The world is in the process of defining the new normal. And though I can't wait until that phrase is a joke in the rear-view mirror, you need to find a way for your brand to be a part of it.
If you're not sure how you see your brand finding solid ground in the future, we can definitely help. We'll have a conversation about your goals and work backward to determine how you can get there. So if you like meeting new people that can help your business grow, give us a shout!
And don't worry, it's just a chat. If you find us absolutely repulsive, you can just leave the Zoom meeting and pretend we never met!