The recent transition to a more remote and more connected business world means it’s time to change your business marketing plan. Staying digitally relevant, marketing under budget, and keeping both long and short-term business goals in mind is key to creating a business marketing plan that can help your small to mid-sized business grow. Keep that growth going in 2021 with a strong brand identity and brand presence across all your customer touch points combined with strong digital marketing strategies to keep your business on track for growth.
First Thing’s First: Business Strategy and Branding
It should be no surprise that the marketing strategies that are going to stimulate business growth in 2021 revolve around digital media and your online presence. That’s why defining a strong brand with an authentic and marketable mission and relatable core principles should be the foundation for your business marketing plan and marketing strategy. Creating a brand identity and brand design language that is uniform and eye-catching across all customer touchpoints is also crucial. Creating the correct brand structure helps define your ideal audience, and determine how they think, feel, and interact with your brand.
To build this balance in branding, you need to consider your intention for your brand’s image, vision, and values, and how to convey that through your overall brand. These concepts should be conveyed through everything from your company’s logo, website, and product packaging, to your staff, signage, and customer experiences. Setting this uniform standard of quality and applying it across all aspects of your business will help to bring to life your company’s online marketing plan and overall marketing strategy.
Your email marketing strategy should reflect your business with the same uniformity you’ve applied everywhere else. A good email marketing plan can get you in touch with the people who have visited your website but decided not to make a purchase or nurture a lead that may need additional information before converting into a new client. Finding ways to collect the contact information for these prospects can be difficult though, so before you design your email marketing materials, spend some time thinking about how you will capture those leads and subscribers and how you will organize them in your CRM tool (Client Relationship Management.)
Many websites use games of chance, a relevant newsletter sign-up, exclusive content, or another “lead magnet” to capture this information. It’s important to automate and organize the collection of email addresses from your site. Create segmented tags or lists to help you organize their interests and help you communicate with more relevancy. Once compiled, you can begin designing your email marketing materials. tailored to your audience's or leads specific interests. Relevancy is king when engaging your clients and new leads. The more personalized the email, the better are your chances of making a meaningful connection with that lead or audience.
Navigating the timing of email marketing has become more of an issue while many of us are working fully remote, as too much exposure to marketing materials can quickly become overwhelming to your audience. Some of this can be mitigated by using targeted campaigns that nurture the customer relationship and create trust and brand authority. To do this, you can start by organizing your compiled list of contacts into different categories based on where they are in the buying process, what their interests are, and communicate with them accordingly.
Search Engine Optimization
Once your brand structure has been clearly defined and applied to all customer touch points, SEO is a great next step. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of formatting your web content in order to make it more readable for search engines. This increases the likelihood that your content will be viewed when your audience searches for relevant or related topics.
There are several different methods for approaching search engine optimization, including in using keywords and researching language that is relevant to your business. Some optimization comes from examining the structure of the pages themselves. For example, concise, abbreviated, step-by-step answers to commonly searched questions might rank higher as a result of an in-depth, specialized brief.
SEO is extremely important for small, local businesses. A huge number of consumers search for businesses nearby from their phones, and the business websites that are optimized the best will be the first, and maybe only, that the person ever sees. Optimizing your web content for a specific location means that your business will appear in a Google search as often as its competitors. When your competitors are companies like Walmart, Home Depot, and McDonald’s, it’s likely they’re investing the time to optimize their content, making sure they’re guaranteed to populate first from an online search.
Lucky for the small business owner, consumers are more aware than ever and more likely than ever to lean toward supporting a small business over a large corporation. Making sure that you’re searchable and visible in Google when they’re searching for you will mean reaching a new customer base, potentially even within your own community.
Are you're a local business and not sure where to start? Step one is setting up your Google My Business profile. Make sure to complete all the fields including company bio, service descriptions, hours of operation, etc. You should also generate your customized Google Review link! Share that with your customers and get their honest feedback and review. Build your social proof and validate your business within the community. Google will reward you with improved rankings.
Content marketing describes the process of creating and publishing online business content that is geared toward a target audience. Your target audience is specific to your business type, your brand, and your long and short-term business goals. Some of what determines your audience is your business’ mission and values, which should be reflected in your brand approach.
Content marketing builds brand loyalty and brand recognition. It is not aimed at selling a product, it aims at becoming a voice of authority in the field. Although some of the content may not be directly related to the product or service you’re providing, it should at least be indirectly related, so as to entice your target audience to read. When that target audience does need what you’re selling, you will have already established a relationship of trust with the potential customer.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can get tedious, depending on the number of platforms you decide to use for your business. But the reality is that social media marketing is a must for small businesses today. Different platforms engage with different audiences in different ways, so research is again crucial here.
Although many social media users use more than one social media platform, each has its own audience, and they can vary widely from platform to platform. You would not apply the same marketing strategy to your content on LinkedIn as you would on Twitter. “Reading the room” and knowing the audience you’re trying to reach can help get you started in understanding what your social media marketing approach should be.
If this seems overwhelming to you, you're not alone. This is why many businesses are now hiring social media account managers as part of their full-time marketing staff. If you can’t afford to do that, digital marketing agencies can help you create a social media marketing calendar, develop a plan, and create content.
Facebook has become a powerful tool for small to medium businesses and can increase both web traffic and profits when used effectively. Believe it or not, Facebook employs very sophisticated audience targeting features that can filter your audience by a variety of factors, including age, gender, location, and previous online purchasing activity. Using these targeting techniques, Facebook ads help increase the likelihood that your ad will be relevant to the people that see it.
After creating a Facebook business page, Facebook will help you determine the focus of your ads based on your goals. Their objective options are “Awareness,” “Consideration,” and “Conversion,” and you can choose which type of focus you’d like for your ads. You can then specify your audience based on a number of filtering factors, set your budget, and create your ads. Once you’ve chosen the ad placement, you’re all set!
Ad placement can depend on a number of factors. There are several different parts of Facebook and Instagram, and users experience those differently. You might choose your ad placement based on the experience you want people to have with it. You might also choose based on the amount and type of traffic to a specific part of the platform.
Pay-per-click advertising is an advertising strategy in which either social media or search engine results pages display ads that are relevant to whatever the viewer is currently browsing. The advertiser then pays a fee each time someone clicks on one of their ads. Advertising with PPC advertising can be highly effective for driving consumers who are ready to buy to your site.
Keyword research is important here, as language trends and relevance related to your industry can change overnight, and because advertisers have to bid on keyword usage for their PPC campaigns. SEO is also important for PPC advertising because advertising platforms and search engines prioritize what they post based on relevance and validity. The keywords you’re using might need to be re-evaluated over time as the industry itself or the language used to describe it change.
They also consider splash page quality and the perceived credibility of your website in determining PPC rankings. While PPC advertising can be a highly effective digital marketing tool, it’ll be much less effective if your brand identity isn’t uniform across all customer touchpoints, if your page looks unprofessional or isn’t user friendly, or if you haven’t done your marketing research.
If you’re still confused about creating a strategic marketing plan or don't know where to begin in your online marketing journey, don't worry, we can help. Hiring an online marketing expert to get you started can ensure your reach your business goals and growth milestones. Online marketing requires research and other time investments. Many small to medium businesses prefer to focus on the mission of their business, and outsourcing social media and email marketing management as well as SEO optimization, branding, and content creation. If you choose to try it for yourself, be sure to stay organized, do lots of research, and remember, your online presence should be at the heart of your 2021 marketing strategy.