Here are some important predictions and local marketing tips to help advance your small business forward in 2021. By understanding what’s coming, you can take action to ensure that your business can thrive.
The State of Marketing in 2021
Prediction 1: There will be ever-increasing importance on planning and spending wisely
After all the turmoil of 2020, it’s no wonder that businesses may be more hesitant to invest in marketing not knowing what the future holds for 2021.
Short-term risk-averse is a normal reaction during times of uncertainty. However, it’s not the most productive approach for business owners – who need to be thinking long-term. Yes, you want to be intentional with finding out what does and doesn’t work for your company, marketing-wise. But it’s equally important that you avoid getting trapped in reactive thinking. For instance, being reluctant to bring on and implement new tools until times are “better”.
Instead, take a proactive approach toward marketing. Good planning that can adapt to changing circumstances is key. This includes carefully evaluating and investing in new channels and technologies. Or carefully growing your team with skilled members to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Prediction 2: Those who will thrive will achieve a delicate balance between personalization and automation
Increased adoption of software and tools will continue to make marketing easier – especially for small, local businesses. Instead of needing large marketing teams, businesses will find creative ways to use automation to become more efficient and prolific in building relationships with their customers.
A critical part of this relationship building will be creating personalized journeys based on how a prospective customer interacts with your business online. Also, the incorporation of user-generated content (UGC) in marketing and ads. For example, customer stories and other forms of social proof can help create visibility and transparency.
Prediction 3: Brands will embrace content as their engine to create emotional connections with customers
Content marketing is a powerful technique for building brand trust, authority, and credibility. Indeed, according to Hubspot, nearly 70% of companies actively invest in content marketing.
Successful marketing depends on producing quality content that is relevant to your audience. This means writing for your customers, not search engines. Rather than trying to boost SEO with dense articles filled with keywords, write conversationally, as if you were talking to someone right in front of you. Respect your reader’s time and keep sentences short and simple. Use a more active voice to convey a strong, direct, and clear tone.
Marketing with Purpose is the Future of Local Online Marketing
These three predictions speak to a deeper, ongoing shift in how people relate to brands. Successful marketing is increasingly about building trust and creating shared meaning with your audience. This approach helps you distinguish your brand from competitors and be authentic with your customers to build a trusted brand in your community.
Marketing with a purpose starts with responsibility, with demonstrating that your customers can trust you. This means:
- Delivering on promises made in your advertising or marketing
- Respecting their privacy
- Protecting their personal and sensitive information
- Being open and honest about how data will be used
- Proactively solving issues if products or services do not deliver as expected
- Providing accessible customer experiences
Your words matter. Connection, openness, and balance should be the pillars on which you build your communication strategy. Authenticity is the most important attribute to creating trust and building brand love. It enables you to build relationships with your customers through personalization and storytelling.
Before you can craft any type of authentic messaging, you need to understand what value your brand offers your target audience. To borrow from Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Model:
- Every business knows WHAT they do. These are your products & services.
- Some businesses know HOW they do it. These are the things that make you stand out from your competitors.
- Seldom few know WHY they do what they do. This is your purpose, cause, or belief; the very reason your business exists. WHY is not about making money. That’s a result.
Start by taking a detailed look at your brand’s mission statement. What is it? Who does your brand aim to serve? What are their values? Use that language to shape your product promises, customer experiences, and ad copy. Your goal is to find shared values that can authentically highlight your brand’s relevance to your audience.
When designing your marketing strategy, ask yourself two simple questions:
- Is your brand in front of the people who will become your customers?
- When they see your brand, are they inspired to take action that could lead them to become a customer or referral?
These two questions cut to the core of digital marketing. The entire point of building your online presence is making sure you’re staying visible where prospective customers are interacting. And your messaging must inspire people to take action, getting their attention, and connecting with them on an emotional level. If you can’t answer “yes” to both questions, then you need to rework your strategy.
Today’s digital transformation means people are very good at finding information (and misinformation) on their own. They’re also becoming more impatient, more demanding, and more discerning – tuning out messaging that doesn’t resonate with them. As marketers, we need to reimagine what we say and how we say it. Instead of pitching what you’re selling, talk passionately about why you’re in business. What do you stand for? What is your purpose? Rather than trying to persuade people to take action, you want to inspire them. People who believe what you believe and support what you’re trying to accomplish will purchase your product or service.
Take Purpose-Driven Action: Local Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Implementing a purpose-driven marketing strategy requires striking a balance between personalization and storytelling with automation and software. Here are eight tactics you can use to infuse purpose into your local marketing strategy and stand out in 2021:
1. Reimagine your marketing messages. Adjust website copy with words that resonate with your purpose. Update email nurture campaigns and replace poor performing ad copy and calls-to-action with ones that inspire prospective customers. Refine how you talk to customers about your business in your sales scripts.
2. Optimize your online presence for voice search. Claim your business profiles on Google, Bing, and Yelp. Use structured data and create an FAQ page on your website to make it easier for search engines to pull relevant answers to voice search queries. Focus on generating 4-start or higher reviews to appear in searches with “best…”
3. Add a chatbot to your website. Gartner predicts a 100% increase in chatbot adoption rates in the next two to five years. AI-powered chatbots are becoming a highly preferred method of communication for marketing and customer service. Unlike human staff, they are available to interact with prospective customers 24/7. Moreover, they can handle basic inquires and direct the most qualified leads to your sales teams.
4. Add an appointment booking option on your website. Remove unnecessary steps in the sales cycle and allow prospective customers to book appointments directly. Prioritize those who have requested an appointment to reach the most interested prospective customers quickly. Schedule out your pipeline according to your team’s capability.
5. Become community ambassadors on social media. Make your customers and employees the face of your brand by sharing stories and partner with other local businesses in the area. Use social listening tools to uncover relevant trending topics. Ask your social community questions and engage and respond to all comments.
6. Join local organizations and charities that support your community. When you support your community as a business, your community is likely to support you, right back. Find and participate in local events and acts of public service. If you can’t physically attend events, be a local sponsor for things like youth sports teams.
7. Focus your content marketing on stories. A good narrative can be an incredibly powerful way to engage with your audience on a deeper level. Keep your messages simple and conversational. Share social proof and customer stories wherever possible. You want your content to be centered on your customers, not yourself.
8. Invest in your employees and building a great company culture. Purpose-driven marketing isn’t just about connecting with your external customers. It also includes improving your internal customers’ perceptions. Ensure that your employees have quality equipment and training. Invest in team-building activities and events. Set up rewards and recognition programs.
Move Your Marketing Forward with Surefire Local
Surefire Local provides the industry’s most complete marketing platform that brings your marketing into one centralized, easily accessible place. Our technology is designed to integrate with the top tools your team rely on every day and remove digital roadblocks hindering growth. With our AI-enhanced marketing tools, you can gain insights, and take action to engage new and current customers through measurable, multi-channel marketing. Moreover, we provide expert guidance and recommendations to help your business attract lifetime customers, grow revenue, and broaden reach in your local markets.