Whether we like it or not, the Covid-19 crisis has hastened the digital-first world. The question is, is your business taking advantage of it?
All those events, in-person meetings, presentations and other BD that we used to rely on must now be covered by your online and digital efforts if your business is going to grow. Whether you are a consumer business, a b2b business or something in between, the way you engage with your potential clients has been forever changed. Whether we get a vaccine soon or not, the way people engage is not going back to pre-covid anytime soon.
For many businesses, this has been overwhelming. If you have only one source of work (referrals), you have to act quickly and effectively to make sure your business remains viable in a digital-only environment. A lot of businesses have done the short sighted thing and stopped marketing, exactly when they should be doing more of it. It might hurt the bottom line in the short term, but the only way to generate more work is to invest in the things that do that.
For small businesses that have been able to ride out the storm this year understand that you are in a position of opportunity. It is easier for you to change faster and if you haven't done it you need to so you can make the most of 2021. For big business, it’s time to be agile. It’s time to bring in experts on digital, branding and marketing and action plans like your smaller competitors.
So what can you do to get your business moving again in 2021?
Do you have a clear digital-first strategy? The answer for 90% of businesses is no. It’s probably low down on your priority list if your industry is still struggling, but it is critical for your medium-term survival and making the most of any recovery. The sooner you can pay attention to it the better your business will be. All business, no matter its size, need a digital strategy. You need clarity on your branding, your options, your content, your engagement and your bd. It needs to come together and it needs to work.
There’s no point in having a great billboard if fewer people are driving (or if everyone is looking at their phone anyway!). There is no point in having all that marketing collateral if it can’t be sent online. EVERYTHING we do now has to be about maximising how we build trust and relationships in a digital-first environment. This means that your branding, website, content and social media footprints need to be outstanding. It means you have to impress your clients with how you look and feel online as you do when you put on an in-person event. It means for a lot of business that you are going to have to invest in this as a priority.
Will we go back to having in person events? Absolutely. When will that be? Who knows. Either way the future will involve much more of a mix between in-person and digital than it did in the past.
Thought about starting a podcast but never got around to it? Do it now.
Want to implement a video strategy? Do it now.
Want to start writing blog pieces or engaging with your client list with a newsletter? Roll it out this week.
Want to start a weekly webinar or client meetup? Lock in a time, use zoom or another platform, and get your hands dirty.
Doing the same old thing won’t cut it. Constantly talking about the horrors of the coronavirus or the difficulties around operating in the recovery won’t cut it. You need to make valuable content and valuable connections to your clients and referral sources. You need to capture more work especially if there is less to go around. You need to be a positive voice. No matter the speed or otherwise of recovery in 2021, you need to get on the front foot as best as you can.
Too scared to do anything I’ve outlined in this article? We understand. Change can be hard, but it is necessary. If you want to make 2021 a better year for your business getting a clear strategy for your marketing efforts is critical. With more people online now then ever, if you leave a void your business will be forgotten for whoever makes the biggest splash.
Whatever you do, put relationships first and keep in touch. Just because you can’t get on a plane doesn’t mean you can’t get on a call. If you’ve never used them, social networks are actually social. Use them to build relationships and trust. Make things that are valuable to your clients and referral sources, not just about your expertise either.
You can keep and build client relationships without being in the same room. We have to lean into that more than ever now.
Whatever the future brings businesses of all sizes need clear, actionable digital marketing plans and strategies to grow in 2021 and beyond.
If you're interested in improving your businesses results on social media feel free to grab a copy of our brand new Social Media Success checklist here!