As we work our way through Q4 of what has been a tough year for many businesses, it is understandable that for many their focus has been solely fixed on making it through the last two and a bit months unscathed and turning their back on 2020 as soon as possible.
With the Coronavirus impacting the UK since March, many businesses have seen their marketing efforts become more reactive than proactive, changing their positioning and messaging to reflect the current environment we find ourselves.
However, continuing to market with a 'reactive' approach and failing to put some sort of plan together for the year ahead can end up costing your business both time and money. With 2021 looking like another year of digital & remote working, now is the time to take a 'proactive approach' in your marketing activities for the upcoming year. This blog covers some of the things that can be done over the next couple of months to make sure that your marketing efforts are in the best possible shape going into 2021.
Look back at the previous years data
Because of the difficulties 2020 has thrown at us all, every company has had to be agile with their marketing activities and have had to react to events happening around them.
We know of a lot of businesses who pulled traditional marketing activities and campaigns, and used those resources to create additional digital campaigns, whether that was creating more social media content or investing in PPC campaigns.
Before going into the new year, it is vital to take some time now to look back at what yielded positive results and what didn't work in order to get great insight into what should be repeated or removed in your 2021 digital marketing strategy.
Social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have all in-built analytics tools that allow you to see how well your social posts performed. You should also use Google Analytics to analyse your traffic and see what was bringing visitors to your website over the course of year.
Develop your social media content planner
One of the best things you can do before the new year is to create your 12 month content plan for your social media activity. Because of recent events, there has definitely been a shift to digital content and that looks like it will be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Developing a content planner that earmarks key events / dates / awareness days throughout the year will allow you to produce content ahead of time and will stop you having to be so reactive with your marketing activities. Obviously, with the coronavirus pandemic set to be causing disruption for the next few months, you will still need to be adaptable But you should be able to create a bank of content that can be shared regardless of what is happening in the world.
This is what we we are currently doing for many of our clients, for instance we have a client who is a Scottish charity funder for organisations who are involved in early years projects. We have been researching specific awareness days and national events that focus on child welfare and young families. This is allowing us to put together a plan of the content we need to produce ahead of time and allow the company to be actively engage with their target audience during these events.
There are a number of resources online that you can download to help you plan your content, such as Hubspot's free planner template, which also provides a list of key holidays and event dates that you may want to consider creating content around.
Improve your digital offering
Over the last year, the shift to digital and virtual working has been huge. And although it was born out of necessity due to coronavirus restrictions, there is a feeling that digital will play a much bigger role for businesses, even when the virus is under control.
For example, Microsoft have confirmed that all of their events will be digital only till mid 2021, regardless of how the coronavirus situation changes over the next few months.
In order to give you some clarity over the first part of 2021, it is definitely worth considering what services your business can deliver digitally. Are there any events that can be done remotely by video? Perhaps you could live stream these over your social media channels?
Many businesses with physical shops had to pivot quickly when the first round of lockdowns were implemented and created stop gap solutions to ensure their business could continue trading even if they had to close their premises. If this was your business, take the time and look at ways you can increase opportunities to reach your customers.
A popular option over the last couple of years is selling through your social media pages. The Instagram shopping feature allows your customers to explore your best products as they browse your profile. You can share featured products through your posts & stories, or your products can be discovered in the Search & Explore function.
Revisit your brand values
If this year has taught us anything, it is that values matter. Across the world, we have seen a huge rise in political activism regarding social & environmental issues and as a result it is expected that brand activism is going to play a part in marketing efforts for 2021.
However, it is important that your business doesn't just jump on bandwagons and causes, but really considers what their mission and values are. Consumers are rightly taking a stand on issues such as social injustice and climate change, and they expect brands and businesses to take social responsibility.
Be sure to spend some time reflecting on what your core values are and make sure your marketing activities accurately reflect these.
By taking some time in this quarter to consider the different suggestions on this list, you will be ahead of the game with your marketing activities for 2021. However, if you're still unsure of how to start your 2021 digital marketing planning why not drop us a message and we'd be happy to help!