2021 was the year no one expected. While businesses of any size faced challenges, undoubtedly, it has been startups and SMEs that have been hit the toughest.
However, if there's one thing that's become clear, it's that Australia is filled with resilient businesses that have spent the year innovating and pivoting, with many targeting new audiences and overhauling their marketing strategies.
As we head into 2021, knowing how best to prepare can feel overwhelming. However, looking at how your business reaches people could be a good starting point. Here, we delve into how SMEs can get their digital ducks in a row to start the new year with a bang.
Planning is still important
While small businesses aren't able to predict what will happen in the future, they can take learnings from 2021 into the New Year to improve their marketing strategies. Begin by setting aside a day for a strategy session using the sales, customer success and marketing team. This gives a great opportunity to align the team and serves as a well-deserved bonding session. Use this time to delve into objectives for that year ahead, set achievable goals, work out how marketing can best support in achieving these goals and put in place ways to measure them.
For many companies, digital marketing has become critical to success and next year we'll only see this increase. Online shopping is the new normal and competition is fierce so SMEs must actively plan to provide the best online customer experience possible. As part of this, ensuring your website and then any apps are in tip-top condition, and have smooth user experiences, is vital.
Tapping into artificial intelligence
As competition keeps growing, businesses should be adopting technology, specifically artificial intelligence, to help cut through a crowded market. Such technology is not only growing in speed and processing power but in terms of their application too.
There are a few key areas artificial intelligence can be embedded into digital strategies for small businesses, including marketing and social management, for example managing the company's social channels, conversational marketing, for example, chatbots, and remarketing, enabling greater insight into audiences and traffic.
Using artificial intelligence in this way can create more personalised online experiences, tailoring products and messaging to the right audience, and enabling greater insight into customers, both new and old. Such insights and suggestions delivered by AI give marketers the ability to more accurately adapt their strategies in order to deliver cost-effective and targeted strategies.
Take a visual-first approach
In a world of TikTok and Instagram, image and video-based content represent the way forward for digital marketing. When planning for 2021, small businesses should consider a visual-first approach to their internet marketing strategies, and beyond that, expanding to video content too. Video is quickly becoming the emerging native medium to achieve consumers, with this content 130 percent more likely to generate a purchasing decision.
In an industry that is constantly evolving and shifting, getting your digital ducks in a row can be the difference between success and failure. For most consumers, the events of 2021 have spurred a significant shift in buying behaviour and digital is now the medium of choice for connecting with brands. Once we head into 2021, small businesses should use this as an opportunity to reconnect with their identity, truly understand who they really are, what customers they serve and eventually, what makes them the brand of choice.