Bernard May is the CEO of National Positions, a 5-time Inc. 500 company, award-winning marketing agency and Google Premier Partner.
For decades to come, 2020 will be remembered both famously and infamously for many, many reasons. In the marketing world, it will be forever known as the year that one long-developing marketing trend was forced into overdrive as the traditional consumer marketplace rapidly shifted from brick-and-mortar shops to the e-commerce ecosystem.
The year of perfect vision, as I like to call it, has changed the way we see things, especially when it comes to how we engage with customers and how these customers purchase online.
I predict this shift will gain more momentum even after Covid-19 becomes a distant memory rather than the persistent daily concern that it currently is.
Embracing the latest e-commerce advancements is no longer a luxury but a necessity for both local businesses and global brands.
Keep reading to make sure the following tips are incorporated into your 2021 strategy so you can start the year off ahead of the curve and ahead of your competition.
Send Text Promotions to Your Customers
Most business owners have no problem with sending swaths of emails to their customers — and we’ll get to that topic shortly — but somehow get leery when it comes to applying the same approach to text messaging. It’s not really clear why this is the case. Maybe it’s because texting is still widely seen as the domain of informal or personal communication, and marketers are reluctant to blast their 50%-off promotions to people on such a personal level.
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Whatever the case, brands and marketing professionals should reconsider. According to one survey, the majority of consumers (54%) actually like getting business-related texts from companies that they frequent. At the same time, only 11% of businesses send these kinds of texts. Stepping up your text game in 2021 can help you stand out over competitors who prefer to stick purely to email-only promotions.
Make the Most of Your Google My Business Page
“Use your Google My Business page” is one of those parroted marketing tips that everyone has heard before. So why say it again? Because it’s likely that there are new GMB features and updates of which you are simply unaware. Many businesses (more than we care to disclose) have just filled out the skeletal business profile basics that show only the bare minimum to those searching. This is a missed opportunity. A completely fleshed-out GMB page gives you a chance to promote your business and can even boost your local search rankings. Tweaking your business profile is well worth the effort.
• Complete every profile section. Your GMB page provides options to link your website, phone number, direct message, business hours, Q&As, and other such business information. Don’t skip anything. You’re also allotted 750 characters for your business description, so make sure you max out the limit and put the most important info in the first 250 characters (which is the portion visible before the “more” prompt).
• Include photos. Uploading current photos relating to your business can inspire trust in your customers much faster. Try to add new photos on a regular basis.
• Ask customers for reviews. Don’t underestimate the value of those five bright yellow stars — positive Google reviews from happy customers make your GMB page shine. But don’t wait for customers; take the initiative. Ask them to leave a review via text or email or through social media using your custom branded GMB review link.
Recently, Google added a feature that enables you to edit your Business Profile directly from Google Search and Maps, making it especially easy to make quick updates. If you want to take a closer look at these optimization options, Google has also just compiled an informative GMB YouTube playlist that you should visit.
Create Email Subgroups
We all know the value of personalizing marketing emails to avoid sending everyone the same generic message. Emails that lack personalization are destined to end up in the Trash folder. In fact, a recent study found that 64% of consumers opt out of marketing emails that don’t target relevant interests, so you can’t afford to ignore the power of personalization.
However, there is more to personalization than adding “Dear (name)” at the intro of your emails. In 2021, the content and context of your emails must be personalized. This requires you to create different subgroups of customers for your campaigns.
Customers are like snowflakes, as in, they are all different. For example, some are new to your business, while others may have been loyal customers for years. Additionally, they may also have very different tastes when it comes to the products or services you offer. These are just a few of the factors that make every customer unique.
By customizing your email marketing to account for these differences, you’re more likely to capture a new customer’s attention and extend the lifetime value of current customers.
Optimizing Home Delivery
Home delivery is another trend that got kicked into high gear as a result of the pandemic. If your business provides home delivery, you need to get your products into your customers’ hands as efficiently as possible. This is especially important if you’re delivering time-sensitive goods like perishable food products. Regardless of your product offering, customers have come to expect prompt and accurate delivery of their online orders.
For small businesses providing their own delivery options, apps such as Circuit, Upper, and RouteXL provide invaluable route-optimization help. Apps like these allow drivers to plan the fastest delivery routes and include additional features depending on your business’s delivery needs.
Covid-19 has changed the business landscape, but with change comes opportunity — if you are willing to change too. With that said, make sure these tips are part of your 2021 marketing campaign so your brand can experience a new phase of profitability long after you ring in the new year.
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Author: Bernard May, Forbes Councils Member