The year that was 2020 wasn’t exactly easy for small businesses. Here are a few things small businesses can do to make 2021 a better, more successful year.
How to Set Your Small Business Up for Success in 2021
7 tips to set your small business up for success in 2021
#1. Be adaptable
There’s a scene from The Office in which one character is explaining the rules of business to another, saying the second rule is to “Adapt. React. Re-adapt. Act.”
As silly as this quote may be, its message is sound and incredibly important, especially right now. The ability to stay nimble and adapt to the changing needs of customers, and changing safety restrictions and requirements, can be the difference between success and failure for a small business.
When you’ve operated one way for so long, changing things up and doing things differently can be tough. However, it’s a critical skill for staying afloat when things are rocky, and can even help you get ahead of your competition.
Businesses that are able to adapt the fastest and most fully when times are volatile position themselves for success.
#2. Build a small business website
Speaking of adaptability, with restrictions to in-person business in many different industries, lots of small businesses have started focusing more on their online presence.
A small business’s website is the home of its online presence. So if you don’t currently have a website, or you do have a website but it doesn’t live up to the needs and expectations of modern users, it’s time to build an effective small business website.
Your modern website should be responsive, easy to navigate and user friendly. It also needs to have the functionality you need, like the ability to sell products or accept payments, to add custom forms to gather the information you need and more.
Your website is just one aspect of your online presence, which means that it needs to be able to integrate with the rest of your digital marketing strategy. This includes your CRM, social media profiles, listings, ads and more.
#3. Increase your visibility
Having a professional, modern website is a critical step toward building your online presence, but it’s equally as important (if not more so) that your website is visible to internet users in your area.
There are lots of ways to increase your website’s visibility. Here are just a few:
- Get listed - Make sure that your business is listed anywhere and everywhere your prospective customers are looking for what you have to offer. Additionally, ensure that all of your listings on local sites, directories and apps are up to date with your current business information, including name, address and phone number.
- Get ranked on search engines - Through SEO (search engine optimization), you can help to increase your visibility on the top search engines, like Google and Bing, for relevant keywords. Improving organic rankings can take time, but eventually, it can lead to low-cost, high-quality organic leads and long-term success.
- Get in front of the right audience - Paid advertising on the top channels, like Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc., is a great way to get ahead of the competition and get in front of the people most likely to be interested in what you’re offering, and those who live in a location you serve. Through targeted advertising, you can maximize your ROI and capture market share.
#4. Take control of your reputation
Consumers are rarely ready to trust a small business the first time they come into contact with it. It takes time to build that trust, as well as input from real-life customers who have first-hand experience with your business.
Most consumers read reviews before they choose to work with a small business because they want to know that they’ve made the right choice. But, that means if you don’t have reviews, it’s going to hurt your chance of getting new customers in the door.
Take a proactive approach to managing your reputation by requesting for feedback and reviews from your customers. One of the easiest ways to do this is by sending a follow-up email after service has been rendered or a transaction has been completed.
You can also take more control of your reputation by making it a point to respond to reviews, providing great customer service and learning from customer feedback.
#5. Be active on social media
According to Hootsuite, Facebook has 2.41 billion monthly active users, 74% of whom log on every single day.
Smart marketing is about meeting your target audience where they’re at, and these days, the vast majority of consumers (71% of American adults!) are on Facebook, and that’s just one of the many social platforms you could use to connect with them.
Social media is a great channel for accomplishing a wide range of goals, including building awareness and trust in your brand, increasing visibility, making sales and getting conversions.
For best results, don’t overextend yourself by setting up profiles on more social platforms than you can handle. A strong social media presence is an active, consistent one, which means that having an active Facebook page is more effective than having an ineffective presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
#6. Get more repeat business
There’s an old marketing adage that says that a consumer needs to see a brand at least seven times before they are ready to act. While this is, by no means, a hard and fast rule, it is true that consumers who have seen your message over and over again are more likely to act on it.
With the need to have multiple touches with new customers, it’s no wonder why it’s so much more expensive to attract new customers than it is to keep existing ones. Furthermore, existing customers tend to spend more than new ones, which helps to further maximize your investment.
One thing you can do to build stronger relationships with your existing customers is to start using a small business CRM, where you can organize and keep track of customer information. It’s also a good idea to stay top of mind through text message and email marketing.
#7. Know what’s working and what’s not
When it comes to building an online presence, there are a lot of moving pieces to keep track of. And, when you’re doing it by yourself, it’s important to know where you should dedicate your time and energy to make the biggest impact.
Keeping a close eye on the data and tracking your performance across digital marketing channels will keep you in the know about what’s working for your small business and what’s not.
Equipped with the right performance monitoring tools, you can make better, more data-driven decisions about your digital marketing strategy and budget, helping you maximize your ROI and drive results.