No matter what your business plan looked like at the beginning of last year, it likely shifted to “plan for change” – and stayed there. The ability for agility and being poised to pivot from brick and mortar to online was the key to success in 2020. Now that it has been over a year since the pandemic started, you’ve probably implemented a variety of new business practices, especially when it comes to digital marketing. Here is our digital checklist of four things to start – or keep – in place throughout 2021.
Ecommerce is vital – whether you’re selling a product or a service
Online shopping has been gaining traction for years, but the pandemic added a layer of urgency for businesses to get their products and services online. The ability for a complete and seamless ecommerce experience will continue through (and beyond) 2021. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, you need a clean, easy-to-navigate and reliable ecommerce experience. Part of that reliability needs to be customer communication – with frequent shipping and supply delays, you’ll want an easy way to update customers on any issues.
Ecommerce tends to focus on product-based businesses, but even service-based businesses can benefit from certain ecommerce elements. Do you offer online scheduling? Are the details of your services (including pricing) clear on your website? Do you have up-to-date Google reviews? All of these are considerations for customers as they choose a business – so make it as easy for them to choose your business as possible.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads dominate – regardless of platform
When you think of pay-per-click (PPC) ads, Google may be the first thing on your mind – and it’s certainly the largest. But PPC can encompass social platforms, video streaming platforms and other search engines. Ecommerce ad spend doubled during the beginning of the pandemic, and digital advertising is estimated to continue to grow in 2021. What does this mean for your business?
It means you want to invest your advertising dollars where people are looking – and right now, they’re looking online. Specific platforms will vary depending on your audience, and each platform has its own rules, regulations and best practices. Regardless of platform, testing different combinations of headlines and copy is the best way to maximize your budget and see what’s resonating with your audience. Working with a Google Partner can help you get started and make the most of your PPC advertising.
Social media is a great place to share your specials – and your values
Social media can be a great place to share about your business in a more personal – and easily updatable – way. Whether you’re running a special, highlighting employees or sharing information about your industry, social media can be a great place to connect with your customers. And customers are increasingly weighing businesses not just by the products and services they offer, but by the values they uphold. Do you actively support social causes? Are you a minority-owned business? What steps are you taking to be environmentally sustainable and a contributing member of your local community? These are all stories you can tell on social media.
However, managing social media can be time-consuming – so think about the amount of effort you’re able to give. Don’t feel like you need to be on every single platform – start with one or two and gauge interest with regular posts and responses. If you’re looking to start a social presence – or can’t keep up with your current channels – consider working with a partner to help you plan posts and respond to comments.
Website updates are essential – and so is speed
Many businesses are still changing hours, regulations and inventory due to pandemic-related complications. Your website should always have the most up-to-date information about your business, including operating hours, safety protocols and ordering information.
While updating content on your website is key, it’s also important to think about functionality – does your website work well on mobile screens? Does it load quickly and correctly? Does the design and copy reflect your business’ personality and values? Have you made all the necessary back-end updates for functionality and security? You would never allow your storefront to fall into disrepair – the same care should be taken with your website.
We can help. As a business owner, you’re likely managing a variety of challenges while trying to plan for the future – and we know this list might seem a little overwhelming. Whether you’re looking for help with your digital marketing, or want a partner who can handle your digital marketing from start to finish, contact us to see how we can work with you to plan for a better 2021.