For small businesses, growth, development and change are all part of your strategy to stay fresh and ahead of the curve. It can be tough out there, but it’s even more tough if you’re in a very competitive market and you’re not innovating as much as you possibly could. With this in mind we’ve got some great marketing and office tips together, some New Year’s Resolutions if you will, for 2020.
Grow Your Brand Locally
If your business works on a national scale it can sometimes be a good plan to step back a bit and see just how well you are doing locally. Sometimes you can even play on this and change or add on a marketing strategy in order to better attract customers from your local community, or at the very least a regional area of the country. This is especially useful for companies that are trying to market themselves purely online, as there may yet be some local advertising opportunities (such as newspapers) that you may have still missed.
Local customers like to know that you’re contributing to the local areas as well as advertising to people there, and this can also feed into one of our tips later on about going green. If you have the time to do a bit of public relations you can ‘sponsor’ local initiatives in parks or green spaces, or even with charity work. A little bit of PR can go a long way and it often doesn’t cost a lot, plus it gives you that bit of prestige as a responsible local business.
Invest In A Digital Presence
On the flip side of local marketing is of course digital marketing, which as you may have guessed is quite an area of expertise for us. As always, make sure you’ve covered the basics with building a website and having a landing page for advertisements and emails to link into. But with digital marketing there is always more you can do, and these are just the first steps.
As we’ve discussed this year, there are many things you can choose to do to expand your digital presence. You can choose to get better search engine traffic organically by making a social media page and trying to get a post to go viral, or starting a company blog and getting better search engine rankings there. Feeding into our previous point, target local search terms with SEO too. Hubspot reports that the overwhelming majority of people learn the most about a local company online.
You can choose to market better to people who have already purchased products/services from you and signed up to your email mailing list by creating a customised email marketing advert, tailored to the demographics of people who have signed up. You can even start your own YouTube channel and invest in a little bit of video marketing, which is extremely popular right now.
Your digital marketing strategy must be tailor made to both your budget and your business, but fortunately there are so many combinations and strategies (which we’ve discussed at length, check out our blog) so you’ll not need to worry about lacking options.
Improve Your Workplace Environment
This one is for the employees but never forget that this helps your business as much as it helps them. In the modern workplace people often get fed up very quickly if things aren’t in a state of good repair, or the environment is too hot, too cold, or there aren’t adequate facilities. It’s not a direct investment in the company itself, but since your company is its employees, investing in people isn’t a bad way to go.
There are many more ways than maintenance, facilities and repair to make your workplace feel less oppressive and more appealing, for example having an outdoors garden area, that’s not just for smoking, and giving people the opportunity to take a breath of fresh air, if there is a lack of city pollution where you are based at least.
A lot of companies have also begun to consider investing in the health of their employees, sometimes by offering help with quitting smoking, sometimes by offering gym facilities. Business titan Forbes reported a study in 2018 that stated 2 out of 5 employees suggest they’d gained weight at work, so this couldn’t hurt. Other studies have shown that these steps can indeed increase productivity, as well as reduce sick days and other absences for illness, so this is something you may take a look at in the new year.
Go Green And Stay Green
Our climate is changing – no matter the causes, it’s important to be ahead of this green new curve. Workplaces are having to change heating and cooling arrangements, and monitor the amount of emissions and waste they are creating – can you take this and do better? Whether it’s switching to paperless mailers through email, or just refilling printer cartridges instead of buying new ones, we need to reduce the stress we are putting the planet under, and offices are part of the process.
To tie in with employee health and fitness, why not consider having a cycling commuter group, which can help keep people get fit as well as safe on the road in greater numbers. Planting bee friendly plants or even converting your office’s roof to a rooftop garden has a plethora of advantages, for aesthetic purposes, for insects, and also in some cases can help keep heat in the building during winter. There’s an awful lot to try out there.
It’s also important to note that green is great for marketing. In the US, business.com reports that consumers and companies alike are finding their way into the new green wave and has posted a set of guidelines for businesses hoping to keep their green promises.
Try New Marketing Methods
As the year goes on the marketing scene changes too. To stay ahead with digital marketing never forget that you’re going to have to change and advance your strategy too. Staying up to date on blogs, following webinars and personalities in the digital marketing world, and being increasingly ready to adopt new methods with your team is a great resolution for this new coming year.
Video marketing for example, is getting bigger and bigger, and this is one of the areas your business may be able to excel. Having a team of people who can also put their talents to making videos to use is great for your online presence, and it saves having to get dedicated people on board. The best part about digital marketing is it can be done in-house if you are able to harness the talent pool you already have. The investment can be simply measured in time, but equate to money in the long run.
Commit To A Market Research Strategy
Finally and most importantly, we feel that the primary goal of any business looking to market well is to know the market and the customers it serves. This is all about information. Are you gathering, collecting, compiling and sorting your information properly? Does your information reflect market trends, or does it show something new? This is market research and it’s probably the most important resolution for this new year if you haven’t looked into it already. Forbes lists one of the biggest problems relating to market research is some companies just don’t do it.
As customers go to and from your business you will end up collecting information on them. This doesn’t have to be names and addresses, but age, gender, income and other factors that define the customer. This is the easiest type of data to keep and use, and it doesn’t infringe on people’s privacy, which is extremely important. Companies with reputations for farming data are getting frowned upon by the public more and more, so along with a good data collection strategy, a non-intrusive one is preferable.
How Will Your Business’s New Year Look?
Whatever you decide to do, and whatever you decide to implement, the new year is going to bring challenges known and unknown to your business. The markets today and the customers in them are constantly changing, and to quote the movies; life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.
With this in mind, here’s a summary checklist of some of the things discussed here:
- Have great public relations
- Keep your business green, happy and healthy
- Have a marketing strategy based on research
- Maintain an ever expanding and growing digital presence
- Never pass up an opportunity to look into something new
- Keep your customers and employees happy
- Avoid being resistant to change
For all of your digital marketing needs, and more, check out our companion book to this site, Digital Marketing For Professionals by Nick Bagga – and of course, have a happy new year.