Last year was a difficult for one for marketers and 2021 looks like it is coming with its own set of challenges. How can you make sure your marketing strategy will get results over the next 12 months?
2020 was challenging across the board, with the pandemic and subsequent change to ways of working providing companies and marketers with many obstacles to overcome. While we may only have dipped our toe into 2021, it already seems as though many of the challenges we had hoped were behind us are following us into the new year.
So, what exactly does this mean for marketers?
The online space is more cluttered than ever before as more businesses realise the importance of digital. This means that all of your marketing efforts need to have results in mind.
With more competitors being visible in your niche and consumers growing increasingly savvy to the ways of marketing, it has never been more important to get the most out of every social post, blog, landing page and email.
Of course, this can be easier said than done. However, heading into 2021 with the right strategy and support can ensure you’re getting the most out of all of your marketing over the next 12 months.
Here’s a few steps that could help you get it right and help you realise when you’re getting wrong:
Pay attention to the data
Data is your friend. Whether you’re looking at on-site behaviour, social media engagement metrics or the click-through rate of your emails, your data can reveal a lot.
We’re still being surprised by the number of companies who aren’t looking at what their data is telling them about their customers and the success of their campaigns. It’s not enough to simply throw idea after idea at the wall if you aren’t going to look at the data and see which one resonated with your audience.
You should be reviewing and tracking your key data points regularly, not only to see what your conversions look like but also to assess where your traffic came from, how people interact with your brand and where the likely pain points lie.
It is impossible to sustainably improve conversion, organic or paid performance and UX if you aren’t seeing the full picture. Don’t fall into the trap of doing things the way you always have done or just carrying on down the road you’re currently on without assessing whether or not it is the best option.
Start this year off by ensuring all of your analytics are set up correctly and by taking a look at last year’s data. While it’s important to remember that Covid-19 will have skewed some things, pulling out trends and key insights will help you plan for the year ahead.
Create a cohesive journey
Whether you have different teams for various aspects of your marketing or not, creating a cohesive user experience has never been so important. There are more digital touchpoints than ever before and you need to make sure your brand is represented in the same way across all of these.
From the tone of voice you use right down to your choice of font, everything should be cohesive so your journey is seamless. Not only will this help you to create a really strong brand identity, but it makes things easier for your customers and sets their expectations.
After all, clicking through a blue branded email onto an entirely red website is going to be incredibly jarring and could lead to a high bounce rate as people assume the link is wrong.
When it comes to your marketing strategy for 2021, get all your ducks in a row and make sure they are using the same brand guidance to deliver a journey that matches and makes sense. If you haven’t already, putting together a brand handbook can help with this.
However, it is important to remember that your brand handbook isn’t going to stay the same forever. As you learn from your data, you’ll want to make sure your brand values and messaging can evolve.
If 2020 taught us anything it’s that marketing needs to be agile. We have no idea what is coming next, especially with Covid-19 and the new challenge of having left the EU. Absolutely anything could disrupt your marketing plans, meaning you need to change them up.
As marketers, we always want to be adaptable, but this has never been so important as right now. A big part of this is to prepare for all eventualities.
Rather than waiting for any disruptions, look at what the disruptions could be and put a plan in place for them. While it’s not possible to plan for everything – no one was quite expecting a full national lockdown last March – having some contingencies in place will help avoid flailing around if something does come along.
The best part of having various plans at the ready just in case is that you can move fast. Too many companies were struggling to deal with the restrictions put in place as a result of the pandemic in 2020 and many moved slowly to inform customers, damaging brand trust. You want to make sure you stay ahead of the situation to avoid being left behind and then struggling to catch up.
Make it meaningful
Creating content just for the sake of creating content is not the way forward. Similarly, over-posting on social media to capitalise on the increase of Facebook activity is not the best way to connect with customers – especially when lockdown means they want to use platforms to better connect with friends and family,
More than ever, customers want their engagement with brands to be meaningful.
Online communities are being created to help people bridge the isolation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Creating a community around a brand can help companies connect with their customers while making it easier for them to talk to people with similar interests.
However, you can’t create a community if you are only pushing sales messages. Your strategy needs to include messages – whether on your website, social media pages, emails or online groups – that start conversations and encourage people to share your content with their friends, as well as their content with you.
Most importantly though, this meaningful content needs to be authentic. Consumers want brands to show their values but these values need to be supported through action. Failing to prove that the values you portray are held throughout your brand can ultimately cause damage and reduce customer loyalty and trust – which many companies found to be the case when they posted about the Black Lives Matter movement last year.
Build the right team
While all of the above is doable, to do it all well, you need to build the right team. Having the right expertise on board to create a cohesive and effective strategy, and then to report on results is vital to ensuring your marketing in 2021 works.
Whether you have a fully in-house team or look for expertise externally through a digital marketing agency, you need to make sure every part of your marketing strategy is handled as well as it can be. From the content you’re creating and sharing to the optimisation of your PPC and website for conversion, your team needs to be able to tackle it all.
If you need some help making the most of your marketing in 2021, why not get in touch to see how we at Marketing Labs can lend a hand?