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4 Crucial Takeaways To Consider For 2021

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As the world eagerly works towards closing out one of the most challenging years to date, we at BrandRep have shifted our focus to shaping 2021 success strategies and marketing goals for business owners.

Our focus on ensuring each and every member of the BrandRep community has access to powerful digital marketing resources, expertise, and offerings remain at an all-time high. With ample reflection, re-prioritization, and trend forecasting, we’ve aimed all efforts at stabilizing your business and successfully steering towards a strong new year. We’ve identified four key takeaways you should consider before stepping into 2021.

1. Take Time to Reflect

As the adage goes, ‘Before you can see where you’re going, you have to consider where you’ve been,’ and in 2020, the tale rings true for business owners and professionals worldwide. The past year has required more gut, gumption, guidance, and grit than perhaps any 12 months in business history. Let us use aspects of it to our advantage, with ample reflection.

Before we can prepare for the year ahead, we must first assess – and reflect – on 2020 as it stands: the wins, the losses, the plans, the pivots. The pandemic touched nearly every aspect of business, so it may feel overwhelming but consider the following questions as just a kick-off to your reflection:

  • What modifications have I made to my day-to-day business operations to best accommodate 2020 demands? (Think: Work from home schedule, increased in-store safety precautions)
  • How did those modifications impact my business financially?
  • How did those modifications impact my team internally?
  • What – if any – modifications are sustainable long term? If none, what has made them unsustainable?
  • How have I connected with my customers and clientele during shutdowns and shifted operations? (Think: Email and Social Media efforts)
  • Have those communication efforts been well-received? If not, do I feel like I am reaching my clientele on the ideal platform?
  • Is my businesses’ online presence optimized for an ideal user experience? If not, can I prioritize that in 2021?
  • How have I prioritized customer relationships in 2020? How can I continue to prioritize such connection and communication in 2021?
  • Where did we miss the mark entirely with efforts? If anywhere, why?

Ultimately, shifting into a new year doesn’t mean we can change out of pandemic planning and pivoting, but it should mean we consider the successful steps – and stall-outs – we faced to better shape our 2021.

2. Prioritize Identifying the Gaps Before the Goals

A new year and new quarters may call for new goals but first, take care to consider the gaps – or missteps – you may have identified in reflection of your business’s 2020. Don’t do it alone. Leverage your teammates, your key people, and managers, department heads, or partners: implore them to consider the above questions with you. This can be a crucial step to identifying gaps and goals for your business. By bringing in essential personnel, you can expect greater reflection and even more significant commitment to 2021 goals.

Gaps may look like: needs of your customers you haven’t yet met, changes in the marketplace you haven’t yet adapted to, lack of social media presence, absence of consistent digital marketing effort, poorly optimized website, and beyond. By gaining better clarity on the gaps of 2020, you can better identify just how – and where – your 2021 marketing goals can fill in!

Consider drilling down here by exploring the measurable success of your business’s initiatives in 2020. That can look like:

  • Conducting a Social Media Audit
  • Conducting an SEO Audit
  • Conducting a Content Audit
  • Considering key metrics in Google Analytics (which are now available in your Client Portal)

As a business owner, it’s vital to better understand your 2020 efforts’ gaps as they are a crucial component to a prosperous new year. While your internal team may have the capabilities to report and optimize your efforts, you may consider connecting with a BrandRep team member to explore our expertise in these areas. We can ensure your goal setting and strategies for the new year are equally part impactful and effortless.

With a clear picture of past performance, you can concentrate your efforts on the areas that offer the most traction, connection, and conversion for your 2021!

3. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

Successful companies set goals, but it’s not that simple. While defining purpose and stepping stones are crucial aspects to running a business, goals are often untethered, lacking a clear plan of action for business owners and employees alike to step towards success.

Enter, S.M.A.R.T. Goals, an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely – five attributes your 2021 marketing goals must possess for success. Let’s take a look.

  • Specific: Are your goals too broad? Get specific. In narrowing down your goal, you can concentrate your efforts for maximum impact. Consider the following questions to get clear.
  • What do I want to accomplish with this goal?
  • Why is this goal important to my business?
  • Who is involved in this goal?
  • What resources are required to meet this goal?
  • Measurable: You’ll want to be able to measure your goals, tracking progress with free tools like Google Analytics to Social Media insights. A goal absolutely should be measurable, always.
  • Achievable: Are you reasonable with this goal? While we always recommend a high bar, business owners must consider setting realistic 2021 marketing goals to inspire the team better and drive actual results. Consider whether you have the right resources or budget to achieve your goals.
  • Realistic: Does this goal support and align with your other identified business goals?
  • Timely: Consider timelines. Can you set a reasonable deadline with this goal? Holding yourself and your team to a realistic but flexible schedule can play a significant role in 2021 goal setting.

4. Strategize Next Steps

Now that you’ve reflected on 2020 takeaways, identified key gaps, and set S.M.A.R.T. goals, you can strategize the next steps with a marketing game plan. Essentially, a guidebook on how to best leverage 2020 learnings to the fullest, fill all gaps, and finally, achieve your goals!

If you haven’t before created such a plan, you’re not alone: according to Search Engine Journal, nearly 50% of business owners don’t have a marketing plan in place in any given year. Now more than ever, though, a healthy marketing plan is a key component to business success – even against all uncertainty and odds.

Consider the shifts and steps you can take. We’ve gathered five of our most powerful recommendations for your consideration.

  • Ensure your website is optimized and up-to-date: Your digital presence is your business’s lifeline in 2021; is it up for the task?
  • Consider Load Time. Your website should have minimal load time (think: three seconds or less, higher has been shown to cause a significant bounce rate!)
  • Keep Customers Up to Date. Ensure your website reflects all current offerings, expertise, hours, team members, and communication needed to convert.
  • COVID Clarity. Get specific. If your business is significantly shifting offerings and experience based on COVID precautions, ensure that all steps taken are clearly communicated on your website.
  • Consider a website refresher or redesign. Your user’s online experience has never mattered more, so be sure that the design, interface, content, and quality are up to par! Your business can’t afford lagging load times, outdated design, or misguided navigation. Given the lack of face-to-face time in our future, your website is the best communication tool in 2021.
  • Ramp up Social Media efforts. Most consumers look to social media to gain more significant insights and understanding that edge them towards buying decisions. Don’t miss out on that opportunity to connect, communicate, and ultimately, convert! Consider ramping up social media efforts – both organically and paid, for optimal 2021 marketing success.
  • Explore powerful Search Engine Optimization. With weighted importance on websites, your business can significantly benefit from SEO! Ensure your business remains top of mind and top of search engine results with Search Engine Optimizations.
  • Ramp Up Email Marketing Efforts. Communication is key! Consider connecting with your customers through quality, timely email marketing efforts and campaigns.

Your business can leverage a myriad of marketing tactics to optimal digital success in 2021, and it’s essential to recognize that you may not want to take this on alone. Now is the time to reflect, re-prioritize, and prepare for a fruitful new year from gap identification to goal setting.

Let us help. Our teams at BrandRep are ready and ensure optimal success for your business through powerful digital marketing efforts. Connect today.

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