Small Business Resources

Ideas & Tips for Your 2021 Small Business Marketing Strategy

December 16, 2020

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but small businesses have been hit the hardest. Many of you have been operating with reduced staff, fewer business hours, and smaller budgets in order to keep your communities safe. We want you to start 2021 on a high note, and that means it’s time to build your 2021 marketing plan. Here are a few things to think about when planning how you’ll market your business on a budget next year:

Know Your Audience

Do you know who your customers are? Identifying key buyer personas is an easy way to define your customers in terms of demographics, interests, and needs. You can use these personas to segment and personalize your messaging, too! 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when thinking about your audience:

   1. Who are they?
   2. Where are they?
   3. What do they do?
   4. Do they have any major challenges?
   5. How can you help them overcome those challenges or do what they do better?

Invest in Social Media 

If your business is focused on a local area, it’s important to launch business pages on Facebook, Yelp, and Google. All three of these options are free and allow customers to easily track you down and allows you to engage with prospective customers. There are many other social media channels to consider as well, including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. 

If you are already using social media and not getting the impressions and views that you’d like, you can also invest dollars towards paid social media to give them a boost. Try honing in on your audience by using lookalike targeting to reach people who are similar to your existing customers.

Send Quality Emails

If you don’t already collect customer emails, start doing it immediately! Email marketing allows you to nurture both existing and prospective customers to keep your business at the top of their minds. Many email marketing platforms are free for small businesses, too! 

Although emails are a very important marketing tool for small businesses, you’ll want to make sure you’re optimizing them. Forbes shared a few recommendations for getting the most out of email marketing

Make Sure Your Customers Hear You

Have you consumed some form of audio today? Maybe you listened to a podcast this morning or tuned into the radio during your commute. Or, maybe you streamed audio while working. 

Audio is becoming an increasingly bigger part of our daily lives, and it’s a great way to reach customers locally in your community or even nationally if you operate an online business. Despite changing lifestyles, consumers are listening to more iHeart at home.*  

iHeart stats graphic about consumers listening to radio at home: 28% say they are listening to more radio; 43% listeners on the web; 35% listeners on Smart TVs; 20% listening to podcasts

As a result of the challenges we’ve all faced this year, more people have a renewed sense of connection to their community and want to support local businesses. Whether you’ve bought radio before or this is your first time, you can get on-air with AdBuilder.

Don’t Underestimate Word of Mouth

Your customers are your best marketing tool. Delighting customers strongly influences purchasing (hi there, repeat buyers!) and word of mouth. If your customers are happy and had an exceptional experience, they’re more likely to tell their friends and family about you and leave a positive review.

Take Advantage of Free Promotional Tools

We understand that every dollar counts, which is why we recommend taking advantage of free promotional tools when possible. This allows you to only commit to the paid tools you need to reach more people (i.e. paid search, radio promotions, etc.). HubSpot compiled a helpful list of free and paid marketing tools if you need some ideas.

Remember: There are endless ways to test marketing strategies, but these are just a few ideas to get you started without a big budget. 

If you found this blog post helpful, we also shared a post on 5 ways to increase your website traffic

*Source: Neilsen March 2020; iHM Digital is Internal

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