Your marketing strategy was likely derailed in 2020. Your small business had to pivot.
In 2020, we saw the professional services, and overall small business, marketing landscape change. Some of what you used to rely on for generating leads and building brand lift is no longer available or severely reduced in its impact. In-person networking, event sponsorship or attendance, hosting events, or speaking engagements as a sustainable source of lead generation or client acquisition are no-longer a viable option for your marketing dollars.
With offices being closed, and/or face-to-face transactions being severely limited, businesses need to get creative in how they stand-out in the delivery of service when there is severely limited opportunity to build rapport in person. Building a strong personal brand online – i.e. LinkedIn – is also important as prospective clients are doing most of their research online.
Digital marketing and advertising have become the dominant marketing channels, requiring businesses to retool their ad spend budgets to create space for paid digital advertising, video marketing, and robust content marketing campaigns.
Direct mail is seeing a resurgence, with efficacy impacted by personalization and targeting. We are not talking about mass mailers, but rather personalized mail-outs and deliveries of high-value offerings to key or VIP clients.
Retention campaigns and referral marketing is where professional services can ‘win’ in both the short, and long-term.
Focusing on building great customer service and customer experience models, and by leveraging existing client data and relationships to encourage and solicit referrals, organizations can optimize on existing goodwill to generate new, and warm, leads.
In 2021, your small business should be focusing on:
- Investing more resources – time, money, energy – in building robust and relevant digital outposts.
- Allocate advertising dollars to paid advertising on digital platforms. The algorithms these platforms use are making paid ads a necessity, not a nice-to-have.
- Re-allocate sponsorship and print advertising dollars previously targeting lead generation to referral and retention programs.
If you have a long road ahead to build your digital footprint and your referral and retention programs, there is no better time than to start right now.