Are you finding it tough to stay relevant in 2020? Here are some tips to help you gain an edge over your competitors.
The impact of COVID-19 has certainly forged a newer fashion of operating a business. Suffice to say, it has forced a change into how we make decisions, communicate with our audiences, and even how we now manage business meetings.
Whether you’re a restaurant business, a lifestyle magazine, or a hand-crafted products retailer, staying competitive in 2021 is going to be of utmost importance to survive the upcoming effects of 2020.
Keep reading to find out the most important trends that businesses of all sizes are implementing to stay ahead of their competition!
First thing’s first—have a complete online footprint
We need to make sure your business has a complete online presence. It is the most important change businesses have needed to deal with. Having only social media platforms to engage with your audience may not be enough, especially when there are multiple tools online (newer and older) to help you manage, organize, and even grow. Here are some ideas to start expanding your online footprint:
- A Responsive Website Design
It’s important to accommodate any device a customer may be accessing your website from so your brand looks cohesive and consistent. Online tools like Wix and Squarespace already allow this, and if you have a separate web development team, it’s time to make that request!
- Get on Google!
Let’s face it. For anything that needs to be found, Google is usually the best bet. GoogleMyBusiness will help you be more discoverable online, especially on Google Maps. Once an account is created, it will let you accomplish multiple things for your business, such as managing bookings, creating a product catalog, posting ads, managing reviews, and analyzing insights!
- Social Media
It’s important to keep in touch with the people who use your products or services and keep them updated with what’s going on. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok will be the best bet to engage with your audience. Every business varies, however, and if you are a corporate office, Twitter may be best for you.
- Get all of the above Search Engine Optimized (SEO)
You’d want to be on the top of the list whenever someone performs a search. This means using keywords that search engines look for to find and display your content online. The better the SEO, the higher up you or your content will be on people’s search results.
- Collaborate with people who believe (and we mean REALLY believe) in you
Influencers have taken social media marketing to a newer level. However, while they have managed to catch the attention of multi-million-dollar companies, the concept of collaborating with people can give you a spokesperson out in the field. The key is to pick someone (or a group) who uses your product or services with passion, whether they are well-known or not.
While it may sound as easy as picking a highly active personality on social media from your audience, there are some key points you may want to consider before doing so. The people you collaborate with will, in other words, become your brand ambassadors, except, for a shorter time (unless you choose to continue of course). Remembering to ask questions like “Does this person believe in what I stand for?”, “Are they likable amongst their own follower base?”, “Are there any risks involved for my brand image with this person?” can help you get started in narrowing down your options.
- Catering to the Gen-Z Audience
The topic of influencers naturally brings us to Generation-Z. 2021 will have five years’ worth of a younger, fresh audience you will be able to be advertised to, and we mean that legally.
Depending on the products or services you are selling, begin to plan about how you can extend your brand, product, or service to a younger audience who, upon winning the hearts of, could become your loyal customers for at least a decade to come.
There are multiple advantages to a business of having a younger customer base, like:
- It helps you keep up with trends
- Keeps your business fresh and relevant
- If they like your content, they will share it, increasing your visibility
Having said that, please be wary that if your unique selling point is within a brand identity that does not engage or amuse the younger audience, you would require a rebrand.
A simple solution could be to introduce a newer product (or a service) that is specifically branded to catch the attention of younger people, amongst your original products (even a student discount would do!). This will allow you to create a newer social media footprint for that particular audience, which can only grow. A redesigned packaging also helps!
On the other hand, if you are finding yourself due a rebrand anyway, having a younger audience in your plan will be beneficial.
- Exceptional Customer Service
This is where companies can have an edge over the competition. Customer service has always been an affair of a post-sale opportunity. Have you ever gotten a free exchange on a no-questions-asked policy, or a free repair on an expensive tech product even? If not, we highly recommend giving it a try and feeling what it’s like. It’s an injection of positivity!
The push to keep customers within the reach of a brand has significantly improved the quality of customer satisfaction. With no doubt, you also should spare no expenses when it comes to giving your customers a positive outlook on your brand. This is ‘the’ opportunity to get returning customers, and fear not, it can also be the most cost-effective way (depending on the size of your business of course).
Jack Ma, founder of a multi-billion-dollar e-commerce business Alibaba, stresses that a complaint is an opportunity – solving it with the least resistance to the customer not only fulfills their wishes but implementing the solution into your business model also improves the quality of your operations.
Some helpful ways to get started are:
- Focus on User Reviews
- Go through comments on social media
- Conduct focus groups
- Send occasional surveys
- Have a rating system
- Subscription services
Okay, this business model is really, really booming. It’s the same concept of your Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime subscription applied to your business. This is a great way to keep a hold of customers and have higher chances to convert them into loyal ones.
You’d be surprised how many businesses have applied this concept to different kinds of products – Winc delivers wines to your doorsteps every month, and they’ll even quiz you to recommend the best wine for you! Dollar Shave Club is another popular example of a men’s grooming subscription box. Amazon has also recently implemented subscription items that help you save on items you wish to purchase regularly, and also gives you the option to customize how often – every month, every 2 months, or even 3!
How will this work? If you have a product or service that people tend to purchase quite often, asking them a monthly fee in return for a monthly supply will do the trick. This way, they will never have to worry about running out.
If you are a small business and are worried about keeping track and managing deliveries, do not worry. While the bigger companies may invest in technologies and/or systems, keeping a record wherever you are comfortable with (Microsoft Excel, or even personal notes!) and setting up timely reminders to help you deliver will do.
- Cashless payments
Phones have gradually become very powerful devices, and payment technology has come a long way. Accepting online payments is a huge plus if you are looking to tech out your business. The change has brought convenience, one that has seen people carrying lesser and lesser cash every day.
Implementing this change will not only help your business carry out seamless and quicker transactions, but it will also create a better impression for your brand. Small businesses like tattoo shops and salons have also begun accepting payments via Cashapp or Venmo to make it as contactless as possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies like Square and Stripe provide the necessary infrastructure to start accepting online payments easily if you are a retail business. Moreover, Facebook is working tirelessly to roll out Facebook Pay in as many countries as they can – they also plan to implement it on Whatsapp and Whatsapp Business so users can conduct payments directly through the app. Popular mobile apps like Venmo and Cashapp are also widely used.
Do note, however, that transaction or banking fees may vary from bank to bank. It will be best to contact your bank to gather concrete information. The last thing you’d want is to lose money on the fees and taxes your bank will charge.
We hope this will help you go into 2021 will full confidence. Keeping up with technology and trends is going to be especially important. Click here to read more on influencer marketing, check out our blog for more helpful marketing tips, or visit our website if you wish to contact us for more marketing opportunities!