It’s no secret that small businesses are hurting from the pandemic. Figures show that roughly one-third of small businesses across the country are shut down, with many in danger of never reopening. For those that are operating, revenue is down significantly according to TrackTheRecovery.org, a website maintained by Opportunity Insights, a not-for-profit organization located at Harvard University. In the United States, as of December 31, 2020, total small business revenue had decreased by 31.1% compared to January 2020.
Behind every struggling small business is a small business owner, who has often poured his or her life savings into building out their dream. A dream that becomes the lifeline for their family, employees, and others in the community. At mConnexions, we understand this passion because we live it ourselves as a small female-owned and operated small business. It makes it personal for us, to continue stretching our own business to help as many others survive as possible.
Here are four marketing trends for small business survival in 2021:
1. Delivering Quality Content: EAT It Up!
Our clients often hear us talk about quality content in terms of two general audiences: our human targets and Google’s bots. The good news is that Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines include an excellent rule that helps us create quality content for both audiences: EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), which is also referred to commonly in SEO tactics as Page Quality.
Our friend EAT tells us 2021 is the year of quality content, which means we’ll see a market saturated with it—and you should be eyeing a solid content strategy. Your content is your most important communication tool, so you should be intentional about creating it and methodical about its delivery. How well do you know your audience? How do they want to be receiving and consuming content? Why should they consume your content and not someone else’s?
Whether you are writing for traditional print or digital, remember that quality content helps you master some very important goals:
Demonstrate why—and how—you’re the best at what you do. Use your content as your avenue to educate your audience about what you offer and what makes you better than the competition; this requires you to understand your audience and what problem they’re looking to solve, then prove through quality content how you can solve that problem for them. We always recommend starting with a good buyer persona, especially with the market and audience changes due to the pandemic.
Build strong relationships. Beyond understanding and educating your audience, quality content with in-depth information that’s reputably sourced establishes you as an expert and boosts your affinity—this keeps your audience coming back to you as a brand they trust. Turn to well written and organized long-form content to capture your expertise.
Develop a community and build your brand voice. Consistently producing content gives your audience something to regularly engage with—this builds an entire community around your product or services and boosts your brand’s recognition and value.
There are so many different types of content, but know this: they’re not all meant to fit your strategy! It’s about choosing the formats most relevant for your audience and the different promotion strategies for each platform. Diversifying your content can help you reach new—sometimes unlikely—demographics, and expand your audience.
As you build your content strategy for 2021, keep these formats front-of-mind:
- Video and live streaming continue to be the biggest content trend this year. Bonus: video works well across blogs, podcasts, and social media.
- Infographics can pack a ton of valuable information into a concise format—it’s an enjoyable and easy way for your audience to consume a lot of complex information, an EAT favorite.
- Interactive content such as polls, quizzes, lists, or interactive maps drives audience engagement.
- E-learning content, like webinars and online courses, offers specific and immediate value to your audience. This can also be a source of revenue generation.
2. Social Media Stories Reach New Heights – Better Keep Up!
We hate to sound harsh, but If you’re not using Stories on every available platform by now, you’re doing it wrong. We’re sure you’ve used IG and FB Stories for your brand, but have you ventured to LinkedIn Stories or Twitter Fleets yet? If not, now’s the time to start! Consumers often prefer Stories over regular feed posts — which means these expanded features area great way to maximize engagement and grow your audience. You just need to have the right strategy for each platform.
Since they are the two newest options out there, here is our advice for effectively utilizing LinkedIn Stories and Twitter Fleets to enhance consumer interaction with your brand:
LinkedIn Stories is a quick and engaging way to share information with your professionally motivated audience, while helping you reach your goals for 2021 in a creative way. If you’ve ever made a story on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, LinkedIn Stories operate in pretty much the same way – with the ability to create short videos of up to 20 seconds and are available for your audience to see for up to 24 hours. Note that as of this blog publish date, LinkedIn stories are only available through its mobile app.