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It’s been a roller coaster of a year so far and we still have half the year to go! In August, we start planning for 2021. While we might have just regained our wits about us living in a “new normal,” we have to begin thinking about next year. 2021 will be here before you know it and it will demand a strategy. Are you ready? 

Let’s be real folks, the COVID economy, or life as we know it—wearing masks out in public—isn’t going away any time soon. Assume that 2021 looks like life today and plan accordingly. The last few months have been really telling in terms of how people are shopping, how media is reaching customers, and how they are spending their time. Remember,a good marketing strategy is all about reaching your people WHERE they are and with the right MESSAGE.

 

Reaching customers where they are now.

Stay-at-home orders kept many Americans home for 8+ weeks. During that time, people learned that shopping via an app on their phone or having a Zoom coffee date was easy and saved loads of time. They were forced to get comfortable with new digital experiences. Be open to different ways to reach your audience outside of the traditional paid media routes. Maybe that’s Instagram/Facebook ads, streaming services,or YouTube? Be willing to try new things even if you’re scared of a learning curve. Now’s the time to learn, especially while there’s still grace for technical problems.

 

Going virtual.

With social distancing in place across the nation, in-person marketing is not happening. Think about how you can take in-person experiences online and engage in a meaningful way with potential customers or current clients. Consider positioning your company as an expert in the field at virtual events in addition to networking or create your own webinar series. If you have the availability to be intentional with extended Q&A sessions or virtual help sessions, do it! Customers are craving connection. 

 

Stay connected.

Build and nurture your online relationships with customers. This can be done via a customer email list, free training sessions on Zoom, Facebook Groups, or good content in your Instagram Stories. Find where your people are online and start a dialogue. Keep in touch via email. Your customers may not be able to visit you, but making yourself as available as you can (while being safe) will go a long way. 

 

You can’t go wrong by doing right.

Former Kansas City Mayor Sly James had a saying, “You can’t go wrong by doing right.” With recent events, consumers are looking even more at what companies are doing (large and small) when it comes to social good. We encourage brands to take a look at what they can do better and the good they can do or ways to give back. This will be a factor going forward, more than it has in the past. Studies are showing that consumers will be more receptive and loyal to businesses that support and promote social causes that they value. 

 

Give them the good stuff.

Social media is now proven to be a critical brand-building tool. This is a platform that you can pull in more potential leads, build a tribe or simply talk to your existing customers. Use it wisely. Create content that is on-brand for you and helpful to your audience. These efforts can move the needle, but it needs to be done right and not as an afterthought. Overall, the industry is seeing social media spend increasing by 10% for 2021. Create a plan for your messaging with an editorial calendar, be consistent but creative and post with purpose.

P.S. We have a free tool for learning how to build your editorial calendar available at our resources page. 

 

Evaluate 

We all had to pivot our marketing in March away from in-person marketing to more virtual or digital tactics. What did you learn? How did your audience engage? What messaging resonated? By asking yourself these questions, you can use your data to inform your 2021 strategy.

These are strange times and we all have to work together. Could there be new partnerships for your brand? We saw so many companies successfully pairing up when the COVID-19 crisis began. Who’s your next partner-in-crisis? 

Think outside the box for ways to acquire new customers. Have you been wanting to try a new marketing tactic? This might be the time to test some new ideas, especially if they are in the digital space.

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