For some, 2020 was a year to embrace change and find new ways to do business. However, for many others, 2020 was an incredibly difficult year spent just trying to survive. If you’re one of the latter, congratulations on making it this far! Seriously, it’s been rough and you deserve huge credit for hanging in and being resourceful.
Now, here we are in December and it’s time to think about what we want to do in 2021. So, let’s take stock and really look at what’s changed and how we can all move forward and thrive.
First off, let’s acknowledge that for a lot of us, our 2020 goals got left in the dust somewhere around April and maybe you’re feeling like you missed the boat on changing course. The good news is, it’s not too late. Let’s start from wherever you are and look at a new plan for the year ahead. If you’re looking to grow your business (and who isn’t!), review and planning are essential first steps.
So let’s get started with our 8-point 2021 checklist:
1) 2020 Marketing Review: Take a step back and look at your 2020 marketing plan. What worked? What got shelved? In what ways has the market shifted in the past year, and how does that affect your offering?
There was likely some of your plan that worked. What can you learn from that and can you continue it? Of the things that got shelved, are they still viable avenues or should you move on to other tactics? For some, the switch to an online-first business will be permanent. If so, what do you need to do to reach your customers where they are, online?
2) 2020 Marketing Plan: What are your marketing goals for 2021? Do you need new strategies to achieve your new goals? What tools and tactics will you need to employ? See the next 5 items for the tactics to check.
3) Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Does your website come up on the first page of search results for your name? For your products or services? For your most important search terms? If your business is a local or regional one, does your business have a Google My Business or Bing Local listing and does it accurately reflect your business information?
With so much of our lives moving online, it’s important to think about the user experience of your website. A technical website audit can help you understand how people are using your website; where it’s working and where it’s not performing well for your business. Things like site speed and mobile optimization may not have been prioritized when you first built your website. Now they’re of paramount importance to get and keep your visitors.
Recommendation: SEO standing should be reviewed at least quarterly and Local Search should be kept up monthly. A technical audit (and any subsequent fixes) should be performed at least once a year.
4) Paid Search Marketing: Review your budget and the ROI from last year. Did your advertising dollars get you the customers you wanted? Did the campaigns deliver the right type of visitors to your website? Do you need to change your messaging to reflect your customers new reality?
Recommendation: Now is the time to audit these campaigns and decide what to add, keep, or cut, as well as what new messages, promotions and platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) you want to test in 2021.
5) Social Media: How effective is your social media strategy? Are your customers still engaged with your brand on them or is it time to reassess your strategy? Are there platforms that you aren’t using that your competitors are? Are you aware of all the tools on each platform to help businesses engage successfully?
Recommendation: Social Media works best when it’s attended to on a weekly or daily basis. Have you created a posting calendar? Now is also a good time to do some competitive research to see what others in your industry are doing on Social. What are they doing that you aren’t?
6) Website Conversion: Are you tracking all your traffic to your website? Do you know where your best customers are coming from? Once you get them to your site, are they clicking through to the pages you want them to? Are they converting into customers? More importantly, are you using the data to inform your marketing efforts? What pages are people staying on the longest? What pages are they leaving the site from?
Recommendation: These metrics (and more) are ones that you should be tracking regularly to ensure your website is performing at its best for your company. They’ll also help you make the best decisions on where to spend your marketing dollars.
7) Website Design: How’s the design of your website holding up? Is it outdated? Is the messaging still relevant? Is it easy for users to navigate and find what they need? Is it converting your visitors to buyers? How does it perform on mobile and in site speed tests (see #3 above)?
Recommendation: The way we use the web has changed this past year and your site needs to change with it. We recommend a web design refresh every two years for most businesses. Once you’ve looked at your website through the eyes of your customers, you may want to consider a new design or a refresh to be sure you can serve your customers in the way they need.
8) Website maintenance: Backend maintenance is essential to keep your website secure and functioning smoothly. Updates are released continuously for website platforms (WordPress, Shopify, etc) and their plugins and apps, which means maintenance is needed frequently (at least every three months).
Recommendation: Remember to test those updates on your staging server before pushing them live! Just in case of conflicts, you don’t want to break something on your live site.
The Time Is Now
Year-end always brings a surge of new ideas and new goals and this year is no different in that regard. By reviewing what worked and what didn’t in 2020 and addressing the changes we’ve all experienced, you’ll have the best chance of achieving your goals in the New Year. Happy planning!
Want help getting it done? Let’s talk. We can create a plan for you to make the most of 2021 and beyond.
If you’re ready to get started now, schedule a no-obligation consultation to discuss your needs.