Whether you're in Calgary, Winnipeg, Kelowna, or another Canadian community, you know that small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, entrepreneurs and small businesses employed 60-70% of people nationwide - this includes anything from restaurants to physiotherapy practices, dental offices, and other entrepreneur-owned businesses.  These small companies are essential to the healthy functioning of our economy.  As we've seen so far, the pandemic appreared out of nowhere and suddenly presented the biggest small business challenge in many years, if not decades.  Entrepreneurs had to reorganize their marketing strategies overnight, launch new sales channels, and change the way they communicate with customers. Many businesses were hit hard by the sudden shutdowns and closures.  Businesses that were set up for e-commerce and online services fared better, while those who lagged behind were punished as people flocked to buy goods and services on the internet.  These trends and disruptions will continue into 2021 and beyond, calling for continued adjustments to marketing strategies for many businesses.

So what can be done?  Here at Sparktribe, we predict that the shift to online services and accelerated e-commerce adoption is here to stay and will leave a lasting mark.  This means that a solid online marketing strategy will be a crucial investment in the post-pandemic reality.  If you're an entrepreneur, or a professional service business provider, here are 5 things you can start on right now to improve your marketing strategy in 2021:

Strengthen your website's position in Google (SEO)

Moving activities online has become the norm during the pandemic, and the starting point for researching these is a search engine.  Make sure you publish relevant content to your website and update it regularly, check your site speed, and that your tags and content uses properly optimized keywords.  To quickly increase paid search engine traffic to your website, run a search engine advertising campaign in Google Ads.

Focus on keeping your existing customer base 

What can help you with this? Marketing automation and newsletters, content production with particular emphasis on the features that distinguish your offer from your competitors, and increased activity and connection in social media.

Build brand awareness to maintain or gain greater visibility

Run a retargeting campaign to reach people who already know your brand. Advertise to people who have been to your website, or Facebook Page, or who have already purchased your products or services.  Allude to comfort and safety and keep your customers updated about how you're responding to the Covid-19 crisis and keeping them and your staff safe.  Customers will remember that you looked after everyone's best interests.

Focus on increasing the number of conversions

Check analytics to see if your website has any conversion pain-points.  Also see if you're making good use of your case studies, recommendations, and customer reviews. In times of crisis, trust is king - answer the question of whether your website supports your professional credibility and expertise.

Measure and Test

If you don't measure, you don't manage. If you don't manage, you lose money. Define and measure your KPIs: sales, number of generated leads, upsells, etc. Check the correctness of Google Analytics configuration, connect Google Search Console, measure ROI in social media.  Don't forget to test, and be fast and ruthless. This is why A/B testing exists so you can easily judge if something works or not.

We're continuing to monitor our client accounts and making adjustments to 2021 marketing strategies as necessary.  If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about our services for business professionals and healthcare practices, reach out to us through the link below, or at hello@sparktribe.com.  And in the meantime, stay well and remember that there are better days ahead.

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