2021 is arguably the year of transition for many businesses. The road to recovery from the market disruption of the decade that is the COVID-19 pandemic has been bumpy for scores of businesses worldwide.
This unrelenting global health crisis crashed hundreds of thousands of businesses – big and small – in its wake as most of them were ill-prepared for it let alone able to survive a crisis of that magnitude.
Over 140,000 businesses in the US alone were temporarily closed immediately after the pandemic struck with a handful barely managing to claw their way back albeit with serious “injuries”. By September 2020, 60 percent of the businesses were permanently closed.
Despite the initial shock, confusion, and uncertainty, many businesses had resumed operations by December 2020 but under strict conditions – a situation that presented another set of challenges.
However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. For every business that shut down, two or three others opened up, according to the United States Census Bureau. The pandemic also brought some opportunities, not just shutdowns. Still, it can be argued that the business landscape was changed for everyone.
Come 2021, there was a new way of doing business. A new normal.
Market dynamics had been turned upside down, consumer needs and preferences were pretty much all over the place, growth projections for 2021 and beyond no longer made sense… it was total confusion.
Everything that had happened in the previous year and the better part of 2021 was now not only a nightmare for most marketers but pretty much for the entire management team. The big question was, how do we pick up the pieces and grow the business in 2021?
There was no playbook to refer to. Every CEO, CFO, and key decision-maker in the business was now faced with a unique challenge of trying to figure out how to steer the business back to profitability and ultimately, growth.
It’s now mid-year and while a good chunk of businesses has somehow managed to weather the storm and eventually got back on their feet and making tremendous progress, a few are still struggling to get their groove back.
If you are one of those business owners or managers who are still wondering which tactics and tools to incorporate in your growth strategy for 2021 and beyond then you are in the right place.
The way we see it, growth should be a constant concern for any business, even when you feel like your company is already in a good position. ‘Grow or die’ is a common mantra in the business world.
This article will help you reignite your business growth journey and teach you how to do it on a shoestring budget.
7 Tips to Grow Your Business in 2021 without Major Investments
Automate Repetitive Processes
One of the most effective ways to boost the performance of a business is through enhancing productivity. In any business setup, the total elimination of repetitive and manual processes that hamper productivity can help you bring down costs significantly and ultimately set your business on a growth trajectory.
These are basically routine tasks that require the same input over and over again – a process whose execution ultimately consumes a lot of time. Some of these somewhat mundane and recurring tasks include social media scheduling, which you can do using platforms such as Hootsuite, scheduling blogs using WordPress, and computer backups so that you don’t lose your data.
Others include invoicing so that you don’t have to keep creating and sending reminders. With an app like Freshdesk, these tasks can be automated, which leaves you with more time to build your business.
Email marketing is another notorious time-consuming activity that takes a good portion of your time each day. Even though it’s a super important business process, most email tasks like autoresponders and email signatures can also be automated making the process more efficient and error-free. For these and other email marketing-related tasks, you can automate using platforms such as Salesforce, Mailchimp, and Constant Contact to help you speed things up considerably.
In a nutshell, with automation you get higher production rates, efficient use of materials, and improved product/service quality, which is crucial for growth.
After successfully automating some of those repetitive tasks, it’s now time to button everything up. Most of the automated processes are also used to store a huge amount of customer data that can, in turn, be used to enhance your digital marketing efforts and consequently propel your growth.
You are probably using a customer relationship management platform such as Salesforce to streamline your sales and marketing activities.
You might also be using Mailchimp to help you to manage and talk to your customers and partners and Constant Contact – which helps to monitor email marketing activities. While these are great digital platforms individually, integrating them using SyncApps, for instance, creates a formidable team that ultimately provides you and your customers with a seamless experience.
With Salesforce and Mailchimp and Salesforce and Constant Contact integrations, your lead generation and client retention efforts will be enhanced significantly. Integration also allows you to create segments for specific groups or criteria as well as engage your customers and prospects in real-time, which will boost your target marketing campaign.
By the way, did you know that you can start integrating your mission-critical solutions for free on SyncApps? You’ve got over 150 integrations to choose from and you can get started without a credit card. What have you got to lose?
Attend Networking Activities
This might not have been possible in 2020 for obvious reasons but with the gradual easing of the pandemic containment measures, networking still remains a cost-effective marketing and awareness creation tactic. Networking helps you to strengthen your business connections, raise your profile in your niche as well as generate referrals.
Business networking is also great for creating mutually beneficial partnerships that can, in turn, help you to market and sell your products or services to a wider audience.
Invest in Paid Advertising
The internet has now become one enormous marketplace that’s crawling with all sorts of prospects ready to buy one thing or another. The problem is, there are other competing interests that are also jostling for the prospects’ attention and money. This is exactly why successful companies are spending a fortune on digital advertising today.
Paid advertising or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) can be particularly helpful in the event your website is not ranking on the first page of Google’s result after a search query. PPCs basically appear next to organic search results to whatever the user is searching for.
Paid advertising helps you to place ads for keywords, which will bring in high-quality traffic to your website.
It also allows you to reach target prospects that are interested in your product or service. Data and insights received from your paid advertising can also be used to refine your messaging and also create better digital marketing campaigns.
According to Google, search ads can increase awareness by as much as 80 percent. This is phenomenal for any business that’s looking to boost its sales.
It, therefore, goes without saying that paid advertising can help you grow your business in 2021.
Optimize Your Website
If your website doesn’t seem to be adding value to your overall marketing then there’s probably one crucial thing that’s missing and that is website optimization. How websites work keeps evolving with time. These changes are mostly driven by how consumers behave when online. Consumers have become more demanding and their expectations have skyrocketed.
Forty-seven percent of customers will buy a product or service after visiting the brand’s website. But the visit alone is not in itself a guarantee that they will eventually buy from you. More often than not it’s the experience they get while browsing your website that finally compels them to hit the all-important ‘Add to Cart’ button.
So, if your website is not fully optimized – SEO and for mobile – to offer a great digital shopping experience across all devices, then you will be missing out on a big opportunity to grow your business.
Now that your website is now fully optimized, it’s time to make it rock! And how exactly do you do that?
All you need, well, apart from amazing products or services, is relevant and problem-solving content. Part of a consumer’s buying journey is the research phase. Before customers or prospects commit to buy, they will scour the web looking for relevant information about what they are planning to purchase.
This is where great content comes in. Content marketing, which is now a top priority for over 53 percent of marketers, helps you to boost your expertise in your industry as well as boost your credibility and reputation. In the process, you position yourself as a thought leader and a source of information for your customers, prospects, and partners. So, if you want to generate more leads without spending the big bucks then content marketing is the way to go.
To get you started on your content marketing strategy, start a blog about a topic or topics that you are passionate about and are in line with your business. Find time to create the content and then schedule (automate) the posts. One very important thing to remember though, you need to be consistent for this strategy to work.
Leverage Social Media
This one is a no-brainer, really! The sad thing is that a good number of businesses are not actually harnessing the power of social media.
What they don’t know is that social media is responsible for growing some of the most recognizable brands in the world today. Companies like PlayStation, which is one of the most followed brands on Twitter with a staggering 22.3 million followers, and Nike with over 1.68 billion followers on Instagram, among others, take social media seriously as part of their digital marketing strategy.
With a solid social media strategy, your business will benefit from increased brand awareness and inbound traffic, higher conversion rates as well as improved search engine rankings. Your customer satisfaction will also soar, especially if your interaction with your followers is consistent. You will also benefit from increased brand loyalty and most importantly, brand authority.
The last year has been tough on businesses but as the situation improves gradually, you need all the help you can get in order to get your company’s growth back on track. But while growth will not happen overnight, these tips will definitely set the ball rolling.