This past year has been challenging. It’s tested our resilience. It’s brought people closer together, while forcing them to physically remain apart. It’s created change in ways we weren’t expecting for our businesses.
And yet, every time there are such challenges, hardships, and downturns, there inevitably rises with it, opportunity. Opportunity when everyone else is panicked. Opportunity when a new market gap appears. Opportunity to help in a new, more valuable way.
Going into 2021, I have some predictions (AKA opportunities) for what will be most valuable for business + marketing in the coming year. Opportunities, that if you seize, could help you come out of a difficult 2020 more profitable than ever. Let’s get going, shall we?
Prediction #1: End to End Brand Experience
Companies, and small businesses included, are no longer going to be able to get away with just delivering their service. Customers are going to expect, and soon start only doing business with, those brands that truly offer them an experience and who treat them like a VIP.
This starts with a seamless online interaction, a wonderful and well-designed customer on-boarding, on-brand client gift or excellent brand packaging, thank you cards, seamless off-boarding, and other customized, Instagram-worthy moments crafted throughout the client experience. If your client isn’t impressed enough to post on Instagram about something your brand did or sent them, you are in BIG TROUBLE going forward.
Prediction #2: Amazon-easy buyability
Yes, I just made up two words, but I think you know exactly what I mean when I say you need to have Amazon-easy, buy-ability for your services or products. You know why you buy so much on Amazon? Because they make it stupid simple to buy.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to buy something from a website and it was literally impossible. I was trying to GIVE THEM MONEY and they made it so hard I gave up. I see this a lot and I guarantee it is killing your sales and revenue. If you are lucky enough to have someone come to your website and be on there long enough to want to buy something, you had better make double-darn sure the checkout process is a breeze and you impress the heck outta them with a beautiful, branded welcome email, tracking code, and the works. (See Prediction #1 for ways to get them and come buy more from you later).
Prediction #3: Focus on seo + content marketing
Customers are growing ever more aware of tacky marketing tactics and hype to Facebook ads from gurus who fail to deliver what they claim. More and more, customers are watching and waiting for awhile before buying, which is shifting the focus away from the short term focused ads and more to longer-focused marketing like content marketing and SEO.
Customers want to get to know the brands they follow and learn from them before they buy. They want the introduction to be organic and not forced. So finding someone through Youtube or a blog feels natural and customers are more loyal to brands they fall in love with this way. Which means as a business, you’ll need to start investing in longer-term marketing and shift thinking away from “how to make money now” to “how to last for years and years”. Value vs flash in the pan.
Prediction #4: Your Website is more important than ever
None of these opportunities will be available to you without a website. You’ll need a website to build your SEO and content marketing, like a blog. You’ll need a website to establish a seamless client experience and Amazon-like buying process. And you need a website that reflects the way the customer expects to interact with your brand.
That means, your 10 year old website isn’t gonna cut it. That means, your photos you took from your phone aren’t gonna cut it. That means, your Canva logo isn’t gonna cut it. That means, your DIY website isn’t gonna cut it.
It’s 2021, your customer expects, no demands, a clean, easy to use, and impeccably designed website. They expect it to be mobile friendly. They expect it to be fun, beautiful, and have the information they came looking for. If it doesn’t, well, they’re already on to the next and you just lost out, again. If your client doens’t want to bookmark your website to come visit it again, you are in BIG TROUBLE moving forward.
Prediction #5: More people than ever will be starting a business or side hustle
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted and that includes a previously “safe” job. I believe more people than ever have now been given the opportunity to explore their passions and given the time to see if starting a side hustle could work for them. Given that most people now work from home and are expected to for the considerable future, I believe we will see a rise in entrepreneurs, new ideas, communities, and growth going forward.
This is an amazing gift and one that will help raise up everyone! If you are concerned about over saturation, just know that there is always room at the top for the very best in every industry. Everyone has something valuable to contribute and everyone has a unique gift to share with the world.
I am so excited for the future and going into 2021. I am so grateful and more focused than ever.
Which of these predictions do you agree with? Are there any you think I missed? Let me know in the comments below.