The immediate impact that COVID-19 has had on small businesses across the world is undeniable, however it is still the long-term consequences that many are worried about. With businesses shutting their doors and moving into the online sphere as quickly as possible, 2020 has been a difficult path to navigate regardless of industry. Though, does 2021 look any better?
As a social media marketing agency in London, determining the best strategies and courses of action for small business clients has been essential to getting through this challenging time. The question now is ‘what is the projected performance for small businesses in the next year and how do we prepare for that?’.
Keep on reading for a glance at what some of these performance predictions are.
Small Businesses Will Carry The Economy
In past recessions, it has been recorded that small businesses are to thank for keeping the economy afloat. This is widely due to their genuine concern for their employees and customers. Small businesses have less staff, meaning (possibly) less pressure to retrench and communities are often more likely to support small businesses over larger corporations.
For 2021, the positive can be found in the fact that small businesses are able to adapt quicker than larger ones, making the future slightly brighter. Much of this was seen this year too, as small businesses grabbed hold of digital strategies and implemented them as quickly as possible.
If these businesses continue to take advantage of the possibilities of social media and the instant reach it allows, performance in the next year can certainly soar. Particularly because it has been made clear that e-commerce is not only the way to move forward, but essentially to survive.
Digital Maturity for Increasing Revenue
As it has been mentioned, moving towards a completely digital landscape is one of the requirements for success, or even simply to avoid losses.
Digital maturity is the term used to describe the level of digitisation of small businesses. Whatever stage they are at on this digital maturity scale will have some sort of impact on their performance in the upcoming year. Naturally, the more digitised a business is, the greater chance they have to keep up with ever-changing market circumstances.
Due to the nature and size of small businesses, their response rate to the changing market can be much quicker, resulting in maintaining or growing their revenue, and keeping up with the current conditions. However, this can only be the case if their digitisation rate is ahead of COVID-19 obstacles.
The Impact On Cost Per Clicks And Online Competition Increases
With every business becoming more dependent on the digital landscape, competition among them is, unsurprisingly, going to spike. However, this corresponds with the way consumers go about their shopping anyway, so the ratio balances out
Competition for online recognition and positioning is still going to affect performance, especially for small businesses who want to be seen more than ever. Additionally, search engines are following a trend of eliminating third party cookies, meaning that obtaining data is going to be challenging. Effectively, this puts a new pressure on businesses and marketers in determining customer behavior and trends.
This decreased access to data will essentially mean that businesses are going to have to become flexible in how they target customers. Instead of using what they have always known, they will now have to use what is available and build on that to create the best possible ads. In other words, relying on individual search terms will no longer be an option. Instead, businesses will have to look at search queries as a whole and base their targeting accordingly.
It is predicted that pay per click will be even more prevalent in 2021 due to the nature of consumers’ new and preferred shopping habits. With more online competition, cost per click bidding is likely to increase as businesses focus on growing their ROI.
The Ease of Restrictions and the Effect on Small Businesses
The easing of lockdown restrictions over the coming months will play a big role in how small businesses will perform in 2021. There is much enthusiasm surrounding the possibilities that a somewhat COVID-free world will have on these businesses, as they can slowly begin to open up.
With every small restriction that gets eased in 2021, small businesses can have a bit more room to make up for what has been lost and hopefully, manage to grow even more.
The ease of restrictions is dependent on case numbers and immunity, meaning that if the former increases, small businesses will remain in this stagnant state. Although, preparing properly with digital strategies in the form of paid social and paid search, for example, will offer a better chance of not going under.
Small Businesses Working With Agencies To Expand Their Online Presence
Businesses often reach out to agencies under normal circumstances to assist with their marketing needs. During a global pandemic, the number of businesses contacting agencies for assistance has been even greater.
Small businesses may have limited knowledge and resources when it comes to digital marketing, thus working with an agency is a natural step forward.
When it comes to PPC and content marketing, for example, an agency is the best decision because of the knowledge and expertise they can offer to get your business to the level of success desired. Ultimately, everyone needs to focus on their own skill sets and put all effort into that right now, to ensure a strong start to 2021.
The reality of 2020 has been a difficult one to weather. Nonetheless, many people and small businesses appear optimistic about 2021 and the possibilities of renewed economic growth. The expected changes coming into effect within digital will be a learning curve for everyone, but as always, we will all adapt and coordinate strategies accordingly.
Tom Welbourne is the Founder & Director of The Good Marketer. A Marketing Agency in London which drives traffic, generates conversions and increases sales for Small-To-Medium Sized Businesses.