Big Plans For 2020? The Time To Start Is Now
If anything should motivate you to ignite your branding efforts, it’s the start of a new decade. The trouble is, with an ever-pending deadline for Brexit, a possible recession looming and a gradual reduction in public spending across the UK, most businesses are choosing to keep their marketing cards close to their chest.
However, businesses and franchises alike can’t afford to seize up. In order for 2020 to really get off to a great start you need to be setting the wheels in motion now and sustaining momentum throughout the year.
In order to do so, we’ve provided the below guide on methods to increase efficiency in 2020 and deliver on your immediate goals.
Maximise your marketing
History has shown that brands that are bold in the face of a recession demonstrate the most ambition and typically stand taller in the long run. It’s easy to play it safe and rely solely on incoming leads, but over the winter period, there’s a chance such opportunities may dry up.
That’s why you need to position yourself as a necessity and use marketing to do so. There are multiple ways to do this, but the below methods provide the foundations of a strong marketing campaign on a budget.
Increase social presence
It’s always been the case that businesses have had to embrace the tools that their audiences rely on. However, franchises actually equipping such technology is a fairly recent development. Where 10 years ago social media wasn’t measured in the annual franchising report, today organisations are increasingly turning towards social media for recruitment, advertising and internal communication purposes.
And, much like their enterprise counterparts, over the winter months, they need to be reminding audiences why their services are necessary. After all, no one is going to be including your product in their essential purchases of Q1 2020 if your brand is nowhere to be seen in December.
Invest in local ads
Local advertising may seem like expenditure you don’t need to be incurring. However, if you want to be exploring new territories in the coming year, it’s important you start acclimatising as soon as possible. As new, potential audiences return home for the holidays, local radio stations, papers and billboards will be getting much more traction than they would do otherwise.
So, seize the opportunity presented by the holiday period and allow these audiences to get familiar with your services. You’re essentially blending into an environment that you hope to take by storm in the following year.
Providing you’ve done both of the above, you’re sure to have garnered some engagement from the audiences you’re already targeting. Whether that’s comments on social media posts or general discussions in the family home, your brand awareness should have sharply increased.
But that alone isn’t enough to secure leads. You need telephone numbers to call come January and referees to get your foot in the door. This requires partnerships, contacts and names you can drop in tough negotiations.
Network in local business groups
Plenty of business owners and potential contacts will still be engaging in after-work drinks and social events in the run-up to Christmas. So, take advantage of any networking events that take place over the winter holidays.
The likelihood is that these people won’t be ready to buy from you at the point you’re engaging with them. Although, when they take stock over December, your business card will be at the top of the pile.
Research nearby business Growth Hubs and LEPs
In addition, plenty of cities and smaller towns will have business groups who specialise in kick-starting commercial growth. Your local Growth Hub, often run by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), offer tailored support as well as grants for those who are eligible.
Provided you fit the description, you can access a wealth of resources and be introduced to exactly the kind of audience or intermediary who can take your business from SME to industry contender. Send emails to these organisations throughout December so that, come January, you’ve got all the answers you need to launch into new markets in 2020.
Innovate ahead of the new year
Innovation is easier said than done, and in most cases, business owners do want to progress but aren’t entirely certain what would constitute as embracing future trends.Try to put yourself in the mind of your target audience. Uncover their pain points with your current site and service and see where modern solutions you aren’t currently using could address their concerns.
Use technology to improve customer service
If your customers are often clogging up your phone lines and preventing enquiries from reaching you, why not invest in a webchat solution? Perhaps even consider increasing social media support so you can troubleshoot in real-time. You’ll double your engagement and have a higher chance of appearing in your followers’ news feeds.
In addition, consider internal CRM or marketing automation software that can help you visualise your pipeline ahead of January. Any members of your sales team can then focus on earning alone, as opposed to manual data entry and admin.
Expand your territory
Whatever your organisation is, research ways you can diversify your audience in the new year. It’s all well and good appealing to the nearest or most relevant demographics, but the current economy could change at any moment, transforming consumer behaviour as it does so.
At Rainbow, we encourage our franchisees to service nearby towns and communities to where they’re based. If you’re a franchisee in Liverpool, for instance, we would encourage you to explore opportunities in the Wirral where perhaps certain unfamiliar demographics reside. This allows for more unique challenges, giving the job a greater reward overall.
We appreciate that today’s economy feels uncertain. The reality is, if you don’t have some marketing foundations for the new year, you could end up stagnating throughout the entire first quarter.
Our suggestions above allow for you and your team to hit the ground running in 2020 – both in terms of expansion and product development. But we’re keen to hear what you’ve got planned!