2020 - the best bits
I know it's a new year but I'd like to spend one blog looking back at some of the highlights from 2020 so I hope you'll indulge me. 2020 was a tough year all around, for everyone, but I found that there were highs as well as lows and definitely lessons that I can take into this year. Here are some of my highlights from the year:
Building my business: Working with great clients
Of course, the most fun thing that happened to me businesswise in 2020 was working with awesome clients and as my business was brand new, my clients were new! I've had the opportunity to work with inspiring local businesses, aiding some of them with projects like developing their brand strategy, websites, or marketing plans, and supporting others with their ongoing marketing. This year I'm excited about meeting more great local companies who need support with their marketing to grow, as well as continuing to work with my existing clients to evolve their businesses.
Launching my newsletter: Crabapple Communiqués
I wanted a way to talk regularly to my audience of small business owners and build a community that I could help excite about marketing and keep them on track. I put my first newsletter out into the world in September and so far I've succeeded in my aim to send out one packed newsletter per month. If you'd like to hear from me regularly, you can sign up here.
Responding to the community: The most neglected areas of marketing
One of my favorite blog posts of the year was published right at the beginning of the year, in that magical pre-COVID era. It was in direct response to a question asked by one of the members of my local business community. She was wondering what the typical most-neglected areas of marketing are for small businesses. Reading this blog again now, the great thing is that everything still rings true even in COVID time. There are some small business challenges that are perennial.
Read the original blog to find out the five areas of marketing that small businesses most often neglect.
Showcasing local businesses: Marketing and business continuity in a time of coronavirus
Back in March, when the world closed down, I wanted to encourage local businesses and shout about those businesses which had very rapidly adapted to their new environment. I was impressed by the creativity and innovation on display and wanted to share some of the great ideas from the entrepreneurs around me. And this resonated with my community, making it one of the most popular blogs of the year.
Read the original blog to see the businesses that were demonstrating innovation and creativity during a really tough time.
Webinars for entrepreneurs: Marketing planning and pivoting
In 2020 I really enjoyed hosting a few webinars for my local business community. In the midst of shifting sands, it's important to still take a minute to reflect and think strategically. Quick reactions and adapting to circumstances are great, but in addition to that, you need to make sure that the new direction you're running off in is the right one for you.
Two webinars that I'd like to pick out are, "How to build a marketing plan during COVID-19", and "How to pivot your marketing strategy", both of which I ran in conjunction with Jeffco Business Resource Center (now sadly closed).
Diving deep into strategy: Building a marketing plan blog series
I'm a planner, as my friends and families will tell you. I love a good plan. That doesn't mean I'm not adaptable though, as life tends to throw curveballs, but it means that I like to know what direction I'm heading in. Given the uncertainty of 2020, I thought that the end of the year would be a good time to help other businesses plan for 2021. Of course, no plan is foolproof but it can help provide structure.
If you'd like to read the series, there are seven parts to get to grips with:
Remind yourself why – Remind yourself why you’re in this game and what you're trying to do – this is at the heart of everything
Who are you talking to? – Creating your audience personas/customer avatars is part of the foundational work of any business plan, but as your customers change over time, they need to be revisited and updated regularly to make sure that they’re still relevant
Set your business goals – Marketing is pointless if it doesn’t help you move your business forward so we need to establish what you want to achieve
Aligning your marketing goals and overall strategy – How to set up solid marketing goals and strategies (same blog as above)
Reviewing your context – How to look at the trends going on around you so that you don't approach marketing in a tone-deaf way
Channel strategies – Now we get into the fun bit of working out which marketing channels are best for you
Creating content – You now know who you're talking to and how you're going to reach them, but what are you going to say to them?
Managing through measurement – How do you know it’s working if you’re not measuring? We’ll look at how to set helpful metrics that help keep you on track, without bogging you down in admin
Now looking forward to 2021, my word for this year is "Engage". This is the first time I've had a word for the year, so we'll see how it serves me, but I think it's a good one. The thinking behind it is to lean in as much as possible to the world around me and engage with it wholeheartedly. So I very much look forward to engaging with you this year!