Businesses are facing unprecedented challenges heading into 2021. Many can rightly be described as being in survival mode — hanging on for as long as they can in the hope that they can bounce back when society begins to normalize.

When exactly this normalization will occur is unclear at this point. World economies are still reeling from the pandemic, and consumer activity remains well below any ordinary range. But there is growing optimism that we’re entering a turnaround. With that turnaround comes a real chance for businesses to rebound.

If you’re among those business owners hoping for a rebound, though, there’s one thing you’ll need to pay particular attention to: standing out. If we do in fact get our lives back this year in 2021, the race to regain consumer attention and activity is going to be widespread and intense. Countless businesses will be seeking rapid comebacks. There’s a good bet that a lot of new businesses will emerge to take advantage of a recovering economy as well. It will be your job then to make sure that your business stands out in the crowd.

How you go about doing this may depend on the type of business you run. But we have some general ideas to keep in mind.

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Hire a Marketing Leader

The idea of establishing marketing departments and leadership was once reserved for bigger companies. However, the past decade or so has seen an explosion in digital marketing. Opportunities to study for degrees in this space have moved to the forefront of online education, due to the fact that there is so much hiring needed. This has created a cycle: Companies are seeking more marketing expertise, and students and working professionals alike are seeking the qualifications to fill the roles.

What this means is that you may actually be falling behind if you don’t hire for marketing. According to an extensive overview of online Bachelors in Marketing programs, professionals in this field are expected to fill nearly 22,000 new careers between 2018 and 2028. And marketing has ranked as a top-10 “in-demand skill” for three years running. The good news is that if you get in on the trend, you’ll be hiring someone whose job is to help your business stand out. A marketing leader (or team) will work solely on expanding your brand and generating attention.

Get Busy on Social Media

A lot of what was just said about marketing applies to social media usage as well. It’s become not just common but essential for small businesses in recent years. And it’s something people are now studying to provide social media strategy and management roles for companies in need.

Even if you don’t specifically hire for social media, maintaining active accounts on key networks can certainly help your visibility. This is actually something we’ve spoken to with specific regard to roofing company social media accounts. These are excellent examples simply because we don’t tend to think of jobs like roofing as having much to do with social media. The truth is that everything has an audience, and social media is about connecting to yours. By regularly and strategically sharing business updates, industry news, and the like, you can ensure that you stand out in your field and generate regular attention in 2021.

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Speak to Struggle

Another strategy more specific to the pandemic and recession is to speak to struggle if you can. In other words, find tactful ways to acknowledge that consumers may be coming out of tough times. This does not mean stamping messages with clichés about perseverance and the like. Rather, it means taking an understanding approach to your business. That may mean offering flexible payment plans if you can afford to do so. It may mean finding ways to explain the benefits of your service in light of pandemic concerns specifically (for example, you might explain that a roof replacement can increase the investment value of a home as people look to rebuild financial security). Whatever the specific idea is, your customers will appreciate these gestures, and you may just develop some positive word of mouth that helps you stand out.

Focus on Customer Service

You should also prioritize customer service in general. Consumers are apprehensive about doing most any kind of business in 2021, and businesses are out of practice and apprehensive as well. Within this environment, outstanding customer service is going to gain positive attention. Reach out, be friendly, be engaging, and be as helpful as you can. It’s a simple effort, all things considered, but one that might be more appreciated than ever in a post-2020 business environment.

Even with all of these efforts underway, it’s going to be a challenge getting back to business. The transition won’t happen overnight, and some university professors who have studied consumer behavior expect that post-pandemic consumer habits may stick with respect to doing business. That means they may continue to prioritize remote practices and avoid expenses that aren’t necessary.

Still, working to stand out is an excellent and necessary start. By taking advantage of the ideas we’ve mentioned here, you may well be able to get our business back on consumers’ minds, and eventually up to speed.

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