Local marketing expert, Maggie Robinson, Director of Smart Thinking Consultancy gives her tips for getting on top of your marketing strategy during the coronavirus lockdown.
There is no denying that we are in trying times. Something like Covid-19 and the measures put in place to deal with it haven’t ever happened before, which has left everyone scrambling to cope, and to find a new ‘normal’ in this unprecedented event. The lockdown has been particularly hard on business owners, who have found themselves unable to go into work, trying to support employees with drops in income as clients are isolating and unable to buy.
But while it may be difficult, there is a silver lining to the lockdown world. Smart business owners can use this time to take a step back from the daily grind of working in their business, and spend some time on it instead. Something everyone knows they should do, but very few find the time to do. In particular, business should be looking closely at their marketing efforts – at how they get their message in front of their customers, what that message is, and how well it’s working. Then, looking at how they can improve it, and what they could change in the future. In short, business owners need to be using this time to plan for the future, and that means reviewing their marketing!
Update Your Marketing Plan
The lockdown means that most business owners are now spending their days staying safe in their own homes, potentially with a little less to get done in the workday than usual. But rather than focussing on the negatives, why not look at the things you can do to benefit your business. For example, now is the perfect time to evaluate your marketing plan and make some updates. After all, marketing has never been more crucial than it is right now. If your business goes silent now, then it will be much harder for you to bounce back quickly and get back to normal. Not to mention that most marketing plans are written when the business is first formed and then shoved in a draw somewhere, never to see the light of day again. This isn’t what’s supposed to happen, but it does.
So open it up, dust it off and bring it up to date. Review your business aims and direction (which can change over time), make sure you’re targeting the right audiences, and review all the activities you’re doing to get in front of that audience. Take some time to also review your positioning and messaging, and see if it matches your current client base. By doing this you can highlight some key areas that your marketing might be failing in – ones that you might not have even noticed. For example you might have written your website copy when you first opened and not reviewed it since, even though you now work with a completely different kind of customer and offer a whole range of new products or services. So your website will need updating to attract that right kind of customer. Doing this exercise systematically across your whole marketing plan will highlight the areas you need to update, so you can focus your efforts there.
Explore New Avenues
If you’ve been running your business for a while, then odds are you have a few different marketing methods that you know and stick to. Whether you did some trial and error in the beginning to help you decide on them, or whether you just fell into using them and they’ve worked well so far, every business has their favourite marketing avenues. But now the landscape is changing, and you need to change with it.
So, it’s time for you to explore new methods of marketing! Because there are thousands of different methods, avenues and channels out there for marketing your business, and we guarantee there are some that will work well for you, but you aren’t using. Take this time to explore what else is out there, and give a few new methods a try.
And remember – even if you’ve tried something before a few years back, it might be worth giving it a try again. Because markets change, customers change and your business has probably changed too, so there is no guarantee it won’t work now. Good marketing is all about looking at your overall marketing efforts as a whole, rather than just subsections and individual activities – then evaluating what you are doing, measuring their success and being honest about your efforts and changing with the times.
Build Your Content Bank
When it comes to marketing, content is still very much king. All marketing efforts are built on content, and if you find yourself with a little more downtime than usual, now is the perfect time to work on that. Building up a content bank for your business gives you something to base your marketing efforts on – not to mention something to talk about and a resource for your customers. Content marketing is all about forging a link with your customers, building trust by sharing knowledge and expertise, and creating enough loyalty to your brand to result in a sale. And while they may not be able to buy currently, if you have a bank of content for them to read through now, you are much more likely to be in the front of their minds when they can buy again.
Spending some time creating a content bank of blog posts, articles for LinkedIn, short videos and other content is a valuable use of time right now. It means you can be ready to broadcast your presence (and knowledge) to the world when the lockdown lifts – dramatically increasing your chance of gaining new customers quickly and getting back on your feet fast.
Times are tough for everyone right now, but small business owners may be among the hardest hit by the country-wide shutdown. But just because business has slowed down a bit, or you can’t get on site to deliver client work, doesn’t mean you can’t do something valuable with your time. By taking this time to step back and plan for the future, you are giving yourself the best chance to hit the ground running once this ban is lifted, and life starts to return to normal.
At Smart Thinking Consultancy, I specialise in supporting your marketing efforts, even through times like this. I am on hand to help you adjust your marketing plans, create new strategies and offer practical support in implementing them. If you’re struggling to see how you can market your business during the pandemic, or what you need to do afterwards to ensure your business not only survives, but thrives, just get in touch with me today. I’m currently offering an hour’s free consultation.