You adapted for COVID. Have you updated your marketing strategy?
We’re five months into the Coronavirus Pandemic. The world is constantly changing. You’ve adapted your business and adapted again. Well done, business owner (or business manager/marketer). You are creative, smart, and fierce. So, how have you updated your marketing strategies? Let’s talk about that ….
It’s important that you’re communicating effectively with your customers and local consumers about how you’ve adapted to serve them in this new environment.
Lots of small businesses have cut back on marketing to save money. Let me make a bold recommendation: Do the opposite.
Here are some steps you need to consider to come out of the pandemic in good shape – and on top of your competition.
Step back and evaluate your strategy.
You’ve made adjustments to your product or service offering, adapted a new customer experience, or even rolled out new programs. How is it working? Have you taken the time to evaluate and create a new marketing strategy? Have you effectively communicated with consumers?
- Are you targeting the right group of people now that you’ve pivoted? Or do your new services or approach appeal better to a different crowd?
- Are you reaching your target market effectively?
- Are customers adopting your new approach? How do you know?
- Keep an eye on the competition, market pricing, etc. Are you competitive, while maintaining profitability?
It is imperative that you have short-term strategies right now, and that you constantly evaluate and adjust them. Shelf your long-term marketing strategy. You’ll need it again in the future. Right now, you need to spend your resources focused on being relevant, empathetic, and helpful.
Lean in, don’t cut back.
During a crisis or time of uncertainty, small business owners will do one of two things – 1. cut back on marketing (or eliminate it completely) or 2. adapt and invest.
It’s scary and unpredictable right now, so being conservative feels like the safe choice. I totally get that. But you can balance financial responsibility with your need to stay connected to consumers. If you tread water while others swim, you’re going to end up way behind.
You have to stay agile, evaluate and adjust, and then execute a short-term strategy. This is the time to gain market share, which will pay big dividends when the economy picks back up. Customers will be loyal to you, if you were empathetic and helpful in their time of need.
Re-Evaluate your Brand Voice, Mission, and Vision.
Take this time to re-focus and re-center. What do you stand for? Why are you essential for your community (not necessarily COVID essential, but still super important and meeting needs in your community!)? Why do your customers appreciate you – now more than ever?
It’s a real possibility that your pivot will become your new normal. You may have found a niche or become really skilled in a certain area, and when things go back to normal, you may want to maintain your current offering. Think about how your mission may have changed.
Does the tone of voice you use in your marketing copy (website, social posts, ads, etc.) sound empathetic for the current times? Put yourself in the shoes of an anxious consumer who is looking to you to solve their current problem. Does your website make sense? Are you sensitive, genuine, authentic, helpful?
Update your new “storefront” and current ads.
I wish I had written this blog post a few months ago. So if you haven’t already, evaluate your website and social media accounts. They have become your storefront.
- Are they up-to-date?
- Are your customers able to find what they need right now?
- Have you updated pricing, hours, adaptations, photos?
If you have ads running anywhere, evaluate those, too. Are they still relevant? Are they positive but not insensitive? If not, you need to produce new creative.
What about your Pay Per Click campaigns. Have you re-evaluated your search terms? Are they still relevant to what you’re offering? Or do you need to add more terms to reach consumers who are searching for what you’re currently offering?
Deploy short-term strategies.
There are several options for marketing tactics that can be executed quickly and changed on dime. The key is to keep your communication in line with what you’re offering. As quickly as the environment is changing, you’ll have to use marketing outlets that are easy to manage, and also effective.
Here are some options to consider:
- Social Media Ads – Facebook and Instagram are great for targeting specific groups or reaching an entire market. Social media ads can effectively communicate a brand/tone or drive leads for a specific limited-time special offer. They are easy to update and cost-efficient.
- Direct Mail – With a strong call-to-action and/or special offer, this can be an effective tactic. It will typically take a couple weeks to design the mailer, print and send. It is significantly more expensive than online advertising.
- Social Media/YouTube Videos – People are missing the personal interaction they used to have. A good way to connect with people is to share videos on social media. It’s easy enough to shoot a video with your cell phone. Make sure the lighting is good and the audio is clear. Don’t ramble – be concise. This is a free tactic if you do it, but there are marketing freelancers who do this kind of stuff, too.
- Email Marketing – If you have a list of personal contacts or customer emails, use them! Your customer’s inbox is seriously valuable real estate! Make yourself relevant, solve their problems, and be sensitive. Link to your videos. Share your special offers. Stay connected.
- Develop Relevant Content – You’ve probably noticed a change in what your customers are interested in as it relates to what you offer. Keep a list of questions they ask you, and write blog posts or produce videos to answer them. If you get asked once, surely more customers are curious about the same thing. Put your blogs on your website and share the links on social media.
- Signage & Banners – If you’re in a high-traffic area, order banners that will advertise your special offer or whatever special message you need to get out. Banners are inexpensive and effective for short-term use.
If you want some help getting started, I’m offering a Free Comeback Consultation. I’m happy to help!
Good luck, and keep up the good work.
Thanks for reading,