Now that all 50 states have some lift from the Coronavirus quarantine lock down, it’s time to start taking action with your marketing again as a business leader.
These 7 marketing tips are for any business considering closing their doors or those that are ready to re-engage.
Be sure that your marketing focus here is on messaging - keep in mind how your audience has adjusted to the lock down and communicate accordingly.
Marketing Tip #1
Creating Content –
if you were fortunate enough to be focused on creating content during he lock down, you are already one step ahead.
If you haven’t been able to create content, now’s the time to do so.
Create content that meets each consumption type:
Text format for those that like to read – this can be a blog or it could be posting on social media.
Knowing where your target audience spends time helps with this tip as you want to create content they’ll consume on the platform they spend time. For ex – if they are spending time on YouTube and you’re creating blog posts, you’re missing out on reaching them.
Audio – podcasts (starting your own or being a guest on someone else’s) or audio clips that you can use on your website or social media posts.
Video – upload to YouTube then share on social media or embed in blog posts. Video is an increasing format of consumption, whether it’s educating, entertaining or informing. It’s long form content so consider the message you want to convey, their biggest challenges, how will they engage, etc. and provide a call-to-action (CTA) to start the conversation.
Marketing Tip #2
Podcasting is a great way to share, teach and entertain with your audience. If it makes sense for you to start a podcast, do so! If not, search in your industry or online for podcasts targeted to your audience for you to be a guest. Podcast listening, as you may have read or heard, continues to rise.
In fact, monthly podcast listeners has grown 54% in 3 years according to this 2020 study by Edison Research and Triton Digital – so there’s a market, it’s just figuring out what works best for you and your audience.
Being a podcast guest is a great way to reach new people and a great opportunity for networking. Here's a link to my Podcast Guest page so you can become familiar with the details – and apply if you'd like to be a guest on Connect the Dots. There's also information on what makes a great podcast guest (a MUST read for anyone invited to be on a podcast).
Marketing Tip #3
Even though we’re not attending in-person networking events, it doesn’t mean we can’t network online. Like I mentioned in Tip #2 with podcasts, you can also network in so many other places online – social media sites, attending digital events and webinars, joining Facebook groups, forums, and associations.
There have been so many new and creative events and ways people have pivoted their business or events online that there’s actually a great opportunity now to reach an even bigger audience.
As you're connecting with people, leverage the audio and video capabilities of that platform – send an audio message on LinkedIn or a video message on IG when you’re connecting with people. The ‘connection’ it creates is amazing!
Marketing Tip #4
Assessing and re-evaluating your target audience -
I mentioned this in one of my weekly videos, 3 Tips to Prepare your Marketing for Post Coronavirus, but this one tip is definitely worth mentioning again – because your audience may look different now than they did pre-COVID-19. And by look different I don’t mean appearance – I mean their problems, how they search and find solutions as well as where they spend time online. If they were spending time on email, they may be spending more time on social media. If they were listening to podcasts, they may now be watching videos.
It’s worth a revisit to find out your target audience details before investing any time and resources on connecting with them in the same way or a different way. A great place to start is with your existing customers – pick up the phone and have a conversation with them. They are likely anxious to talk to people beyond their four walls.
Marketing Tip #5
Adjust your offers -
In follow-up to the previous tip of assessing and re-evaluating your target audience, it’s important to also look at your offers. Not just pricing but the whole suite of products or services.
Based on your evaluations you may need to make adjustments to what products are offered or bundled and how they are delivered.
Are all offers relevant right now or should any be put on hold for the next week, month or year? How are your offers listed on your website - should they be re-ordered or re-structured? Do you offer bundles that need to be adjusted? And, lastly, analyze your pricing with any changes made to determine what price adjustments need to be made.
Only make offers available that make sense for your target audience’s ‘new normal’. If it means simplifying your list of offerings, modify for now and when it’s time to re-enter those you temporarily removed, you can do add each back when it makes sense.
Marketing Tip #6
A great way to communicate any offer adjustments is through email. Email is THE #1 way to connect and engage with your audience. If you don’t have an email list, don’t worry, you can start building right now.
If you do have an email list but aren't sending on a regular basis, i.e. weekly, now’s a good time to start sending those again. If you have been emailing on a consistent basis, you’re a step ahead!
The reason I say email is THE #1 way to connect and engage with your audience it’s because it’s the only communication channel you own the connections. What I mean by that is that your followers, connections and subscribers on other platforms belong to those platforms, LinkedIn controls the connections you see, the content you engage with and where you fall in the algorithm. The same is true for Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
And they change the algorithm whenever they want – leaving you with a huge gap in continuing to connect with your audience and without notice. The only reliable form is your email list.
When you have email subscribers, YOU manage the relationship, the messaging, frequency, – and you don’t have to worry about an algorithm. With email, you're delivering relevant content to a relevant audience who already said 'yes' to that micro moment to communicate with them. By saying 'yes' to being on your email list, they are already on the Know, Like and Trust Journey. That’s a win/win right there!
If you need to find ways to create an email list, here's a podcast episode I did that includes information on lead magnets/opt-ins and ideas on how to start building your email list right now.
Marketing Tip #7
Analyzing and evaluating -
Analyzing and evaluating refers to your existing presence whether it’s your website or your social media posts. We’ve been in lock down for over 2 months now (some of you longer) so you you have pre-COVID-19 data and now during-COVID-19 data to help identify the differences in your reach and engagement throughout your entire digital footprint.
Look at what was working before and what has been working during to determine what you need to do moving forward (or post-COVID-19).
Things to look at on your website: did you increase email subscribers, did the number of sessions on your website increase, how about session duration, which pages were visited the most and which ones have the highest exit rate and bounce rate.
Looking at your social media footprint – did you increase your content? What impact did that have on your followers, comments and engagement? How many profile views on LI and IG for example did you get – did it increase or decrease? Why?
It’s important to keep in mind that while there was A TON more people online during the COVID-19 lock down, your social media numbers may have decreased. Just because they were online doesn't mean they were spending time online in the same place they were previously - or with the same profiles.
Keep in mind what I mentioned in Marketing Tip #4 on Email: you don’t own the algorithm on social media so you can’t control the decrease or increase in your content. While you may have increased your content posts, continued posting valuable content that your audience could take action on immediately, at the same time your engagement may have decreased. You were continuing to do the right things, the algorithm just changed or the influx of additional people online changed it.
So, keep that in mind and compare it to your PRE COVID-19 data to help pave the way for your 'POST' COVID-19 marketing plan.
Which Marketing Tip was most helpful? Let me know in the comments or on your favorite social media platform.
To get my 6 Steps to Creating Content for the Customer Journey Guide, click here for the FREE download then watch my weekly LIVE video series starting here.
Vicki O'Neill is a fractional CMO in Ohio who takes small businesses from plateau to grow! The problem she solves for small business owners is visibility resulting from lack of engagement with the target customer causing the business to plateau. She founded KenKay Marketing in 2011, started the marketing and sales podcast, Connect the Dots, in 2018 and launched a 2nd podcast, The Power of 3X, in 2019 with her Gen Z daughters. Vicki is on social media and most active on LinkedIn. Connect wherever you spend the most time! Subscribe to the weekly email for more!