Even though it is far from business as usual at the moment, there are still some things you can do to keep your marketing going through the lockdown and to prepare for a time when things start to get back to normal.
- Use opportunities to help where you can – One of the best forms of marketing has got to be good PR. There are lots of positive stories of businesses who have done what they can to respond in a positive way to what is happening. Whether that is donating items to vulnerable groups, offering pre-defined opening hours or offering discounts for key workers or changing what you normally do to meet a new need. Once the crisis has passed and we are out of the other side, people will remember those businesses who did what they could to help.
- Take this opportunity to improve your online presence – The current lockdown has seen internet use increase as more or us find ourselves at home. One of the few benefits for some businesses at the moment, could be having a bit of extra time for things which are normally neglected. Take some time to do some of the digital marketing activities you have been promising yourself you would get around to. Think about your website and how you could change things to better reflect what your customers may be looking for at the moment. Write a content piece for your blog or news pages which is helpful to your customers and get rid of any information which is out of date or no longer relevant – have a look at (blog)
- Get to grips with your site’s SEO – Making sure your customers can find your website is the key element of SEO. Google updates its search algorithms all the time (see our recent blog – ‘How have the recent Google updates impacted your search position?’ about the most recent changes and the impacts they have had) so it is important to keep on top of SEO to ensure that your website remains visible. Taking some time to better understand SEO, especially in relation to content and keywords will pay dividends in the future. Have a look at ‘Keyword research and why it is important’ for more information. If you are not familiar with Google analytics, now might be a good time to make a start – you can even take a free online course with the Google Analytics Academy to improve your skills. As much as having an understanding of the basics of SEO is important, having the knowledge to understand the data from your results enables you to identify what is working and what is not. Crucial information when deciding where to focus your attention.
- Keep in contact via social media – Social media offers an ideal platform for you to keep in touch with your customers online in a more informal way. Use your feed to share information about what is going on with you and your business, how you are adapting and how you are continuing to serve your customers. This is especially important for those people who are unable to continue what they do because of social distancing – you could make use of the ability to live stream tips and tutorials to help people at home or just to give an insight into what you are up to behind the scenes.
- Think about advertising online (social media, Google Ads) – If your business has had to change course to adapt to the changed circumstances we find ourselves in, your website is unlikely to be well optimised towards that. Good SEO is not an overnight thing and trying to optimise towards a new product or service type is unlikely to be very successful in the short term. For this reason, it may be worth looking into some online advertising like Google Ads or consider using promoted posts or adverts on social media to get some traffic to your website. With all but essential shops and businesses being closed, more people than ever are using the internet at the moment to search for the products and services they need – online advertising could help you to take advantage of that potential for new customers.
- Plan an email campaign with timely and relevant offers – Email marketing is sometimes overlooked in favour of social media and other types of marketing but it remains an inexpensive and effective way of keeping in touch with your customers and clients. Most email software offers the ability to segment and target specific subscribers with information or offers which are relevant to them. Think about the types of communications your customer will be pleased to receive at the moment. Some ideas for email communications are shown below:
- You have useful, or meaningful information to share.
- Your services have been impacted or changed in some way.
- You’re doing something to help your customers such as providing essential food or supplies, offering virtual services, waiving cancellation fees, etc.
- You have a particular product line which is in demand and you want to update you customers regarding availability.
The main things to keep in mind with all marketing and communications at the moment is to keep things relevant and informative and use any extra time you may have to get ahead for when things start to return to normal.