For most of the country, the start of 2021 has meant the start of a third national lockdown and a lot of time stuck inside and working from home.
While we encourage business owners to keep marketing even during lockdown, we understand this isn’t possible for everyone.
Whether you’re going to spend the next month working from your living room or pausing your marketing efforts altogether, you can still keep your business punching above its weight with these 7 easy marketing tasks:
1. Check your online listings
Many customerss will rely on online listing portals like Google My Business for the latest information about the businesses they frequent, so do make sure everything on there is accurate. Don’t lead customers to a closed shop, don’t make them believe you’re trading at your regular hours if you’re not, and, above all, don’t lead them to think you’re closed if you’re actually open for business!
Even if you’re not actively trading right now, as long as you’re registered with Google My Business, you will still appear to anyone looking at a Google Map of the area. This digital visibility remains valuable, helping you stick in people’s minds as a neighbourhood business to visit once this all passes.
2. Get your website in tip-top shape
As with your online listings, the very first thing you should do here is to check that every piece of information on your site is correct and up to date.
The second thing you should do is add a notice on your homepage about all the extra precautions you’re taking in-store to protect customers and staff.
Beyond these immediate priorities, it’s well worth taking the time to think about your longer-term digital success. A winning online strategy starts with a great website, so ask yourself – when was the last time you systematically went through your site and assessed its strengths and weaknesses? Time spent auditing your digital marketing is time well spent.
If you think the time has come for a proper rehaul of your site, get in touch with our web design experts for a (remote) consultation on your needs.
3. Try creative ways to connect with people
When it comes to content marketing, we’re evangelists. We’ve long been telling everyone who’ll listen about how producing content should be a part of any business’s marketing mix. Well, when most of your target audience are still glued to their home computer screens, there’s never been a better time to get creative with your marketing.
Blogging is the original staple of content marketing, and a piece on your website could help you keep your loyal customers reassured, informed or just entertained, while also providing you with something worthwhile to share on your social media feeds.
Video has become the most important format for keeping people both informed and entertained. After all, you’re spoiled for video platforms to use. Instagram Stories – photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours – serve as a major showcase for many businesses looking to reach the under-40s. Equally, 62% of businesses now post video content on YouTube. Why take the opportunity to join them?
Consider using short videos on your social channels to quickly update customers on the current state of your business. Don’t go overboard though – you are not Boris Johnson and nobody needs your daily coronavirus video briefing!
If you’d like more guidance on reaching customers with a showstopping video marketing strategy, get in touch with our video advertising team.
4. Fire off some emails
Businesses everywhere are searching for ways of getting their names back in customers’ minds, and for many, email marketing will be one of their first ports of call.
Start with telling people whether you’re open or closed, letting them know you’re following government recommendations and making your workplace safe, and, if applicable, whether you’re stocking any particularly high-demand items like toilet paper and hand sanitiser. This goes without saying, but never send out anything that contradicts official health advice!
If you’re willing to spend a bob or two on your marketing, tools like Mailchimp will allow you to login from anywhere and create visually attractive, high quality emails and newsletters that you can use to serve up your latest content and provide important business updates.
There’s no reason why working from home should stop you from communicating with your customer base. Just remember to offer only genuinely useful information in your emails.
5. Keep your social media followers updated
The great thing about social media, especially for small businesses, is that it’s a leveller. It doesn’t require infinite resources to build a large following; just an internet connection, an engaging tone and some great content.
Communication is key at this point, and social media offers an efficient way to broadcast to a wider audience all that crucial information you’d send to your email contact list.
6. Coordinate your team
Circumstances will continue to move at speed over the rest of the outbreak, so don’t let your internal communications lag behind. If you have a team who’d normally be working in the same room but have now been forced to disperse, you can still keep on the same page, wherever you are.
Online conference call services like Google Meet, Zoom and Skype can keep you in touch with your colleagues while you’re sitting on the sofa.
It can also be beneficial for morale and group spirit to have an ongoing team chat thread bubbling away throughout the day, where you can share ideas, points of order or even just banter.
7. Plan for the future
Never underestimate the value of making a good plan . While we wait for the vaccine to make the rounds, it’s time to capitalise on people’s desire to spend and enjoy life again when these current restrictions ease. We’ve got a free, in-depth guide to marketing planning that might prove useful here.
Even if you’re not actively pursuing customers right now, you can still stay on their minds during these turbulent times armed only with a laptop and a decent wi-fi signal.
The legwork you put in now will pay off when people re-emerge from their homes and make a beeline for the businesses that stayed on their minds during the bad days.
Lumen, an analytics company that specialises in attention paid to advertisements, have been looking into how ads are being viewed in this post-Coronavirus era. They have already measured a significant increase in the attention that is being paid to ads; print ads are being receiving 21% more attention than the norm, while digital ads are being noticed 66% of the time, compared to the norm of 55%. It’s interesting stuff, so if you want to read more, have a look here.
For more information on supporting your business through the coronavirus outbreak, read of our dedicated page here