Business may have come to a screeching halt from the coronavirus shutdown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take this down time as an opportunity to improve.
Here are a few ideas to advance your brand and plan for the future:
1. Check on your customers and check on them again.
A simple phone, an e-mail or even a Facebook message can go a long way with your customers while they are held up at home during the coronavirus. Don’t let this down time stop you from staying consistent with posting and interacting with your audience on your social media channel of choice. Maintaining quality communication with your clients is good practice all the time. It demonstrates professionalism and your values in action.
2. Perform a marketing audit
Trim the fat. Start with a digital subscription audit and get rid of the programs or software that don’t have a return on investment. Check out this blog on how to prepare a marketing budget that works for your business.
Then, find the gaps in your marketings with ideas on how to fill those gaps:
- Brand Awareness: Google your business to identify which sites pull up your information. Notice anything incorrect? What websites are pulling up your competitors’ information?
- Website Analytics: Comb through your website analytics. Look for trends in traffic and identify the top sources of traffic. Here are some marketing metrics to consider keeping an eye on.
- Lead Conversions: Which traditional and digital marketing efforts have produced the most leads that turned into customers?
- Set some SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Timely) goals for post-coronavirus marketing: Need some help with goal setting? Check out this article for some great tips.
3. Grade your website
Do you know where your website stands in terms of security, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), performance and mobile responsiveness?
Use HubSpot’s website grader by simply inputting your URL. Scroll down to see suggestions on ways to improve your website, along with links to step-by-step articles with instructions on how to improve our website.
If this goes too far over your head, check out this beginner’s guide to SEO with easy ways to improve the searchability of your website.
4. Hone your digital marketing skills
The coronavirus shutdown has given the business community an unprecedented opportunity of time. Take advantage of this time to master a marketing skill that has always intimidated and interested you.
HubSpot offers a slew of free online courses — including content marketing, inbound marketing, SEO training, end-to-end Instagram marketing strategy, copywriting and more. HubSpot also offers a library of free ebooks, webinars, templates, tools, kits and more that range in topics on sales, marketing and customer service.
5. Develop your own marketing plan.
Save some money and plan for the long haul by creating your own marketing plan. It may seem intimidating, but don’t worry we’ll walk you through it. Download Bragg Media’s “Marketing 101” interactive workbook and guide that will show you how to gather the data and information you need for a marketing plan. Sign up for Heather Bragg’s 13-week e-mail series on “The Art of Storytelling in Marketing,” loaded with tips, resources and assignments to help you write your marketing plan.
6. Write some blogs.
Blogs display your expertise, engage your audience and open doorways to your website. Evergreen blogs on topics without a timestamp have a compounded effect with your search engine ranking because they bring in traffic for years to come. Here are some easy ways to enliven your blog feed:
- Create a content calendar with blog ideas that make sense to your brand. Fresh out of blog ideas? Check out our blog on how to come up with relevant blog ideas and here’s another blog about blog strategies.
- Freshen up old blog posts with updated information. Or find ways to reuse and repurpose your blogs in other areas of your marketing.
- Develop cornerstone content or pillar pages for your website. These pages typically serve as the Bible of a given topic. They require well-written information that links to your blog posts and expert sites. Here’s more information on how cornerstone content can benefit your website.
- Take a stab at your brand’s origin story — how your business started and what differentiates you from the competition.
7. Don’t stop networking.
Have you heard of Business Networking International (BNI)? In the Lowcountry, BNI plays a large part in the business community and the chapters continue to meet during the coronavirus shutdown through video conferencing. Attend a local BNI chapter as a guest. You’ll have the opportunity to introduce yourself and your business. If you are interested in being a guest, register here.
Branding, creative, digital and strategy with results.
8. Organize your contacts.
If you don’t have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), get one! It may sound like the most boring suggestion on the list but it is paramount to growing your business.
Sign up for FREE and track customer interactions automatically with Hubspot’s CRM. If your website has online forms, including an e-newsletter subscription form, ask your website developer to connect the forms to the CRM. Make sure to set up lists that automatically organize your contacts based on their interests. As you move forward with your marketing, this makes sending targeted e-mails that much easier.
9. Launch a promotion.
It’s a tale as old as time, but a sale brings people excited about your business. Get creative with it. Push a specific product (probably one you can ship, for now) with a discount or a contest. For example, “Buy a T-shirt today and enter to win a FREE coffee mug!”
If your sales have slowed down due to COVID-19, pre-selling might also be a good idea. Sell gift cards with a discount for customers to use later. The Bragg Media team uses this Creative Work Plan document to plan out new campaigns and creatives.
10. Give back to the community.
Today’s consumers love to get behind brands that stand for something. Find a way to be of service, especially during a challenging time like this, and people will remember you. For example, donate your company shirts to local non-profit Masks For Heroes, a community of sewers diligently making masks for our frontline heroes. Or get involved with the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry with digital fundraising or even spreading awareness of their various programs. Check out this blog on purpose-driven marketing.
How well do you know your website?
The bottom line is that marketing shouldn’t take a backseat to your business during the COVID-19 shutdown. Now is the time to invest in marketing in order to grow in the future!