(Insert broken record sound) A lot of businesses are facing challenges related to the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Because of this, it’s more important now than ever to avoid going dark in your marketing efforts. Here’s why… (Insert dramatic record scratch).
I recently presented on a webinar for the Social At Home series, a digital marketing conference with attendees who work in marketing. In my presentation, I asked the audience to type “Yes” into the chat if they have seen a decrease in their marketing budget, or if their marketing budgets have been put on hold. The number of “yes” responses that came through the chat almost overwhelmed the webinar’s bandwidth.
I get it. Businesses should be looking carefully at their budgets and finding the most cost-effective ways to deliver their products and services. Unfortunately, it seems as though marketing budgets have been a primary target for these budget cuts. This might turn out to be a short-term fix with long-term consequences.
Let’s talk about why maintaining visibility is crucial right now and how it can make for long-term profitability.
How do you stay relevant when your marketing budget’s been cut?
Dan King refers to visibility in his blog “Leverage your Brand’s Purpose more than ever” and I agree that it’s essential your business stays visible. Be present. “Out of sight out of mind” isn’t just a cliché, it’s the truth. If your competitors are present through all of this, your customers will look to them instead of you when they need your product or service.
Here are some cost-effective ways to re-allocate your revised marketing budget.
Focus on maintaining your current customer base
It’s always cheaper to retain your existing customers than acquire new ones. Make sure your customers know that you’re there for them.
- Stay social – This is always important, but it’s even more important now to engage in conversations with your existing community. Utilize social listening and monitoring to get a sense of when and where your brand has been mentioned. These tools can help you find out how you’re being perceived in the market and get a sense of how your social following wants to interact with your brand.
Continue to push out content – Go through your archives and identify evergreen content that you can re-use. If you have capacity, produce new SIMPLE content that you can deliver to your existing following. It doesn’t have to be the most breathtaking piece of content either. Content is like pizza—even if it isn’t the best pizza you’ve ever had, it’s still pretty damn good. Just make sure if you’re producing video, the sound quality is good. Writing blogs? Vet your writing and try to eliminate mistakes.
- Marketing automation – Email marketing is a low-cost way to keep in touch with your customers since you should already have their contact information. Don’t send out generic spam—I’m talking about sending personalized messages. And email automation tools can help free up your time as well.
Don't forget about your prospects
Even though some of your potential new customers might not be ready to purchase right now, it’s still important to get in front of them at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Paid social – Organic social alone might not be enough to increase your brand awareness and capture new fans. Sometimes, you have to pay-to-play. Paid social is relatively affordable so you don’t have to break the bank to see significant ROI from your ads.
- Inbound marketing – This is the marketing methodology that focuses on content. With inbound marketing, you can help potential customers identify and understand their problems by sharing valuable, educational content, and nurturing them until they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. In short, the goal here is to get noticed with the use of keyword rich content (like blogs, videos, etc.) and then get potential customers onto your website. From there the hope is that you’ve created engaging enough content that eventually you’ll capture their email address and have the ability to guide the prospect through the buyer’s journey.
- Valuable content (gated/un-gated) – As I mentioned, inbound marketing should focus on providing users with valuable content that they can use to solve a problem that they have. Part of not forgetting about your prospects is capturing leads with your content. There are two ways of doing this: gated content and un-gated content.
- Gated content – Your content is so valuable that you’ve put it behind a form. Your visitors are willing to exchange personal information, like their email address, to access this content, and you can then follow up with marketing or sales emails.
- Un-gated content – Your content is so valuable that you’re providing it to users with no strings attached and they’ve found it so informative that they decide to subscribe to your content anyways.
This has been a debate in recent years about whether or not to gate your content behind a form. If you’re looking for help, here’s is a nice flow chart that might help you decide.
Focusing on content is cost effective and can truly improve ROI. If this approach is going to work though, it’s important that you spend time creating a content and lead-generation strategy. A good strategy will help your marketing team or agency be nimble, and ensure that the right messages are being delivered to the right people at the right moment.
We completely understand that marketing budgets are taking quite the hit now. As long as you’re not going dark, you’re staying present, and you’re staying positive, you’ll see long term value when all this is over.
We're here to help
We’re currently offering free advice to help you navigate marketing, advertising, and communications in these uncharted waters. If you’re interested in sending us a note about your situation, we would be happy to set up a quick call with one of our team mates who might be able to answer your questions. Click below for more details.