While the overall pace of business has slowed for many companies, it is smart to keep your eye on the future. Things will return to “normal,” but why wait? Now is the time to take some simple steps so that you can be as prepared as possible to best serve your clients and reach potential new ones.
What does that mean? It depends on the marketing strategy you use, but there are always things you can be doing to be productive even in what is perceived as a “downtime.” To help narrow your focus, our team has compiled some budget-friendly marketing items you can tackle while preparing for a comeback.
Review existing printed collateral (brochures, sell sheets, etc.)
Often collateral is created when a particular need arises and that piece then becomes something that is used by default. When is the last time that you really looked at the marketing pieces you are putting out there? Have they just become part of the background of your business? Here are a few things to consider:
- Is the content still relevant? If you hand out a brochure, then verbally add to or update the information inside, it’s time to re-think your piece. As we do business, inevitably things change. How we talk to clients changes, services are added and deleted, we update how we talk to clients, we add and delete services, we may even change locations.
- Service and Product Changes – If you have updated what your company offers over the years and these changes are not reflected in your materials, it’s time for an update. Are there questions that you find yourself answering frequently? Perhaps those could be addressed in your collateral. Think about what makes sense in relation to your current materials. Do pieces need to be completely updated? Or can you solve the problem with a new, companion piece? Are there other changes that you foresee in the near future?
- Messaging Changes – Have you or your team found yourselves referring to your offerings in a different way? Does it feel more authentic and flow more easily into conversations? If so, consider adding this updated wording so that you are consistent on all fronts. Messaging is an important part of your brand and can change the way a customer views your products or services. For example, if your materials utilize a formal, corporate tone and you have changed over the years to a more casual, familiar outreach, that can be confusing. If your messaging isn’t speaking to your ideal client then it’s not working for you.
- Brand Changes – Have you made changes to your visual brand? Do your pieces follow your brand style guide? If you have updated your look over the years and your pieces still reflect the “old” you, it’s time to present a unified, consistent look. The more professional you look, the more authority you portray in your industry.
- Calls to Action – Are they working for you? Are you sending customers to an outdated website? Do you find that you have a higher close rate when speaking on the phone, but your call to action points them to email? Is the next step you want your potential client to take straightforward? Customers like to be led down a path and if that path is not clear, it is less likely they will follow it. Show them what they need to do and why they need to do it.
Update your website
No, we aren’t talking about a total overhaul. Are there small tweaks you could make that would make an impact? Think about your website from the user’s point of view – is the experience what you want it to be? Where can you make improvements?
- In general, is it still working for you? Is your site giving your potential clients the information they need? Is the messaging and look consistent with your offline marketing? Is it leading people down the right path? Sometimes small changes can create a big difference on your site.
- Content – Could any of the wording be updated to better reflect your brand? Can you easily see what your company does and the value that you provide? Is there too much text? Striking a balance between giving enough information and keeping that content easy to skim is important. Attention spans are short, especially for online readers. The eye needs to skip through your information in a way that gets your point across AND makes the viewer stop and think.
- Calls to action – As with your printed materials, these need to be clear and easy to follow. Ultimately, you want to have at least one Call to Action on each page of your website. This way, the visitor always knows the next step they should take and has a simple way to take action. Make sure it’s an easy process – too many clicks and you’ll lose them.
Update your Google My Business Profile
Why? Well, first of all, it’s FREE – why not take advantage of this resource? It helps people find your business on the largest search engine. Your Google My Business profile allows you to post your business hours, services, and customer reviews. If you have a brick and mortar location this is one way to help prevent a customer from showing up and getting frustrated on a day you planned to be closed. Your profile also allows you to create posts to promote your products and services, link to your blog, or have a customer “call now” to take advantage of your company’s great offer.
Already have your GMB profile set up? Take some time to review and update your information.
- Are you utilizing all opportunities to gather reviews for your business?
- Are the business days and hours correct?
- Are all of your services or products listed?
- Do you have a plan for posts? Each post stays visible for 7 days so planning weekly makes sense.
Create a monthly email or revise an existing one
Email outreach is a great way to keep your company visible, even in times when people may not be physically visiting your business. Think about different ways to communicate with customers, both current and potential.
- You don’t have to be selling something in every email you send out. Do you have knowledge to share that is valuable to your customers? Build trust in your expertise by distributing this information. Don’t forget to make sure it’s branded so they know where it’s coming from at a glance.
- Consider emails that you get from other businesses – do you read them? Why or why not?
- Look at your email communications as a whole and make a plan. How is the frequency? Do you have a good mix of selling vs. information?
Assess your blog / social calendar
- Don’t even have a calendar for your blog and social posts? Now is a great time to do it! Planning a week, month, or more in advance can streamline your efficiency with these tasks. Just be sure to take into account anything timely that pops up that may affect your content.
- Look back in time. What posts have performed well for your business? What do they have in common? Optimize those characteristics as you plan your future posts.
Brainstorm ways to help others (for free).
Are there services you could offer that wouldn’t take too much of your time but could make a difference in another’s business? For example, Annatto offers a complimentary brand consultation where we review and provide action items to get started on a path to successful branding. Yes, we have to schedule it into our day, but we give it our best effort in a relatively small window of time. By providing something of value to another company, we aim to be a positive influence and hopefully, be considered the next time they need services we offer.
You don’t always need a big budget to make a difference in your marketing efforts. As companies reevaluate and get ready to get back to business as usual, making some small adjustments can have a big impact and set you on the path for a strong recovery.
Not sure where to go from here? We can help.
You can also download our checklist “Budget-friendly marketing items to tackle in a downtime” to get you focused and ready to move forward.