Well, here we are again. While most of us learnt a lot from the last national lockdown and hopefully can re-ignite the strategies we developed to keep our businesses going, a lot of people may still be worried about what they should be doing with their marketing.
Do you hit pause? Do you push harder? Here are my hints and tips on how to keep your brand alive during lockdown, and the pitfalls to avoid.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Many businesses are operating differently during this period, either because you’ve been forced to temporarily close, or your opening times, location or procedures have changed.
There have been lots of changes over the last few months with different tiers and moving restrictions, so make sure your audience is aware of how this has affected your operations. Even if you’re an essential business that’s still open ‘as usual’, let people know.
Get the message out there on every channel your audience uses – your shop window, your website, social media, email, business directories – use them to tell people your opening hours, what steps you’ve taken to protect against Covid, how they can contact you, and any new services or promotions you’re offering.
TONE OF VOICE
The tone of your marketing is crucial right now, so make sure you’re sensitive to the situation and that your communications are responsible. Humour, flippancy, anger or frustration are unlikely to be well-received right now.
Even something that would have been perfectly acceptable a few weeks ago could be in need of a re-think. The day before this latest lockdown was announced, I was preparing an email campaign for a client that referred to a special offer and used the phrases ‘good news’ and ‘you’re in luck’. Whilst these were all still relevant to the content, I decided to rephrase them before the email was sent the next day as it felt out of place given the national mood…
I’ve also seen a few marketing posts that come across like the company is trying to take advantage of the crisis and cash-in on the situation. This isn’t a good look. Instead, try to convey how you could genuinely help your audience rather than going for the hard sell.
I’m sure we’re also all a bit numb to the Covid terminology flying around, so try to make your wording different to the rest of the crowd and avoid over-using phrases such as ‘unprecedented situation’ and ‘uncertain times’. Be authentic.
Consider adding a dedicated page on your website that will clearly answer any of your customers’ questions and queries. You should also think about having a banner or a pop-up on your site that links them through to this page, so all your website visitors can find the information easily.
REVIEW YOUR BUDGET
Some businesses saw an increase in demand during the last lockdown, while others had to wait it out – it very much depends on your type of business and how things are going. The important thing is to keep a close eye on the figures and monitor the results of your marketing spend.
If performance has worsened, consider reducing your budget or pausing certain campaigns such as paid adverts. If the demand is there, think about how you can tweak your current marketing or create new campaigns that highlight your offer.
Whilst we’re all socially limited right now, social media is most definitely open! During the last lockdown, people spend an increased amount of time on social media platforms, so it’s the perfect opportunity to reach a large audience. Don’t forget to pin important information to the top of your page.
Even if your doors are currently closed, don’t disappear. Use your social media channels to remind people of your brand. Share your case studies, highlight key achievements, do some market research by asking for feedback on what products or services they’d like to see when you re-open. You can even re-share some old posts for a nostalgic look back at your progress.
If customers can’t buy from you right now, make sure you’re at the forefront of their minds when you open your doors again.
USE YOUR TIME
If you’ve no choice but to pause operations for a while, make the most of the time you have to focus on the things you don’t normally have time to get around to, so you can come back even stronger when lockdown ends.
It’s the perfect chance to start a business blog, request testimonials or reviews, refresh your directory listings, update your website and work on your SEO with keyword research and updated meta tags, plan for new products, services or promotions, or get up-to-date with your filing and paperwork.
Most of these things can be done by yourself, others may need professional input. I’m here to assist, if you need me.
Stay safe and keep motivated – tomorrow is on its way.