Over the last 18 months, we’ve been met with spontaneous lockdowns and different income patterns as we all ride the storm of the pandemic. As brands, trying to pinpoint those rollercoaster moments in order to prepare for the highs and lows have been almost non-existent for some. For us, we welcome this quieter period as we were utterly inundated over that time, but for others, they’ve had to shift and adapt to the new way of living, and honestly for a business owner that can be terrifying.
So, when there is nothing we can really do about some of the situations we’ve been dealt with, we’ve listed a few things below that can help to build your brand in a moment of quiet.
1. Focus on the long game
There are 2 key types of marketing messages: strategic and tactical.
- Strategic – is the overarching brand message. Showcasing the relationship, culture, core values, alignments, expertise. Literally why your business exists.
- Tactical – are the churn and burn messages. Offers, promotions, things that have an expiry date and are messages of the ‘now’.
Both strategies play a part in how the audience perceives the brand. Though your strategic messages are the ones that build the trust and recognition of your brand over time. When you consistently talk about who the brand is and what it’s about, the message is drummed into the minds of the consumer/audience. Additional things like including the senses (smell, touch, sight, etc.) add to that emotional connection embedding further into the memory. When you make someone ‘feel’ you’re going deeper than a tactical ‘50% off’ message.
Don’t get me wrong, a good offer can also pursue in times of need, but they are temporary and quick fixes that can win you over now, but chances are, you won’t be remembered in a few months’ time.
The point? When things get tough, and people want reliable sources, their memories will remember those who made a lasting impression. And, if you’ve done the job, you’ll automatically become part of that buyer’s selection process.
2. Work on your internal processes
Having seamless internal processes not only makes for a smoother customer experience, but they can also really help to save time for you when things pick back up. Right this minute, we’re working on the admin things that go hand-in-hand in our onboarding process, so when we do get busy again, they’re there and ready to go.
Some things we’re talking about can include:
- Setting up automations through your programs or 3rd party providers like Zapier that trigger actions for repetitive tasks.
- Implement new programs that can time save or help you to highlight important areas within business. For eg. Time tracking software and reporting so you can delegate the right timings, and costs, to a project/product.
- Creating customer onboarding and feedback forms
- Drafting email templates for repetitive responses
- Setting up customised email autoreplies
- Listing the steps involved to specific tasks so anyone can access and implement them internally
- Tighten up those contracts and T&Cs
- Update your website
3. Bulk create content for marketing
The thing that generally cops a hit when we get busy working ‘in’ our businesses instead of ‘on’ them is our content. When you have a moment, create a list of things you want to talk about and prepare a content strategy that aligns with the bigger marketing plan and business goals.
How? Well pending on where you’re at in your business it can be any of the below:
- Repurpose old content: Create bite sized social posts from successful blogs and vice versa. Turn those engaging pieces (whatever they may be) into video format, which brings me to my next point
- Create a video strategy: Now, I know a lot of people aren’t comfortable in this space but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do them at all. How can you create video content that captures your audience and doesn’t entail you pointing and dancing to text? Think beyond the surface and dive into new ways to showcase information to your audience, just because it’s trending doesn’t mean you have to do it!
- Create content pillars: Don’t have existing content? No worries, write a list down with topics of your choice that will prompt you to write about things that are important to the brand. Then figure out how you want people to engage with that. What channels will work best for you (pssst, you don’t have to do them all, do what works for you). Figure out the best way to showcase that content; video, social post, visual, carousel, article.
- Cross channel promotion: Get people from socials to email, people from email to go to your website, people from your website to follow your socials. Build multiple touchpoints for people to access your content. Build that email list, that is owned media, you want people on that bad boy. Lead magnets are a great way to do this.
4. Finesse your customer journey
There are always ways to improve what you do as a business. Go through the current end-to-end process of your customer journey and see what you can do to streamline or improve the process.
- Do you get asked questions at a certain stage more than others? What can you implement to solve the problem before it arises?
- Do people prefer or digest information in a specific way? For me, I love it when I can see a model wearing clothing in a video (in a few different sizes) to see if I want to buy the product. Can you showcase things a different way?
- Do you capture feedback and testimonials from your clients? If not, how can you implement this. If you do, how can you get them to do it?
- What do you do to retain clients? Do you send follow up emails, add them to a loyalty program, offer a referral discount?
Every few months we sit down and finesse a stack of different things within the studio, eliminate things that aren’t working, tweak some things to see what can work, and change the way we communicate to make things easy for each client. If there was a problem with a client, what can we do to improve it for next time, or mark as a ‘red flag’?
5. The landscape has changed, what can you offer that adapts to the now
While we all have long-term goals, sometimes, we need to take a sharp right to stay on course. We’ve seen and witnessed businesses ‘pivot’ to stay afloat and some of these pivots could be a temporary thing or may have worked in their favour and become a permanent fixture. It’s important to sit down, assess where we are right now, and brainstorm new ways to adapt to the current market demand.
6. Switch up your service offering
It’s important to think and understand where the consumer’s mind is at. Psychology and environment play a huge role in buying behaviour. If they’re having issues with finances, they’ll be focusing on the smaller cost options (note: don’t confuse a smaller price point with reduced value). For instance, instead of offering a big package, you could split it out into smaller packages with smaller price points to align with the current financial situation
- Focus on the smaller things – While the high price, bigger offer is always the end goal, is now the time to be focussing on the smaller price point offers to keep cashflow running?
- Rework the big offers – like the above, is there feasibility in breaking down the bigger offers into bite sized ones? Or taking some things out to reduce the ‘cost’ not the value.
- New product/service – Is there an opportunity for you to add in a new product/service that could appeal to the current market landscape? During times like this, unfortunately while some businesses sink, others will thrive. For instance, there has been a huge rise in female start up businesses off the back of the pandemic (Washington Post article here for reference). And in a different skew, the food and produce space has exploded. Is there something your brand can do to capitalise from the thriving industries?
See some of the ideas we suggested last year during lockdown 1: ‘Ways to move forward during Covid-19‘.
7. Collaborate and build your network
As events are constantly being changed and rescheduled, find new ways to build connections.
Start creating lists of:
- People you want to talk to
- Things you’d like to listen or read to
- Things you’d like to learn or invest in
- Causes you’d like to support
- Media outlets you’d like to feature in (a bitta PR anyone?)
- Brands and people you’d like to work with
Get creative in your approach. While an email is easy, sometimes thinking beyond that in creative ways is what gets you through the door. Do some research.
Marketing can do a world of wonders in slower periods. While we all need to stay proactive in our approach instead of reactive, there are times in business when we just can’t. Though playing the long game always helps, staying consistent, keep the momentum going, and the awareness flowing. Some of the most innovative and transformative business ideas have come from a place of hardship.
If you’re interested, check out one of our past blogs Marketing is crucial right now: understand how it works.
If you have any questions or want to know more, click here and get in touch. Or check out the services page to see what’s on offer. Alternatively, head over and follow us on Instagram and see what’s happening with us daily!