Firstly, may I start by saying this piece isn’t meant to cause alarm or be in any way scare mongering. Secondly, this piece is aimed at those that are self-employed and for small businesses. Hopefully you will take these practical and genuine tips for what they are worth. Note not all the ideas will suit all businesses.
These are strange and uncertain times, but I am hoping my thoughts and tips will help you manage and maintain the marketing of your business whatever happens so your business can remain as healthy as possible and so you continue to generate leads and new business for the short and long term.
In today’s digital marketing world, the good news is there are many options that are low cost and that can be done remotely in your home office or even from your sofa or dining room table. Digital marketing, which assuming you have the passwords for, can be accessed on your phone at home via your phone or laptop. Remember, if you do share passwords with colleagues or customers in any way then do so in a secure way and treat these and any other data shared confidentially and respectfully. Refer to your GDPR and data protection policies at this point.
So, what can you do and what apps/tools or activities can you implement:
Social media – review your social media profiles (Facebook, Linkedin, Linkedin business page, Linkedin showcase page, Twitter, Instagram, Google my Business etc) and make sure they are up to date information and contact details wise. If you have had to shut down then you could also amend your opening hours.
Create posts to share across social media keeping customers informed of delayed deliveries, order statuses, issues, news etc. Also create good news and standard posts as you would usually to keep the marketing and operations as normal as possible. Videos or Facebook lives as posts are also a great way to spread news and keep in touch.
Create a content plan for future social media posts and general marketing messaging, covering all the marketing channels you use.
Advertise your business or events or special offers if relevant and seasonal, using the boost and advertising options.
Scheduling – think what marketing you can do ahead of time e.g. for the coming weeks and months, even ahead of when everything goes back to normal. You can plan ahead by writing blogs and scheduling these for future dates on your website. You can write and schedule social media posts using tools like Hootsuite. You can also write and schedule newsletters using Mailchimp too.
Communications – emails from your phone or laptop, assuming you have these set up (and if you don’t I would imagine an IT company can help you remotely) can still be sent to colleagues and customers.
You could also be traditional and pick up the telephone to talk with the outside world too. Software like Zoom is also great for conference calls, sharing screens and seeing people as well as hearing them. Multiple people can use Zoom too so its ideal for teams or small groups. If you have to Naturally cancel client or supplier meetings, use Zoom or Skype instead and keep working that way.
Email marketing is still also an option, using cloud based software like Mailchimp to keep in touch and for keeping people and contacts updated. Direct mail may not be suitable as this will require leaving the house, buying stamps and so on.
Sites and tools such as Dropbox and We Transfer are ideal for sharing files and folders with trusted contacts. Always use passwords and stay safe online!
Plan, review and measure – Why not make the most of the downtime if you are forced to be at home and review your business plan and your marketing plan and goals. A plan helps to focus the mind and act as a checklist to make that nothing gets forgotten or missed out. A plan will make you accountable as well as creating processes to streamline and manage your marketing.
Update your databases, records and processes.
Use the time to declutter your office, tidy, shred and have a sort out.
Continue your networking by doing it online. Make connections and contacts with people via social media.
Look at your website and review it for changes to make, updates to add. What else can you do e.g. review SEO and keywords for example.
Research your markets and competitors online. Google and see what you find and use the findings to improve and grow your business. Do not copy of course.
Good marketing is all about consistency and regularity, so remember whatever marketing you undertake, then do it periodically rather than sporadically. Don’t also forget the all important activity of measuring the activity that you implement to review it, amend if necessary and then continue it.
Stay well and healthy!