Everyone has been impacted in some way by COVID-19 so we thought it would be helpful to take a minute and look back for any marketing “lessons learned” from the past three months. Last week we offered some tips on communicating effectively when things get tough for your business. The temptation is to stop communicating because you’re not sure what will happen and you don’t want to say the wrong thing. We established that no matter what it’s always best to keep the line of communication open between you and your audience.
Another thing you should never stop doing is marketing your business. This may seem obvious but we’ve all had times when marketing was pushed to the bottom of our overflowing to-do lists. Sometimes business can feel like feast or famine. In busy times you may not have enough hours in the day to get it all done, much less post something to social media. But if you don’t have a plan to keep the marketing engine running, you may soon find yourself in a famine.
When it comes to marketing your business, making a plan and working the plan is always better than shooting from the hip—especially when things get tough. With the right plan in place, you can keep working the plan to grow your business no matter what else may be happening in the world around you.
Here are three reasons why you should never stop marketing.
Marketing Establishes Your Authority and Leadership
Some businesses forced to close during COVID simply fell off the radar. Their clients never heard from them again. Other businesses continued communicating with their customers despite their closed doors, offering content that was meaningful and valuable to their target audience. This is a big advantage of content marketing and a helpful way to stay ahead of any unexpected twists and turns your business may face.
Planning out a content marketing strategy in advance allows you to continue building your reputation and trust between you and your customers. Sharing this content on social media and creating conversations around topics of interest to your customers lets them know that you’re listening and that you care about the things they care about. Scheduling your marketing activities in advance keeps you from procrastinating or pushing it to the backburner when life turns up the heat. Marketing technology can automate much of this for you, making it easy to stay in touch with your audience even when you’re too busy to do so real-time.
Marketing Keeps Your Business Top-of-Mind
If sales seem slow, it could be that your ideal customers aren’t ready to buy just yet. Some people know exactly what they’re looking to buy, they know it when they see it, and waste no time making a purchase. On the other hand, some people take a significant amount of time reading, researching, comparing and contrasting options before making a decision. Either way, your brand needs to remain visible throughout the buying process. If your brand disappears from the customer’s radar midway through the process, they’ll likely go with a competitor that’s been consistently visible.
A very effective marketing tactic to keep your business top-of-mind is nurturing leads through email marketing. Create something meaningful and useful they can download for free in exchange for their email address. If you run B2C or e-commerce, offering a discount or free shipping is an easy way to build your email list. Once you capture a new lead’s email address you can initiate an automated series of emails written specifically to lead them through the buying process. We recently wrote a thorough blog post on email marketing, but if you have more questions about the lead nurture process please let us know.
Marketing Keeps Sales in the Funnel
If you study the buyer’s journey you’ll notice that people go through several stages of awareness before they commit to a purchase. You may have heard this described in terms of a funnel. The top of the funnel (ToFu) is where leads are curious and just beginning to do their research. The middle of the funnel (MoFu) is where your lead is engaged and comparing options, features, and benefits that separate you from your competitors. The bottom of the funnel (BoFu) is typically where the buyer has finished researching and is ready to make a choice. If you want them to choose you, they need to hear from you through each stage of this process.
This is why a continuous, intentional approach to digital marketing is so important to keep business afloat. Any laps in messaging can leave a gap that a competitor will gladly fill. Having a plan to tailor your marketing messages to each stage of the buyer’s journey can help you guide your leads through the process of becoming your customer. You can leverage tactics like social media and content marketing to engage customers throughout the process and drivers like paid advertising or retargeting ads to close the deal.
A Plan Keeps You Grounded When The Storms Come
As economic uncertainty continues buyers and sellers will all be a bit on edge. No one really knows what is going to happen next with this virus. Some say it will get worse before it gets better and others think we are headed toward the end of the chaos. No matter what happens next with the coronavirus, the marketing you do today will impact what’s happening with your business six months down the road. Having a plan in place will save you money and time and alleviate a lot of stress in the long run.
Market when business is booming so that new projects are always on deck. Market even if leads aren’t coming quick—your customer may just not be ready to buy yet. And most of all, just keep marketing even if things are uncertain or you run into trouble because eventually things will return to normal and you’ll be glad you had a plan to keep the engine running as leads you’ve nurtured become paying customers.
While we can’t predict the future, we can be prepared. So it’s time to channel your inner boy or girl scout and make a marketing plan that can sustain your business through the good times and the bad. We can help you create a digital marketing plan and be prepared for whatever comes your way. Let’s schedule a time to chat today!
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