Make no doubt about it - the global economy is in crisis. Consumers are in a flurried state of panic and companies and businesses are needing to act fast, making tough and drastic decisions just to keep afloat. We are in troubled times, uncertain territory and nobody quite knows at what point, things will begin to improve. Public doors are closing, venues are emptying, and the high streets have lost their usual crowd - but remember, this too, will pass. So, what happens then? Where will your brand and business stand once the temporary chaos of the pandemic leaves us as quickly as it all started? This is the time for businesses to re-evaluate. Potentially, it is the perfect time to up-level and come back bigger and stronger than you ever were before.
This is not the end. This is an opportunity for game-changing marketing.
So, here's the first thing to keep in mind - You must survive this, and you can. Even if your business seems harder hit than most, perhaps as a public venue, a gym facility, a restaurant, hair and beauty salon or retail premises; even if your business relies heavily on footfall - there are still so many ways to keep your consumers interested during this unprecedented time. You just need to use effective, solid marketing strategies.
Now, more than ever, those with no place to go will ultimately turn to the internet in a bid to find what they are searching for. This is the time to start thinking about how you can reach your market without the physical contact you've relied upon to this moment. How digitally accessible is your business? Are your services and products available online? Could they be? Are you able to use the internet to maximise customer interest, to grow your brand during this whirlwind of a crisis?
STOP! Let us answer that for you. You can. You absolutely can.
You just need to practice smart marketing to do so.
In a world that is digitally driven, you need to be online.
At Ouma, we work with several kinds of businesses all scattered throughout different sectors and we know that almost every business is online, including yours.
So, start with your main company website. Is your SEO strategy solid? Take full advantage of the opportunity for people to find you when they are searching the most. SEO is a basic digital marketing tactic, but one that is highly effective in ensuring fantastic search engine results for your brand. Does your budget stretch to allowing a marketing agency to step in and strengthen your SEO? If so, you need to consider this your first call to action for business growth during the pandemic. This is the ideal time to ask for support with optimising your descriptive headers and metatags so that you're more likely to increase your organic reach.
Of course, while increased site traffic is brilliant for business, you've got to keep them on the site once they find you. We're fairly confident to guess that a lot of your marketing budget is allocated to social media posting. We all know there's nothing quite like powerful social media management to drive crowds through the door
Social media is your greatest tool right now.
We all know how social media works, but right now, it's your greatest marketing asset. The likelihood is that you have a social media page, you've posted a few Covid-19 updates and jumped on the bandwagon with whatever everybody else is talking about.
Why be another needle in the haystack when you have a voice of your own? Find something to talk about that means people are engaging with your content first. We appreciate that finding the right balance between managing sensitive customer communications and sounding like Del-Boy from Only Fools And Horses is challenging, but there's always an angle - sometimes you need to dig deep, other times you need to work with us.
Maximise your storytelling abilities, tug on heartstrings, do something unselfish, talk about your people, talk about your business, get noticed.
If ever there was a time to utilise social media for business, this is it.
But, what does your content creation currently look like?
Is your website blog regularly updated? Are you sharing important and relevant information to target consumer interest? Are people sharing your blog posts and engaging with you through the posts you're publishing? Writing engaging content can really enhance and build brand credibility and reputation. Insightful thought-leadership posts can stand you out from the crowd as leaders and experts in your industry. Reputable marketing agencies and strong marketeers will be able to understand your target market and deliver well-written content that's both relevant and SEO optimised for ultimate results.
Word-perfect content creation can make your brand uniquely memorable, but it doesn't just stop at words. Effective content brings together skilled writing technique with high-quality imagery, animation and video content. Ask your marketing agency to utilise each element to deliver the most exceptional content for your business.
And the great things is, you can utilise this content across multiple platforms; website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Press Releases etc.
If you're going digital, go all out.
Is your website looking tired? Is it needing a serious overhaul? Perhaps a new aesthetic, tone of voice or new integrative features could really take your website and brand to the next level. Perhaps your current website works well but could benefit from a few extra pages, a new e-commerce store or an online portal for users who can no longer visit you in person. This is a particularly important consideration if you're needing to provide products and services online that you haven't done before. Most marketing agencies will have website designers who can really help here, by providing exceptional creative input for high-end results. Remember, this isn't just about digitising your business - it's about standing out from the crowd when you do it.
Outside of catering to your clients, consumers and customers, it's imperative to think about your staff. There are now so many digital platforms available online that can streamline operations and offer great collaborative resources during times of remote working. Getting the relevant information on how to access and use these services will not only support your business now but will put you in good stead for the future, if we should ever experience something similar again.
The next question is, how do you fare against your competitors?
If day-to-day business is quieter than usual, it primarily presents a great opportunity to start competitor market research. Don't misinterpret our message here - strong competitor analysis is something that should be considered all year round. If you've neglected it so far due to other business commitments, this quieter phase is providing all the scope and time needed to carry it forward and to do it exceptionally well. If you currently use a marketing agency, they should be able to do this for you. Good marketeers can collect the relevant information on your competitors and more than this, they can turn such data into highly effective ad re-targeting.
Simple but useful tactics, such as utilising cookies throughout your website, means you'll easier reach the target markets visiting rival brands and sites. It's important to discover what others in your industry are doing but just as imperative, is having the knowledge of where competitors are falling short in their offers of services and products. This information allows you the freedom to get creative, to think outside of the box and develop a new strategy to deliver something nobody else out there, has done yet.
So, what's the key message here? The best solution for surviving right now, is effective, solid marketing.
It is inevitable that every business will need to take necessary steps to remain successful both during the pandemic and long after it's over. It's much better to stay recognised and relevant now than it is to get forgotten about and then need to find the resources to try to recover. The key message here, however, is that no matter what steps you choose to take to push through this - the only actions that are going to be profitable in the long term, are the ones that reach your target audience best. For this, you need to market well, and your efforts need to be exceptionally powerful.
This time, however difficult now, will one day, pass - Don't let your brand pass by, too.