Everyone knows you need to do marketing, but how do you continue to do your marketing in lockdown? We need to develop different strategies for our marketing in lockdown whether you’re able to run your business or not. In this video discover new ideas and ways to keep working on your business in these challenging times.
So, Lockdown Appropriate Marketing. Why are we doing it? Why is this such a hot topic right now? For those of you who are in Melbourne and in some other parts now, it’s been an interesting time. I’ve had many clients come to me asking what can we do in lockdown? Marketing is something you need to do all the time in your business. It’s what I call keeping your business fit. And doing some marketing is what will keep your business fit. The question is though, what do we do when we’re in this extraordinary circumstance of lockdown? This is designed to provide you with a little bit of inspiration and to give you a little bit more direction on what you can do, versus what you can’t do in this particular lockdown scenario.
I’m a small business marketing specialist and I’ve been doing this for a really long time. I’ve had 25 years in business and in that time, I’ve run five different businesses, so I understand things, very much from a business owner perspective, not just a marketing perspective. I’ve also helped thousands of businesses right around Australia and a couple overseas as well. My approach is very much, to keep it simple, make sure that it makes sense to you and also to make sure that marketing works. So that’s the approach that I’m taking today.
The key thing that we need to realise, whenever we’re thinking about our marketing, is what we bring, we all have things to bring to our marketing. These are the four main things that business owners bring to their marketing. They bring some time. They bring money. They bring some energy and bring different skills. The quality and the quantity that you’re bringing to your marketing are going to be different for each of you. Some of you might have a lot of time, some of you might have a lot of money. Some of you might have not a lot of time and not a lot of money but boy are you energetic! So, within that small amount of time, you’ve got you can really pack a punch. For some people you might actually just be bringing some gorgeous marketing skills with you to your marketing. All of this is important to bear in mind when we’re thinking about the right strategies to employ.
So basically, marketing strategy is all about getting the best results in the most efficient way. A really smart marketing strategy will look at all the things that you are going to be bringing to your marketing and using them in the most powerful way. One of the challenges that we have right now is that things are different. Unlike other times in our marketing, for the first time ever businesses are finding that what was previously predictable is no longer predictable. In fact, we’ve never been in a situation like this where for some businesses they’re closed and it’s not of their own doing. They’re closed for extended periods of time. We’ve also got a situation where some of our customers are no longer accessible to us. Not only are our customers impacted in this scenario, but also the ability for us to do our marketing is also impacted. Now, this is a strange, strange, strange time and it means that sometimes the strategies and the tactics that we used previously that have always worked for us, are just no longer relevant.
So how do we actually get through this? When it’s different times, it’s time for different thinking. Are you ready to think differently? If we keep trying to do things in the same way that we’ve always done them, we’re going to get stuck. And people have been. I’ve been finding many businesses just keep trying to do the same thing in the same way and they think ‘oh it’s not working’. Of course, it’s not working! We’re in a completely different scenario.
1. Getting sales may not be possible right now.
As a business we don’t like to hear this. But the reality is that right now in lockdown, we’re actually not able to run our business as we normally would. Let’s think about hairdressers right now. Sales may not be possible right now. They might be able to sell their products, but they certainly can’t sell haircuts. They are not allowed to open. Many of them are not even wanting to book ahead because they don’t know when they will be allowed to open, nor do they want to take bookings only to have to cancel them later on. So, the solution – we need to just sit with this and think, okay right now maybe sales are not possible. If that is the situation for you then if you keep trying to get sales it’s a little bit like just running around chewing your own tail. You’re not going to change the outcome because the situation is out of your control. If you’re a tourist operator in Melbourne right now sorry, you cannot do sales. If you’re in the Moulin Rouge stage production you can’t perform right now. You can sell tickets but they may need to be changed or refunded.
2. Now may not be the best time to promote your business.
Now may not be the best time to promote yourself. Let’s think about. The world is a bit stressed. People are a bit stressed. Maybe its time not to promote yourself. I want you to consider this I’ve noticed many business owners thinking ‘I’ve got to do some activity’, “I’ve got to be sending out newsletters’ and promoting, ‘I’ve got to be on Facebook’, ‘I’ve got to be doing Facebook advertising’. We need to consider that maybe right now this is not the best thing to do.
3. You may need to do things differently.
In my observations right now the people and the businesses that are struggling the most with the concept that what they have always done isn’t working and that they may need to do new and different things, are businesses that have been around for a long time. You develop wisdom and business intelligence over time in your business. You discover what works and what doesn’t work. Each year you get better until the last couple of years. That certainty has been completely thrown out of the window we are experiencing new situations and learning for the first time again. All the previous knowledge can’t be applied to this scenario and we need to think about things in a different way.
Key things you need to explore.
- Who your target market is and what is going on for them.
If your target market is business customers you need to consider which industries are they in. Are those customers, are they doing well, is it business as usual, or are they in industries where it’s a bit dire? For example, if your clients are doctors or other health professionals, it’s great they’ve still been able to operate, however they may be under a bit of stress and not in a great position to make buying decisions. Whereas, if you’re again dealing with hairdressers, they are not able to operate and they are definitely under a lot of stress. So really understanding what is going on for them at the moment is important.
- Do they actually need your product or service right now?
I realised that businesses are really perplexed around what marketing to do in lockdown and they do need some of the information that I’m providing. That’s why I decided to run a webinar because the information is timely, helpful and relevant to my target market which is small business – even though we are in lockdown.
If your target market are consumers. What’s going on for them right now? Are they the poor mums and dads who are trying to do home schooling and working from home? Or are they people who are actually going well maybe they have time on their hands to undertake an online course or experience or even to shop. They might be saving so much money because they are not going out and so are cashed up to buy your product.
Do they have specific current needs? For example, a lot of parents are really open to looking at any sort of online entertainment right now to keep their kids entertained in an educational way. Anything to give them an hour so that then they can go and do their work. It’s important to understand what’s going on for your customers right now. How does your product or service fit into their specific needs at this moment? If your product or service is relevant to your target market right now – you’ve got some great opportunities.
Ask yourself is my product helpful or relevant to my target market right now?
If yes, you’re in a great situation so get out there and advertise your product or service. It is going to be helpful, and people are looking and needing you then it might be a really great time to run promotions to just encourage people, perhaps new customers, to take up the opportunity, because they might just need an incentive to try something new or to try you for the first time. It is also a good time to communicate with your target market through advertising, content pieces either on social media, website blog, articles, discussions or forums. Just make sure you are clearly communicating the benefits of your particular products or services as it relates to your audiences’ scenario right now.
Be flexible in the way that people can buy from you. In lockdown, in Covid, when people are stressed, they don’t deal as well with complexity. They just need things to be easy basically they want to buy in the way they want to buy. So, the more flexible you can be with the way you deliver or sell your product or service, the better it’s going to be.
Other things you can do right now
If you don’t have a product or service that is relevant or helpful in lockdown (maybe you’re an overseas trip or a travel agent) that’s okay. You don’t need to despair because there’s lots of other things that you can do. One of the big things you can do is set yourself set up for when you can sell. When your customers are in a position where they’re actually wanting to buy or can listen to your messages.
- Consider reviewing or updating your website. More people than ever before are looking for you online. If you’ve got a bit of time it’s a great time to just review, refresh, improve your website.
- Think about your communications. Develop your content for email marketing or social media posts for some of your communication that you’re going to be doing a little bit later on when we get out of lockdown or when customers have got a little bit more headspace. Consider updating your customer database. It’s one of those tasks we often put off when we are busy yet it’s so important to keep up with our marketing housekeeping. Do these things now because it’s all going to be very, very helpful for when you are ready to do some of your promotion.
- Consider undertaking some skills training. Good on you all for being on the webinar/reading this blog today. Training is always helpful so you get smarter at what you’re doing and more efficient.
- Maybe you are thinking “oh crikey, it’s just not going to come together this year” then one of the best things you can do is to plan for 2022. I’ll be giving you a little bit of insight into a crackerjack way to get the best marketing plan for next year and I’ll share that with you in a couple of minutes. But that’s something to do. Set yourself up for next year. They always say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Having a marketing plan and strategy ready to just roll out keeps you focussed, makes you more efficient and it means that any resources you’re bringing to your marketing will be used wisely.
Just remember that whatever your situation make the most of the opportunities that are there. It might be that you have opportunities to serve your customers well, to set up systems for when work comes your way or spend time thinking about how to do things better. All of these actions will help you with your marketing. If you’re busy and you’re actually getting sales then you know what, all you need to do is stick doing that and just provide excellent customer service and experience. You’ll generate word of mouth marketing later on and right now looking after your customers might be all you’ve got the energy for. Just stick with just doing that. If you’ve got some time up your sleeve, then just do the marketing activities that actually require time. Because once you get busy those marketing activities just fall of the desk. As I know you’re well aware. Now if you’ve got some money then I always recommend at this point do the marketing that requires money. So, update your website get some photos taken when you can, get a graphic designer to spruce up your visuals, or a copywriter to make your email marketing really sing. Or maybe you need to get a marketing consultant in to sharpen your strategy.
If you’ve got good headspace right now, then some of the things you might want to consider is just let things wash over you. Come up with some ideas. Do a bit of dreaming. Do some planning. Do some strategy. Innovate. Explore how can I do things better? Come and do some training and increase your knowledge.
I want to share with you a really great opportunity it is it’s a program that I’m running. It’s an online program and it requires you to be online for two hours. That’s it along with a little bit of work before and a little bit of work afterwards. You end up developing the right marketing plan for you so that you can feel really in control, ready to go, motivated and know that whatever you’ve designed for 2022 it’s going to work. Whether there’s lockdowns or no lockdowns you’ll be prepared. But the good news is that even though it is an online program but there is a limit on the number of participants. We don’t have any more than ten participants, so you get really good quality Ailsa time. You also get that wonderful opportunity to share ideas with other businesses and hear their ideas. You get support before and after and during the workshop plus templates and tools that you can use, not only this time round, but well into the future. Normally to get a marketing plan done by someone like myself could be anywhere from $1500 – $5000. You don’t need to pay that. By doing it this way all doing it together online, you only pay $495 for a marketing plan.