As a business owner, you may never get this time again!
As most SME’s right now you are sat wondering if your business plan is going to get you through COVID-19? You may have had to make harsh decisions on cutting salaries, using any savings you have for the business or looking a lot closer into the 100% SME Small Business Loan scheme.
Another option may be to use this time wisely and look at your business from within.
As business owners, we may never get this downtime again. The world usually moves so fast we are lucky if we can squeeze in a morning gym class before duty calls and checking our inbox of emails becomes the constant.
Whilst we have this period of separation from our daily norm it is vital to assess the business that you own from top to bottom, as you did when you first started your business plan. Assessing the company’s marketing strategy, brand messaging, digital presence and not just the financials.
What is a marketing strategy and did we ever put one in place?
Many times this can feel like a “Buzz Word” that your marketing hire is throwing around. You might have a slight grasp of what it entails but you don’t understand the importance of it to the day to day running of your business.
In a nutshell, this is the plan of how you will promote your business and will play a part in how your business is ultimately received across whichever mediums or platforms you exist on.
Traditional marketing measures that you may be aware of or using already:
• Sales teams
• Sales brochures and PowerPoint decks
• Press or trade advertisements
• Exhibition booths.
• Print ads
Digital marketing measures that you may be aware of or using already:
• Email marketing
• Social media marketing
• SEO and Google Ads
• Company blog and LinkedIn article posts
Now that COVID-19 is with us how will you adapt?
We have all seen the increase in social media usage as employees are being asked to work from home so why not use this as a great opportunity to evaluate how you are marketing your brand and the strategy you have in place.
Now is the time to get the sales team together, research your competitors and look at how you can equip your team with the very best tools to sell your company. Once COVID-19 passes and even while we are still under lockdown why not look at whether they have up to date sales decks or better still sales decks they can edit themselves.
Are they on brand, are they using the correct tone, are the figures packages/services correct or do they need adjusting, are your company guidelines being adhered to and you are happy with the condition with which they are being sent out to potential leads?
Events will be going ahead this year, large and small. Mega events will be going ahead and so will all the expos that have been delayed. They will be back and planning for them begins now. We have clients in this space and see the 4th quarter as the projected date so will you be ready?
One thing to remember. Once you start you have to commit. The return on investment has a direct correlation between the time, effort and more often than not the money you inject into this marketing approach.
Most companies have the same problem we have as an SME, who will write the content and how do we ensure we can generate it consistently? Our advice would be to run ideas, drafts and the finalised versions of anything going out publicly past the owner, CEO or as close to C-suite decision-makers as possible. The reason for this is, they know the business objectives overall and on a day to day basis, what they need to push and the markets in which to do so. You may have a Brand Director or Head of Marketing who can make the calls and knows the business goals but for SME business structures, this usually isn’t the case.
In any case, our best advice is to make the decision now as you would booking a gym class or a weekly meet up with friends. Sit down and write about your company. It can be new ventures, new clients, experiences that didn’t work out as you planned or ideas that turned out fantastic against all the odds. Anything is better than nothing.
Social media marketing
Firstly pick the correct channel for your business. LinkedIn tends to be more B2B. The platform offers groups for similar industries, direct messaging for connections you have made and the opportunity for sponsored advertisement.
Facebook can work across similar lines but do your friends care to read about your day job and do you want a serious post about your livelihood sandwiched between someone asking for the local doctor’s phone number and a picture of a dog in a tuxedo?
Instagram is a creative way to market your business providing you have some level of photography and videography skill. Like anything, the more you do it the better you become at it and you can build up a following quickly with the use of hashtags.
Choosing the right channels, the content you post and timings are all valuable to producing results. You may think that your business doesn’t apply to this style of marketing but we are now fully immersed in an age of immediate content. It’s in your face, every day, all day and it’s there because it works and it’s not going away. It’s worth considering even if you’re new to it.
SEO & Google Ads
An idea you were probably advised to consider when setting up your website but you either placed it on the back burner or just never followed it up. Now you are wondering why your website isn’t on page one of Google and why your competitors are gaining all the leads?
We outsource this to the professionals. We invested properly in our Google Ads, SEO and ad campaigns back in October 2019 and have already seen the value. It takes an injection of time and cash but once set up correctly it has proven itself to bring in the inquiries. Ask yourself the question, who doesn’t Google a service provider? Can you afford not to be seen?
Company blog and LinkedIn article posts
The dreaded company blog!….you spoke to an SEO company once and they said you need one to improve your google ranking. Maybe your website has one but the last time it was updated was back in 2016 and it’s too far gone to save?
Having a blog may seem a pain but unfortunately, like it or loath it, it is valuable and a free way to organically help your Google rank. It takes the same energy as the email marketing we spoke of earlier, you can even duplicate the content across if you haven’t the time to create something different.
Along the same lines as this, LinkedIn offers a long-form, article style post which you can use to cross content across platforms. Either from your blog to LinkedIn or vice versa.
The best part is you can share your hard work on LinkedIn as a long-form post and sit back and see how valuable your industry knowledge is to others, grow your connections and show you are a key opinion leader for advice and/or service offerings!
I titled this article:
As a business owner, you may never get this time again!
The situation across the world at the moment is bleak, we all know it, it’s everywhere we look but you also have to be positive, proactive and look at things in the best possible light to take the best possible course of action. There’s a lot at stake, maybe you’re a one-man-band, maybe you have employees jobs and families to consider or maybe the next few months could make or break?
Wouldn’t it be great to have your employees see a forward-thinking, pro-active business owner ready to work with you going forward and have the confidence they are in the right team for their career or family? If writing a blog post, or rebranding your company, revitalising your website is the thing you do that can win that business, or get that coffee with a new client or even turn things around then isn’t it all worth it? It’s a win-win. You might even learn something new!
If you would like to discuss any of the points in this article feel free to contact ipulse. On account of the current situation, we are trying to do all we can to help those around us so during COVID-19 we are giving our advice on marketing strategies and all other services we offer for free.