“It’s a great time to try new things.” It’s one of the tips I shared in this morning’s 20 minute webinar hosted by Troy Forrest from the Strategy Road Swarm and sponsored by Chatham Capital Exchange. As I’ve never been on that side of a webinar before, I certainly took my own advice today.
If you’ve been wondering how to approach marketing in these uncertain times, you’re not alone.
Personally, it’s been interesting working through this with my clients so the opportunity to share my thoughts further seemed like a good thing to do.
1. Avoid dropping your prices to stimulate demand. It’s tempting, but it’ll be hard to come back from it if you do. I’ve helped clients develop ‘bite-sized’ options where both the price and deliverables are scaled back.
(Watch from: 4.48 min)
2. Take to your marketing budget with a “scalpel not an axe.” I read this analogy in a recent article. If you need to find savings, protect your share of voice. You might do and spend less but if your competitors maintain or do more, then your share of voice will drop further. Your actions never exist in isolation. (Watch from: 5.50 min)
3. You don’t have to be perfect. We’re used to seeing glossy ‘schmickness’ in marketing. But there are examples of major brands in the UK and elsewhere relaxing their normal production quality standards. And if something doesn’t go to plan, the Potato Woman reminds us that ’embracing the raw’ holds its own special kind of power. (Watch from: 8.10 min)
Things to do now.
- The most important thing your client survey should tell you
- How you can try something new in a safe way
- A free (and easy) way to improve your customer experience
- A few of the marketing ducks to get in a row
(Watch a rapid-fire rundown from: 9.50 min)
Things to do next.
- Understanding your key marketing challenge
- Segmenting your database for relevant communications
- Customer-centric marketing
- Evaluating new services you’ve developed in this time
- Formalising content pillars for your business
- A focus on tracking without skewing your marketing mix
(Watch a rapid-fire rundown from: 13.50 mins)
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Q. I wondered if you could explain your ‘content pillars’ a little more with an example. My service is photography, hair and make up.
A. Sure. The idea is to work out 3 or 4 things you want people to associate with your brand and use them to underpin everything to publish. For example, as a photographer I imagine most people aren’t that comfortable in front of the camera. So one of your pillars might be ‘as easy as smiling at a friend’. It doesn’t mean you use those words but that you aim to get that message across through your communications. You could collect ‘after’ testimonials or share tips on how to relax ahead of your annual Christmas family photo. Another pillar could be ‘reflect your best self’. This could be about reassuring people who are worried about looking ‘made up’ and feeling awkward (after all, what if they don’t like what you do with their hair and make up AND there’s photographic evidence of it FOREVER). I run a workshop to help businesses develop their content pillars and develop their content marketing strategy if this is something you’d like help with.
Q. I run a small physiotherapy practice. With a lot of other competitor practices sharing exercises and health tips on their social channels right now, what kind of things can I do to differentiate my practice?
A. Yes, there’s lots of content being produced right now. I’m going to assume you are asking how to differentiate your practice through social media when doing your own videos. I suggest you frame it specifically in your mind: that it’s service from YOU to YOUR clients. They trust you for their care and will likely look to first for content during this time, so you’re already on the front foot. Think about client segments within your practice, grouping them by needs (lifestyle, injury types etc). Let’s say you have large segment who regularly see you for sports injuries. Could you provide tips for athletes who can’t train properly now? Can you suggest ways to maintain conditioning and flexibility? Provide tips on running on concrete instead of treadmills given gyms are closed? Similarly, let’s say you have a segment in the over 70 age-group and they see you because of general wear and tear. What might they be experiencing being at home? Will they be moving less as they’ve been told to stay home? Perhaps more neck and back issues from sitting badly in their chair ? What about their emotional wellbeing – could you collaborate with an allied professional who could film a guest segment on staying mentally healthy in iso? Could your videos be filmed in locations your clients can’t really spend time in right now? Once you define the segments around needs, then the brainstorming should be relatively easy! Extra tip: put a little money – even $10 or $20 is OK – to boost key posts on social media. For example, most people who follow your Facebook page will not see your organic posts. It’s a Facebook thing.
Q. I’ve invested in recent years in professional memberships for the networking and profile building benefits, but cashflow will be tighter this year and I’m having to think hard about their value. Any thoughts or tips?
A. Another good question. One of the comments I made in the webinar is that it’s important not to make hasty decisions about marketing cuts. Networking and industry memberships are medium to long-term strategies. They can also be worthwhile but difficult to measure. If you’ve been a member for a while, then hopefully that’s a sign that you’ve seen the value of being involved in the past. If the reason is genuinely financial, I suggest you speak with the Association to ask what options there may be. In some cases, memberships fees are tax deductible so you should consider that too – you may not be saving a great deal by making the cut. If you’ve not been happy with the value for a while, then your conversation with them could be to about benefits to find out if there are any you may not be currently accessing. In tough times, we need our peers more than ever so maintaining our professional network is – in principal – a worthwhile component of the marketing mix.