There’s a lot going on right now. A lot. There’s a trend of uncertainty, which does make us all feel more conscious of where and how we’re spending our money (professionally and personally). Now more than ever, we’re striving for quality and maximising our budgets.
"A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
– Henry Ford
Oddly, the UK government are about to embark on a nonsensical campaign, funded by the tax payer, to discourage brands from using their marketing budgets on advertising. But it is at times like this that consumers are on the lookout to find new brands.
First things first…
Yes, we all want to get the best possible price, no one wants to be overcharged. But keep in mind that:
Good + Cheap = Slow
Good + Fast = Expensive
Fast + Cheap = (more often than not) Crap
We’re more present, especially online
One minute we’re all at the pub or having a BBQ with family and friends… the next we are cringing at the return of Zoom quizzes, as we strive for any kind of social interaction outside of our own four walls. One thing’s for sure right now: we’re online more than ever before.
While saying “take advantage of it” seems tasteless, it’s true. Your audience are in theory easier to reach than usual. But word to the wise, it’s essential to get your messaging on point. Be sensitive to the current climate and national mood.
The people want guidance!
It’s time to step up and present yourself as a leader in your industry. Your customers want guidance on how they can work smarter, not harder. And marketing is your best way to execute that.
At this time, some businesses are dubious about marketing. You often need to spend money to make money, whether that’s through resource or advertising (or experts that can cover projects out of your remit).
"It may seem like a paradox, but recessionary periods actually provide fertile grounds for marketers to grow their brand’s market share if they’re prepared to think long-term."
(M. Riston, 2020, Marketing Week)
These are words to live by. We’ve survived recessions before now, and while this one looks a little different, we can make it out of this one too. But to do so, we need to be present, and marketing is how we keep our business present.
If you read our blogs, you’ll know we love analogies. They’re great explainers. Here’s a great one for this very situation. Marketing is an engine. It becomes more efficient the more we harness it, and harness it well. If it’s stop-start constantly, it’ll haemorrhage money.
Where to spend and why
Your focal areas will very much depend on what you do already, where your ideal customers tend to discover you, and of course, you budget. So let’s have a look:
Your SEO strategy
Regardless of what you do, as a company and your marketing strategy (or lack thereof), SEO is top of the list of priorities. After all, if you’re not being discovered online, what’s the point?
SEO, or search engine optimization, in a nutshell is making sure you are visible on Google. It’s a combination of knowing what keywords your website visitors are using to find you, and creating content to answer those queries and build a reputation.
The key to note, is that it’s an ongoing process that includes a mezze of ingredients to cook up a recipe for success (see, I said we love an analogy):
- content creation (which is a role in itself…)
- link building
- an active social media presence (yep, another person to the team)
- technical stuff like site speed, scripts… (and throw in a developer for good measure)
You get the idea, there’s a lot that goes into it. It can seem daunting if you don’t have a team with the experience in these areas, but that’s where agencies like us can help. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
Whether you want to tackle some of it yourself, or just brush up on your understanding, here are two (hopefully) helpful guides:
Next up is content creation. And no, you don’t have to be replicating dance videos on TikTok or be an expert in animation to do this (but if that’s your bag, go wild).
Firstly, fresh content feeds into your SEO rankings. Google loves it. Whether that’s creating brand new articles, portfolio pieces etc., or refreshing older pages.
Secondly, good quality content helps position you as a leader in your area of expertise. Talk about what you do, how you can make your customers and leads lives easier, show off how you have remedied your customers woes. You get it.
It’s no longer the passive shop window to your business. If optimised to it’s full potential, your website can be your best performing salesperson, servicing your business 24/7. But to achieve that, you need to invest resource and budget.
A refresh includes looking at the functionality, user journey, user experience and subtle tweaks where necessary to your branding. This could be through the use of colours, fonts and imagery.
An entire redesign would also look at rebranding. A complete overhaul of your company’s look and feel, messaging, personas, tone of voice. The whole shebang.
Both can feel equally daunting, particularly if you or your stakeholders are attached to how things look at the moment. But it’s important to consider if it’s working for you. Consider:
- are you generating quality leads?
- what’s the typical user journey on your website?
- what keywords are you ranking for, and are they relevant?
- is anything broken on your website?
What are you doing with your website leads?
It’s all well and good to get plenty of website visitors, but what happens next?
A well planned out inbound marketing strategy is crucial to converting leads into paying customers. Mapping out the process from website visit through to activation may take some time, but it’s worth doing.
When broken down into steps, you’ll want to identify the following:
- your ideal customer personas
- the content channels that they engage best with
- how to nurture them from prospects to hot leads, ready to convert
What about inbound marketing vs. paid advertising? Both have their pros and cons, and a successful digital marketing strategy will use a balance of the two. For instance, inbound or organic content is a great foundation to building consideration.
Whereas paid (or ads) are great for driving awareness and boosting conversion. They do this by reaching targeted leads who are further down the sales funnel, ready to make a decision.
Let’s not forget social media. An extension of your website, focussed on the community that follows it, social media is top of the league when it comes to raising awareness, driving consideration, and boosting engagement. But only when it’s done well.
Again, a strategy is paramount. You’ll need to consider if your tone of voice needs adapting to fit the audience who use that particular channel (think how you might choose to be more professional on LinkedIn vs. the more accepted colloquialisms on Instagram).
It’s so much more than just sticking a few links on Facebook. If you want to be successful, it’s an entire role, filled by an experienced marketeer. You’ll need to understand how algorithms work to maximise organic reach, how to manage a community (think crisis management) and of course, an always on approach.
And that’s not even scratching the surface of what you can achieve if you put budget behind it…
Last, but by no means least, is PPC (pay per click). Ideal for quick results, paid campaigns give your website visitors a boost by directing highly targeted leads. You can run your ads across a range of platforms including:
While it does seem to be a magic wand to generate leads, you need to make sure your marketing ecosystem is healthy. Directing engaged leads who have intention to a website with poor content, broken links and a rubbish journey is a recipe for disaster.
Ultimately, it’s down to your analytics
There’s a great divide between data driven marketers and those who are… well, less excited by numbers, shall we say. Regardless of your stance, it’s absolutely necessary to keep track of performance. Not only because it’s good to have an idea of what’s really going on with your marketing, but also as it helps you to understand what to do to plug the gaps and convert more leads!
Do you need a helping hand?
From time to time we could all do with an extra pair of hands on a project. Whether it’s that you don’t have the expertise, resource or simply enough hours in the day! We can help you. Whether it is content creation, marketing automation, website design, digital advertising, print design… you name it, we’ve got an expert for that!