This year has been one for the books. From a worldwide pandemic to national protests, our digital marketing clients and their businesses have been tested like never before. And yet, they continue to overcome the hurdles placed before them. We’ve been fortunate enough to survive these hard times ourselves and it’s in large part due to our dedicated team, clients, and partners. We can’t thank them enough for their on-going support and encouragement.
As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we’re starting to see a shift in a variety of industries and sectors. Businesses are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel (even if it still seems far away). So what does life look like post-pandemic? How do we pick up the pieces and turn the page? Below we’ll explore how to ramp-up your digital marketing to make sure your business is ready when things really do get “back to normal” – whatever that new normal may look like.
Check the Pulse of Your Business
The first step is to take a breath and take the pulse of your business as it stands now. What are your biggest challenges? What are your biggest opportunities? How has the last 6 months affected your operations? These are just a few of the important questions you should ask to better understand the status of where things are at and where you should be focusing your energy.
Before you even think about your digital marketing, you need to make sure your business is ready to ramp back up to pre-pandemic levels. After all, there is a reason people are scared and uncertain. Make sure everyone is on the same page by communicating with your team and reassuring them that you have a plan in place (and if you don’t have a plan, make one). The next few sections below will help guide you in the right direction.
Read the Economic Landscape
The next step is to read the economic landscape. Hit up your favorite news outlets and start reading the tea leaves. What does the unemployment rate look like? What is the stock market doing? These indicators will help you determine when it’s time to ramp-up your digital marketing and when to hold serve.
It’s easy to start guessing when things will turn around but that’s a risky approach. There are plenty of economic indicators that you can utilize to help you gauge how things are evolving or devolving – depending upon the numbers.
Evaluate Your Competitors
Take a hard look at your competition and see what they’re doing right now. Are they hunkering down? Are they coming up for air? Or are they taking advantage of this opportunity and already ahead of the game?
When evaluating your competitors, depending upon your industry, we recommend looking at their website, social media, press releases, and any other public information that might tip their hand. It’s important to understand your competitive landscape, especially in times like these. Most people are scared but it’s those who face the reality of the situation that are able to think clearly, be level-headed, and take advantage of this opportunity.
The Digital Marketing Landscape
What about the digital marketing landscape? Just because COVID-19 hit doesn’t mean that technology stopped innovating. In fact, we’d argue that especially in digital marketing, technology has increased its speedy evolution with the amount of people using the internet.
By now you’ve likely heard of the video conferencing software Zoom. It’s been around for a while but this pandemic helped this technology company explode overnight (and then shortly thereafter implode based on security issues – but that’s another story).
The point is that you need to understand the “new” digital marketing landscape because it has changed and it’s constantly changing, faster than ever. Look into new technologies, methods, and processes. See how you can leverage technology to get an edge on your competition.
For example, how are your new and existing customers engaging with your business? How is that engagement changing? Are there opportunities to increase engagement, customer satisfaction, and conversion rates? Answers to these questions will open the floodgates if you can leverage them the right way.
Gauge Your Goals
A lot has changed in recent weeks and months. It only makes sense that your goals may have shifted as well. Before you dive into ramping things back up, you’ll need to re-evaluate your goals so you can determine what digital marketing activities you’ll need to utilize.
A few questions to help you determine if your goals have changed:
- What is the primary purpose of your digital marketing?
- Are you in a financial position to grow or maintain your customer base?
- Is your competition aggressively marketing?
Restart Your Campaigns
Alright, now that you have a strong understanding of your business pulse, the economic outlook, competition, digital marketing landscape, and your goals – it’s time to dig in and figure out how to ramp-up your digital marketing efforts.
The first place to start is to look at what was working before things started going haywire (aka the pandemic). Pull up all of the old campaigns that you put on pause. Are they still relevant? Do they still meet your goals? If so, this part is easy. Restart them. Even just a few weeks of data in this “new world” will give you enough information to determine if they need to continue running, be tweaked, or sadly, if they need to be scrapped completely.
Leverage Your Tactics
There are two primary ways that you can leverage your digital marketing tactics. You can either retain your customers or attract new customers. While you can certainly utilize tactics for other purposes (ie. internal company communications, etc), we’ll focus on these two topics for the purposes of ramping up your digital marketing.
1. Retain Your Customers
If you’re looking to retain your customers, there are a few specific tactics that you can implement which will help you turn customers into brand advocates. Remember, everyone is uncertain right now so reassuring your customers in new and engaging ways will go a long way towards building trust and confidence.
- Email Marketing
If you don’t already have an email marketing list, make one right now. It’s easy and free which means you have no excuses (unless your industry prohibits this communication method).Next, create a single or on-going campaign to inform your customers how your business is handling this pandemic and how it will affect your relationship with them. Tell them how you are proactively taking care of their needs or supporting their efforts. Or better yet, ask if they need anything or if you can help in any way. It’s all about being empathetic and meeting them where they are in the moment.Ready to Ramp-up? If you don’t already have an email marketing platform, we recommend Mailchimp which enables you to manage contacts, create email campaigns, and measure analytics.
- Customer Support
The best way to retain your customers is to proactively provide the best level of customer support they have ever experienced. When you go the extra mile, your customers will become loyal to your brand.Depending on your industry and buyer persona(s), we recommend ramping up your communication with customers through digital marketing tools that increase engagement. Look into chat, helpdesk, and online ticketing functionality. Each of these tools will help ensure that you are meeting and exceeding your customers’ needs.Ready to Ramp-up? If you don’t already have a customer support platform, we recommend Intercom which enables you to manage contacts, create email campaigns, and measure analytics.
2. Attract New Customers
Ready to grow your business? Then it’s time to look at attracting new customers with tactics that specifically convert visitors into leads and ultimately, into paying customers. Below we’ve outlined a few digital marketing tactics that will help you target potential customers.
- Paid Ads
While Paid Advertising isn’t a new technology by any means, it has become one of the biggest opportunities during this pandemic for a couple of reasons. First, everyone is online right now – they’re socializing online, shopping online, and reading news online. Second, paid ads are cheaper right now because businesses have pulled back their budgets (which is good news for you). Not only are more people going to see your ads, but you are also going to pay less per click.Ready to Ramp-up? If you don’t already have paid advertising campaigns setup, we recommend Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and LinkedIn Ads which enable you to specifically target your buyer persona(s) with unique and targeted content.
- Social Media Reach
Similar to the advantages of paid advertising, social media is benefiting from the influx of people spending time online. Brands are now able to engage with potential customers on their social media channels in ways that are skyrocketing their metrics. In other words, more people online equals more brand visibility for you.This is a huge opportunity for your business to engage with potential customers. By posting engaging content and interacting with people on your social media channels, you’ll not only increase brand visibility, but you’ll pique the interest of people that might otherwise go unnoticed.Ready to Ramp-up? If you don’t already have social media channels setup, we recommend Instagram for a younger demographic, Facebook for a more mature demographic, LinkedIn for a business-focused demographic, and Twitter for a news-focused demographic.
- Website Redesign
Now might be the best time to build or redesign your website. Not only does your business have more downtime to focus on the project but it’s more important than ever that your website is clean, modern, and fresh.If you’re looking to attract new customers, an engaging website will help convert passive visitors into hungry leads. When building a website, it’s important to consider design, user experience, functionality, and conversion points – among other things. Also, it’s important to find the right website design & development partner.Ready to Ramp-up? If you don’t already have a website or you’re thinking about a website redesign, depending upon your needs, we typically recommend WordPress which is the largest and most popular open-source content management platform on the web (and yes, it’s free).
- Website Conversion
Website conversion is the new kid on the block so don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it yet. Essentially, website conversion is a strategic tactic that focuses on funneling people who are visiting your website into specific buckets. These buckets are also known as goals and can be measured by phone calls, filling out forms, sending an email, and a variety of other methods.Ready to Ramp-up? If you haven’t already started working on website conversion, we recommend performing some research around the topic so you can get familiar with the best practices. Google has a helpful article to get you started.
Prioritize Your Digital Marketing Activities
After laying out your digital marketing tactics, it’s time to start prioritizing your activities so you can build the foundation for your ramp-up plan. Not every marketing tactic has equal importance, especially in light of the current landscape.
We recommend writing down a complete list of marketing tactics that you are thinking about implementing. After you’ve created your list, start scoring them using the method below. Each tactic should get scored 1-10 (ten is highest) and then multiplied by the point factor for each category. Then you add up the total and order by the total score from highest to lowest.
- Importance – How important is this tactic to your overall success?
- Budget – How much does budget matter to this tactic?
- Time – How does time affect this tactic?
Example Scoring Guide:
Build Your Ramp-Up Plan
Now it’s time to put everything together. From your research to your marketing tactics, you’ll want to put together a rock-solid plan that will help you achieve your ramp-up marketing goals. Below we’ll help you assemble everything into a succinct digital marketing ramp-up plan.
First, you’ll need to understand the purpose of your ramp-up digital marketing efforts. Are you attempting to attract new customers, needing to retain current customers, or trying to accomplish something else? Write down your primary purpose so you can base your plan off this statement.
Second, you’ll want to outline the digital marketing tactics that you plan to implement.
Third, you’ll want to dive into your budget. Since your budget may be trimmed down, you’ll want to squeeze every dollar you spend to make sure your return on investment is as high as possible. We recommend writing down both your monthly and annual budget so you can break down projects vs. monthly projects.
Last, you’ll need to evaluate your timeline and consider any important upcoming milestones. Are there any specific goals or timeframes that you need to meet? Do you need to stagger your projects or run them concurrently? Looking at the economic climate, does it make sense to tackle some tactics before others? We recommend creating a linear timeline for your ramp-up plan so you can visually see the upcoming weeks and months.
Navigating these tricky economic times can be tough but with the right digital marketing ramp-up plan, you have the ability to position your business in a place where you can leverage your tactics and accomplish your goals.
Here at Sproutbox, we’re already seeing some of our clients becoming increasingly aggressive in their marketing so that when things settle down, they’ll be in a great place to take advantage of the situation. Will you be ready?