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Making the most of lockdown

Now is the perfect time to get things you have put off done and dusted. As Benjamin Franklin rightly said, don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

business and marketing strategies for during lockdown

Tackling your outstanding tasks (small and large) will help you lay the groundwork for once the lockdown lifts. And even get you ahead of your competition.

Some simple ideas...

Here's a handful of things you can do quickly.

Idea #1: Gather reviews – and publish them!

Reviews from (hopefully!) happy customers play an indispensable part in marketing. We call it social proof. Customer reviews and testimonials can come from many different sources:

  • Your Google My Business profile
  • Your Facebook account
  • Emails sent in from happy customers
  • LinkedIn messages and reviews
  • Review sites like Trustpilot
  • Directory listings like Yell

A compelling customer quote will help you stand out. They are perfect for your adverts, marketing emails, brochures, leaflets, and landing pages that you can use in your post-pandemic marketing campaigns.

reviews and recommendations are invaluable pieces of marketing called social proof

If you lack reviews, now is an excellent opportunity to contact some customers for a testimonial. Ask for a friendly sentence or two that describes their positive experience with you. Gather these reviews and add them to your website, share them on social media, or a document for later use.

Our top tips for gathering testimonials:

Facebook and Google

Check Facebook and your Google My Business profile, especially if you're a local business. Customers may have already posted reviews you hadn't noticed before.

LinkedIn

Don't be afraid to reach out to your contacts on LinkedIn to ask them for a recommendation (and permission to quote them outside of LinkedIn).

YouTube

Video reviews are the ultimate marketing tool. Ask some of your most loyal/active customers to review your product or service. You'll benefit from these videos for years to come. And don't worry if they aren't quite Steven Spielberg productions! Simple and clear is the best approach here.

Local directories

If you have a business that focusses more locally, then you probably already understand the importance of local search directories like Yell. They often rank well in search results and good reviews on these sites will help convince people to visit your website.

Niche review sites

Travel-related businesses and hotels rely on popular review sites like Trip Advisor and Expedia. If your industry has similar review sites with high traffic, you can benefit from a quality profile with great reviews.

Idea #2: Connect with potential leads

Now is an excellent time to reach out to contacts and say hello on social media or email. It feels good to connect with people, even in this limited virtual/digital capacity – and people appreciate a friendly message to ask how they're doing.

connect, engage and stay social with your contacts, friends and followers

Some of these contacts could become customers or people that might simply recommend your business to others in the future. But this isn't the right time for a hard sell. It's just a quick reminder for people that you're still there and will be ready to help them after lockdown.

Idea #3: Define your ideal customer and a plan for winning them over

Take the time to think about your perfect customer. This isn't necessarily a big named brand or Fortune 500 company. It could be someone just around the corner.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who would benefit most from my product or service?
  • Who would stick around for a long time and be loyal to my brand?
  • Who would recommend my business to other potential customers?

Create a profile to define what your ideal customer looks like. What motivates them? What are their pain points and what problems are they trying to fix? What are their relevant opinions and attitudes? Why should they come to you to solve their problem?

having a customer profile helps when writing your marketing content

Having an ideal customer profile will make help you accurately target the right kind of customer. It will make your marketing more relevant to your target audience by reducing assumptions and focusing on solving specific problems for people.

You can share your ideal customer profile with your staff, as well as external consultants like copywriters and designers. Here at zen, we use them all the time!

Idea #4: Weigh up your social media content and branding against your competitors

It can be challenging to find time to post content on social media, nevermind assessing how content is performing. Now is the time to look back at the analytics on the platforms you use to see what kind of content resonates with your audience.

use Facebook insights and social media analytics to see what works, and what doesn't

Comparing your social media marketing with your competitors isn't always worth your time. Every business is different and at different stages of growth. However, when time allows, it can reveal what you're doing well and where you could grow.

Do your competitors post more often? Do they get more shares and likes? And if so, why?

By looking back at your social media performance, and taking a peek 'over the fence' at your competitors, you could reveal some very interesting things. Maybe your early morning posts performed better. Maybe there's a particular service, product, or topic that people were most interested in. Maybe your competitors are posting more regularly, or their content is branded more distinctly and stands out more than yours.

Any intel you can gather will help you create an active social media plan and great content for your audience now and in the future.

Idea #5: Gather statistics about your business you can use for your marketing

Interesting statistics can play a part in your marketing content. They usually fit within the category of 'social proof' – content that suggests other people trust your business. Before people commit to buying a product or service, they like to know that people like them have taken the plunge first.

statistics and infographics are great bits of marketing material on social media

The size of your company or the number of years you have been in business can be positive indicators as well.

Some examples of statistics you could use in your future marketing:

  • Years in business
  • Number of customers
  • Revenue generated for customers
  • The volume of products sold or signups generated

Of course, you may find some stats more specific to your business or industry that would impress potential customers even more.

Statistics can be presented in simple blocks in content, or gather them together and get creative with infographics!

More challenging ideas...

These ideas will take a bit more thought and time. They will challenge you, but they will pay off when things get busy again.

Idea #6: Look back at your business plan and strategies

Most people start a business with a plan; or at least some key goals. But as the months and years roll by, they don't look back. It's often the same story with strategies created for branding, websites, and marketing.

redevelop your business strategy and future marketing plans

People typically work from project-to-project, focused on shipping the next product or service. It's easy to lose sight of the broader strategy or plan during busy periods.

So why look back?

  • To see at what you've accomplished
  • To look forward and set new ambitious milestones
  • To identify areas you might need to change – remembering failures can lead to new opportunities (if you learn from them!)

We recommend regular reviews of your marketing performance with a robust methodology in place, so you know what to review. Why not try carrying out a SWOT analysis from time-to-time, that you can review and reflect over? This methodology looks at the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats your business faces.

When it's time to turn all of that reflection into an action plan, don't forget to set SMART goals for when your business is up and running again.

Idea #7: Self-educate on marketing tools like Google Ads, Google Analytics, Hotjar, and other tools

There's a vast range of marketing tools out there. They aren't as complicated as you might fear and are more useful than you might expect. Now is the time to get some valuable tools set up and tracking your site and campaigns, and start investing the time into learning how to use them.

tracking customers helps learn their behaviour to make improvements to your website and campaigns

For example, to see where people are clicking on your homepage and other key pages, you can use a heat map tool like HotJar and Crazy Egg. These tools provide visual reports of your visitors' activities across any page on your website. Signing up and creating your first heatmap should take around 15 minutes. Once set up, these tools are easy to use and very revealing – a great way to see where people may be experiencing problems using your site.

Here are just some tools you might find useful for your future marketing:

  • Digital advertising: 
    • Google Ads
    • Facebook for Business
    • Business Solutions on LinkedIn
  • Marketing platforms:
    • HubSpot
    • Marketo
  • Email platforms:
    • MailChimp
    • Campaign Monitor
  • Website analytics:
    • Google Analytics
    • Intercom
    • Kissmetrics
  • Heatmap tools:
    • Hotjar
    • Fullstory
    • Mouseflow
  • Content tools:
    • Hemingway Editor
    • Grammarly
    • GatherContent

Training is available from sites like LinkedIn LearningUdemy, and Google Skillshop.

As many of these services use cookies to track visitors, you will need to update your privacy statement to reflect their usage on your website.

Idea #8: Audit your website

Your website is probably vital to your marketing success. Now and in the future, it will be one of the main ways people find you and contact you. So we find it surprising that businesses don't audit their websites regularly to see how it's performing.

website audits give the information needed to improve your marketing strategy

A full audit of your website will take some time. But it could reveal a lot of useful things. An audit can help you determine:

  • whether your site is fully optimised for search engine traffic
  • has any broken links or downloads
  • loads fast enough (on mobile too!)
  • is user-friendly and accessible
  • has top-notch content!

Here are some particular aspects to focus on for your 'do-it-yourself' website audit:

Speed

A slow-loading website will frustrate visitors and send them off to competitors instead. Poor website performance – especially on mobile phones – is also be penalised by search engines.

If people have trouble getting to your key pages, for example, a product page or contact form, your website isn't performing well. Your site's menus and search should be clear, obvious and easy to use.

Content

People visit a website to help them solve a problem, answer a question, or get things done. If your content isn't clear or convincing, they won't understand how you can help them. Every page on your website should serve a specific purpose and contribute to the overall goal of your marketing.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Your 'findability' determines the success of your website. You can't connect with potential customers if you don't appear high enough in the search results pages. There are several tools available that scan for SEO issues and help you create a plan to fix them, including SEM RushScreaming Frog, and SiteImprove.

Branding

Does your website reflect who you are as a business? Are the design elements and tone of voice consistent with what people will see offline in your marketing campaigns and on social media? Is your website lacking in personality? All the right questions to ask when assessing the branding of your website.

On completion of the audit, you should have a list of specific issues you can solve, significantly improving the effectiveness of your website.

Of course, if that all seems too daunting, you can always reach out to us, and we'll be happy to perform a full and comprehensive website audit for you. Simply drop us an email!