This article will explore some marketing activities Bliss recommends, to help you come out of lockdown in the best possible position. Plus, our Paid Marketing Manager, Brian will be answering some of the questions our clients have been asking about paid marketing. It might take us a while to reach our end destination of normality, but at least we’re heading in the right direction.
This article is part of our Content Hub on how businesses can proceed with marketing during this Coronavirus period. Bliss is pooling our 10 years of industry experience to create these free and informative guides to help you, with weekly updates.Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash
What to start doing now
Firstly, and most importantly, if you’ve been laying low it’s time to crank up the marketing machine again. It is better to prepare for the end of lockdown and have something ready, even if you don't utilise it for a month or two, than to be left behind in the mad rush of things opening again.
Marketing awareness campaigns
Now is the time to start reminding your customers of who you are with an ace awareness campaign. All to really boost the buzz around your brand, so when the end of lockdown is announced for your industry, you’re top of people’s lists to book with or buy from.
What is an awareness campaign?
It’s a series of related marketing activities which aim to attract people at the first stage of the sales funnel. Basically put, it’s a campaign which concentrates on who you are, rather than the minutiae of what you sell and why they should buy it today.
How to set up a brand awareness campaign
- Build an audience. Think about your current customers, what demographics do they fall under? This is a great place to start building your target list. Or, is there a specific audience you would like to start attracting? Why haven’t they been attracted before, what can you do now to start appealing to them? TOP TIP: Location of customers is particularly relevant now with different parts of Great Britain ending lockdown at different times.
- Identify internet hotspots. Do your research into where these people spend their time on the internet. Is it Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn maybe even Tiktok? Don’t discount popular forums, such as Mumsnet. Each of these has specific audiences which they attract based on age, gender, interests and even sometimes occupation. Choose the best ones and see how you can promote your brand on there.
- Come up with ideas. Brainstorm ideas which are relatable to your audience and will resonate with them. Don’t worry about being too specific, we are still at the top of the funnel. But how can your product fit into their lives and make it better? Especially considering the stresses we’ve all experienced during Coronavirus.
- Create the collateral. A good brand awareness campaign is not built on one blog post. You need to invest your time in different types of marketing, all with a unified message. Email and social media, linking to a blog furthering the discussion, are your friends.
The point of a brand awareness campaign is to grab people’s attention before you can start easing them down the rest of the sales funnel. Want to learn more about these different sales funnel stages? Read our recent guide to 2020 marketing strategies
✅ DO be wary of how much you promote yourself before an end-date for your industry is announced. People have very strong opinions and won’t be afraid to voice them if they think you’re being inappropriate.
Ramp up the social media
As well as your awareness campaign, now is the time to really engage with your social media.
Social media is one of the few industries which has benefitted from the lockdown - people have no choice but to socialise online and are spending more time scrolling through their feeds. So make sure you’re what they’re finding!
Some ideas to keep your social media busy:
✅ React to and answer all your comments in a friendly, familiar tone. Even if a comment is negative, responding and explaining yourself will help to calm the situation
✅ Respond to messages quickly on Facebook to turn on the ‘fast response’ badge, which looks great for people visiting your profile
✅ Invite those who have liked recent posts to like the page
✅ Post beautiful pictures - there is enough negativity swirling around that people are looking for some escapism through photos
✅ Urge people to follow government guidelines in all your messaging
✅ Humbly bring to light the good you have been doing
✅ Engage with your audience by asking questions in your posts
✅ Use stories to promote new posts or quick content
✅ Start on a new social media platform if there is potential there
✅ Pin the most important statements to the top of your pages
✅ Make sure you post a variety of content - pictures, statuses, videos.
❌ Don’t just overtly advertise your products in every post.
❌ Don’t make every post about Coronavirus! Check out Bliss’s non-Covid content ideas
Now is a time to really connect with your customers on an individual level which social media provides!
Social media algorithms favour consistency
Another advantage of this is that by putting in extra effort now, you’ll be in a stronger position going forward. Social media platforms, including Facebook, don’t show every post to everyone. Even if someone liked your business page, there is a good chance that Facebook won’t show them the majority of your posts (unless you pay for the privilege). However, if your posts do start to get more attention, Facebook keeps that momentum going by showing the posts to more people, equalling more likes -> more invites -> more page likes -> more exposure.
TOP TIP: Social media platforms don’t want people to leave the website, so posts without URLs linking elsewhere generally perform better.
Don’t hard sell yet
Although it may be tempting to try and promote yourself after a tough Q1, until there is a definite day that people are allowed to access your products, you should refrain from the hard sell. After all, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but no one knows how many setbacks we will have until then.
Even companies which are allowed to open have had mixed reactions on social media, as you can see by these posts taken on 13-14th May. You definitely don't want angry reactions to the news of your reopening - any negativity can quickly snowball and it could really damage your reputation
Reactions vary heavily from business to business
So start planning your brand awareness campaigns and keep up your social media presence, but don't try too hard for people to purchase right now. Certainly, don’t promise anything for people yet that you may not be able to uphold.
Expert Opinion | Brian Adamski, Paid Marketing Manager, Bliss
With the potential end to lockdown in sight, we posed some frequently asked questions about what to do next to Bliss’s Paid Marketing Manager and SEO expert, Brian.
Q: Some businesses are investing heavily into paid marketing whereas others have paused spend. What is the best thing to do now?
A: This depends on your business and the products or services that you sell. For example, if your business falls within travel and tourism, now may not be the best time to promote holidays. With so much uncertainty around travel, you’ll find it difficult to get people to make that commitment and part with their hard-earned cash.
In sectors where customers can easily buy and receive their products/services safely within the GOV guidelines then now may be a good time to restart paid marketing.
You may even find that it’s cheaper with less competition and a lower cost per click
Q: Is it better to invest in paid or organic marketing?
A: Many businesses have tightened their belts and have paused their paid marketing efforts at this time. So now would be the perfect opportunity to focus on organic marketing. I’d make a start by auditing your website and improve the SEO and quality of your content. If this subject is a little tricky for you then it’s worth reading our article: How kickstart your SEO using a set of free tools
That being said, again it depends on your business. If you can produce a positive ROI (Return on Investment) through paid marketing at this time then why would you stop?
Q: Which paid marketing platforms should I be looking into using now?
As mentioned above, your target audience usually determines what platform to use. Where do you interact with your customers online? Are they searching for your products or services? Do they use any niche websites?
During this period, we have found that people are not necessarily searching for our products and services. Therefore we have steered away from traditional search campaigns (Google, Bing) and focused on promoting our free guides and information on (Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin). Paid promotion of content is the quickest way to reach more of your target audience.
Q: What kind of campaigns are you going to be running in the lead up to businesses reopening?
Even though this may not be the ideal time to market your products or services, you can certainly work on a strategy for reaching out to your target audience leading up to reopening.
I agree that brand awareness campaigns help to strengthen your brand and stay fresh in the minds of your customers. Another idea for that is, is there anything that you can give your customers for free? Perhaps a useful guide, handy resource or free consultation/advice.
People always appreciate something for nothing, and are more likely to return to you when they’re ready to buy.
Lockdown isn’t over yet!
One can easily be swept up in the excitement of a potential end to lockdown, but really who knows what the future will hold?
The best you can do for now is to get yourself in the best possible position to come out of this stronger than before. Preparing campaigns to launch when appropriate, is your best way to be ready for any announcements.
In the meantime, we have written some other articles and guides for how you can better your marketing and website right now. Check them out below:
- SEO improvements you can make today
- How to give your website the ultimate spring clean
- The ultimate marketing checklist of things you should do during Covid-19
Or if you want a little pick me up to end the working week:
Check out our full Content Hub for advice, best practice and ideas on how businesses can proceed with digital marketing during the Coronavirus period.