In the current climate, many businesses are trying to conserve their money and avoid expensive methods of attracting new customers. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to attract new business and maintain your customer loyalty without breaking the bank.
This article takes a look at some of the most cost-effective things you can do at the moment to ensure your marketing strategy remains successful.
Get your marketing goals clear in your head
All success stories start with a plan. An idea of what you want to achieve. A plan will help you to organise your marketing accordingly and measure your success. Developing your business goals can be done without spending any money and helps you to focus your efforts on projects that will make a noticeable difference to your profit.
For example, if you work as an independent jewellery designer, you may want to be known for your unusual designs. This goal should then determine how you market your products and the types of media you use. It could mean, for example, that you want to focus your energy into creating more visual content.
Use SMART goals to organise your marketing strategy
Whatever goals you set yourself, try to set them in the form of SMART objectives. This will make your goals structured and trackable. A SMART goal is:
- Specific - If you make your goal specific, it will improve the chance you achieve it. Knowing exactly ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ will help you to structure your goal and better define it.
- Measurable - Ask yourself what you will see when you reach your goal. This will help you know when you’ve succeeded.
- Attainable - Think about whether the goal can actually be achieved with the resources that you have available.
- Relevant - Knowing the reasoning behind the goal will help motivate you. If your goal doesn’t ultimately improve your business, ask yourself why it’s necessary.
- Timely - Give your goal a realistic deadline. If your timeline is very long-term, consider adding targets to ensure you remain on track.
Ensure your website is up to date
COVID-19 is changing the way businesses operate, and it’s important that you convey these changes to your customers. If you’re working in an office, your working hours may have changed, or your response time to customer queries has increased. Make sure that this is clearly explained on your website so as not to surprise your customers. You don’t want them to assume your quality of service has dropped.
Moreover, if you run a business that requires face-to-face interaction, check that you have explained on your website how you will ensure safety when meeting with customers. For example, explain that if you are visiting a customer’s home to give a quote, a mask will be worn the entire time. Equally, if you run a shop or workshop that customers will visit, include a page that explains any COVID-19 rules you have in place.
What should I include on my website?
If you run a small business, there are several things you should always include to improve the impression you give to potential new customers.
Think about including an ‘About’ section where you provide a short description of who you are and what you stand for. Adding some team photos is a great way to make you seem more personable and genuine.
Highlight your strengths. Include any certifications or awards you hold. If you work in manual labour, for example, this can help to assure your potential customers that your services will be delivered to a certain standard.
Of course, your website needs to include your contact details, but this is often something that is missing from certain pages. Consider adding your contact details to the bottom of every page so that as soon as the customer likes what they see, your details are there for them to get straight in touch.
Customer testimonials help to give you credibility. See if you have any glowing reviews from customers that they would be happy to have on your website. If a potential customer can see others are happy with your work, it will increase the chance they see you are a viable option.
Boost your online presence
If you haven’t done so already, get on different social media platforms. They are free to join and, depending on the type of business you own, can often be how a customer searches for your company.
You can easily create a Facebook page for your business or choose to get your message out there via Twitter. Instagram is also a great way to showcase some of your best work. This platform may be a perfect way to advertise your business if you work as an artist, photographer, manual labour or construction. Spend the time photographing some of your best work, adding before and after pictures and adding hashtags to get your message out there.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are online more and more. You can use this time to join (or start) conversations with potential customers, post more frequently, and keep your customers in the loop about various updates to your business. If desired, you also have the option to utilise sponsored posts or paid advertisements.
Just remember, whichever platforms you choose to set up, include a link to them from your website.
Create awesome content
Of course, if you are already promoting your business on social media, you’re creating content. But it is worth considering starting a blog or other written content that will improve your hits on Google.
Think about the kind of business you have and consider what your ideal customer may search for within that field. If you can create some content that matches their searches, it means your business will be right there in front of them when they search for particular topics.
Build relationships virtually
Building relationships virtually can be a very challenging task but is one you have to embrace when there is less chance of meeting your customers face to face. To best strengthen relationships with your customers, you should ask yourself, what would you want to see or hear from a business? – How would you feel if you saw one of your own business’ marketing communications?
If you don’t already have frequent communications with your customers, now is a good time to start. One of the easiest ways to do this is via email marketing campaigns. Try reaching out to customers who have already purchased your products or services in the past, so they know you’re thinking about them. You may even choose to incentivise them to recommend you to their friends and family with rewards.
In all of your communications, make sure you come across as genuine and thoughtful. Sincerity will help you to build better connections with your customers, and also allow you to get a better feel of who they are, enabling you to better market yourself to them in the future.
Summary - how to best optimise your marketing strategy during COVID-19
In sum, more money does not always equate to better marketing strategies. In a time when businesses want to cut costs and there is a lot of uncertainty, marketing techniques often require a more personal touch. Businesses need to reach out to their customers across different medias and keep them informed about any developments.
Now is also the time to develop your long-term marketing strategy and ensure your online media is up to date so that you’re out in front when customers return.