Yes, we didn’t see this coming. “Unprecedented” is this year’s overused word of the year.
A pandemic that would stop the world in its tracks and leave businesses and communities scrambling to survive. For those who can or will survive, tough decisions around reducing expenses have had to be made.
Business leaders worldwide have been ruthlessly slashing resources deemed non-essential, at least for the short term: the office plants, the well-stocked bar fridge, the admin support staff, the marketing team, the….
Wait, what? Marketing?!
During tough times, there has always been a tendency for businesses to question the value of marketing.
“What ROI do we get from marketing? Does it really work? Why don’t we have more engagement, followers, leads, etc? Why has competitor X got more Y than us? Our website needs to be more this, our brand needs to be more that. Why? Why not?“
It’s only natural, and reasonable, for questions to be asked when businesses are concerned about the future.
Getting ‘left behind’ is a fear of most businesses, no matter their size.
Right now, it’s not business as usual when it comes to marketing. Several of my clients are recruitment agencies and well, less jobs in the market, means less jobs listed with agencies. It’s a tough time for most recruiters.
Several are using this quieter period to audit elements of their marketing ecosystem. If you ask me, now is actually the perfect time assess and audit your marketing systems to ensure you don’t get left behind when the current situation changes.
Here’s 4 things you should consider:
1: Review your marketing tech stack
Start by taking a look at what you know isn’t working.
What’s causing roadblocks? What are you doing that could be automated, if you just took the time to stop and analyse it? Are you spending on tech systems that aren’t delivering optimal returns? Are you even using your systems to their full capacity, and if not, why? Do your systems integrate?
How proactive are your current tech suppliers in supporting you to ensure you are fully trained and maximising use of their software? Are your tech suppliers innovating in line with industry needs? Is it time for a change – or, is it time to have some frank discussions with your suppliers?
Are you achieving what you need to, and if not, do you have the right systems in place to enable this?
A quieter period of time is the perfect opportunity to reflect on these questions and undertake a full tech stack review.
You can do this with a skilled internal marketer or by engaging an external consultant (let’s face it, sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know, right?!)
Expect to gain insights and recommendations that deliver outcomes that saves you money, time and resources. Not only this, but recommendations stemming from a review will be geared to optimise leads, marketing and sales effectiveness, provide greater business transparency for internal and external stakeholders and ensure data fluidity and accuracy.
2: Conduct a website audit
Your website is a point of validation for customer prospects. When was the last time you conducted a full analysis of your website?
First and foremost, is the content a true reflection of where your business is at today? Is it SEO optimised? What even are your SEO keywords? What CTA buttons are you using and where are they positioned? Broken links? Backlinks? The list goes on.
Websites are too often something businesses set and forget. The website is up. Great! Crossed off the list and on to the next thing. Right?
Your website should always be on someone’s to do list. Your website is something you should constantly be updating with fresh, valuable and optimised content if you want to show up organically in online search.
Use data analytics platforms and tools to help you assess what content and pages are getting the most traction on your website, and to help guide you with clues on how to improve your site.
3: Audit your social media channels and groups
Again, this is something that businesses and their staff often set and forget. Sure, you may be posting new content regularly, but when was the last time you analysed your social media channels?
Are you using the appropriate channels and groups to reach your target audience? What level of engagement are you getting from these channels, and why? Is this engagement feeding your sales pipeline?
How do your company and staff bios read? Are contact details up to date? You’ll be surprised by how many company employees still have their past employer website and contact details listed!
Do profiles reflect your brand personality – or are they full of corporate speak? Do they reflect your brand pillars, your EVP, your brand values? Assuming you have developed those?
Your business’ and your team’s social media profiles provide social proof for current and potential customers. So make sure you invest the time into getting this right as social channels are often the gateway for new business.
4. Training your staff on marketing
When your team are aware of your marketing strategy, what outcomes you are striving to achieve, the role they play in achieving those outcomes, and are provided with adequate training, you’ll have the whole choir singing from the same hymn book, so to speak.
The most successful brands I have worked with invest in building brand ambassadors; training or coaching staff on how to market themselves as an extension of the corporate brand, whether that’s having an internal marketing professional deliver training or having an external marketing consultant facilitate.
Empowering your team to share their voice as a representative of the brand will deliver powerful results. Think about the service brands you engage with. When you engage with those brands online, is it mostly through a human contact at that business, or directly with the business brand. I’m guessing, for the most part, it’s a contact at that business.
Fact: People buy from those they KNOW, TRUST and LIKE.
Your customers have a relationship first and foremost with someone who works in your business. Allow them be the trusted voice. But first, make sure you support them with guidance how to execute the brand message, and empower them do deliver this uniquely and authentically.
Reviewing your tech stack, auditing your website and social channels, and providing marketing training to staff all requires an investment of time and resources. Time and resources that businesses don’t always have, or simply don’t always prioritise. But should your business have some extra time on hand, why not use this ‘downtime’ to up your marketing game.
You’ll thank yourself later.