I’m generally a glass-half-full type of person.
I try not to dwell on things I can’t control, and I’m good at focusing on what needs to be done and not holding onto ideas that aren’t going anywhere.
In previous tough times, like the GFC or particularly tough economies, this attitude has got me through. It’s also been the driving force behind the growth of my niche B2B marketing agency.
But I have to admit, I’m feeling a little depleted as the situation drags on here in Victoria.
Despite some all-time ‘digging deep’, ‘taking advantage of the opportunities’ and ‘focusing on what I can control’ over the past four months, I’m in a bit of a funk this week – and by the conversations I’m having with friends and business owners, I’m definitely not alone.
So to get that glass looking full again, I’m going back to what works for me – and it might work for you too.
Why it’s important to take action, not just strategise
Lately I’ve been talking a lot about what to DO with your marketing, because I believe that taking action – whatever you can manage – is the best way forward right now. Businesses that market themselves in a downturn have a better chance of staying in business and even achieving growth.
But it’s also important to be honest, and not hide behind a mask. If we really are ‘in this together’, I think it’s important to share unfiltered feelings and experiences. Real human connection can’t be made through a mask (the irony of that statement is not lost on me).
Every step – even the tiny ones – move us forward and give us that feeling of achievement. So in the face of unprecedented uncertainty, disruption and negativity, let’s take some action.
Given that B2B marketing is where my knowledge is, I’ll outline a process of what I think you should be doing right now from a marketing perspective. This is what’s worked for me during lockdown; I hope it helps provide some guidance and focus for you.
Take action with these four meaningful marketing tactics
1. Assess your resources
This should be the first thing you look at – and arguably the most important. How much time and budget do you currently have to work with?
You need to carve out enough to put together sustainable activity for the next three months that’s intense enough to move you forward.
2. Refresh your audience knowledge
Now’s a good time to review who your primary and secondary audience segments are. What does their industry look like at the moment? Are they national or state-based organisations?
If they’re national, you’ll need to consider different messaging for Victoria versus the remaining states. You’ll need to consider different approaches based on whether or not they’ve been hit by the latest lockdowns and the general outlook.
This may mean you’re juggling different messaging and channels – but it’s important to get this right, especially at the moment when people are more sensitive about the messages they’re receiving.
3. Set some temporary goals
What’s your goal?
We all know that cash – i.e. sales – is king at the moment, but it’s important to be realistic too. Are your audience spending at the moment, and is your product a priority?
I’m certainly not telling you to stop trying to sell your product – but don’t push all your resources into bottom-of-funnel sales goals right now. Take a renewed look at your top and mid-funnel goals, and focus some of your resources there. Now’s the time to be building credibility and getting stuck in your audience’s mind for when times are a little better and they have budgets to spend again.
Here are a few ideas for enriching this crucial part of your marketing.
Top of funnel
Put a big focus on developing an insightful top-of-funnel content plan. This is content designed to attract attention, not sell. Be informative, helpful or entertaining. Use a few of the social channels you’re already on – keep it to one or two if you’re running on a tight budget.
Think beyond the usual ‘light’ content and (if you’re finding yourself with spare time at the moment) think about recording some video. An honest behind-the-scenes look at how your business is dealing with it all could be a good move if you have a story to tell there.
Middle of funnel
Invest time in creating a really great lead magnet for your website – an ebook, webinar, video training or some other kind of download. Make it so good that people would pay for it.
Dig deep to extract the knowledge within your head that people value. As long as you’re saying something informative, you can do the rest on a shoestring (use Canva for putting together an ebook, or shoot video on your phone).
4. Reconnect with inspiration
I’m a big fan of the ‘inspiration day’ – a day out of the office (or the house) to escape the routine and the news cycle and make some space for serendipity to slip through. (If a day isn’t practical or possible, a one-hour walk is still good.)
The constant deluge of information at the moment can be draining, and coming up with new and innovative ideas for your business and marketing requires a certain headspace.
There are a few tools, resources and frameworks I use when I have brainstorming days for my business. They won’t all be relevant to you but here’s my list:
The next step is to get started. It’s easy to overthink these things and end up doing nothing. But if we’re being honest, we need to be accountable too – and doing SOME marketing might be the difference between making it out the other side or not.
Plus, that cup always looks more full once we have some momentum!