Part 2 of Opportunities in Marketing and Design amidst a pandemic
Covid-19 is wreaking havoc on many small and local businesses and you may already be feeling the pressure. You are facing new challenges and pivoting frequently like many of us. For some, sales have nearly come to a halt, and you are now finding yourself with extra time, which you may not know what to do with. Have you heard the old adage It is like turning your “Open” light off to save on your electric bill? It is exactly this sentiment that leads me to urge you to start your marketing and advertising NOW. People tend to put their own business needs after their customers’, often as an excuse. Now is the time to take advantage of our current reality.
Show me a business not marketing and I’ll show you a company that’s going out of business. Things don’t magically happen; you have to take action and grow your company. Instead of fueling your fears with wine and chocolate, view this as an amazing opportunity. I’ve compiled a list of things you can do when business is slow to make the most of it and I hope that you will find it useful.
// Refresh Your Brand
A quiet market is a market you want to shine bright in. When there are limited potential customers, you need to stand out as the best option. Ask yourself, “Is my brand truly representing my business and what we’re all about? Is it impactful? Will our customers remember us?” This lull is the perfect opportunity to take the time to really dig into your business and make any changes to your brand that you’ve been considering but haven’t prioritized. I recently completed a brand refresh for my client (shown below), Valley Health Alliance, and it is reinvigorating their members and reaching new potential audiences.
// Update Your Marketing Material
When was the last time you got a chance to really sit down and go through your marketing material? Is all of the content still correct? Does it represent you as how you’d like to be seen? Has it lost its allure? Are the supporting images stale? If not, now’s your chance to give it a makeover and ensure it’s representing your business in the best light possible.
// Rejuvenate Your Website
Just like your marketing material, use this time to do a full scrub on your website. Is the content obsolete? Is it responsive and functioning on all platforms? Does it make you proud? If you answered no to any of these, it is time to ensure your website looks and functions to the best of its ability. Quite simply put, your website is your hub for making sales. Your site's aesthetic and style (read: brand) are equally as important as the purchasing experience your customers go through.
// Run an Advertising Campaign
For a lot of businesses, the first thing they do in a quiet period is to cut their budgets for marketing. No one can hear you if you aren’t speaking. Have you heard the “Rule of 7”? It suggests consumers need to hear a message seven times before they will consider taking action. Advertise now. Advertise often. Advertise again. It may not directly result in a sale from the campaign, but when repeated consistently and with a purpose, it serves a vital role in branding and trust.
// Learn A New Skill
Is there a complimentary skill you can learn to allow you to expand your current business model and offer new services to your current client base? Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the chance? Well, now’s your time. As I mentioned in my last post, check out sites such as Master Class, School of Visual Concepts or General Assembly for inspiration.
// Diversify Your Services
Do you have an e-commerce store? If not, build one so people can shop with you anytime anywhere. Have a store, but don’t offer delivery? Add that service. Are you a trainer or instructor? Create an e-learning course. As Shopify experts, Sea Monster Studios says, “More than just increased sales, a well thought out e-commerce experience can streamline your efforts and allow your business to scale.” Try and think of as many ways as possible that make it easy for people from all over to access your business and products.
// Evaluate Your Competition
When we’re busy, it can be hard to find the time to research your market and see what others are doing. This is a great opportunity to see gaps in the market and capitalize on them with new services or marketing campaigns for your business. Getting in front of other people’s existing audiences is another effective way to grow your business.
You have the power! Now is the time improve how you are doing things. That means learning in-depth about the different ways you can market your business; refresh your brand/materials/website, run a campaign, educate yourself and check out your competition. While you do not know when this pandemic will cede, or when business will thrive again, you do know how to make the most of this time. What are YOU waiting for?
"Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day… Make your lives extraordinary."
– Robin Williams, Dead Poet’s Society
Kirsti Rochon is a senior level brand designer and marketing professional in the Greater Seattle area. For more information, visit KirstiRochon.com