The TWO Big Marketing Questions
There are two big questions every business is asking themselves right now.
One: “Should I stop marketing?”. Two: “How should I be marketing?”
Whatever you do, DON’T stop marketing. People out there are still looking for self-help answers and solutions.
Now is NOT the time to stop or slow your advertising and marketing efforts. In fact, it’s time to accelerate - be visible, viable and offer value. The more helpful content you put out, the better you will be seen.
This is known as the inbound approach and here are some ideas on how to do it.
Create a Helpful Content Strategy
Too many companies focus on their products and not their prospect. That’s like saying to people “We are more important than you”. Imagine how that’s going to make them feel.
In a downturn economy, your approach to marketing should mirror the inbound approach to sales, i.e. client centred. Learn more about the seven part client success strategy here.
It’s important to have a clear content strategy. One based on providing information and resources that help people with their situation, NOT feverishly flogging your products.
Heres an example of an inbound pillar / cluster blog content strategy
Become a Thought Leader
Make one person in your business the person who creates relevant, remarkable, values-aligned content.
Take a stand, make a statement or set the agenda. Write LinkedIn articles, blogs and social media posts. Be a guest blogger or podcast guest. Ensure your voice is heard this year and next - and help guide people through the impending economic storm.
Increase Your Content Output
The more you put out there the more likely you’ll be seen. Especially if your content is geared to your ideal prospects.
That doesn’t necessarily mean having to create new content. You may already have resources and marketing collateral you can update, revise or repurpose to be more relevant for current times.
Increase the Types of Content You Use
Content doesn’t just mean social media. You can add to your quiver of supportive marketing arrows.
Start a blog. Launch a podcast. Record some videos - and set up a YouTube channel if you wish. Create infographics or some audio content.
Employ a mix of ungated content - which people can view without filling in any forms - and higher value gated content, which requires an opt in for access. For example, you could share a summary guide blog (ungated) and offer a full-version PDF as a download (gated).
Your sales team can follow up using inbound sales approaches.
Take a story-based approach
Use a storytelling approach to your content marketing. Make your prospect and customer the hero of the story, with you as their guide. Understanding their problem you create the plan and call them to action. All with a happy ending in mind.
A story-based, conversational approach has impact because few of your competitors will be doing it, or doing it well.
Build a Community
There are many ways to do this. Create a Facebook or LinkedIn group. Open an online community with tools like Mighty Networks. Launch a free membership site.
This is a virtual space where you can bring together the kind of people you want to help, provide free resources, encourage sharing of challenges and ideas, and get the conversation going. You don’t want to be marketing to ‘everyone’.
Creating content should be a regular, consistent activity. It’s best to stick with it on all your channels so you build following, engagement and connections with purpose.
If you can blog once a week, that’s good. If you can manage two or three a week, even better. Just keep doing it at that frequency. Avoid doing a mad rush where, for example, you create 16 blogs one month and then produce nothing for a couple of months - or even stop all together. If you’re doing a weekly tip, write a weekly tip.
Keep track of your activity using inbound analytics and predictive performance methodology.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears on Social Media
There’s a lot of chatter on social media. Listen in and discover what people are talking about. This gives you opportunities to step in and help - comment, share a resource, provide a tip or suggestion.
Set up free Google Alerts for keywords of interest to you and receive a notification every time that word or phrase appears on the web. Explore the many other free tools available to help you ethically eavesdrop on online conversations.
Make Communication and Interaction Easy
Remove the friction and make it easy for people to talk to you. Be available on multiple channels, such as Live Chat, Twitter, LinkedIn or your Facebook business page.
If possible, extend your customer service hours. If you’re available when others are not you have a better chance of capturing people - because people often prefer to speak with a real person. For example, if rivals’ phone lines close daily at 6pm or 7pm you could test staying open until 8pm.
Offer Dedicated Support
Not everyone can speak during the week. Try offering dedicated customer support one evening a week or during a weekend slot, e.g. 9am to 12.30pm on a Saturday. Some people need ‘reassurance’ before they buy tech or software - offer quick, free consults with your experts.
Spread the load amongst your team. Have one person on Twitter, one on Live Chat, for example. Make it manageable and always in service of the person enquiring.
These are some of the strategies and ideas we are using ourselves here at 6teen30 Digital. It is helping us grow and build our name out there. It can do the same for you.
Want to Know More About the Inbound Way?
Whilst this approach helps to maintain growth in a downturn economy, you don’t have to wait until it’s too late. Becoming an inbound organisation will serve you through it all - the bad times, the recovery times, the good times and the boom times.
To find out more about becoming an inbound organisation, access our range of free resources. Check out our blog. Listen to our podcast.
Want to discover more about the inbound way?... watch our free interview on how to scale in a downturn economy at the top of this blog.
Want to find out if inbound marketing and sales is right for you?... take our interactive quiz here.