These are unprecedented times for all of us, and marketers are no exception. If you work in one of these booming sectors - online training, food delivery, healthcare, etc - then you’re probably busier than ever! For the rest of us, business is quiet to non-existent, and we’re stuck at home trying to stay away from the fridge and the TV.
So stop twiddling your thumbs, exhausting Netflix or eating your bodyweight in pasta: here are some ideas to help you keep busy during the lockdown, and to improve both the business you work for and your own CV/profile...
Talk to Your Customers
You’re on lockdown, they’re on lockdown, so use time to talk to your customers via your usual channels - email, social, chat, phone. Let them know you’re in the same situation, empathise, actively listen and share advice on how to cope at this difficult time.
A friend of mine started a tourism recruitment company in January - bad timing, right? True, but he’s finding that right now it’s easier to have the kind of conversations busy recruiters wouldn’t normally have time for, and he’s building strong relationships that will help his business when normality returns.
Help Your Community
Any time is the right time for a bit of CSR and now is most definitely the right time too. Companies can polish their halos by helping their community either physically (monetary or food donations, delivering food & supplies to the needy etc) or digitally, such as providing usually paid online resources for free - for example, online fitness solution Peloton is giving free 90-day trials during the crisis for example, whilst the New York Met is streaming archived operas online for free. Great initiatives both in the here and now, and for creating future customers. What can you offer?
You can’t go out to your normal networking events, and you can’t get together with industry colleagues over lunch or a coffee, but you can network online. Look up all those industry network sites or LinkedIn/Facebook groups you signed up for then never had time to take part in, and get involved. Look up former partners, colleagues or clients you’ve not spoken to for ages and catch up with them. Or get your regular bunch together over Zoom, crack open a bottle of wine and hold a virtual networking night - it’s better than drinking alone!
If you’ve been doing content marketing for a while now, you probably have bits of content all over the place - I know I have. So now’s the time to dive into that hard drive and get your content organised according to your needs, so you can find it more easily. Think about organising by topic, by buyer persona, by buyer’s journey stage - whatever makes sense to you and your business. Aside from organizing your content, analyze its performance, identify worst and best performing pieces, as well as think about your next content creation plans or even update your content strategy.
Also think about optimising old content - pieces that you wrote a long time ago, before you introduced your current SEO best practices. Check those header/meta tags, descriptions, image alt tags etc, and also update any out-of-date stats or facts. Some simple historical optimisation can give posts a real SEO boost.
And also think about repurposing old content. Perhaps three years ago you had no idea how to turn that list post into an infographic or video, but now you have the knowledge and the time to transform one piece of content into multiple different formats.
I originally built my photography website in 2016, and for the last two years I’ve been meaning to redesign it but could never find the time. COVID-19 gave me that time and the first thing I did when the lockdown kicked in was to do a total redesign. I’m not suggesting your site needs anything quite so radical but now is a good time to do those website jobs you’ve not been able to find time for, to finetune your SEO, to add those optimisation plugins, or just do a general spring clean.
Blog posts are another task that often gets put off in favour of more pressing jobs, but now is the time to get writing and filling up your content library. You can write, for now, to help your audience handle their coronavirus-related issues; or you can write for the future and get that content calendar filled up for the rest of the year. And as with the content audit, think about optimising and repurposing old posts.
Everyone’s been telling you to automate your marketing for years and you know you should do it, but setting it all up takes a lot of work and you’ve never had time. Well, now you have to look into automating as many of your marketing tasks as possible. Look at:
That should be enough to get you started, and by the end of your efforts, you should have turned your website into a smooth-running lead nurturing machine!
Learn New Skills
Automation is just one of many new tricks you can learn during lockdown. Maybe your boss has been on at you to create a short onboarding video for ages and you’ve no idea where to start? Maybe you’d like to do your own graphic design instead of outsourcing it? Or maybe you want to improve your CV with some new certifications? Now is the time!
And with many online education providers making their courses cheaper or free at this time, it’s never been easier! Online education providers such as Coursera and EdX have made hundreds of courses free of charge, while marketers should also look at Hubspot’s range of online certifications which remain free and are of considerable interest to savvy employers.
As Henry Ford once said, "Do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always got." So now is the time to think about trying something new and adding some new flavours to your marketing mix. Think about adding some new social media channels - you may not be active on Pinterest or Snapchat, but chances are some segments of your audience are. Never done a podcast or a webinar? With people stuck at home bored, now is most definitely the time!
Look at what your competitors are doing, and if you see something you’re not familiar with, give it a go.
Get Ready For the Recovery
With China getting back to normal life, and several European countries starting to ease their lockdowns, it’s time to start thinking about what will happen when / if normal service is resumed. Are you and your team ready to start handling new leads again? Are you going to be as busy as - or busier than - before? Will your old marketing methods still work? Is your pricing model still feasible? Do your goals and targets need revising? Look out for future posts from us about continuity planning and how you can make sure you’re ready when your customers are!
I hope some or all of these ideas have inspired you and that your lockdown suddenly got more interesting and productive! Please follow us for more regular posts on lockdown marketing, and check out our working from home resources.