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What should my lockdown marketing strategy be?

I personally don’t know of any businesses currently looking to engage in new business relationships or costly contracts – they are either in ‘absolute retreat’, financial meltdown or bonkers boom-times (not many in this last category)!!! Either way, the last thing they are doing is looking to place new orders.

Indeed, my current advice to B2B businesses is to focus their sales and marketing efforts on more basic brand awareness campaigns and basic educational messages (including, “I’m still here!!!”) rather than direct sales messages.

Direct sales messages that essentially ignore this reality are simply falling on deaf ears! BUT, the suppliers who fail to communicate at all during this lockdown period are essentially closing their businesses and then they will have to go through the massive effort of re-starting their businesses again when the lockdown is released, with all the resulting delays and challenges to re-establish credibility that this brings.

So, what can you do? Here’s a starting point of things you could consider to ‘keep your name’ in peoples minds:

1. Keep communicating with existing customers.

It’s essential to keep the communications going or you could be accused of hiding!

But, rather than sending out sales messages, what about looking to develop stronger relationships with your existing customers. Try sending out a survey or questionnaire, seek out case studies, look for service enhancement opportunities, etc.

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Perhaps you can take some real time to study the sales history of each existing client to consider where your ‘relationship’ is … don’t think about up-selling yet, think about adding value to the relationship. Could some carefully placed advice and guidance help them make better use of the products or services they already purchase?  In short, service your customers like kings and queens (like you should anyway but never have time to normally!).

Start to think about other activities that you, perhaps, don’t normally have time for.  Could you try to do a little more networking now that the update of Zoom conferencing is so strong … at least you don’t have to take too much time out of the day and you don’t lose any travel time or small-talk time before or after the meeting.

2. Use digital marketing with care.

The truth is, digital marketing can be a really hard environment to be noticed.  You have to think creatively and sensitively about the current situation.  Take a look at what the marketing genius’s at Taylors published on the 8th April … reflecting the massive uptake on Zoom business meetings and the concept of a ‘Yorkshire Tea break’ … https://www.facebook.com/yorkshiretea/posts/10159513866506521?__tn__=-R … pure genius, no sales message to be seen and a post that’s gone viral with massive branding benefit.  Share things on your digital channels that offer help and support (relevant to your business).  Say ‘thank you’ to someone who’s helped you out. Write recommendations, reviews or testimonials that you know you should have done!

3. Start writing

Since when did we have time to think, write, and utilise our content well.  We all know that we’re supposed to create educational content for our blogs, websites, LinkedIn, social media, etc.  but also think about reviewing your current website content – is it still current (often, web copy is written and then forgotten, yet products and services evolve and adapt)!  But, you can also then communicate with your contact base about this update and ask them for feedback.  Clearly, you might not actually want the feedback but, in a sneaky way, you’ve just reminded them that you exist!

If you can take the time to ‘forward write’ content, why not ‘tease’ your connections by listing all the article titles and asking them to vote on which ones would be most of interest?

Start to also think ‘physical’!  Physical marketing materials (leaflets, brochures, letters, etc) are definitely ‘old school’ and, yet, are also more effective than ever in the modern digital world.  ‘NOW’ is definitely the time to write and design these resources and, once you start getting proofs and samples, you can start teasing them out on your digital channels.

4. Start planning your ‘return to business’ lockdown marketing strategy

At some point, the CoronaVirus lockdown will be removed and business will start finding a new ‘normal’ … in and amongst this, you will need to be positioned ahead of the curve and ready to act – if you don’t, your competitors will and you’ll simply lose ground.

Do you even have a genuine marketing plan or growth plan – if not, NOW is DEFINITELY the time to get one.  Approach the ‘return to business’ thinking as merely a single campaign that is part of your wider marketing / growth plan and keep your strategy clean and simple.

Do you need to purchase marketing data, plan networking activities, prepare resources, buy stamps (remember them!), handwrite some envelopes, etc.  You could easily have a whole marketing campaign sat waiting and ready to go at a moment’s notice but that might involve getting things ready now.  The good news is that the graphic designers, digital marketers, web builders, data providers, photographers, etc. are all currently available and able to help remotely – so start thinking about your campaign now or you’ll miss the boat.

5. Seek help

In truth, there are not many businesses that can take these thoughts and act on them without external help.  So, think about the help you need and ask for it.  If you need recommendations, ask Yorkshire Powerhouse (it’s what we do!).  It can be as simple as needing to get some print or as fundamental as creating a marketing strategy or growth plan. You might need to find financial help to cover some of this and that help is currently there in abundance (it’s not perfect but it’s improving by the day!).

The most important thing is to take action, create a lockdown marketing strategy and keep noisy.  If you put your business to sleep now it might never wake up!

Blunt advice from Yorkshire Powerhouse

You’ve just read about creating a lockdown marketing strategy – have you any questions?

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