Month: May 2020

Marketing Strategies to Tackle Covid19

Marketing Strategies to Tackle Covid19

Have you thought about your marketing strategies to tackle COVID19?  During this difficult time, I wanted to help other small businesses, give advice, tips and tricks on a whole host of marketing and social media tactics.  I thought that the subject of marketing strategies would be relevant to many businesses right now who are battling COVID19.

I won’t have the answers for every type of business in every industry, but a lot of what I will talk about will help businesses form the basis of a marketing strategy and plan for when we emerge from this crisis and give you some tools to jump-start your business into action.  It’ll give you a plan for the next 12 months to give you some direction and a plan going forward.

All businesses should have a business plan, with aims and goals, but having a marketing strategy can support this, help you reach your goals and give you a more strategic approach to your marketing.

We will look at where you are now, where you want to be and then the steps you can take to get there.

 

What is a marketing strategy?

So, when you started your business, you were probably eager to get going and many of you may have written a business plan.  But then, like me, once you actually get going the business plan goes out of the window…but you always have in your head ideas about your business – what you want to achieve, how you want to develop, where it’s going?

I certainly hope you do anyway.  Might be a good time to write it down.

A marketing strategy works in harmony with the business plan.  We look at the fundamentals of the core business and what the business wants to achieve in the next year, 5 years, 10 years for example.  With a marketing strategy, I like to keep it simple and focus on the next 12 months because as we know things can change at an unprecedented rate and what may have been relevant last year has gone out of the window this year. But, you can still have the long term goals and a vision for your business.

The marketing strategy looks at where the business is now.

We then look at where you want to be – what you want to achieve in the 12 months

And then how we’re going to get there (all those marketing tactics)

By having a clear marketing strategy it helps you plan, it stops your marketing becoming so scattergun, it gives you clear aims and an understanding of actually what you need to do.

Alongside the marketing strategy, I also create a plan and this is literally a week by week plan of what you are going to do and when to be able to achieve everything you want to do in the timescale you’ve given yourself.

First, we’re going to talk through a basic marketing strategy.

MARKETING STRATEGY TEMPLATE

MARKETING PLAN TEMPLATE

 

How to create your own marketing strategy to Tackle Covid19

So, I’d generally spend a few hours with a client talking about all these various elements in a marketing strategy and then write it all up for them, so this is a bit of a DIY strategy for your to try yourself, obviously, I can’t give you all the ideas as they will be niche to every different business, but it’ll give you a good starting point and some focus.

 

Part One: Where you are now?  

So to start off we need to think about where you are as a business now, what you’ve been doing, how successful you’ve been, who you’ve been selling your products and service too.

1.1    – Profile:  This is a description of your business and what you do

I.e. Marketing Consultant ‘Acorn Marketing is an award-winning marketing consultancy        Helping small businesses, with big ideas grow and achieve success’

Literally, if you had to use one sentence to determine what you do, what products or services you provide add it here. We don’t want paragraphs of text, just a nice short summary.

 

1.2    – Customer:  Who is your current customer?        Who do you currently work with?

Me – Small to medium size businesses

Wedding industry – brides to be (from outside Cumbria)

Clothes Shop – people in a x mile radius, women 15-35

Think about all the people you work with now and put them into categories if you can (industries/areas etc)

 

1.3    – Product:  An outline of your different products and services      

Me: Marketing/social media/digital marketing/PR/design/creative services

 

1.4    – Competitors:  Who are your main competitions and what are they doing in terms of business and marketing?  

Spend a bit of time looking at what your competitors are doing – are they doing it well, what can you learn from them, where are they advertising, what tactics are they using, do they have a good website, who are their clients.  This is the place to list all your competitors

 

1.5    – Marketing:  What marketing have you done to date?

Have a think about everything you have done to date – has it been successful, if so why?  If not did you do it right or was it not right for the business?

You can then try to see if what you’re doing has been effective or not – list everything here.

 

1.6    – SWOT Analysis:  Outline your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats               

I don’t like to talk in jargon and this is a strategic planning tool I’ve built up myself over the years, but I think a SWOT analysis can be a really helpful way to identify our weaknesses and addressing those, see what business opportunities are ‘out there’ that we can take advantage of.

So, spend a bit of time thinking about you strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats (obviously a big one right now is COVID19, the economy etc, so build all that in to your SWOT)

 

Part Two – Where do we want to be?

This section looks more at where you are going and what you want to achieve in the future (let’s say the next 12 months)

2.1- Vision:  What is your vision for the business? 

Marketing consultant of choice (you may not be able to get me) but I’d be at the top of your list if you could choose 😉 – known for being approachable, easy to work with and gets the job done.

 

2.2    – Key Messages:  What are the main messages of your business? 

If you had to tell someone your unique selling point or why they should use your service or buy your product what would it be?  What are the main messages you want to shout about to potential new customers?

If you tuned into my last Facebook live video we talked a lot about brand values and we did a little exercise about differentiating yourself from other businesses and standing out from the crowd.  It’s not enough to say you’re professional, because everyone expects that…it’s the softer values that make you different from others and that make you stand out – that you’re quirky, passionate, thoughtful etc.

What makes your products unique as well as you or the business – why should people buy off you.

Once you have these key messages nailed, these will form the basis of all your marketing – anything you write on social media, any advertising you do, when you talk to clients, when you’re writing a proposal, doing a Facebook advert, an e-newsletter – they all form the key points you want to shout about.

 

2.3    – Target Customer:

So, in part 1 we looked at customers, but here we look at target customers.

Which customers do you want to target going forward?  It could be a similar list to who your current customers are, but do you want to break into a new field or industry or group of people?

Add these targets here.

If you joined me for my last facebook session, we looked at our ideal client avatar – if someone was going to pick up the phone right now and ask about your business who would your ideal client be?

The list might even just be the same as before, but your marketing strategy will address new ways to target them.

 

2.4 – Aims and Objectives:

Now you need to think of your aims as a business, but specifically about your aims in marketing (to achieve your business aims) what are you going to do to achieve those aims when it comes to your marketing?

Your business aims might be something like

  • make x sales,
  • grow to bigger premises,
  • grow the team,
  • outsource more work,
  • Increase turnover by 5% etc.

 

But the marketing aims would be more like:

  • Increase visitors to your website?
  • Get more active on social media and get 100 new followers,
  • Get more coverage in the paper?
  • Create a new brand identity,
  • Start writing a blog.
  • Write a strategy and have more focus

 

Part Three – How do we get there?

This is the fun bit, where you can let your creativity flow.  The ideas section.  Part three focuses on your aims and objectives and thinks about all the things you can do to achieve those aims.

Want to increase visitors to your website – how you going to do that?

Get more active on social media – perhaps download the app on your phone, look at it each day while having breakfast, use a scheduling tool

Write a blog – again how are you going to do that, are you going to write 1 post a month, think about planning the posts for the next 12 months.

 

So, keep your list of aims handy and then think about all the different marketing tactics you could implement to achieve those aims and write them down.  Here are some examples for your Marketing Strategies to Tackle Covid19…

 

  • Strategy & Plan (which we can tick off now)
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube)
  • Digital marketing (Blogs, apps, video)
  • Promotions, competitions, sales (seasonal offerings)
  • Digital advertising (Pay Per Click, Google Ad words, Facebook ads)
  • E-newsletter – building leads and sending out a regular email marketing campaign
  • Website development & maintenance
  • Create an online course or e-book
  • Advertising (print)
  • Brand Development
  • Promotional material development
  • Events
  • Public Relations
  • Database
  • Direct mail
  • Sponsorship
  • Awards
  • Evaluation – this is a really important area, ensuring you look at any marketing you do, evaluate it, so you know if it works or not.

Now, not all of these tactics will be relevant or appropriate for everyone, but they give you an idea of lots of different tactics you could use to achieve your marketing aims.

 

Part 4 – Staying on Track

Now, once we have an idea of our aims for our Marketing Strategy to Tackle Covid19 (what we want to achieve in the next 12 months), what we’re going to tell people (key messages), who we are going to tell (target marketing or ideal client avatar) and an idea of how we’re going to do that (our tactics) we need to think about how we’re going to implement them…and this is the key part of staying on track and not being scattergun.

Again, you can download my excel template for a marketing plan – this is literally a week by week plan of what you are going to do when.

First, we’re going to talk through a basic marketing strategy.

MARKETING STRATEGY TEMPLATE

MARKETING PLAN TEMPLATE

If you want to create a new website, pop the timescales in the plan.

If you want to send a monthly e-newsletter pop it in the plan (when you will write it and when you’re going to send it)

Think about adding in key dates and events (like in the social media content plan I discussed in the first Facebook live I did) – such as school holidays, valentine’s day, conferences, Easter, Christmas.  You can then plan any promotions around those if you need to write a press release, share a post on social media, send an e-newsletter etc.

Once you have all your key marketing tactics in this plan, you can then check it each week and know exactly what you need to do in terms of your marketing that week.

This steady and planned approach to marketing will be the key to your success…rather than being scattergun and jumping on every opportunity that comes along, refer back to your plan, does it capture your target audience, will it shout about your key messages, can you track its success?

So it’s not really a dark art or really complicated, you just need to be organised and strategic with what you’re doing with your Marketing Strategies to Tackle Covid19.

 

Right and that is basically a whistle-stop guide through how to create your own Marketing Strategies to Tackle Covid19.  It will give you focus and a clear idea of what you need to do to boost your business or to get back up and running once we’re out of this crazy mess.

So, I hope I’ve helped a few of you today get some clarity and not just bamboozled you please email on lisa@acorn-marketing.co.uk if you have any questions

Make Your Branding Fit For Business

make your branding fit for business

All this positions your brand/business in the minds of your customers – You understand exactly what you are offering, your customer understand what you are telling them or selling to them and then the visual manifestation of your brand reinforces your brand values.

So, I’m going to break this down into sections and work through each area.  I’ll give some practical exercises you can do that can help you build up a thorough understanding of your brand and think about it not just in terms of colours and a logo, but on a deeper level.

You can also watch my Facebook Live video about this topic too!

Understanding your customer

Right, this may seem like basic marketing and totally unrelated to branding, but it is really important to understand who your customer is.  If you are running a business and never done an exercise on your target customer now is the perfect time, but it is also essential in helping you plan your marketing…and I’ll show you how we tie this into branding shortly.

So, quite often when I talk to clients and I ask “who is your customer?”, they tell me everyone.  And I cringe! When people try to target ‘everyone’ their marketing becomes scattergun, because they have no one specifically to target.

They have mixed messages, feel like they can do all the marketing, everywhere and it just doesn’t work.  A message to a teenager is going to be very different to one you give someone in their 30s.  A message to a woman could be very different to what you would say to a man.

By defining your target audience can really help you see the woods for the trees.

There are various ways we can think about our target customer – via a mood board, which I love doing and if you’re a visual person this is really fun. Simply writing it down or you can think about your Ideal Client Avatar.

Exercise: Get a piece of paper and I want you to really think about who your ideal customer is…not everyone, but if you had to pick one person to work with, if your ideal client was going to call your right now who would it be?

Male/female
what age are they
Job?
What car do they drive
where do they live – what type of house
Are they married, do they have kids
Do they have any pets?
What job do they do?
Where do they go on holiday
What hobbies do they have?
Give them a name

So, once you’ve done this exercise, the person looking back at you is your ideal customer – it is who you want to be paying money for your services, buying your product, making enquiries.  This is who you need to focus on with your marketing.  Everything you do needs to be talking directly to this person.

This is just a really basic and easy task you can do to try and get you thinking about your ideal customer in a bit more depth.

Of course, there are probably different categories your customers fall into, but this is the type of customer you would love to pick up the phone right now and book you or buy your product.

When looking at marketing strategies I’d go a bit more in-depth and look at different industries, age groups, demographics etc, but again try to be specific and don’t think that everyone is your customer otherwise your messaging will be really mixed.  Try to keep it focused on a few specific niches.

Key messages, USP and brand values

Our next section doesn’t look at colours/logos/fonts etc either.  This time we’re going to look at key messages.

Marketing essentially is a load of messages that we give out about our business or brand…yet sometimes the messages can be really mixed up, confusing or doesn’t really differentiate you from the crowd or competitors.

I am assuming people have heard of USP – unique selling point.  Do you know yours?

If you are a consultant what makes you different from the next consultant?

If you have a shop, what makes it different from the shop next door?

If you are a solicitor, what makes you different from the other firms?

Once you identify what makes you different and stand out from the crowd this again can feed into your branding and how you portray your business.

Exercise:

I want you to write down your business name in the middle of the page and then I want you to write down all the things that someone would say about you if you went out of the room and was talking about you and your business.

Literally write down everything that comes into your mind.  Then once you’ve done that take a different coloured pen and cross out everything that could be used to describe everyone else – professional, good customer service, experienced, knowledgeable.  Everything that is generic.

Now, have a look at what is left.  If there is nothing left, you need to keep thinking.  You should be left with words like inspiring, creative, fresh approach, do things differently, quirky, no fuss, ideas person, get a buzz.

Now take your 3 strongest words/phrases from that and these can form the basis of your messaging.

Example (these are mine):

Fun (but not funny)

Say it as it is (don’t talk in jargon)

Passion (passionate about my work and my clients)

These are the things that engages your target customer, make you different, they make you stand out, they should form the core of your brand values and the messages in all your marketing.  This is what gets you seen.  It is like building the foundations of your brand.

 

Tone of voice

Another important thing to think of is tone of voice.  It is important to think about tone of voice in your marketing and branding.  Let’s go back to target customer – who are they and how should you talk to them?  You would talk to a CEO of a large business differently to how you would talk to a young person.

Think about how your target customer would like you to speak to them – what is appropriate?

‘Professional’ isn’t always the right tone if you want to show your fun side.  Or perhaps chatty and joking around wouldn’t be right if you’re trying to win a big contract.

For example.  I want to work with companies who don’t have a marketing team – I’m like their outsourced marketing manager.  I want them to be able to trust me, confide in me, feel like they know me, that I’m part of the team.  If you look at my marketing – on social media, the way my website is written is a great example of how I am ‘talking’ to them. (fun, no bull shit, and with passion about what I do)

So, again once you know your target customer, once you know your USP, key messages and brand values can you think about the way in which you talk to them and present these messages.

 

Visual representation

OK, so I may have blown your mind by this point and you were thinking we were going to look at logos.  Well, all the things I’ve covered are like the foundations of marketing and getting your branding right.

How many of you have just plucked a colour or icon out of the air and not really thought about it?  There is no shame in that at all and I’ve seen some great logos from people who have done just that.  But, by exploring the things we’ve talked about takes your brand from being ‘just a logo’ to living and breathing your business.

The brand should be about what the business stands for, who you are, your personality, your values as a business person and once you have all that nailed it will shine out of your logo and branding like a big shining star.  People will understand exactly who you are and what you do and it will make you stand out from the crowd.

Watch my Facebook live video here where I discuss visual representation with Jili Allen of Jili Allen Creative and get a bit more info on what to think about when it comes to how your branding looks.

Phew, that was a rather quick delve into the world of branding and some of the foundations of marketing.  I really hope it has made you think about branding a bit more in-depth rather than just a logo or a colour you pick.  It should be a visual representation of your values and ethos as a business.

I help many clients with their branding check out my portfolio to see some examples of my work.