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.
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
- Public Relations
- Direct mail
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions