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5 Practical marketing ideas during lockdown for SMEs

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Albert Einstein once said, 

In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity“.

Amidst a second lockdown, there’s hardly a business not impacted in some way. The virus has brought a considerable amount of changes to our previous ways of working, and also a requirement to adapt quickly to frequent and unforeseen changes.

One clear thing, however, is just how helpful the digital platforms are currently. Through creative use of social media and websites, as well as adapting ways of working – some businesses have found that it’s a season they can survive, and even thrive.

It certainly isn’t an easy time, but the good news is that there are a few marketing ideas during lockdown that brands can do, to help them ride out the storm, and keep in their customers’ minds, even if they can’t physically meet them.

Utilise content marketing

It’s at a time like this that content marketing comes into its own. Content marketing has become a popular marketing approach and is a perfect place to look for marketing ideas during lockdown. In essence, it’s the ability to strategically place content that speaks into your customers’ needs and is a crucial ally when trying to keep your business in their minds. 

Utilising content marketing means that you don’t need to meet your customers face to face to be noticed by them. Still, by strategically placing content on digital platforms, you can get their attention.  

We’ve listed 5 top tips for SMEs marketing during lockdown: 

1. Use social media

Since lockdown, there has been approximately a 4-fold increase in social media use. People have been spending more time learning new skills, exploring new talents and finding new passions so that they can make their time productive. As more people are on these platforms, it’s a prime time for refining your message and connecting with your customers. Just a few thoughts on how you could be useful on social media at this time:

Social listening 

Use social media to communicate with your customers – spend time in social listening, paying attention to your customers, their pain points, and their current needs. Brands who have been doing this have been winning hearts and minds. A great example of this is the way that the Scouts quickly pivoted in the first lockdown – suggesting activities to do at home utilising the hashtag #TheGreatIndoors. This action did a lot to maintain loyalty for the organisation in the long term.

Research

If you’re unsure of how people are feeling, why not run a few polls? Use them to show your audience that you understand their current needs, and you’ll also find some helpful research into how your brand can best serve them along the way.

Impact

Use the platforms to show you brand’s impact. What have you done recently that shows what your brand can do? Your customers need to see other happy customers, to want to engage with you. Think about what quotes you could use that add credibility to your brand? Maybe approach some of your more loyal customers to ask them what keeps them returning, for example.

Groups

Utilise Facebook and LinkedIn groups. At the moment, people are focused on more local businesses and so take advantage of this. Use local groups to connect with your community, listen into where people have a need, and offer up solutions as and when you’re able to. For those businesses that are allowed to stay open, connecting with local groups is a great way to let people know you’re still open and able to support them safely. 

If you’re not a local business then not to worry, there’s still plenty of groups to choose from based on people’s interest. Think creatively around the services your business offers and who you want to speak to; there’s a group for pretty much every interest. 

2. Social Media Ads

Social media ads are a great way of reaching people in their homes and online. A key benefit during lockdown is that no one needs to leave their home to encounter you. While people are nervous about meeting in person or having flyers from unknown and potentially unsafe people put through their doors, social media advertising offers a safer and more targetted means to reach your desired customers. 

Due to the highly targetted nature of social media advertising, they offer a better return on investment than the more scattergun approach of traditional methods. 

Remember, the algorithms were created for such a time as this and can help you to strategically target your customers, all from the comfort of your living room. 

3. Email Marketing 

Email marketing has proven to be an efficient way to grow the customer base and build a reputation online. There may be few blessings about lockdown, but one of them certainly is having the time to focus on your mailing list – ensure that you have the best sign up process for your customers, and show them some love. It’s also worth spending time to segment your mailing lists well and define specific mail templates from each of those segments.

I would add one caveat to this one which is that customers do not want spam. As with everything we suggest to our clients – your emails must hold information of value, that helps to show your customers that you care about them, and could help them, and not that you’re panicking for sales. 

I’ve had far too many companies chance it through lockdown and add me to a mailing list I’ve never signed up to. All this means sadly is that as a consumer, I’ll unsubscribe and never want to interact with that brand again, so make sure you craft content that you know your customers will want to hear.

4. Take time to understand your customer’s changing needs. 

No matter what your marketing processes and schedules were before, the chances are that recent events have thrown these out of the proverbial window. It’s worth taking this time to go back to the drawing board and drill into how the pandemic has changed your customers’ needs and ways of working, and then develop how you can speak into those. Learn more about the benefits of customer personas in our previous blog post. 

5. Show your impact

I mentioned this in the social media section, but this is worth making clear. Right now, people need to see that you have solutions to their problems. Using this approach means that any content you can put out, be that a customer quote, a short how-to video, or a blog that helps your customers with a need, is likely to go down well at this current time. 

Don’t be afraid. There’s never so good a time as to start as now. If you’d like to get going with case studies, or video, please read our recent blogs that break down some easily accessible processes. 

If this is sounding great, but you don’t have the time, then visit our online portal where you can easily select services that can help you get ahead of your competition during a lockdown.

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