7 marketing activities small businesses can do right now

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1. Get to know your customers – again

You might think that you know your customers inside and out, but the truth is that wants and needs change and now more than ever we have seen a seismic shift in consumer behaviour. What people wanted pre-pandemic might not be what they need now and, in the future, so find some time to understand your customer’s wants and needs. Why not send a survey to your customers? Give them a call and talk to them.

It would be wise to understand your market. What is happening outside of your business in your industry? How are other companies like you adapting and adjusting to meet customer needs?

Signing up to polling agency newsletters such as Ipsos MORI or YouGov [who have a COVID-19 public monitor] will give you real time information on consumer attitudes, habits and behaviours.

 

2. Paid social media advertising

At the time of writing, the costs of advertising on some social media platforms is very low. This is because many businesses have reduced or paused their advertising spend whilst the pandemic is ongoing. If your message or call to action applies the right tone and is sensitive to the current situation, this might be a good opportunity to build brand awareness. Brand awareness is important – even if you can’t sell anything at the moment because applying radio silence at this time, could mean you are easily forgotten

 

3. Explore TiKTok

Before this crisis hit, TiKTok was fast becoming a platform to reach people. Use any quiet time - or furlough time - to explore whether this channel could work for your business when we get back to ‘normal’. If you decide this isn’t for you, perhaps a review of your social media strategy is due? Do you know what the return on investment is for each social media channel you use? If not, a review is a must because now more than ever you need to know what channel works for you – especially if you are reigning in or trying to control or reduce your costs.

 

4. Review your website

This is the perfect time to review your website. Hopefully, people are still visiting you online and if you are e-commerce you hope even more are stopping by and checking out your offer. But when was the last time you did a comprehensive review of your website? As a minimum you could put your website through an online checker. Test my site with Google is great for assessing the site speed. Other test sites like Nibblr, a free tool for testing websites, allows you to enter the address of any website and it will give you a report scoring the website out of 10 for key areas, including accessibility, SEO, social media and technology. Nibbler is completely free but limited to three reports.

Customer experience is now more important than ever too. Consider working with a sample of your customers to test and review the customer journey and the experience they have when they are on your website. There are several tools you could use to explore the customer experience on your website. HotJar is a visitor recording tool that allows you to track visitor sessions on your website. Watching these videos lets you see where visitors encounter issues and drop off from your website. Optimizely is another tool. It is a user-friendly A/B testing platform that also allows you to track conversions and visits. A/B testing is an effective method for evaluating changes to your website compared to the existing design and finally there is crazy egg. Crazy Egg is the pioneer of heat mapping technology. This click-based tool shows you how users interact with your site to help you understand why they are not converting. These are just three tools – there are many more available to you.

 

5. Develop/repurpose your website

After reviewing your website [number 4], perhaps you need to develop or update it? Now is a great time to ask your web developer to make those changes. If you are not able to buy your products and services online – but you could do so, perhaps you could now make sure your website is adapted/ reconfigured to allow more people to buy or interact with you as a brand. We are going to be social distancing for a while so there is no time to wait… millions of customers are buying online and with social distancing in place, this is increasing.  

 

6. Create content people want and need

One of the best ways to improve your SEO [Search Engine Optimisation] is to routinely update your website with new pieces of content relevant to your offer. In a nutshell, SEO is about appearing as high as possible on the page for search term or query – so if I typed in ‘swimming pool to buy Lincolnshire’, a relevant company appears. If there are lots of swimming pool companies, the idea is to appear higher than a competitor as research tells us that people start at the top and work down the returned results page and very rarely go onto page two. You therefore as a swimming pool company do not want to be on page 2. Ideally you want to be top – or near to the top of page 1 for that search query. Creating content on your website relevant to that search will help you. This includes writing opinion/ expert articles, producing whitepapers and downloads, uploading new photographs etc.

 

7. Prepare for a world of social distancing

With social distancing likely to remain in place for some time, now is the time to think about how this will impact your customers and their behaviour. This is important for marketing as marketing is all about people and understanding them. For example, if you market people to come to your restaurant or office, what can they expect when they arrive? Will there likely be a long queue? Will you have hand washing facilities available? Think of all the questions your customers [and prospects] might be asking and if needed, address them via your marketing efforts. If you avoid the difficult questions, and market regardless, you could be wasting your time.