Einstein said “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity,” and while cutting through the uncertainties of this particular crisis may seem challenging, but many businesses are going to come through in good shape and some will even find new ways to flourish. And providing tips for clients looking to fall in the latter category is a great idea for marketers right now.

So how do you ensure your business is successful at this time? Of course, this recession is new to all of us. The extant models and assumptions remain pure conjecture. We simply don’t know how people’s behavior will evolve or what the economy will do.

While things remain massively unpredictable, it’s imperative we plan and execute with purpose.

So for our business owner and agency clients, what practical steps can we suggest taking? Here’s 14 practical ideas that businesses can act on now — even if they’re working from home.

Implement 10x30x90 Planning

All good planning starts with clarity around purpose, vision and longer term goals. But for now, we are facing huge uncertainty and a changing environment. This makes traditional annual planning futile – everything will change.

Instead, define a 90-day plan based on your vision and goals.

Once complete, identify the priorities for immediate focus. Break those strategies and tactics into an initial 30-day plan.

Next, split the 30 days into three 10-day priority action plans. Why 10 days? We get a lot of interruptions over a standard week. 10 days gives us the flexibility to deal with these but still get through everything we need to.

At the end of each 10 day period, revisit the 30 and 90-day plans. Update each based on any new information, then prioritize the next 10 day hit list.

This framework can be exceptionally effective for a high growth business even in good times. Based on where we are at now, it provides the flexibility to adapt quickly to new information and redefine priorities.

Be Present for Your Customers

Some businesses have taken a quiet step back and have been keeping their powder dry in the early stages of this crisis. If that’s you, it is now time to be present again. Look for every relevant reason to communicate, providing reassurance, support and value-added service options for your customers.

Contact customers to see how they are doing, and to let them know what is happening with your business and how they can engage if they need to. This may not be the time to overtly sell but do give people the opportunity to engage where possible.

Update Key Website Messages and CTAs

Another great tip for clients is to make sure you are providing contextual relevance in your messaging. This should start with your website and any key landing pages. Review headlines and calls to actions to see if you can make them more relevant. Check here for our own example.

Google is also providing a free COVID-19 Update Banner via Google Optimize which you may want to install on your own site.

Update Messaging in Trigger-based Emails

One of the dangers with trigger-based automated emails and marketing messages is their set-and-forget nature. Audit all of your customer journey contacts and update the copy and CTAs to ensure the messaging still stacks up given the current situation.

Invest in your Brand and Marketing

As Mark Ritson highlighted in his article for Marketing Week, smart marketers who invest more in their brands during recessions reap rewards.

Marginal increases in ad spend in tough times can result in significant uplifts in share of voice as your competitors may reduce their spend. The evidence suggests increasing your spend in a recession drives market share increases in the years that follow.

Investment needs to extend beyond just your advertising. Smart marketers will be looking at every facet of their strategy to optimize performance and outcomes.

Review Google Ads Campaigns

Take the time to audit and update your Google text ads, extensions and keywords. Messaging should highlight any updates to your service, temporary opportunities or offers pertinent to the scenario we currently face.

It’s also a good time to review and update your negative keywords to avoid unproductive spend.

Update Remarketing Campaigns

As the circumstances of this pandemic change, how is your remarketing going to reflect the new scenarios?

Think about the messages and offers needed to attract people to re-engage with you. Plan now, get the creative in place in good time and ensure it is ready to switch out the instant things change.

It’s also a good time to review and update your negative keywords to avoid unproductive spend.

Clean Up Your Data

First party data is worth more than oil, so why not maximize it? First party data about your customers and prospects is more than just an asset to your business – it’s a resource that can be put to work exceptionally hard for you.

If you haven’t done so for a while, now is the perfect time to clean up your data – merge, purge and refresh it. Clean up first names and last names. Put yourself in the best position possible to have a personal, personalized one-to-one conversation with anyone on your base.

Reappraise Content to Improve Your Inbound Marketing Performance

Review the performance of your existing content. Sort each content piece into buckets to ‘keep’, ‘merge’, ‘remix’, ‘improve’ or ‘remove’ in the light of the new environment we find ourselves in. Then prioritize an action plan that will give you the biggest gains first.

Review the calls to action and internal links in your existing content.

Review your backlinks, removing any toxic links and updating or removing broken links.

If you’ve taken advantage of the chance to remix some of your old content, look for new link building opportunities!

Create or Refresh Your Content Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve sorted your existing content, it’s a great time to refresh your content strategy (or write one if you haven’t already done so). Ask yourself:

  • What is going to be important to clients and prospects in upcoming months?
  • What has changed given the new environment?
  • What gaps do you have in your content?
  • What other value can you add?

Your content strategy should answer these questions and more, prioritizing key content that is going to add the most value.

Undertake an SEO Audit and Action Improvements

Tools like SEMRush, MOZ and Ahrefs provide great SEO site audit facilities that are often free of charge.

Reassess Your Customer Journey Maps

If you have already been through a customer journey mapping exercise to improve your customer experience, now is the time to reassess it.

  • Is it still going to be relevant?
  • What has changed?
  • Are your personas still correct?

Make sure you work through how you can reduce friction for your customers at each stage and consider what is needed to improve the experience.

Tooling Up: Marketing Automation and Digital Enablement

The current crisis has provided an emphatic exclamation mark on the need for businesses to be digitally enabled. Be it video conferencing tools, e-commerce or marketing automation and CRM, digital technology is no longer a nice to have, it’s proven a lifeline for many businesses in recent weeks.

Given the cloud-based nature of solutions like the SharpSpring automation platform, implementation can be done quickly and remotely, and it can be surprisingly cost effective.

Refine Campaign Performance Using Real-Time Metrics

Anyone involved with web performance analytics, organic or paid search measurement will have seen massive shifts in the numbers coming through Google in recent weeks. At times like this, keep a closer eye than ever on how live campaigns are performing. Test and switch out digital campaigns quickly to lift effectiveness to get the most out of your budget.

AUTHOR
Simon Breed

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