How can businesses effectively market during this time?
It’s a great topic, and I love talking about it.
Right now is a great time to get your message out there – on social and digital platforms. A lot of people are obviously stuck at home right now. And so, they’re spending a lot more time on social networks trying to feel connected, trying to do all the research they need to, and then, at the same time work, and maybe have kids doing virtual learning. So, your attention is being grabbed in a lot of different places.
I always like to tell people that right now, a good place to start is with your social media channel – making sure that you are using that to give a good update as to what you’re doing.
If you’re a business that serves customers, like in the experience space, how are you approaching the Coronavirus? How are you maintaining safety when people are coming to your store?
If you’re not, for example, you’re more of a goods and services, how are people finding you? Are you sharing good reviews? Are you sharing good news about what’s coming and what’s happening?
The other thing that I think is typically overlooked, but something that’s definitely helped our business is a newsletter. A newsletter is a great way to keep “top of mind” with folks in my line of work.
What I see a lot of people doing is they’re flooding message boards. They’re flooding virtual networking events with their elevator pitch. They’re sending emails. They’re still doing cold calls. And there’s a time and place for all those things. But I think right now, with people sitting at home, there’s a lot less of a rush. People are thinking, “I’ve got to take care of myself. I’ve got to take care of my family right now.”
What are the small things that brands can do to stay top of mind and for me, that’s definitely social, digital, and a newsletter.
“I love that Sean brings up a newsletter. I think there’s often a sentiment that emails are dead. But a newsletter is really specific. These are people who have raised their hand, opted in, and said they want to hear from you. And if you’re not communicating with them, you’re missing not only an opportunity to stay top of mind, but also to share relevant information that could help them and, and when the time is right, allow for them to buy from you.”
There are a couple of things I like to do with all of our newsletters.
Number one is make it personal. It might come off a little “formy,” right? What I’m talking about more is if someone is opening your newsletter that has opted in, calling them by their first name, that’s a good way to kind of foster some good relationships as well.
I think the biggest issue I run into with newsletters is a lack of brevity. You don’t need to give away everything in that newsletter. Newsletters need to tease. Newsletters need to be really quick tidbits that someone can take, digest, insert into their day, and move on. Maybe have some links in your newsletter. Always have a couple of calls to action.
The way that we do our newsletter at Kapowza is that we always do it looking back. If it’s March, we’re looking back and saying, “Hey, what did we do in February?” So, for those people that aren’t paying attention to our social media channels or following our Twitter, it’s a good recap for people. But again, it’s really quick. We have one or two things in there. And then we always leave them with either something that lights up their day or maybe some sharing information.
We took a stance last year, with the tumult with everything involving the Coronavirus and Black Lives Matter protests around the state, and we really tried to address what people needed at those times. So, one month, instead of talking about ourselves, we talked about the local resources that you might need or how you can contact someone if you’re struggling with PPP loans. The other thing was our commitment and reaffirming of how we support Black Lives Matter and becoming a more diverse and inclusive company. And the third one, because we knew that kids were going to start virtual learning and parents needed a break, we built a little activity guidebook for people to print out at home and just give it to their kids or use it themselves. I mean, you just really want to be a good distraction someone can use in the day. You want them to look forward to it. We’re not doing it every week, but it’s a once per month kind of thing, maybe two if there’s a holiday in there.
But to recap, brevity and personalization really work – and have some sort of call to action, but don’t give away everything in the newsletter. Just do enough to tease them out so that they’re interested in picking up the phone or emailing you or going to your website.
“Staying relevant and truly serving your customers’ needs is critical. Ask yourself: What do my customers need? What would be helpful? How can I bring this to them? Even if it isn’t something you provide.”
What’s been successful for small budgets / small companies?
Again, I hate to beat a dead horse, but again, digital marketing and social media have been really big right now. The targeting capabilities on Facebook or LinkedIn are really impressive at the moment.
The other thing that I’m seeing make a comeback is mail. I’m a physical mail kind of guy. I love a gift box. I love getting a handwritten letter. I’ve been seeing a ton of that stuff out there.
And again, everything is digital. There’s just a feeling of isolation, and people are just not connecting right now. And so, it’s a perfect time to pull out a letter, pull out an envelope, buy stamps, keep the Postal Service afloat – and they’re a lovely service. But send a letter, send a note, thank people. People are getting mail right now and getting some sort of box or tchotchke, or thing that just kind of makes them smile, that’s going to do a lot for you, for them, and for your brand.
“I love that connection. It’s something that we’re really missing. I sent out a mailing in December – a print mailing – and gave everybody a little door hanger that said, “Quiet -growing business inside.” And I had so much fun sending that out.”
How important is video with marketing?
Video absolutely is by far and away the easiest way to transmit information. It’s the most enjoyable way to digest information. And it’s what most of us are going to in order to distract ourselves or enjoy. Commercials have their place, but now what you’re seeing is bite-sized pieces of content that you can use throughout the year, throughout the month. Talking and sharing little tidbits, little updates, and quick little things via video is fantastic. TikTok has exploded because people are hungry for good video content.
Video is super important, if done correctly. Video done with a purpose is enjoyable, entertaining, and informative. You’ve got a home run right there.
3 Action Steps
Connect with Sean Sutherland at Kapowza website or LinkedIn.
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Being an entrepreneur and business owner is hard! Once you have your business up and running it's not uncommon to hit a few snags: scalability, staff retention, launching growth projects, getting enough sleep!