"If you would have asked me a month ago if I had expected this..."
"I can't believe this is happening..."
"What day is it?"
No really. What day is it?
I had a discussion last week with my man in which he said I could tell him it is currently any date in March, April, or possibly May and he would accept that date as truth. We are all feeling a bit disoriented, a bit topsy turvy, a bit discombobulated. And it's kind of comforting that the feeling is global, in a weird way. At least to me, it's comforting. Sorta.
In January, I sat down and wrote a list of blog topics I wanted to tackle in 2020. On that list was a blog post featuring a deep dive into where I prioritize time for online marketing. I actually started outlining key points and sketching my weird brainstorm doodles like I do. When I happened across that page in my notebook a couple of days ago, I had to laugh.
None of those things are accurate now.
Time will tell if marketing priorities will shift back to the way they were in February or March once the COVID lockdown ends. Until then, I'm taking stock of how this newness is affecting where my time is getting spent.
If you are like me and you are curious to know how others are growing and adapting in these times, I thought it might be useful to share my marketing priorities have changed:
First up: Clear Lines of Contact
Having very clear means for clients to reach out to a business was definitely important before, but now it's one of my primary marketing concerns. I'm taking deep stock for my clients on their online platforms. Some things I check on almost daily for the clients that I'm managing social media or websites for:
- Is all contact info up to date?
-Are the means of contact still able to be answered by staff members? (i.e. Can someone still answer that phone number?)
-Have additional methods of contact been created? How do I get the word out about these new methods?
Next: Any News?
The first two weeks of the US's COVID closures were a wild ride in terms of marketing. I'm sure your inbox was filled with messages from businesses about what they were doing to keep their customers and staff safe. As it's my job to help some clients write those sorts of things, I cannot even count how many drafts of emails I had ready to go, only to have a new development make the info irrelevant. There hasn't been a time where I've needed to stay so abreast of closures, restrictions, industry standards, state and federal mandates, as well as internal policies for each and every one of my clients. Those first two weeks were a crash course in the massive importance of getting up to date, reliable information. Now, I'm regularly checking:
- CDC Guidelines
- State policy (Is my client an essential business? What tasks can they safely perform?)
- Internal policy (What will my client be offering/doing?)
- Customer sentiment (Will my client's customers feel comfortable with what my client can offer?)
Third: Nuts and Bolts
A major benefit of this unique era is that there is a lot of time to spend on the basics of online marketing. I've really been loving this! Normally, I only get to explore some of these facets of marketing with a client a few times a year as a tune up. It's super nice to help clients explore some of the simple ways they can optimize their online presence like:
- Getting their website's SEO rocking and rolling
- Updating their social media "About" sections and bios
- Developing a Brand Tone
- Diving into their Ideal Audience
- Exploring hashtags
Finally: Test the Waters
When managing the online presence of a client before the quarantine, I definitely would be prioritizing strategy and experimentation a lot more than I am now. Marketing strategy has shifted towards communicating updates, offering resources, spreading positivity, and making customers aware of what is available for almost all my clients. Before, there was a much wider range of strategy. Some clients wanted to grow their following, some clients were launching new products, and some others were seeking to grow a specific segment of their audience. Testing, experimenting, and strategy are not all cookie cutter these days: it is a superb time to dive into new methods of communication and marketing! Here are some things I've been trying anew with clients and with Bad Axe:
- Experimenting with Live videos
- Developing and expanding online resources (worksheets, infographics, printables etc)
- Brainstorming new content that their customers may need in light of lifestyle changes
- Shifting in-person events to e-workshops
- Revisiting and strengthening methods for communication online (like how I've been reviving this blog space!)
A Last Note: Analytics
Analytics are the beginning and end of all that I do with online marketing. It is fun and enlightening to have an understanding of how a particular audience will behave. I know I watch the numbers more closely than most (it is my job, after all) but it has been incredibly interesting to see just how much this has changed people's online behaviors. If you do watch your insights on social media or your analytics on your website, keep in mind you may see changes in:
- Activity levels: People are online a TON more than ever before, which is great for businesses needing to get their content seen.
- Ideal Post Time: Schedules are all kinds of wack-a-doodle right now, so the time of day that your audience used to be most active has likely changed. And likely will change even more!
- Engagement: Again, folks are online a lot more, meaning they are seeing more content. This could mean they are engaging with more posts....or it could have the opposite affect and lead to fatigue and lack of engagement.
- Resonation: Types of posts may be resonating with your audience differently than before. For example, maybe memes used to perform great for you but aren't any more. Or, you posted a video for the first time and it went through the roof! Since people are behaving very differently, expect to see different types of posts do well! We could probably do a whole study just on Tiger King meme performance....
How have your marketing priorities shifted during COVID-19?
Stay Bad Axe!