One of the more interesting side effects of this Pandemic is that companies are not spending the money they had originally budgeted for sales and marketing. We are not travelling, which means we are not buying plane tickets, renting cars, or staying in hotels. Heck, we are for the most part, not even visiting customers in our own neighborhoods which means lower gas bills, and no lunch, or dinner tabs. And probably the biggest cost savings of all (albeit very sad) is that trade shows have been cancelled. I’m sure we’d all rather go to those trade shows, but well, it is what it is right now so we will have to wait. But, the lack of trade shows to attend or exhibit at means a tremendous cost savings in terms of that marketing budget.
So, what to do with those funds? In many cases these expenses have already been budgeted and the money set aside. So now these funds are available for other uses. But what are those uses? How are you going to use that money?
Since I have always been very good at spending money, especially marketing money, here are some more creative ways to make those marketing dollars work for you.
- Rebrand your company. Spend time, and thought, on rebranding your company, so that you will come out of the ashes of this pandemic like that proverbial “Phoenix rising”. Develop a fresh new look for your company, update your marketing messaging, update your literature and all your other marketing collateral materials.
- Update that website. Bring that old clunker into the 21st century. Transition it from “brochureware” to a lively interactive visitor friendly site that your customers and prospective customers will consider a useful resource.
- Get more involved in social media. There has never been a better time to dig into your company’s social media. Learn to use Linkedin more effectively, start a company blog, learn to use Twitter and Instagram. Once again start marketing the 21st century way.
- Develop and implement a newsletter plan. Subscribe to newsletter software, and start creating and sending out specific targeted newsletters. These should be well-written, informative, and most of all provide value to your readers. This is a great way to create a customer following as well as generating leads.
- Hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company. Even if we really don’t know how SEO works or how to go about optimizing it, what we do know is that it does work. There are a number of companies out there, especially those being run by younger people, who are steadily increasing their customer’s acquisition and lead generation by using SEO. This is not for amateurs, but rather for people who know what they are doing. Hire a professional SEO company to handle your needs, and you too will start seeing the effects of a good SEO campaign. I have to admit when done correctly it is almost magical.
- Put on Webinars and virtual lunch and learns. With people in lock down you have an almost captive audience when it comes to webinars and lunch and learns. Choose a topic that represents your particular expertise and develop a 30- or 45-minute webinar on that topic. Use your social media, and your newsletters to advertise the webinar and increase the viewership. This also gives your sales team a good reason to talk to customers. It is a heck of a lot more pleasant to invite a potential customer to a webinar than it is to ask for her for an order. Premier the webinar live and then put it on your web site and YouTube and of course provide links to it on all of your contact media from your email signature to Linkedin, Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram. Make it the gift that keeps on giving.
- Upgrade your advertising. Our industry media companies, both print and on-line are offering great advertising packages right now, (I know personally that this publication I-Connect 007 has some great package deals) take advantage of these great opportunities. And get this, the good news is that because of the lockdown, readership of these publications is going through the roof which of course, means more eyes on your ads than ever before, and that’s a great thing!
- Long term planning. Develop a multiyear marketing plan. Review what you are going to do when things get back to as close as normal as they will. Spend quality time on this. Develop a full year’s marketing budget for next year as well as the rest of this year.
As I have said before a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and this pandemic is no different. Despite all of the hardships we are going through, this pandemic does give us the opportunity to sit back, take a deep breath, and think about where we are today and most importantly, where we can be tomorrow. Review what you have been doing, what works and what can be improved…and then go improve it. We can always do better. It’s only common sense.