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Don’t cut down on marketing – just be smarter about it

We’re all in this together.

It’s the tagline, hashtag, mantra of the current coronavirus pandemic. And while it’s heartwarming and encouraging, it could also be a trap for complacency and business failure.

Relying on others to help bring you along and out of this global ‘depression’ we’ve found ourselves in could be extremely detrimental to your business success. While we want to support our fellow business men and women and strive for a better outcome together, we also need to keep a keen eye on our own goals and objectives to ensure we come out the other side.

From a communications and marketing perspective you may be approaching this one of two ways – either starting to panic and mass marketing your services to all in sundry, or worse, pulling back on your marketing and communications spend altogether. Marketing is often the first thing to get cut in a crisis or economic downturn, but the opposite can in fact set you up for a very bright future.

Maintaining a level of brand momentum and a media presence is much less costly than attempting to rebuild a positive market presence after a period of absence

Here’s a few simple ways to authentically boost your brand profile, without maxing out the marketing budget.

Differentiate your offering

We’re currently floating in a plethora of information and tips and tricks about how to strategically plan for recovery post COVID-19, but what’s really going to set you apart is what you are doing right now. Try to avoid riding the COVID train for too long if it’s taking you off the path to achieving your core goals and objectives. I’m not suggesting ignoring the current crisis altogether and appearing like you’ve got your head in the sand, but it’s important to still keep your eye on your ultimate goals and make adjustments along the way to get you there.

In times of crisis or business lulls, it’s a good opportunity to revisit your business plan and ensure you’re on the right track. And articulating your unique selling points should be at the core of your business plan. Whether that’s how you differentiate on client service, product offerings or price, make sure you are clear on your USP and continue to drive that message home in your communications.

Switch to digital

This is not news, but if you’re not currently using digital platforms to communicate with your clients, then perhaps now is the time to get on board. Start switching some of your traditional marketing methods to digital platforms. It will not only ensure your clients receive the information they need in a timely manner but will also save you money.

Here’s some simple switches you can make now:

Invest in design

While it’s all well and good to suggest the switch to digital platforms, execution is key. A clip art design just won’t cut it, so if you don’t have the budget to invest in design or have an in-house designer, consider upskilling one of your design-savvy team members to use some of the cost-effective platforms available to smarten up your look. Here are a few goodies:

Design templates (free and small fee options) – canva.com or crello.com

Great stock images and videos that don’t look like staged corporate photos – unsplash.com,  deathtothestockphoto.com or stocksnap.io (great for your social media channels too).

And while you’re at it, consider refreshing your website. Again this doesn’t have to cost you a fortune if you’re comfortable doing a lot of the legwork yourself. Consider using one of the templates from wix.com, squarespace.com or weebly.com to get you started.

By making a few of these simple switches and adjustments, you might find you can maintain your brand presence, if not bolster it, for a fraction of the price. And it might be your new normal.