Digital Marketing in Challenging Times

Digital Marketing in Challenging Times

You know the drill by now.

Stay at home. Don’t leave the house. Unless, of course, you need basic provisions, one session of exercise, to collect medications, or to tend to a vulnerable relative or neighbour.

The effects of the coronavirus outbreak have been massive, both on a personal level and for businesses too. So, what advice does Clever Marketing have for firms in this current climate?

Is it a Good Idea to Cut My Marketing Budget?

As a business we understand that firms need to look at saving costs during challenging times. We saw this during the financial crisis of 2009 and, right now, there’s still a lot of uncertainty over Brexit. Now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there are even deeper and more immediate concerns.

Right now is a good time to take a step back, and have a clear look at your business. Are you thriving or are you just surviving in the wake of COVID-19?

For some industries, particularly travel, hospitality, retail and leisure, the current situation is extremely challenging. Flights have been grounded, rail firms have sought government support, and the treasury has drawn up extraordinary plans of financial assistance for businesses and workers.

But can you secure your future through marketing?

If your business is quiet on the marketing front you may be forgotten or overlooked. Marketing visibility is crucial during a time when so many businesses have gone full digital and all employees are working from home where possible. If you don’t look after your brand it may not benefit when we all come through “the other side”. It is this very notion that forward-thinking businesses are focusing on right now.

A quote from a study by Harvard Business Review back in 2010 says:

“Firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals don’t necessarily flourish. They have the lowest probability — 21% — of pulling ahead of the competition when times get better…”

Let’s look at the pros of thriving through continued marketing spend…

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click campaigns get your message in front of the right internet searchers at the right time. PPC allows your product or service to stand above all others in a competitive and crowded marketplace.

At a time when your competitors may be reducing their ad spend on PPC, there is an opportunity here to make gains.

In terms of awareness alone, you can protect your brand through PPC. Brand campaigns will ensure that your intellectual property stays yours in the search engines, and they also make bidding on your terms expensive for your competitors.

Or how about the fact that you may actually just now have fewer competitors and so your ads may be cheaper? With fewer competitive bids, your PPC ad budget may stretch a lot further than it once did.

We manage individual PPC accounts with budgets over many thousands and have seen great successes over the years. From doubling enquiries for £100,000 products (and on the way to quadrupling these) to reducing effective ad spend from £5,000, with another agency, to just £1,000 a month. One client actually has too much work due to the sheer number of leads we generate for them every month.

PPC is a winning channel whether it be Google Ads or Bing Ads, we have a track record of success in paid search.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

More complex than PPC, Search Engine Optimisation gets you “free” organic results in search. If you keep up all the hard work that’s been invested in optimising your website then you will maintain rankings and keep ahead of the competition.

Anecdotally, our Digital Marketing Manager once worked on a large business advice website where he optimised the site daily. When he left there were no daily site updates in Google Webmaster Tools. Without the highly qualified staff, and no more attention to detail, a decade’s worth of effort was lost. The site tanked in the SERPs and eventually the project was abandoned.

The moral of the story here is look after your website, and your website will look after you. Keeping it in good shape means the search engines will appreciate your efforts and you’ll enjoy as much success as you’re prepared to put in.

Social Media

Remote working means that everyone is online right now. Your staff, your competitors, your clients and potential customers are all now digitally connected. For the benefit of everyone’s mental and social welfare, it’s good to talk.

Continuing to work on social media means that you keep talking, keep having those conversations. Whether it’s paid or organic, there’s never been a better time to be social.

Brands that have embraced social media and are regularly active, are the brands that people will engage with.

Updates to inform the world that you’re still open for business, that your staff are safe and to enquire on the well-being of your clients is a major positive. Use every social media channel that you feel comfortable with. And within those channels again use whatever tools are most appropriate – have you tried LinkedIn Conversation Ads for instance?

Inform, entertain, reassure. There is so much your business can be doing on social, so take to the airwaves or make sure your agency does for you.

To a Brighter Future

When we step out into the brave new world, things will be different. The world will be a different place and how you’ve readied and adapted for that change is key.

Businesses that are proactive now will be ahead of the curve when the new era comes. Necessity is the mother of invention and rising to the current challenges will make you stronger.

Clever Marketing, Hampshire Digital Agency.If you want to maintain your digital marketing in challenging times then speak to us now on 01276 534 680.

We’re here to assist with your SEO, PPC and social media, paid and organic, so take a look at our digital marketing services.

The Coronavirus, Our Digital Agency and Working From Home Tips

The Coronavirus, Our Digital Agency and Working From Home Tips

It’s all over the news all over the world, you can’t avoid it – COVID-19.

Here at our digital marketing agency in Farnborough, we first noticed the effect on business of the Novel Coronavirus on Monday 16th March when the business centre we operate from was quieter than normal. By Tuesday the car park and building were almost empty, and that evening the decision was made that it was safer to work from home.

Now all the Clever team are all working remotely and still providing the same exceptional service you’ve come to expect from us.

The very first thing we did was ready our business continuity plan to assure our customers and visitors that we’re open and it’s business as usual. We will publish this as soon as it’s ready. Edit: From March 19th you can see our business continuity statement.

As an agile business we’re used to remote working practices and so we thought we’d share with you some tips for working from home.

1) Keep the Work Mindset.

Maintaining your professional mindset is the first thing you should be doing. You still have an excellent job to do and the only thing that has fundamentally changed is your working environment.

Just because you can work from your bed, in your PJs, on the couch etc. you should be able to maintain the excellent level of expertise and customer service that you usually offer.

Also, if you’re on a Webex, Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams call, your colleagues and clients can see what you’re wearing, so bear that in mind.

By continuing to project your skilled attitude you’ll be setting an example to all your colleagues and showing your clients and suppliers your masterful ability.

2) Set up your Home Working Space.

It may certainly be a novelty to some staff, emailing from the bedroom, video conferencing in the lounge, or doing marketing at the dining table.

Whatever your preference, it’s good to have a dedicated working space if you can. At a desk in a spare room, at the table in the dining room, on the spare sofa in the playroom or out in the summer house in the garden.

Whichever place you choose to work from, make it comfortable, make sure there’s enough light, have a strong, reliable WIFI connection and have your phone to hand. Have your desktop apps on your phone too as a backup.

Remember, if you’re teleconferencing, people on video chat can see what’s behind you, so make sure you’re sitting somewhere pleasant and clutter free. Make your work-space conducive to producing brilliant work and you’ll be as productive, if not more, than you were in your office.

Other things to consider are that you keep your work-space quiet and distraction-free. Keep any children, pets, family members and lodgers away from “your area” and let them know that the time and space needs to be respected so that you can continue to work in professionalism.

3) Stay Connected with the World.

Having your communications set up correctly and reliably is so vitally important. As above, in setting up your working environment, have a good seat and make sure all your communications tools are at hand.

Your broadband or wireless is your number one tool, so make sure you have a good signal and a sound connection.

Choose a place in your home where you get the best connection or use a CAT-5/Ethernet cable and plug straight in to your router for the most dependable internet access. Make sure you have the speediest fibre that you can and call your provider if you need an upgrade.

Email is probably your next most important necessity. Make sure you’re set up to access your email from home. Also ensure you have some shareable storage for collaborating with your team on those shared attachments.

Then you’ll need all your teleconferencing tools: Skype, Skype for Business, MS Teams, Slack… whichever tool you use, set it up and make sure you test it. Have a few options in your comms toolbox because, if you use Teams, others may not – so have Zoom as an optional extra.

4) Have a Daily Routine and Stick to it.

You probably had a good routine when you went to the office so try and replicate that whilst working from home.

Get up at a regular time, get up early. Go through the same motions you used to and, instead of a drive or train journey, go out for a walk (Government advice pending) or have an exercise plan. Lunchtime is the same, make sure you’re not stuck at your desk, so get up, get exercise and actually have a break. Finish on time too. Working remotely can often mean the hours whizz by and you may not realise the time. So make sure you finish at a good time.

5) Get Prepared for the Hybrid Working Model.

Working with clients in the financial services industry (And a number of other STEM businesses), the new hybrid working model is becoming increasingly important. We will all go back to work eventually but the benefits of working from home remain, so we will see methodologies where we mix home and office-based working.

Be ready for that change because being dynamic and at the forefront of our increasingly technocratic society is a competitive edge for businesses, large and small.

Working from home isn’t for everybody but there’s not much choice at the moment – we’re all in this together.

Look after yourself, your mental health and support your clients and suppliers too. Make sure you spare some time for your family and relatives too, seeing as you’re all at home together. Check in on colleagues who may be on their own, they may be in more need of moral support than anyone, being alone.

Ultimately, working from home can be a massively positive experience – reducing pollution, being able to focus and dedicating yourself more than ever to projects is a huge bonus. Make the most of it too, because things will return to normal someday soon.

Also, if you’re finding so many positives from remote working, make sure that this becomes an intelligent part of your routine once we’re all out of the lockdown.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital AgencyIf you have additional tips, feel free to comment, we’d love to hear what you’ve done to increase productivity and better serve your clients.

Do you need excellent SEO consultants,  strong PPC campaigns or a digital strategy? Call Clever Marketing on 01276 534 680 or complete our easy contact form.