There’s Work to Do While Waiting out the Storm: Reconsider Your Marketing Basics

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much about what we do, when we do it, and where it is done. I hope anyone reading this post has not suffered a personal tragedy due to the outbreak. However, if you’ve been sheltering in place like I have, and you don’t work directly for the healthcare industry, a toilet paper manufacturer, or a supermarket, you have a good deal more time on your hands. You’re wondering how to conduct business in this uncertain, reduced economy, and what might change in the next few months.

You’ve completed your application for a small business loan through the CARES Act. You may be sitting at your desk, in front of your computer screen, and trying to figure out your next move. You may have existing projects or jobs, but certainly less than before. How to best spend the coming days and weeks, especially when we are unsure as to when the country will once again be open for business? My suggestion is simple: This is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your marketing materials.

If your small business is like mine, I put together my print brochures, websites, Facebook and Linked-In profiles, and other marketing collateral quite a while ago. For a couple of these items, I haven’t changed them since I started my company 10 years ago. The reason? No time. Too busy working on projects, making my existing customers happy, and doing the minimal amounts of marketing necessary to keep the conveyor belt running.

Well, time is not a problem today! There is plenty of time to think about what can be done to be ready when the current restrictions are lifted. That means reviewing, revising, or writing new marketing materials.

Start with the obvious. You’re reading this on a computer, tablet, or even phone. (After finishing this article!) go to your own website. It may be a basic consideration—look at what you see on the screen. Do you still like the design of the page or site or do you long for a fresher look? If you’re using one of the major website foundations, like WordPress or Wix, changing your web design is very easy, even for the less technically inclined like me.

As importantly, read over your landing or home page copy. Does it still reflect the same mission, objectives, advantages, or aspirations that you had when it was first written years ago? Has anything changed? Has your business gone in an additional or new direction? How do you want to better serve your customers or industry? If you’ve been in business for several years, I guarantee that you have more to say (or can say it in a new way that your customers want to hear). Say it!

Review your individual product pages, update the copy, and add new information that will be important to your customers, both present and prospective. It’s very important to consider changes to the individual website pages in the context of how it can be integrated with future marketing efforts. If you were planning to send out an Email blast about some existing or new product line, what would you like to say in the Email? That same message should be reflected in the appropriate webpage. I’m a huge advocate of keeping your marketing messages consistent, regardless of which media you use to broadcast them.

Take that same critical eye to your other principal marketing collateral: Any print brochures or fact sheets, media kits, social media posts or presences, videos, exhibit booth materials—just about anything that you’d like your target audience to read or see.

In a previous post, I advised to begin the New Year with a review of your 2020 marketing plan. Recognizing the wrenching, massive changes to today’s business and economic climate, it may be wiser still to go much more basic. Review the materials that will make your marketing plan more relevant in today’s environment, tomorrow (when we’re getting back to business), and hopefully in much more normal circumstances by next year.

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