10 Tips for Marketing Your Way Through COVID-19

Think outside the box

1. Reinvent Your Marketing Plan

Now is not the time to simply jump from one tactic to another, hoping something will bring in leads.

Put a plan together that takes advantage of the new opportunities that exist and eliminates those tactics that are no longer available such as face to face events, networking or sales presentations.

Obviously this will involve more digital programs but it could also mean amending your targeting and  your messaging so that you are more relevant to the people who have a current need for your product or service and the ability to purchase now.

If you previously had a marketing plan, review it step by step and remove anything that will no longer either be possible or effective. Rethink what this new world is now offering as it doesn’t have to be doom and gloom for all businesses in these disrupted times.

If you don’t actually have a marketing plan in place, now is the time to develop one! Spend this quieter time getting your marketing plan in order so that you come out at the other end of isolation stronger than ever to dominate your market!

Social media buttons

2. Go Social

The social environment is exploding at the moment as people crave connections with other people online.

It is the perfect time to get your brand noticed with messaging that is relevant to your target audience’s current needs.

Have a plan for your social media content, deliver valuable and relevant information and make sure you have a high level of frequency so that you stand out amongst all the other brands that are bombarding social media platforms at the moment.

If your workload has reduced, now is the perfect time to build connections and content on platforms that you were too busy to use previously.

Write articles for LinkedIn, promote valuable content on Facebook, create videos for Instagram, use display ads and build the story behind your brand.

There are many options available but make sure you have an effective social media strategy and create stand out, valuable and relevant content.

Online business

3. Take Your Business Online

There are many businesses that have to date avoided doing business online, other than via listings on generic website directories. If you take advantage of online marketing during COVID-19, you could position yourself for significant and long term growth once operating restrictions are lifted.

For example, if you previously ran a retail store or were in the hospitality industry, start selling online. Online sales are going through the roof now that shoppers can’t visit their local stores. In fact, the boredom factor of having to stay at home is increasing the desire for shopping overall.

Building a web store is easy and affordable and could potentially provide you with an additional revenue stream for the long term.

If you are in hospitality, you may be in a position to provide home deliveries but don’t just rely on regular customers to phone in their orders. Build an online ordering and payment system that will showcase your menu, collect payments online and protect your drivers with contactless deliveries. You could even set up a Click and Collect service.

If you are in entertainment or training, create an events calendar on your website and deliver your events via live-streaming, webinars or podcasts.

If you are in a service industry, why not sell additional related products online via a cart to supplement your income.

There are many opportunities that exist to build your revenue through digital marketing. If you’re not sure how to make the move online, book a free video or phone consultation to determine the best path forward for you and your business.

Mobile delivery app

4. Remarketing and Retargeting

If you have a good website that attracts a reasonable level of traffic, take advantage of every visitor with remarketing and retargeting programs.

Keep your brand and promotional offers in front of your prospects by delivering social media ads to them on Facebook or Instagram once they’ve left your website.

Send targeted eDMs (email marketing) to website visitors to build your brand awareness and reinforce your offering.

You can tailor the content of your social media ads and eDMs to reflect the pages and products on your website that your prospects have shown an interest in.

It can take several connections with a brand for a prospect to commit to a purchase, or even an enquiry, so getting in front of a prospect multiple times has been shown to dramatically increase conversion rates.

Don’t waste a qualified lead! Optimise your conversions through a highly cost-effective and easy to implement remarketing or retargeting program.

Target audience

5. Rethink Your Target Audience

Some businesses are going to do better than others during this COVID-19 period so now is the time to rethink your targeting to take advantage of new opportunities that now exist.

Look at what consumers and businesses are now looking for as we are living in heavily disrupted times.

For example, accountants, HR consultants, solicitors and financial planners will all be in high demand.

So will healthcare professionals and those who focus on providing self-improvement, mental health and professional training services.

Home maintenance products, home gyms and trades will all do well as people are confined to their homes.

Entertainment and escapism will be in demand as boredom sets in.

Food, transport, online shopping, delivery services, natural foods and the basics that we all need on a daily basis – these will all do well too.

And of course, marriage counselling services may inadvertently also do well due to the emotional stresses that come with a lockdown!

If you don’t work in these sectors, look at how you can modify your offering to provide relevant services and products to these businesses that will do well in the current market.

Mobile Devices

6. Use Innovative Technology

Many of our old ways of communicating and managing our business operations are now redundant so we have to look for technologies that can help us through this period and beyond.

Look for apps and tools that will help you to communicate and run your business effectively online.

Zoom has taken off in a big way as businesses replace face to face meetings with video conferences and team meetings. Microsoft Teams and Skype provide similar benefits and functionality.

We use Slack for our team meetings and file sharing. Our twice daily catch ups have been amazing for our team morale and productivity!

Our phone diversions are currently being managed by Spoke which allows calls to be transferred to our team members’ mobile phones without any privacy issues. Telcos such as Central Telecoms offers a wide range of other communication options to keep calls flowing with minimal inconvenience to clients.

Online auction software is changing the real estate industry and live streaming is changing the events industry. These industries will never be the same again.

There are so many apps and tools to manage internal and client communications, productivity, project management, marketing, calendar bookings, payments, training, file management and more.

Do some research and find innovative tools that will get you through coronavirus and hopefully help you to be more efficient in the future.

Branding

7. Build Your Brand

During busy times, businesses can often fall into the habit of focusing mainly on sales and service delivery, neglecting their brands in the process.

They can start to deliver generic messaging that doesn’t take advantage of their strengths and points of difference.

Or they can deliver mixed messages, promoting their brand as innovative and high end for example, while their visual branding and collateral is dated and unappealing to their audience.

Now is the ideal time to revisit your brand, re-evaluate your positioning and your unique selling proposition to refine and refresh your brand story.

Why does your brand exist? What are your brand values and do you have a purpose beyond simply making profit?

Do you have a core essence to your brand that provides the framework for all your communications? Disney is about Magic, AirBNB is about Belonging and BMW is about Performance. What is the DNA of your brand?

Do you have genuine value propositions that resonate with your target audience and are you effectively and persuasively communicating your point of difference through all your marketing communications?

Use this quieter period to review and refine your brand so that you can emerge from isolation with all your marketing collateral effectively communicating your brand story in terms of messaging, visuals, tools and tactics.

Get your website working

8. Get Your Website Working For You

Online competition is only going to grow through the coronavirus period and beyond, so you need your website to be seen and to be relevant to the search criteria of your ideal prospect.

Check that the platform you are using for your website is SEO friendly without code bloat, errors and omissions.

Make sure your website is easy for the user to navigate with a search-focused main navigation and lots of relevant hot buttons that encourage them on their journey through multiple pages of your site.

Get the content and visuals in line with the information your prospect is looking for and remove all the corporate, self-promotional fluff that the user doesn’t want to read.

And importantly, make sure your website is optimised for the most popular search terms and keywords so that you rank higher in the search engines.

Doing this now will not only help you to become more competitive in a quieter market; it will also position you to rebuild and thrive when the market becomes stronger as SEO programs can take several months to deliver optimum results. The time to start is now!

Customers

9. Look After Your Customers

Keep in touch with your existing clients and prospects, even if they have reduced or stopped their spend.

Send them relevant information via eDMs and enewsletters.

Let them know how you are changing your business to better suit their current needs.

Offer them valuable information that may help them to get through these challenging times without asking for anything in return.

Keep your brand awareness high so that when they are ready to spend again, they will remember that you were there for them during the tough times.

And of course, stay in touch by phone and video calls – make sure you keep your personal connection with your clients and prospects strong and memorable.

Innovation

10. Be Innovative

Now is the time to think differently about your business.

Can you deliver your products or services in a different way?

Can you market your expertise via videos, blogs, podcasts or LinkedIn articles?

Can you supplement your normal income by creating products that can be sold online?

Can you become a reseller for other products, apps or services relevant to your own product or service range?

Can you repurpose your manufacturing, partner with other companies, create new technologies or service additional sectors to find new opportunities for either the short or the long term?

Now is not the time to just sit and wait. Don’t go into hibernation, waiting for the market to revert to how it was before coronavirus. It may never be the same again.

So be brave, be innovative and make sure that your business is one that takes advantage of the new opportunities that do exist in this strange, new world.

 

Good luck! Please call us if we can help or if you’d just like a no-cost obligation-free chat.

Instagram. A modern marketer’s toolbox

Instagram

By now we should all be familiar with social media giant, Facebook and you’ve no doubt discovered what a beneficial tool it can be to effectively market your business…but have you familiarised yourself with Instagram for business as yet? If not, you should know this.

Instagram, officially owned by Facebook, is now an extremely popular channel that is one of the best social media platforms for business in 2019. With approximately 9,000,000 monthly users in Australia, it sits behind just behind Facebook and YouTube as Australia’s 3rd most popular platform and can provide some powerful benefits for your business.

Instagram is constantly evolving whilst taking the title as the perfect modern marketer’s business toolbox, with new features being introduced to get the right amount of exposure and interaction with your target market. For example, it now allows you to tell your brand’s story with unique and engaging visual content.

Is Instagram the perfect tool for your business? When you look at the recent 2019 user demographic results, the profile breakdown is as follows:

Who is using Instagram?

Gender: 39% Female and 30% male

Age: 64% 18-29 yrs, 40% 30-49 yrs, 21% 50-64 and 10% 65+yrs

Location: 42% Urban Residents, 34% Suburban Residents and 25% Rural Residents

Income: 42% of people on 30K-40,999K, 30% of people on 50K-$74,999 and 42% of people on 75k+

Once you’ve determined whether Instagram is the right tool to target your ideal demographic, there are other factors to consider. For example, the right hashtags to include, the best day of the week to post and the right time of day to ensure your audience is online to instantly view your content.

When to post is heavily influenced by the habits of your target market and you can discover when they are most active on the platform by utilising the very handy tool, Instagram Analytics. Looking at Instagram Analytics will help you understand how the platform is operating as part of your overall marketing strategy.

If you’re not evaluating your Instagram Analytics on a regular basis, then you could be:

Targeting the wrong audience.

Posting too frequently (or not frequently enough).

Driving irrelevant visitors to your website.

Posting during non-optimal hours of the day or days of the week.

Missing opportunities for brand engagement in your comments or stories.

If this all sounds a little complicated and time consuming the good news is you can always engage a professional social media strategist to help get it right or try utilising an analytics site such as:

Hootsuite

Squarelovin

Socialbakers

SocialRank

With regard to hashtags, we find this is somewhat of a grey area for some of our clients. But to those who choose to avoid them like the plague, we can’t stress enough how beneficial hashtags are to help you widen the spread of your posts. Recent research has found that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without. More specifically, other research has found that the optimum number of hashtags on Instagram is 9 per post but don’t follow this number blindly – some posts will warrant less. The key to Instagram hashtag usage is to include plenty of relevant hashtags that will help your fellow Instagrammers. If you use unrelated hashtags, you are spamming the system and placing yourself in danger of receiving an Instagram ban.

So how do you find out what the best hashtags are to use? Well, firstly you can use Instagram’s search bar (ie the Explore feature). If you select the Tags tab, Instagram will generate a list of hashtags that are associated with that keyword and also show you how popular they are based on the number of posts with those tags. To stand out more, you may also want to consider using hashtags that are more specific to the content you are posting or niche hashtags that are referred to as ‘related’ hashtags on Instagram.

Perhaps also look at what your competitors are using and try to find something different so you’re not competing in the same space. Or look at what the influencers in your industry are using and learn from them – if a hashtag is working for them, it may be worth trialing.

If you need more advice about how to get your head around the forever changing, forever evolving world of social media marketing, please do not hesitate to drop us a line here at Milestone-Belanova.

To engage with us on Instagram and take the opportunity to view our recent projects and news, whilst getting to know us behind the scenes click, on the link below. We look forward to meeting you there!

https://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-september-2019/

https://trackmaven.com/blog/how-to-use-hashtags/

 

 

Your Guide to Social Media in 2019

Social media is more popular than ever and remains a crucial tool at your disposal when advertising your business. Here is a snapshot of the trends dominating social media in 2019.

Live video is continuing to increase in popularity amongst social media users. It encourages engagement between the business and the customer which can make customers feel more involved with the content and the company.

The majority of social media users are using their mobile phones to access content. This has led to vertical videos and images seeing a dramatic increase in popularity in recent years as viewers are wanting more content suited to the native orientation of their phone screens.

Shoppable posts have become a highly effective way for businesses to promote their products to their viewers. Instagram allows businesses to create shoppable posts and stories, which provide links to products posted on Instagram. Snapchat has also adopted this trend, partnering with Amazon to allow users to scan the barcode of a product in Snapchat and have the item displayed on Amazon to review or purchase.

Facebook has changed its algorithm to favour content that generates conversation with its users and reduced the amount of organic posts that users will see. This has made community engagement more important than ever in order for businesses to reach the maximum number of users possible. Content which encourages users to be involved with the company will see a higher reach than those that are not engaging with the users. Posting user generated content is one way businesses can become more engaging with their audience.

Augmented reality is becoming increasingly popular as users want to virtually try before they buy products. Being able to see that pair of sunnies you want on, or that sofa you want to see in your room before you buy, is a big deal for many users. Facebook has recognised this and has been investing greatly in augmented reality in order to become the market leader in this area. It also generates engagement between the business and users which can boost your posts reach. Although the significant cost of developing augmented reality tools places them far out of reach of many businesses at the moment, the cost is always falling, so it is an important feature to keep an eye on.

How To Improve Your Facebook Business Page

How To Improve Your Facebook Business Page

Facebook business pages are the place to develop relationships between your brand and your customers. Whether you’re sharing valuable content to your followers, responding to customer feedback or simply informing some subset of Facebook’s 2 billion users that your boutique bakery will be closing early on Thursday, Pages are one of the most important places for your business to be online. What many people don’t know is that Facebook ‘ranks’ pages in a similar fashion to how search engines such as Google rank websites. If your page isn’t showing the right keywords, doesn’t have complete information in the detail sections, or doesn’t provide a link to your website, then Facebook will not rank your page highly in its search. Below are some improvements you can make to your business page to ensure you have the best chance of ranking highly on the social network.

Set your Page as a ‘business’
It makes sense that your business’ Facebook page should be categorised as a ‘business’. However, some page owners simply rename an old page they own and use it as their new business page. While this isn’t a terrible idea, it’s important to ensure the page’s category matches what the page will now be used for.

Use the right Page template
Did you know there are multiple page templates you can apply to your Facebook page? These templates include Services, Venues, Business, Nonprofit, Politicians, Restaurants & Cafes, Shopping, Video Creator, and Standard. You’re spoiled for choice – but it’s the choice you have to get right. Different templates will provide different sections you can fill out. For example, the Business template allows you to add opening hours that will display at the top of the page, as well as an indicator of where the best parking is. Ensure you are using the template that best aligns with your page.

Verify your Page
Some Pages and profiles have been verified by Facebook to let users know that they are authentic. A blue ‘tick’ next to a profile or Page means that Facebook has confirmed that this is the authentic Page or profile for a public figure, media company or brand. If you see a grey badge on a Page, it means that Facebook has confirmed that it is the authentic Page for a particular business or organisation.

Verifying your business page will boost your ranking within Facebook’s search as they hold a higher value on verified businesses than those who have not confirmed their authenticity. Click here for instructions on how you can verify your business page.

Add important information in key sections
Facebook’s search tool works by matching search terms with keywords found in a Page’s description and information sections. It’s for this reason that it’s so important for you to fill out the ‘About’ and ‘Details’ section of your page with relevant keywords that will match what your customers might search for.

When a Page is listed in Facebook’s search results, only the first 18 words of the Page’s description are displayed. Ensure your wording is clear and to the point so potential customers don’t scroll past your page.

When Is the Best Time to Post on Social Media?

Half of the world’s total population has access to the internet, and almost 75% of these users are actively on social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. With so many consumers online, you’d be forgiven for thinking that no matter when you post, your content will surely be seen by a large audience. As it turns out, there are certain times throughout the day and week where posts perform better, generate more click-throughs and have higher engagement. We’ve collected the data from a number of studies to help outline when you should be aiming to post content on your social media profiles.

FACEBOOK
The giant of social media (with 1.87 billion active users) has a number of different times throughout the week where post-performance increases.

Best days to post:
Thursday – 18% higher engagement
Friday – 18% higher engagement
(Post between 12pm and 3pm)

Saturday – 32% higher engagement
Sunday – 32% higher engagement
(Post between 12pm and 1pm)

How frequently? According to SocialBakers, once per day is a good starting point for most businesses. However, this may be too often or not enough depending on your audience. So monitoring your social analytics is essential to determine the best times to reach your audience effectively.

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INSTAGRAM
With more than 800 million monthly active users, and over 40 million photos posted daily, knowing the right times to post will significantly improve how many users interact with your content.

Best days to post:
Monday – One of the best days for posts
Wednesday – Good day for posts
Thursday – One of the best days for posts
(5pm – 7:30pm is the best time. Avoid posting 3pm – 4pm)

Sunday – Worst day for posts
(11am is the best time on weekends)

How frequently? Union Metrics found that on average, brands post an average of 1.5 times a day. This number doesn’t necessarily mean it will be optimal for your following. Some businesses may post multiple times a day, or only a few times a month. There is no magic number as every following will react differently to the frequency of posts – so experiment!

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LINKEDIN
Often overlooked, LinkedIn is more than a social network for professionals, it’s a platform to connect with potential clients and show off your work and experience. Professionals are busy people, so knowing when they take a break and view LinkedIn can help your posts reach more people.

Best days to post:
Tuesday – 8am and 5pm
Wednesday – 8am and 5pm
Thursday – 8am and 5pm
(Tuesday 10am – 11am receives the most clicks and shares)

Mondays and Fridays experience extremely low levels of user engagement, so avoid posting your best content on these days.

How frequently? LinkedIn suggests posting twenty posts per month – which is roughly one post per weekday. This will give you on average a 60% audience reach, which will significantly help the growth of your profile. However, if you are starting out, two – three posts per week will be efficient.

How Important Is Social Media for Your Business?

It’s a question that would have been answered very differently ten (or even five) years ago, but with changes in technology and the development of internet platforms, not having a social media presence is comparable to walking around with a flip phone and wondering why people are looking at you funny. Social media is how the modern world communicates. We get it though – some of you may still use your flip phone and be asking, ‘What is social media going to do for me? Do I really need it?’ The answer is yes, yes you do – and here are some of the reasons why:

It’s where your customers ‘hang out’
It’s essential for your business to be up to date with social media because this is where your clients are spending most of their free time. Research has shown that the average person now spends nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) a day on social media, and teens are spending close to nine hours! This provides an excellent opportunity to continue the conversation and remain relevant at all times of the day.

It will increase your brand recognition
Look at social media platforms as another channel for your brand to speak to your customers and share content. This is important as it makes it easier and more accessible for new customers to see and interact with you, as well as strengthening your relationship and familiarity with existing clients. For example, a Facebook user may have only ever come across your business after seeing it appear on their feed. Not only will you find customers who you didn’t know existed, but they will also find you!

Your competitors are on social media
Surely that in itself is enough to make you click that sign-up button! Research has indicated that 91% of brands online are now using more than one social media platform. Businesses are moving fast to preventing themselves from falling behind and having to play catch up – you should be too. Failing to adopt platforms early on can make it much harder and more expensive to grow your following through them in the future.

It’s free.
Now you have no excuse – who doesn’t love a freebie? There are no costs associated with launching a business page on any of the leading social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can manage your own content and campaigns to keep costs minimal, or you can hire a social media management or marketing agency (like us) to help you run it if you’re not confident in your writing style, interacting with people, or if you need help developing your social media marketing strategy.