The gift of downtime: 8 Marketing to dos for taking advantage of the quiet times

Tracy Steffensen

Hands up if you’re a business owner experiencing a bit more down-time on your hands? For lots of us, the tools we are on day to day are laid to rest for a little bit.

Many of us are feeling the lack of revenue. And it sucks. So do the heartbreaking conversations that are going on between valuable, skilled and respected people in many businesses!

While we all know how much anxiety – and frankly, pain – that has meant, it’s hopefully brought a little more “life” into the work-life balance.

Our most valuable asset is our time, so being able to use it for more personally fulfilling activities is refreshing.

Many of us will have to use that time for other projects that can help us gear up for when market conditions improve.

Sometimes, knowing where to start is the hardest part.

To inspire you, and help with a new marketing to-do list, here’s some ways you can get ready for the better times ahead.

1. Get researching

Conduct a customer satisfaction, customer needs, market sentiment survey or event product testing survey using online tools such as Survey Monkey.  You don’t need to be a research expert. SurveyMonkey have lots of pre-designed templates to help you get started.

Have a good sniff at your competitors as well. This means a thorough review of competitor web sites, social media accounts, PR, pretty much any online info you can get your hands on will give you a good sense of how they are positioning and promoting themselves. You can also enter domain names of key competitors into Google Ads to get a sense of search terms they are using when they advertise on Google.

2. Build a bank of client or customer testimonials and case studies

Gather client testimonials you can use in your marketing materials. Don’t be afraid to draft the testimonial yourself for your client to edit. If you know you’ve delivered a great customer experience or significant results for a client, they usually won’t have a problem endorsing the testimonial and in fact, in my experience, will be grateful that you’ve made the process easier for them.

It’s similar with case studies. Crafting case studies is easy when you start by interviewing clients about their experiences working with you. Ask a friend or external contractor or agency to conduct the interview on your behalf to encourage honest responses. Some key questions you might ask are:

– What led you to look for a xxx provider – where you skeptical at all about using a xx provider?

– What did you find particularly valuable or distinctive about their product/service

– What specific results were achieved for you?

– Would you recommend them to others, and if so, whom?

This will give you the proverbial meat on the bones for the case study. It makes it much easier to draft, what the problem was, what you did for a client and what the results were as well as a glowing testimonial, which your client can easily approve.

3. Ask your raving fans for reviews

There’s no better marketing than word of mouth. Now, more than ever, clients and customers want to do what they can to continue to support their favourite businesses. Positive online Google Reviews and Facebook Reviews or LinkedIn recommendations are incredibly powerful.

A dedicated effort to reach out to your best clients and customers with some suggested review text and easy links for them to go and create the review online will pay off in spades when it comes to your online presence and credibility.

4. Get analytical

So much of marketing these days is science. Many of us are guilty of having all the data available to us, but rarely do many take full advantage of using it. Now is the time to analyse your data for improved marketing.

Dig into your website analytics. Find out:

  • Where most of your website visitors are coming from.
  • Which web pages they spend the most time on.
  • Which pages generate the most leads.
  • Which pages have the highest bounce rate.
  • Use this information to fine-tune your online marketing, landing pages, and calls to action.

Dive deeper into your social media analytics to discover:  

  • Which posts had the highest engagement.
  • Which posts had the most link clicks.
  • Which posts generated more “follows”.

If you haven’t already, you might want to add more tracking tools like LinkedIn Insight tags and Facebook Pixel’s to build lists for remarketing and track behaviour on your web site from different social media audiences.

5. Go through your web site Marie Kondo style

Web sites are wonderful but they certainly are not set and forget! While lots of us update content regularly, now’s the time to check if the house is fully in order and that our web site is “sparking joy” for all that visit.

At a basic level here’s a quick guide to cleaning things up:

  • Go through your website to make sure all the information (phone numbers, FAQs, etc.) is current and accurate.
  • Check all links to make sure they work and are current.
  • Go through your listings on local search directories, such as Google My Business, to make sure they are current and that your name, address, and phone (NAP) information is consistent across all listings.
  • Do an SEO audit using many of the SEO tools out there like Moz or Site Checker

If you want to really dive deeper and understand how you might do a more thorough review of how effective your website is we found this handy article on how to evaluate your UX (that’s user experience for the non-geeks among us) that most people can understand and action with their current tools.

6. Email marketing – Clean up your email act!

  1. Brainstorm new ideas for adding names to your email list. Could you offer a discount off purchase, a free asset to download (e-guide, template, free sample)?
  2. Segment your email list in to different types of customers.
  3. Review your email analytics. What can you do differently to make your email marketing more effective? Make use of the email marketing tools that can offer helpful automated suggestions

7. Look to the future

We are currently living in extraordinary times, and what is happening right now is changing consumer behaviour. We will be living in a different world once the current crisis passes. Make sure you have your finger on the pulse on how trends are changing and how you might meet the market.

  • Stay up to date on local conditions. The Google Trends page can help you better understand the context in local markets and your customers’ frame of mind.
  • Review your performance metrics, and be willing to pivot. For example, significant shifts in conversion rate may require adjustments to your Smart Bidding targets.  
  • Pause ad groups or ads if needed. Review products and services that are affected by demand issues and adjust accordingly. For example, mark online or local products as “out of stock” across channels if you’re unsure of real-time inventory or restocking times. 
  • Consider tools that can help you adapt. For example, the Google Ads mobile app (iOSAndroid) can help keep you connected to your campaigns. 

8. Experiment

Given the changing conditions, now is a great time to experiment a little with your marketing.

  • Split test your emails with different subject lines, offers and images.
  • Investigate Google Optimize – a tool that helps you test how small changes to the user interface on your web site might change conversion rates and responses.
  • Play with your budget a bit. Less people might be in “buying” mode right now and actively searching Google for your particular product.  However, now can be a great time to build brand voice, awareness and your database. Consider shifting budget from Acquisition to Brand (i.e. across social media vs Google Ads).

And of course, last but not least, hang in there! We’re all doing great, as painful as this process is, we are working together and making change, and that feels pretty good.

If you need any help making a change in your own marketing, we’re here and happy to help obligation free. Give us a buzz on 1300 858 311 or let us know what help you’re after via our website.

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