Well-known advertising executive Bruce Barton famously said, “In good times, people want to advertise; in bad times, they have to.”
If marketers have learned anything over the past two-plus years, it’s that competition is growing, inflation is climbing, and consumers are spending more time online than ever before.
The silver lining is that the entire marketing landscape has evolved, presenting both large enterprises, startups and sole proprietors ways to capture market share without incurring significant costs. Gone are the days when direct mail ruled, where marketers spent hours agonizing over the choice of expensive paper stocks or planning out an afternoon press check. Admittedly, I sometimes miss those days. The smell of the press rooms, the feel of the paper… However, the marketing world has adopted email automation, intuitive content management systems, and social platforms such as Instagram and TikTok that can turn a brand viral with a single post.
Here are three surefire marketing strategies that can help withstand today’s recessionary environment.
Create a Content and Social Plan and Stick With It
Content is only king if it’s consistent. By providing your prospects with valuable information in set and expected timeframes, your brand becomes a reliable resource. Amidst all the chatter and while other brands may lose focus, your brand can be top of mind.
Whether your plan is to publish blog content on a weekly basis and social media posts daily across the channels where your customers and prospects live, your brand can remain relevant. Without this regular presence, your prospects and customers will latch onto another brand that is eager to take up their mind space.
Creating content may be straightforward and inexpensive, but discipline and rigor are required to gain steady market share. After publishing a blog post or social media series, email your customers and prospects to share the news. Of course, don’t forget those calls to action, displayed prominently at the end of your message, whether via a blog or social post. You want to know exactly who is interested in your product so you can learn about their needs. Provided you already have a CRM and marketing automation tool that can automate much of your content, you won’t need to spend additional marketing dollars on scheduling and distributing content.
Leverage Happy Customer Stories
Your happiest customers will want to evangelize your product or service, and they have the power to do so authentically. Reach out to them to request a testimonial, an interview for a company newsletter or blog post, or ask them to participate in a case study to be featured on your website. Case studies can be created with a little creativity and without a big budget. High-quality video footage can be shot on a mobile phone, using a 4k setting. Industry trade publications want to share practical knowledge with their readers, and these outlets may be interested in how your brand solved an industry wide problem.
For B2B marketers, specifically, these customer spotlight stories can be a win-win, providing your customers with a new channel to reach their prospects, too. Use your existing technology and CRM to curate lists of customers to engage. Did they have an exemplary experience with one of your field service technicians? Most often, the process is easy, with an account manager simply asking: “Can we feature you?”
One of the top reasons people do not refer people to a business is because they simply were never asked. Immediately after you provide stellar service, ask for a referral. While your technician is still standing in the foyer of the office they just installed a new solar power system in, train them to ask if they know of anyone who would be interested in adding solar to their office. Delivery of exceptional service is the prime opportunity for you to ask for referrals. Not a month later, not in an informal email that also includes your NPS survey, but right there while they are most excited about your team’s work.
Produce Podcasts and Live-Streamed Events
There’s no time like the present to embrace the power of live programming. According to Statista, in 2021 online videos had an audience reach of 92% among internet users worldwide. YouTube videos, webinars and other events can be done on a dime, produced by knowledgeable employees or on free platforms such as Zoom, YouTube Live or even LinkedIn, which has a new audio broadcasting feature. Free podcast platforms such as Podbean and Anchor provide the tools you need to get a podcast up and running quickly. Use these platforms to offer product demos, interview customers and industry experts or engage your audiences in a live conversation. Video and audio content can build both your brand and the brand of your most customer-facing thought leaders.
Additionally, and as a way to generate leads, create a landing page for each event so you can promote it on social media channels or even via platforms such as Eventbrite. Even if responders don’t participate, you’ll have their email address, providing a valuable opportunity to send them the link from the live event and develop that relationship to move them closer to becoming a marketing qualified lead.
Today, an effective marketing strategy can be executed by budget-strapped startups and cost-cutting enterprises. Beginning with a user-optimized website, CRM, and social media channels, brands can use their content to create a strong, online presence. With these basics, prospects can be brought into the marketing funnel and nurtured through a steady cadence of educational content that informs them in a way that keeps them coming back to learn more.