What’s working now, and what not to do…
Recently, Avi Kumar, CEO of Kuware marketing was asked to speak to the TIE Austin (https://austin.tie.org/) – a nonprofit group (part of TIE Global, the largest entrepreneurial organization in the world) devoted to entrepreneurs in all industries, at all stages, from incubation, throughout the entrepreneurial lifecycle.
As the owner of a well-established digital marketing agency in Austin, TX, Avi was asked to provide some insights for TIE Austin members with regard to “pivoting” during the COVID pandemic, what not to do, and immediate actions which will help produce results. Below is a summary of value points with the full presentation on the YouTube channel.
Please take a moment to review and carve out a few minutes to watch (35-minute presentation) to hear personal insights and learn more from Avi.
What’s the Point?
According to internationally renowned management consultant, educator and author Peter Drucker whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation, “the business enterprise has two, and only two, basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”
We agree. Further, it is our (Kuware®) belief that everything is about traffic and conversion. Marketing and innovation drive business, and the goal of marketing is to drive traffic and conversion — bring prospects through the door or to your website and convert the traffic to a paying customer or active donor (whatever action you want to take). With this in mind, all marketing activities should be focused on driving traffic and conversion, nothing else. Not branding or vanity marketing to make you look good, but relevant marketing that will expand your audience, create awareness and drive conversions.
Following are a few summary points from the presentation. To review in full detail, select the image/link at the bottom of the post.
What’s working Now/Opportunities
- Online traffic is surging. Users are home and on their computers more which provides increased search opportunities.
- Post COVID-related traffic is increasing on the desktop/laptop as people are home and more available (less meetings/travel).
- Consumption time (sales conversions) has shifted to later in the evening
- Social Media is hotter! Especially TiKTock
- eCommerce has really taken off during COVID times. eCommerce used to be something marketing agencies helped a company build. But now, it’s shifted toa service model —eCommerce as a service where a third party will take over your eCommerce as a service.
- Profile views on Linkedin have increased dramatically since the beginning of COVID (Feb 2020). Example profile: started with 46 views which increased to 3,594 views in 90 days. This resulted in 1,829 (through May 11, 2020) compared to the original 434 connections. That’s a dramatic increase and opportunity for audience engagement.
Businesses that are Thriving
According to Gartner (see slide), not all businesses have been impacted negatively by the COVID pandemic. For example, the following businesses have faired very well or even surged:
- Home and Lifestyle
- Business & Finance, Investing + careers has increased over 70%
- eCommerce – weekly growth rate over 50%
- Health & Fitness – Online classes for fitness, equipment, etc.
- See the Gartner Categories slide that references businesses rising Feb/March 2020
What NOT To Do
- Do not ask for Google reviews. Google shut them off on March 20, 2020. Don’t waste your time until they turn back on (if they do).
- Do not spend any money on vanity marketing (as noted above).
- Do not stop spending on performing ads! You have a captive audience and this is the time to stay in front of them.
- Do not use insensitive messaging/hard selling during this time. This is tone deaf in today’s market and would cause your prospects/audience to “unfollow” or “unsubscribe” to your marketing efforts.
- Don’t be too lighthearted. Be sincere. These are serious and stressful times. Be mindful of your tone.
What To Do
- Focus on offering solutions which are specific to the situation (Example: Offering no payments for 90 days to help ease the financial burden on your prospects/customers).
- Double check your visuals – are they appropriate for the situation (avoid crowds, etc.)?
- Create real empathy – how will your product/services help, especially now?
- This is a great time to build a top funnel and lead generation/
- Repurpose budget for events to pay-per-click, virtual events, video production, webinars, ABM.
- Launch new offerings – nothing too complicated, but something improved/new is positive. Shows innovation for an engaged audience.
- Check your website messaging – look for me vs. you message. “We do this, we, we, we. Should be “You” messages – Are you suffering from this? We’re here to help. Value-based messaging to exemplify how your products and services can help them.” Shift messaging toward the client.
- Prioritize audience expansion (create awareness) over revenue generation (sales).
5 Action Items for Quick Results
Straight forward, practical things you can do. Low hanging fruit, others may not be picking!
- Social Media: Engage on TikTok with thought leadership content. TikTock is the seventh most downloaded application with 25% of users in the US over the age of 45. Why is this relevant? Because you target demographic is looking for new content, in a new format, on a new platform which is currently inexpensive. Early adopters will reap the benefits.
- Research traffic assets you can acquire —Facebook groups, Linkedin groups, Twitter, Blogs by specific topic relevant to your product/service. These channels boost awareness (audience expansion) to drive traffic, and are usually very specific. There’s a group for everything and you may be able to both participate in the group to promote your product/service, as well as acquire if the channel manager is open to it.
- Move beyond Search Engine Optimization – optimize for voice search (Siri/Alexa searches) which is a completely different discipline and will set your business up for immediate results now and well into the future. Voice automation is gaining major traction in the market, and will continue to grow.
- Increase networking and engagement on Linkedin. This is a goldmine for B2B, and even some B2C businesses for creating awareness, driving engagement, and ultimately, conversions. With the targeting ability of the Linkedin platform, you have access to the right people and engage with them for your specific product or service.
- Increase engagement through automation and email marketing.
This may seem obvious, but is often overlooked or taken for granted. Now is the time to communicate regularly with your prospects and customers to drive deeper engagement and conversions.
Big Picture: It’s going to be okay
- Accept reality but be hopeful and positive in your tone.
- Your customers/prospects are watching you. Be mindful.
- You can’t fake sincerity. You have to really believe it’s going to be okay.
- Take time to reflect, audit yourself, your company, your vision-mission-goals and revisit your objectives.
- Streamline, and be ready to unleash your efficiency when it’s all over.