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  • Writer's pictureMIKE'S MASTERMIND

Recession-beating marketing tactics for growing your business

Recessions inevitably lead to changes in consumer spending and demand for products and services. This means that plans need to be re-evaluated so businesses can stay competitive and build a solid platform for the future after the recession.

With reduced demand, it becomes vital to rapidly think through new alternative approaches to prioritize marketing activities with the biggest potential. That’s where this guide comes in. This guide is structured as a checklist of ideas to consider when updating your marketing communications so they are fit for surviving a recession. It includes both campaign and always-on activities. It doesn't consider the bigger marketing issues of changing product offering and pricing since these are more sector-specific.

Plan - defining your marketing communications strategy and action plans

'Plan' is the first part of the Smart Insights RACE framework. In a recession, it's incredibly important to prioritize your time and budget towards the activities that will make the biggest difference to your business.

The CMO Special Covid-19 report of June 2020 found that, overall, marketing spending is set to reduce in the next 12 months. However, this doesn't exactly mean that spending will reduce to below current spending - rather that it will increase slower than had the pandemic not happened. In these scenarios, there's huge pressure on communications and media budgets to get the most out of these investments. This means that paid media budget and opportunities for organic activities have to be reassessed. With that said, digital marketing spend remains relatively buoyant and is forecast to increase in the next few quarters. Our guide gives many recommendations that will give you ideas for investment. You'll also see throughout this guide that adopting data-driven methods is ingrained in our approach. You'll discover how to make a plan to harness the power of analysis to test, learn and refine your approach - it's why we're called Smart Insights. Using a more data-driven approach is free. All that's needed is a change of mindset and a change in how you allocate time to focus more on planning, testing and improving. You'll also need to get a grasp of the details. To help with this, we'll link through to other posts and our learning materials and templates where you can learn more about the detail. Technique 1. Create action plans to prioritize your resources Our Managing digital marketing in 2020 research shows that many businesses don’t naturally plan. This chart shows that around half of companies don’t have a dedicated digital marketing strategy, and this was similar for the businesses in the workshop. Many didn't have any formal marketing plan. In any recession, a plan becomes even more important since you will have to revise your goals and forecasts and prioritize on the most effective techniques. Our conversion model spreadsheets can be used to update your forecasts. Larger businesses may develop business continuity plans but, for smaller businesses, having more flexible actionable plans is important. In this guide, I’m going to cover a lot of practical ideas and, hopefully, they will prompt some ideas with you that you can test - but they'll need to be scheduled in. To help implement your ideas, I recommend our 90-day planning technique - which will help you plan and monitor all the tests you select across RACE. For example, in one quarter you may test your home page effectiveness, in another, update your navigation. Technique 2. Sort your analytics! You can’t start your analysis and data-driven marketing without doing this. By sort, I mean customizing your analytics so you can tell whether interactions with your website are actually generating value for your business. It's important you work on setting up the right types of goals and putting values against them. This is more challenging when you’re not selling online, but perfectly possible. By defining goal values you will then be able to better understand the effectiveness of your content in achieving goals (though Page Value) and the effectiveness of your media investments (through Goal value per visit). For example, Google's demo account date shows how Page Value provides a good way of comparing different page types to see how they support conversion - here they vary quite widely. You can identify and then work on pages that are less effective. Google Tag Manager - whilst not essential for small businesses - is valuable if you are going to set up more complex goals and remarketing lists. 3. Get the right balance between campaign and always-on activities In smaller businesses, there is a natural tendency to focus on campaign activities to generate awareness and demand. Thinking longer-term and moving from campaign to always-on marketing activities that support the long-term growth of the brand makes sense in the face of declining budgets. Writing in Marketing Week, Mark Ritson advises in his article Marketing in the time of Covid-19 that: "If there is one major marketing challenge now facing most big brands, it is what to do with their newly slashed marketing budget. If you’ve just lost half of it, the temptation is to dump it all into shorter-term performance marketing and sales promotions. That would be an error. No amount of hot deals and clever sales activation can stimulate a market that is currently terrified, locked inside their homes and unsure of their future. Confronted with a 50% cut in marketing budgets, the smarter play is to actually focus more of it on the longer-term brand-building mission. Performance marketing is going to underperform in the current market conditions". Success in always-on digital marketing also means tapping into existing demand as people search for your types of services or review alternative providers in listings. For example, gaining good ratings and visibility in Trip Advisor is important in the tourism sector. Always-on also involves using automated marketing activities for email marketing and retargeting, which we’ll come back to. Use tools like Google Trends, Keyword Planner, and Google Search Console to see the latest changes in behaviour. A survey of more than 2,200 marketers conducted by Econsultancy and Marketing Week published in mid-March revealed that the majority believe that the Coronavirus had already heavily impacted marketing activities for the first half of 2020. Among marketers working at brands with a revenue of more than £50 million per year, 55% of those in the UK and 57% of those in North America say that product or service launches are delayed or under review, while 55% of UK and 56% of North American marketers say that marketing campaigns are delayed or under review. The Q2 2020 IPA Bellwether Report confirmed this, finding that marketing budgets in the UK were cut by the highest levels in the report's 20-year history. Given these reduced investments in campaigns, redeploying resources to work on 'always-on' activity should be harnessed if practical. 4. Review the gaps in your always-on marketing The visual below shows ALL the activities you could potentially deploy to integrate your paid, owned and earned media activities for inbound marketing. Very often there are gaps in what could be used against what's possible, as this example shows compared to the version earlier in this article. For example, perhaps you could improve your middle- or bottom-of-funnel content, or you could improve your email welcomes - but we’ll return to these. 5. Review your STP STP stands for Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. It’s well-known as being at the heart of focusing your marketing appeal on key audiences you’re targeting. You can read more in our free marketing models download. In times of recession, the balance between different audiences and markets may change. An obvious example on destination marketing is that there will be more local companies. 6. Refine your personas Effective marketing should always start with the customer and understanding customer preferences and perception and how they change through time. Personas are a great way to share your understanding of customers. So put more time into creating an effective persona - our persona template gives a framework for the essential information in the ‘perfect persona’. Including content mapping is an essential way to make your personas more actionable as we’ll show with the example in the ‘ACT’ section. 7. Positioning - re-examine the strengths of your brand As Mark Ritson notes, you have to start with your brand and how the customer perceives it alongside other businesses. You need to reinforce your brand values and show how your brand purpose is relevant in the time of the recession. Customer communications tools like email and social media are particularly important here as we'll see in later examples in this guide. Appraising your branding is key in times of a recession, here we're focusing more on marketing communications, but I recommend reviewing the 8 recommendations for marketing in a recession from Harvard Business Review for more general advice 8. Improve your Digital value proposition (DVP) In my books, dating way back to 2000, I recommended marketers review their ‘OVP’ or Online Value Proposition as part of their strategy. Clearly, a website needs to communicate the core brand offering and brand personality, but digital gives great opportunities to add value to an audience and so develop brand preference and support purchase intent. In this example of a wildlife destination, you can see they have thought through their DVP by providing lots of options under 'Visit Us'. In many cases, this is often just a single page. In another example, this wedding venue has multiple pages describing its wedding options. By creating more detailed content and then interlinking it can help the offer become more appealing. Not only that, but it has the benefit of making the site more effective in organic search when people are searching for this content. Simply put, the more content you dedicate resource to developing, that meets consumers interests, the more visits and higher conversion you should see. 9. Understand changing customer preferences Personas should be based on research, but they may not reflect changing concerns of the time, so look to use published research or conduct your research to see how consumer spending power has changed. In retail, a key question is whether the Coronavirus changes purchasing intent - this tracker shows the current intent. 10. Benchmark communications against competitors A simple, practical tip: keep a closer eye on your competitors than ever. You can easily monitor your competitors and other publishers using Twitter lists, which can then be followed as streams in Hootsuite. We also recommend setting up Talkwalker or Mention as simple and free brand alerts that are more powerful than the better known Google alerts. In the final section, we'll show two free tools to help benchmark against your competitors in social media. 11. Update your brand tone-of-voice Speaking with a common, appealing voice can be difficult across all of the different channels, so developing an agreed approach for all the various people writing as your brand is a must. Take a look at these brand tone-of-voice examples for quick ways to reconsider your tone-of-voice for these times. 12. Smarter discounting It's a given: consumers have less cash during times of recession and competitors may offer deeper discounts - so this technique can be particularly useful for sectors that are likely to be hit hardest. It's worth testing varying discount levels - potentially offered through a variety of channels - to see what works best within the customer journey and what sees the greatest uptake. This technique may not work for some price points and some audiences, but taking a creative approach to how you distribute the discounts can be as effective as offering a particularly large discount. 13. Review your Martech stack During a recession, you're likely to be reviewing spend on software etc. that facilitates your brand activity. As such, it's a great time to review our essential digital marketing tools and free guide for examples of the types of tools you can wield to your advantage. As one example, I regularly ask how many of my fellow marketers are A/B testing their website pages. While some people are generally testing their email creative using A/B testing, few are using Google Optimize to test their actual web pages. This is a free tool that is relatively simple, so you can get started with minimal agency or Dev support.

I’d also say that using multiple cloud-based marketing tools can be expensive - some estimates put it at 15 to 25% of a marketing budget. There are potential savings here, either by consolidation to a single marketing cloud solution, or stopping using tools you don’t use so much or that only provide insight rather than supporting operations.

14. Review your marketing resourcing Many businesses will be looking at the cost vs benefit of how they use consultants and agencies. Many businesses initially employ consultants to help them get started with certain activities, but may now be able to temporarily cut back on the frequency they seek their expertise.

15. Encourage learning Consider the skills gaps within your team. Ask yourself which are most needed to prioritize, and just how easy it would be to get started with up skill your team. One of our Business members we’re working with has recently done this and concluded that their number one priority is to improve the fundamentals of copy writing and proofreading.

At Smart Insights, we're all about making it easy to learn digital marketing online using relevant examples and plans - not just showing the features of systems.

You and your team can use our free personalized learning planner in our member area to score your skills and identify learning priorities - just select it from the navigation on the left of the screen.

Reach - growing awareness and demand

Traditionally, in a recession, early pressure on ad budgets often occurs. There is an argument that, with other businesses pulling back on advertising, there are opportunities for others to attract new customers at lower costs. Keep an eye on the right time to reduce ad budgets since there may be opportunities - you may find that you haven't, and won't, need to reduce ad spend.

Econsultancy's Q3 2020 Review found that e-commerce growth has sharply accelerated - reflecting a switch in habits towards even more online shopping. Their findings show that, in the UK, e-commerce as a proportion of all retail grew from 20% to 30% in just eight weeks. It previously took 10 years to grow from 10% to 20%. Speaking to one of our Business members, they found that the start of a recession was one of their best months ever for e-commerce sales as their competitors were pulling ad spend. This shows that there are exceptions to reducing ad spend - for example, if you can make increasing it or maintaining it work in your sector. We will also consider options for boosting lower-cost organic traffic in this section. 16. Re-examine your top traction channels We think the Marketing Bullseye framework explained by Gabriel Weinberg in his book ‘Traction’ is a great, simple way to re-examine media priorities. The Bullseye Framework You can see that the bullseye contains many options for reviewing online and offline media. Gabriel's recommendation is to agree to the top three and then identify the next six techniques to really help you focus. Consider which techniques are most effective during business-as-usual and then how they might change during the pressure of a recession. 17. Apply the 70:20:10 rule to your media to reduce paid ad budgets in the right places Do you know the 70:20:10 rule of marketing? This is all about focussing on what will get you the biggest returns. The 70% refers to your core activities that drive sales volumes at an effective cost per acquisition. You need to focus strongly on protecting these activities based on a review of how competitor activity is changing.

The Smart Insights Content Distribution tool will help you review the Paid, Owned and Earned media options in terms of the value of the investment. It works both to review the effectiveness of existing media investments or when considering future investments. In most cases, it's worth removing budget from relatively untested new media. However, there can be options to get an edge by adopting new techniques your competitors haven't adopted yet.

18. Focus more time on content to support organic search With much external activity curtailed and the potential that many staff will work from home, there are opportunities to focus more staff time on organic search. If the decline in new and existing business means more people outside of marketing have more time to put into writing, then harness this if you can. 19. Understand changes in search intent and target new changes in Google Ads A deep recession will affect demand, but at a different level for different audiences and products. Use tools like Google Trends and Google Ads Keyword Planner to forecast changes in preference. You can then respond to them using changes in Google Ads or social ad budgets. Better to use this approach to anticipate future changes than wait to see the impact weeks down the line.

  • Google has issued this advice on reviewing your Google Ads campaigns

Update your keyword targeting accordingly by working on a search gap analysis - our template is the perfect starting point. This will give you a better view of changes than search ranking software since it shows visits to your site for organic and paid search side-by-side. It will also enable you to identify areas of opportunity. 20. Increase your blog frequency. Create more, not less, content If you have a blog, double down on this activity because an increase in longer, higher-quality articles will attract more backlinks and have better user engagement metrics - thereby increasing rankings and visits to the site overall.

SEO is a long-term initiative and you may take months rather than weeks to see your rewards, but every new page gets its opportunity in the SERPs of a high domain authority site. This can mean you'll see immediate returns with new content but also through optimizing existing content, a technique described in our next tip...

21. Use Historical Content optimization to boost visits, leads, and sales This article gives an example of how HubSpot has used what they call ‘Historical Optimization’ to more than double the number of monthly leads generated by the old posts they have optimized. They also increased monthly organic search views of old posts, optimized by an average of 106%.

Act - generating leads using the best content and customer journeys

Act is short for Interact, and it’s about encouraging interactions. In practical terms, it involves two main techniques: improving your content strategy and the digital experience of your desktop and mobile pages to support prospects on the ‘path-to-purchase’.

It’s also about persuading site visitors or prospects take the next step: the next action on their journey after they initially reach your site or social network presence. It also involves planning campaigns to encourage more interactions, this is where we start. 22. Use innovative, high-impact campaigns to get cut-through In a recession, in both B2C and B2B markets, it will be harder to get cut-through to generate demand for products through campaigns. In light of this, brainstorming campaign approaches that haven't been run by your company or competitors becomes more important. Looking beyond your sector at other types of businesses may give you novel ideas of how you can use different types of campaign hooks whether they involve different concepts, humour or personality. 23. Keep blog and campaign content in the context of the moment Innovation is good, but it's worth remembering to be sensitive at the time of the recession. Although dark humour may get you awareness, you’re also trying to develop brand favorability, so keep campaign themes sensitive. Econsultancy recommends: “While brands obviously want to minimize losses, given that coronavirus is a threat to human health, this is the type of crisis that calls for brands to put people before profit”. They give the example of, which took advantage of its force majeure rights and established a policy under which affected properties were expected to issue refunds and waive any cancellation costs. Previously planned campaigns need to be sense-checked for 'tone-deafness'. In the Coronavirus recession, sending a subject line: “Saying Hello to Paradise Has Never Been Better” will not resonate. The message has no recognition of coronavirus or the associated anxiety that people are feeling. There may be opportunities to be compassionate, but also keep an eye to the future. For example, U-Haul offered 30 days of free self-storage for college students displaced by the coronavirus. It appears generous but intended to bring in new business, some of which will probably convert to paid accounts after 30 days.

24. Reassess your content strategy through content mapping and ideation You can make the most of your online interactions with prospects if you have the very best content to support buyers through their buyer journey. Reviewing content across the top, middle and bottom of funnel compared to your competitors can show gaps. Here is a consumer example showing different types of content for each stage in the journey: Another approach is to brainstorm different tools and content types you could use, as in the image below showing B2B content mapping options.

Ask yourself: what are your largest gaps which give the best opportunity? 25. Invest time to create 10X content On our blog, we regularly discuss 10X content. The essential idea is to get cut-through by creating unique value as this checklist shows: For inspiration in your ideation, see these 100+ examples of 10X content.

26. Apply the 70:20:10 rule to your content We applied this rule to Reach in the previous section. It can also be useful to apply this to your content activities as shown here: Writing in Social Media Today, Patricia Travaline suggests that:

  • 70% of content should be proven content that supports building your brand or attracting visitors to your site.

  • 20% of content should be premier content which may be more costly or risky but has a bigger potential new audience - for example, ‘viral videos’ or infographics.

  • 10% of content should be more experimental.

27. Content optimization Another data-driven technique to get more from your existing content is to review pages which have declined year-on-year or in recent months and work on testing and improving them.

We’ve designed our Content Optimization Matrix to help marketers audit and compare the pieces of content you should focus on improving to increase reach and conversion. We see the content types and individual content assets on any site as a portfolio - where some content will contribute a lot to the business, other types a lot less, and some with the potential to contribute more. 28. Use forward and reverse path analysis to increase lead generation A forward path analysis considers how people move forward through a site from key landing pages. A reverse path analysis works backwards from a page to determine previous pages people came from on your site. Reverse path analysis is of most value when working back from a key outcome page such as a lead generation form or checkout page to see which pages refer the most visits.

Our e-learning module 'Improve your website customer journeys' has videos explaining the tools in Google Analytics and reports to use. Hotjar is a commonly used, cost-effective tool for journey mapping.

29. Use site-wide prompts to generate leads So far, you may have shied away from these, but you should consider it if you haven't and test alternatives. Examples include:

  • Masthead prompts or links to special offers in the navigation or below the navigation.

  • Light boxes or pop-ups testing discounts or competitions.

  • Prominent calls-to-action, both at the top of the page and the end.

Our experience is that creating prompts using low-cost tools like Hellobar, AppSumo, OptinMonster or Evergage can increase your leads by double-digit percentages. So, persuade more of your traffic to act by testing which options work best. then refine them further. For example, we found that by adding testimonials to our free membership pop-up we increased new contacts to our database by 10% 'overnight'.

30. Re-target smarter to generate better leads Ad retargeting involves displaying a ‘follow-up reminder ad’ to engage someone after they have already shown potential interest in a brand through ad, website or mobile app interactions. It's often used to support conversion to sale - you will, for example, have seen it used by retailers. However, it's often a missed opportunity in other sectors failing to use it to remind people to return to a site.

As summarized here, there are lots of opportunities to choose from :

Convert - increasing both online and offline conversion to sale

The Convert stage involves communications techniques that can be used to increase conversion to sale.

It's about getting your audience to take that vital next step which turns them into paying customers - whether the payment is taken through online e-commerce transactions or offline channels. Often, conversion will include both online and offline channels.

31. Set up or scale up your A/B testing or CRO program Conversion rate optimization or ‘CRO’ for short, is aimed at getting more from your media investments by increasing leads or sales from visitors to your site. You may know of it as ‘A/B testing’, where different versions of a page are served to visitors to see whether new imagery, messages or offers can be used to increase conversion rate.

Today, you can use Google Optimize as a free tool which can be integrated with Google Analytics to run simple tests without the need for coding - reducing strain on Dev teams.

32. Reduce conversion friction There are many ways you can do this to give reassurance or to make the purchase more manageable. These are an obvious area to test and include:

  • Discount coupons.

  • Free delivery (above a purchase threshold).

  • Providing finance options which become more important in a recession.

  • Improving testimonials, reviews or accreditation.

33. Design patterns Design patterns are a really strong technique for creating more effective user experiences, but we don’t hear them discussed so much by marketers. I think this is a missed opportunity since identifying design patterns that your competitors use can help with benchmarking and improving your conversion.

For example, in business-to-business marketing, it's common for the home page and product pages to have elements or panels like this:

  • Features and/or benefits

  • Solutions – by business size and sectors

  • Customers list – testimonial

  • Independent accreditation

  • Performance/scale/satisfaction benchmarks

  • Brand – Why us/‘reasons-to-believe’

  • Marketing outcome CTAs – demo or quote

  • Lead gen stripes – whitepapers

  • Integrations (if relevant)

  • Partners (if relevant)

If you compare and test your page elements as part of a testing programme, this can make a huge difference.

Here are some examples of design patterns from a B2B phone service provider for a ‘Why Choose Us’ panel, which is a key message: An example of features and value proposition: An example of credibility: 34. Improve your welcome email program At its simplest, a welcome email program is a single line courier email saying 'thank you for subscribing'. Of course, this does nothing to build brand preference.

Options include:

  • Improve branding to communicate the value proposition to your first email.

  • Add a multi-step welcome sequence.

  • Add targeting to the multi-step email campaign.

Think about how you can extend your program - the first few emails you send to new subscribers will always be the most responsive so, if you don't do these already, these could be some of the highest impact 'quick-wins' on this list.

We've got lots of examples in our email marketing learning paths and quick wins if you're looking for further inspiration. 35. Improve your nurture email programme Don't stop at welcome emails, consider your whole email programme for techniques you could use for different touchpoints. See the examples in the 'engage section'.

36. Improve targeting across your email program How well do you target your emails? Our research suggests many send the same message to one single audience, whether it's a welcome email or a special offer.

Use your automation system to target welcome sequences, where different messages are sent to different audiences (for example, segmenting by gender or business role). You can also segment newsletters and campaigns to boost relevance and response.

It's highly likely your email platform supports this already, so it's worth taking the time to get to know these features.

37. Deploy conversational marketing tools

Gartner defines conversational marketing as: “Conversational marketing technologies enable interactions between companies and customers that mimic human dialogue and do so at scale.”

You will know this as LiveChat or chatbots. Livechat is established, but there are a new set of tools such as Intercom and Drift that are proactive rather than reactive. You can deliver relevant messages while someone is on the website rather than attempting to 'nudge' via an email they receive much later.

Using Intercom has been transformational for Smart Insights since we can engage website visitors in a dialogue which gains a much higher response than an email. Check them out if you work in B2B marketing and haven't trialled them.

38. Re-targeting to support nurture and conversion Retargeting ads to encourage conversion to sale is a well-established technique in retail sectors, but it's possible to do in all sectors. Using Google Remarketing or Facebook custom audiences to retarget on Facebook or Instagram are good options to test - LinkedIn also offers similar functions.

Engage - improve loyalty through customer communications

The Engage stage involves long-term customer engagement. It’s aimed at building a long-term relationship with first-time buyers to build customer loyalty. This may be through repeat purchases using communications on your site, social presence, email, or direct interactions to boost customer lifetime value.

Many success factors for improving customer retention are well-known and you should work on them relentlessly. For example, try running great onboarding campaigns for new customers, working to understand and improve your loyalty drivers, and improving your customer service.

The trouble is, they won't help you in a recession by giving you the immediate benefits you need. So, for the ideas in this section, we'll focus on some practical techniques that will help you tap into your existing customers as your biggest asset to encourage repeat purchase AND new purchases.

Email is still one of the most effective channels for customer communications, regardless of audience and sector, so we start here and then move on to social media.

39. Refine your customer loyalty email program Email is so effective since you can target based on many categories and you can deploy different types of email based on interactions.

Enchant recommends considering these five options:

  • Thank you reminder emails. Maintain positive customer relationships by letting them know they’re appreciated. An email campaign is the perfect way to thank them for being part of your brand journey and to get their attention. Here's an example:

  • Reward redemption emails - these are points promotions for customers where offers are given based on the number of accrued points.

  • Reward expiration reminder email - these work well with loyalty programs, sales vouchers or gift coupons, and automated emails can be set up to send messages to customers when the expiration date is approaching.

  • Top customer emails and perks - You can offer your top customers gold, platinum or diamond status or you can offer them exclusive perks, such as free shipping or invites to special events. Really make them feel like they have achieved this “VIP” status.

  • Surprise and delight emails - one way to delight customers is by sending them an automated and highly personalized Happy Birthday email.

40. Update your customer newsletter program If your newsletter is delivering the same message to everyone, you can boost response by tailoring it better to your audience depending on different targeting criteria. Targeting options to consider are:

  • Demographics - for example, age, gender or location.

  • Lifecycle stage - tailor emails based on the number or value of purchases.

  • Purchase behaviour - link emails to categories.

  • Browsing behaviour - link content to browsed categories (a form of retargeting).

  • Interaction - time emails based on most common interactions.

Again, use the power of email automation to insert dynamic content that helps personalize the context of emails received. This example shows where this has been achieved: Changing your email frequency is another option to test. Increasing frequency may give you an uplift during a recession by highlighting your content in the inbox more. 41. Reboot your win-back email campaigns Previous customers will know what you can offer and, if they have had a favourable experience, might be open to returning to you if they have an immediate need and the proposition is right. Here are two examples with quite different creative approaches: Active Campaign recommends sending five types of win-back email sequence, in this order:

  • Remind people you exist - Things happen, and a simple “hello” email will get some people to start interacting with your messages again.

  • Offer an incentive - If a “hello” wasn’t enough, offering an incentive can nudge people who are on the fence about buying again.

  • Ask for feedback - People like giving their opinions. Even if they don’t buy, you get information that can help you improve your marketing.

  • A last chance email - Tell people that you’ll unsubscribe them unless they respond to this email.

  • Unsubscribe - You’ve unsubscribed the contact, but let them know in case they want to come back.

Finally, we'll look at some practical social media options to consider. Social media isn't as responsive as email, but it can be powerful in reaching new audiences based on advocacy and targeting.

42. Engage customers creatively to encourage social sharing We love the way that the retailer runs its Facebook page since it almost makes household goods ‘sexy and fun’... well, almost! AO get a lot of engagement through simple ploys like asking the audience to get involved, whether it’s counting rubber ducks in a dishwasher or how many beers are in a fridge-freezer. With millions of followers, social sharing can create awareness beyond the customer base.

43. Update your social update themes and cards The changes brought to your customers and market make it worth re-examining the types of social media updates. These could include:

  • New discount themes

  • New offers

  • New audience appeal

As we suggested in the Plan section, use tools like Hootsuite to review how competitors are changing their types of social updates.

Boosting the frequency of your social updates can also give benefits of better visibility in the social feeds of your audience - tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can help automate this.

  • Facebook released this guide to building business resilience during COVID-19

44. Test video content shared to social Many businesses have had great results with sharing video content to social media. If you haven't trialled this, now could be the time since it can be relatively cost-effective if you are creative.

45. Leverage audience insights to target communications For our final recommendation, we return to the data-driven approach. Take time to learn from the insights about your customers and competitors.

Customer insights Here, Facebook Audience Insights gives details about audience characteristics for gym owners. You can also review information about specific pages. If you work in B2B marketing, LinkedIn campaign manager offers a feature to understand your website visitors who overlap with the LinkedIn audience. Here we can see job function and role for Smart Insights. Using this we can see the potential to develop advice for audiences beyond our core marketer audience. Competitor insights Facebook and LinkedIn are also strong on competitor benchmarking. Here, Facebook enables you to compare your audience growth and engagement to competitors you select. LinkedIn also gives you information about your growth and engagement rates compared to competitors it deems as similar. Track your post reads, comments, likes and shares to fuel your efforts to boost your growth and engagement rates on social media.

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