What’s the best way of marketing your small business in lockdown? It’s a strange new world out there, with everyone staying home and normal sales channels closed. With this new series of articles, Rosie Johns will help you lock down a new marketing strategy for your small business. We’ll cover a range of topics such as social media and email marketing for small business, as well as lockdown content, discounts and offers. Whether you’re working solo or managing a small team, these tips, techniques and tutorials will help you boost the online presence of your business, reach new audiences and maintain your vital income throughout the lockdown.
In our last two sessions we looked at social media marketing and email marketing. Both are examples of content marketing (essentially, when you share content online to stimulate interest in your brand) and in this third guide, we’re looking at content in all its forms – and specifically, lockdown content!
Lockdown has induced some strange changes in the public: sourdough bread baking has seen an astronomical rise in popularity, for instance, as has everyone’s interest in gardening. With everyone finding new outlets for their energy and creativity, the appetite for online content certainly hasn’t decreased. So if you’re looking for a way to keep attention on your business, writing some interesting content for people to enjoy might be a great way of doing just that.
Lockdown content: what to post (and where)
You may be posting lockdown content without even realising it. Are you putting up posts on Facebook and Instagram about how your working life has changed now you’re stuck at home? That’s lockdown content, my friend. Your next step is to start recognising the value this content has as a marketing tool.
Don’t underestimate the importance of posting up content regularly – be that through social media posts, blogs or videos – because content marketing is powerful, and consistency is the key to making it a success.
You also shouldn’t be afraid to be honest in your lockdown content – if your creativity is suffering a hit, or your motivation is low, then you’re feeling how many of the people reading your content feel too. These days consumers are alert to the fake perfection many brands showcase in their marketing, so actually showing the human side to your business can make you more relatable and help create a bond of trust with your audience.
What’s the most effective type of content? There’s no easy answer to this question, as every type (and every platform) has its perks.
Social media: the advantages of social media content are that it’s often quick and easy to post (it takes much less time to write a tweet than a blog post) and you have a huge potential audience thanks to how popular the platforms are. On Twitter, people who don’t know your brand might see your tweet just because you include a relevant hashtag – people don’t generally stumble across new blogs or websites quite so easily.
Websites and blogs: it’s always a marketer’s core aim to get people visiting the brand’s website, because that’s generally where sales take place! If your audience are viewing content on your site – for instance a new gallery of images or a newsy article – you can easily guide them towards products they might be interested in.
Email: your email subscribers are a captive audience – they’ve decided to receive your emails because they want to hear what you have to say. Because of this, they’re more receptive to what you send out than other audiences. A carefully-crafted email can be a really successful marketing tool. Just remember that if your emails lack value (from the audience’s perspective), they won’t be successful. You can go over the basics of email marketing in our last guide.
How frequently should I be publishing content? Blog posts, social media posts and emails can be effectively used in tandem. Try to use social media (or schedule content for it) every day, whilst emails and blogs can be less frequent, for instance blogging once a week, and emailing once or twice a month. Social media should also be used as a tool to boost your other content – don’t forget to share your new blog post with your Facebook audience, for instance, and to put a link to your email on your Twitter feed (it might encourage new subscribers!)
What should I post? It’s a good idea to vary your content. Here are some examples of high value content your audience will enjoy:
- Tutorials – if you’re a maker or creative, think about making an easy tutorial for your followers to try out at home. Video is the ideal medium (you can use your phone to film yourself making something simple) but you could also write up a blog post and include some nice pictures.
- Q&As – invite your audience to ask all their most burning questions! This one is great for engagement. You could invite people to submit their questions in advance (through social media or email), or you could do a live Instagram story and take questions in real-time.
- Interviews – invite guests to feature on your channels. This could be in the form of an Instagram story or Facebook live, or you could go for a more traditional typed up interview. An advantage to engaging with other makers and brands is that you might find a cross-over audience (i.e. their fans might become your fans).
- Meet the Maker – give your audience more of an insight into the person behind the brand. If you’re part of a small team, you could conduct mini staff interviews. Or if you’re working solo, you could talk about how you started your business, where your inspiration comes from, and examples of your day-to-day challenges and rewards.
- ‘A day in the life’ – as someone who’s running their business from home, your lockdown life is a little different to everyone else’s. Give some insight into your new ways of working, the projects you’ve started and the new products you’re creating. To an outsider, it’s more interesting than you might think!
- Good news – If you’re doing anything positive or you have good news, share it! I’m probably joining the majority of people when I say I feel a bit starved of positivity these days, so anything that might make your audience smile is worth posting. Maybe (like Holy Yolks) you’re helping feed key workers, or (like Claire Hill) running giveaways for people who need a bit of cheering up.
I hope you’re feeling inspired and ready to dive into the strange new world of lockdown content. And though the current situation is only temporary, remember that the value of posting good content isn’t!
Do you need additional advice, support or input from a marketing professional? Contact Rosie Johns. Services include individually tailored marketing plans, email marketing, social media marketing and content creation for websites, blogs and other platforms.
Rosie has six years’ experience in marketing and communications, specialising in the arts and creative sectors. She has worked for companies including Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre and independent book publishers Seren.