It’s not a case of “if” but ”when” the economy will bounce back. Although it may not feel like it, each day that passes gets us closer to a return to better days when the economy kicks back into gear.
And that means you’d best get your organization and your brand ready to grow and capitalize on new opportunities. Because the last thing you want, after a sharp downturn, is to be in a position where you’re unable to absorb demand, have to turn away new customers, or fall behind your competitors.
So to help you get into shape, we’ve outlined 14 key marketing projects you should handle now while it’s quiet, so you’re ready when demand bounces back.
No more procrastination.
It’s time to take action on all those projects you kept putting off because you never had the time.
Let’s dive in.
1. Update your skillset
Now is the perfect time to learn new skills. With the economy slowing down, many of us have extra time on our hands. And while it’s good to recharge and spend quality time with our families, it’s also ideal for learning new things or improving existing skills.
With that in mind, we put together our Lockdown Guide, which has 80+ resources to help you boost your career, including online classes, webinars, podcasts, blogs, and documentaries:
If you’re managing a team, then you’ll want to structure a learning program, so team members learn the skills required to cover all aspects of your business.
2. Perform customer research and market analysis
As we’re in a reflective mood right now, this is also a good time to talk to your customers and canvas their opinion on your brand, product, or service.
Don’t overwhelm them with too many questions. Keep your survey tight and focused on a specific area, such as your customer service, or your product roadmap, or ask for their feature requests.
Another option is to start crunching your historical analytics data to reveal more in-depth insights into your marketing and business performance. For example, you could review your social media analytics, website analytics, or advertising campaigns.
3. Capture your customer success stories
Creating case studies usually involves interviewing and collating data from several sources, so why not use this quiet time to start the ball rolling.
Plan which customer success stories you’d like to feature on your website and start reaching out to your customer contacts. It’s likely that your customers are also experiencing a quiet time and would welcome the opportunity to engage in interviews.
Remember, case studies and customer testimonials are powerful marketing materials that you can use in different formats. For example, if you conduct video or audio interviews, you can repurpose the original material into soundbites or snippets for web and social platforms.
Joel Klettke from Case Study Buddy highlights why customer success stories are an excellent source of evergreen content to produce now:
4. Update your editorial line, brand guidelines, and brand governance
Time for a hard look at your branding, including the dreaded brand governance.
With all the change that’s happening at the moment, you may need to make quick updates to your editorial line.
Is there something to drop? Or Change? Or add? If you have anything that may be considered risky in the current climate, then ditch it before your brand gets harmed.
On the other hand, this may be the time to revamp your brand guidelines, ready to launch when the economy bounces back.
And your brand governance should no longer be a set of rigid laws. It needs to be flexible to the needs of different audiences, platforms, and messages. The current situation underlines that fact. You have to adapt and pivot as times change. So dig out your brand governance document and see what needs updating.
5. Update or redesign your website, blog, and social media accounts
With time on your hands, it’s easy to think about making a quick update to your website, blog, or social media accounts.
But dabbling without a plan could make things worse rather than better. And an update is different to a redesign. So start by evaluating:
- Does my website/blog/social media account need a few minor updates or a complete redesign?
- Do I know what I’m doing, or do I need to hire a design team to help?
- What do I want to achieve with this update/redesign? Is it just aesthetics, or do I have some content I need to add, or misleading content that I need to fix?
If you decide you need a redesign with outside help, then it would be wise to hire an experienced project manager to keep things on track and budget so that you’re ready when the economy takes off.
6. Set up scalable processes and agile workflows
If there’s one thing the current situation has taught us, it’s that we need to be agile.
As the saying goes, “You never know what’s around the corner.”
But that doesn’t worry agile teams. Because they know how to focus on high-impact tasks rather than getting entrenched in cumbersome processes.
If you’re still working the old way, here are two scalable processes and workflows to embrace:
- Set up an agile marketing team
- Use an agile social media workflow
Agile marketing works by building a dedicated cross-functional team that meets regularly (but not necessarily in person) to:
- Review progress
- Understand new insights
- Explore strategy changes
- Adjust current goals
- Set new high-priority tasks
A social media workflow helps your marketing team consistently:
- Streamline processes
- Reduce errors
- Publish at a much faster rate
- Save money
Make the most of your time to investigate and implement these ideas.
7. Evaluate new tools
Everyone likes playing with new tools. It’s just that we often don’t have the time.
But now we do, so why not test some new software and see whether it can enhance or replace your current line-up of marketing tools?
Warning: don’t get blinded by “shiny new object” syndrome!
Think about what tools you currently have and how things could be improved. Is there a bottleneck in your approval process? Are you missing out on YouTube marketing and TikTok publishing?
Talking of free trials:
8. Explore your existing tools
Sometimes you don’t need new tools. You just need to explore your existing tools and get more use out of them.
Check if your vendor has some product tutorials that you can follow or some webinars you can watch that highlight a new or updated feature.
9. Create or update your marketing plan
Did your marketing plan go out the window when coronavirus struck? Most likely, it did. Or at least some of it disappeared.
Although everything remains uncertain at the moment, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t create or update your marketing plan. You could even build in some contingency or pivot points so you can adapt quickly as the rest of the year unfolds.
Here’s a five-step framework you can follow:
- Take a snapshot of your brand’s current situation.
- Define your target audience’s new priorities.
- Make a list of your marketing goals.
- Research marketing tactics.
- Set your marketing budget.
Your refreshed editorial plan may include:
- Product launches
- Sales (seasonal and flash)
- Promotions and discounts
- Positive contributions to your community
- Featuring your customers
10. Maintain your existing content
With more time on your hands, it’s worthwhile auditing your existing content and checking what could be improved, and by how much it needs improving.
As Robbie Richards says:
You can watch Robbie’s tutorial video and grab his free template to help you identify some “quick win” opportunities.
For instance, an article may need a complete rewrite, which usually involves starting from scratch and perhaps using one or two pieces of the old material.
And it may also involve writing and structuring the article differently. It’s worth checking the current Top 10 search results for your keywords to see what type of content is ranking. For example, is Google serving How-to posts, or Listicles, or Tutorial Videos?
Other pieces of content may only need a small update. For instance, updating those “Definitive 2019 Guides” for 2020, or refreshing the images on updated product screenshots.
Whatever the case, make sure your existing content is looking good.
11. Repurpose your existing content
As well as maintaining content, you can repurpose existing content in another format.
For instance, you could create:
- Slide decks from blog posts
- Infographics from videos or blog posts
- Blog posts from videos or podcasts
- Ebooks from blog posts
- Short video clips from a long video
Blog posts, in particular, contain loads of content that you can use in social media posts.
For example, we took the books’ covers from our blog post, The 10 Books Every Social Media Marketer Should Read, and created a simple Instagram slider.
But there are plenty of other ways we could have repurposed the blog content for social media, like:
- Posted our favorite quote from each book.
- Created a 30-second video review of each book.
- Turned the post into a shareable infographic.
- Created a live video where we talk about these ten books.
- Created a three-sentence summary of each book and posted it as an individual post.
12. Explore the world of video marketing
Have you been weighing up the idea of using video marketing? Now could be a good time to experiment.
There are so many different types of video content to use in your marketing, such as product demonstrations, tutorials, customer interviews, and live broadcasts.
Decide how you want to incorporate video into your overall marketing strategy. Here are three examples:
- YouTube Channel: check our YouTube Marketing Guide
- Video Ads: check our Facebook Ads Guide
- Video webinar/podcast/show: check The Confident Live Marketing Podcast and Show
13. Experiment with growth hacks
During the downtime, you can also try some growth hack ideas and content experiments – the sort of thing you always fancied trying but never had the time.
Growth hacks can be used by brands and marketing teams of any size, on any budget… just be prepared for growth.
Here are five content-focused growth hacks:
- Create “trickle-down” Facebook ads: to increase engagement and organic reach.
- Add videos to your posts: to increase “dwell time” and your rankings.
- Extend the life of your videos: by editing them into standalone content for other channels.
- Create intent-based Facebook audiences: and reach those most likely to buy.
- Grow your CEO’s LinkedIn profile: and leverage users’ desire for human connection.
14. Take care of your employer brand
Things will return to normal one day. And when the time arrives it’s likely that you, along with many other companies, will need to hire employees again.
In the meantime, you need to take care of your employer brand.
What does that entail?
“Employer branding is how you attract and engage potential employees and make the prospect of working for your brand truly exciting.
By telling an authentic story about what it is like to be a part of your company and work toward your mission, you can entice candidates who think and feel and strive for the same.
In fact, 72% of employers believe employer branding has a significant impact on the hiring process, and 75% of candidates take an employer’s brand into account before even applying.”
So, now is a good time to make sure you know your brand story, and you’re planting seeds whenever you have the opportunity.
For example, you can:
- Make sure your website is up-to-date and includes an About page with sections on the company mission and values, your team, and employee testimonials, like Shopify:
- Add a Career page, as we have at Loomly:
- Use social media to show what it’s like “behind-the-scenes” at your company, including your workspace, work activities, and social activities.
As you can see, it’s all about creating a positive image and dropping subtle hints about what your company is doing to make it a great place to work.
Key Marketing Projects In A Nutshell
Here’s a quick recap of the 14 key marketing projects we’ve outlined today:
- Update your skillset
- Perform customer research and market analysis
- Capture your customer success stories
- Update your editorial line, brand guidelines, and brand governance
- Update or redesign your web, blog, and social media accounts
- Set up scalable processes and agile workflows
- Evaluate new tools
- Explore your existing tools
- Create or update your marketing plan
- Maintain your existing content
- Repurpose your existing content
- Explore the world of video marketing
- Experiment with growth hacks
- Take care of your employer brand
You don’t have to tackle all of these projects. But you should definitely choose a few to get your brand in shape for when the economy bounces back.