As times change, so too much our messaging. Back at the beginning of the pandemic (in other words, a lifetime ago), we all tweaked our messaging to reflect the times we were living in. Live events were moved online, we all stepped up the focus on empathy, compassion and transparency, and there was a lot of talk about “the new normal”. Now, as the pandemic seems – at long last – to be coming to an end, it’s time to take a look at how we market our businesses, and adapt our approach to this new phase.
We sometimes reduce the concept of marketing to posting about our offering on social media. As we move out of the pandemic, it’s time to get creative and take a broader view of promoting ourselves. Investopedia defines marketing as “activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service.” It’s not just making Reels and posting swipe-through guides: it incorporates a whole bunch of activities with the intention of spreading the word about what you do, and how you can help people through your offering. Beyond social media, how can you promote your business? Collaborations, networking and IRL events are all great options, and we’ll explore them in further detail later on.
Let’s take a look at 6 ways to approach your marketing post-pandemic.
Go with the flow
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt in the past 18 months, it’s that life is unpredictable (to say the least). As business owners, one of the best things we can do is to be flexible and adaptable. When it comes to marketing, time-sensitive content and news jacking work great, so it’s worth building in space in your planning to react to what’s going on in the wider world. It will also take time to suss how your audience is feeling, the type of content they best respond to, and how they want to be communicated with in this new phase. Go easy on yourself, and be ready to go with the flow.
Brand awareness is key in promoting your business. The more people that know about you and what you offer, the more likely you are to build your customer base. Networking is a great way to meet new people who might be able to help you out in your business journey, just as you might be able to help them out with theirs. Consider joining communities of like minded people, whether that’s IRL or online. Get involved with activities, coffees and events, and where appropriate, ask for feedback about your business and marketing. An outsider’s perspective is so valuable – and most solo business owners experience loneliness from time to time. Networking provides a chance to connect with people who just get it. We can really recommend Found & Flourish (biased? Not us!) – and you could also consider joining industry-specific communities or those that are local to you.
Keep your target audience at the forefront
The vast majority of small businesses have pivoted in some way during the pandemic. If you’re amongst them, it might be time to reevaluate your messaging and marketing strategies. Have you developed an in-depth customer avatar? If the answer is “not yet”, that’s a great place to start. Give them a name, and every time you write a social media post or plan an event, imagine you’re speaking directly to them. This will help you ensure your messaging is clear and consistent, and does what it intends to do. Better yet, why not conduct some casual market research? Have a virtual coffee with a few people who fit your ideal customer avatar, and ask them about their problems, pain points, and the types of messages that resonate with them.
Collaborate with like-minded businesses
As events start to take place, now’s the perfect chance to dive into collaborations. The trick here is to pick the right collaboration partner. Reach out to businesses who do something complementary to you – if you’re a copywriter, for example, pair up with a brand designer or an SEO specialist. If you sell homemade candles, consider pairing up with a skincare brand. Opt for companies that share your values and have a similar audience. That way, you’ll grow your brand awareness whilst helping the other business owner grow theirs. It’s a win-win, and it’s a lot of fun, too.
Build authentic relationships
Collectively, we’ve been through a lot. Authenticity and trust are more important than ever before, and this should be at the centre of your marketing activities. Avoid the temptation to exaggerate, make claims you can’t back up, or convince someone to join your course even though they’re not the right fit. Businesses who stay true to their values and focus on authenticity will be rewarded in the long-run. Build authentic relationships with potential customers in the DMs where possible, and if people reach out with questions about your brand or their order, always strive to provide 5* customer service.
Word of mouth goes a long way
On a similar note, one of the easiest ways to market your business is encouraging happy customers to spread the word. We always trust our friends’ recommendations, and their word holds a lot more weight than ours when it comes to marketing. It starts with offering a great product or service, and taking responsibility when things go wrong. Most of us understand that mistakes happen from time to time, but it’s how you react when they do that sets you apart. Got an unhappy customer? Go out of your way (within reason) to put things right, and you might find they end up coming back in the future. Consider rewarding your loyal customers through an affiliate or referral program – or even just dropping them a 15% off discount code from time to time to say thank you.
About your author
Phoebe is Found & Flourish’s resident Business blogger, she is London-born and Frankfurt-, Paris- and Amsterdam-raised. Combining her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship with 10 years writing for international publications, she’s the founder of BURO155 and Wellby, helping female entrepreneurs achieve their business goals through strategic online content. Phoebe is also a writer, and has written for outlets including the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Next Web, For Working Ladies and Restless Magazine.
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