rear-view-mirror-view-minThis year, we’re reviewing our lessons learned. While 2020 had its fair share of obstacles, it was nothing that we couldn’t prepare our clients for. We quickly shifted all clients’ marketing as the pandemic took hold, positioning them for growth and accommodating their audience’s needs. Thanks to our dedicated clients and team members, we have experienced a great year. And, in the midst of it all, we have learned these 11 valuable marketing lessons that we’re sure your business can benefit from. 

1. Don’t cut your marketing budget during a financial crisis.

We know that this has been a difficult year financially. As we’ve worked through this recession, Green Apple has made cuts of our own to ensure that we’re financially strong enough to serve our customers. We’re right there with you. However, cutting your marketing budget can hurt your business long-term, even when it might help it slightly in the immediate future. 

Your marketing team is there to protect you while helping you connect with your audience during difficult climates. By keeping your marketing team going at full force, you can more easily make your customers feel supported and, in the end, it will help you bounce back more quickly. You must also consider that if you cut your marketing budget and your competitor doesn’t, it could put you behind within your industry. 

2. Outsourcing to a marketing agency is always a good option.

For the most robust, effective marketing strategy, we recommend outsourcing to an agency. This strategic move allows you to get more out of your budget, as you’re working with a team that lives and breathes marketing, providing you with access to a wide range of services. Additionally, hiring an agency protects you from worrying about the overhead that comes with managing an internal marketing team—employee benefits, management time, turnover, etc. By outsourcing your marketing efforts, you can focus on your core business, doing what you love, and leaving the rest to the experts.

3. A virtual environment can boost creativity and productivity.

This year, after a great deal of soul searching, Green Apple Strategy transitioned to be a completely virtual team. We initially shifted to this model due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the longer we worked in this environment, the clearer it was that we work very well in this setting, and we hear the same from some of our clients. We saw that we had higher levels of productivity, a stronger team connection, and greater employee satisfaction. 

4. Communication is key when canceling or postponing an event.

No one wants to cancel or postpone an event, but it often becomes necessary for a variety of reasons: weather, health concerns, and scheduling conflicts, just to name a few. You’ve spent hours planning and preparing. But, now that your plans have changed, it’s time to think about how to press pause without making your audience feel uninformed or confused. The key to upholding your brand’s image is to be as transparent as possible. Think ahead about any questions that they might have and try to have those answered before they begin coming in. 

5. Rely on transparency when shifting your business during a crisis.

One of the many valuable lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic is that we have to keep our fingers on the world’s pulse. Whatever’s happening to our audience (and us, too) must be considered when planning a messaging strategy and marketing plan. The main strategy here, too, is to rely on transparency, getting ahead of questions and being as creative and positive as possible so that your audience feels like they’re in the know. 

6. Local SEO is an important pillar to your business.

A strong online presence is always important for local businesses, but the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified that need significantly. Local businesses could once rely on foot traffic and customers driving by, but now that everyone is in their homes ordering products online, web presence is an absolute necessity to survive. 

For local businesses, staying connected to the community is crucial during the pandemic. Without a strong local online presence, your audience may find your competitors online first in their “near me” searches. SEO marketing is one of the strongest tools in your toolbox when it comes to staying top-of-mind for your target market.

7. Proactive marketing (instead of reactive) keeps you ahead of the competition.

Marketing strategies vary greatly between industries; however, no matter what business we’re talking about, they all have one thing in common—a proactive marketing strategy is the best approach with the highest return on investment. Proactive marketing is defined by creating a campaign based on analytics and monitoring that campaign based on its overall effectiveness. Over time, the campaign is adjusted based on its performance, allowing your marketing to shift as needed so that you can stay ahead of the curve. 

8. Getting creative with social media can help your audience during times of crisis.

Social media is always a powerful tool, but it’s especially powerful during times of crisis. Your target audience is looking for information and empathy—but most of all, they’re looking for positivity and guidance in a time of uncertainty. You can use social media to provide your audience with the optimism they need. In tandem, a creative social media strategy can position your brand as a thought leader and keep you top-of-mind for your audience. Get creative with your social media efforts by providing your audience with the tools, information, and reassurance that they need.

9. Pay-per-click advertising is an effective piece of your marketing strategy.

Along with search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the most popular ways to increase brand awareness for your business and often has a fast return on investment (ROI). PPC is all about paying for advertising space for specific target keywords on search results pages and is one of the fastest ways to jump-start your business with traffic today.

10. Content marketing can propel your comprehensive strategy.

Content marketing puts you in front of your audience in numerous ways, one of which is search engine optimization (SEO). Now that your audience is practicing social distancing, they are searching the internet much more frequently. By identifying and targeting keywords in your content, you can be there for your customers with helpful information while also boosting your SEO. In addition, content marketing helps you position your business as a thought leader in your industry while also giving your brand a voice and tone. 

11. Creating a podcast is a great way to refresh your approach.

There are many creative ways to communicate with your audiences to keep them informed. One of those ways is through podcasting. If developing a branded podcast is something you’ve considered in the past, now might just be the best time for you to give it a launch! Podcasts allow your audience to interact with and learn from your brand in a new way while also bringing in new audience members who are searching for podcast episodes about your industry. 

Are you looking to take your marketing to the next level? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.