Smart marketing keeps you connected to your prospects when you can’t connect in person
Are marketing automation and strategic content still part of your sales and marketing strategy?
Maybe as you read that you thought, “Ex-CUSE me, but I’m busy trying to keep my company alive during a pandemic-recession-depression! I don’t have time to worry about that.”
Fair answer. After all, we’re not even out of one of the most challenging periods in our country’s history and there are still so many unknowns:
- How long will this uncertainty last?
- Will your customers come back?
- How do you meet new customers when so many are working from their homes?
- Can you safely bring your employees back to work?
- Can you keep your employees safe and keep your business running at enough capacity to remain viable?
Fact is, the business world is going through so many changes that it’s hard to get a handle on anything now. But one thing we’re confident in saying is this:
DON’T GIVE UP ON MARKETING.
In down times, marketing is often the first expense to take a hit. After all, if you have loyal customers and a good reputation, why not direct that money to operational costs, right? Marketing can wait.
Well…maybe not. Take a look at this article, which neatly summarizes studies showing that companies that balanced cutting costs and continuing to invest in activities to help them grow—like advertising—came out of recessions better prepared to survive.
It makes sense. A company not only needs new business to thrive, it needs to keep current customers from becoming ex-customers. Effective marketing tactics help you retain customers and attract new prospects.
Yes, it may be a slimmed-down, lower-cost version of marketing, but sustained marketing efforts will prevent you from scrambling to chase after competitors when things take an upturn. Especially since we have no idea when trade shows, conferences, company visits and other in-person opportunities to nurture relationships and leads will make a comeback—if they ever do.
This is where marketing automation and strategic content becomes an even more indispensable part of your effective sales and marketing strategy.
Even before the current situation, the days of in-person sales calls were (largely) in the past. No doubt your sales area is taking advantage of phone calls, but it never hurts to have another, more personalized way to reach out to prospects and stay in touch with customers.
That’s where marketing automation can help. Marketing automation platforms work in tandem with your CRM software to create email, social or advertising “conversations” that more precisely speak to your audience’s needs and interests.
As an example, the marketing automation platform Pardot syncs with the Salesforce CRM solution to automate common marketing tasks. You can track customer behavior, manage web forms, track performance, create digital marketing campaigns with several stages of nurture, analyze results and ROI, and score leads. Even better, you can personalize email campaigns and landing page content for different recipients.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can take advantage of marketing automation to personalize your digital interaction, check out our informative blog article, Don’t be Scared of Marketing Automation.
Another way to keep your marketing machine primed in lean times is with content. Whether you write it yourself or outsource it, whether you reuse previous content in new ways or share others’ content (with acknowledgement, of course), content that educates, speaks to your prospects’ pain points and sometimes even says a little bit about your company’s values is one of the best tools in your sales and marketing strategy.
Keep in mind that “content” doesn’t have to be new blog articles, cranked out X number of times per week (although enlightening articles or white papers are always good choices for information-starved prospects). It can be snippets from previous articles, used as social media posts. It can be that plant tour video you never had a chance to post, or photos of your employees participating in charitable causes. Or, it can be the landing page for one of your automated e-mail campaigns.
In fact, when done right, a landing page can be one of your best sales tools. How do I make my landing pages more effective, you ask? Try these 7 easy tips.
Of course, the best content is used to nurture leads along the buyer’s journey (and let’s face it, buyers probably need more nurturing now than ever!). Understanding what information buyers need during the awareness, consideration and decision phases and creating content that informs, educates and helps prospects along that path is far more effective than blasting emails or posting generic material. Read Content for Each Stage of the Sales Funnel to learn more.
From Adversity, Opportunity
It may sound cliché, but making your marketing efforts work smarter without breaking the bank is the best way to stay top of mind in uncertain times.
To get ahead of the curve, now is the time to continue reaching out to your audience—even when the reaching is limited to virtual. Marketing automation and the judicious use of content to attract prospects at the right place in their buying journey—and keep customers interested, too—are two of the most effective ways to establish your status as an authority they’ll follow to an eventual sale and beyond.
Would you like to develop a marketing automation and content strategy to keep your business surviving and thriving through challenging times? Drop Sean Hickey, Director of Strategic Growth, an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.