Marketing Lessons from Lockdown 1

At least there is an end in sight

As the country wakes up in a 3rd lockdown I have a distinct sense of Déjà vu. Is this what we went through last year again? I don’t think so and here’s a few reasons why.

o   There is an end in sight. Last year, no-one knew what the hell was happening and when it was all going to end. We hoped it would be 3 months, then we hoped it would be 6 months, now we’re in the 10th month of it! With two Vaccines being rolled out every day, there is hope that within a couple of months, things should be drastically different (not out of the woods, but different).

o   We’re all used to working in this way now. I’m not saying its easy, and I know for some, the thought of being alone for another couple of months is horrible but last time we were all completely thrown into this. Complete businesses had to up sticks and figure out how to do their work from home. We’re used to this way of working now, even if it’s not our preference.

o   There was widescale panic last time. I’m not a fan of the media at all when it comes to the commentary on this pandemic. I turned off the news in lockdown one after a month or so as It was mentally damaging for me, I could actually feel it. This time round, people know what’s needed of them and can hopefully crack on, as they were, albeit from home. I do appreciate that there are many businesses out there which now have their doors closed again completely and to those, we want to help where we can. You can always reach out to me and ask my advice on how your business can adapt. I’ll always do my best to help.

o   We learnt lessons. Or at least we should have done! We saw lots of fascinating ideas come to fruition in the early months of the pandemic. We saw our clients adapt their businesses and we saw some really clever and innovative moves from very astute people. That’s the main reason for this post really. To share what I saw.

Marketing Lessons we learnt from Lockdown 1

1). You can actually promote your services and products virtually. I must have spoken on at least one or two webinars a month over the last ten months. Before that I’d done two webinars my whole life. This is an amazing way to get your prospects/clients together in a virtual environment to teach / add value and ultimately sell your services (just don’t be too salesy if you can help it). The time we save, the ease of doing it, it was a huge win for marketing to come from this pandemic.

2). Sell online. Everyone I know in ecommerce benefited during the lockdowns. People were going online in their droves to search out products to buy. Quite simply, if you’re not there, you won’t benefit. To benefit ourselves, we took our digital marketing academy courses online and I have my own LinkedIn courses on Udemy. The sales of which soared over lockdown and geographical boundaries were knocked down. I’ve had nearly 21,000 people do my courses from 163 countries now! Incredible.

3). Budgets. We saw a number of people cut budgets but we also saw others raise them (ourselves included). What happened? The people who cut disappeared and had to try and build back up again later and the ones that kept going or increased, nailed it. The number of times I had people say to me they were seeing us everywhere during that first lockdown was astonishing and we picked up a lot of work because of it. You have to be brave.

4). Email Won. It became more acceptable to email our clients. To tell them we were ok, to start providing them with ideas and value to help their businesses. Email is such a direct way to get a message to someone but too many companies have fallen into the same hole of creating content for the sake of it – to sell or talk about themselves. In lockdown one, clever companies started to speak to their clients again in a more conversational manner and this helped their relationships.

5). Businesses adapted. Not strictly marketing this but none the less, if you adapt you do need to tell people and it gives you a reason to stay front of mind. An easily recognisable example of this were the restaurants who started offering takeaway services and promoted these through their marketing efforts. In Exeter, Harrys started to do Harrys at Home. We sampled it and now we’re hooked. We were actually gutted when they stopped doing it after re-opening! Other restaurants I know said it didn’t make commercial sense. I would question if they took into account the power of being in front of people all that time and having the chance to shine a light on their businesses as opposed to shutting up shop and letting dust settle on the tables. People switch allegiance easily in these times. I know what I’d have done.  

6). Video surged. Mainly on platforms like Instagram. I saw everything from successful hairdressing salon owners keeping their customers UpToDate with video messages through to rugby coaches doing short tips and lessons through the platform. All fantastic ways of keeping in touch with their clients. Super easy, super cost effective. Super.

7). Keep up the content and optimising for search. Some of the clients we had who carried on throughout last year didn’t see much of a dip at all in traffic but only where they were relentless in their content creation and optimisation. Local search also surged and the people that were still investing, were able to take advantage of this. I had to remind a few people through the year that you don’t simply turn this on and off, it’s a long play.

8). Personal Brand Investment. I saw (and was part of quite a few) examples of businesses being very clever and investing in their staff’s personal brands. In doing this, those staff attracted more work to those businesses. I ran workshops/seminars and presentations on this throughout the year and this year have been invited by one of the largest accountants in the region to be part of an exciting initiative in this space. One I’ll no doubt talk about more at some point.

So there’s a few to keep you going. If you need help, advice or a want to talk to any of my team about marketing in general, drop me a line. If you found unique ways of marketing during the lockdown then please do share, there will people out there who need the inspiration and help.