It has been a long year… Being in my own state of lockdown for nearly a year has completely blurred the last three hundred and sixty odd days into one long weird haze. This pandemic has really made a mess of the economy, putting it lightly. Watching as friends and family are furloughed, made redundant, or even lost their business has been awful. There is little that anyone can really do under circumstances like these… these force majeure Hollywood situations. But alas, here we are.
All is not lost, though. I have watched at least a dozen colleagues found new businesses in the ashes of their old ones when the travel industry was decimated, and it is a constant reminder that no matter what, resilience is what keeps us going. There is no guarantee in business, and these guys knew it. In the face of losing everything, they knew when to fold, and focused their energy on rebuilding, and quickly, rather than worry about the loss and change. Watching them pivot has been inspirational.
In the last year, I’ve been bombarded with questions about what to do during a pandemic. My hands-on experience with pandemics has been zilch, which is great for me as a person but offered no first hand experience I could draw upon, however, there were a few situations that I was able to reference to provide sufficient advice. If you don’t know me, I’m one of those who doesn’t like to advise on something I haven’t experienced myself, as whatever I say would only be partial or theoretical knowledge.
Advertise always, especially in a pandemic
It’s hard, I know, to keep advertising going when you are watching the world around you crumble, but it might be the one thing that saves your business. Advertising only works as long as it’s working. You see, when you stop reminding people about your business’s existence, you cease to exist for them, unless you are already a household brand (yet they still advertise to stay in their number one spots!). Your business is important to YOU. It’s the key to your survival and success, and provides you with a purpose. Your business is not that important to anyone else; their work is important to them, their friends, family, education, kids, or neighbours are all important to them, but your business is nowhere on their priority list and can be very easily forgotten.
We have all bought or were given clothing from a homemade “indie” brand at some point. Do you remember the name of them without checking the label? (No, the brands you love and frequently buy aren’t relevant for this test.) Let’s say you have 100 customers purchase from your business, and 10 of them were brand ambassadors who frequently purchase and are stable, returning customers. The other 90 need to be constantly reminded of you, else they will forget and possibly purchase from the first business that pops up on their radar if they are looking for a product or service you offer. Now, while the 10% are returning, and keep the lights on, it’s the other 90% that can take you to the next level, and we all want to be at the next level. And this is why advertising is important.
If advertising wasn’t important, you would not get weekly emails from companies that you bought one thing from five years ago. And if it wasn’t effective, do you think they would still be sending you those emails? Advertising is important if you want to get your business out there and stay out there.
“I don’t have money, how can I advertise?”
If only I got a quid for every time someone asked me this… One can dream, yeah?
Advertising without money, possible or impossible? I don’t believe in impossibilities, and I also don’t believe that advertising solely needs money thrown at it. Most businesses don’t actually market their business correctly, and then wonder why it doesn’t work. (I will be writing a piece on this soon so subscribe to get it!)
This is what you do:
Revamp your marketing strategy – take it back to the bare basics and figure out where you should be marketing, how and why.
Invest in a blog for your website – SEO is important, yes, but an active blog offers so many opportunities that it’s stupid to ignore it.
Email marketing is still alive and kicking, so get everyone you know to subscribe to your emails, and then ask them to pass it on to people they think will enjoy your content (this is where your blog is valuable)
Then you look at social media for dissemination and advertising. Nothing in life is free, especially social media, so you will have to be smart about this. If you do not have any money whatsoever for advertising, then you have to roll up your sleeves and make the time to plod away at engaging people the old way. Send messages out, reply to comments, join groups, start conversations, get in front of people’s faces.
Think of this like the good old days before the internet. Remember when you had to print flyers and then if you could not afford to get them send with the post office, you had to stand in high traffic areas and hand them out to everyone as they passed? This is just as annoyingly time consuming, but like those flyers, you either pay for someone else to hand them out or do it yourself.
There is a lot more to advertising than just the above but if you’re just trying to get off the ground and on a limited budget, these are the parts that you want to focus on. If you spread yourself too thin, you will not have much success in any areas.
One more thing…
Automate where you can. Do not be afraid to get some software to help you automate as much as you can to make your time and energy spent more efficiently. Use email marketing like Mailchimp to keep on top of your email campaigns and something like Hootsuite to get your social media messages out in bulk. Spend a little on productivity so that you can maximise that time elsewhere. You have 24 hours in a day, spend 8 of them resting (burnout is a bitch) and spend the other 16 wisely.
About TILT Creative Agency
TILT Creative is a UK based creative agency specialising in content creation and managed solutions for blogs, websites, branding and social media. Désiré, the chief writer, artist and strategist behind TILT Creative Agency, has worked with a variety of clients (from startups to luxury brands) across all kinds of industries (such as automotive, beverage, construction, oil and gas, tourism, and health and safety) all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Dubai, Africa, America and the Caribbean.
TILT Creative’s core philosophy is to change the perspective, or ‘tilt’ it. How can you TILT your business? Could it be a brand refresh, a better experience on your website, or perhaps a stronger blog strategy? Maybe writing a book on your expertise could skyrocket your company’s credibility and revenue?
Désiré’s work quality stems from her ability to infuse your brand’s story with the essence of abstract creativity, and disseminate a unique experience that stimulates the senses to your customers on an individual level, while meeting your business’ objectives. Her comprehensive research process, attention to detail, and pursuit of perfection embellishes every piece of her work: writing and design. The results are always favourable.