Welcome to our Post-Lockdown Internet marketing kick-start guide. Here we share what we consider to be the best tips and direction we can offer in relation to kick-starting a business after months of little to no momentum – or should we say income.
Overview and introduction!
As a company that provides various marketing packages to various businesses, we hope our experience in this area may be of some use.
Kickstarting a business after a lull can be tricky indeed but it isn’t something unusual in our industry. We have quite a lot of experience in these areas. Garnered from two main sources.
Historically we have helped various stagnant websites become bottom-line workhorses. Relaunches and kickstarts are part and parcel of our industry. Over 90% of web pages listed in Google get zero traffic. We meet a lot of disappointed website owners.
More recently, we have also had experience specific to the effects of Coronavirus in relation to business.
We have been involved in the switch-off, restart, rebrand and relaunch of various web-based businesses in various industries during the lockdown. We’ve had a front-row problem-solving seat.
We’ve put in a lot of hours with businesses over the last two months. We’ve had a good chance to sit and really look at how business can get back to normal ASAP. We worked with companies through lockdown and launch.
The following guide is split into sections.
Some areas may not be relevant to you so pick and choose (there’s a handy menu at the top of this text). We will, as with all our internet marketing guides, keep this guide up-to-date and as informative as possible.
As we approach the end of lock-down things are changing rapidly. Please do bookmark this page and keep a regular check up as we predict changes to be frequent.
And if you see anything below you feel needs an update, feel free to let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page.
Market your return-to-usual date as soon as possible.
While this goes without saying you’ll be surprised how many business owners will simply open shop and sit back in the hope that momentum will just pick up. And it may well do, especially if you are a well-known brand that people have been waiting to reopen.
For most, it won’t!
Reopening a business after a lull can be like pushing a car. The initial push being the most difficult. Momentum is important in the running of any business and nothing kills it more than shutting shop for several months.
We have similar experience dealing with holiday periods or businesses that simply haven’t bothered with their websites for some time.
Those who shout about re-opening (before they re-open) after a holiday or lull tend to have a much better pick-up rate after a break than those who just open the doors.
This is exactly the same situation.
Having a set date for your relaunch gives you something to shout about. Once you know your return-to-usual date you can spread it far and wide. Mention it in your social media posts every time you post.
If you have a newsletter subscription list, a “Bounce Back” style newsletter could work wonders to put you back in the minds of your clients.
Essential Communication Point!
Make every effort to ensure your digital lines of communication are open before your physical business opens and make sure you are using as many lines of communication as possible.
This is a simple case of meeting people where they are. Let people use the communication systems and apps they like to use. Facebook messenger, text, email, Instagram DM’s, WhatsApp, telephone etc etc. The more lines of communication you have available, the more chance you have of receiving communication in the first place.
Once you have your lines of communication open your call-to-action strategy should work towards getting people communicating with you as much as possible.
“Now taking pre-orders! Enquire Now.”
“We’re back on the 20th. Booking Up Fast!”
“Ask us a question for more information.”
“Chat now to discuss future availability.”
These are the kind of call-to-action that can help you create initial buzz and even start pulling customers and clients in before you’re even released from lockdown.
If sales or bookings aren’t possible just yet, go for interaction – strike conversation. Chat. Communicating well with your potential customers is just as important as communicating well with your existing ones.
Get Deep into buyer personas.
Buyer personas relate to every single aspect of your entire digital marketing effort and improve success rates across the board. Buyer personas are one of the most under-utilised marketing tools out there. And one of the most powerful.
Every product or service out there has its most likely customer.
The chances are you already have a good idea of what kind of people buy your products and services. It is essential information for any business owner. After all, if you don’t know your own demographic, how are you going to reach them?
That said, “buyer personas” come with 3 amazing facts.
1, they are one of the best marketing tools a business has for crafting truly relevant content and marketing.
2, most business owners thoroughly believe they already know their perfect customers.
3, because of fact 2 “buyer personas” are one of the most underutilised marketing tools available.
Buyer personas are so good for marketing they are one of our staple guides in the DIY section of our website. Most useful for determining potential markets and laser sharpening content direction. Buyer personas get right into the deeper aspects of marketing.
They can be used at the individual product level, the industry level, or they can even be applied to find marketing paths and avenues when times are unusual. (That’s now by the way).
I won’t go into buyer personas too much here because we have an awesome guide dedicated to nothing else, complete with buyer persona creation template.
If you have never used buyer personas before – this article could be genuinely game-changing for you. Buyer personas help you transform and laser-target your marketing. They help you find pain points. They help you write better (more relevant) marketing content and they help you find the best places to market that content.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you already know you’re buyer personas. Sure every business owner or industry worker understands the standard traits of their customers. But buyer personas go several layers deeper. It’s a genuine technique that has transformed the fortunes of any business that takes the time to create, and work with, their buyer personas.
Buyer personas may not be a specific bounce-back, relaunch technique or method. But they will ensure the steps you take through your bounce-back campaign are infinitely magnified.
In normal times buyer personas give any business that utilises them a distinct advantage over those that don’t. Right now, they may just be the tool that tips your business momentum back into your favour!
Use the downtime to get tip-top and ready to sprint.
We are, of course, talking specifically about your internet properties here. Do you have a list of digital to-dos? Get it done. A few domains you want to repurpose? An on-site price change? Get it all done.
There is going to be a (possibly short-lived) bounce-back wave of general business when lockdown eases. Especially for businesses such as salons and hairdressers.
Nearly all businesses will want to be prepared to catch as much of this wave as possible. Not with just a couple of adverts, but by making sure every part of your online presence is in tune for your relaunch campaign.
The best way to approach this is by looking at your launch as an actual marketing campaign with a definite structure.
Lucky for you we have another awesome guide outlining the difference between adverts and marketing campaigns. Click here it’s well worth a read. This guide will get you up to speed on how a marketing campaign should be structured.
Combine this with our “Buyer Personas” and “return-to-normal” tips above and you’re looking at a SOLID relaunch marketing campaign. Sure, you’re also looking at a lot of work but is it not worth it?
In layman’s terms, at a normal working rate, 5 hours working on your buyer personas followed by 20 hours creating your campaign and content and you should be ready execute. Depending on your circumstances, 25 hours of well-focused effort might sound like a lot to fit in. Especially if you need it all doing today!
A well-planned marketing campaign will have you posting several bits of content per day, coupled with direct sales messages, for several weeks with ease. If you utilise techniques that induce communication and you react fast and with good nature (see “Avoid Being Negative” below) then you dramatically increase your chances of bounce-nack success.
The more you use the downtime the better your return will be. Besides, surely it’s easier to fit that 25 hours in now rather than after your doors open? You want that marketing to be already working for you when you open the doors, not two weeks down the line. A solid, well prepared, run-up campaign will help get that much needed momentum built.
If one form of business has been able to cater to the needs of lockdown – and in turn seen dramatic recent growth – it’s eCommerce.
From mail-order product sales to the wide and varied formats of electronic and service-based sales, eCommerce businesses have seen a dramatic increase in overall turnover during the lockdown.
While people are only taking essential trips to shops, and most high street shops are closed, the internet has seen an influx of business.
This isn’t expected to quickly shift back to normal either. Many people will have only just found the ease of online shopping for things they would usually leave the shop for. Many new users will stick around. You also have to take into account that public anxiety will be around for a long time to come.
eCommerce has seen a positive shift due to lockdown. And even when it returns back to normal you can expect eCommerce to remain bigger and more popular than it was before.
Right now, you will either have some form of online eCommerce or you don’t. If you don’t have eCommerce and are wondering if it’s for you, the answer is usually yes! eCommerce is the direct generation of money through the internet. It can be by mail order sales, bookings, deposit-taking or any other of a myriad of eCommerce website formats.
We won’t go further into eCommerce here because the subject of eCommerce is huge while the point we are trying to make is short and clear.
Embracing eCommerce is great advice at any time!
(If you genuinely cannot see how eCommerce might help your specific business needs, send us a message, we might be able to shed some light).
Consider Google ads and Pay-Per-Click
For many businesses, an instant result may be required. Luckily there is a way to get instant results with the worlds most profitable marketing system – Pay-Per-Click advertising.
For anyone that doesn’t know, Pay-Per-Click (PPC from here-on-in) is a form of advertising where you pay each time someone clicks your advert.
The most common and best facility for PPC ads is “Google Ads” (Formally AdWords). You can literally – for the right price – put your website right at the top of the search results pages for any search term you want within an hour of reading this now.
Theoretically, Google Ads really is that simple.
Of course, in practice, things are a little more complex. Yes you could be right at the top of the search engines for any search term within the next hour. That’s pretty much fact. You just have to expect the CPC (Cost-Per-Click) to be really high if the search term you are targeting is very popular.
That said, PPC can be a lifeline.
Especially if you intend to use PPC to promote a special offer or a specific product or service.
A lot of business owners make the mistake of just generally promoting their business name or a generic company information in their PPC campaigns.
While this may work in some instances, the chances of success are much higher the more you focus in on specifics. The absolute best results are when you purposefully create an outstanding special offer with a brilliant landing page and advertise that specifically.
Done right, PPC can be a cost-effective money-making machine. And if you find the magic PPC sweet spot – that wonderful place where your PPC cost per sale is acceptable – you are basically sitting on a licence to print money and can freely turn your online sales, orders and bookings, up and down with some simple budget adjustments.
Create circumstantial and genuinely helpful offers.
By circumstantial we obviously mean offers related to Coronavirus, Covid19 and lockdown. And, of course, the grinding to a halt of most business across the globe – which is a topic all of its own.
If you have any products or services that can be discounted or used in a sale, this is the time to do it.
Pre-marketing a post-lockdown sale, letting everybody know the great stuff on offer from XYZ date, is a great way to generate first-day sales when you are ready to get going again.
It has to be positive and helpful.
Using coronavirus in marketing is OK if it is a simple positive sentiment. Something celebratory or helpful. It’s important to make the distinction between a positive offer and blatant profiteering.
“30% off post lcokdown sale!” is good.
Once lockdown is over the UK’s finances aren’t going to be in the same state they were in January. Community-minded businesses will make a definite effort to support other community-minded businesses, especially on the local level. We’re all going to have to put our oars in and pull together.
Ask yourself if your special offer chips-in. Does it do something of genuine benefit? A little bit of help. Does your entire relaunch plan empathise with the UK and the current state we all find ourselves in?
Being genuinely helpful in your offers is also a good way to stove off the negative folk out there.
It is very easy for a business to get tangled in some sort of online moral argument. Especially with an emotionally charged subject as this. If you are going to use circumstantial offers related to Covid 19 (or any other Coronavirus related term) make sure they are celebratory offers. Positive. Giving. Helpful.
On the other end of the scale – any attempt to directly profit off coronavirus (price hikes) will probably backfire. Potentially disastrously. And rightly so.
There are many people out there happy to profiteer off just about anything and the online moral police are always ready and eager to be judge and jury the moment you slightly get it wrong – even if innocently and unintentionally.
Circumstantial, genuinely helpful offers that only serve to “chip-in” will do really well in a post lockdown world. 👍
It's a good time for Philanthropy.
Philanthropy is the act of using your resources, time or cash to do good things. Usually for local charity or community. An overly simplified definition maybe, but you get the point.
To many, philanthropy is a dirty word.
It is often used purposefully as a disguise by unscrupulous businessmen. In such instances, it is unfortunately abused.
That said it is always important to keep in mind that being philanthropic is simply using what you’ve got to do good. And when done right, it is a very good thing.
Luckily it’s simple to get philanthropy right.
You just need to be sincere and helpful.
Don’t just donate £50 to a local cause and post about it on social media. Instead, look at what you have that you can offer and where that offer will be most beneficial. What can you offer that other’s can’t?
Use the products or skills in your industry and be giving. Actually contribute beyond the benefits of cash. Make sure that doing-something-good is a genuinely good thing to do and is going to the right place.
And guess what!
You can use everything in our marketing campaign guides for this too. Create a full structured launch of something good you are going to do. With a start, an end and a target. Or whatever. Just do some good stuff and make a big hoo har about it.
It’s a genuinely good use of resources.
The satisfaction you get from doing good is priceless.
People will love to see it so share it proudly.
We do it ourselves!
In normal times – pre-Covid19 – we have special website design and marketing rates. A standard 50% discount is available for registered charities within a certain radius of our premises.
For some projects, especially projects that have community value, we even build websites for free.
Do we gain reputation and trust from such activities? Sure we do. But only because it is sincere. We offer our skills and toolsets to those that need them, and everybody wins.
Helping people is a good thing to do.
Avoid all negativity.
This isn’t a life-lesson. It’s a statistical advantage.
At the best of times, negativity gets attacked on the internet. Or, possibly worse, hidden and forgotten.
It normal times negativity is like poison for an online business. Right now as people are becoming a little frayed, it could possibly be terminal.
Never before has the entire planet been tested like these last few months. It has taken its toll on business, many people’s mental health and the unfortunate huge loss of life itself.
If you use social media much the negative impact of Covid 19 is bare for all to see. As time passes, more and more people and turning to blame and rants.
The long term effects of Lockdown are really starting to grate on people and the overall mood online (especially social media) is becoming fractured and proving to be more divisive than a general election.
Be a breath of fresh air!
As a business owner, the best route through this is simply to show responsibility and positivity. Acknowledge what you are doing in the name of staff and customer protection and put it out there as if it were just natural behaviour.
There is absolutely no need, ever for a business to be negative on the internet. Doesn’t matter if it moaning in general, putting something down, slating a competitor or anything else. It just isn’t welcome online and it won’t do you any favours.
We’ve seen a local business – with a trading radius of less than 10 miles, get drowned in negative reviews and comments from all over the world because of an ill-worded online rant. End of business. Complete game over in less than 24 hours.
It can, it does, and it will continue to happen. Online business, especially smaller businesses acquainted with only a handful of people, can get destroyed by the wrong publicly in a matter of hours.
Best bet? Don’t be negative online!
Search Engine Optimisation?
Last but not least is SEO. Otherwise known as Search Engine Optimisation.
We considered not adding SEO to this guide. Purely because SEO is more of a marathon than a sprint and not necessarily something you would consider an instant launchy, bouncy kind of marketing solution.
On further reflection. We realise an overview of SEO is at least important. The internet has had a flood of new users and usage overall is up across the board. Many people are asking if SEO is a good fit for a post lockdown strategy!
The simple answer is the same answer for nearly all SEO related questions.
As an instant result, the answer is a categorical no.
SEO is not a quick fix for any marketing solution.
But if you’re playing the long game? Hoping to make the internet a permanent part of your business or simply want to make sure you are solidly prepared for the coming winter?
SEO is one of the best marketing investments you can make.
We won’t go too far into SEO here. It is a huge subject covered much better in this SEO overview and isnt really a bounce-back, post-lockdown strategy.
All we can say is that any business, aiming for long-term internet-based business success, will do well with a very solid SEO plan. We’d go as far as to say it should be one of your foundational strategies.
Pretty much everything above is great advice at the best of times but really important right now. Never before have so many business had to close down, for such a long period, all at the same time? We have no idea what the coming months will bring.
We do know we have to give it our best shot.
Solid marketing campaigns with great content, consistent effort and positive and generous communications are the staples of running a successful business online at any time. Right now, it’s never been more critical.
Many businesses are about to begin a fight for survival while others will naturally just get back to normal.
We wish everyone the best of luck through the coming months and if there is anything we can do to help, we’re always more than happy to give anyone a bit of business-specific advice.
Thanks for reading, hope it’s been in someway helpful.
Matty England. MD Shine Bright Media LTD.