By: Amy J. Adams
The past eighteen months have been complex – a constant stream of ups, downs and many unknowns, both business and personal, for many people. If you are one of the lucky ones who saw business growth during the pandemic, well done!
However, many business owners, nonprofits, and executives have seen their growth decline. Whichever category you fall into, we are all grateful that the restrictions are lifted and people start to safely congregate again. The signs of recovery are all around us.
There is no manual as we move into this “next normal”, but we can align our goals with overarching strategies to shift our business into high gear in the second half of the year. This post-pandemic climate is full of opportunities if you are ready to get the job done and invest in yourself and your business.
Here are four strategies to improve your marketing and rebuild your business after COVID.
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Take stock: measure your marketing.
As you look ahead, it’s important to take a hard look back and take a look at what worked and what no longer serves your business. AJA Marketing’s slogan, Action + Measure = Results, addresses this specifically – you need to measure the action you take in order to get the results you desire.
If you keep using the same strategy “because we’ve always done it that way,” now is a great time to dig into your data and identify what has helped your business be successful in the past. The world has changed and the methods must be constantly improved.
Take the time to do a “marketing audit”: examine your analytics and see what can be gleaned from the data. Are you getting referrals from a new source? Does this radio advertisement no longer bring prospects? Did your direct mail campaign increase your sales by 20%? Understanding your data is crucial to moving your strategy forward. Don’t keep spending a lot of money on bad marketing – know your numbers.
Network: reconnect with customers, colleagues and referral sources.
If you’re comfortable joining people in person again, now there are plenty of live events to choose from – attend something that piques your interest and gives you the opportunity to network while having fun. AJA Marketing is based in central New Jersey (and yes, central NJ Is do exist!) and there are so many wonderful local networking events including outdoor events like golf outings and happy hours. Look for practical opportunities with your associations and your local chamber of commerce.
If you’re not yet ready to participate in a crowd, ask a coworker or referral source to catch up with you for a coffee. Can’t meet in person? No problem! It’s no secret that virtual networking opportunities are here to stay. This is a positive result of the pandemic.
Virtual events are an easy way to expand and engage your network outside of your local geographic region. As an active member of the Ellevate network, I have been delighted to participate in virtual networking meetings hosted by chapters in other states. The chat rooms have allowed me to network outside of my region and forge new relationships that would not have been forged at a local in-person event. There are endless virtual networking events to choose from – sign up for something that resonates and be sure to fire up your camera and participate fully!
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Become socially strategic: Leverage LinkedIn for sales and marketing.
Another fantastic way to market your services is through social media, especially on LinkedIn. Depending on your business, it may or may not be a good idea to spend hours on Snapchat or Instagram playing with filters.
For example, if you run a nonprofit and need to promote your resources to your members, it might not make sense for you to use Instagram reels. Instead, be strategic and focus your time where your members, clients, or colleagues – and don’t forget the people who recommend a business to you – spend their time.
For many professionals, that platform is LinkedIn. I’ve been writing on LinkedIn since 2014 and remain an advocate for the platform as it continues to see record engagement. According to LinkedIn Sales status Edition 2021 United States and Canada:
Our data indicates that having a full LinkedIn profile could increase your chances of meeting or exceeding your sales goals by more than 2 times, and it can increase InMail acceptance rates by up to 87%.
Both sellers and buyers are on LinkedIn – don’t overlook this platform!
Chart a new way forward.
If we’ve learned anything over the past eighteen months, it’s to embrace resilience and adapt, evolve and grow all the time. New situations require new plans. Take the time to review your strategic business and marketing plans – pull out the red pen and don’t be afraid to throw out old ways that no longer work for you.
Plans aren’t meant to be created and then put in a drawer for the next six months (or six years) – they’re meant to keep you accountable and on track with your goals. It is important to bring innovative ideas to your marketing campaigns, but make sure they are realistic and achievable. Get on this proverbial surfboard and ‘ride the wave’ as we step into the next par!
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Amy J. Adams is the owner of AJA Marketing, specializing in the unique marketing and management challenges faced by nonprofits, associations and law firms. She provides strategic marketing and association management consulting and various other services including marketing audits, LinkedIn 101 training, and strategic planning. AJA Marketing is certified by the State of NJ as a Small Business Owned by a Woman. Find out more or book a session here.