By Caitlin Wright
Is 2020 not really working out the way you expected? Let’s face it, when we wrote our 2020 goals, we didn’t imagine a global pandemic, lockdowns and worldwide anti-racist protests did we? And we’re only at the beginning of July 😨.
If you’re running a business, there have probably been some big changes in the way you work. You may have had to completely change your offering because what you were selling wasn’t relevant during COVID. Or maybe you’ve had to change the way you sell your product. If that’s the case, you need to do some pretty quick pivot-marketing.
What is Pivot Marketing?
Pivot marketing is the act of quickly changing your marketing strategy when things aren’t going to plan. Perhaps the strategy isn’t working the way you planned it? Or maybe the world you’re living in is a different place to what it was 6 months ago? Whatever it is, we need to be agile enough to admit when things aren’t working and make a plan to change.
Pivot marketing isn’t just about initial changes. Now is also the time to invest in the long game. According to Hubspot, the focus for many companies at the moment isn’t short-term revenue gains. They’re using this period to make longer-term decisions about the future of their businesses.
CEO of Rapid Growth Coach LLC told Hubspot – “We have… doubled down on marketing and product development activities that will provide us an edge in the months after the lockdown period and the possible 18 months that will follow, which we see as the consensus for when things will return to normality.”
What if you’re struggling right now but also want to see good gains long-term? Here are our tips for some ways you can pivot your marketing to give you both short- and long-term gains.
Problem – Your offering isn’t relevant right now
Short term – Work out an alternative that fits the market
Say you’re a bricks and mortar store, a restaurant or a gym that was shut down during the pandemic. It’s time to pivot, and quickly. This is when you need to think about alternative ways of offering your services. You might want to set up an online store where you can sell your products. There are plenty of platforms out there – Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace. It all depends on your goals, how savvy you are online, and how much you want to spend. If you’ve focused on in-house dining, you might want to build a takeaway business. Or if you’re a gym you might need to put your lessons online or stream through zoom or other platforms.
Long term – Work out ways to integrate both parts in your business
In Australia, we are finding many areas are returning to relative normality. Restaurants are able to trade, shops are back open and people can return to the gym and fitness studios as long as they keep a certain distance. Many businesses that successfully pivoted are keeping their online businesses running to provide a secondary income.
One example is Lizzie Bland from Lean Bean Fitness. She told our Moment with Modern Mentors podcast about her online fitness program that she set up during lockdown. She usually runs classes in her Bondi studio but by taking that online during COVID, Lean Bean attracted clients from across Australia and overseas. “Virtually, it’s opened up doors for us… it’s awesome as it could be a great new venture,” Lizzie said.
Problem – Your website isn’t getting enough traffic
Short term – Double down on your digital spend
If you need quick wins when it comes to traffic, you need to invest heavily in digital advertising. According to Boston Consulting Group, the companies that can invest and make changes now are the ones that will emerge the winners after the crisis. “During the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, we saw winning brands double down on marketing investments, revamp their marketing strategies, reallocate their spending to digital channels.”
There’s often great return on investment from Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn advertising. Paid Google Search is also popular, particularly as you can target users who are already searching for a product like yours.
Long term – Work on your SEO
Search Engine Optimisation is a long game strategy because changes you make on your page today may not make a difference to your traffic for months or even years. However, if you can invest in good SEO, you can enjoy a constant stream of customers to your website. What should you do? There are three ways to help your SEO –
- Make sure your site is technically sound. This means it’s easily accessible to google and it loads quickly.
- Make sure your copywriting is optimised for search engines. This means it’s been written with the right keywords in mind. You always want to consider a blog strategy because Google likes sites that have new content.
- Make sure other sites are linking to you (preferably high-quality sites). The more sites that link to you the better, although make sure it’s all genuine or else google will penalise you!
Problem – Your social media isn’t growing
Short term – Boost some posts, engage with an influencer
Everyone knows you need to have a good social media presence these days, but what if you’ve only got a few hundred followers and the only one commenting is your mum? In the short term, you need to reach more people. Start by boosting some of your better performing posts. If people start to see more great content from you, they’re more likely to follow you. The more followers you get, the more engagement you get.
Another way to get some more traction is to engage with someone else who has lots of followers in your industry – an influencer. Do some research into people who align with your brand and narrow your choices down to a few. Then send them a DM to find out how you can collaborate. Don’t necessarily go for the influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers either. Some micro-influencers (those with a few thousand followers) are really engaged with their brands and might provide a much better result.
Long term – Nurture your community
These days, you can’t just put a post up and log off. The thing about social media is that it’s two-way communication. You need to engage with your followers, ask them questions then respond to their comments. Then you need to go and see what your target audience is doing. Comment on other posts and build your own reputation in the social media community. Eventually, your following will grow and you’ll see great gains on your own page.
Problem – Not enough sales?
Short term – Create a compelling offer
Who doesn’t love a sale, right? If you need to shift some stock, or you’re running a bit low on clients and you’re a service-based business, it might be times for a compelling offer. You could align it with a time of year (Mother’s Day, End of Financial Year, Valentine’s Day etc) or have a sale just because. Make sure you’re showing people how much of a discount you’re giving them and give them a time limit or use some other scarcity tactic (say only 3 left etc). Make sure they know this isn’t a usual thing and the discount will end so they better jump on the offer.
Long term – Build your funnel and your email marketing strategy
This is the time to build your funnel. Don’t know what a funnel is? It’s a marketing term that outlines the process from first introduction with a customer and to them ultimately buying your product. Now is the time to nurture those initial leads and work out where they’re going to go. Make sure you get as many email addresses as possible and set up your email marketing campaign. Then you can build a relationship with them until they’re ready to buy your product.
It could be easy to look at this period as being a negative one, but with every period of great change comes great opportunity. As Eckhart Tolle wrote: “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realise that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”