Why firms should market coming out of lockdown
There's an old saying "When times are good you should advertise, when times are bad you must advertise" and coming out of lockdown this is ever more important for firms who want to safeguard the future of their business.
Thinking of the firms I know, I can see several that went through the 2008-10 recession and came out stronger and the key was that they revised and revitalised their marketing strategy.
The natural reaction to a situation where there is massive uncertainty and where clients are having problems even paying their fees is to look to reduce expenses to an absolute minimum but marketing should absolutely not be in this category.
The important thing to remember is that the likelihood is that your competitors will be reducing their marketing spend, leaving a gap that you can exploit.
This is the ideal time to review your marketing effort and to do more of what has been working well and if you don't have a marketing strategy, to form one.
Strategy is everything
Although marketing is really important, there's no point in simply doing a few ads in a haphazard manner. In fact, this is probably going to be counter-productive.
In contrast, understanding your target market, focusing it down to a fine point and then working out how you are going to communicate with them is time that is never wasted.
This is doubly important during a slowdown because it is distinctly possible that your client's priorities have changed and your marketing must adapt to suit.
You can then decide whether you are going to go with a pure advertising approach, use content marketing, videos, podcasts or maybe a blended approach.
The good news is that there's good evidence that advertising rates are reducing by as much as 30% and as with the last slowdown, this trend is likely to continue into the autumn. We'll probably also see rates reduce for online advertising too as volume drops.
Don't forget your current clients
It's easy to think that marketing is all about getting in new prospects but it's really important that you don't forget your current clients.
As I mentioned earlier, people will be looking at their expenses and you can guarantee they will look at their accountancy and tax fees and ask whether they are getting value for money.
Think about putting out free content that is exclusive for your practice clients which will aid your retention rates at a time when we all need to hang on to the clients we have!
If there is one upside to the coronavirus situation it is that there are a plethora of schemes for businesses to take advantage of and this gives you a perfect opportunity to add value. Consequently, writing up a guide and mailing out to your list should be a very high priority.
You may also be looking to launch new services as clients look to find ways to navigate the situation and frankly this is pretty pointless unless you tell them what you are doing.
Having some on-point content marketing around the issues they are seeing and showing how your new services can help is a low-cost way to increase your fee levels.
Marketing is often seen as a 'nice-to have' but I view it as on the same level as paying the office rent. It's actually a necessary expense and a cost of doing business as after all, no clients - no business!
Some of you may be incredibly busy at the moment and some may not but we all need to take a moment to review our marketing effort and make sure it suits the situation we find ourselves in.
Good luck and I hope you all stay healthy.
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An experienced Finance and Turnaround Director for fintech and media companies Stuart Walker now owns a finance training company and a marketing company aimed at professional services firms.
Having completed an MBA with a specialism in ERP and software implementation in SMEs Stuart has a keen interest in the use of technology to...