“These are totally unprecedented times.” 

How many times have you heard this saying in the last year?

Businesses of all sizes have scrambled to adjust to the lockdown in South Africa. It’s been a few months, and still, no one is sure what the future holds. Budgets are still much tighter than before Covid-19 hit.

We’ve seen many businesses freeze in the face of this new challenge. They opted to stay silent and avoid spending anything whatsoever on marketing efforts. We at Printulu ourselves had to cut our marketing spend by over 80%. However, we did not completely stop our efforts like most businesses in South Africa. Why? Is this really in your best interest in the long run?

Where do you find the balance between short-term vs long-term benefits? It’s true that staying quiet seems like the safer option. But this could not be farther from the truth. Investing in your brand should now be a top priority.

Having a voice and adding value in times of difficulty could have long-term positive impact on your brand and business growth. Remember, although it may seem like this crisis will go on forever, it won’t. It’s important to look to that future in the face of all this chaos and make sure that your business comes out of this time stronger. 2021 is around the corner, and with the new year, we see new prospects. 

The best part? You can do this now, without breaking your tight budget.

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On a tight budget? Here’s what you can still do.

There are a lot of new restrictions that we have no control over. It can be frustrating. But there are still things you can control. That’s what we’ll focus on today.

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1. Contact clients

You or your team has the time now to really be proactive about good customer service. This is a chance to build genuine connections that you may not have again. 

Contact your key clients and help them survive this unprecedented situation. Helping now could mean you have a loyal client forever. This is invaluable and will serve your business well going forward.

2. Marketing Initiatives

Prepare all your marketing initiatives for the year. Get the designs ready, get the ad copy right and get the ball rolling so that you are moving strongly when the lockdown is over. Marketing is a variable cost – not a fixed cost adding to your underlying risk. Secure liquidity and invest the rest in your brand and product.

3. Collaborate

Your business is not the only one struggling today. Reach out to like-minded entrepreneurs. Leverage their audience and create a mutually beneficial partnership that will carry you into the New Year.

You can do this by guest-posting and adding value to their audience. This will help you grow your audience, but also add backlinks for SEO purposes. This is a fantastic opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader in the industry and create valuable connections.

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most valuable things you can do now. What’s more? It doesn’t have to cost you a cent.

Insightful posts and value-adding blog articles with strong SEO will serve as a constant source traffic to your sight in the future. But more than that, it has benefits right now too. It’s a great way to show your audience that you care and know what you are talking about. Everyone is online now, so the chance of people clicking through on a relevant piece is even higher. 

Make sure that you are being relevant with your content. What is your audience’s need right now? What do they care about? How can you help with this?

5. Leverage Social Media Platforms

It makes sense that you might want to cut down on your ad spend right now. But social media posting by itself is free. It’s the ideal way to build a narrative around your brand. 

How much time have you been spending on social media since the lockdown started? My guess is it’s at least twice as much as before. This is true for almost everyone, and you can use it. 

Social media is a direct line to your customers. Use this opportunity to connect with them, add valuable comments and make your brand presence felt. 

P.S. Do you want to use social media to build your brand presence? This is the perfect time to up-skill yourself. Our exclusive design school for marketers who want to build their brand on social media is here. This course gives away free resources that you can use going forward to make your posts pop. Sign up now.

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6. Leverage Your Email List

Have you made sure that you are keeping your clients up to date on what is happening with your business? Have you reached out to them and assisted them with their difficulties? 

Tools like Mailchimp make it super easy to automate your emails – for free. Don’t forget that this is an audience you own, and can leverage when you need to without breaking the bank.

Here’s what you definitely DON’T want to do right now.

As much as you definitely should be investing in your brand right now, there are a few rules. The desperation of today’s situation is causing many businesses to turn to hard-selling methods. But let me be absolutely blunt: no one cares about your product right now.

It’s a hard truth that has very few exceptions. Right now is not the time to adopt a “me me me” mindset. If you are trying to push your product into people’s faces (or feeds), it may be seen as insensitive and thoughtless. 

This is a very quick way to lose the trust of your clients. “And trust”, as our Founder, Alexander Knieps says, “is the glue in any business relationship.” Right now is the time to be adding value and helping others. If your marketing efforts are not intrinsically helping anyone right now, you could be doing more harm than good to your overall brand image.

What to expect in the near future.

As mentioned before, this time of adversity will not last forever. Yes, it’s been a few months, and yes, it may still last a while. However, you should definitely be prepared for a few changes that are most likely to occur coming 2021. 

Experts estimate that although there may not be a permanent change in purchasing behaviour, e-commerce will thrive, even as the spread of Covid slows. This means you will need to ensure that your online presence is stellar, and your business is geared for online purchases when necessary.

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You need to develop a brand narrative and personality now that will last longer than this crisis.

Sign up to our design school to learn how – coming soon!

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