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5 free marketing ideas to consider in a downturn

There are plenty of free marketing ideas to consider applying in order to survive this economic downturn and it is so important that you continue to communicate with your customers, even if those customers are not yet in a position to buy your product or service.

The COVID pandemic has hit UK businesses hard and unfortunately, businesses across many sectors are now having to scale down operations or wind up completely, and for those left surviving (and those thriving) marketing must remain a top priority

One thing that many people have a lot of at the moment is time, and in the world of marketing, this time should be spent wisely by improving and strengthening the assets you already have.  So, I have identified 5 free or relatively low-cost marketing ideas for you to consider putting into action today.

Improve your website

I am not talking about a complete website overhaul, which can be costly as well as timely, I am talking about adding fresh and relevant new content (Google really likes this) and making sure your site is performing as effectively as it should be.  Here are a few low-cost activities you might want to consider doing: –

  • Understand the performance of your website.  Tools like DiiB (insert hyperlink are free to use and will give you valuable insights on your website’s performance and offer you some great practical tips on how to improve things. 
  • Conduct some keyword research. Spend time understanding what your target audience is searching for online.  You can then review your website content to ensure messaging is in line with your target audience and embed these keywords and phrases onto your site.  Make sure you also include them in your H1 and meta tags for improved SEO.   You can use free tools such as Google Keyword Planner Choose the Right Keywords with Our Research Tools – Google Ads to help you with this.
  • Put your message in video.   Video has become a vital part of marketing and if you‘re not using video to communicate with customers start now.  All you need to get started is a decent camera and a lapel microphone and then you just start chatting about what you do.
  • Write a blog or two.  Google favours fresh dynamic content so why not keep in favour with Google whilst communicating something of value and interest to your customers?   You can also use the blog content for social media posts.  You might want to read my blog on ‘How to get started with Blogging’

Consider collaborating with non-competing business

We are living through a time where people are way more open and more willing to help each other.  In the current climate organisations are also more challenged and many are looking for creative ways to generate revenue.  So why not consider building relationships with non-competing organisations that have direct access to the target audience you want to reach?  

The customer relationship is already established, which means any professional recommendations for your product and service would give you a higher likelihood of a sale.

You may want to consider setting up a referral programme and financially motivate salespeople to recommend or sell your product and service to their customers.  Perhaps offer a % of your profits on each sale made, or maybe a give some kind of voucher or finder’s fee.

Improve your Social Media presence

Businesses rely on developing and maintaining relationships with people and social media platforms offer a fantastic way to help us do this.   According to Digital Trends Facebook Usage Is Soaring Due to Coronavirus Lockdowns | Digital Trends Facebook usage is soaring due to coronavirus, therefore it’s never been a better time to build up your social media following.  If your target audience follows you on social media, you will gain ‘free’ exposure to them today and in the future.   So, spend time growing your following on social networks and focus on platforms that are more likely to reach your target audience. e.g. Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.   

  • Remember that people don’t always want to be sold to all the time on social media, they get enough of that from paid adverts.  People want to know what value you can offer and how you might possibly be able to help them.  Therefore, create meaningful posts and try to avoid being overtly pushy with your sales message.     
  • Up-load a video.  Video is statistically proven to capture people’s attention for longer.  You can simply stand up and chat about your product or service or you can be interviewed if you feel more relaxed that way.
  • Post regularly and always invite people who have liked your post to like your page if they are not already following you.
  • If you have some spare cash invest in paid advertising on these platforms as it is by far the quickest and most effective way of generating customers and revenue. 

Email marketing

  • Email marketing is not dead, in fact it is probably going to be your most effective method of communicating with your customer base right now.  It is an important relationship development tool and it is very powerful as you are delivering your message directly to the in-box of your intended recipient.   My advice would be to send out emails 2-3 times a week.  
  • Send content that is useful and helpful to your recipients, such as a link to a blog post, a relevant video clip, or an outline of an offer for your product or service.  
  • Sometimes it is well received to send something that is not related to business, such as a link to a current news article you think they might find interesting.
  • Never avoid talking about the current global situation, as these are not normal times as we know it, so please don’t ignore it and talk like nothing is happening.

Call your customers

I think many people have forgotten how powerful the good old-fashioned telephone still is!   People still like talking to people and using the phone to talk with customers will significantly help you strengthen your client relationships.  Everyone I have sold to in the past I have spoken with, so picking up the phone can only be a great idea!  Speaking with customers, even if they are not in a position to buy right now, will significantly help strengthen the relationship and increase the likelihood of future sales.  

Make sure you find the time to check in with all your past customers.  Set a target to ring a number every day. Simply start a conversation.  You could just ring to say hello and then ask them how the pandemic has been affecting them.  Focus on building the relationship today and the sales will flow tomorrow.

I guarantee if you put your time into focusing on your marketing now when the economy improves you will be in a way stronger position.   Use your time wisely!

Contact Magic Caterpillar to find out more about how we can help you with your marketing.  Email:

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