If you read the current headlines, you may be sorely tempted to slam on the brakes when it comes to marketing and investing in it. Let’s not forget the same happened during Covid lockdown and now with the talk of recession comes the fear of investing too much too soon, but can you really afford to stop marketing?
The answer is NO!
We know what you are thinking – of course we are going to say no, we are a marketing company. And while that is true, we are also business women who have been in the technology channel for more than 20 years and have seen what does and doesn’t work for publishers, partners and ISVs. We want to see you be successful and know the livelihood of your company rests on how you present and market your company and at the end of the day how you treat your clients. Our hope is that by reading this, you can find ways to always keep the focus on marketing your company no matter what may be happening in the world around us.
Retain Your Existing Customers
Uncertain times lead customers and prospects to seek out new partners or new solutions. Don’t give your customers the opportunity to look around for a new partner. A strong focus of your marketing should be on retaining your existing customers. It is always an important business strategy and is often overlooked as we seek to gain new customers.
Possibly the worst thing you can do as an organization is call those customers once a year for their updated credit card details so you can renew their agreement with you. Existing customer marketing is an always-on marketing strategy. As they already know you—and hopefully trust you—they are easier to sell to, whether it’s an add-on to a current solution, an upgrade, or a new implementation of other products that you sell.
A strong focus on customer service and nurturing to this audience will help you develop a predictable revenue stream to work with, and you could survive and thrive during a recession. More than ever, those customers are looking for hybrid and remote working solutions that will work for them—and you are well set-up to be the partner who addresses those needs.
Analyze Past and Current Performance Metrics
Looking at performance metrics can help you identify areas where you can safely pivot your marketing funds. It will be even more important in a recession to minimize investments in underperforming areas and doubling down in well performing areas. And don’t assume it’s “one and done.” You should be reviewing your metrics on a regular basis to spot issues early.
It is key to remember that while you are reviewing your marketing metrics that you do not want to assume that a tactic is not working if a metric is not where you think it should be. Marketing can take time, so be sure before you assume something is not working that you have been marketing it consistently, correctly, and for a sufficient period of time.
Freshen up Reviews
When was the last time your team did an audit of your reviews and case studies? Chances are you may have quotes from people that are no longer at your client’s business, or they may have better successes than when they first gave you a testimonial or case study. Reach out to your existing customers and ask them to provide an updated review for your company.
Should they be unwilling to do so, there is likely a cause for their reticence. Make sure you understand why they are reluctant, and make sure you fix any issues that may be causing dissatisfaction. Many of us have adopted consumer behavior when looking at B2B solutions. It’s rare nowadays to buy a new solution without looking at reviews first.
Update Listings and Online Profiles
It’s really easy for company listings to become out of date. Make sure you review and update your online profiles, which include LinkedIn, Twitter, other social media properties, Google My Business, AppSource if you are a Microsoft partner, online marketplaces (Sage, Intuit, NetSuite etc.), and the ERP or CRM Software Blogs if you are members.
Create new listings where end users can find you—especially if you are an ISV—such as The Solutions Connection. The broader you cast your net, the greater the chance you have of meeting the users you’re after, and simultaneously you’re increasing the backlinks to your site that will help improve your domain authority.
Tighten Up Your Messaging
If you’re counting your pennies, you can bet that your customers are too. Look at your messaging and focus on customer pain points—which are likely more prevalent than ever—and showcase your knowledge of those pains and how they can be solved. How can your customers do more with less? (Yes, it sounds old and tired, but that saying is still relevant.) How can you simplify their work, streamline their day, collaborate better, get time back, and more?
Focus more than ever on their pain points and deliver this content via various means, including video (these do not have to be highly produced), use cases, eBooks, blogs, email, social media copy, and webinars. All these content types you already know but be more pointed in your message on how you can help them. Keep the focus on them, and don’t make it all about software.
Do Some Housekeeping
Refresh Your Website
Isn’t it amazing how quickly your website becomes outdated? Most of us are so focused on delivering services to our clients that we neglect our own websites. Run reports that help you uncover toxic links (you’ll want to disavow them), review and update title tags, meta descriptions and alt tags, and refresh images and copy. Update your sitemap, add pages where appropriate, and add in publisher offers.
Clean up Your List
Lists have a nasty habit of becoming old very fast. It only takes one person to move companies, and your list is out of date. At The Partner Marketing Group, we make this a habit—we clean our lists every three months or so. This helps us reduce email bounce rates but also forces us to update contacts and keep tabs on which companies’ individuals have moved to. Our clients will often take us with them, so keeping in touch with them is important.
This behavior is very prevalent in the partner world. If you have been a good and trustworthy partner, your customers will take you with them when they move. And don’t forget to thank them when they come back again.
Review Your Tech Stack
We’re sure many companies are marketing the old-fashioned way – copying and pasting from Excel into mailing tools, or heaven forbid, using Outlook as a marketing email tool. Marketing automation tools are there for a reason – they can help you map your customer journey, add prospects to workflows, and generally simply tedious tasks associated with marketing.
Explore automating your social media by using a tool that you can pre-populate with content. Tools such as Lusha can help you update your lists and keep them fresh. There are thousands of marketing technology tools out there, so identify what you really need, what you can automate and then check your integrations and invest! Just as you would advise your prospects to invest in software, you need to be doing the same for your organization and marketing team.
If there is one thing that Covid lockdown taught us, it’s that the companies that continued to market and show prospects the value and efficiencies of solutions were the ones to stay on top and continue to sell. Those that scaled back their budgets or did little marketing were the ones that had to start all over again to get their name in front of prospects while their competitors were ahead. Any uncertain times—whether a pandemic or a recession—can cause fear. And while we cannot take away your fears, what we can say is work smarter, continue to market, work closely with existing clients, and listen to your teams. Working together will help to minimize fear and will help you to continue to build your organization.
Need Marketing Help?
Need an extra set of hands to help you complete some of these tasks? Get in touch and let our expert team support you in your efforts.