In early April, our publisher, Linda Gunek spoke with Stephanie Dale of DMC Advertising about pivoting Greater Sydney Living from a printed magazine to a wholly digital platform. It hasn't been easy but there have been many great learning opportunities along the way. Linda is happy to share their discussion with you in the video below and you can also learn some of Linda's takeaways from this valuable conversation...
On reflecting on my conversation with Stephanie (and many more since), I was reminded of what I already knew and also gained some knowledge - that's what these kind of chats should always be about! Here's some of my takeaways that you may like to think about, discuss and maybe even implement...
Lesson 1: Give your audience what they need
Your audience may be needing very different things from you and your business right now. Find out what those things are and see if you can find a way to deliver. In our case, we know our audience need some light relief staring down the barrel of all the punches 2020 is throwing, and to look ahead to the future once restrictions are lifted, so we're providing information on our website and sharing via our Facebook Page rather than in the printed magazine. We're making our product easily accessable with being wholly online now. We also know that our advertisers want to keep marketing their businesses but cannot afford to do so in print at the moment, so we've developed a number of affordable promotional packages to help them out. Download our Digital Media Kit.
Lesson 2: Monitor and track your results
No matter what you do in business, you should monitor and track your results. If you can see a trend upwards from where you were, you're on the right track... keep doing it! You can then look at ways to further improve the strategy. BUT if it's not working... STOP! Brainstorm alternate ideas and bounce them off a trusted colleague or expert in the field. It can take many iterations of strategy until you get it right. Test and measure and keep doing so until you find the right strategy.
Lesson 3: Plan your overall strategy
You need to have a marketing strategy no matter your financial situation and it doesn't need to be complex or difficult. From your strategy come the tactics and tasks required to implement the strategy. The strategy will change many times over the years but rest assured it's great to have one and definitely not a waste of time. In fact, your strategy should change to suit the times, your position in the market and your marketing budget.
(PS. Your marketing budget should be around 10% of your revenue)
Lesson 4: Be consistent
Make sure you're presenting a consistent message over a long period of time. This comes right back to your brand. What do you stand for? In our case, readers like to feel good and part of that is to give them a laugh, so we're posting two funny, often irreverant, memes a day. So, whenever you think of Greater Sydney Living, you think of us with a smile. We also share our content through social media. Our readers know that what they're reading is truthful and that we have their best interests at heart so that's the kind of content we share.
Lesson 5: Change your offer to meet the market
Many businesses cannot charge what they were prior to Covid-19 as many just don't have the funds or are keeping their budget tight. Now's the time to develop new products or break down your packages into smaller bight-sized pieces rather than whole mouth-fulls that will better suit your customer's right now. They can still get a little of what they need and build upon that purchase as funds are more readily available.
Lesson 6: Stay in touch with your audience
Marketing isn't about promoting for a few days and then going quiet. It's about being there every day/week showing your customers know you're still around and ready to help. This is more important than ever right now as sadly, many businesses are going under. It's the perfect time to gain market share. Sometimes your customers may forget they need your product or think they can no longer afford it. This may not be the case, if you've pivoted your business or developed new, more affordable, or convenient products. Which brings me to our next point...
When times are good you should advertise, but when times are tough you MUST advertise."
Lesson 7: Be prepared to change your approach
What you've always done may not be working now. You may have to step out of your comfort zone and do things differently to gain new clients or to deliver to current clients. For instance:
- If you're used to face-to-face meetings, use Zoom, Facetime, or Skype to deliver your products.
- You may use a courier service but can't afford to now. Deliver them yourself - it'll be good to get out and about too.
- Facebook advertising may have worked well for you in the past but with every 2nd or 3rd post on newsfeeds now being an ad, chances are you're not being seen. You may try leveraging your ad spend with another well liked and trusted brand and let them reach the bigger audiences on your behalf. Download our Digital Media Kit.
Lesson 8: Develop incentives
Money is tighter than ever so making a buck is super tough. It may help get people over the line if you begin building some goodwilll with them. A great way to do this is to develop some free offerings (or heavily discounted) to your prospects. Heck! $1 is better than $0. $1 is a 100% increase on $0. Get it? Now I don't mean that you offer your $100 product for $50, I do mean that you could offer:
- a cheap alternative that does part of the job
- free installation,
- free delivery
- payment plans
- referral incentives
Lesson 9: Be prepared to provide free advice and support
Everyone is experiencing different problems right now. Some are struggling to get business, others are struggling to deliver. No matter what, be prepared to have a chat. Be empathetic, lend an ear, be kind. It's NOT all about the $$$$. It's an excellent time to build relationships so when business does pick up again, you'll have prospects that will think of you first when they're ready to buy.
Linda has a few more things to share with you on this...
Don't give up
I know I've wanted to crawl into the cupboard, close the doors and bang my head again the wall and, well, I have done that on a few occasions lately! Yes, I could beat myself up over doing that but I came out of the cupboard and I'm sitting here typing right now aren't I? It's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get back up again that counts. Getting back up again may look very different to what you were knocked down from...that's okay too. Just get up and do something! Afterall, the only consistent thing in life is CHANGE!
Learn from and rely on others
We can all learn so much from each other during this time as well as learning not be so self-reliant! We must learn to rely on each other at different times for different things. Now is NOT the time to hunker down and isolate yourself further... it IS the time to reach out. In doing so, you'll not only build stronger relationships but you may learn something new, get an idea for a new product, gain a mentor, or look at your business in a totally different way. All of these will enable you bounce-back a whole lot more quickly.
This situation is not going to last forever but it will last a while. So rest assured, anything you implement now to deal with the here and now is not going to go to waste. We're in it for the long haul whether we like it or not so we may as well learn to like it. You may even like your new way of working more than the old way and your prospects may like it more too.
If you would like to speak to Linda about your business, bounce ideas, or enquire about leveraging your marketing spend, call her on 0418 110 673 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or download our Digital Media Kit to learn a bit more. Linda can develop a package specially for you starting from as little as $32 a week.
Linda has since made the decision to no longer produce a printed version of Greater Sydney Living, unless a fairy drops in to fund it. This has been an extremely difficult decision to make as you can imagine. She will instead concentrate on building the Greater Sydney Living website by bringing features to you on a weekly basis, along with hints, tips and special offers from our advertisers – all of whom are tried and trusted.
Please follow us on our Facebook Page for a twice-daily laugh and to learn what's new on the site. We'd also appreciate you sharing our Facebook posts with your friends.
Linda will also be in touch with all magazine subscribers to arrange pro-rata refunds on subscriptions.