The pandemic has made marketing more important than ever, and there are many ways to connect with your audience and enhance your brand. Former ﬁnance journalist Lisa Llewellyn, who runs PR/content creation agency Llewellyn Communications, provides some helpful tips.
Thirty years ago, when I made the jump from property/ﬁ nance journalism into public relations, we were just coming out of a year-long recession, the official cash rate was 10.5%, variable rates were still stubbornly high at around 12–13%, and house prices in Sydney and Melbourne were hit hard.
During this volatile time, my boss gave me some wise advice: “Now is not the time for bells-and-whistles PR, now is the time for solid editorial work and connecting more closely with your audiences”.
While the environment has changed, and we’re now in a different period of volatility, my former boss’s words still ring true. Only now, ‘editorial’ has morphed into ‘content’. Different wording but same premise – and many more platforms
PR has always been a vital part of the marketing mix, but the pandemic has made it more important than ever, and there are plenty of ways to create or enhance your brand’s recognition.
Brokers and lenders are now faced with having less ‘face time’ (in the true sense of the word) with prospective and current clients. However, it doesn’t mean you should take your foot off the pedal and cruise till the pandemic ends, or be lulled into a false sense of security with the housing market booming in many regions. It’s a great time to refocus your efforts, target potential new clients and stay in touch with current clients.
Seven top tips for marketing during the pandemic
1. Communicate. Now more than ever is when you should be checking in with your clients. It shows you’re sensitive to what’s going on and that you empathise with them. While many of us can’t currently meet with clients, why not pick up the phone, send them an email, or organise a Zoom/Teams call? My partner and
I were hugely impressed when our broker emailed us recently to check in and say he’d taken the opportunity to renegotiate our home loan interest rate. He showed empathy and provided support, and it really helped strengthen the relationship.
Your communication with clients should:
- acknowledge the impact the pandemic is having on our daily lives
- assure them you’ll be there for them
- provide an update on any changes the pandemic has brought about in the sector and how these might affect them
- reassure them they can expect quality service doing business with you
2. Create content. Whether it’s a blog or a video for your website, an e-newsletter, updates on your business’s social media platforms, or opinion editorials placed with your target media, there are plenty of opportunities. Create content that tells a story and addresses key questions your audiences might have as they navigate the pandemic.
It positions you as a thought leader and helps convince customers why your business is the one to choose. Content development also enhances your search engine ranking.
3. Amplify your presence via social media. Update your LinkedIn proﬁ le, engage with relevant contacts and brands, and develop new content for your various social platforms.
4. Review and refresh your website. If you have a website, then check it’s up to date and that the copy is keyword rich to enhance your Google ranking. If you don’t have a website, now’s the time to create one.
5. Public relations (PR). This is an excellent way to build and enhance brand awareness and establish consumer trust. Earned media can provide third-party validation, which can achieve a stronger result compared to traditional advertising. People who read positive stories about brands are more likely to engage with them. Following are some of the PR tools you could use:
- Media releases: If you have something strong or new to talk about, put it in a media release and pitch it to target media outlets or individual journalists.
- Surveys: The media love stats! If you have solid statistics around a strong topic, it could provide fodder for a media release, or be given to a speciﬁ c journalist as an exclusive and used in blogs, newsletters and for social media.
- Newsjacking: Keep an eye on compelling news stories and where you can add something ‘new’ to the story (eg stats, anecdotal evidence or case studies), then drop the journalist a line.
7. Review, don’t eliminate, your marketing budget. If your cash ﬂ ow has been impacted by the pandemic, there are still affordable solutions, such as email marketing and engaging with your audiences on social media. There are plenty of great, free tools with excellent templates, such as Canva. You could even shoot a video message on your smartphone. It’s important to keep promoting your business – but adjust your messaging as needed and be sensitive to the current environment.
8. Plan... for when business returns to ‘normal’, with a strategy for the next 12 months and beyond.
Principal, Llewellyn Communications