Carmella’s Response to a Pandemic Sized Marketing Opportunity
The problem; losing clients during a pandemic and global recession. The solution; pivot and implement key marketing strategies.
During the pandemic, like many others, Carmella lost clients and we were not able to upsell the ones we maintained. Therefore, our focus quickly became implementing key marketing strategies while searching for new clients and continuing to produce great work for the clients that were able to stick it out with us in these uncertain times.
Over the years, our number 1 tactic for getting new clients has always been networking and speaking at events. The COVID-19 pandemic made this impossible, as it did with many other aspects of businesses around the globe.
Consequently, we had to brainstorm as a team and experiment with new COVID focused marketing strategies to get us through this time as well as position us for the future.
Carmella uses a sales and marketing 10 x 10 to guide and evaluate marketing effectiveness and marketing tactics.
In this blog, we are going to guide you through what exactly this 10 x 10 is and explain the 10 strategies we are currently using to drive leads and make sales.
We assembled a crisis management team and amped-up the frequency of our communication. It is paramount to communicate clearly and regularly during a crisis; with frequently scheduled meetings and check-ins. This approach should be taken with clients, staff, and partners.
In addition, be sure to craft a clear and concise message, schedule regular updates, and when possible use technology to deliver those messages.
The frequency of which these meetings take place is the most important detail. Our team found that for the first three weeks of the self-imposed isolation a weekly meeting sufficed, but by the end of week 3 this was no longer enough.
A check-in meeting at 9:30 every morning was put in place for the entire team.
This is without a doubt a huge investment of resources, especially during a time like this, because business owners are trying to conserve cash in any way possible.
However, these daily check-ins are what is going to make the Carmella team come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.
A Sales and Marketing 10 x 10 is a tool that was developed by Action Edge Business Coaching; we have adopted it and put our own spin on it.
A 10 x 10 is the best way to connect your sales and marketing together. It involves ten sales strategies with each designed to account for 10% of total sales revenue.
Each strategy will track the number of leads, the cost per lead, the number of sales, and the cost per acquisition.
Within 12 months, you will be able to measure which marketing strategies are the most effective and driving the highest ROI.
During COVID, the data gave us real-time numbers as to which marketing strategies were the most effective.
Our 10 COVID Marketing Strategies
Marketing Strategy: A Facebook Group for Business Owners to Access Free Marketing Support
Two mantras that we have put in place in both day-to-day life and at Carmella are sharing knowledge without expectation and dropping everything to help a client or friend in need. This group is made up of mostly locals who are looking for marketing support. The pandemic wore on engagement and the group dropped off, but it was and is a great place to gain market research intelligence. With ~200 members in the group, this is an investment in Carmella’s future and a current way to increase brand awareness.
Our goal for this group was to position ourselves for the future and do whatever we could to support local businesses.
The current number of leads from the Facebook Group = 0
Marketing Strategy: The Rocky Mountain Summit
The Rocky Mountain Summit is a 2-day conference in Banff, Alberta. This was the first event to move into the virtual space and it was done in 72 hours. All communications with the speakers, attendees, and sponsors were as frequent as possible. Things were changing by the minute and as such so did the organizing committee. The post-event survey was strong, with attendees giving the event an 8/10 or higher (NPS index was 88) and this was a credit to the ability to pivot quickly and diligently.
There were a number of giveaways in the form of gift cards, books, prizing, and surprises during the day. In addition, movement breaks were planned and incorporated.
As a result of moving the conference online, Carmella gave up our spot for a presentation. Therefore, we functioned more like a sponsor than a speaker and consequently, we are not expecting any leads from this event.
The current number of leads from the RMS = 0
Marketing Strategy: Virtual Masterclass
Each month prior to the COVID outbreak, Carmella would offer an in-person Masterclass in various locations. However, the pandemic provided the opportunity to shift this event into the virtual space and refine our ideas.
The Masterclass spun into Carmella providing virtual classes for realtors and other member-based organizations. We ranged them from a deep dive into Google My Business; what to expect right now, YouTube; how to build a following; Newsletters; how to create one that converts, and Zoom; how to sell your business via online meetings. Leads from these classes are ongoing.
Leads per Masterclass = 1 – 2
Marketing Strategy: The COVID Marketing Package
All of the customers who left our services did so in the first two weeks of the pandemic. Each call I got was another client breaking the news. Answering the phone became an extremely nerve-wracking experience.
The solution we came up with and were able to offer our clients to help them keep the lights on with their marketing was nicknamed the COVID package. This package involved a light posting on social media, including Google My Business, ad spend for Facebook boosts, and a gift certificate which made the barrier to entry minimal. Seven of these packages were sent out and two of them converted. We have maintained a working relationship with these two clients and we feel confident that this will continue post-pandemic.
COVID 5 : Carmella 2
Marketing Strategy: A Gift from Carmella
As we observed the changes happening at Carmella and to our clients, it became obvious that the clients whose businesses decimated during this time were travel and tourism-based businesses. We have chosen to maintain an open line of communication with these clients and have continuously tried to help out where we can. At the end of April, the clients who are part of this industry received a gift in the mail, which was a gift card for future spending at Carmella. The note attached and our idea behind this was to remove the barrier for coming back to Carmella when they are ready. Effectiveness and ROI on this will be reported later.
Leads per Gift Card = yet to be determined
Marketing Strategy: Focus on Digital
We completely redid our customer offerings and packages with more focus on how to drive reliable and relevant customers to our client’s websites. We focussed on SEO through blogging, keywords, and social media.
This approach is already working.
The results: 61% increase in website traffic, 6000% increase in post reach, 997% increase in post engagement, and an 800% increase in page followers.
Marketing Strategy: Live Q & A with Carmella
The Carmella Chat or the Coffeehouse. We experienced minimal attendance, and although there were attendee’s, this was considered a total fail as people were suffering from Zoom fatigue.
Leads from the Q & A = 0
Marketing Strategy: Website Sale
This has been the most effective of our COVID marketing tactics for getting new clients. We installed a spin to win on the website and for 10 days people could spin to win up to 40% off a new website. This strategy removed a barrier to entry because people who were sitting on the fence about whether to get a new website or not were instantly committed.
Leads from the Website Sale = 11 (4 converted)
Marketing Strategy: Weekly Marketing Blogs
Another strategy we implemented was writing and sharing marketing blogs each week. During the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, there was no doubt that people would be heading to google questioning, ‘how to best utilize digital marketing during COVID-19’. We decided to take advantage of this opportunity and take on the role of the industry leader by increasing the frequency of our blogs and sharing our expertise. We switched between both COVID specific marketing advice and general marketing strategies. Whether or not this tactic gained us any leads is yet to be determined, but it definitely increased our website traffic.
Leads from the Weekly Marketing Blogs = yet to be determined
Marketing Strategy: Make In Tonite a Virtual Dine-in Experience
This is by far our coolest project to come out of the pandemic. Make In Tonite is a virtual and interactive cooking show/ kitchen party that supports the local community. We noticed restaurants were suffering and we wanted to find a way to support them. Our idea quickly became to get in touch with chefs and create a cooking show where participants feel like they are 1:1 with the chef. It’s had celebrity hosts; like John Morris, as well as our local mayors. It has dance coaching and much more. Check out the teasers on YouTube and make your reservation for the next episode of Make In Tonight on the website.
Leads from Make In Tonight = 0 to date
It has become obvious that no one is an expert on marketing during a pandemic. However, we have made the decision to take risks and explore new ideas.
We have had an abundant amount of confidence in some of these ideas working the way they are supposed to, but a few of them have been way out in the left field. We now have some data that reveals which ones are working and we will continue to monitor to determine the others.
As we have all learned, these times are constantly shifting and changing and we expect that our business and marketing strategies will continue to do so too.
How are you filling your pipeline? Are you tracking every sale and monitoring every lead? If not, you are missing out on valuable data.