These are such weird times.
Yeah, we know. So does, literally the rest of the world. And yes, we also know it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
And yes, we also know that while COVID rocked our worlds in March of 2020, it didn’t take long for the new reality to hit us that while the severity of lockdown was temporary (more so for some than others), the digital way of life this pandemic heaved us into not only isn’t going anywhere but, instead, is the “new normal.”
And furthermore, businesses who aren’t adopting this technology-riddled-slap-in-the-face and aren’t shifting their mindsets, resources, and budgets, are going to fall behind. And that then, may likely become your new normal. One that probably won’t quite hit the bottom line and P&L statement the way you had hoped. If you still believe "this too shall pass," I encourage you to take a look-see at our stock market. DocuSign, Zoom, Slack all increased between 80%-150% over the last few months and continue to grow, largely, if not entirely, due to COVID and the way it has drastically changed our daily lives.
This is not passing, friends. Jump on the bandwagon or get left behind.
As a virtual digital content marketing agency, this is our jam. Not pandemics, those suck. But working remotely, embracing technology to create greater efficiencies, and shifting mindsets and daily life from face-to-face coffee dates to Zoom video chats in pajama bottoms. We’ve been doing this thing since 2016 and collectively bring decades of digital and virtual operational experience to the table.
We say this because we love you and we really want to see everyone come out on the “other side” of this thing not just alive, but frickin’ kicking. But the truth is, if you don’t start making changes to the way you’re operating your businesses, nonprofits, and departments, you might find yourself like a fish out of water looking like a pigeon snack rather than Dori and Marlin riding the East Australian Current.
Here is your friendly yet assertive PSA:
Invest in digital. Now. In all ways possible.
It is your only form of communication with your clients, customers, employees, bankers, investors, donors, and vendors.
This is not where you should be scaling back.
Yes, we know you’re cutting budgets. We get it. We did too. But this is how we did it. Do not scale back your digital investments. This is the time to do exactly the opposite of that. All of your time, energy, and resources should be focused on investing in digital right now. When March came tumbling down on us, we buckled down and started creating content. Because when you create content, you create opportunities to connect, share, prospect, engage, and sell.
Limited Content = Limited Sales Potential
At the onset of COVID, Orbit Media and Agency Management Institute released a survey to over 100 agencies asking how this was affecting their business. They found a 40% increase in web design and development and a 30-39% increase in content marketing, graphic design, paid search, SEO, marketing strategy, lead generation, media buying, and social media. 25% of agencies surveyed said they have landing more work because of this virus. That means if you haven't increased your investment in digital, your competitors have...
Now is the time to tell your story in a way that adds value to your target audience on a platform that you own. Your competitors could write the same ads that you do and outbid you. Great, you can’t control that. You CAN control the content you create, the value you add to your target audience, the story you tell, and the educational content you distribute.
But we’re here to help the entire business adjust to the digital swing in the workplace because that's the unique gift we have to offer.
These are the seven areas of digital investment you need to find funding to support now to ensure you make it out of this thing like Dori and Marlin, not a pigeon snack.
1. Operations. If your organization has not yet moved to “the cloud,” shift resources to make the transition now. Set yourself up to ensure all files are accessible anywhere at any time by anyone who might need them. What does your team need to do their jobs? Email? Video? Calendars? Virtual whiteboards? Instant messaging? Invest in collaboration platforms like Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, and X. Here’s our full breakdown on the operational technology components to address to ensure your company is ready for this digital swing in daily business.
2. IT. Most companies have an IT department, but for nonprofits and small businesses, this is definitely something you’ll want to consider. You don’t necessarily need to invest in a full or part-time employee, this could also be a contractor. The main takeaway here is that it’s not efficient for every member of your team to try and learn all the new technologies and then teach them to the other relevant members of your team. Find someone who can come in, get the work done, and check in on it as needed. This new way of operating is here to stay, set yourself up for success now.
3. Your Website. In the digital marketing industry, we talk about how your website is one of your few “owned” online properties. Well, it’s true. Just like a house, you pay your monthly “mortgage” and “property tax” by paying for your domain name and your website hosting.
This is important because you have 100% control over your website. This can be your greatest driver of revenue. This can be the main communication hub between you and your clients/customers. Anyone looking to engage with your company will defer to your website as their first point of contact. If your website is outdated, difficult to use, has a poor user experience or doesn’t share the proper messaging, now is the time for a website redesign. Here’s a checklist of website best practices you may want to consider to optimize your website’s impact on your business during these digital days.
4. Content Strategy. This is your time to shine. Time to dive into your why and pull it out like a magic trick. Investing in doing this work, asking tough questions, really looking at your target audience, this is what tells your story. This is what moves the needle. This is what keeps your clients, customers, and donors loyal advocates and reminds them why they invested in you in the first place. Neil Patel, marketing guru recommends the same thing, so you know we're not lying.
Invest in a content strategy that focuses on cornerstone and cobblestone pieces of content for each of your core target audiences. It’s hard work to pull together a comprehensive strategy that seems so simple, but once you have a roadmap, you’re golden. Definitely revisit it on an annual basis to adjust as needed, but having this roadmap is your north star to your marketing efforts. If you have the internal resources to craft your own content strategy, here are all the details on our approach to building your content strategy. If you’re ready to make moves and want to bring in a team that knows how to make the magic real, we’ve got your back.
5. Automation. Your best friend in the digital sphere is automation. Well, first a comprehensive strategy, and then automation for as many parts of that strategy as possible. Automate your invoicing, billing, proposal templates, website integrations, gated downloads, onboarding, team communications, welcome email series, business development email series and so much more. This takes a chunk of time to set up, but once it’s up and running it’s a matter of continuing to improve and optimize. Take a step back and create a list of automation that would save your business time, money, and resources while simultaneously increasing your efficiency and, when done right, your revenue streams.
6. Email Marketing. You may have noticed a number of email automation series in the above comment. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, baby. Email marketing can be one of the most powerful tools in your digital toolbox if you know how to make it work for you. As we talk about a content strategy, having a solid email strategy should be next on your checklist.
Email is one of the only forms of owned communication you have with your audience. If Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter shut down tomorrow how would you communicate with your audience? Email. Like a website, your email list is “owned” content and it should be coveted because it’s gold. Build your email list - with your content marketing strategy. Use it to nurture your prospects before going in for the kill with a hard ask. Inform, entertain, educate, and delight. There are so many ways to make email work for you, here are a few more for you to consider.
7. Content Creation & Promotion. This is what 90% of this all comes down to -- creating content. Quality content. Take the time to create the best of whatever you’re doing. Then spend twice as much energy promoting the crap out of it. Create great original/cornerstone content and then slice and dice it in a million ways. Partner with others. Release multimedia formats. Be a guest on a podcast. This is where you stand out. This is where you share your story. This is where you save your business, nonprofit, brand. Do this work. You’ll be surprised how much good comes back to you when you focus on helping others. Here are a few content creation and promotion ideas you may want to try on for size.
Ok, yeah, that’s a lot. But guess what? The responsibility of running your business, directing your nonprofit, or managing your department is a big one. And just like your role within your organization, t’s not easy, but it is necessary. So you can choose to cut your digital investment, and not invest in your online properties, operations, strategy, and execution, but you will not lead your industry. You will not lead your team to the success it’s capable of achieving. You will not beat out your competition.
Because your competitors are shifting. Your industry is shifting. And your audience’s dollars are shifting. If you don’t adjust your path, you might find yourself teetering at the edge of a cliff with nothing to pull you back to safety.
Invest in your business, nonprofit, or department. Roll up your sleeves and dive in. This is NOT the time to cut your investment in digital or technology. Scaling back in this space may prove to be absolutely detrimental to not only your success but your longevity.
If you know we’re spitting truth here but don’t know what to do next, take a deep breath and contact us. We got you. And we care. Like a lot. Help us help you by reaching out so we can begin helping your transition for the long haul.
It’s so cliche, but we really are all in this together.
Owner & CEO
Kiley Peters is the Owner and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a boutique digital content marketing and website creation agency primarily serving brands targeting millennial moms and nonprofits supporting women and children. She is also the Founder of the Work From Home Playbook, a series of online courses guiding aspiring entrepreneurial moms through the steps of starting a virtual business. She also launched the Brainchild Fund, a nonprofit initiative to support women and girls in business and entrepreneurship Follow her on Instagram.more posts by Kiley →
Content Marketing, Digital Marketing
SEO, Local SEO, Small Business
SEO, Content Marketing
Content Marketing, Digital Marketing
SEO, Content Marketing
SEO, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing