We get it: when times are tough, your priorities become dominated by fighting fires and dealing with crises rather than being able to focus on activities that you know will help grow your business online. It often doesn’t feel like a priority at all when you’re caught up in difficult, stressful situations, especially those that leave you feeling drained at the end of the day. However, if you work in a competitive market space and rely on your website for leads and sales, then focusing on marketing may be the difference between surviving and thriving.
When times are tough, although it is understandable that you’ve put your marketing on hold – that doesn’t mean that your competitors have. In fact, they get better and become tougher to beat every day.
If you’re starting to give yourself excuses – “oh, I can’t find the time”, “I’m trying too many things” and “it’s overwhelming” – then don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Read on to learn how to prioritise your digital marketing – even during challenging times – so you become the one that is getting better and harder to beat.
1. Change your mindset
The first step to prioritising marketing growth is to change your mindset. If you’ve slipped into the trap of thinking marketing isn’t a priority during times of struggle, take a look at your business’s goals and targets for the next one or two years – will you achieve them if you continue doing what you are doing? If the answer is no, then now is the time to start changing your mindset and work on those actual tasks that are going to lead you, step-by-step, to your goals.
2. Wake up and do the thing
Are you or your marketing team playing the “I don’t have time” card? Then do your task as soon as you start work. When you focus on your goals early, you’ll feel more set up for the day.
Begin by making your morning time a non-negotiable, and make it easy for yourself by deciding you’re not going to check your email, Slack or social media accounts for the first 60 minutes of your working day. This means you won’t spend your day feeling like you’re being sucked into other people’s agendas. Rather, you’ll start your day with striking tasks off your to-do list and feel motivated and satisfied.
Instead of scrolling through Instagram first thing, take out a piece of paper and write down:
- The project you want to work on today
- One task that can bring you closer to achieving your goals
Do this each day before you start checking your inbox and you’ll find yourself being more strategic and proactive—rather than reactive and distracted.
3. Think big
When you’re focused on the immediate task you’re committed to that day, it can feel like a total drag. Some days it’s just so hard to build out a project plan, prep your team, or sit at your desk and complete that next blog post. So when you’re lacking motivation, focus on the bigger picture: Remind yourself of what you and the people around you are trying to achieve, what your longer-term goal is, and how good you’re going to feel when you get there!
For example, if online sales grow, the business grows, and if the business grows, you and the people around you grow with it.
When you shift your focus to the bigger picture of why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’ll feel far more motivated—and more likely to stick with your commitment.
4. Work slow and steady
Sometimes we find ourselves doing so well that we want to put our progress on fast-forward by adding on even more. On some level, it makes sense—let’s say you’ve decided to give blogging a go. But when you combine that with analysing a report, suddenly starting to rebuild parts of your website, and pitching a PR campaign… it all becomes too much. When we make too many changes all at once, we end up setting ourselves up to get overwhelmed. This can make us want to quit faster than if we’d stuck to going slow and steady, and taking things step-by-step.
Instead of going all-in on several projects at once, recommit to a couple of tasks, give them all you have, and then, when you’re feeling happy with those results or they’ve become habits, try something else.
5. Give yourself space
If you’ve hit a plateau and it feels like you’re not getting anywhere, take a break. Give yourself some time to recognise the progress you’ve already made and allow the new things you’ve been learning to sink in. Great marketing requires creativity. Sometimes these ideas just need a little time to marinate and bubble back up to the surface of your conscious mind.
And when we say “take a break,” we don’t mean “go stare at your phone for 30 minutes.”
6. Make time to be creative
Boosting your productivity when you’re demotivated or overworked isn’t just about taking action and crossing tasks off your to-do list. Sometimes, we need to dig into our creativity and let it guide us. This can often be a nice reprieve, but only if we do it without feeling guilty about not taking action immediately – it’s all equally important.
Remember to carve out time for idea generation. Often, moments of inspiration happen naturally, but it’s not always the case. Take some time out of your day to focus on new ideas like campaigns and how to enhance existing products, processes, tools etc. There’s no universal rule on how to unlock those ideas, so you’ll have to experiment and see what works best for you.
Don’t know where to start? Here are 5 tactics:
Publish engaging content
Frequently update your website, anything from rewriting a sentence to publishing a new page. Prioritise publishing high quality, engaging content, whether that’s blog posts, guides, videos, podcasts, social campaigns… the options are endless, but choose formats that suit your audience and focus on quality over quantity. We also recommend regularly reviewing what you already have and enhancing it.
Earn coverage and links
Brainstorm content ideas and campaigns that will earn your website coverage, mentions and links from popular websites and publications.
Learn, test and adapt
Make the most of the traffic you already have by continuously evolving your website’s experience and improving conversion rates by setting up and running a testing programme where you learn, test and implement successful experiments.
Improve web performance
Like user experience, the performance of your website is integral to keeping users and search engines happy. While not always seen, technical issues in the background can have a serious impact on how your website is crawled and understood by search engines as well as cause frustration for users. Tackling and fixing technical issues or improving the speed of a key page will be a small victory and one less thing to worry about in the long run.
Communicate with fans
Whether it’s responding to a customer review, enhancing an automated comm that goes out or reviewing one of your social media accounts – if you’re looking for a little positivity to boost your resilience, engaging with your customers may be just the place to find it.