The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us, and that’s putting it mildly. Businesses were forced to shutter for months at a time, plummeting economies. As we finally see light at the end of the tunnel, Texas’ economy has come roaring back to life. The Lone Star State began 2021 with one of the top 10 highest GDPs in the world.
Also, in March 2021, Texas was declared fully open, with all businesses being allowed to resume operation, some of which had been unable to do so for the better part of a year. The rest of 2021 is looking bright for Texas, and you want your business to be part of that economic growth.
How do you prime your company for success? You need a solid marketing plan. Here are six ways to take advantage of the coming growth opportunities in Texas:
Use a Texas-based marketing firm
The saying goes, “Everything’s bigger in Texas” and that saying holds true for all things that are good for business. Choosing a firm that is based in Texas means you’re likely benefiting from some of the most innovative and talented companies out there. Texas holds 10% of the Fortune 500 for headquarter locations. New companies are flocking to Texas, like Tesla’s new car plant in Travis County and Oracle’s headquarters.
Why would the best companies in the world be in Texas? Here are a few reasons:
> The talent pool runs deep, partly due to the big metro areas and thriving universities
> Texas is tax friendly to companies and individuals
> Texas innovates with the best of them … as mentioned above, Silicon Valley companies are leaving California and heading to Texas
With all that in mind, a Texas-based marketing firm might be the right fit for your next advertising agency of record.
Understand your customers
It doesn’t matter what area of business you operate in; no company survives without customers. But just who are your customers? Amid all the changes that COVID-19 has brought, now is a great time to put your finger on the pulse of your audience.
An August 2020 McKinsey report indicates that the two largest pandemic-related changes to buyer behavior are in who spends the most money and how they shop. For almost every home good, online shopping has increased between 4% and 44%. Those who are spending the most on non-essentials are higher-incomed individuals and millennials.
Certain portions of your audience might have dropped off as Texas’ economic recovery got underway. You may have also attracted new audience portions if your company is big on digital shopping.
With the guidance of a Texas marketing company, you can gain as much information on your new audience segments as possible. From audience research to surveys, you’ll learn about your audience’s demographics, geographics, and psychographics in a post-pandemic era.
This information will help you put together buyer personas, also known as customer avatars. Buyer personas cherry-pick recurring personality traits and quirks among your audience segments, so your sales team better knows how to approach these different kinds of customers. Each buyer persona will have its own pain points — needs your company can fulfill with your products and/or services.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life can change in an instant. As the landscape that is our world continues to shift in 2021, it’s not a bad idea to perform more audience research before the year is out. By that point, some of those customers who you lost during COVID-19 for lack of disposable income may have returned.
Strengthen your brand
All companies strive for the instant brand recognition of a Nike or Apple. You don’t need to see the name of these companies anywhere; just the logo alone tells you who it is. Even Doritos has reached the status of a household name, as the food brand ran a pre-pandemic commercial without mentioning the chips by name once.
These companies don’t become household names purely by chance. Consistent, long-term branding is key to making your company as recognizable as Doritos or Apple. A Texas marketing company can help you with this kind of multi-pronged marketing approach.
First, ensure your logo and color palette are uniquely yours. An experienced agency with strong design capabilities can evaluate your current branding and provide expert guidance and, if needed, develop new branding to consider.
But branding is not just visual. It also comes across in the way you communicate as well. This is known as your brand voice. For instance, the deodorant brand Old Spice has a very distinct brand voice that’s masculine (it is a men’s deodorant) and tongue-in-cheek. You get a feel for that brand voice in their commercials, yes, but the tone continues in their social media feeds as well.
That’s an important consideration. Even though you may have separate marketing and social media teams, as well as several content writers, no matter how many people produce copy for your company, the brand voice should be consistent throughout. A brand voice is not one person’s voice, but the voice of a company.
Create a content marketing strategy
Content is hugely important in accelerating your growth, perhaps more than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic left people with lots of time to read, and hopefully that increased traffic to your blog. According to HubSpot’s State of Marketing report, companies that focus on blogging and content marketing may earn 13x the positive ROI for their efforts.
You’re aware of the great things a content strategy can do, which is why your company was posting consistently for a while. Then you got busy with other projects and forgot about your blog. You meant to hire a dedicated blog writer, but then the pandemic happened, and your company had to shift the budget.
There’s no time like the present to start filling your blog with valuable content. “Valuable” is the key, as filler posts will not make an impact on your audience. What constitutes valuable content varies by company, but the audience research you performed earlier will tell you. Your audience might appreciate more straightforward educational content or prefer entertaining yet informative posts.
Not all posts have to be blog content, either. You can create instantly sharable infographics or video content. Videos can help your company achieve multiple goals, such as increasing brand awareness, making a positive impact on a prospect or customer, and increasing sales.
According to Forbes, 90% of customers say that video helped them make their buying decisions. In the newest state of marketing report from HubSpot, we see that 97% of marketers say that video helped improve user knowledge about their product or service. Beyond that, a person’s ability to retain a message may be better when it’s consumed as a video or image compared to just text, notes Social Media Week.
How many times a week should you post on your blog? That’s a question a Texas marketing company can help answer for you. For some businesses, posting about twice a week is enough to drive engagement. Other audiences might need more regular content to stay engaged.
Tame the jungle that is social media
Did you know that in 2021 there are more than 100 social media sites? Many of them are alternatives to Facebook or TikTok, but some of these burgeoning social platforms could rise to the same level of prominence given time. That just makes deciding which social media platforms to prioritize all the more confusing.
It might make sense to increase your presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Depending on your product or service, you might also want to add LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram as well. A Texas marketing company can help you decide which of the big six social media platforms make the most sense for you. And which new platforms you should consider dipping a toe into.
What should you post on your social channels? Not filler, that’s for sure. Cross-posting your blog content allows new eyes to see it, but you also need original content that’s not regurgitated from your website. Here are some ideas:
> Surveys and polls for greater audience engagement
> Actionable tips and tricks
> Memes (if appropriate for your brand voice)
> Industry news
> Image quotes
> Product videos and photos
> Influencer content
> Giveaways and contests
On any given day, you have so much variety in the content you can post that it’s tempting to be on social media all the time. There is no magic formula for determining your posting cadence. What works for one brand, might now work for another. Partnering with an advertising agency with social experience can help you take advantage of proven social strategies like consistency and quality of posts, as well as help you set goals, then track progress, and understanding how you’re meeting those goals.
Improve your customer service
You can put all your blood, sweat, and tears into the above marketing areas, yet if your customer service is lacking, you’ll turn off customers. What’s worse, you could actively chip away at your audience. This Column Five infographic shows that 68% of customers leave a company if they’re not treated well.
As we have so many more avenues of communicating today, it can be harder to maintain stellar customer service. You have phone reps, sure, but you also need a social media manager to respond to comments and direct messages. Plus, what do you do when you go home for the day or someone within your company takes a vacation? You can’t just leave customers hanging.
At LOOMIS, we recommend marketing automation for the above scenarios. Marketing tools and customer relationship management or CRM software include automation workflows that you’ll want to use all the time. You can now take mundane yet time-consuming tasks such as updating your contacts list, scheduling meetings, posting on social media, or sending emails and let automation do it for you.
You set the automation rules, so if you want to send an automated email follow-up to an unresponsive customer, you can choose for that email to go out three days later rather than three hours. Another useful automation feature is AI-driven chatbots. These bot widgets go on your homepage and pop up when a lead or customer lands on the site.
For any question the lead may have, the chatbot can address it. If the bot can’t answer the question because it’s more complex, then the bot may suggest a service email or phone number the customer can call tomorrow. In an age of instant gratification, chatbots and automation make your company look like it’s open 24/7 even when you’re not.
As 2021 pumps new life into the Texas economy, make sure you’re doing all you can to take advantage of how a Texas marketing company can strengthen your marketing plan and your bottom line.