How is the Cost of Living Crisis affecting the creative sector?
The UK is in the midst of a financial crisis following the pandemic, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and, most recently, political instability. With inflation rising to 10.1% in September, economic uncertainty is affecting individuals and businesses alike, and the notoriously difficult-to-navigate creative sector is no different.
From freelance creatives and in-house designers to creative design agencies, the Cost of Living Crisis is really taking a toll, as wages fail to keep up with inflation and businesses cut back on spending. And did we mention how financial stresses and tiredness caused by overworking can sap creativity?
But don’t worry! It’s not all doom and gloom. One thing lockdown taught us is that creative pursuits are an outlet for staying positive in difficult times. And for brands, staying relevant and connected is the best way to survive economic instability, despite what some people might think!
Why are marketing budgets important?
Marketing budgets are often the first to get cut when businesses face financial uncertainty. Sure, consumers are spending less on luxuries and essentials alike so commerce slows down, but isn’t it contradictory to focus on cutting costs rather than growing sales?
As a creative brand and web design agency, we recognise the need for businesses to be flexible and reactive when it comes to economic change. We’re service providers ourselves, offering creative solutions to brands that need a boost, so read on to find out how Create8 could help your business survive the Cost of Living Crisis.
How can brands survive economic uncertainty?
Consumers are changing their spending habits as prices soar and the need to live paycheque to paycheque increases for many in the UK. But business doesn’t have to suffer if you can learn how to adapt.
Shift your attention to market research. By reevaluating what your target audience needs and gathering data about spending habits, site visits and competitors, you can act accordingly.
Invest in reinvestment and reward your most loyal customers. Diversify the services you offer and start providing more cost-effective products or solutions. You could even shift your focus by targeting sectors that you’ve previously left untouched.
There’s lots of steps you can take to keep your company’s head above water, even thrive, in these trying times. But there’s one thing that, in our opinion, simply cannot be overlooked – creative marketing.
What is creative marketing?
Creative marketing is an all-encompassing term used to describe a business’s efforts to establish itself as a go-to for consumers. And it starts where you started: with branding.
Successful brands need a solid identity that sets them apart from competitors. Through understanding the needs of your target audience, finding a niche and creating a strong visual identity, you can attract customers and generate loyalty.
Once you’re established, creative marketing is about staying relevant, be that through targeted campaigns, SEO or a strong presence on social media. You’ll have to cut through the noise to increase awareness of your brand and get more customers.
4 Marketing Strategies to Boost Engagement
At Create8, we’re digital marketing experts, so we know a thing or two about connecting you to consumers. If your brand’s struggling in the current economic climate, hope’s not lost! All you need is a top-notch marketing strategy to get you back on track. Here’s 4 strategies to try that could switch up how people are engaging with your brand.
1. Social Media Marketing
Using social media to market your business is a great place to start if you’re in need of a wider reach. By building a following of existing and potential customers, you’ll increase brand awareness to solidify yourself as a go-to for people who need (or want) what you’re offering.
The first step is to figure out which platforms will work best for your business. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok are the biggest players in the UK and deciding which one(s) will work for you is dependent on the demographics of your customer base.
Next, optimise your profiles. Your brand identity and tone of voice should extend to social media to help position your brand as both memorable and trustworthy. Don’t forget to include a link to your website in your bio to generate organic traffic.
Deciding what to post is perhaps the biggest challenge. Social media content ranges far and wide, from sharing information, tips and blogs about your sector to promoting events, running polls and orchestrating giveaways. Check out big names in your industry to see what’s working for them, and try out different content types to test engagement before defining your social media marketing strategy.
Another avenue to consider is paid social media advertising. This is available on a variety of platforms and can help you to target specific audiences based on characteristics like location, age and interests and will generate paid traffic. If you need help with social media management or want to hear more about how to drive traffic to your website, get in touch with Create8 today!
2. Marketing Campaigns
Marketing campaigns are a fantastic tool to promote either your business or a particular product or service within your offering. From email marketing campaigns to billboards, events and tradeshows, the aim is to achieve a clearly defined goal, e.g. to increase brand awareness or drive people to make a specific purchase.
Start by defining your objectives and identifying your target audience – and be specific about characteristics like gender, age and interests so that there’s an explicit focus for engagement. From there, develop your strategy and come up with a killer campaign message that’s relevant to your sector and will appeal to the necessary demographic.
Then it’s time to build your assets, taking into account the potential risks to your reputation, and deliver them in your chosen marketing medium. Don’t forget to establish marketing metrics and analytics to help you measure the campaign’s success!
Our dedicated team of Manchester-based creatives can help kickstart your next marketing campaign, with project managers, graphic designers and a creative content writer on hand to help you think outside the box.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing is the distribution of valuable content that’s relevant to your industry and target market. Blogs, whitepapers, newsletters, podcasts and instructional videos, for example, can stimulate interest and boost engagement with your company without explicitly promoting your brand.
As traditional marketing becomes less and less effective thanks to oversaturation, it’s sometimes necessary to think laterally. If you position yourself or your business as a thought-leader on topics relevant to your industry, and provide interesting and useful content for consumers to engage with, you’ll be seen as trustworthy which will increase brand awareness and help you to build up a loyal customer base.
High-quality written content also improves your rankings on search engines like Google. By analysing metrics like word count, keyword usage and duplicity with other websites, Google rewards useful content and penalises weak content. And ranking higher on search engines makes brands easier to find which drives organic traffic to websites, so don’t miss out!
At Create8, we write blogs and informational content for a variety of clients in a multitude of sectors. Drop us a message if you’d like to get involved.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
If you’ve not looked into SEO yet, now’s the time to start! An SEO strategy is the perfect way to maximise on what people are actually searching for, instead of what you think they want to find.
Brands have to fight for search engine real estate, so pay attention to what’s written on your website. Conduct keyword research to see what people want to know about your industry, paying attention to the long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for. And ensure you’re exclusively putting out in-depth, high-quality content that will be rewarded rather than penalised by search engines.
Another key factor for SEO is a fast-loading website because search engines consider bounce rates when allocating rankings. Research has shown that bounce rates increase by 32% if website load time reaches 3 seconds and by 90% if website load time reaches 5 seconds, so a fast-loading website should not be overlooked.
Another method for keeping bounce rates to a minimum is to optimise your website for user experience (UX). Functionality, accessibility and design all play a part. But don’t worry, if you’re struggling, our UX Specialist can help you to provide a meaningful and relevant experience to your users.
How much should branding and strategy cost?
It’s survival of the fittest for brands and retailers right now, due to an oversaturated market and a nearing inflation-triggered recession, but a solid brand identity and well thought-out marketing strategy can bridge the gap for struggling businesses.
When it comes to branding, you really do get what you pay for. If you cut corners or treat your brand identity as an afterthought, you’ll likely fall short at attracting and retaining a loyal customer base. Think of branding as an investment to grow engagement and sales – it can keep you on the radar whilst others drop off.
If you have a solid brand identity but the fluctuating markets have caused a decrease in sales, marketing strategies are one of the best ways to get back on track. If you don’t have the budget for anything drastic right now, start small by focusing on your social media presence and the content on your website before building up to something more substantial.
Create8 is here to help!
We’re digital marketing experts with the skills to help you grow the value of your brand. We’re efficient, effective and conversion-focused, so get in touch today if you need to optimise your website or are seeking some killer content that will give your business a boost!
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