How To Grow An Online Business During Lockdown | Rebecca Thatcher

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April 11, 2020

How To Grow An Online Business During Lockdown

3 weeks into lockdown and this is the most common question in my inbox. Life as an online coach or entrepreneur is overwhelming at the best of times, never mind during a worldwide pandemic. As we navigate Covid-19 on both a personal and professional level, feelings of unease are naturally stirred.

Especially when it comes to launching and selling online. This is a very personal decision. I know some online business owners who have decided to take a step back and create space for themselves as they figure out their next steps. And I know others who are continuing on with their Q2 plans, selling and serving as normal.

There’s no right or wrong.

But in a time of real uncertainty, I find it helpful to look at what we DO know.

Right now, EVERYONE is online. Facebook and Instagram reported a +40% increase in active users in March – the most activity Facebook has EVER had!

Live events are being cancelled throughout the world, so people are turning online for education, community and self development.

And people (your ideal customers) have more time on their hands – and more headspace to tackle that ‘one-day’ to-do list. They are ready to listen, learn and take action.

So, what does this tell us? There is a HUGE opportunity online for you to serve, support and sell right now.

Combine this with many big brands (with huge advertising budgets!) pausing their campaigns, there is undoubtedly more space for us to play. With less competition, comes greater opportunity, and bigger results at a lower cost!

Facebook ad costs have dropped by almost 60%. I’ve seen this first hand with my own ad campaigns, and my client’s. New leads that were coming in at £0.65 ($0.81) are now £0.25 ($0.31), and sales are absolutely still being made – but at a lower cost per conversion.

So, in answer to the question, now is an AMAZING time to be running Facebook and Instagram ads because:

  • Your ideal customer is online now more than ever
  • Your audience is hungry to consume, learn and take action…
  • …and they need your help, support and guidance to navigate this challenging time
  • There are fewer brands fighting for their attention, meaning there is more market share available to you
  • Ad results are at an all-time low  

But there are so many ways you could use ads to support your online business. So where should you focus your efforts?

There are certain strategies that I’m seeing work really well right now. So I’ve put together 4 recommendations for how you can grow your business with ads, and thrive during a pandemic.

1. LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE

If you are selling during this time, whether it’s through organic or paid content, take a step back and review your offer. Is this what your ideal customer really needs right now? Are you addressing their main concerns and fears? Will this help them?

Your 2020 marketing plan may have been locked down months ago but the market need has changed. Whichever product or offer you planned to promote in Q2 may need tweaking slightly to meet your audience where they are right now.

The worst thing we can do as business owners at the moment is ignore the huge impact the pandemic has had on everyone – so embrace and acknowledge this.

Journal on the questions: ‘What does my dream customer need right now?’ and ‘How is she/he feeling?’.

Have conversations with your audience, whether it’s on DM, in your Facebook group or on email. Reach out and ask what support they need.

And then react to this information. Your offer, freebie or product may not need any changes because the market need is still there. But your messaging will likely need updating. You may consider introducing a more affordable price-point or payment plan. Or you may add new bonuses that will really support your customers at this time.

Listen, learn and lean into what they need right now. The beauty of our online world is that we can shift quickly.

2. GROW YOUR AUDIENCE

The key focus of your ad campaigns right now should be growing your reach, awareness and impact. How? Through list-building ads.

These are the most cost-effective ads I’m seeing right now, so if you’re yet to dip your toe into growing your list with ads, now is the time to get dipping!

Dig out your most valuable freebie (or create a new one, as referenced in point 1), and share it with as many of your ideal customers as possible, through ads. Not only can you attract leads for less than 40p ($0.50), you can use this time to build relationships, connect with more of your dream customers and invite more buyers into your world.

Don’t forget to test different audiences, and be sure to use custom audiences too – my lowest cost leads are coming from custom and lookalike audiences right now. If you’re not sure what these are or how to use them, check out my Audience Building Bundle. It tells you everything you need to know to reach the right people with ads (and it’s currently 60% off!).

3. PROMOTE A LOW-COST OFFER

I definitely advocate focusing your time and energy on growing and nurturing your audience right now – but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell.

Another strategy that is proving very successful in the ad space (particularly for online coaches and entrepreneurs), is to advertise a low-cost product (AKA an SLO).

This is a product that is no more than £40 ($50) and is often a bundle, a workbook, templates, a mini-course or a guide. Again, this should meet the need of your customer as mentioned in point 1. Often an SLO is the next natural step on from your freebie, but provides more value and helps the audience take bigger action.

The low-cost product could be a tripwire from your freebie (a limited time offer that features on the thank you of your freebie), or you could have a sales page specifically for the product, just like I have for The Ultimate Audience Building Bundle. That way, you can drive traffic directly from your ad to the sales page, growing your list whilst also making a small amount of revenue.

The beauty of this strategy is that you can use the revenue from your sales to cover your ad spend!

A trend I’m seeing many online entrepreneurs follow lately is driving cold traffic directly to the low-cost product as a list-building tactic. Not only does this allow you to grow your list at little-to-no cost (because your sales cover your ad spend) but is also attracts a higher calibre of people – people who are prepared to part with cash from the get-go, which implies they will be more likely to convert on your higher-ticker offer too.

Consumers have become so accustom to the freebie concept that they are definitely more protective of giving away their personal data (name and email address). Some would argue that your customer may actually want something from you that’s of higher value than your freebie, and they are absolutely prepared to pay you for it.

You can of course run ads to your freebie in addition to your SLO. I recommend trialling both, just like I am right now.

4. UPDATE EXISTING ADS

If you are running ads, make sure to check on them, paying attention to the messaging (especially if they’ve been running since before the lockdown).

Is the message still relevant? Does it need updating? Is there a way you can acknowledge how your customer is thinking and feeling right now?

Remember, you have mere seconds to catch the eye of your ideal customer with your ad. Yes, there is less competition in the ad space currently, but there is a hell of a lot of noise coming from organic. So your ads still need to work hard to catch people’s attention. The first 1-3 lines of copy are MOST important, so use them wisely.

The ads that will catch people’s attention are those that have tapped into exactly how the audience is feeling. The copy should stop them in their tracks and make them feel as though you are talking directly to them.

And there you have it – 4 ad strategies to follow right now that will help you to show up as your authentic self, support your customers during this time, and ensure your business continues to thrive.

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I help digital coaches & entrepreneurs to grow their audience and make more sales online, through the magic of funnels and ads!



I'm Rebecca

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