Looking for a good way to use the time the COVID-19 crisis has opened up for your business? Tidy up your website and other marketing materials and toss out the obsolete trash.

Just as many of us are taking advantage of our “relaxed” work schedules by cleaning up our homes and tackling those long-planned improvements, we can use this pause from normal to take a look at where our websites and other marketing materials stand. Then we can update them in preparation for the resumption of normal business.

When I browse websites, rarely do I find one that wouldn’t benefit from a bit of housecleaning. Most fall into one of two categories. There are the static sites that are just the same as they were when they were launched six years ago. The companies, the products and services, and the people who deliver them may have changed, but the sites are telling the same stories they did when we were terrified by Ebola instead of Corona. (At the very least, update the copyright dates so your lack of attention isn’t so obvious.)

The second category is the site that has been regularly updated and modified over time. While that’s a good thing, it can create inconsistencies in how material is presented both graphically and in the messaging. Sometimes, updates result in contradictory information, because people forget that another part of the site references the same thing. Your updated page mentions your $99 service special, but another page offers the same special for $79.

Either way, it’s likely that the needs of your audience have changed over time, whether that’s because of the pandemic or other issues in your dynamic marketplace. While it may seem boring to go through your website page by page, doing so will help you identify information that needs to be updated or deleted. It may even trigger new ideas or opportunities you’ll want to pursue. Websites can normally be updated quickly and inexpensively, so at a time when you’re watching every dollar, it’s a move with great ROI.

Don’t limit your review to your website. If your company has a blog, review what’s posted there and consider your strategy. Is your team making regular posts, or are you like the majority of businesses that began your blogging program eagerly, but soon forgot about the importance of regular updates? Here’s a clue: if your most recent blog post was from last July, you need to step up your game. Regular posting keeps your key audiences informed, shows them you’re paying attention to developments in your industry, and encourages search engines to rank you highly.

If you’re using case studies to promote your expertise (and if you’re not, why not?), review those you’ve completed. Do they reflect your current business and customer base? Do they promote services or products that have been superseded by newer ones? If they’re still in great shape, consider developing new ones to mirror your current situation. You can use the current pause to create them, and your customers may also have more downtime, so they’ll be more willing to talk with you.

What about your printed materials? Even in this age of cyber business, most companies still generate stacks of brochures, fact sheets, and other printed materials. And for many of those companies, all those printed pieces are gathering dust on a storage room shelf. They may become less valuable as companies scale back strategies like trade shows and face-to-face sales calls, so now is a good time to take stock of what you have. That pretty brochure may have cost you a pretty penny, but if you haven’t handed one out in two years, maybe it’s time to toss them.

As you look at other materials, you may identify a need to update current pieces. If a fact sheet details last year’s model and leaves off the improvements you rolled out in January, there’s not much use for it. The same is true for materials with outdated logos or photography. Don’t be embarrassed if you find useless items, because every company has a stack somewhere. It’s the business equivalent of those slacks in your closet — the pair you’ll never wear again but refuse to throw away “just in case.”

Taking time to tidy up will also shift your mindset. As you browse through what you’ve done in the past, you may come up with great ideas for supporting your sales and marketing efforts as we move toward that new normal. Best of all, you’ll be a step ahead of everyone else!

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