Keeping your business afloat during this most difficult time means inevitably needing to cut back on expenses. Often, marketing budgets are the first to be reduced or eliminated, but at a time when you need to stay in front of your customers more than ever, this could be a short-term solution that does more harm than good in the long-term. Marketing is a marathon after all, not a sprint. A consistent presence over time delivers leads, increases sales and builds your brand - all crucial for businesses to survive.
The fact is, businesses that adapt and change their marketing efforts in turbulent times position themselves to survive the crisis. Historically, studies have proven this to be true. In one such study, McGraw-Hill Research analyzed 600 companies during the 1981-82 recession and found that those who continued advertising experienced significant growth throughout, and even beyond the recession - specifically, a 256% increase in sales over competitors who pulled back or stopped their marketing completely.
With this considered, before you pause your marketing efforts you’ve worked hard building, It’s important to try refocusing them instead. If you rework your strategy and change tactics to maximize your budget rather than cutting it, you can control expenses, but not at the expense of your brand presence and business growth.
Here are some ways you can refocus your marketing to get through COVID-19:
Adjust Your Messaging
The last thing any business should do is try to move forward as if nothing has happened. Ignoring the impact of the pandemic will only make you come off as unempathetic and “sales-y.” It’s important to be genuine, caring, and honest. Acknowledge the crisis and report what you are doing about it, as well as any changes to your products and services you make to help fulfill your customers’ needs and continue working with them.
Meet Your Customers Where They Are
Quarantine has resulted in perhaps the largest influx of people spending time online. Your marketing strategy needs to respond. Now is the time to redirect your marketing spend to beef up your online presence and keep your business top of mind.
- Make sure your website is fully optimized so search engines (and your audience) can find you. Keep it updated with any changes in hours or services, and don’t forget to update your local listings with the changes as well.
- Stay active on social media. Consider paid digital ad campaigns as well as non-traditional techniques like investing in online influencers.
- Look into the possibility of developing an App for your services or an e-commerce site if applicable.
In addition to your online efforts, don’t forget the broadcast mediums that have made a resurgence with the new remote environment. There has never been a better time to take the dollars used for billboards or restaurant bathroom ads and utilize them for radio or cable TV ads instead.
Stay Connected and Communicate Often
Email Campaigns are the perfect vehicle for maintaining relationships with current customers and peaking the interest of new ones. Regular emails and monthly e-newsletters are great ways to deliver information like company updates or specials you may be running. Using your marketing dollars to maintain this communication now can pay great dividends later, once the pandemic subsides.
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on businesses everywhere. But it doesn’t have to abolish all of your hard work; it doesn’t have to stop your growth and vitality. You can get through this. With the right strategy and a refocused plan, you can adapt your marketing to help your business remain strong...and most importantly, persevere.
If you have any questions, need some additional advice, or would like us to help, we are here for you.
Stay safe, stay positive and be well.