The difference between your business surviving Coronavirus and closing is your ability to pivot to a new style of communication with your customers and employees. As a company it is imperative to be all in on digital communication and this includes your marketing.
During the last recession, more than 400,000 small businesses shut their doors or went bankrupt. Analysts have projected that Coronavirus may have similar impacts for small businesses.
We know this can be a scary time, however, we also know that you need to develop a marketing strategy now before it is too late. If you don’t double down on a marketing strategy now it may well mark the end of your business.
The History of marketing and economic downturn
We all know the age-old adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This thought held true through the 2008-2009 recession and we expect it to hold true through Coronavirus as well.
The small businesses that survived, did so because they positioned themselves through effective targeted marketing campaigns. What is different with Coronavirus is we expect traditional marketing to be less effective.
We know there is a lot more that comes into play than just marketing with the success of your company and the Harvard Business Review put together a great article on how to prepare for an economic downturn.
We do know one thing, cutting your marketing budget is a sure way to put your company at risk.
How is behavior changing amidst Coronavirus?
With so many concerns around the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have had to take drastic measures to protect employees and customers.
Part of building your effective online marketing plan is understanding how behaviors are changing. Let’s talk about a few of the critical industries
Restaurants, Bars, and Nightclubs
The restaurant, bar and nightclub industry is arguably one of the hardest-hit industries outside of the public attraction industry. The challenge for them is the risk to employees and patrons in gathering within tight spaces. To adjust we have seen many restaurants go to carryout or delivery only.
Many local independent retailers have temporarily shut doors to encourage people to remain home and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The biggest challenge they will have to contend with is not having income even though they still have expenses.
Grocery, Pharmacy, and related stores that are critical for survival have seen a boom while people over purchase supplies due to concerns with isolation. Products like Toilet paper and paper towel have become almost impossible to find unless you go first thing in the morning in many places. With purchase limits and tightening up of return policies, these retailers are hoping to return to a normal buying cycle for consumers.
Home Service Industry
Fortunately, the service industry is a critical part of our infrastructure. As a result, they most likely will not see as large of an impact as other industries. Roof leaks, plumbing issues, Lawn cutting/ landscaping needs, and other home maintenance will not go away. These are also things you cannot avoid taking care of when they come up either.
While there may be a cut back on new installations, maintenance will likely not be affected as much. These companies will come out on top if they focus on repairs first.
Automotive repair and fuel
With people not leaving their houses as much Automotive repair and fuel spending is likely to go down. While there is not a lot this industry can do to stay busy, they can find creative solutions to offering services such as mobile auto repair.
Cable and TV services
With more of the workforce utilizing work at home, the cable and TV service providers are expected to see gains in revenues for customers increasing services such as the internet to ensure they have the bandwidth they need to work from home. We suspect this will level out over the next few months.
The Time to shift to digital is now
If you have not already put a focus on your digital marketing plan, there is no better time than now. Online media consumption is at an all-time high right now.
Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook is facing “big surges” in usage since the outbreak started. No one truly knows the total impact across all social media channels, but it is expected to be big.
Not only is Social media consumption up but as work at home programs become the norm, internet traffic, in general, is surging by huge amounts. Seattle has seen almost a 40% increase in internet traffic in March.
What does all this mean for you?
Simply put, with more people than ever on the internet throughout the day and even into the night, your business needs to leverage the opportunity to be seen.
Small businesses need to double down on digital marketing while the internet is the place to be. To stay relevant, you need to be in people’s homes through digital visibility. That is the difference between them using you or a competitor.
How can you maximize this opportunity?
Yes, we said it, Coronavirus is an opportunity. While you may think we are crazy, we have seen data suggest that when you leverage challenges the right way you can see great growth. There were many businesses that did exactly that.
Know your audience’s behavior
There is no doubt that our behavior as a society is changing. As a result, your marketing needs to adjust to find creative ways to leverage that change in behavior. Work with your marketing team to find out how to reach your audience based on their new behaviors.
Track Everything You’re Doing with Marketing
Having the data that shows how your audience is interacting with your marketing efforts will allow you to understand what is working and what is not. It will also give you a measure of if your current methods are still working with your audience
Become an Expert at A/B Testing
You will likely need to make a lot of changes in your marketing through this pandemic. We suggest that you spend a lot of time testing and tweaking your marketing campaigns. This is going to be critical as new information is released and behaviors change.
Double Down on existing customers
The fact is your existing customers already have a relationship with you. Use this relationship to your advantage. According to Neil Patel, existing customers are 40% more likely to buy from you again than a new customer. They are also 50% more likely to try a new product you offer and spend an average of 31% more with you.
What is the Best Digital Marketing Channel?
This is a question we get asked a lot. The answer isn’t always a simple one and depends on your business and how it operates. What we do know is there are some digital platforms that regardless of your business model that typically work.
Website/Search Engine Optimization SEO
Your website is still one of your most powerful assets in your marketing quiver. While having a great website is important, how you update it is equally as important. If you make now updates, it is likely that your website is showing up on the 3rd or 4th page of google search results.
When was the last time you searched through 3 or 4 pages to find something on google? We know that the average user will at most look at 2 pages of results on google search. That means you need to be in the top 10 results for what they are searching to find you.
Remember many people access web pages from their mobile devices. To make it easier for them to ensure your page is mobile responsive
Unless you are familiar with SEO tactics, it is not a simple task to get there. Hiring a company like ours can give you a big jump forward.
Email Marketing is a great way to communicate about your products or services with your existing customers. With all of the advances in marketing automation, email marketing has become an effective low energy, high return marketing tactic.
Effectively using email can give you opportunities to put very targeted information in front of your customers. We recommend using it to communicate new offerings to your existing customers.
Google My Business
Google My Business is your business listing in the Google directory. If you have not already claimed yours, do this now. If you’re not sure how to do that, reach out to our team and we can help you.
Once you have claimed your listing it is time to start posting updates. This will help you stay relevant in search results and google maps
Social media is a rabbit hole you can go down as a business owner and spend hours upon hours of wasted time. When leveraging the social networks there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Focus on the platforms where your customers are
- Posts need to be Engaging and relevant to your audience
- Sharing content from other sources or people does not get as many views as original content
- Reply to all comments on your posts. Show your audience you are engaged with them.
- Limit your time spent on social media per day so you can focus on other important tasks in your business.
Remember Social media marketing is a great tool when used right and used often. Our team can help you design social campaigns that are effective and relevant to your audience.
PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising
There are 2 main forms of PPC advertising that are recognized: Google AdWords and Social Ads. There are others out there, however these are the 2 most used and recognized in the marketing industry.
There are many different tactics with PPC advertising depending on the channel and desired outcome. Knowing what tactics to use can be tricky to master and costly to your business. It is recommended that you leverage someone that is familiar with setting up effective campaigns to help you get the most return for your ad spend.
The great thing is that PPC campaigns can be deployed quickly and typically yield great results when set up correctly.
Let our Team help you build your digital marketing strategy
Our team is committed to helping business owners weather the storm of uncertainty with Coronavirus. Let our experts show you how to up your digital marketing game so you can leverage the opportunity created by this crisis.