During these difficult times, businesses large and small have been hit hard and one of the things I am hearing a lot is 'Do I carry on marketing?’ And the short answer is YES!!!
When cash flow is tight and you need to look at cutting back on overheads, marketing is often one of the first things to go, and yet, this is one of the most crucial times to carry on or even ramp up your marketing efforts. It’s time to focus on what matters most and nothing matters more than customers. Without customers, you have reduced cash flow, stability and ultimately durability.
As Henry Ford once said ‘Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time’.
In this article, I will share some of the reasons why you should carry on marketing in a crisis and how you can do it in a more cost-effective way. So, let’s first take a look at the benefits.
Why You Should Carry on Marketing During A Crisis
Long Term Goals
Many business owners forget that marketing is all about the long-term goals and with the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy to throw in the towel and forget your long-term goals but do so at your peril. We WILL get through this and having an effective marketing strategy gives your business a far greater chance of survival.
Maintain/Increase Brand Awareness
Brand awareness takes time to create but can be quickly lost if you go quiet. During difficult economic times, potential customers are looking for stability and empathy and if your marketing activities reflect this, you can increase your brand image and reputation and ultimately, your customer base.
Maintain Lead Generation
New lead generation is crucial to survival and keeping the momentum going with your marketing ensures that you will create opportunities to gain new customers and ‘ride the storm’. As I said in the first point, marketing is all about the long-term gain and if your marketing dries up, so will you sales funnel and lead generation. Now is the time to make sure that you are spending your pennies wisely.
Stay Ahead Of The Competition
It is inevitable that some businesses are going to collapse during these unprecedented times and as terrible as that is, you don’t want your business to be one of them. Maintaining your marketing activities helps you to stay ahead of those competitors that make the choice to ramp down their activities, giving you the opportunity to not only survive, but thrive in a difficult economy.
Free Or Cost-Effective Ways To Market During A Crisis
It’s all well and good saying to ‘Keep calm and carry on marketing’ but I appreciate many businesses have suffered major losses financially and the thought of marketing when they are struggling to pay wages is a very uneasy position to be in. So, I thought I would share some free or cost-effective ways to marketing your business during the crisis.
Turn To Online Shopping
If you have a bricks and mortar business and have been forced to close, are you able to offer an online version or your store and arrange delivery? This could not only help you through the crisis, it could always be an additional income stream when you are able to re-open. During this difficult time, there will be many website designers who would be grateful of some additional income and may be able to come to some agreement, alternatively you have options like Facebook Marketplace and Etsy.
Show Your Support
I saw this great post on Facebook stating that TK Maxx was closing it’s doors for preventative measures with staff on full pay but before they closed the doors, the staff were asked to strip down all the shelves of food and donate them to local food banks, charities, nursing homes, homeless shelters and schools. This was both very generous and very clever PR as they will now be known as a brand that really stepped up during the crisis. What can you do to support your community during the crisis? It doesn’t have to cost you money. Do it and let people know you have done it, or better yet, impress so much that everyone else is talking about it!
Open Communication With Customers & Staff
Now is the time to be more honest and open with everyone connected with you. Let your customers know what you are doing and if any changes to support or contact are necessary. Show both customers and staff that their wellbeing is your highest priority and that they are in safe hands with you. If a customer feels that you are being responsible and putting them at the forefront of all your decisions, they are less likely to choose another supplier. If your staff know that you care about them, they will feel more secure and valued and less likely to leave. Losing either can be costly during your most vulnerable time.
Get Smarter With Your Marketing
With daily changes to our circumstances and restrictions during the Pandemic, those marketing strategies that have been in place for months are most likely to be out of date. It’s time to get smarter with your objectives. Some marketing activities like events are most likely to be forbidden, so what other marketing can you do that will replace the results that you would hope to achieve? If you have posts or newsletters already created, double check them to ensure they are not outdated or come across as uncaring of the current climate.
Small business owners have a greater advantage over large corporations as it is far easier to change direction or even do a complete U-turn on your activities. Now is the time to really delve into the core of your strategy and ensure that you are spending your money wisely, talking to your ideal clients in a way they want to respond. If you are not sure whether your strategy is as effective as it could be, read my article ‘The Ethical Marketers Guide To Creating A Marketing Strategy’.
Utilise Social Media More Effectively
Social media is fast becoming the ‘go-to’ place for customers and in the midst of self-isolation, it has never played such a massive role. Make sure you are posting regularly on your social media pages, keeping people up to date, giving them helpful information and generally letting people get to know the personality behind the brand. Live broadcasts are a great way to do this and most platforms have live broadcast functionality. Use it to start building real connections with potential customers.
Now is a great time to get creative and think of things that can add value to your potential customers and increase your email list, giving you the opportunity to stay in touch through emails and newsletters. For ideas on what you can create, take a look at my article ‘How To Build An Effective Email List FAST!’.
As you can see, there are many advantages and ways to ‘keep calm and carry on marketing’ and you never know, you may decide to keep some of them going once you are through the other side. Do you know of other ways to maintain your marketing without breaking the bank? I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
During difficult times the question isn’t ‘Should I cut my marketing budget?’, instead ask yourself ‘Is my marketing effective?’. Now is the time to look at all the ideas you didn’t have time to consider before and give yourself a fighting chance of coming out of the other side as a brand that everyone knows and loves.
If you are struggling with your marketing and want to have a chat to see what methods you could use, reach out and book a FREE 45-minute discovery call with me today.
In the meantime, If you have found this article helpful, please tweet and share. After all.....sharing is caring.
This is Suzii, signing out til next time. Stay safe out there x