“Should I continue marketing?”
It’s no surprise that this question is coming up more and more for businesses at present.
For the likes of Burger King, Nike and ITV, who have big budgets and big reputations to withhold, with vast teams of creatives ready to speedily conjure up clever campaigns that will be shared purely for their adeptness, it’s a no brainer.
However, what about smaller businesses?
Sure, the big players still have a lot to lose, but they’re just that bit more armed for situations like this (although I doubt many were prepped for this exact one).
For the millions of other companies around the world that are laying off employees, seeing a decline in business and generally fearing for the future, is marketing really something they should still be spending time and money on?
It’s an excellent question.
The temptation to ground all marketing activities to a sudden halt to save money where possible seems a very viable solution to many. However, with a drastic decrease in face-to-face interactions, footfall and events for exposing your brand to customers, maintaining visibility is perhaps more important than ever.
That’s all well and good, I hear you cry, but what about cost, resources and the fear of saying the wrong thing?
These are all very valid responses, of course, but ceasing marketing right now is still not the answer.
Here are some ‘top tips’ for how you can still continue marketing and the approach you should take when doing so, to ensure that you are still visible and taking steps towards longer term success.
Take the time to step back and review the fundamentals of your business.
Now is the perfect opportunity to use any downtime you might have to really assess your business.
Who is your client/customer? Has this changed at all? What are they doing and how are they consuming content at present and how can you still communicate with them? Can you adapt the way that you provide your service/product to them in a way that makes it easier for them? How does your strategy now need to change to communicate this? What’s your short-term plan and your longer-term plan in light of the recent changes?
Do not sell or look to be capitalising on the situation.
This is a big ‘no no’. Unless you are a hand gel or toilet roll manufacturer, do not be seen trying to push your product at this time. People are fearful and anxious (with good reason), so now is the time to be sensitive, helpful, honest and human. Ask yourself what you can do, provide or advise to help your audience? They need it.
Exploit ‘free’ marketing as much as you can.
There is no denying that social media is a hive activity more than ever before. It’s one of the only ways people can socialise, stay in touch with loved ones and get some much-needed light relief from hilariously accurate memes about being locked indoors.
It is also, therefore, one of the most popular ways that brands to communicate with their audiences. Plus it just so happens to be free (ads excluded, of course). Maintain the conversation here and ensure that you have enough of that helpful, honest and human content that we spoke about previously.
Write blogs, produce videos with your phone or laptop, use video calling, send emails, offer up your expertise to relevant podcasts. There are more ‘free’ ways to communicate your brand than you might think, so get inventive!
Exploit ‘free’ resources as much as you can.
There are a lot of businesses who are already doing the above and helping other businesses by sharing their expertise and knowledge. Join online forums, Facebook Groups and sign up to mailing lists which might share relevant news, information and resources that you can use.
You can find downloadable templates including a website checklist, SWOT analysis and social media content calendar at our ‘Business Resource Hub’.
Keep an eye on the numbers.
Your website traffic and social analytics are likely to change along with everything else. Keep an eye on your acquisition to see where people are coming from and if particular web pages are more popular than usual. This will provide a better understanding of how your audience and/or their needs might have changed. It’s always good practice to monitor these stats when trying new marketing activities to ensure you’re on the right tracks.