The Coronavirus or Covid 19 is the hot topic on everyone’s lips right now, supermarkets have empty shelves, schools are considering shutting, businesses are sending staff to work from home and the London Marathon has been postponed in its 40th year. Businesses, especially small, independent businesses, are really starting to feel the pinch.
As you know, we provide marketing support for all sizes of businesses and from the conversations we have been having over the past few weeks, the topic of the impact on marketing has cropped up time and again. We are commonly being asked how much marketing should be done. So here are my musings on the subject and more will be added as we go through the next few difficult weeks:
- Should I stop marketing my business?
Simple answer NO!
Now is the time to ensure you keep talking to your audience to let them know if:
- There are going to be any changes to your service
- If there will be any increases in your lead times or deliverability issues
- Changes to your opening times or if you are closing outside of your normal hours
- You are going to implement contingency plans to ensure you can meet service levels
- There are any available offers to help during this period
As business owners, you need to keep communication channels open and remember to keep reminding your customers you are still there so that when the coronavirus starts to wane, your customers have not forgotten you. In 2008 when the recession hit, marketing was one of the first things that most businesses stopped to cut costs. This actually had a negative effect on those that ceased their marketing activity, with those companies that maintained or enhanced their marketing been more successful.
A lot has changed since 2008 – we do not have the same level of customer loyalty there was back then, so this cannot be relied upon and taken for granted.
Social Media and Email Marketing are great for keeping you front and center of your clients. However, be realistic and do not pester and SPAM your clients to the point of no return.
I would ask you all to take a few minutes and think about how you could communicate with clients and what messages you need to put out.
2. Should my Marketing be different?
YES – now is a great time to review what marketing messages you are sending out and what marketing tools you are deploying to ensure they are still relevant and helpful during this difficult period.
I would certainly be advising all businesses to be looking at each medium to see if there are challenges or, more importantly, opportunities to be utilised. My top tools for you to consider are:
- Facebook Lives – keeping people up to date with your business
- Zoom / Skype / Loom / Facetime meetings
- Webinars and Online Training instead of face-to-face
- Video – if you don’t use it already then now is the time to start
- EBooks and workbooks – what you get across in a meeting, could that be delivered in an eBook?
If we all sit back and wait for this to pass and take no action, then this is when businesses will really suffer. Those that have adapted and adopted will gain and most likely benefit more.
3. Should I cut back on my marketing spend?
I totally understand that the financial impact of the Coronavirus is only just starting to bite and could impact for many months ahead yet, so the question of budgets is really important. It is vital that you take the time to review what you are spending your money on. For some businesses right now, it would be advantageous to increase spend – IT companies, VA’s, Food delivery companies etc. as people are needing these services more and more.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, each business needs to assess what has been working and what budget will you have going forward. This is where your stats will be really vital to show you what is working and what could be reduced. Look at your stats from the last three and one month periods and take these as a benchmark, to measure against during this next period of time.
Take a few minutes today to assess what activities are essential, nice-to-have or can be postponed.
There is an argument for ensuring that your websites and e-commerce shops are updated daily because if people are at home and not able to venture out as much. The internet and social media will be where they are hanging out.
4. Will anyone see my marketing messages in and amongst all the noise right now?
This goes back to knowing your audience and understanding what their pain points might be and ensuring you are appearing at the right time and place. Again, your stats either through Google Analytics of Social Media stats will show you the best times and opportunities for you.
I will be honest, if you do what you have always done then it might be more difficult for you – start to think about how you could stand out from the crowd in the right way, today.
5. Are there any opportunities to be had right now?
YES – without a doubt YES. Believe it or not but there is a wealth of opportunity right now:
- On-demand webinars
- Facebook / Instagram Lives
- EBooks & Guides
- Membership platforms and building your community
- Online shops
We could all sit at our desks and think about the what-ifs, but those businesses that will make this work are ready to adapt and plan for new ways of working.
Think about the time before every business had a website – now you could not really run a successful business without one!
Top Tip – Make a list of all the ways your business could innovate its marketing approach?
Whilst we wait for the news to tell us all the latest development concerning the Coronavirus, you need to make sure your business is on the right path. We are helping our customers to see that we are planning and preparing to ensure there are no changes to the products and services they offer.
As we go through the next few weeks, I will add any further questions we are asked to this blog to try and give you our thoughts and ideas that you could implement. If you have a question that you would like us to answer, then please get in touch – 0115 8 376 260
If you need any help and support during this difficult period, then please get in touch – 0115 8 376 260
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