This is a scary and uncertain time right now. As the current pandemic hits the US, many businesses are impacted. For some, this is a catastrophic disruption. For others, this is a minimal bump. For others still it’s an uptick in business.
With an uncertain future, it’s natural to want to start cutting “non-essentials,” which usually means marketing is first on the chopping block. While some companies may need to make this choice, for others cutting off marketing could actually cause more damage in the long-term.
As Inbound Back Office explains, if you’re able to, you should keep your marketing efforts moving forward:
People are on social media a lot more right now
A recent study pointed to a sharp rise in social media usage right now. It makes sense because just about everyone is now working from home and spending a lot more time following current events.
If you run campaigns on social media, now may be a great time to double down. Attention is in high supply and the competition may be pushing pause, give you a unique opportunity to gain more attention.
In particular, the leading platforms like Facebook and Instagram are likely to be incredibly high-value as people follow breaking stories and argue about politics (Facebook) and share inspiration and life stories (Instagram).
Building a list may be easier than ever right now
People everywhere are looking for hope and inspiration. They are looking forward to the day when they can socialize again and see life get back to normal. Now is the time to create content that inspires and helps.
Whether you’re in B2B or B2C or both, the classic tenets of Inbound Marketing have not changed: provide value.
Now may be the time to launch that amazing offer, course, podcast, download, video series, webinar or pillar page that helps your audience navigate their challenges. Now may be a great time to use content to build your email list, your social media custom audiences, your podcast subscribers, your video followers and any channel that you are building a community around.
People in both B2B and B2C are looking for hope and guidance. Be part of the solution and provide help to them and when everyone is bursting out of this crisis and moving full-steam ahead in business, you have been part of the solution all along which gives you the social and business currency to turn that loyalty into revenue.
Marketing is not a switch; it’s an engine
In times of turbulence, it’s tempting to think of marketing as a switch that can be turned on and off. But that’s not how it works.
Marketing is an engine that starts slowly and then builds momentum as you spin it up (flywheel anyone?). The more you add fuel and the more momentum you gain, the faster and more effective it is.
If you suddenly grind it to a halt, you have to start over by building momentum again. You may have to re-earn loyalty from your audience if they haven’t heard from you in a while. You may have to re-gain SEO rankings because the competition kept going.
Rather than halt marketing, you are likely better off maintaining or even increasing your efforts so you are running strong when the storm passes.
Businesses are reinventing themselves
While some businesses are unfortunately truly struggling, others are reinventing themselves. From restaurants to breweries to retail, many B2C businesses are pivoting in response to the coronavirus in creative ways. B2B companies are less affected and in some ways, they are thriving (take Zoom for example). Many industries, especially technology, are experiencing unprecedented demand.
How can your business serve the community in the current environment? What can you do to pivot and adapt your message? Yes, there is some negative news out there. But there are also some amazing opportunities.
A recession is the time to increase market share
No one likes saying the word out loud but it’s pretty much accepted that we are going to see a recession. We don’t know how long (or short) it will be but it’s likely.
When this occurs, your competition is likely to cut back. This is your chance to gain ground.
It’s been well-documented that increased spending in marketing and advertising during a recession can pay off. From Forbes:
“…there have been a number of studies going back nearly one century that point out the advantages of maintaining or even increasing ad budgets during a weaker economy. Those advertisers that maintained or grew their ad spending increased sales and market share during the recession and afterwards.”
The article continues:
There are several reasons to advertise during a slowdown.
- The “noise level” in a brand’s product category can drop when competitors cut back on their ad spend. It also allows for advertisers to re-position a brand or introduce a new product.
- Brands can project to consumers the image of corporate stability during challenging times.
- The cost of advertising drops during recessions. The lower rates create a “buyer’s market” for brands. Studies have shown that direct mail advertising, which can provide greater short-term sales growth, increases during a recession.
- When marketers cut back on their ad spending, the brand loses its “share of mind” with consumers, with the potential of losing current – and possibly future – sales. An increase in “share of voice” typically leads to in an increase in “share of market.” An increase in market share results, with an increase in profits.
Many well-known companies like Kellog’s and Amazon became the uncontested leaders in their space by increasing marketing during recessions. And they’re basically unstoppable now.
Whether or not marketing is a viable strategy for you right now depends on your business and cash flow. But if your industry hasn’t seen much impact or if you’re on the fence, it’s a good idea to keep your online marketing going. This way, your business can keep momentum going or more easily pick back up again once things have calmed down.
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Free Webinar: Keep Your Business Running While Working Virtually
It’s a scary time – schools and events are shutting down in response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses are asking their employees to work virtually so they can self-quarantine and control the spread of the virus. If businesses and employees aren’t used to working this way, how do you get started?
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Need a new digital marketing or web design plan? We are a Minneapolis SEO, digital marketing, social media marketing, web design and HubSpot inbound marketing agency. Stop on by and get started – and while you’re here, pick up a free honey stick (yes, we love our bee-related theme).
This article was reprinted with written permission from Inbound Back Office, accessed 3/24/20.