The economy has changed, and with it so has marketing. No one knows how long this is going to last, and no one knows what society will be like afterwards. Perhaps we will forget it as a temporary blip, or perhaps it will be remembered forever, and social distancing becomes a routine thing.
But whether it is for the short or long term, marketers need to drastically adjust their tactics so that their businesses can survive this economic disaster. Maybe some of you are using these tactics already, in which case good for you. If not, here are a few important tips and tricks to consider for how to keep sales up and interest high during these weeks, months, or even years to come.
When we talk about networking and personal marketing, a common tip is that quantity is a quality all of its own. Just being around and presentable at multiple events is more useful than being particularly witty or charming at any one event.
The same principle applies to businesses with online marketing, and the first step to succeed online is to get online. Set up a proper website and social media platform as soon as possible and create content on a regular basis. A website which does not update will be viewed by SEO engines and humans as a dead website, and people will stop regularly visiting somewhere provides no new information.
You do not need to create some video with a high production value, or an article written by a literary genius. Small tweets and silly videos on your phones are still better than no content at all.
These are tough times for everyone, not just for you and your business. More than ever, potential customers need to know that your business cares about their lost jobs or their fear of becoming infected, and that you are willing to help.
There are a great many ways to show that you care. Have your business offer temporary discounts, especially to those who are suddenly struggling to make payments. Support food banks or other community volunteer efforts, and then publicize said efforts on social media. Offer positive stories about what your company’s workers are doing. Now is not the time to launch an aggressive sales pitch, right when so many are suspicious and angry.
Look for New Target Markets
Let us suppose you sell something like online nutrition supplements. Your supplement business is going to lose customers. As a result, it is critical to branch out and find new customers.
You can ramp up on advertising spending to find similar customers, but sometimes that is not going to work. If your nutrition supplement company sells to gyms that are closed down, you are not going to find alternative gyms that are open and willing to buy. This means that you need to look for a new target marketer.
If you cannot sell to a gym, perhaps you can sell to grocery stores, or directly to consumers. Perhaps you could even sell to the health department of your local government. Now more than over, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and target markets which you may have decided were niche in earlier times.
The Importance of Local Reviews
People are spending a lot more time online, and they are also less willing to travel. Your business will likely be more dependent on nearby customers, and those customers will often turn to review sites such as Yelp or Google Maps. A review from a disinterested customer is much more persuasive than a slick ad.
The best way to encourage customers to leave out reviews is to ask them. If they gave you their email address, contact them in a weeks’ time to request that they fill out a review. Use placards in your store which customers can fill out efficiently. And remember to regularly check what customers are saying. Responding quickly (within 24-48 hours) to a negative online review can undo the damage such a review can cause and maybe even regain their trust.
Stay Calm and Plan Ahead
A business during these tough times is far more likely to panic and implement some drastic action which it will soon come to regret. For example, it might decide to slash its marketing budget under the logic that it will be less necessary with less sales.
But marketing, and especially digital marketing, relies on data analysis and not to defaulting to what your gut is telling you to do. It can take time to gather the necessary data, as anyone tracking coronavirus statistics should know by now. And while it may be months or even years until we can go back to something approaching normalcy, businesses should also begin constructing a digital marketing plan for after the coronavirus. It does not have to be a detailed plan but can be an expression of what your business’s next marketing steps are.