Marketing Strategies During the Coronavirus Outbreak
How To Keep Your Business Alive During the Coronavirus Outbreak
No matter where you turn these days, Coronavirus is there 👀It’s on tv, radio, social media, and lurking in just about every headline on all news outlets. What we mean to say is, we understand that it’s probably the number one thing currently on your mind.
Thanks to the (expensive) world we live in, business doesn’t just grind to a halt because there’s a global health crisis. Companies must be adaptable in both their internal practices and how they offer their services to stay afloat through the anxiety and uncertainty that comes during this time.
Your friends at Lifted Logic remain working safely from home, as we’ve gone totally remote until threats to our health pass. To share the love with our clients and other businesses out there through the COVID-19 outbreak, we want to drop a little knowledge and advice for keeping your business alive, and even thrive when things go back to normal 🙌
Keep reading for our thoughts and suggestions. Don’t forget we’re always here to answer your questions. If you have more that come up, be sure to suggest them for our next #AskLL podcast episode!
Oh, and be sure to read to the end for an opportunity to join our owner, Adam Fichman, for a live webinar 🖥️ to answer more of your questions about digital marketing during a pandemic.
Our biggest piece of advice? Don’t do anything rash
In our years of business experience, we’ve yet to see a rash decision made during a crisis go over well.
The market may slow, but it will not stop. Things are changing fast and now is not the time for knee-jerk reactions. Your colleagues or employees are feeling uncertain and anxious and need a leader to step up to ride the waves of chaos and adapt.
As a leader, you also cannot forget your responsibility to set a good example for those who look to you for direction. We know you’ve been inundated with all the “prevention tips” the internet can come up with, but why don’t you pour yourself a #quarantini 🍸 and read up on the CDC’s guidelines to protect yourself. Make sure any news you share is from a reputable source and adopt good social distancing practices to encourage others to follow suit.
“One rule of thumb for any leader is that there will come a point when you have to lead those you serve through crisis. Whether it be in business, in government, or in your family, every entity, individual, and organization will face a crisis. However, the mark of good leadership is to maintain your composure and to remain calm no matter how dire the circumstances. Remember, if anyone looks to you for guidance whether you’re a CEO, an elected official, a parent, or a trusted coworker you are a leader and being a leader who those around you can trust during a crisis is vital.”
Scale back, don’t shut down
During a global crisis, it’s smart to do an audit of your business expenses and create a plan of action to make sure no money spent is wasted. Bringing your business to a screeching halt is not a good idea. Instead, adopt a progressive strategy and learn from what history tells us.
According to cxl.com:
“In 2002, McKinsey published a study of 1,000 U.S. companies covering the period 1982–99, which included a recession during 1990–91. The study focused on what happened during the recession that affected performance after the recession. Those who came out on top were classified as ‘leaders.’
As the authors found: While most companies tightened their belts, successful leaders, trading lower short-term profitability for long-term gain, refocused rather than cut spending [. . .] Yet in expansionary periods, successful leaders spent significantly less on [selling, general, and administrative costs] than did their former peers.
Greater discipline during boom times offered more flexibility during lean years.”
Depending on your revenue flow, you may need to scale back spending on certain marketing campaigns. You should also consider the money you might be saving during this time (e.g. the Lifted Logic marketing budget practically doubled now that we don’t have to buy bougie coffee beans for a while 😉) that can be shifted toward other necessities, like payroll.
See the opportunity in everything
With slower day-to-day business (and no commuting to worry about), congratulations! You have some extra free time to make your business even better. Consider turning your focus inward. What long-term improvements to your business have you been postponing lately? Perhaps it’s time to freshen up your website, overhaul your e-newsletter, or get an in-depth SEO audit. Lucky for you, your friendly neighborhood Lifted Logicians offer all these services!
Some things you could tackle yourself?
- Organize your (digital + physical) files;
- Digitize that stack of business cards in the corner of your desk;
- Make sure you have an active membership in your local chambers of commerce; and
- Set up any social media business pages you’ve been putting off.
It’s also a very good idea to invest in ongoing education and training for yourself and your employees to help you make a big comeback.
Pivot (if it makes sense) & give back
In times of greater need, many industries will transition away from their normal manufacturing processes in favor of creating supplies needed to further relief efforts in their community and around the world 😷Some recent examples of pivoting include distilleries making hand sanitizer and the fashion & beauty industries sewing masks and producing sanitizers in bulk.
If pivoting in this way makes little sense for your business, you can still pivot your messaging and connect with your customers to show empathy and keep yourself relevant. Offer as many services as you can online, consider free delivery (as applicable), or update customers on your sanitation practices, paired with an exclusive discount via e-newsletter to show your appreciation for their business during this time.
If your business happens to have the ability to produce products that will help people affected by COVID-19, time is of the essence—so get off this blog right now, make a plan, and get it underway (then come back to us 🙏). If you can afford to make a local financial contribution, do it.
We suggest doing these things not only because it is a good thing that a good person should do, but also because our PR expert gets stars in her eyes and says it looks fantastic, too.
When done with a careful, empathetic tone, sharing your contributions or good deeds does not make you look like a blow-hard. Rather, it puts you in a position of leadership in your community. Be sure to pair a well-written press release with any donations you make and give yourself a public pat on the back (or share any media coverage) on social media.
Go digital 🕺
Now that there’s not much to do and nowhere to go, people are using the internet at skyrocketing rates. Thanks to this extra couch time, marketing experts predict digital marketing strategies (both paid and unpaid) to soar through the COVID-19 quarantine.
Here’s how we’d approach your digital marketing strategy 🤓
Rethink your advertising & marketing strategies
Closing down your office and going remote is no small feat (shoutout to Ms. Emma Bland for making our transition smooth as butter). Once you’ve finished working out the logistics, open your marketing calendar and look at the next few months. What traditional marketing avenues have stalled?
If industry events you planned to attend were cancelled, consider putting your booth, admission, and travel refunds toward a Google Ads PPC campaign or two. With all sports cancelled, you might rethink moving forward with a TV commercial you’d been planning on. Take that money and promote a special service or discount you’re running during the outbreak on Facebook & Instagram!
With oodles of screen time, pay-per-click (AKA PPC) advertising is a smart move right now to connect with customers. As your much-less-wise competitors pause all of their PPC campaigns, you can now swoop in and grab the extra market share while paying far less on average for clicks than just a few weeks ago.
We know there may be a few companies out there saying, “But I’m a B2B business, does this PPC strategy still apply to me?” On the whole, yes! Your competition is still likely scaling back and providing new market share to take hold of. However, if you’re a business whose clients are restaurants, you may want to scale back spends on PPC campaigns for obvious reasons though we still suggest maintaining your campaigns in some capacity. B2B-ers, keep reading, you may find some other suggestions (like pivoting) that will still work great for you!
Suggesting you explore new digital marketing options doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cough up more money─in fact, certain forms of digital marketing don’t cost a dime. It may just be a matter of shifting things around and making the time to work at it. Remember, you want to take advantage of this time to give yourself the best chance for a big bounce back when normalcy returns. Plus, you’d be surprised to see how far our PPC team can stretch a dollar!
If you’re not sure where to start, we’re always happy to set up a free, one hour meeting with Adam and another marketing expert on our team to help you create the best plan of action!
Turn to content marketing
You might hear the term “content marketing” and have a vision of someone frantically churning out blog posts trying to earn a “guest blogger” spot at websites that have a wide following. Tell our lead content strategist this, however, and watch her roll her eyes and ask why you’re stuck in 2015.
The 2020 version of content marketing involves a much more holistic approach, aiming to tell stories to educate and connect with your customers rather than outright sell to them. Using a combination of ongoing blogging, email marketing, SEO, social media, and video marketing strategies, you can enter the everyday lives of your customers like never before.
What kind of content do your customers want to see during a time of chaos and uncertainty? Right now, we’re all seeking distractions, so creating content that informs, entertains, or inspires is key right now. Anything you can do to relate and empathize with your customers and further the feeling that we’re all in this together and that this quarantine will pass resonates now and will be remembered even after this epidemic passes. (After all, you’re reading this blog right now.)
Plus, the beauty of content marketing is that you can spend whatever you want running promotions on it, or spend nothing at all. It’s time you need—and right now, it’s time you have.
💡Create an interview-style video featuring yourself or one of your staff talking about the importance of your services or educating the audience on an aspect of your business that you deal with regularly. Then, upload that video to YouTube and create a YouTube video advertising campaign. Video campaigns can cost pennies per click and provide amazing top of mind awareness for your brand and services. Be sure to create a display or search Remarketing campaign to continue to follow up with those who saw your YouTube campaign!
Up your social media game
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: everyone is spending significantly more time scrolling through social media right now. If your business isn’t on the major platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business, and YouTube, you should get to work on creating well-branded profiles immediately.
Though your social content should be sensitive to the situation and not get too sales-y, there are ways to connect with your customers and attract new followers to your brand that will be valuable in the future. Think: capture new followers now with funny, informative, or relatable posts and serve them ads later when things stabilize.
Recently, we’ve seen the most engagement on memes, sharing work from home advice or general safety tips, and encouraging our followers to do what they can to reach out and help others in the community cope with the COVID-19 epidemic. LinkedIn recently posted a blog with some helpful tips when coming up with content to post on social media right now.
Make sure your business can be found online
Now is the time to pay special attention to search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a long-term strategy to increase organic traffic to your website and get ahead of your competition.
And now to the point we must stress above all others made in this article: do not stop any of your SEO efforts. A successful SEO strategy takes a lot of time and constant effort to maintain and improve. Abandoning it altogether will undoubtedly hurt your business.
We suggest continuing your efforts, but you may want to avoid a national SEO strategy and instead focus on your local SEO strategy (e.g., optimizing for people searching for your products or services “near me”). Local SEO strategies make customers most likely to turn to you first, before they make it to any of your competitors’ sites.
Get a leg up on the competition & make sure your business is ready for a surge when things stabilize
Though we can’t say exactly when, we know the Coronavirus outbreak will end and business will carry on as usual. In times of crisis, it is important for business owners to be sensitive and empathetic while also displaying their strength to weather any storm.
If your immediate reaction to the quarantine and shelter in place orders was to close up shop, we sincerely hoped you pushed through this anxiety to realize there are still opportunities to find, even during tough times.
Don’t forget, we’re truly all in this together and Lifted Logic is excited to help our clients through this time to come back even better than before. If you’re in need of some expert guidance on your marketing and advertising strategies during the Coronavirus epidemic, don’t hesitate to set up a (video) meeting with the Lifted Logic team!
Want to learn more from Lifted Logic owner & business expert Adam Fichman plus members from the LL team? We’re hosting a webinar!
Friday, April 3 we are hosting a live Q&A session with Adam and a few members of our content, marketing, and management teams for our ongoing clients.
If you’re an ongoing client, get in touch with your project manager to make sure you don’t miss out! If you’d like to check out the webinar and aren’t an ongoing client, not to worry! We will be recording this expert Q&A session.
Want to receive a copy of this webinar for your viewing pleasure?? Sign up to be the first to see the recording!