“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” Henry Ford’s quote is more relevant today than it has ever been. COVID-19 is set to change the world socially, economically and politically.
Trust has never been more important than it is today. And what’s the best way to build trust with your audience? Consistent, empathetic marketing.
By consistent, we don’t mean carry on investing the levels of marketing you were earlier this year, using the same strategy. Things have changed considerably in a very short space of time. We all have to adapt to the current situation.
Businesses have closed – temporarily and permanently. People are working from home and adapting more to digital platforms. Supply chains have been disrupted. Construction projects are either on-hold or face suspension with tighter social distancing measures looming on the horizon.
Why do I need marketing at this moment in time?
At a time where businesses are undertaking cost-cutting exercises, it is an easy decision to cut a marketing budget. Business leaders are taking stock of what is happening. There’s uncertainty in the air and sales will take a hit. As there is no physical emotion linked to marketing, for example as opposed to laying off staff where there is an emotional connection, it is often a decision made to cut marketing budgets that is done with a lack of judgement.
As a marketing agency you may see us as being somewhat biased in the argument. But economists and other leading data providers back up, with evidence, that cutting your marketing in uncertain times severely impacts a business negatively.
The short term gains of reducing costs is far-outweighed by the reduction of profits over the following four year period, and also a reduction in brand trust.
Follow this link which presents data highlighted by Data2Decisions, a leading econometric modelling consultancy to support the above statement.
So what’s the answer?
As of now, your business needs to demonstrate you are on the side of your customer. This means continuing to push your message out there to reassure your customers you are there to help – fulfil orders, provide practical/technical advice, overall just willing to give value where it’s needed.
By value we mean offering advice, opening doors and creating introductions. All of this should be done by consistent and empathetic marketing.
In other words, offering customers a 20% discount on your product or services during the month of April will not suffice. It is about communicating your business. Your brand. And telling your customers how you can help.
This creates real value and shows you empathise with your customer’s situation. Yes, we are all going through the COVID-19 pandemic, but it shows that your communications are concentrating on your customers. This will build trust and when we are through ‘the other side’ and the economy starts to pick up, you will be in the forefront of your customer’s mind.
There’s even the opportunity to gain new customers right now, as some businesses are still going. There’s always opportunity.
What are the best marketing tactics/channels to use right now?
There’s no doubt that digital channels are dominating right now. With most of the nation’s workforce working remotely from home, your business should be using this to your advantage.
Social media. Emails. Your website. Three key channels you should be pushing right now to ensure long-term success for your business.
Social media has seen a huge increase in engagement since the pandemic, a fact supported by Campaign Live. Users are turning to social channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more, to not only stay connected more but to help run their businesses.
Emailshots are another great platform to communicate to your customers. Just make sure your upcoming emails don’t contain any special offers or buy-one-get-one-free deals. Now is the time for real value. How can you help your customers? Don’t be afraid to give out anything for free, such as advice, technical information or industry related guidance. But also, don’t be afraid to sell yourself and your brand. No-one should profit or take advantage of the COVID-19 situation unfaithfully, but businesses need to survive and thrive and you shouldn’t be afraid of pushing your brand, values and messages out there. Emails are a great way to do this.
Finally, your website is your business’ hub to your audience. It should be regularly updated and relevant for customers and prospective customers, again giving value and promoting your key message. At a time where businesses around you cut their SEO budgets and Google Ad spend, it only means it is easier for your website to rank for your relevant keywords.
We hope you have found some benefit and good take-aways from our article, in helping your business survive and thrive during COVID-19 and these unprecedented times.
If you want any more information or an informal chat about ideas for your business, we are always available. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 07748 787 402 or 07983 546 122 (we’re working remotely so currently not at the office!)