This is a rough time for businesses, after 11 straight years of growth, it almost seemed like we were going to be cruising along in the longest bull market ever, for years to come. But alas, the coronavirus has reared its ugly head and forced fear, uncertainty, and doubt into the global marketplace. One thing that is worth remembering in times like this is progress is never linear. You might have heard the trope, two steps forward one step back, and that is absolutely what is happening in the world today. Just because we are in a downturn now, does not mean that we won’t come out of it better, smarter, stronger, and better at washing our hands.
A number of people have reached out to me over the past few weeks wondering what marketing and advertising tactics they can activate while keeping the purse strings tight. While suggestions may vary from business to business, there is absolutely some great low cost, high impact strategies that any company could implement easily and on their own over the next few months to come out of this dip stronger and more poised for growth than their industry peers who have twiddled their thumbs during this time.
- Focus on providing value in your marketing efforts, with easy to understand and direct headlines. Everyone is occupied with the idea of uncertainty right now. Give them some certainty in their feeds and you will be surprised at the type of reaction you get. Illustrate how what you’re selling or offering will help a customer immediately, don’t leave them wondering how they would benefit from what you’re offering, show it to them.
- Pick up on those things you’ve ignored, SEO, content marketing, local citations (restaurants, get on this) all the long term business tactics you know you should do but don’t have time for. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint. With all the extra time you’ve got at home start reading up on those topics you’ve put off for more important things.
- Take the time to review what marketing efforts you’ve done over the past several years, which ones warrant another try? Which ones didn’t work and why? Try to come up with general marketing principles for your business based on past experiences. Now that you have time look back for mistakes you’ve made and figure out how you can avoid making them again. It’s not a mistake if you don’t make it twice.
- Network, use this downtime to reach out to those in your network who you haven’t spoken to in a while, organize a Zoom or Google Hangouts call for a face to face video chat in order to catch up and find out what others in your space are up to.
Conversely, there are several things you do not want to do during a time like this, here are a few suggestions:
- Do NOT send emails to your entire newsletter list about what you’re doing during the pandemic. I think I have received emails about what companies I purchased something from 5 years ago are doing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of bringing that company to the top of my mind, it just makes me feel like they’re taking advantage of a situation. I’m not suggesting you don’t keep your customers informed, but think before you just send a huge email to your entire list. Put yourself in the recipient’s position, do you think you would want to know what some moving company you used 6 years ago is doing to keep hand sanitizer around? I don’t think so. Make your email outreach applicable to your target.
- Do NOT sit around doing nothing, during the time I’m writing this, all non-essential businesses in California and many other places are shut down but that doesn’t mean you have to shut down also. Brainstorm, focus on yourself, learn to meditate — anything that keeps your mind busy and engaged will help you come through this stronger
- Do NOT be afraid. Warren Buffet famously said “Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy” — there is always another opportunity waiting right around the corner. Don’t be scared of turning to look.
While there is no foolproof strategy to get through these uncertain times, there are certainly ways you can protect yourself and give your business the best possible chance of coming out of this downturn better, faster and stronger.