There’s no getting around it, no dodging or sugar-coating it – the world is in a mess right now due to the coronavirus pandemic. And the sad reality is that things will continue in this vein for some time yet. There are thousands of new cases emerging daily and businesses as a result will continue to be impacted.
Certainly, in the 20 years+ that we have operated as a digital marketing agency - we have never seen or been exposed to a worldwide pandemic such as the one we are currently in now. The question arises however whether we can see any light arising in the current situation? If you’re a business owner, then help is seemingly on the way – particularly in the UK where our government has devised a plan to support businesses across the country, which depending on the industry you’re in, could be a ray of light amongst the darkness. It’s quite normal in periods of disruption like this to start thinking about cutting back on business / operational costs. And seemingly, marketing comes under this banner. But before you begin the process of cutting back on your business outgoings, let us give you some of our insights as to why cutting back on your marketing efforts in particular might have a negative impact on the bigger picture.
My name is Minz, and I’m the Head of Digital Marketing here at the Freetimers, and I’ve created below a list of 4 reasons about why keeping your marketing going will benefit you. Now I know what you’re thinking, if your business has come to a grinding halt then it makes sense to cut back on things that you can’t provide right? Well…. That’s true… but should that impact your marketing efforts? In my opinion… it shouldn’t… let me explain.
The virus has certainly had an impact on the high street, but the internet provides a much-needed avenue where commerce still exists. Now depending on when you read this article, things may again change and shopping over the internet could very well be impacted further – however, with more and more people at home now, the online world provides in some cases the only outlet for people to do their shopping. If all of a sudden you’ve stopped all your digital marketing efforts, then its possible that you may have missed out on a potential opportunity.
So here are my 4 reasons to keep your marketing efforts going -
- Staying at the Forefront - Brand Familiarity
- Protecting Your Investment
- A Chance to Test/Experiment/Refine – people still shopping online
- Building Positivity within a Negative Situation
1 – Staying at the Forefront – One of the things that we must remember is the brand familiarity element. If people are home, they will turn to the internet to not only provide an escape, but also as a method to shop online and plan for the future. What we have to remember is that, yes, things are bad right now, but this won’t last forever. Things in China are already beginning to pick up and they’re on course to get things back to normal. So, we also must be ready for when things do get back to normal here, so that your products and services are at the forefront of your consumers’ minds. Admittedly, customers may not be in a position to move now, but they are looking. And if your online presence has been minimised, then this could affect you when a more normal service starts to resume, and you’re not there to take advantage of it.
2 – Protecting Your Investment – This leads me nicely onto reason number 2 which is to protect your investment. Chances are that you’ve spent a lot of time and money into getting your marketing and SEO to where it is today. Would you really like to put a hold on that, given the effort put forward? It’s understandable to want to reduce marketing spend particularly on the paid digital channels such as Google AdWords and Social Media Ads – as these are seen as more of an ‘immediate’ route to get your product and services out to the masses. But the one channel in particular that you should think extra hard about is SEO. SEO is by far the more complex and misunderstood channel of all the digital channels. However, once done correctly, this channel can by far be the most fruitful for your business, but it’s a different animal to the paid channels. SEO requires time, patience, logic, science and authority. And in my opinion, this is the channel that you should NOT look to minimise or stop in any capacity, as this can create a more long-term negative impact on your business. With Ads, you can switch them off/on as you please. SEO does not work in this way. Once you stop, it takes a long time to get back to where you once were. If anything, now is the time to work on your SEO more than ever, so once we get out of this virus induced period, your site will be in a strong position for when the economy picks up again.
3- A chance to test/experiment/refine – If you’re a business owner and find yourself with a little bit more time than you usually would, then this is an ideal time to experiment and test new methods for your marketing arsenal. Let’s say for example you’ve always wanted to try a new digital channel to see how audiences would respond to it; well now would be the time to test that curiosity. As I’ve mentioned many times throughout this article, people will be looking at your products and services online now more than ever – so why not try something new to see how things fare? This may not lead to an overnight success, but what it can do is lay the groundwork down for future strategies. My advice would be to do your research, weigh up the costs and then make an informed decision if its something you see can be viable for your company. If you don’t try, you don’t know – so why not spend time opening up your marketing plan now to test and lay down the work for the future.
4- Building positivity within a negative situation - The one thing we must not forget through this situation is the community element. Chances are that people will be spending more time on social media now. However, if your Facebook timelines are anything like mine, then again, it’s just doom and gloom through every other post. However, as a business, you have an opportunity and, in some cases, a moral obligation to keep the morale of your followers up and as high as you can possibly make it. If for example you stop all your social media activities, then you can be depriving someone of that moment of ‘escape’ they are looking for. I must stress though that the purpose here isn’t to take advantage of a desperate situation, but more to keep going as normal to keep morale up for your company and its followers, which could very well have a positive impact on your brand. Life is getting tough for us all on a day by day basis with this pandemic. Whilst the physical element of social gatherings has been somewhat brought to a halt, people are turning more to social media gatherings as a viable alternative. So why not get involved in this process? Why not utilise the technologies available to us? Celebrities, musicians, artists all over the world are all now engaging in Facebook / Instagram ‘live’ events to keep things going. As a business, you also have the opportunity to engage with your audience in a similar fashion – create your own ‘live’ events where you can answer questions, hold forums, do live ‘how to’ demonstrations etc… as not only does this positively impact your brand reputation, but also provides that positive escape that is needed now more than ever.
Let me stress that this isn’t about how we can take advantage of this situation and profit from it. This is all about keeping your marketing efforts going, and in some cases even enhance it further.
The period which we find ourselves in at the moment is both scary and exciting. It’s what I like to call a ‘slingshot’ period – as just like a slingshot, there will be moments where we are stretched. There will be tough and testing times which unquestionably will stretch us… But this will not last forever. And the exciting part is that once this darkness passes, there will be a period of boom! And in my opinion, if you want to get the full benefit of that boom period, then the decisions you make now will go a long way to determine how your business is positioned for when this darkness passes. Think of it as an investment into your business… keep your marketing going now to enjoy the full fruit of this later.
Be Safe, Be Well and see you on the other side….