Marketing through Coronavirus: What the f*ck should we do?
In the last few weeks, we’ve encountered 3 types of business owners. Those who are trying cut every expense they have, starting with marketing, those who are continuing as normal and those who want to throw everything at marketing.
On the face of it, you’d assume that falling into one of these 3 types would be correlated to the industry that the business is in. For example, if you’re in the travel industry, you might be cutting as much as you can, as soon as you can. If you’re in the PPE supplies business, you’re probably throwing everything you can at marketing. We’re writing this article to ask some thought-provoking questions which you should consider before making any decision regarding the marketing of your business.
What is your customer doing?
OK, we get it. It is an uncertain time and every day brings something new. We get that when the lockdown was announced, a lot of the great British public tightened their purse strings quicker than you can say ‘shortage of toilet rolls’. However, the pattern we have seen for a lot of our clients who own online shops has been really interesting. The end of March was, on the whole, one of the worst weeks of sales for the last year. The start of April has brought the total opposite though, we have seen people spending more on the online shops we manage than ever before.
This applies to the travel industry especially – just because nobody is going on holiday doesn’t mean they’re not going to be booking them, right? With the Government announcing the Furlough scheme, there are a lot of people sat at home, on full pay, with not a right lot to be doing. We’ve all been guilty of making an online purchase to cheer ourselves up and there are a lot of people in the UK right now who could do with something to look forward to.
What’s your plan for when lockdown ends?
We don’t know when lockdown will end or when the country will go back to normal, but we do know one thing – normality will resume at some point. The big question is; if you cut marketing totally for the next 1-3 months, how much damage will this have on your brand?
Stopping SEO services for 1-3 months can be detrimental to the trust you have built up with Google so far. If you have been doing all the right things in terms of SEO for the last year, you could quite easily lose some of those ranks you have worked so hard to build up. When normality does resume, you’ll more than likely have some catching up to do.
Social media is a great way to stay in touch with people who love your brand. Moving back to question 1, make sure you know exactly what these people are doing before you stop social media entirely. We have worked with some businesses who have had great social engagement for the last few weeks, with local followers rallying around these businesses and making a conscious effort to interact with them more than ever before. Don’t forget the algorithm either – If you go quiet, how hard will it be to appear in front of these followers again, once normality resumes?
Websites can be strange animals which when left to their own devices, don’t play along nicely. Before you stop any website management services, have a think about what you’d do if your website encountered an issue. There are some obvious things here, such as expiring SSL Certificates, website updates and domain renewals.
The above are just a few examples of what could happen if you totally cut marketing.
What about existing customers?
Just because there may not be an influx of new businesses willing to sign up for your services isn’t necessarily a reason to stop marketing. By continuing to market, through social media or email marketing etc, you’re still showing your current clients that you’re still active and they’re at the forefront of your mind. They may be even thinking of spending more money with you and a well-crafted social media post may tip them over the edge! We all know that it’s easier to convert someone who has bought from you before, don’t we?
What is your competition doing?
Some businesses thrive on competition, some hate it. One thing we can all agree on is that we don’t like it when our competition is doing things better than us. Here’s a cool fact for you – In the 1990-91 recession, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of McDonald’s, when they dropped their marketing budget. Because of this, Pizza Hut’s sales increased by 61% and Taco Bell sales grew by 40%. McDonald’s sales declined by 28% (Forbes). Lucky for McDonald’s, they have the McNuggets and when you have them, you’ll quickly bounce back.
If you stop marketing, you completely risk your competition jumping in where you have stopped. How hard could that be to come back from when normality resumes?
Thinking of throwing everything, including the kitchen sink at your marketing team?
If you’re in an industry that is benefitting from Coronavirus, you’re probably loving life right now. Success is addictive and you probably want to capitalise as much as you can on this streak of fortune. It isn’t necessarily the right thing to do to just double your marketing budget overnight though. This is where analytics come in to play. Take a look at what’s working rather than just spending more across the board. You could have 80% of sales coming from social media and therefore it could be wise to create a paid advert on Facebook. You could be flying on Google and adding some new keywords could pay dividends. Don’t just assume everything is working perfectly because sales are up. Plus, you need that kitchen sink to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds.
There isn’t necessarily a right answer to this question. Whatever you decide to do, tread carefully. Whilst most of us are suffering a little bit currently, you could be suffering a lot more in the long term if you completely stop marketing. You could also suffer long term if you throw a lot more money at marketing without looking at what’s working. If you’d like a free consultation on your current marketing strategy, speak to us and we’ll be more than happy to provide some feedback. If you wouldn’t like a free consultation then that’s also cool. Just make sure that whatever you do, stay inside, stay safe and we’ll hopefully see you all on the other side.