Top Tips for Marketing in a Pandemic
Date: 19 May 2020
Many businesses are struggling with deciding what the right approach is for marketing in a pandemic. So we thought we’d offer some thoughts and advice…
Is it right to undertake marketing in a pandemic?
Are you concerned about whether it’s simply inappropriate, distasteful even, to undertake marketing during a health crisis?
Or maybe you think you should be cutting all your marketing spend to save costs?
The simple answer is no, it is not wrong to undertake marketing now. And your business is more likely to come out stronger if you commit to marketing during a pandemic (or a recession).
However, there are, of course, a few factors you need to consider in terms of your marketing messaging in times like these. You don’t want to risk damaging your brand by hard selling, profiteering and not demonstrating how you are addressing the safety of your staff and customers.
In the 1920’s, Post was the category leader in the ready-to-eat cereal category. During the Great Depression, Post cut back significantly its advertising budget and rival Kellogg’s doubled its advertising spend, investing heavily in radio and introducing a new cereal called Rice Krispies, featuring “Snap,” “Crackle” and “Pop.” Kellogg’s profits grew by 30% and the company became the category leader, a position it has maintained for decades.
(Thanks to Ed Chinn at Eagle and Beagle for finding this quote in a Forbes article recently).
Many of your competitors may not be undertaking any marketing right now – so you have the chance to stand out and be memorable. When we’re back to a bit more of a ‘normal’ way of life, businesses will start their marketing again and there’ll be lots more content and ‘noise’ to compete against – so the opportunity is now.
If you can, it’s best to try and continue with your marketing. Think of the phrase ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.
It is definitely a good idea to provide some free/added value resources or consultations to help at this time. You don’t have to always spend a lot on your marketing activities – but you do need to give some time.
Remember there are people that want to learn about and buy your products and services right now. They could be essential to people right now in both their personal lives (for enjoyment, practical needs, wellbeing, or even just sending a gift to a family or a friend), as well as their professional business situation. So you need to be communicating with your prospects and customers.
We’ve created a checklist of things to consider and some top tips that we hope will help with your deliberations about marketing in a pandemic.
Things to think about…
You have probably addressed and implemented many of these – but it’s worth taking a step back and double checking:
- Can you adapt/pivot your business model to offer new services that help your clients and prospects?
- Think about your ideal customers’ situation and show more empathy in your sales and marketing messaging. (Ask them/reflect upon the fears and problems your prospects and clients are facing and how their goals and objectives may have changed.)
- Are you able to sell online via your website and social media?
- Is there potential to collaborate with other companies to create a useful offering and combine marketing forces?
- Could you provide some free useful resources/consultations to support clients and prospects? Be seen as a helpful, knowledgeable expert in your field. Be kind. Strengthen your reputation.
- Consider a different pricing model if you need to – such as phased payments. And perhaps consider making donations to a chosen charity with every sale made.
Our top tips for marketing in a pandemic
Key activities for marketing in a pandemic:
- Update your website content
- Look at improving your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – are there new search phrases you could be targeting due to the current situation? (We offer a free SEO check for your website with clear and simple explanations of the important elements of SEO. Just ask!)
- Be really active with lots of content on social media – help people to get to know you, like you and trust you
- including videos of your new services or how you intend to keep people safe when they visit
- promote your free advice/resources
- show the people behind the scenes at your business and share personal stories
- use hashtags
- Connect with clients (past and present), business partners and suppliers on social media to build your network
- Online networking – be really visible and talk about how you can help people
- arrange 1-2-1’s with members from the group
- connect/follow them on social media
- Email marketing – both direct outbound email and emails triggered as a result of someone’s actions
- Inserts within deliveries to cross sell and up sell
- Social media advertising – one of our clients has achieved a 13 x ROI in a campaign during the COVID-19 lockdown.
- Think about planning and implementing a ‘customer journey’ or sales funnel (which may be automated in part). You may start with a social media post and advert promoting a useful resource you are giving away. This takes people to a website landing page to download that resource in return for their email address. You can then start a series of helpful emails to them (as permitted by GDPR depending on your customer type) – perhaps with the end goal of gaining a 15 minute consultation or purchase.
- Social media remarketing – adverts on social media shown to people that have previously visited your website
- LinkedIn lead generation – use the free or Sales Navigator paid version of LinkedIn to find your ideal clients. Write a personalised connection request to them and send carefully crafted messages after they connect to build a relationship. Give away your free resources.
- Ask for testimonials from previous clients to add to your marketing and strengthen your Google reviews or position on other relevant review platforms
- Once we are out of a pandemic and potentially coping with a recession environment, other traditional marketing tactics such as exhibitions and direct mail and physical networking will be back on the table again too!
Of course, it’s also a great time for working on your marketing plan too:
- Review and refresh your current and longer term marketing plan
- Start to work on filling your pipeline. For example, searching for potential prospects on LinkedIn (even in the free version)
- Undertake a competitor analysis and some customer research.
Free Webinar and Resources
So now we’ll follow our own advice and offer you some free resources 😊
- You may find that it is super useful to have a copy of our free marketing audit form – it will help bring all your marketing thoughts together and it can help generate new ideas! If you would like a copy sent to you (without obligation), please just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Don’t forget that you can also ask for a free SEO check on your website too. There’s nothing worse than a website that is invisible in Google search results!
- Watch our “Top Tips for Marketing your Business out of a Pandemic” webinar from July 2020 – it’s free!