Have you cut back on marketing due to the COVID-19 pandemic? You’re not alone. A lot of business owners are trying to save money by reducing their spending.
Cutting back is understandable and may be necessary, but marketing isn’t a luxury for your business. It’s a necessity. And it’s possible to keep things going even if you need to reduce your spending. Here are 11 ideas to help you stay in the marketing flow.
1. Focus on Social Media
According to Statista, Americans are spending more time on social media now than they did before the pandemic. That translates to an opportunity for businesses who need low-cost ways to engage their target customers.
It’s a good time to share the ways your business is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight the ways your business can help people cope with social distancing and stay-at-home orders. You may also want to consider boosting your ads or running a page promotion to get your business in front of potential new customers.
2. Take Advantage of Cheap Advertising
Speaking of running ads, one of the biggest potential upsides to the pandemic is that advertising costs are lower than usual.
If you’re wondering how low prices are, the answer might surprise you. There’s no hard data, but anecdotally, marketing agencies are reporting costs that are between 50% and 75% lower than they were before the pandemic. That includes pay per click advertising and social media advertising, where you’ll mostly pay based on impressions.
You may want to investigate the costs for your target market and rethink your budget to take advantage of the savings while they last.
3. Don’t Lose Sight of SEO
Search engine optimization is easy to neglect when money is tight. There’s a tendency among small business owners to invest in SEO only when it becomes a problem.
The issue with that mindset is that SEO is the longest game in digital marketing. If you don’t stay on top of it now, you could find yourself facing an uphill battle to regain your coveted page one rank on Google. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but you should stay on top of keyword research and maintain your local SEO to ensure you don’t slip.
However, businesses work to stay relevant for the target market throughout the pandemic. Maintaining a solid online presence via SEO and proper content marketing is crucial for every business. Ecommerce and digital marketing have become more critical than ever, as many businesses take advantage of this medium. In contrast, brick and mortar businesses continue to suffer. With customers shifting their buying culture to online stores, so should your brand and marketing strategies.
4. Create and Promote Special Offers
It comes as no surprise that consumer spending has taken a hit since the beginning of the pandemic. A lot of Americans have lost their jobs and as a result, they’re being more careful with their money than they were before.
However, consumers are still spending money. People are looking for convenience and entertainment – anything that can make staying at home more palatable. That means this is a great time to create special offer s that are tailored to your audience. Think about what your audience wants and needs and give it to them – and then promote it.
5. Take Care of Internal Housekeeping
One thing that every business has in common is a lack of time to handle the kind of tasks that can easily be put off. I’m talking about things like solidifying and documenting internal processes, working through your email backlog, or taking inventory.
If things are slow, this is a good time to tackle your backlog. Set aside some time each day to handle the things that have been put on the back burner. That way, you’ll be in good shape to capitalize on the return to normalcy – whenever it happens.
6. Take a Proactive Approach to Marketing
In times of crisis, some of us panic. It’s understandable – but it’s not a great idea, either. Just when we think we’ve discovered a new normal, things shift under our feet. It can be stressful at best.
The important thing during this time is not to panic. Don’t make any sudden changes to your marketing strategy. Instead, take a deep breath and look at your analytics and metrics. See what’s working and what isn’t – and adjust based on what you find. A fact-based approach will always serve you better than reacting in fear.
7. Tackle Your Digital To-Do List
There are a lot of little online tasks that can get delayed when you’re in the daily grind with your business. In addition to the internal housekeeping we already mentioned, this is an excellent time to check some things off your digital to-do list.
For example, you might use this time to claim your review pages and update your information there. You might respond to existing reviews. You could revamp your social media pages with updated photos and descriptions, standardize your NAP listings, or create a regular blogging schedule.
8. Solidify Your Message
Another type of housekeeping you can do now is brand building. You already know that people are spending more time on social media than usual. That means they’re also paying more attention to their favorite companies and brands.
Due to the pandemic-related uncertainty and stress, it’s a good idea to focus on showing the compassionate, human side of your company. People want to support brands that care about them. By showing that you want to help people, you’ll increase their desire to buy from you. That’s a win-win.
9. Seek Connection
We’re all craving connection. Being mostly stuck at home for months on end has highlighted our need for social interaction. And while in-person gatherings are still not safe, that doesn’t mean you can’t find alternatives.
You may want to organize a Zoom event or sale for your loyal customers. You could host an online fundraiser for a local charity. Your regular customers want to hear from you, and you may even attract some new followers and customers by making your company part of the solution to pandemic-related loneliness and isolation.
10. Make Customer Retention a Priority
This is a tough time to attract new customers. And, as you know, it always costs more to acquire a new customer than it takes to retain an existing customer. If your marketing budget is reduced, then it simply makes sense to focus on customer retention.
Make sure to email the customers on your list regularly with updates about your business and special offers. You may also want to offer exclusive coupons or discount codes to entice people to buy from you again. Think about what your loyal customers want and give it to them – and they’ll thank you with their business.
11. Spread Some Joy and Kindness
Finally, think about what you can do to lift people’s spirits. All of us are in the same boat as we cope with a seemingly-endless string of bad news. People are sick and the economy is suffering – but that doesn’t mean your marketing game needs to be all gloom and doom.
Get creative! Share some humorous videos and memes and don’t be afraid to get personal by telling your customers or clients what you’re doing to stay entertained and healthy. You could even host a social media contest where you ask your followers to share clever ways to beat boredom or connect with distant loved ones.
The bottom line is that this is undeniably a stressful time, but marketing should still be a priority for all small businesses. A thoughtful, data-based approach can help you get the maximum bang for your buck – and be in good shape to rebound when the pandemic is over.