The world is going through an economic earthquake right now. There’s no doubt that the global pandemic has shaken business and personal life at an incredible pace. What just two weeks ago was a strong and fast-moving economy, today has many customers playing it cautious and scrambling to adapt, or even to survive.
Like many companies, we’ve also transitioned how we traditionally conduct business. We’ve had our share of challenges with video conferencing as our team adapts to maintain the feeling of interoffice camaraderie and be available to clients while we all work from home.
There is no roadmap for situations like this. So here we are. Or perhaps the question is, where are we?
In our conversations with our clients and prospects these past few weeks, we’re seeing two groups of people. One group is pulling back on much or all of their marketing and waiting to see what happens. After all, when life and business get turned upside down, it’s understandable to want to cut seemingly non-essential expenses and brace for the worst. We don't know what’s in store for the future and there are so many things that we cannot control right now, no one should feel bad about these very valid and sometimes practical reactions.
The other group is continuing through these uncertain times, or even scaling up their marketing efforts. Some had their budget in place and a solid annual marketing plan before the crisis hit, and while their messaging might shift, they’re moving forward. Others have discovered that, while working from home without the distractions of the office, they are able to give some attention to some of the marketing projects and initiatives that have taken a back seat and plan for what comes after the current crisis ends.
How can you position your business now to put you in the best place when things come back? If you pull back, will you be ready for the outcome? Here are four marketing tips that I hope can help guide your business through this challenging time.
Check your messaging and tone
Honest marketing messages are always the best practice, but even more so now. “Helping before selling” is a common theme and sales conversations have become more personal. Since boardrooms have been replaced by Zoom rooms, it’s now accepted in the professional world to be on camera from your living room and for kids and pets to make an occasional cameo during a business meeting.
Review and update your current advertising, marketing and sales messages and visuals. Images of crowds of people seem out of place when so many people are quarantined, and the only human interaction is via video conference. Ad copy that demonstrates more empathy and sincerity now builds trust and relationships that people will remember when this crisis is over.
People are on social media a lot more right now
A recent study found a sharp rise in social media use with the rapid rise of coronavirus. It makes sense because lots of people are, or will be, working from home, spending a lot more time following current events and consuming information as much as they are hoarding toilet paper. Because when uncertainty blends with spare time, there’s not much else to do.
If you run campaigns on social media, now may be a great time to step it up. Attention will be high as people follow breaking stories and argue politics on Facebook, share inspiration and life stories on Instagram, and post their work from home (#WFH) experiences on LinkedIn.
Make sure your social media posts apply to your industry or service offering and show your customers and prospects how you’re helping while we’re all going through this.
Exude truth and relevance
Whether you're in B2B or B2C or both, the classic tenets of Inbound Marketing have not changed: provide value.
Publish that amazing new eBook, course, podcast, download, video series, webinar, or pillar page that helps your audience address their challenges. Use content to build your email list, your social media custom audiences, your podcast subscribers, your video followers, and any channel you use to build community around your brand.
People in both B2B and B2C are looking for hope and guidance. Provide help and be part of their solution, and when everyone is bursting out of this crisis and moving full-steam ahead in business, you will have the social and business credibility and trust to turn that loyalty into revenue.
Marketing is a machine, not a switch
During tough economic times, it's tempting to think of marketing as a switch that can be turned on and off. But that's not how it works.
Marketing is a machine that starts slowly and builds momentum. The more you add fuel to the machine, the more momentum you gain, and the faster and more effective it becomes – the more visitors you attract, the more leads you generate, the more products you sell.
If you suddenly hit the brakes, you lose that momentum and have to reboot much of what you worked so hard to attain. You may need to re-earn loyalty from your audience after they don’t hear from you in a while. You may have to regain lost SEO rankings because your competition kept going and passed you by while you went dormant. You may need to spend more later just to get back to where you left off.
How can we help?
I know you have a lot of other priorities right now, and your business goals have likely morphed. While before, the goal may have been to hit a certain revenue target, now it may be to simply retain all your staff or customers. However, deciding which camp you’re in – those who hunker down for survival, or those that push through for success – can set the path for conversations about what matters most for your business.
We're happy to be your sounding board, listener, connector, or thinking partner as we navigate this unusual time together. Contact Heinzeroth Marketing Group to discuss your marketing and business challenges.