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Should you continue marketing in times of crisis?

It’s fair to say over the past month we’ve all found ourselves facing new challenges and contemplating how to move forward with our businesses in uncertain times.

If you yourself are a business owner, the decisions you make now could be what determines the future of your business.

Some are choosing to hope for the best, whilst others are already adapting to the new landscape and even prospering as a result. One thing is for sure, if you don’t start planning for the times ahead, the implications could be lasting.

Here at Pivotal Agency we have been gathering feedback from clients about their specific challenges and the decisions needing to be made in order to come out the other side with your business still intact.

Our natural instincts in times like these, are to go into protection mode but in the business world, are human instincts the best barometer or should we be thinking outside the square?

Whatever your situation, businesses that continue marketing throughout a downturn are more likely to survive than those that don’t.

There hasn’t been a lot of advice on offer surrounding what you can do to limit the damage from a marketing perspective, so we would like to offer a helping hand by providing you with some basic strategies as a foundation, and to those of you able to maintain at least in part, some of your paid advertising, a few additional insights into the opportunities to explore.

Before you take a slash and burn approach to cutting your costs, and throwing your SEO, Google Ads, and Social Media Marketing out the window, take a moment to pause and consider the options and long term effects.

Why should I keep my marketing?

To be clear, we are not suggesting you keep your Google Ads or Facebook Ads running if you have been instructed to shut down all operations. In these cases, this wouldn’t make financial sense.

What we suggest though, for those of you in these situations, is to keep what you can and work on your digital marketing channels that are free to use. Things like Google My Business, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, email and if you have a website, blogs.

In addition to this, you can start planning campaigns and sales for when you are able to re-open.

Some of you may be asking what benefit this would bring to your business if you can’t operate at the moment...

Improved online presence. Greater market share. Brand awareness. Reassurance.

If you improve the above, when people are ready to start purchasing from businesses just like yours again, your improved online presence and branding should bring you new customers as you should be easier to find.

Chipping away at things like Google My Business optimization and building brand awareness through social media and email marketing will make it more likely that your business shows up when people go searching online.

Map out the next few months of content

Take stock of what channels you have and the style of content needed for each.

Generally, it will come down to images and copy.

The next thing to do is come up with some ideas for content.

Pro tip: For most businesses it isn’t a sound, or effective idea to create content around the downturn. Consumers are already being bombarded with information surrounding this and you are very unlikely to cut through the noise.

Instead, focus on the needs your product or service provides, or the information potential clients frequently ask for. Create content from a leadership perspective that is comforting and reassuring.

Whatever angle you take, do not use the economic downturn as a marketing opportunity. This angle is likely to be seen as nothing more than a money grab and is likely to damage your reputation.

Once you have decided on the topics or FAQ’s you would like to create content around, note which channels it can be applied to. For example, if you own a beauty salon and decide to write an article about the ‘Top 10 Benefits of Facials’, this can be turned into a blog and EDM (Email Direct Marketing), and then repurposed for a Google My Business or Facebook post. This one original piece of content can be adjusted to be posted to multiple channels.

Potentially, you could create a month's worth of content for various channels from three or four articles. Once you are into the swing of writing content you will be surprised how much you can produce in a period of one to two weeks.

Pro tip: Make sure you use keywords in your headings and content to help improve your online visibility.

Once you have created a backlog of content, you can then set out a calendar to schedule the release of each piece across your various channels. A great free tool to use to help you manage and map all of this is Trello. For d esigning creatives Canva has a free level of membership.

By producing and publishing regular content, this should help to improve your Google My Business ranking, online visibility, brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Learn the basics on how to optimise your Google My Business and once comfortable then make sure you also extend to adding regular posts. It is important to be aware of the current restrictions facing Google My Business during the Coronavirus pandemic.

If you can afford to continue doing paid marketing and it makes sense to continue or even increase your investments where possible.

The GFC as well as other recessions have shown us that businesses that continue to advertise are more likely to survive. But those that increase their advertising, when their competitors are cutting back, can take a larger market share and improve their return on investment.

This doesn’t mean you should run out and start throwing money at Google Ads, Social Media Marketing or SEO if you can’t afford to but those who can gain the upper hand, will take their opportunities, so be mindful of the competition and don’t get complacent.

If you are currently running campaigns, analyse the cost per acquisition (CPA) from each channel first. If your cost per acquisition (CPA) has risen significantly over the last few weeks since the crisis hit, this means you may not be able to retain a positive return on investment. If you reach a point of diminishing return from paid ads, this may be a sign you should divert budget to Search Engine Optimisation.

On the other hand, if your CPA has remained steady or improved (usually from your competitors scaling back) this is a signal that you should scale up where possible.

The most interesting opportunity is in Search Engine Optimisation. Whilst your competitors are taking their foot off the accelerator, you have the opportunity to catch up AND overtake them before they realise what is happening. When the dust settles, they are going to be hard pressed to pull you back down.

If you aren’t running campaigns but want to take advantage of the opportunities, we highly recommend you learn more about which industries are in demand currently and which ones are on the decline before engaging the services of a marketing company.

If you believe you are in a position to benefit from initiating, maintaining or increasing your digital marketing, now is likely to be the best time. If you aren’t sure on the right strategy or channel and are in need of some professional advice, please reach out to us for a free, no obligation strategy session. Call us on 1300 844 491 and chat to Sandy or Mitch or complete the form below.

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Tags: Marketing, Digital Strategy, Coronavirus, Pandemic

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