Who expected 2020 to go like this? We know the last few weeks have been a minefield, with the world changing rapidly in ways we probably never imagined. We know businesses are finding it challenging to navigate difficult decisions and plan ahead into the unknown. The concept of “what now?” may seem overwhelming, but rethinking your way forward means you might be able to transform this relatively bleak situation into a time for opportunity.
We’re all tightening the purse strings, so it can be confusing to decide where to spend a tighter budget. Marketing might not immediately spring to mind, but it is a huge part of future planning. It encompasses everything you are as a business, from your branding to your strategy to the relationship and trust you have with your customers.
Think to the future
It’s hard to escape the negativity but brighter days are ahead, and the chaos will pass. If you plan now and think what you can do differently in the aftermath of the coronavirus, it will be easier to pivot your business strategy to meet the new needs of your customers, ready for the “new normal”.
These are definitely not the circumstances any of us anticipated but all we can do is adapt and put our business in the best possible position. Keeping a clear head and thinking outside the box can not only help you survive the present climate but to thrive once things feel a bit less surreal.
Keeping in touch
Just as we appreciate friends who reach out to us in this perplexing time, customers are seeking support from the businesses they trust. Now is the time to get to know and understand your audience better and reach out to them. Brands that show they care and go the extra mile will be remembered when we’re through the other side.
Social media marketing is one of the easiest ways you can do this and it’s where your audience is right now, with people checking it between 15% and 30% more each day (The Drum). Brands are taking note, with a predicted rise of 22.2% on social media spending (The Drum) so now might be the time to ensure your social media presence reflects who you are as a business. Customers are reaching out to social media for a sense of community and they will really value the brands who are part of it.
That’s not to say putting the right message out there isn’t challenging. We know promoting your business whilst being sensitive to the situation is a difficult balance to strike. If you really get to know your audience, however, understanding what would be beneficial to them at this time becomes easier.
What can your brand offer?
As the saying goes, we don’t give to receive and there are so many brands getting it right - truly putting people at the heart of their marketing strategy. From Premier Inn offering up hotels as additional hospital space, to Brew Dog making free hand sanitizer, to Guinness donating £1 million to keeping bars and pubs on their feet. These brands are truly adapting to give to the greater good. These acts of kindness will likely pay off further down the line, as people will remember and view these brands in a positive light.
Of course, as small businesses, we have less resources. Yet offering something simple such as free online tasters or live streams of what you do has the potential to do wonders for your brand exposure. Joe Wicks’ free workout livestreams (#pewithjoe), for example, are enticing almost a million people to tune in as the word spreads. Could you offer some form of free training or a livestream of a service you provide? It will give people a good taster of your service offering and might convert them into paying customers in the long run if they like what you do. At the very least, you can educate or entertain your target audience, so you have nothing to lose.
Showing your audience the love can even be as small as offering ideas to boost their mental health, DIY tips, or sprinkling a bit of lighthearted humour to brighten their day. Anything to keep your audience going in these dark times will be incredibly valuable to your relationship with them.
Patience pays off and most of us have more time than we’re used to, giving more opportunity than ever to really work on your business and build a captive audience. Keep your brand’s light burning and you’ll rise out of the chaos even brighter.
We hope you and your family are safe and well. If you have any concerns about how to navigate your marketing during this turbulent time or would like to discuss ideas on how you could adapt your business strategy for a more sustainable future, then please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.