Great! The whole world has gone seemingly crazy and you don’t know what to do. Information is changing hour by hour and even minute by minute. It’s difficult to know what to do, what kind of effect this will have on your business, how to anticipate, prepare for and mitigate the losses that are inevitably coming your way.
It is undisputable that every single action that you take (or don’t take) will affect your business for weeks, months and even years to come. That is really heavy huh? But don’t panic. You will very likely make it through this. Many of us have been through similar times before (2008 was not that long ago and we’re still here).
Whether this is your first time through an economic downturn or you’ve been here before, here are some things that you need to keep in mind as you are putting together your action steps.
- Don’t Stop Marketing– Do NOT completely halt all of your marketing efforts – if you can INCREASE them and capitalize on the opportunity for maximum exposure
- Niche Market Analysis– Do a deep dive analysis of your target audience and their behaviors during economic downturn
- Customers First– Focus heavily on your customer base and internal file as they are the most likely to continue to buy from you.
- Direct Market– Increase overall conversion rates by utilizing direct marketing methods that targets only people who are most likely to continue to buy during an economic downturn.
- TRACK TRACK TRACK– Analyze and track every marketing action and the return on investment
- Be in it for the “Long Haul” – Buckle your seatbelt and get ready for a long ride – you may not see immediate results, stick with it!
If you implement these 6 actions then you will be more prepared and better off than most businesses who will cut their marketing completely on a knee jerk reaction to the current situation. Over 400,000 small businesses went bankrupt or permanently closed in the last recession. Let’s take the lessons from the past and apply the successful actions today.
When economic downturn strikes the last thing that you want to do is halt all of your marketing efforts. Promotion is the bloodline of your business, cutting the supply will severely damage or kill your overall business especially during a time of crisis. Building and maintaining your brand is the way your customers and potential customers will be able to maintain their recognition and trust in you as an organization. They need to know that you are here and you are weathering the storm. You can also utilize this time to capitalize on exposure. Most business’s first action will be to cut marketing budgets and promotional outflow. This allows you the space, time and audience to make a maximum impact and impression on your target audience.
Take a deep dive analysis of your target audience and specifically their buying behaviors during an economic downturn. The Harvard Business Review released an article that explains the psychology of consumer behavior and purchasing habits during a recession. “It’s critical to track how customers reassess priorities, reallocate funds, switch brands and redefine value.” From groups that will “slam on the brakes” and not buy anything to people who “live for today” and continue purchases without missing a beat. Assess what this means for your organization to build the most effective marketing plan to the segments within your niche market. You have the raw data and there are resources available to assist you in analyzing that data to build your effective pandemic marketing strategy.
The good ole 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers is so important during this time. Hang onto those customers for dear life, they will be your largest asset during this time. You cannot effectively retain their business and loyalty if you aren’t communicating with them. And let’s face it – every organization in the country is sending emails on how they are handling COVID-19 including your florist so let’s not pretend that email is going to cut the mustard. Focus the bulk of your marketing efforts on your existing clients.
This may be the most important rule of all. With today’s cutting-edge technology, we are all in a much better position than we were during the Great Recession. In addition to focusing on your customer base, you can pin-point target market exactly who is interested in your products or services right now. You can eliminate the prospecting guessing game focus only on people who are visiting your website. Identify the anonymous visitors through modern technology like LEADMatch and send them a direct mail piece (heck everyone is going to be home anyway). You can also retarget those visitors digitally through the Google Display Network and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Focusing on only the people who are browsing your products and services right now will allow for more effective use of your marketing dollars and overall higher conversion rates. Utilize direct marketing in a very targeted manner to ensure you are staying in front of the appropriate base and creating the serendipitous moment of being in the right place at the right time – when they’re ready to buy!
You need to track everything that you do (period). Tracking will give you full visualization into market infiltration, exposure, engagements, conversions and overall marketing impact. It will also provide you with the visual transparency that you need in order to test and tweak messages, call to actions, market segments, etc. Gather the data and analyze constantly. Once you know what is working strengthen those actions and knock off any waste. The ultimate goal is to refine your marketing strategy and enhancing best practices continuously to ensure overall success and sustainability. Be willing to adapt and pivot quickly as data and trends become more and more clear. Trust the process.
This situation may have seemingly exploded overnight and the impacts are hard and fast. This will not be the same story for the rebuild. Much like a natural disaster, it takes a short period of time for catastrophic damage but a lot of time, patience and hard work for the repairs and overall reconstruct to take place. Buckle up and be ready to ride this thing through. There is no “quick fix” here. Marketing is a long game anyway, now it will be even longer. Have patience and know that every effort that you make right now will pay off in the long run. Do everything in your power to keep up the consistent outflow. It will not only keep your business alive during this time but it will almost certainly ensure future growth.