Things sure happen quickly, don’t they? Right now in Alberta “mass gatherings” can’t have more than 50 people attending it, unless it’s for an essential service. Lots of companies, especially tech companies like ours, are having their staff work remotely. No one has any idea how long this will last either. Two weeks? Two months? Longer? With that in mind, it’s time to dive into the options you have for marketing when more and more things are cancelled and shut down.
Depending on the form of advertising you’ll see different results. As people drive less and self-quarantine more physical and radio ads will have less impact since the most common place to listen to the radio is in the car and obviously someone who’s staying at home isn’t going to see your billboard. But if a form of advertising is likely to be seen by those trapped at home, then it will definitely still be as effective as normal, or even more effective in some cases. If you provide something that people are still likely to search for, Google Ads are a good idea. So a restaurant that does delivery? Definitely a good choice. But there are other searches that are less likely to have great results. I need some car repairs done. But at least until I’m done quarantining myself I’m not going to bother Googling my options. In short, if you provide something people need, putting your extra marketing budget into advertisements can be a smart choice. Otherwise there’s probably a better option for where you can put that extra cash.
What better time to build a social media following then a time when pretty much everyone is stuck at home? especially when over 50% of people using social media to check the news. Putting in the effort to boost your social media following now means that you’re likely to see results immediately. Even better, as you increase your following you’ll see more increases both short term and long term as your social media presence snowballs. And unlike advertising, you aren’t just putting yourself in front of someone who you hope wants to make a purchase right then and there. So if you provide a service that people aren’t really looking for, but you’re engaging with potential customers on social media, they’re more likely to see you on social media when they *are* looking for your services later on.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is always important, but it’s also the only option on this list that doesn’t have short term effects (normally). That means that for a lot of businesses it has to take an unfortunate back seat to the other forms of marketing. You want a return on your dollar now and not in several months. So a time when you suddenly have more money to play around with in your marketing budget is a great time to finally tackle your SEO. And the lack of short term results isn’t as important when the short term benefits for marketing are down across the board as people self-quarantine more and more. In other words, while the downsides to putting your money in SEO are still there, they aren’t as noticeable right now whereas the benefits are still as strong as ever.
Deals on Products
Finally, depending on what you provide now might be the time to offer some deals. A great example would be some of the phone companies in the US. I’ve heard of several that are either increasing the data they’re giving to all their customers for free or even in some cases temporarily giving customers unlimited data plans. Now obviously, being larger companies they can afford things like this. Don’t run yourself and your business into the ground trying to look like a hero but it’s still important to recognize the effect that offering help in times of crisis can have. Obviously, there’s the fact that it will certainly be easier to sleep at night. That doesn’t really impact your business though. What does impact you is the goodwill you create among your customers. If you provide a service they need or one they really want right now, they’re well aware that even if you raised your prices they’d still probably buy it. So when you offer a deal instead, while the cynical types like me will recognize it for the smart strategic choice that it is, most people will look at how it’s a gesture of goodwill.
Online Trade Shows?
Alright, this isn’t something that exists, as far as I can tell, but it’s an idea that I had. And since it’s just an idea I haven’t fully fleshed it out yet so bear with me. With conventions and conferences being cancelled, many of them are turning to online formats. So what if there could be an online version of a trade show? Perhaps a Facebook group, though that seems too disorganized to me. Maybe an online forum? Or maybe a website with information on all the various companies taking part with some sort of online version of a trade show booth. Like I said, this is more of something that I’m mulling over. I might even go into more detail on it next week (I make no promises though), but it’s still something to consider.
That’s all for now. Hopefully these five options (well, four options and an idea in the back of my mind) will help you decide on a marketing strategy that your business can pursue in these chaotic times. If you’re not sure what option would be best for you, or if you’d like a hand implementing your strategy, get in touch with us. We’d love to help you out so that we can all make it out of these difficult times safely.