“In good times, people want to advertise; in bad times,
they have to.” – Bruce Barton, American Author
As the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are scrambling with how to respond to the potential business impacts. Yes, COVID-19 has the ability to disrupt certain business sectors, but how companies adapt to these changes is crucial.
In past economic downturns, business owners cut costs in order to minimize expenses and continue operating. In fact, during the economic recession of 2008, ad spending in the U.S. decreased by 13%. But, how do these companies fair in the long-run? With that being said, more and more companies have and will look to ways to reduce their business expenses, with one of these ways being to pause or indefinitely cancel their marketing programs.
Reducing or freezing your marketing spend during COVID-19 can create a rippling effect when it comes to your business’s revenue. Here are the five reasons to remain consistent with your marketing efforts and not freeze your marketing spend during COVID-19.
#1: The New Face of Your Business is Digital
Less face-to-face interaction means that our online presence is now more important than ever before. The physical distance between you and your customers has changed; as a business, it’s important to be agile and conform to this change so you can continue a meaningful relationship with customers and prospects.
This is why it’s critical to build customer relations via digital outreach. With more people under a stay-at-home order, internet usage in the U.S. has steadily increased between 10-20% since early February. This may be an opportune time to capture more of your audience’s attention.
The question is, how will you do it? Engaging with your audience can be done through email, updated website messaging, social media, text message updates, video and more, depending on your industry.
It’s critical to have resiliency and be able to pivot your short-term and long-term online strategies. Companies can’t afford to have technology pitfalls during this time; this includes having a website with poor user experience, slow loading time, outdated content and more.
The Key Takeaway: Companies must enhance digital to establish business continuity with their customers.
#2: Stopping Your Content Marketing Efforts Can Have Serious Long-Term Impacts
If you’re like most of our clients, the majority of your leads come from organic search. This means that freezing your marketing spend can also mean freezing your revenue-generating leads.
The truth is, it’s difficult to reverse momentum once a website begins going into a downward trajectory. Under times of business downturn, companies may resort to stopping their content marketing or SEO efforts due to budget constraints. While this may sound like a good short-term solution to cutting costs, it can have long-lasting business effects that are difficult to reverse.
Search Engine Land, in particular, states that the harmful effects of not consistently publishing content to be overarching on performance. If you forego publishing content, then this can happen:
- Fewer new keyword rankings generate less targeted traffic
- The number of backlinks decreases, and in turn, referral traffic goes down
- Less content to share on social media and fewer businesses sharing your content
- Fewer return visitors to your website and fewer brand searches
As we know, Google prioritizes websites that publish fresh content consistently. If your content generation stops, your search engine rankings will be negatively impacted over the next few months, which may take even longer to bounce back from.
The Key Takeaway: Google is constantly monitoring the quality of your website’s content; the impacts of stopping your content generation can be felt for months to come.
#3: Optimize Your E-commerce Strategy to Win More Business
“Necessity is the mother of invention” could not be more true of an adage right now. Social distancing and mandated shutdowns may create virtually no foot traffic to your brick and mortar. Investing your budget in a new e-commerce strategy or optimizing your current online platform can mean all the difference during this time.
If your business already has an e-commerce platform, you can strategize on new tactics to tailor your services. For example, you can create short-term incentives when it comes to pricing or shipping to show your customers that you’re here for them. The key is to show empathy and that you’re here to help them get through this, not exploit the situation. Remain delicate and communicate with care.
The Key Takeaway: Ensuring that your online platform is well-optimized and provides a seamless user experience is critical to success during this time.
#4: Marketing Budgets Can Be Re-Purposed
Restrictions on large gatherings have companies across all industries experiencing canceled industry events, whether it be a conference or trade show. The good news is that many companies are implementing a flexible cancelation policy, which may mean that businesses have more money put back in their budget planning.
If in-person events have virtually been eliminated, for the time being, it’s time to search for other effective mediums to network on, such as social media, web conferencing and content marketing.
This makes marketing optimization crucial, as budget allocation will likely be needed under the circumstances presented by COVID-19. How will your company pivot from its current strategy and optimize its marketing mix for maximum impact? During this time, many companies may be trying to recoup lost revenue and make a recovery. This is why halting all marketing activities may prove to be detrimental. Now is the time to reorganize, strategize and create the plan that is most effective.
The Key Takeaway: Stay agile and evaluate where your marketing spend is most effective.
#5: Highlight Company Stability During Times of Uncertainty
There is an abundance of uncertainty in the world right now, as we are unsure how long this period will last. Consumers are searching for brands they can rely on and trust during this time. This is why we do not recommend “going dark” during this challenging business time. If this is a long-term situation that your business is not equipped to handle, finding a way to tailor your marketing strategy is paramount. If you do not, you run the risk of falling behind to your competitors that did find a way to adapt; or, even worse, jeopardize not being able to stay in business long-term.
Google’s Global Marketing Vice President, Joshua Spanier, states that one guiding business principle right now is to remain helpful to your customers. This means you may want to prioritize your content marketing over other business initiatives, as people are turning to Google to search for practical information.
The Key Takeaway: It’s important that your digital presence remains active so it best reaches your customers, but your marketing channels may shift.
COVID-19 may have changed your industry, but as a business, it’s time to forge ahead and take action. More than ever, it’s crucial to be effective and strategic with your marketing efforts and not freeze your marketing spend during COVID-19. Shifting to a digitally-focused marketing approach can even serve your business better long-term after the immediate COVID-19 threat is behind us.