Keeping your brand visible during coronavirus so you can bounce back faster
One day, we'll all look back on this period with a sigh of relief and turn our attention to getting our businesses back on track. But what if our potential customers (who have been preoccupied with their own concerns in the meantime) have forgotten all about us?
That's the danger of stopping any PR and marketing activity while you attempt to cut costs and conserve cash.
If nobody is spending with you, your instinct is going to be to hunker down and slash spending where you can like everyone else.
The trouble is, while some pruning will be prudent, if you don't continue to invest in at least some effort to stay 'front of mind' with the customer and prospect audiences that matter to you, you risk slipping off the radar which will make it harder to recover later down the line.
Well, because, as we all know, it's much easier to sell to a 'warm' lead than a totally cold one that's never heard of you before.
There's more than a hint of psychology to this - something known as the 'mere exposure effect'. It's a tendency we all have to develop a preference for something merely due to being familiar with it through repeated exposure. If you keep your brand in front of potential customers, even when they're not in the market to buy from you, you can still build affinity with them. But if you're nowhere to be seen, you can't.
So, if it's important to carry on marketing and promoting your business or brand in the current slump, how do you do that at low cost?
Here are some simple ideas that you can implement without incurring much in the way of spend while you're trying to be more thrift:
1. Get yourself some press coverage
If there's something out-of-the-ordinary you're doing as part of the national effort to combat Coronavirus (such as offering up your empty hotel rooms to key workers like doctors and nurses) or making medical devices, or your staff have formed a volunteer group to deliver groceries to a vulnerable section of society, local journalists will be interested in it.
So tell them your stories. Media mentions are always good, but right now your potential customers are likely to be paying even more attention to the news, so there's an increased likelihood of them seeing you when you feature. But remember, if you're just doing stuff to attract press coverage, people are going to see through it pretty quickly - it's what we call 'purpose-washing'.
2. Engage your audiences by email
Who doesn't already use email marketing to keep in touch with customers and prospects? It's such a low cost way of reaching people in their inboxes that most of us use it in our marketing mix.
You may think that, during a slowdown when you've got nothing to sell because nobody is buying, that you should stop your email marketing but that would be a mistake. Just repurpose it, make it more about touching base, share bits of advice you come across that your customer audience may benefit from knowing (especially government guidance and details of its support packages), and show your actual and potential customers that you're still thinking about them and ways you can add value.
3. Get social online while you're social distancing
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram were all originally conceived of as platforms to make it easier for people to stay connected across divides. So use them for their intended purpose! If we're honest, a lot of the time we actually use social media channels as a one-way means of broadcasting our content, but you can achieve a lot more with them by actually engaging in conversations.
And, right now, a lot of people that are suddenly working from home will be missing the social interaction they'd normally enjoy in the office, so they'll appreciate some friendly dialogue. It's why we're creating a daily group chat on Twitter to encourage some banter, a bit of relief and a sense of community. Follow us @52Mconsulting to join in.
4. Share your audiences
If you're engaging in email marketing and you're on social media, then you have (a) a mailing list and (b) followers. So, why not share these with non-competing, complementary businesses or just businesses run by people you know and like?
No, we're not suggesting you hand over your mailing lists and get yourself into hot water over a GDPR data breach - but you could feature some other businesses in your regular marketing e-shots and introduce them to your audience, whilst also encouraging your social media followers to also follow these other businesses. And if they do the same for you, everyone gets their brand in front of a new audience for no cost at all.
So there you have it. Remember to keep your business and brand visible during the current Coronavirus slowdown so that you can rebound faster when it's passed, and use these low cost approaches to help.