online marketing during COVID-19

We understand that for many business owners there is reason for concern about the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, we have researched, put our brains together, and come up with some action plan ideas for businesses on maximizing the now and preparing for the future. 

Inevitably, this coronavirus crisis will pass, and while it is important to use wisdom and discretion throughout it, it is also important not to succumb to fear, allowing it to control the decisions made regarding investment and marketing––the foundations of a successful business. 

In that light, what action steps can you take?

Maximizing the Now

According to Business Insider, many websites have seen a traffic increase up to 50% during this time of crisis. With so many people working from home and students home from school, more and more people are living online, meaning that is where you should be as well.

Here are some things you can focus on while you are forced to slow down:

Messaging

Be the customer-centered business and panic-free voice that people need right now. Show that you care by communicating clearly; assuring your prospects and customers of your stability; and, when applicable, defining the steps and precautions you are taking to ensure sanitization and good health. Calm language that emphasizes preparedness and hope for the future will carry you a long way.

Online Presence

Do all you can to improve the quality of your online presence now. This could include boosting your social media strategy, redoing your website, improving you SEO, etc. Again, people are spending an unusual amount of time online, so you should be focused on making sure your business stays at the forefront of their mind using consistency and good branding. This will set you up for long-term success, despite any short-term setbacks.

Communication

Use this time to perfect your online communication. Consider the value of messaging, video communication, live chat, etc. All those online communication tools and tricks that you think are really great but haven’t really had time to implement? Now’s the time. Face-to-face communication may be very limited, but optimizing your online communication can help you keep things personal despite social distancing.

Content

It is in times such as these that people are seeking information. Utilize the slowed pace of coming weeks to develop and produce content that brings value, including email, video, newsletters, articles, etc. Make yourself an invaluable resource within your industry for your prospects. Not only will this help keep you top-of-mind and establish your trustworthiness, but it will also help you create habits and processes for content creation that will outlast this season of crisis.

One article put out by Forbes put it this way: 

“Brands can project to consumers the image of corporate stability during challenging times.”

Bracing for an Economic Low

Maximizing your digital efforts now, even if business slows, will fill your pipeline for when things return to normal. Recession history tells us not to allow fear and panic to convince us to minimize efforts. An increase in online efforts will set you up for an influx when this COVID-19 scare inevitably passes. 

In a study after the 2001 recession, 86% of business executives agreed that companies who marketed during economic lows will be top-of-mind when the economy improves and people are once again prepared to make purchasing decisions. The same number agreed that it shows an assuring level of commitment to those businesses’ products and services.

Studies on marketing during economic recessions before and after this claim was made have proven those stats further. Businesses who continued (and even increased) their marketing efforts came out far ahead of those who diminished their efforts. 

*The Recession History Stats to Show It

1920s

In the four years following the 1923 recession, it was discovered that the companies who continued their marketing efforts despite the state of the economy came out 20% ahead of where they were before the recession, yet companies who cut back on their marketing budgets came out 7% below where they had been.

1940s, 50s, + 60s 

In the four recessions that took place throughout these three decades, companies that reduced their marketing efforts struggled with their sales and profits during and after the recessions, but those who maintained their efforts came out significantly ahead.

1970s

Studies showed that despite the recession of the 70s, companies who marketed aggressively could not only maintain their sales, but also improve them, both during the recession and after it. 

1980s 

After analyzing 600 companies, researchers found that those who maintained and increased marketing efforts during and in the years after the 80s recession grew 275% over those who did not by the year 1985.

1990s

Studies done after the recession showed that companies who increased their marketing during the recession had increased sales growths of up to 75%, proving that the best strategy is “balanced long-term branding with promotion for short term sales.”

*based on Advertising Specialty Institute’s study and stats compilation

 

What does this mean for you? Based on this research, we are encouraging you to keep up your marketing efforts despite the crisis. We want to see your business among those who come out on top when all is well again.

Preparing for the Future

Don’t hold back based on the poor assumption that because consumers aren’t spending you should not be marketing. Keeping your brand in front of them will be your saving grace when the economy makes a come back and prospects are making purchasing decisions again. It’s a hard call to make as a business owner, but we urge you to use wisdom and future-oriented thinking when making these difficult decisions in the middle of a crisis.

As with every economic low and societal crisis, the mindset of the people in our society will have shifted by the end of it, and considering the nature of the situation we are in, those shifts will be largely related to technology and the online world. Taking these steps––improving message, communication, content, online presence, and overall marketing strategy––will be a huge leap in preparing you for the new norm of the years to come. 

We understand that this is a challenging, stressful, and disconcerting time for you. Please reach out to us––the Brown Creative Group Team––with any questions related to marketing in times of crisis, and we would be happy to answer them as best we can. We’re in this together, friends.

Additional Resources:

Upcoming Webinar – 

“Marketing Online During the COVID-19 Crisis”

Articles –

“When a Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising”

“Which Marketing Strategy to Adapt in Times of Crisis”

“Agile Marketing Your Way Through the Next Recession”

“Roaring Out of Recession”

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