During this challenging time of the coronavirus pandemic, many small business owners have been forced to close their doors for an uncertain amount of time. Others, have been able to adapt and work virtually from home. Yet the fiscal impact of consumers halting the sales of nonessential products and services have left tens of thousands of businesses wondering what they need to survive.
While small business owners are slowly trying to adjust to this "new normal," they might need to rethink their marketing strategy. Here are some ideas of how to pivot your marketing during these times.
A typical marketing budget can be as much or as little as 30% of a business's' overall annual budget. But as a business owner, should you reduce your marketing expenses especially is no one is buying?
"No," says Sharon Arena of Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC. "This is the biggest issue I see with small businesses. Once a business owner starts to see a drop in sales, they look to cut their marketing budget as an automatic reaction," she adds. "This is an opportunity to look for other unnecessary costs and continue to strengthen marketing your business." Also, by severely cutting your marketing budget, you'll miss out on an opportunity to reach future customers.
Some social media platforms recently did a survey on how long the average person spends online each day, and it's a lot - over six hours to be exact (Hootsuite). Since the majority of consumers are spending more time at home and on their devices, your business should be online front-and-center.
Since consumers may not be looking to purchase right now, you need to tailor your digital message to people that will need your services or products in the future. "Find where your customers are going online," says Sharon. "Whether Facebook or Instagram, your business should be right under their noses as a reminder that, 'Hey, we're still here.' "
Most business owners understand and know the different stages of their sales funnel.
Top of Sales Funnel - Potential customers who haven't heard of your business, services or products. Recommended marketing channels include traditional outreach, like TV, radio and billboards; also targeted-digital banner ads, Facebook and Instagram ads.
Middle of Sales Funnel - Potential customers who have heard of your business, services or products - but are still doing their research and comparisons. The goal is to educate and persuade them. Targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are great educational tools to reach potential customers.
Bottom of Sales Funnel - These customers are ready to purchase. They know what they want, but it's your job to make sure your business is there at the right time. Recommended channels include Google Search Ads and Bing Search Ads. If you haven't Googled your business lately, try researching your business compared to the others that come up.
It doesn't matter how you reach potential customers, people would rather do business with companies they trust. This is why focusing on educating your customers will help not only build trust, but help with future sales and referrals.
"Building trust is essential when working with small business owners," Sharon mentions. "There are times that (business owners) have to give you personal information or insider information to personalize a marketing campaign. That's why it's important to build trust right from the beginning - it's their baby you're dealing with."
What To Promote
Since people aren't buying as many products or services right now, they're still online. You can use your online platforms to help educate them about your business, or offer complimentary guidance during these uncertain times.
Sharon recommends reaching out to past, current or potential customers. "Try writing a small note that states you're thinking of them. Also, offer some guidance or advice to let them know you're thinking of them during this time."
Besides, after spending over six hours online, it's nice to get something in the mail.
Once the pandemic has decreased and we are back to our normal lives, your marketing efforts should have given you some strong brand awareness and trust with consumers ready to buy.
Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC is a marketing agency in Westport, Connecticut and Red Bank, New Jersey. We service businesses with marketing strategies, social media and consultations.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (203) 429-9671 | (732) 802-6295