Digital marketing

Marketing through a crisis.

These are very strange times we’re living in – who’d have thought three months ago we’d be where we are? It’s safe to say 2020 isn’t going to plan for anyone right now. Some businesses have had to shut and others can’t cope with demand. Before you consider abandoning your marketing plan, we’ve pulled together some thoughts and advice that you might find useful. Here, we explain why marketing – and staying visible – can be important in a crisis.

Business as far as is usual
Generally speaking, the advice is always to carry on marketing through a crisis. However, we’re pretty sure a global pandemic isn’t a typical crisis. That’s why every decision has to be based on your specific situation. The rationale to carry on marketing is that you will be in a better position once we’re out of the other side. In most cases, now is not a great time to go quiet on your customers. So, what do we recommend?

Firstly, think about what you want at the end of all this. When we do return to normal, what position do you want your brand or website to be in? Aim to be ready for the potential surge of activity and spend that is likely to come.

If there is an activity or project you’ve been putting off because you don’t have time, now might be a good time to give it your attention. Consider activities that would benefit you in three to six months’ time – for example, SEO, an updated website, maybe even preparing for a rebrand.

Monitor data closely.
Are you noticing a shift in traffic? Have enquiries increased or slowed down? What is the cost per enquiry/sale? What happens to your website will depend on the product, service and market. For our retainer clients, we are keeping in regular contact and shifting to more regular weekly reporting. The more you know, as quickly as possible, the better you can deal with it.

Do you need Google Analytics support?
If you’d like some help to understand your Google Analytics account, we can do screen-share appointments to talk you through it. Get in touch with your account manager if that’s of interest.

Evaluate budgets.
We are advising clients to maintain the activities that we know work and fit with the capacity for their business. But for others, where we had started or deployed tests, we’re pausing that activity and focusing on the core. Now is not a great time to test changes because you cannot be certain of the results, good or bad. Maintain activities that are of high value to you and pause those you can’t deliver or won’t impact on you now. We’ve changed some ecommerce paid search campaigns at very short notice and the returns have been impressive.

Adapt and innovate.
Is it possible to deliver the same or a similar service virtually? There’s been a fantastic shift in some very traditional businesses offering home delivery or collections – especially within the food sector. We weren’t the quickest to take up video calls, but we’re on Zoom several times a day now.

Learn new skills.
If you or your team have more time on your hands, perhaps they could start that online training course that they wanted to do. There is great deal of choice of online providers in all manner of subjects. What skills in the team would benefit your business after this?

As a final thought, remember that good news is good news! PRs and journalists are crying out for good news. If you’ve got something positive to share, you might get more coverage than normal. If you don’t have anyone to look after your PR, we recommend speaking to our friends at Scriba PR, who will be happy to help.

For any client whose business needs to completely shut down, any decisions on marketing will depend on a) cash flow and b) how you want to come out of the other side. We can discuss options with clients individually to assist.

Written by Andy McCaul
Co-founder and digital marketing guru Andy ensures all our projects are in shipshape and that we generate the best return on investment for clients.