The COVID-19 pandemic has a resounding message across the world: times are changing. Every part of life has been affected, from healthcare to the economy. As a start-up and small business, there are many aspects to consider and re-plan, including your marketing efforts. Here are 5 simple ways to position your business to be a smart marketing responder during the pandemic.
Now is the best time to consider your marketing campaigns and what message you’re conveying to your audience. As times shift, so should your marketing initiatives. As you take a deeper look at your marketing calendar and campaigns, reviewing and revising your messaging and imagery is key to being nimble with shifting needs. Is it possible that a campaign you are running (or were planning to run) isn’t quite fitting or empathetic for the current times?
Reviewing your campaigns and messaging will ensure you’re responsibly aligning to what your audience is currently experiencing.
In addition to a responsible marketing approach, you should think smart. Make sure to review your timeline for marketing campaigns and revise it appropriately. Like many big brands across the nation (and world), you should consider revising or stopping marketing campaigns all together that do not address the current political and economic climate at hand. For instance, Ford Motor companies shifted from marketing their annual March Madness advertising to sending a message of empathy and reassurance, promoting their car payment assistance program. This shift is in more alignment with the furloughs, layoffs, and the 17 million unemployment claims nationwide.
Meet customers where they are
Small businesses create another opportunity for customers to trust in brands. In a time of uncertainty with an ever-changing landscape of the pandemic, small businesses can provide a touch of comfort by listening to their audience, and responding in a way that is both factual and positive. Staying in tune with your audience and providing touch points of beneficial communication offers a trusted voice for your consumers to follow.
Support your employees
Your employees are your biggest brand advocates. More importantly, they’re what makes your business thrive. Supporting your employees during this time will speak volumes for not only your consumers but of course your employees, positioning them to succeed in a time of distress and uncertainty. If your company has to furlough or layoff your staff, empathy and a heartfelt response, such as financial support or timely resources, will go a long way for your business and your brand.
Are you able to help local businesses, such as restaurants or other start-ups during the pandemic? Lending a helping hand to other businesses is a sure way to create a network of support and shows your brand’s responsiveness. And honestly, it’s simply nice. There are plenty of ways to donate and give back – just tune in to your local networks to see where you can add value.
There are tons of ways to shift your marketing strategies and the 5 above are a great start. If you find your small business to be at a disadvantage as a result of the pandemic, check out the U.S. Administration for Small Businesses’ COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses.
Life is ever changing, and any business that has ever existed has or will experience high and low seasons. Seasons of business can be wildly successful for the company, or detrimental to its survival.Intel, for example, patiently waited out the last recession. Once the demand finally returned, Intel’s profit soared and the company realized some of the highest earnings ever. Regardless, seasons in business are cyclical, and the key to surviving and thriving during these times of change isthe ability to be nimble. Here are 5 tips to help your startup adopt a nimble mindset and navigate any change while running a business.
Don’t dwell in negativity
It is still possible to grow profit during hard times. But change is a challenging concept that can be crippling if not embraced. While some easily adhere to it, others find it to be difficult to accept. The best way to face change head-on is with a positive, glass-half-full mindset. How can you do this?
Regardless of the season of your business, it’s important to create a business model that can shift to needs and demands. Continuously evaluating your business model will provide insight into potentially new ways to conduct business. For instance, if your business is built off of face-to-face interaction with your customers, considering other ways of communication such as virtual meetings and package deliveries with a person touch may be a good approach to maintaining your customer relationships.
Strategically cut back expenses
When business is in a low season, it is not uncommon to cut back your expenses. But where you cut matters and can make or break your success. Conduct a detailed analysis on your business operations and expenses before making any final decisions.
Keep your marketing – but budget less for it
Many companies decide to head to the marketing department (or team) when it’s time to make budget cuts. But don’t be fooled, marketing is an integral part of your company’s success, brand, and quite honestly, survival. Marketing will ensure your business’ brand awareness is present, it will continuously highlight your value to customers, and it will bring in new prospects. Don’t cut out your marketing, just size down. Look for other options, like organic initiatives and networking, to push your brand forward.
Build and maintain your network
Everyone has heard it before – your network is your net worth. When tides are high or low, it’s vital that you continue to make connections. Word-of-mouth, support, and simply acknowledgement from your network is free marketing. Keep your network fresh and growing weekly.
Using these tips with care will help your startup put its best foot forward in any environment. Coupled with the right financial advisement, these tips can assist in maintaining your track toward managing a successful business. Even in challenging times, a nimble and adaptable perspective can position you for future success.