The Covid-19 virus has had much negative impact on businesses worldwide and has made it harder to market your business in tough times. Numerous news channels have reported that events big and small have been cancelled or rescheduled. Companies are having staff freezes and retrenchments.
Fortunately, as the Chinese saying goes, “inside every crisis, there is an opportunity.” Most likely you are a business owner looking at how to ride through this pandemic. One important consideration would be using cost effective marketing strategies to market your business.
First, let’s take a high level look at how a business can leverage this crisis to improve and enhance its financial results.
2 Types of Business Owners
There are two type of business owners. The first one plays it safe. Meaning to say that they tighten their belts during economic hard times and hope to ride out the storm. They only start stirring after the crisis has ended.
Meanwhile, the second type of business sees the crisis as an opportunity. They tap into this crisis by extending new product lines, enhancing their current offerings or leveraging digital medium as part of their brand awareness that will help them get that unfair advantage when the crisis ends.
However, most businesses feel that since there is a sharp drop in sales, there is no point marketing. Truth is, if you don’t, your competition will.
Marketing your business in tough times like these calls for strategic marketing changes. Your focus should be using cost effective marketing strategies that will give you results.
As buyer behaviour changes during a crisis like this, it is prudent for you to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective.
One major consideration is expectation.
While it can be expected to have lower sales in time of crisis, how one manages this expectation is crucial.
If you have a limited budget, then do it in the limited budget way.
How well we do depends on how we manage the resources around us.
For a start, let’s see how we can help your business steadily achieve brand awareness online while on a limited budget.
Cost Effective Marketing Strategies To Market Your Business In Tough Times
Since buying behaviour changes, you can consider expanding your outreach or digital marketing channel to Facebook Live, Youtube or Search Engine Optimization.
Let’s go through each of these in greater detail.
Most people are now used to Facebook Live and more freelance and individual sellers are using this channel to sell their products while on Facebook.
This is very cost effective to execute and all you need is a mobile phone.
You can then start doing Facebook Lives; talking about your products and services. If you sell physical products, you can even take orders right there and then during your live session.
If you are running an eCommerce business or have the ability to allow your customers to pay online on your website, you can do that too by directing them to your website during and at the end of your live session.
As you can see, this helps your brand gain awareness within social media. You can also use the platform to educate and entertain your potential customers.
With the rise in popularity of videos, Youtube is a wonderful platform to market your business.
That said, there is a right and wrong way to marketing using Youtube videos.
As most people are on Youtube for learning and entertainment, you might want to gear towards that angle.
- Do a mini story about your flagship product or service
- Do a FAQ of your offerings
- Do a “take a peek” of your daily operations
All these are inexpensive to do and easy to execute. This not only helps in humanising your business, it also bridges and bring your business and your potential customers closer.
Consumers feel a connection with you and want to help you succeed by buying or referring other people to you.
Tips for doing cost effective Youtube video: Insert your company name or product or service keyword in your title. Also, remember to add a link to your website and your business address in your description. Last but not least, add relevant tags so that your Youtube video can be easily found.
Tap the Hidden Potential of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a major social media site that is often under-utilized.
You should use LinkedIn to expand your professional network, connect with peers, and share relevant content. It’s a very useful site for expanding your horizons, keeping your skills fresh, and staying on top of what’s happening in your industry.
By connecting with people who have the same interests as you, you can educate your potential customers, gain trust and respect in your industry and build your brand. Also, encourage all your employees to get active on Linkedin.
Don’t Forget your email marketing plan
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to promote your business. It’s not a new way to market your business but it is a reliable way.
In order to get the most out of your email campaign:
- Be creative and have some fun with your copy. Don’t forget to test your subject lines, images, tonality to see what resonates most with your customers.
- Make sure every email has a call to action (CTA) that encourages your readers to take the next step. They won’t know what to do unless you make it clear to them.
- Clean your list. Remove outdated and unresponsive emails.
- Always include an unsubscribe option at the bottom of every email. Some customers may no longer want to receive your emails even though they initially subscribed to your list. Give them an option to unsubscribe to preserve goodwill with them.
Use data-rich infographics
Infographics are powerful marketing tools. They’re easy-to-read, shareable, and people love to pass them around, so they’re a great way to drive up website traffic and links.
You don’t need to hire a designer to make an awesome infographic. You can make one yourself using free tools, such as Canva, Adobe’s free vector kits or our personal favorite, Visme. Browse through examples of amazing infographics created by other people and get inspired.
The first thing you should do if you don’t have any original, proprietary data to use in an infographic is find existing data that is relevant to your marketing efforts. You’ll find plenty of freely available data online that relates to your industry and your audience interests.
The last marketing strategy to market your business in tough times is Search engine Optimization or SEO. There are 2 broad categories – SEO and Local SEO. We will discuss Local SEO as it is more relevant for businesses whose immediate concern is to ride out these tough times.
Local SEO if done correctly, can help your business rank in search engines better locally.
By that we mean that, your product and services can easily be found on Google maps, search engine rankings and be discovered via listings. You can start claiming your business in Google My Business.
After that, you will need to optimize your Google My Business listing by listing your product pictures, services and your address.
Next, you will also want to do a Local SEO site audit on your website. This is to check whether your site is structurally sound. If you don’t know how to do this, you can engage a seo professional to do it for you.
After you have done your audit and the necessary SEO research and adjustments, you will be ready to launch your Local SEO campaign. As Google advises, give your campaign 3 to 6 months to gain traction.
Publish great content
High-quality content is a powerful weapon in your online marketing arsenal. It demonstrates your authority and expertise, and it also gives your website more visibility on Google and brings in more free traffic.
Great content helps educate your audience through simple, easy-to-understand language—not flowery, pretentious jargon, but rather the terms your audience uses to obtain answers to questions related to your products or services.
Also, it is important to note that content doesn’t only have to be in the from of text. People enjoy consuming and sharing content in the from of videos, ebooks, inforgraphics, white papers, case-studies, gifs, charts etc.
Start a blog
One of the best ways to make content a regular part of your marketing efforts is to start a blog.
A small business that wants to grow their sales should consider using blogging as a way to promote their business, increase user engagement, improve their online visibility, and strengthen their overall SEO.
Blogging is a completely free way to promote your business, tell your stories, and provide useful information to your customers and prospects.
There are many ways you can promote your business using no cost methods. Writing a regular blog is one of those free ways. Share about your experiences in the business, take a behind the scenes tour and share information that is helpful to your audience.
A good blog post doesn’t have to be long or complex. It should focus on a different topic with each post, and incorporate those keywords in a natural way.
Create Industry Partnerships
Small businesses with low budgets can pool their resources, come together and make things happen.
Work with a business related to your industry (but not a direct competitor) on a joint project. This can be done locally and offline through some kind of special event, or online (which might still be locally) with a webinar or promotional giveaway.
For example, a small business selling bite sized hotdogs would like to hold an event to showcase their snacks, increase visibility and draw advertisers. The hotdog seller will not likely have the marketing budget necessary to finance the event on his own.
If he got together with bubble tea, Ramli burger, cream puff, ice cream sellers, they might be able to manage the cost of the conference. With there combined customers, the event would bring brand awareness for all participants and could even draw in sponsors and advertisers.
When two or more brands work together for a co-branding project, they can increase the perceived value of the product and, hence, increase sales. It also helps if the products or services have something in common, like they both improve your image or give you some other benefit.
Working with other businesses means you get extra the attention and multiple time the exposure related to your niche. When you co-brand with a trusted, well-known brand (like Coke or Pepsi) there is an instant “halo effect” that can make your co-branded campaign even more effective.
Forming strategic partnerships should be at the top of every direct marketer’s list of must do’s. You need to put careful thought and effort into forming these types of partnerships.
Before you get involved, make sure you clarify the expectations, assess how you can work together, and have several detailed conversations.
Entrepreneurs often have a “do it all myself” mentality. But chances are that your small business has few staff and you are only skilled in a certain number of things.
With limited time, it would be best to outsource that things you need help with. If you are not good with numbers and unfamiliar with tax filing, hire an accountant.
Another example is online marketing. In an increasing internet based economy, business owners are often tempted to try internet marketing themselves.
The thing is that IM is vast, things move fast and there is a lot to learn. Engage a professional agency and let them help you with your digital outreach campaign.
It my sound expensive but the alternative is even more so. You would have to hire a team of employees with the necessary skills, pay them full-time salaries and benefits.
Outsourcing will save you both time and energy.
Conduct informative webinars
If promoting your business in person doesn’t sound like your idea of a good marketing idea, you can always promote your business by hosting a webinar. Webinars are a free way to promote your business by providing helpful information to interested customers.
Using a webinar platform like Zoom and GoToMeeting allows you to easily and quickly deliver a powerful presentation.
You can use LinkedIn, Facebook, PPC, email marketing and other outreach channels to promote your webinars.
Create a customer referral program
Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful tools in the marketing tool kit. You should always be on the lookout for opportunities to reward your current customers and clients for referring new customers to you.
A recent study shows that 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product if their friends or family recommend it.
Referrals are the number one factor influencing purchase decisions. Clients who are referred by a close contact are 4 times more likely to buy.
Word of mouth is the primary factor affecting the purchasing decisions of 74% of consumers.
On top of these, it is also the most natural. If you use it correctly, it can generate enormous amounts of sales for your business.
Turn employees into brand ambassadors
You can increase your sales by using your employees as brand ambassadors. They’ll tap the potential of the network of people they are connected to and give you the ability to multiply your results.
You can use their social networks and their collective buying power to gain exposure for your own products or services. It’ll result in more orders for you.
Consider having an “exclusive deal” like this every once in a while. It will give you a tremendous boost of energy and help you stay focused.
Create an event. Invite your employees and have them share it with their personal and their professional contacts. It’s a great way to create buzz, get attention, and make sales.
Join Local Clubs and Organizations
As a business person in a community, it is important to be visible. If your business has a storefront in the community, and isn’t entirely online, then it is extremely important to be visible.
Joining the local Chamber of Commerce is a great way to get your product or service featured as a speaker at a meeting. You’ll meet people who have similar goals as yours. When they find out you are a expert on something, they will often ask you to speak at one of their meetings.
This could lead to exciting new relationships, where you help each other. It is not only a great way to network, but also increases the visibility of your business.
Being asked to give a presentation is a great opportunity to make your business even more visible.
Engage in Frequent Communication With Your Customers
Communicate with your customers. You cannot afford to take them for granted. They’re in a “belt-tightening” mode. Things that were once considered necessities are now luxuries.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your customer base is “locked in”. They are not. With the availability of the internet, clients now have the freedom to switch service providers with a simple click.
Unless you are marketing something totally unique and technically ground-breaking, you should spend as much time as possible (at least the first couple years) getting to know your customers. This will give you a huge advantage when it comes to selling to them.
Frequent engagement helps keep your brand in their minds and builds customer loyalty.
So there you have it, some profitable cost effective marketing strategies to promote your business in tough times.
Should you need some advice on how you might want to adjust your marketing strategies; contact us at this link. We are here to help.