We’ll come right out and say it. It’s a weird time that we’re living in. As business owners ourselves, we understand the sudden shift in business plans, marketing ideas, rearranged schedules, and re-prioritizing the health of your employees. This global pandemic, also known as COVID-19, has completely changed the world we’re living in.
It’s easy to have gotten flustered or caught up in the panic of the unknown. What will this do for my business? Can we stay afloat? How will a pause or slowdown in business affect my life outside of work? What about my employees? As partners in business, we just want to say we’re here for you. We get it.
Together, we will get through this.
At One Thing Marketing, we are focusing on what we can control and helping each other stay positive in these times. We want to do the same for you.
When COVID-19 allows us to get back to normal, people will be searching for your products and services again. They are going to need you. And honestly, depending on the industry, they may need you now more than ever.
If you cut back on your marketing, then once things rev up again, your customers won’t be able to find you and your business will continue to see less business, and in turn, less revenue.
We understand that business may look different for you right now, but we’re here to tell you first hand, by focusing on what you can control now, your business can reap the benefits later.
Essentially, what we’re saying is now is not the time to pull money out of your marketing plan. Now is the best time to invest in your business. One Thing Marketing is here to help you find a customized solution and offer marketing ideas to do just that.
Budgeting for Marketing & SEO During the Coronavirus Pandemic
When the first wind of social distancing took place, we understand that as a business owner, you may have begun to worry. Now, as the weeks have gone by, it’s been put in place for local Louisville businesses and businesses all over Kentucky to close their doors for safety and health precautions.
Those are the facts. Now, we understand that adjusting the budget accordingly has been something many business owners have had to do. Businesses and revenue are going to take hits right now. There is a lot of uncertainty around the potential economic impacts of COVID-19. However, we’re here to tell you that cutting ties with your marketing plan is not the route you want to take.
Because here’s another fact: This knee-jerk reaction, to take money out of marketing, is setting your business up for a long-term, uphill battle to recover.
For example, when it comes to SEO, organic search is a zero-sum game. Your gains or losses are exactly balanced by the gains or losses of others in the search engine results. It is very much a living, breathing, competitive space. So if you’re not actively moving ahead, you’re falling behind.
Now, more than ever, is the most critical time to develop your strongest gameplan and your most strategic marketing ideas.
Investing in Your Business: By the Numbers
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, if you’re doing anywhere between $1 and $5 million in sales per year, you should be spending 7-8% of gross revenue on advertising and marketing.
We’ve worked with businesses of all sizes and industries of all kinds, right here in Louisville, KY, and all across the United States. Some of our high-growth clients are budgeting anywhere between 10-12%. For marketing maintenance, 7% is the bare minimum.
This means for every $100,000 in gross revenue, you should have at least $7,000 set aside specifically for advertising and marketing per year.
It’s crucial for the success of your business that you maintain at least this level of marketing investment throughout the Coronavirus pandemic to see a strong ROI down the road.
Creative Marketing Ideas & Other Solutions to Consider During COVID-19
Without doors open for business and no real way to make face to face contact with your customers, how do you reach them? At One Thing Marketing, we’ve created a starting point with 15 marketing ideas on how to invest in your business, reach your customers, and continue to generate leads during COVID-19.
1. Connect With Your Customers on Social Media: Let’s be honest. Almost everyone that’s been stuck inside their homes are also stuck scrolling through their social media feeds and browsing online right now. More or less, social media platforms are the only source of social interactions we’re allowed right now. Use these networks to be in front of your consumers, create a conversation with your customers, and allow them to engage with your business.
This is one of the best sources to keep them up to date with how you are operating during this crazy time. Think about running Facebook ads to your business to either gain likes, brand awareness, or drive any specials that you may be offering to your customers.
2. Making Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online: We know you might be thinking this is not the time to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but when we come out of this, you need to make sure your business has the visibility to be found when people aren’t clutching their checkbooks as tightly. If you pause or reduce your SEO marketing ideas all together, it won’t be your business potential consumers will find online. It will be your competitors.
It’s important to point out here and remember that SEO is a long term strategy. What you do today with an effective SEO strategy, while you have the time to focus on investing into your business, will affect your organic search traffic months from now. In short, pausing or removing your SEO campaign now could have a detrimental impact on your potential revenue down the road when the COVID-19 crisis begins to become a distant memory.
3. Investing in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: If you need immediate attention and exposure for your business, one of the best marketing ideas would be to look into a Google Ads campaign through PPC Advertising. With most business owners pulling out, the overall cost per click has decreased, making ads cheaper during this pandemic. And if you’re considered an essential business, this is a quick and easy way to connect with consumers who are in dire need for your products or services.
The temperature is starting to rise, and home owners are stewing in their homes racking up a honey to do list that they are going to want to delegate to local businesses soon. So take advantage of this opportunity to grow your customer base.
4. Prepare Your Company for Bounce-Back Surge Business: During this time when business is slow, finalize any processes or internal procedures your business has been struggling to perfect. By doing so, when things go back to normal and business is booming, all of your processes and employees are able to handle the increase in workload.
This could include internal training, cleaning out and organizing your inbox, or doing some spring cleaning. Most importantly, look into seeing how you can make more of your business electronic or virtual in case of any future needs to work remotely.
5. Crazy Times Call For Special Offers: During times of uncertainty, one of the best marketing ideas you can put into place would be to capitalize on the opportunity to show support for your customers. Offer special discounts or incentives to keep your revenue flowing. We all know we’re looking for ways to save money right now and browsing the internet for discounts, so why not be the business people can turn to?
Providing special offers is a great way to engage with your customers and keep a steady source of incoming dollars that will keep your doors open. Remember social media and PPC advertising? You can use these marketing ideas to push out and promote your special offers, too. And if you want to do this correctly, reach out to our team to learn about call tracking for your special offers and campaigns.
6. Solidify Your Local SEO Campaign: We’re all being told to reduce our travel and stay close to home. To only make special trips out when it’s absolutely necessary. On the occasion people do leave their homes, now more than ever, they’re looking for local businesses who offer the products, services, and supplies they’re after. And if you can come to them? Even better.
Proper Local SEO strategies mean that when people are searching for products or services “near me” or in “Louisville, KY”, for example, that your business can be the one they’re finding online. You want customers in your geographical region to be able to find you online, and a solid Local SEO strategy is the best way to make that happen. At a time when we’re all looking for more convenience, Local SEO gives your business a chance to provide assistance during a critical time for families.
7. Be Prepared to Adapt & Adjust Accordingly With Your Local or State Government: With COVID-19, every day is something new. As more new guidelines and regulations are being rolled out, you have to do everything you can to keep up. As a business owner, that means shifting your marketing ideas and being able to adapt and adjust accordingly. Are you a local restaurant in Louisville known to stay busy with dine in service? Refocus your strategy and offer up delivery, carry out, or curbside pickup when possible. Think you can’t take your personal training business online? Think again. Use technology to create an at-home workout video for your clients.
Remember, we live in the day and age of technology. Host your weekly meetings via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype. Instead of cancelling a face to face meeting, offer to FaceTime a potential client or give them a call.
And finally, be sure you’re keeping your clients informed about how you’re protecting them and letting them know about the increased sanitary practices or new health-related procedures you’re putting into place.
8. Positivity > Panic: This one is rather simple. In such trying times, even when it’s hard, you never want to make a decision out of panic. When it comes to budget and revenue, try to stay positive and think long term. You always want to use metrics and data and analyze anything you have available to make the best decisions moving forward. Impulse or panic decisions typically don’t end well for your business in the long run, especially when you’ve made the decision in the moment, out of panic. Try to stay positive and take caution when reacting to sudden shifts in the economy during COVID-19.
9. Finish Your Digital To-Do List: Those items that pertain to your company’s marketing often fall through the cracks when there’s so much to do during a normal business day. Use this downtime to get those things taken care of. In need of a website redesign or an SEO audit to ensure you’re maximizing your optimization strategy? Give us a shout. We’d be more than happy to help you analyze your current plan and throw around some fresh marketing ideas to help create a custom strategy that’s right for you.
Like we mentioned before, use this time to schedule out some social media posts so that your customers can stay engaged and up to date with your business changes. Don’t have any email marketing? Go ahead and sign up for MailChimp or Constant Contact. Upload all of your contact information, create a template and start sending out communications to your past customers, prospects and referral partners.
10. Check The Consistency of Your Message & Be Human: Right now, during COVID-19, it’s important to remember that yes, you’re a business owner, but you’re also a human being. Right now, we’re all in this together. It’s time to show the side of your company that reminds people why you do what you do. Ultimately, that’s helping someone.
Use this time to check the consistency of your messaging or branding. Be kind and show that your company is here to help people who are worried about their futures. Be empathetic and self-aware. Be personal. Give out your phone number for customers you can help, share your story, and remind your customers that you’re here for them, for business AND personal matters.
11. Focus on Retaining Your Current Customers: Now, we’re not saying completely turn away new customers, by any means. Right now, if we’re being realistic, people are more hesitant to try out new products or buy services from a new company they’ve never worked with. So, focus your efforts where you can, and that’s retaining your current customer base.
For this marketing idea, start with the basics and evaluate your overall customer satisfaction ratings. From what you can see, are your customers happy and satisfied? Is your company meeting their expectations? Once you’ve got a good feel of where you stand, go out of your way to create value for your customers. See if it’s an option to cut some of your services or lower prices, rather than miss out on clients who can’t afford to fully invest right now. Pitch other services as an alternative, or get creative with your business contracts to find a way to meet their needs and make a deal.
12. Keep In Touch With Your Customers: Human beings seek interaction. Right now, when we should all be busy practicing our social distancing, use this as a time to keep in touch with your customers and develop stronger relationships or build trust. Take a proactive approach and let your clients know you appreciate their business and couldn’t make it without them.
Let your customers know what you’re doing to keep them, and your employees, safe. Create an open dialogue covering how you’re currently conducting business, handling refunds, or give them details about any cancellations you’ve had to make. Furthermore, capitalize on this marketing idea by letting your customers know what they can expect from you within the coming weeks as COVID-19 continues to shape the way you conduct business.
13. Find Alternatives to Live Events or Create an Interactive Platform: For some businesses, COVID-19 has also brought on cancellations of trade shows, conferences, or other events that may have been a means of lead generation. However, there are still plenty of ways to connect with prospective and current customers, if you’re just willing to get a little creative.
Host a virtual trade show, create a product demo page for your website, or create buzz for an upcoming Facebook Live event on social media. Create a video, host a live Q&A session where customers can virtually send their questions, or whatever else you can think of as a means of interacting with customers.
If you’re not sure how to get started or just need some help, we can work with you and turn this marketing idea into a reality for your business. Just schedule a free strategy session with our team at One Thing Marketing today!
14. Work on Your Reputation Management & Online Reviews Strategy: Think about it. What better way to get feedback from your customers, other than asking for it? And what a better time to ask? Most of us are at home looking for something to do. Drop your customers an email, give them a call, or whatever it may be, and ask them to leave you an online review about their experience while working with your company. Be sure to also let them know how much you appreciate their business and thank them for the time and effort they put into leaving you a review.
Also, go one step further. When you get those reviews make sure to share them online. Either add them to your website so visitors can read them or make a post and add them to your social media accounts to share with the entire world. It may be more important now than ever to make sure you have a positive reputation online since customers may be more choosy in their future selections.
15. Send Love, Positivity, and Joy to Everyone: Again, this one is rather simple. Share some funny memes, show how your employees are staying entertained at home, and help someone when you can. A little act of kindness goes a long way in times like these.
Supporting Local Businesses: One Thing Marketing Thanks YOU
If anything, we hope we’ve given some insight and helpful tips by sharing 15 of our best marketing ideas to use during the COVID-19 pandemic. At One Thing Marketing, we are fortunate to have the ability to continue our work from the safety of our homes, and stay connected to each other, and our clients, through technology.
We’d like to thank each and every one of you for supporting our company and looking forward to the chance to do the same for you.
Through video chat or phone call, we’re available to sit down and share marketing ideas, SEO tips, and more. Schedule a free, one hour strategy session with our team today, and together, we can find a way to create a customized marketing strategy that works for you.
Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands.