Right now, businesses all around the world are confronting a new reality that has been forced upon them by the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. For some, it has meant a reduction in sales and a disruption of day-to-day business operations. For others in harder-hit areas, it’s meant a near-complete shutdown of their local economies.
Needless to say, that kind of sudden halt to operations could deal a death blow to all kinds of small businesses. Those without adequate resources to ride out the crisis will be hard-pressed to find ways to remain viable. Those that do have the financial wherewithal to get through it face the challenge of forecasting what kind of market will greet them when they reopen their doors.
For them, there should be just one major priority while they wait: marketing. It’s the one activity that can continue while the world-at-large sits in quarantine. It’s also the surest way that businesses can make sure to emerge from the crisis in a reasonably strong position, ready to pick up where they left off. To help businesses in that very predicament, here are the three best methods for businesses to continue (or upgrade) their marketing efforts during the coronavirus quarantine.
Increase Content Marketing
For the vast majority of today’s businesses, content marketing has become a go-to staple for growing their brands and driving interest in their products. The whole idea is to provide potential customers with useful, interesting digital content that will help them to identify with the company and hopefully build a lasting relationship with them. That’s the reason why an astounding 70% of marketers now report actively investing in a content strategy.
Right now, with people all around the world confined to their homes, the size of the potential global audience for digital content has skyrocketed overnight. Businesses can lean into that by increasing their content marketing efforts to capture a share of that new audience. The current situation can give businesses time to fine-tune and perfect their content strategies and ramp up their content creation by putting idled employees to work sharing their expertise and ideas with the world.
Make Use of Email Marketing Automation
Although it would never be a good time for a business or its employees to have to go through a crisis like this one, there’s one recent development that might help businesses turn the situation into a marketing opportunity: marketing email automation. The latest generation of email marketing software (read more here)now offers the ability for businesses to create automated campaigns that can reach a wide audience without the need for labor-intensive oversight.
With the right marketing platform, an idle business can still create targeted, personalized email campaigns to reach customers and potential customers as they wait out the crisis. Doing so can help to keep their brand fresh in the minds of their target market. In the case of eCommerce businesses, it could even drive additional sales to help offset potential losses. In any case, this is a marketing strategy that all businesses should be using, even in the best of times. With automated email marketing platform users reporting that automated and segmented campaigns drive a 760% increase in revenue, few companies can afford not to.
Conduct Customer Outreach
One of the biggest things that the average business struggles with during regular operations is remaining in touch with the needs and desires of their customer base. That’s because it’s a natural impulse to devote more resources to serving customers during busy times, and not necessarily to listening to what they have to say. With customers staying at home with little to do, now is a perfect opportunity to conduct some customer outreach to reconnect and hear their opinions on how the business is serving their needs.
The best part of embracing customer outreach during a situation like this is that there are countless ways to do it. Businesses can send out surveys via email and social media channels, have employees engage with people in forums related to the business’s industry, or even use the old-fashioned method of placing direct calls to customers using the business’s customer contact database.
Of course, any business looking to conduct an outreach campaign via phone would have had to have the foresight to get permission to call when they collected customers’ information to begin with. Those that haven’t would need to take the additional step of checking their contacts against any relevant do-not-call registries first, making the effort more trouble than it would be worth. Still, for companies who can do this, making direct contact to check-in with customers at a time like this can be both instructive for them as well as comforting for the customers themselves. After all, if there’s ever going to be a time that the average person might welcome a pleasant phone conversation, it’s now.
Emerging Even Stronger
Although these are uncertain times for businesses, carrying out an effective marketing push during this crisis may be the one way to emerge from it stronger than before. Of course, there may be no way to fully offset the potential economic losses that can arise from an economic halt like this one. But any business that hopes to survive is going to have to take whatever steps they can to try and stay in a decent position and stay ready to get back to business at the earliest opportunity.
If nothing else, having the time to pause and evaluate current marketing strategies – and make them more effective – should prove beneficial at the very least. So, despite the uncertainty, business marketing work should continue. In the end, it’s likely the only good way to put this idle time to good use.