With the ongoing global health crisis caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic of COVID-19 now starting to hit hard in South Africa, many businesses are faced with difficult decisions to make in the face of challenging circumstances. And make no mistake, these are challenging times for business, and we need to be prepared for a struggle.
With orders and sales and bookings down, companies are looking for ways to save money quickly, and marketing budgets are often seen as an easy target. But cutting your marketing is a short-term fix that might have long-term implications, because maintaining your visibility in the market is critical for lasting success. Remember, your customers might be being cautious, but they’re still spending on the right products, from companies they trust.
Prepare Your Marketing Activity
With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re preparing your business to weather these uncertain times.
Hanging on to your existing customers is always easier, and cheaper, than having to find new customers, but like the old saying has it, “out of sight is out of mind.”
Whether it’s personalised touch base emails to your clients, or relevant social posts, you need to keep contact with them wherever you can during their online journeys to ensure that even if they’re not buying or booking or ordering now, they will be again when they have the chance.
No matter what the circumstances, content creation remains a critical part of the process of keeping in touch with existing clients, whether it’s news, innovations, or relevant information that helps keep you top of mind.
Leverage your social media following and exposure to engage with your customers wherever they’re reviewing your products, discussing their purchase decisions, or talking about your business itself. Wherever they are in the social funnel, you need to be able to reach them, not to advertise, but to make valuable and appropriate contributions to their discussions.
Visibility, Visibility, Visibility
Creating brand awareness means being always visible, and once you drop off the radar, you might as well not exist anymore as far as many potential clients are concerned. You need to be visible at every point of the buying cycle, especially when your potential clients are searching for what you offer.
Studies have shown that consumers can develop a preference for your brand / products / services only because they are more aware of them. It’s known as the “mere-exposure effect” and its impact on generating business should never be underestimated.
This is the perfect time to explore low cost strategies for regularly keeping your brand visible in front of potential clients on a frequent basis. A budget dedicated to maintaining visibility will give you long-term benefits, and pairing this with quality content creation means it will pay a dividend long after the work is done.
The 80/20 business rule states that usually, 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your clients. Conversion optimisation involves small changes to your visitors journey through your site in order to encourage more of them to convert. This way, you can get more business from the same number of visitors you’re already getting.
This includes reducing or removing barriers to conversion, adding things like case studies, reviews and social proof to the site in order to increase credibility, and making small changes over time to try and improve the customer experience.
It’s a long-term strategy, but small changes can have big impacts, if you’re changing the right things.
When it comes to online marketing, you can’t make the right decisions if you don’t have the right data. No management without measurement. Use this time to make sure that you’ve defined key performance indicators, and that you’re accurately measuring sales, leads, etc. etc. not just online, but across the business as a whole.
When you’re deciding where to cut back, you need to be sure that you have a clear idea of your ROI so that you can be confident that any changes will benefit you, rather than ending up costing you sales.
Plan For Today & Tomorrow
We know that it’s going to be tough times for everybody for a while, and it’s important to stay positive, and be proactive as much as possible. When you start making decisions about how to weather the crisis, make sure you’re making the right decisions, and that the data backs them up.
And remember, this too shall pass. And when we come out the other side, you need to be positioned to not only keep going, but to be able to benefit as much as possible.