How Digital Marketing Can Help Your Business During Times Of Crisis

April 16, 2020

Digital Marketing

Who knew that a single virus could bring down the most powerful nations to their knees. Much like the financial crisis of 2008, the COVID-19 global pandemic has dealt a massive blow to the global economy.

People with jobs suddenly found themselves without one. Daily wage earners have been especially hit the hardest.

As a business owner, you’re in dire straits. Not only are you concerned for your own family and putting food on the table, at the same time you want to ensure that your employees are able to do so too.

As health institutes and organizations have advised total lockdown and governments implemented these safety measures to try to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the coronavirus, in-person events have been canceled left, right and center. 

South by Southwest was canceled leading to cancellations from sporting events, movie theatres, concerts, and business conferences and expos. 

Now is the time for SMEs to leverage available channels judiciously and turn their business lean. Know this about digital marketing: you can get results with conservative spending, or you can waste both your time and money with nothing to show for it. The time now is for more education and experimentation and less risks.

The Current Dilemma Facing Businesses

Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

In the face of crippling uncertainty, the first instinct is to cut costs and hold on to capital. However according to a detailed research published by HBR, “Firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals don’t necessarily flourish. They have the lowest probability—21%—of pulling ahead of the competition when times get better.”

A little bit of cutback is understandable, but if you take drastic actions such as excessive layoffs or stop digital marketing completely, a nightmare scenario might arise that this goes on for months. That will strangle your business profits and you will have no way to bounce back once things turn to normal…

Remember to focus on developing the right mindset. Turn away from the constant stream of information if it gets hard not to feel paranoid. See the bigger picture and ensure that you don’t make any rash decisions that will hurt your business. Take it slow.

Your Short-Term Strategy

So what should you do today?

Everyone has a different opinion about what the market will be like once the dust settles. You need to understand that buyer behavior will remain altered for quite a while even after the lockdowns end and people start to move out and about. 

Here’s what you can do for now:

  • As you reduce your marketing budget for the time being, use those funds to optimize your owned media channels ie website, SEO and social channels. 
  • Perform a content audit. Focus on creating quality content for your content calendar on time.
  • Engage your audience on social media and talk directly to customers via Google Hangouts.
  • Conduct helpful webinars using Zoom.
  • Ensure your business workflows and processes are optimum.
  • Sort your online reviews and Google My Business

Your Long-Term Strategy

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” -Warren Buffett 

Does that mean you exploit people’s fears? Or hoard life essentials and hike their prices 10x-20x to sell to scared buyers? 

No, that’s exploiting, not marketing. You don’t need skills for that, only a lack of conscience.

To ensure your business stays afloat in the long term, you must find a way to generate sales and revenue that is honest and ethical. That allows you to help your family, your employees and the masses stuck at home whose buying habits have been altered. 

Most people are working remotely and prefer to stay in during off time as well. They are shopping from laptops and mobile phones, a habit most likely to continue well afterward. People will be wary to shop from physical stores and outlets for a while after the lockdowns are lifted.

To cater to your customers now and then, you might need to make some changes to your positioning, branding, value propositioning, and even take your business online if you haven’t done it already.

Wrap Up

The most urgent thing to do is audit your business and plug any leaks. Maintaining a healthy cash flow is the need of the hour. Work harder and smarter and boost employee morale.

Remember that marketing is helping your customer get what they want. You need to achieve that while striking the right balance between cutting costs, optimising business processes and continuing essential operations. 

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