42% of experts believe COVID-19 is likely to cause the country a major recession. As the virus continues to spread, small businesses are continuing the feel the impact.
All hope isn’t lost! Though more businesses are closing their doors, digital marketing still offers opportunities for business growth. With a strong sales and marketing plan, you can maintain your customer base and remain afloat.
Keep reading to discover the marketing plan components you need to succeed.
With a thorough marketing strategy, you can continue boosting your brand and building your business. Don’t let the coronavirus stop you. Instead, make your mark with these effective marketing strategies.
1. Utilise Scenario Planning
In order to develop a strong marketing strategy, you’ll need to plan for the worst.
Anticipating possible outcomes will help you plan accordingly. However, there are different potential scenarios you’ll need to consider.
For example, what if operations don’t open until August? What can you do until then to keep the business running?
First, consider the best, worst, and moderate scenarios your business might experience during the crisis. If you have a larger company, you might want to work with peers in the HR and finance departments during this step. Together, you can develop a list of post scenarios and how they’ll impact your business.
Your marketing strategy will need to identify the challenges your customers are facing. How can you offer them a solution during this challenging time?
More people are utilising social distancing. They’re also stocking up on essentials and staying at home. How will this impact your business?
You might find there’s a way you can use the scenario to your advantage. For example, a coffee company can focus on selling bags of their espresso and offering free delivery. The upsell in coffee bean sales will replace the in-store drink orders that usually keep the business running.
What challenges could your brand or the company face during the span of the outbreak? What responses can you plan for now?
Determining your best and worst-case scenarios will help you develop a sound sales and marketing plan for each course of events.
2. Listen for Changes
In the meantime, make sure to listen to how your customers are responding and behaving to the situation. So far, more people are aligning themselves closely with family and friends. They’re trusting more in local businesses than large corporations, too.
The crisis has also amplified the distrust that customers have regarding certain brands. In response, brands are trying to establish brand trust through customer-centric actions.
First, listen to how your customers feel and what they’re doing. Why are they making these choices? You can create a voice of the customer (VoC) program to determine what your customers are saying about COVID-19.
You can also use social listening to monitor your customers as they discuss health concerns. How can you shift their discussion in a way that’s relevant to your brand?
For example, people are more concerned about how the virus is spreading. Show them the precautions your business is taking to keep your store and product clean.
Monitor emails, phone calls, service chats, and social media comments for concerns as well.
Then, determine how you’ll respond. How can you provide your customers with support and peace of mind? Remain careful as you take actions that provide short-term stability at the expense of maintaining customer trust.
3. Adapt Your Plan
The marketing plan components you’ll need will depend on your best- and worst-case scenarios. Try to consider the next three to six months as you adapt your marketing strategy. That way, you can anticipate any upcoming changes and the actions you’ll need to take.
First, limit all event-based programs. There are now restrictions in place that are limiting large gatherings. Instead, develop alternatives for your sales and marketing strategies.
For example, if you were planning an in-person conference this spring, consider planning a virtual event instead.
Making these changes to your marketing plans now will help you prepare for the months to come.
4. Anticipate Operational Impacts
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has set out a financial rescue package to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19, which will help job retention and other small business expenses. Take the time to look into these programs and any others that can benefit your business during this time.
Otherwise, you’ll need to consider the upcoming product and delivery service challenges. For example, more factories are closing, which disrupts the supply chain. As a result, you might experience supply and demand issues.
You’ll need to adapt your marketing messages to reflect these realities. At the same time, you’ll want to remain true to your company’s brand values.
Try to manage the promises you make by setting realistic expectations instead. You might want o pull campaigns for certain projects if you can’t delivery.
Keep in contact with your customers. This transparency will remind them you’re listening and aware of the issue.
5. Remain Relevant
Address the needs and concerns your customers are facing first and foremost. Prioritising their needs will help you remain relevant. Otherwise, you could risk falling into the background.
Your target audience is likely trying to save money right now. Keeping in contact with your customers will help you remain top-of-mind despite the crisis.
6. Focus on Thought Leadership
Use this time to focus on any projects you’ve left on the back burner. For example, try developing a thought leadership strategy. Focusing on thought leadership will show your customers that you’re a helpful, relevant resource in your industry.
Adapt your brand messaging, website content, and offers to reflect your new goals.
7. Offer Online Services
While in-person events are off-limits, you’ll need to move your marketing plan components online. Focus on B2B marketing and PR strategies.
Try creating webinars that your customers can access from home. You can also host live Instagram and Facebook video sessions to keep your audience engaged. Try posting videos regularly to keep in contact with your audience.
8. Build Your Social Media Presence
You can also use this time to improve your social media marketing strategy. Consumers are looking to social media more now than ever. While everyone is at home, you can strengthen your social media presence to remain top-of-mind with your customers.
Consider updating your social media profiles and feeds. Provide your audience with helpful, relevant content. If you experience any business changes, let your customers know as soon as possible.
9. Refine Your SEO
Content is key right now. Consider updating your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy to boost your ranking on search engines like Google. The higher your rank on search engines, the better for your brand awareness.
Then, you can attract more traffic to your website.
Make sure to update your site as well. Confirm that your pages load quickly and that you’re mobile-optimised. Otherwise, you could risk losing potential digital sales.
10. Cut Unnecessary Costs
As you update your marketing strategy, determine areas where you can cut costs. For example, you might want to limit your local pay-per-click ads, as you’re less likely to attract foot traffic right now.
Instead, look into more cost-effective digital marketing strategies, such as email marketing.
Navigating COVID-19: Essential Marketing Plan Components to Succeed
Don’t let COVID-19 slow your business now! Instead, utilise these essential marketing plan components. With these changes to your marketing plan, you can remain top-of-mind and relevant to your customers.