When times get tough, it is natural human instinct to hunker down and protect what is yours. However, as a business owner, you cannot afford to hide in the basement while the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage. Perhaps counter to your every instinct, it may be necessary that you put everything you care about on the line by continuing to take risks for the business you have worked so hard to create and grow.
Advantages of focusing on advertising during a downturn.
Before we dive into the “how,” you might need a bit more convincing. Consider the following reasons for remaining highly visible via advertising during hard times:
- You can begin to take up more space in the competitive arena as your rivals scale back.
- This is your chance to project an image of stability, authenticity, and strength while so many other retailers are being forced to close up shop.
- You can take advantage of a “buyer’s market.” In other words, you can get more bang for your advertising buck.
By maintaining and even increasing your brand recognition to an audience that is primed and waiting for digital content, you will position your business to remain solvent in the present, and be successful in the future. With any luck, your careful planning now will foster growth by leaps and bounds in the near future once the downturn reverses.
Leverage your business plan and audience data.
At the outset of your company launch and periodically since then, you should have been taking a long look at your business. This scrutiny should not just cover your financial well-being, it also needs to properly assess your goals to make sure you are meeting them. In many cases, you will discover that some of your aspirations may need to be tweaked to reflect an ever-changing customer and competitive landscape.
Take care to harness the power of analytics to determine who your customers are, what they want and don’t want, their ideas about future priorities, and so forth. Using a data management platform is one of the best ways to gather valuable info about your customers, including the following:
- General demographic facts such as gender, age, marital status, children, etc.
- Brand preferences and affinities.
- Hobbies and interests.
You can then use all of these data points to your advantage as you work to target your products and services to the people most interested in purchasing them.
Concentrate on the advertising strategies that yield positive results.
There are several key ways to market digitally. They include the following:
- Banner ads and videos to build awareness of your brand.
- Custom content on your page, in blogs and newsletters, on third-party websites, and on social media to communicate your unique story.
- Purchased ads that customers encounter when they search for specific keywords.
Try a multi-pronged approach where you experiment with several different advertising strategies simultaneously. Then, use your analytical tools to track which ones produce the most results in the form of clicks, sales, and new customers.
Reward your loyal customers.
If you accept online payments — and all ecommerce operations do — you have a potential gold mine of value customer information just waiting to be used. In these difficult times when many people are feeling vulnerable and unappreciated, you are in a unique and special position to establish meaningful, ongoing relationships with customers who love and want to buy your products.
Don’t let this opportunity to gain and expand your rapport with your patrons pass you by. Use the data you already have to learn who your customers are and what they like. Then reward them for their loyalty to deepen your relationship with them. Treat them to product discounts, members-only benefits, and targeted promotions that will show them just how special and important they are to you.
Harness the power of interactive websites
These days, social media is about so much more than just keeping up with the grandkids and watching cat videos. Consumers of all ages have made sites such as YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram into integral parts of their lives. For millions, their day would not be complete without several check-ins to their news and video feeds.
As a business owner, you can use this cultural trend to your advantage, and the best news of all is that it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, many sites don’t even charge you to launch a business page that includes written and video customer testimonials, product demonstrations, and reviews.
Although your budget may be limited, you might also want to consider putting some financial resources into connecting with all-powerful social media influencers. These are people who literally make a career out of featuring various products and lifestyles. Businesses pay them to review the newest offerings and communicate their impressions to their legions of followers. Even if you don’t have the funds to approach an uber-influencer such as Kylie Jenner, there are many smaller players in all niches who will be eager to collaborate with you in furthering your brand and spreading the word.
When difficult times disrupt the flow of regular life, it is the people and companies who exhibit strength and resilience who survive and often thrive. These traits are not always attributes you are born with, but you can make them happen both in yourself and in your business. The key is to rebel against fear and apathy. Don’t listen to that inner voice of discouragement. Instead, take your success into your own hands by gathering your resources and putting them toward promoting the dream company that means so much to you and your loyal customers.