Pulling back on marketing is the last thing you should do during a crisis. It may seem counterintuitive to put money into campaigns when your business is facing a time of uncertainty, but keeping your brand visible is key to weathering the storm.
No matter what the situation, these five steps will get you on track to create a marketing plan with staying power.
Assess key changes.
A sudden shift in the prevailing atmosphere in your industry, target market, or society as a whole may require a whole new foundation for your marketing strategy. To stay on track, conduct targeted market research to find out:
- How your customers’ needs have changed.
- If recent events are causing people to view your product or service differently.
- What impact the current situation is having on your industry.
Look at your current marketing campaign in light of what you discover to determine where and how to make changes.
Adjust your communications.
A shift in mindset directly affects searching and shopping habits. Use information from your assessment to update your keyword, content, and social media strategies based on what your customers need and want at the moment. Remember to review and update any automated campaigns or email messages in your pipeline to reflect this new approach, as well.
Streamline your targeting.
Put a laser focus on serving existing customers first in uncertain times. Reach out with personalized messaging and promotions geared toward helping them through the current crisis. Remind them that you accept virtual payments for all their favorite products even if your physical location is temporarily inaccessible.
To reach new customers, determine which segments of your target audience need your products and services the most given the circumstances. Then, simply shift your marketing to position what you offer as a supportive, helpful solution to the challenges they're facing.
Watch your numbers.
Identify the most important key performance indicators for your adjusted marketing campaign, and analyze them often. Once your new strategy rolls out,you should start seeing an upward trend in engagement, traffic, and conversions. If you accept virtual payments, note whether or not it has an impact on overall sales. Pay particular attention to which keywords and channels improve metrics the most, and focus your efforts on those with the highest ROI.
Keep your integrity.
No change you make should ever compromise your company’s principles. Customers will remember brands that were sensitive to their needs during tough times — but they’ll turn their backs on those attempting to exploit the situation just to make a buck. Review every marketing message before it winds up in front of your audience to ensure it doesn’t come across as inappropriate.
Of course, the best strategy in any crisis situation is: don’t panic! Take uncertain circumstances as opportunities to create a marketing plan with a new focus. Track your metrics day by day to assess what works, and dump everything else. When the dust settles, your business will emerge stronger and ready to face whatever the future holds.