What does COVID-19 mean for marketing?
Updated: Apr 30
These are unprecedented times. Not since the Second World War has there been a development like this one, affecting almost everyone on this blue marble, from both personal and professional standpoints. It's certainly testing us all.
I've been fortunate enough to be in lockdown with one of my closest friends. Like the majority, however, we've been going a trifle stir-crazy in each other's company. A few evenings back, we were having a drink and I said: "I love you, mate, but I cannot wait for all this to be over, so I get to see a face that isn't yours". Without a second barely going by, back came his retort of: "I love you too, mate, but if you don't stop talking, I'm going to punch you in your face". All in jest, of course. I hope...
But, I'm a realist, the above is very much a first-world problem. All we're being asked to do is to stay at home. To help the heroes and heroines on the NHS frontline. To save as many lives as we possibly can. Unlike the aforementioned Second World War, we aren't being asked, nay told, to leave for foreign shores and fight our fellow men and women. This is a small price to pay to help as many get through this pandemic as possible. Many haven't been as lucky.
I'm not going to dwell on this, the affect Coronavirus is having on our personal lives, for too long. We're hearing it all on the daily, right now.
But, this leads me onto the point of this article. Sure, COVID-19 has affected our personal lives in a manner never seen before. But it is also having the same effect on our professional lives. Many are working from home; as a small business, Speakeasy can attest to that. Many are also not open at all. From pubs, restaurants and bars, to hairdressers, gyms and garden centres, these 'non-essential' businesses have been forced to close their doors, furlough their staff and worry about their long-term future.
Sure, some are finding ways to keep revenue coming in, such as food delivery whilst obeying social distancing regulations, but others don't have that option.
The good news is, sooner or later, we will come out of the other side of this. We'll all be back, and better than ever, with an even greater appreciation of life and for those around us. Less things will be taken for granted.
Something that is being taken for granted is marketing at this time. It is, one on hand, understandable. With forced closures, some may think that marketing is at the bottom of the list of requirements right now. However, we here at Speakeasy would like to give you three reasons why this is, in fact, the perfect time for you to ramp up your marketing activities:
1. Social media use is through the roof
The average person spends over two hours on the social spheres, on an average day. But, these aren't average days. With lockdown boredom grabbing hold of the population, the screen time the likes of Facebook is experiencing is much higher than normal. Given that we're all getting sick and tired of seeing, hearing and reading about Coronavirus from all four corners, it is somewhat refreshing to see content on our feed, paid or otherwise, which is relating to something else entirely.
What's more, we here at Speakeasy believe that this time is optimum for businesses to make a lasting impression on their audiences. When we return to any semblance of normality, chances are they will remember your activity during the enforced downtime and one of the first doors they walk through when this is lifted? It'll be yours.
2. Competition is low right now
We like to think all small businesses have a similar ethos to us; we want to see our fellow SMBs thrive. However, when it boils down to it, it's a lot easier to have that mindset when speaking about like-minded businesses that aren't in your industry. Those that are, they're your competitors. If they do well, it's highly likely that you won't. They have your footfall. Your market share. Your revenue.
The fact of the matter is, marketing activities during this time will be lower than usual, from everyone, your competitors included. Use this opportunity. The old adage of doing exactly what your rivals don't want you to do rings truer than ever. Whether your business can still function on some level during COVID-19 or not, marketing who you are, what you do and your USPs will resonate with your audience, especially if the businesses in your space aren't doing anything at all.
Being seen doing something is much better than being seen doing nothing at all.
3. Communication is always been key, but now more than ever
Strategies for communications have always been vital. Not only do you want to keep your clients in the loop, but you also don't wish to flood them with marketing information that could lead to them opting out of your lists. It's not an exact science, not a 'one size fits all' situation. It depends on a whole host of factors, including your audience and their preferred channels, how your brand is perceived, what volume of your traffic is operational and the language and tone of voice you use.
Before this nightmare started, you most likely spoke to your client base individually on, what could be described as, an 'infrequent' basis. Now, you'll want to upscale your efforts in terms of communication. A number of our own clients describe their bases as 'like their family', so much like keeping in touch with loved ones is paramount right now, the same applies for businesses and those who do business with them.
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Without a doubt, businesses have been damaged by COVID-19. Speakeasy is just as worried as everyone else. But, just as we're doing, utilise what you have at your disposal - your skillset, your resources, the very essence of what makes your business, your business. Dig in, be brave and conduct your marketing activities in a sensitive manner.
We will beat this. Together. Stay at home, you beautiful people.