When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Kansas City-based distiller J. Rieger & Co. quickly sprang into action, overhauling its alcohol production to bottle and distribute hand sanitizer to essential personnel, healthcare workers, local businesses and the community. This shift in their business model has led to a great deal of good—and a great deal of positive press.
Promoting your business in a time of crisis can be extremely difficult. You want to communicate that your organization is open for business but not in a way that capitalizes on fear or invalidates someone’s struggle. When done right, this delicate balancing act separates the wheat from the chaff, allowing businesses to successfully navigate the landscape before, during and after the dust settles.
Here are five reasons why now is a crucial time to invest in marketing for your business’ long-term success.
1. If you’re changing your business road map, it’s time to pivot your messaging.
Perhaps the stay-at-home order has allowed you to serve clients in a new way, or maybe you’ve launched a new line of service in light of the pandemic. No matter how your business road map has shifted, it’s important to ensure your messaging accurately and effectively communicates the work you’re doing to audiences you’re serving.
A seasoned marketing expert can assist to guide your overarching marketing strategy in a way that aligns with your sales objectives. With a fractional CMO and a sound strategy, you can better navigate your organization through the crisis, positioning you for long-term success.
2. The lockdown has created captive online audiences.
With so many people working from home, your online brand is more important than ever. We’re working with our clients to add landing pages to their websites, craft blogs about their services, and host webinars to showcase how they’re helping businesses through the difficult transition to remote work.
Now’s a great time to audit your content and communications strategy, refresh your website and update your social media channels to ensure you’re building trust and sending the right message that shows sensitivity to the impact of the crisis on your audiences.
3. People are responding to email marketing.
You remember them: Those emails with generic subject lines that nearly EVERY company sent out as an immediate response to COVID-19. That sea of sameness led to a wave of unsubscribes, forcing companies to quickly wise up to the need for authenticity and empathy in the wake of the crisis.
This key shift, Forbes reports, has led to an increase in email marketing engagement in the last month:
“Iterable’s data reports that brands are seeing both engagement and conversion levels increase despite the increase in email volume. Specifically, they are finding that email open rates and click-throughs have increased by 21% and 14% in the last month respectively. In turn, this is has driven an 8.5% increase in purchases attributed to email over the previous month.”
While blogs and social media are important tactics, a fully integrated B2B marketing strategy is incomplete without an email marketing strategy. Email marketing is a powerful, cost-effective and measurable tool for businesses looking to nurture and generate leads.
4. The power of PR.
As Microsoft Founder Bill Gates famously said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” When it comes to managing your reputation and building your brand, PR is one of the most impactful tools in your marketing toolkit. Never underestimate the power of a third-party endorsement from local media like the Kansas City Business Journal and Startland News.
We’re all clamoring for heartwarming stories of humanity these days. Whether you’ve secured a PPP loan to guarantee job security for your employees, launched a cybersecurity product to assist individuals working from home, or donated supplies to your local hospital, your story deserves to be told.
5. Consistency is key.
From ongoing emergency response to recovery, to the impact of the pandemic on our economy, we won’t be seeing the end of COVID-19 for some time. While agility and adaptability are important in times of crisis, consistency remains key to any long-term growth strategy.
Cutting back your marketing investment will result in a decrease in brand awareness, search result ranking and brand loyalty. Once you lose your footing in those areas, it can be expensive to build it back. We’ve emphasized to our clients the importance of staying the course, pivoting the message if necessary while staying consistent in cadence and in frequency.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when so much pressure is put on the economy and on businesses, but remember: The recession is temporary. Companies that have enough foresight to invest in post-recession recovery will see exponential returns as the economy begins to grow.
Growing a business is hard work, leading a business through a global pandemic is even harder. It’s important for business owners to put strategies in place that allow them to weather the changing conditions, enabling them to come out stronger on the other side. While no one truly knows what our “new normal” will look like when the dust settles, we’re all in this together—and we’re here to help.
Melea McRae is helping area businesses navigate crisis communications as Kansas City’s first “un-agency.” Are you ready to make a marketing investment? Connect with Melea on LinkedIn or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.