How to market your business during a crisis using content, email and social media

Library | 9/11/2020



   
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Marketing budgets are often the first thing to get cut during a recession or crisis. As unemployment numbers surge, people are reluctant to spend on anything that is not essential, and businesses are looking to cut expenses and conserve cash.

   

Still, to stop marketing in the current climate is a mistake that could have dire consequences for your business going forward. Even if sales are lagging or your company is temporarily closed, it’s important to keep communicating with existing customers as well as prospects to keep your brand top of mind.

     

Fortunately, there are a number of inexpensive or free ways to market your business that can be very effective, such as content creation, email marketing and social media.

     

Here are some tips to make the most of these marketing channels.

  

Content creation

If you stop marketing to your customers during this time, they may assume that you have gone out of business. That’s why it is more important than ever to communicate, communicate, communicate.

  • Write blog posts or add webpages to your site that talk about how your industry is dealing with this crisis and what your company in particular is doing. If you are taking steps to protect your customers, such as offering curb-side pick-up or delivery, or putting new cleaning protocols in place, etc., this is a great way to get that message out.

  • Let customers know you care. When you let customers know you are looking out for their health and well-being, they are more likely to be loyal to your business in the future. Regularly post updates to your blog to let people know if you have adjusted your hours, are implementing new safety policies, or if you are changing some of your product or service offerings to better meet your customers’ needs.

  • Follow SEO best practices so your content can be easily found via search. If you post a lot of good content on your site frequently, it can greatly improve your search ranking.

  • Promote your content across multiple channels. Link to blog posts in emails, on social media sites, and within other blog posts or articles. You also may want to run online ads to give your content more traction.

  • Be consistent. Don’t just promote a blog post once and forget about it. Continue to share the information on a regular basis, while also consistently adding new content to the mix.

 
   

Email

Email is one of the most effective and inexpensive marketing channels there is. Take advantage of this communication channel to keep in touch with your customers.

  • Get a good email service provider (ESP). If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to get an ESP to help you manage your email lists and sends. Fortunately, there are many inexpensive options to choose from, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.

  • Follow best practices. If you don’t yet have a safe list of contacts to email to, start to build one by creating an opt-in form on your website. Be sure to follow best practices when sending emails – don’t send to people who have not explicitly opted in, don’t buy big lists of contacts you don’t know, and don’t send too many emails. Also make sure people can easily unsubscribe.

  • Reach out to customers regularly. If you already have customer contacts who’ve opted in to your mailing list, use that resource to communicate with them. You can create an email newsletter to update them on your business, send promotional offers and to link to your content.

  • Promote special deals. Many small businesses are stuck with too much inventory right now, so it may be time to run a buy-one-get-two free offer or a similar promotion designed to move product quickly. You may also want to consider offers that appeal to people’s desire to help during this time, by offering a percentage of sales to a charity.


    

Social media

Social media has become more popular than ever during the pandemic, and is a great way to reach your customers.

  • Find out what social media platforms your customers use most. Typically, younger demographics will skew towards SnapChat and Instagram while older audiences tend towards Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is the professional place to share posts, especially if you are in a B2B business. If you aren’t sure, share posts on multiple platforms, see which ones get the most engagement, and focus your efforts on the top performers.

  • Use photos or videos to improve results. Studies show engagement with posts increase when visuals are included so take some pictures or videos of products, people, behind-the-scenes processes or anything else that might be of interest.

  • Post frequently and consistently. Try to post to social media at least once a day. Post at different times to see what day of the week or time of day seems to get the best response. It’s okay to repeat posts but keep adding new ones into your rotation. You can use a free social media tool like Hootsuite to manage, schedule and send posts.

  • Consider social media advertising. Paid advertising on social media sites is relatively inexpensive and can allow you to more effectively target your key audiences and reach more people than by just posting status updates.

  • Monitor your posts. Customers may reach out to you by commenting on your posts or asking questions. Some may even turn to social media for their customer service requests. Be sure to monitor your posts and respond to inquiries in a timely fashion.

   

Even if business is slow right now, don’t give up on marketing your business. It can give you a competitive advantage once the crisis has passed.

 

In the meantime, if your business needs any help, Valley is here for you. Check out our loan assistance and payment relief programs, learn about available SBA loans, or visit our Business Insight Center for more helpful advice.

 

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