Don’t Make This Mistake During Shutdown
These are certainly unprecedented times we’re living in. We say that now because never before has pestilence hit so close to home and had such a devastating impact. I certainly hope this doesn’t become the segue for the next recession since they’re cyclical. However, in all my years doing branding when a recession hits many businesses make this deadly mistake that I want you to avoid. That’s not doing sales and marketing.
Businesses stop advertising
This is the pattern I see every time a recession hits and the same is happening now during shutdown. In an effort to reduce overhead the first thing businesses stop doing is advertising because that’s a huge cost. It was one of the contributing factors to my first design studio closing since all my client work dried up. What also dried up were many of those businesses because they weren’t marketing.
Marketing is raising awareness
Letting people know that your business exists and is still best qualified to serve them. Since raising awareness means spending money in the places your clients are such as Google Ads, social media ads, direct mail and the like, most businesses stop doing it. They opt to put that money in other places, which are rightfully important as well.
However, if people don’t know you still exist then when they’re ready to buy they’ll go somewhere else. Thus, stopping marketing becomes the precursor to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now this doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot to continue to get the word out you just have to spend smarter.
Lower Ad Rates
Since most media outlets are hurting for cash because everyone pulled the plug on their ad spend rates, often dropping to amazingly affordable numbers. Use that to negotiate lower rates for longer exposure. This is also a great time for grassroots marketing.
Grassroots marketing has a low cost to implement since the biggest cost is time but has high yielding response rates or high exposure. Take this example, which was an award-winning grass roots campaign. Why is Ronald McDonald so happy? He got some KFC. All it took was just placing the bag and snapping a picture. That picture then gets posted and voila viral exposure. You can do the same.
Think of some low-cost ways to raise awareness. I’ve seen restaurants put lawn signs on main roads. They’re letting people know they’re still here and with all of us looking to support local businesses they pop up first in mind and we patronize them.
Adjust Your Thinking
Which would you prefer when times are tight, some business or no business? We’d all chose the former because some money coming in keeps us afloat. Be willing to temporarily adjust some of your policies so people can still do business with you. I normally have minimum quantities families have to order for my brand, Cherished Keepsakes. However, due to social distancing funerals aren’t the typical sizes. People still need the keepsakes we provide so we lifted our minimums so families can still honor their loved ones in the way they want. Remember we’re humans first, business owners second.
By continuing to get the word out that you’re still here you ensure you will be when things turn around. Until next time I wish you much success transforming your business into an amazing brand.
George Paul III is a branding expert and award-winning designer. He’s the Founder of Seize the Brand, an education platform designed to empower business owners by leveraging the power of branding to realize business and life goals.
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