Have you cut back on marketing expenditures due to the COVID-19 pandemic? You’re not alone. Many business owners are trying to save money by using the same strategy.
Cutting back is understandable and may be necessary, but marketing isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. And it’s possible to continue your marketing efforts even if you need to reduce spending. Here, we share 11 budget-friendly and effective marketing ideas.
#1: Focus on Social Media
According to Statista, Americans are spending more time on social media now than they did before the pandemic. That translates to an opportunity for businesses who need low-cost ways to engage their target customers.
It’s a good time to share the ways your business is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight the ways your company can help people cope with social distancing and stay-at-home orders. You may also want to consider boosting your ads or running a page promotion to get your business in front of potential new customers.
#2: Take Advantage of Cheap Advertising
Speaking of running ads, one of the biggest potential upsides to the pandemic is that advertising costs are lower than usual.
If you’re wondering how low prices are, the answer might surprise you. There’s no hard data, but anecdotally, marketing agencies are reporting costs that are between 50% and 75% lower than they were before the pandemic. This includes pay-per-click advertising and social media advertising wherein you pay based on impressions.
You may want to investigate the costs for your target market and rethink your budget to take advantage of these savings while they last.
#3: Don’t Lose Sight of SEO
Search engine optimization is easy to neglect when money is tight. There’s a tendency among small business owners to invest in SEO only when it becomes a problem.
The issue with that mindset is that SEO is the longest game in digital marketing. If you don’t stay on top of it now, you could find yourself facing an uphill battle to regain the coveted page one rank on Google. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but you should stay on top of keyword research and maintain your local SEO to ensure you don’t slip.
#4: Create and Promote Special Offers
It comes as no surprise that consumer spending has taken a hit since the beginning of the pandemic. A lot of Americans have lost their jobs, and as a result, they’re being more careful with their money than they were before.
However, consumers are still spending money. People are looking for convenience and entertainment – anything that can make staying at home more tolerable. That means this is a great time to create special offer s that are tailored to your audience. Think about what your audience wants and needs and give it to them.
#5: Take Care of Internal Housekeeping –
One commonality that all businesses share is a lack of time to handle tasks that can all-too-easily be put off. I’m talking about things like solidifying and documenting internal processes, working through your email backlog, and taking inventory.
This is a good time to tackle your backlog. Set aside sometime each day to handle tasks that have been put on the back burner. That way, you’ll be in good shape to capitalize on the return to normalcy – whenever it happens.
#6: Take a Proactive Approach to Marketing
In times of crisis, some of us panic. It’s understandable. Just when we think we’ve discovered a new normal, life shifts under our feet. It can be stressful at best.
The important thing during this time is not to panic. Don’t make any sudden changes to your marketing strategy. Instead, take a deep breath and look at your analytics and metrics. Review what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust based on what you find. A fact-based approach will always serve you better than reacting in fear.
#7: Tackle Your Digital To-Do List
There are a lot of little online tasks that can get delayed when you’re in the daily grind with your business. In addition to the internal housekeeping we already mentioned, this is an excellent time to check some items off your digital to-do list.
For example, you might use this time to claim your review pages and update your information there. You might respond to existing reviews. You could revamp your social media profiles with updated photos and descriptions, standardize your online local listings, or create a regular blogging schedule.
#8: Solidify Your Message
Another type of housekeeping you can do now is brand building. You already know that people are spending more time on social media than usual. That means they’re also paying more attention to their favorite companies and brands.
Right now, it’s important to focus on showing the compassionate, human side of your company. People want to support brands that care about them. By showing that you want to help people, you’ll increase their desire to buy from you.
#9: Build Connections
We’re all craving connection. Being isolated at home for months on end has highlighted our need for social interaction. And while in-person gatherings pose a level of risk, that doesn’t mean you can’t find alternatives.
You may want to organize a Zoom event or sale for your loyal customers. You could host an online fundraiser for a local charity. Your regular customers want to hear from you. Plus, you may attract some new followers and customers by making your company part of the solution to pandemic-related loneliness and isolation.
#10: Make Customer Retention a Priority
This is a tough time to attract new customers. And, as you know, it always costs more to acquire a new customer than it takes to retain an existing customer. If your marketing budget has decreased, then it simply makes sense to focus on customer retention.
Make sure to email the customers on your subscriber list regularly with updates about your business and special offers. You may also want to offer exclusive coupons or discount codes to entice people to buy from you again. Think about what your loyal customers want and give it to them. They’ll thank you with their business.
#11: Spread Joy and Kindness
Finally, think about what you can do to lift people’s spirits. All of us are in the same boat as we cope with a seemingly endless string of bad news. We need a break from gloom and doom.
Get creative! Share a few humorous videos and memes, and don’t be afraid to get personal by telling your customers or clients what you’re doing to stay entertained and healthy. You could even host a social media contest in which you ask your followers to share clever ways to beat boredom or connect with distant loved ones.
The bottom line is that this is undeniably a stressful time, but marketing should still be a priority for all small businesses. A thoughtful, data-based approach can help you get the maximum bang for your buck and stay in good shape to rebound when the pandemic is over.