As they say, we’re all in this together, so, believe me, we get it: COVID-19 has significantly changed our world for some time to come. Many companies are still trying to figure things out and trying to get answers to important questions like: How can I keep my staff motivated and intact? How can I afford to keep my business running smoothly when revenues are down? How can I maintain healthy relationships with customers, trading partners and vendors? What can I do now to ensure my business will survive until we have come out on the other side of this?
Complicated questions, to be sure, but there is a surprisingly simple answer: if you don’t want your business to completely collapse, the worst thing you can do right now is hide out in a cave and wait for the storm to pass.
Sure, when the economy goes south, some businesses tend to “go on vacation”, some even virtually stopping proactive spending, marketing and new business exploration. This is understandable due to all the current troubling realities but also due to the misconception that being aggressive is cost-prohibitive.
Here are our recommendations to cure your business’ current COVID-19-related aches and pains:
1. Silence is deadly, communication is golden. – Make it your mission to remind your customers, trading partners and vendors on a regular basis that you’re active, open for business and eager to work with them. Going silent will only give them the impression that you’re either in serious trouble or out of business altogether. There are all sorts of cost-effective ways to keep them in the loop and remind them why they liked you in the first place. Send them e-blasts on a regular basis, whether it’s to present them with current programs and services or just sharing a good thought now and then to make them smile. Content marketing can be huge; it shows all of them you are still a thought leader in your industry.
2. If ever there was a time to arm your sales team, it’s now. – Sure, you’re telling yourself you should cut back on marketing and sales because your customers don’t want to spend money with you right now. Big mistake. If you do, here’s what’s going to happen: you’ll go on hold to some extent, and then, down the road, when the economy wakes up again, you’ll have to scramble to catch up. The smart money is on companies that continue their sales efforts aggressively. It might mean some incremental sales right now, however modest, but more importantly, you’ll be front-of-mind with your customers when it comes time for them to start placing more significant orders later. There are ways to construct and communicate value-added programs that customers may want to take advantage of sooner rather than later. Updated sales support materials, whether print, digital or both, are vital right now. Don’t worry, it’s an investment well spent, whether you use them now or spread them out over time.
3. Your trading partners will work with you, now more than ever. – Everyone gets it; revenues are coming in slower, so your ability to pay for things you need will be slower. Be upfront with the vendors you need to help you keep your name out there, like media, printers, agencies, etc. Believe me, they’ll work with you as long as you keep communications open and sincere. Don’t stop vital programs you need to rebuild your business now because you think it will drastically disrupt your current cash flow. Work out payment plans with them that allow you to spread out your exposure.
4. Explore less expensive marketing resources. – The aforementioned e-blast and content marketing programs can be very cost-effective. Public relations is a great way to keep you in the news, and it can generally be a manageable monthly fee. Similar exposure can be gained with social media, and even paid social ads – for a relatively small budget – can give you great promotion. We have also been working with all our media contacts to come up with creative, effective and affordable programs, and I happy to say they’ve really come through for us and our clients.
As they say, the savvy marketer views every obstacle as an opportunity. It’s no different during the current economic and healthcare crisis. Embrace these important tips and your customers will take notice, your trading partners and vendors will appreciate you all the more, and your staff will take heart that you haven’t even come close to giving up.
Catalyst Marketing Communications has done a great job of working with our clients through these difficult times, whether it’s through effective marketing, advertising, public relations, digital/social, direct, sales support, media, website design, content marketing and video production. And, we’re here for you as well. Call us today, there’s no charge for our consultation and proposals.