Planning

marketing during coronavirus pandemic to enhance local economy
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Small Business Marketing During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Should You Continue Marketing During Coronovirus?

Local marketing is the driving force for our local businesses, but with the rise of covid and coronavirus, is it cost-effective to continue marketing during coronavirus?

Local communities and the businesses within them are the foundation of the economy at large, and that can not be ignored.

We are all taking health and safety precautions when it comes to ourselves, our friends and our families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but what about the health and safety of our businesses. We need to take a look at how they are being affected as well, both internally and externally. Small businesses, those on the local front fuel our local economy. So how can we make sure that our very devices that keep up our economy aren’t hurt themselves?

 

marketing during coronavirus pandemic to enhance local economy

Source: https://instagram.com/gets2giveclt

Proactive vs. Reactive

Now more than ever it is important for small businesses to change their strategy from being proactive from reactive. Don’t wait for it to be too late, have a contingency plan in place. Many businesses are starting to take the knee-jerk reaction of halting marketing, but is that really what’s best for your company, and our economy? We still need to have this driving force that is our small businesses maintaining a working and fundamentally stable economy.

 

Where To Begin

The direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 has  already made land across multiple fronts. The health officials and governments are asking people to stay at home and wash their hands, this is resulting in a huge lack of resources in those departments. Cleaning supplies can’t stay on shelves. Work environments are also changing as many companies are moving from in-office to remote work settings. Local restaurants are no longer allowed to seat people in areas, and the travel bans are hitting the tourism and travel industry extremely hard.

This can leave gaping stressors on marketers, but with a concise message that is proactive in looking towards the future instead of reactive and responding to the immediate, we can rise above these challenges.

 

Create A New Digital Marketing Plan

It’s always important to have a marketing plan and budget in place, now is no different, but your budget and objectives are likely to be very different though. Take a look at our marketing budget and plan blog post from last month to help determine your new budget and your new objectives.

 

Adjust Your Strategy

Once you have re-evaluated your budget and objectives, it’s time to adjust your strategy.

For brick-and-mortar businesses, adjusting your strategy may involve adjusting your budget and adjusting your audience. No longer are people dining in, or visiting in -person, but they are buying online, so maybe a change in focus on mediums is in store. 

There are many very small businesses that already have tight annual budgets with little room to adjust. For businesses that fall into that category, search engine optimization is a great focus point during this period, building up online marketing tactics that will grow organically while you work on in-house items like new digital medias and websites.

 

The Importance of Content Marketing

Content marketing can become an effective way for you to remain in touch with your customers and increase pipeline generation during the coronavirus pandemic. While buying may decrease, digital activity from your customers and clients is likely to increase. Great content on places like google searches, social media, and websites where digital media can be viewed is valuable.

With the ever-changing digital landscape, communicating and engaging with your audience can remain uninterrupted, no matter what the situation is – as long as you have the proper content marketing strategies in place:

  • Use this time to increase brand awareness
  • Cut down on CTA’s
  • Highlight your brand, your compassion, and your personality
  • Write blogs, build authority on the areas of your business
  • Send emails. Email marketing allows you to connect personally with your customers and clients, keep them in the loop.
  • Audit your ads: make sure they aren’t tone deaf.
  • Shift your messaging from short-term to long-term

 

Work On Housekeeping

In challenging times and a fast-changing global landscape, communicating brand identity and values remains important. Coronavirus provides a new challenge for marketers that shines a light on the importance of relying on strategies outside of traditional channels.

Instead of focusing on the panic, or the unknown, take this time to learn and pour any extra time you have to do some housekeeping on your business. 

  • Evaluate internal company culture. How are you handling this transitional period with your employees? As scary as it is for businesses right now, it’s also scary for employees. How you handle this can reflect your company culture in the future.
  • Do some market research, how does your brand compare to the competition?
  • Renovate your brand. All those ideas you’ve been throwing around, now’s the time.
  • Rediscover your brand. As certified brand strategists, we can’t tell you enough the importance of doing a brand discovery every couple of years. 
  • Invest in a new company image: website, logo, etc. What a better way to market yourselves when things settle back down than by launching something new. While you’re mitigating through the present, hiring out to do these projects now can propel you ahead of the competition a few weeks/months from now.
  • Setup an online shop. In response to social distancing, foot traffic is decreasing, but digital traffic can ramp up.
  • Work on reputation management. People may not be able to support you as before, but they can certainly support your digital presence and reputation. A good reputation online can skyrocket your search engine optimization rankings.

 

Engagement Marketing

Also known as experiential marketing, will keep your customers engaged. By staying active and in sight on digital platforms that people are rushing more to now, you are able to continuously engage with them. You may need to tweak your content to relate more during these different times, but continuously showing up and giving them something to engage with is always a marketing win.

 

People Are Looking Towards The Future

You will hear a lot of “when this is over” and that signals another very important touch point – people and their shopping habits aren’t shutting down, they’re looking at the future. Everyone is still thinking and focused on what will happen in the future. That’s where they want to find you. In the hope and excitement of what lies ahead.

 

RESOURCES

SBA Business Guidance During Coronavirus – https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

US Chamber of Commerce Resources for Surviving Coronavirus – https://www.uschamber.com/co/start/strategy/small-business-resources-for-surviving-coronavirus

CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html 

 

marketing plan and budget
1024 682 Meredith Fleig

How To Develop a Successful Marketing Plan & Budget

How To Develop a Successful Marketing Plan & Budget 

Effective marketing requires planning and budgeting, both of which can seem like daunting tasks, but the reward is tremendous when done properly. In this post, we’ll walk you through some basic steps to help you create your own marketing plan templates that align with your specific business goals and budgets.

marketing plan and budget

Step 1: Marketing Budget

The first thing you want to figure out is how much you can spend. What are you currently spending on your marketing? If you don’t know, then you’re not unique. Many businesses take a “fly by the seat of their pants” approach, with little forethought. 

Unfortunately, this approach is not cost effective. You could be blowing your marketing budget on inefficient objectives, or spending too little and not getting a valuable return on ad spend (ROAS) for your business.

Setting an initial baseline budget forces you to prioritize expenses. So, how do you set a marketing budget? Easy, we’ve got a formula for that:

 

Minimum Allowable Budget =

(5% Gross Sales x Average Markup) – Annual Rent

Maximum Allowable Budget =

(10% Gross Sales x Average Markup) – Annual Rent

 

Note: Markup is not margin. Most businesses can tell you their margins off the top of their heads, but markup is a little different. Markup is the amount by which the cost price is increased to determine the selling price. Margin refers to sales minus the cost of goods sold.

This is also a good time to check on that rent cost. When you create a marketing budget, it’s wise to take out your rent cost so you can monitor that expenditure as well. If you find your marketing budget is too low, take a look at your rent cost. Don’t let all of your marketing budget go towards rent! 

After you’ve set your baseline budget, you can begin working on your marketing plan. You need a well thought out and planned out strategy  – including both objectives and key performance indicators. 

Don’t throw money at programs because they’re what you’re supposed to do, or because it’s what everyone else does. You want to allocate your dollars strategically, where they’ll work best for your business and your needs.

 

Step 2: Marketing Plan

2 Initial Key Points of Strategy:

  1. Who Is Your Ideal Client
  2. What Are Your Marketing Objectives

First, let’s focus on the ideal candidate. If your perfect client is an international bolt supplier, printing flyers to post at college hangouts is probably not your best choice. 

 

Ideal Client/Customer Questionnaire:

  1. Is your ideal customer/client a person or a business/entity?
  2. What are their goals and values?
  3. What are the demographics of your ideal customer?
  4. What are your target markets?
  5. What are their challenges and pain points?
  6. What objections could they have to buying your product or service?
  7. Where does your ideal customer get their information?
  8. What would make your client search for information as it relates to what you offer?
  9. Are you introducing something new to the client?
  10. Are you introducing a better alternative to the client?

Now that we have your budget, and your ideal clients, let’s work on your objectives. What are your marketing goals? Make sure that your marketing efforts are focused on those marketing campaigns that help you achieve your objectives.

 

Typical Marketing Objectives & KPI’s:

  • Increase Lead Generation
  • Grow Brand Awareness
  • Increase Sales
  • Decrease Customer Turnover
  • Grow Digital Presence

You will typically have multiple marketing objectives, so it helps to rank them in order of importance.

While it is good practice to incorporate all of these objectives into your marketing strategy, it stands to reason that the most effective marketing plan is the one that grows your business, not the one that outspends what it brings in. If you don’t have the budget for all of these objectives, don’t worry, prioritization is your friend! 

Marketing is progressive; you can start in one place and progress on a trajectory to reach different goals. It doesn’t have to happen at once.

Always remember to “Never Stop Testing!” Times change, people change, search habits change, needs change, wants change … everything changes constantly. To successfully market your business, your strategy and plans need to evolve. 

One of the biggest things we hear from companies is, “We used to get results from our ads, but now they just aren’t working anymore.” The number one reason is because they’re still running the SAME ads. 

This is also the number one reason why businesses should consider retaining professional help when it comes to their marketing and advertising. It’s not a “set it and forget it”  gig. You can, but you’ll be doing yourself and your business a disservice.

If you choose to hire professional marketers, and they don’t ask about your budget and objectives, and they don’t talk about qualifying KPIs, #thankyounext ‘em. 

The way to monitor and test your initiatives is through what we call KPIs. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. Establishing KPIs allow you to adequately measure the performance of your advertising campaigns.

These variables constantly change. They are extremely important to consider when developing your marketing plan, so know what you’re looking for and what to focus on.  

Your objective is broad, but your KPIs are specific and tangible, and they’re the central feature of a marketing plan to accurately evaluate the performance of your strategies.

 

Example KPIs Based On Objectives:

  • Increase Lead Generation:
    • Number of Leads Gained
    • Percentage Increase in Leads
    • Cost Per Lead
    • Conversion Rate of Leads
    • Marketing Qualified Leads
    • Sales Qualified Leads (because marketing and sales rarely agree on things!)
    • Number of New Prospect Calls
    • Number of Closing Calls
    • Contracts Sent
    • New Contracts Signed Conversions
  • Grow Brand Awareness
    • Website Sessions
    • Website Unique Visitors
    • Web Page Views per Visit
    • Website Bounce Rate
    • Website Time on Site
    • Market Share
    • Increase in Social Media Fans/Followers
    • Increase in Social Media Engagement (Likes, Comments, Shares, etc.)
    • Number of opt-ins from Social Media Campaigns and Posts
    • Referral Traffic Percentage
  • Increase Sales:
    • Number of New Customers
    • Percentage Increase in New Customers
    • Cost Per New Customer
    • Lead-to-Customer Ratio
    • Lifetime Customer Spend
  • Decrease Customer Turnover:
    • Number of Repeat Customers
    • Customer Retention Rate
    • Reputation Rating (Online Reviews)
  • Grow Digital Presence:
    • Alexa Rank
    • Total Organic Traffic
    • Total Number of Keywords Website Ranks for
    • Number of Keywords in Top 3 Positions
    • Number of Leads from Organic Search
    • Organic Conversion Rate

 

Step 3: Setup Marketing Programs

There are many different programs to help you keep track of your KPIs and your deliverables. Based on your priorities, we can help you set up a program to keep you up-to-date with all the happenings on your campaigns. 

Once you know your budget, who to target, the results you want to see, and the metrics to qualify your success, you’ll have the foundation to build the perfect marketing program for your business and manage your annual marketing expenses.

 

Step 4: Contact Us

Whether you’re a small business or multinational conglomerate, when you need help, we’re just a phone call or email away, and we’d love to discuss how can help optimize your business’s marketing strategy.