Planning

marketing during coronavirus pandemic to enhance local economy
1024 768 Meredith Fleig

Small Business Marketing During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Should You Continue Marketing During Coronovirus?

Local marketing is the driving force for our local businesses, but the question comes up now, is it cost-effective to continue marketing during coronavirus?

Businesses operating in local communities are the foundation of the American economy at large. The magnitude of the impact of roughly 30.2 million small businesses operating nationwide cannot be ignored. 

While we are all taking precautions for the safety and health of our community members during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s also important to take precautions for the safety and health of our businesses – both internally and externally. Businesses not only provide valuable products or services, they also fuel our local economy with tax dollars, employment, and community development and pride.

 

marketing during coronavirus pandemic to enhance local economy

Source: https://instagram.com/gets2giveclt

Proactive vs. Reactive

The foreseeable future is unknown, but it’s vital to be proactive as opposed to 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? 

 

Where To Begin

COVID-19 has had many direct and indirect effects already. As the government is encouraging people to stay at home and wash their hands, we see a massive shortage of home and cleaning supplies. While work cultures are changing, work environments move from offices to homes. Local restaurants are no longer allowed to seat people in areas, and travel and tourism will be affected as our government temporarily bans travel to certain places where cases of the virus are high.

Changes can be stressful, but the best thing that we can do as marketers is to look forward and have clear, concise, and accurate messaging. 

 

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 might mean limited budgets or pausing certain campaigns. If you’re worried about the decline in leads or foot traffic my recommendation is to lower budgets for non-essential campaigns at the moment for certain industries. We can then focus that ad spend on branded terms due to the higher quality traffic they naturally receive over the long-term. 

For those small businesses that have tight annual budgets, the reallocation of ad spend toward more effective marketing periods could be essential to their success. For them, search engine optimization is a great focus point during this period, building up online marketing tactics that will grow organically.

 

Listen To The Experts

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus, or COVID-19, a global pandemic. It’s an uncertain time, and we don’t have all the answers. We can share what we do know and offer some guidance for our customers and other small businesses that may be experiencing shifts in their business.

At Doggett, we have been watching the news closely, and we’ve responded by taking the action to make remote work the default for all Doggett employees. However, we’ve taken all steps to ensure minimal disruption to our operations and our customers. As brand strategists, digital and social media marketers, we’ll leave the medical advice to medical and public health experts—and would urge you to do the same. We can however provide more information about what actions you can take in your online advertising initiatives now.

 

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 (while expected to remain agile).

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.
  • Rediscovery 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.

 

Experiential Marketing

Also known as engagement marketing, experiential marketing during the coronavirus outbreak will help your customers and clients still be actively engaged with your product and organization. When you invest in similar experiential and content marketing strategies delivered through online platforms you are ensuring that your customers are aware that you are still available and interested in their business throughout 2020.

 

A Note On The Travel Industry

If you are in the travel and tourism industry, things are changing by the day.Many nations, the USA included, has placed bans on non-essential travel. Even so, searches for “cheap flights right now” has grown by 90% over the last 30 days, and very interestingly, “cheap flights due to coronavirus” has increased by a whopping 2,450%.

 

People Are Looking Towards The Future

While many can’t travel right now, there is an increased interest to do so in the future, especially while flight costs are low. Knowing this, focus strategy on the long term. People aren’t completely shutting down, they’re looking at the future. You want your business to be in that future. 

 

We’re In This Together

Plus, by maintaining your marketing efforts, you’re also supporting other areas of our local communities. Media buys are what keep our media outlets afloat.  News media is essential at all times, but especially now, as people need to stay informed with accurate information. If you are fiscally able, continuing your marketing campaigns will not only help to maintain your presence, but will also be supporting our local economy while still allowing everyone to follow social distancing. 

 

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.