In these unprecedented times, businesses have had to re-adjust their value proposition and re-examine their marketing strategy. Some brands have done this by pivoting to new areas and others by altogether dropping out of a niche.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken everyone to their cores. No business was prepared for this lockdown and can honestly say that they are prepared for the slowdown in the coming months. By all looks, a comeback seems to be on the distant horizon. Until then, we can only ask each other what worked and what didn’t work for them.
We asked a few entrepreneurs about how COVID-19 has impacted their marketing and what are the lessons that they learned.
This is what they had to say.
Bryan Clayton, Co-founder of GreenPal, (an Uber-like service for lawn care) advises fellow entrepreneurs to “use the coronavirus against itself.”
GreenPal is doing this by highlighting the contactless aspect of their service. Of course, this is something GreenPal smartly chose to embrace.
Bryan also notes that by adjusting the copy in their Google Ads and Facebook marketing campaigns, Greenpal has seen a 17% boost in conversion in some markets.
He is optimistic that technology will find ways to help limit the spread of the coronavirus even when it comes to grass cutting.
For Christy Cook, CEO of Teach My, a learning toy provider, the school closures have come as a blessing in disguise. With parents working from home, they need something to keep their children engaged and educational toys fit the bill perfectly. Christy says that their kits are a big hit with the kids. Teach My has partnered up with power bloggers and influencers to conduct giveaways and promote their products.
Jessica Tappana would probably agree with the sentiment that “marketing should not stop even during a pandemic.” There is always light at the end of the tunnel and those who keep the marketing engine running will reap the rewards when things finally return to normal. Business at her company, Simplified SEO Consulting, is booming. She thinks that this is because people across the board are realizing that now is a great time to invest in SEO.
Jessica also notes that people are now more eager to learn how to do SEO themselves through their SEO training programs, rather than outsource it to some agency.
However, the scene is not so rosy for the tourism industry, one of the most affected industries.
Dylan Gallagher of San Francisco-based White Wolf Tours, admits that business has paused due to COVID-19 and everyone has gone into hibernation mode, much like during the slow season.
Dylan and his team are now revisiting their marketing strategy. Perhaps, it’s time to invest in a good SEO course, Dylan?
The Marketing Introvert, who identifies themself as a full-time marketing consultant has seen their income reduce by over 70%. Delay in obtaining new clients has turned out to be a double whammy. They are now in the process of transitioning to value-based pricing as opposed to a project-based one.
The Marketing Introvert cautions people to prepare for what happens next instead of just being focussed on the now.
Some companies are now taking the time to re-examine their business strategy. CEO of KWK Studio, Kasey Kaplan did this by revamping the traditional pricing model for website and SEO services.
“We took the traditional website pricing model of charging a large upfront fee and then an hourly work rate for future updates and transitioned it into a SaaS model.” This covers everything a business would need from hosting to security, copywriting, SEO optimization, and much more.
Kasey says that “This is a win-win because businesses don’t need to do a heavy investment upfront and know that they will always have an up-to-date and relevant website while at the same time allowing us to implement automation and other efficiencies to make the model affordable and scalable.”
Very much like Teach My, CopperH2O, an all-female e-commerce company has seen a boom in business. CEO Jessica Rose attributes this to their increase in ad spend which she believes other marketers are cutting down on excessively. She believes that those who continue to advertise online may well be able to enjoy greater returns given the absence of competitors in the same marketing space. This is a great window of opportunity, she says.
Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs, is banking on content marketing to turn the tide against a 40% decrease in sales. When asked about his post-COVID marketing strategy, he said “We plan to drastically increase PPC spend post-COVID. We will have enough data by then to make informed decisions about where to allocate our ad spend most cost-effectively.
We also plan to roll out a traditional marketing campaign (radio, podcasts, direct mail). Our theory is that with most companies massively increasing PPC spend after COVID, traditional marketing rates will be relatively cheaper than usual.”
Such resourcefulness is the right kind of attitude to ensure that you business stays afloat during these trying times.
Of course, not every entrepreneur is in the right financial state to continue with their marketing strategy. But to those who can spare the budget, please do not ignore marketing. The average consumer has a very short memory. A few weeks of absence from any media and they would’ve already forgotten all about you, especially if you’re a startup.