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COVID-19 Marketing Q&A — Webinar Recording & Resources


by Christina Hooper on April 10, 2020
in Business Strategy

In this webinar, we answered questions related to marketing and lead generation during the pandemic. We hope these free resources help you during this unprecedented time.

>> Webinar Video Recording

play

>> Webinar Audio Only Recording

>> Q&A Transcript

Why it is important to continue advertising during a slower market, what does research show.

When the economy takes a downturn, one of the first areas that business owners pull back is marketing.

However, it's proven that business that maintain and grow their brands come out on top when the economy starts to recover.

Think about it this way...

If you stop your marketing, then you start to become out-of-touch with your consumers during the downturn. You also are forced to go from a full stop to ramping up marketing as soon as it recovers. That's not a good position to be in.

Instead, if you adapt and continue marketing, you are "in the trenches" with your audience during the recession. You've been there as a trusted resource the whole time while your competitors went into their shell. Plus, since you didn't stop marketing, you're positioned better when the recession lifts.

This is especially important in the COVID-19 recession. 

Experts predict this to be a V-Curve recession instead of a U-Curve. This means that we went into it quickly, but one good piece of news — like "Go back to work!" — could send us back up even faster.

What do you suggest to customers that we need to cut their budget? (I'm in the services industry.)

You basically have 2 situations that your customers could be experiencing.

  1. They just don't have the budget right now because their business has been hit by the recession.
  2. They have the budget, but they are afraid to spend it.

My advice is a little different in each situation.

If they don't have the budget, there's not much you can do as far as making it profitable for yourself. However, you can continue to be a resource and stay in communication if you are financially able to do so.

  • Check in regularly — you don't know when this is going to change.
  • See if you can offer other services that might help them generate revenue so they can afford your services.
  • See, if you can offer discounts or free services and consultation during this time to help them — BUT, don't put yourself out of business to help.

If they do have the budget, but are afraid to spend it, then just have a conversation with them. See what you can do to help them be comfortable and make sure you're providing value.

Now it's the time to push lengthy contracts or strict exit clauses in your contracts. You might have to make some adjustments to help you and your customers make it through this.

Any ideas on how a custom manufacturer can offer free resources?

If you have an email list already and you can provide a quick resource list, that might work. It does kind of depend on your target customers right now.

Larger companies will value different resources than smaller companies. 

We are seeing a lot of manufacturers using this time to reinforce their customer relationships, provide staff training, and perform machines maintenance.

How much communication is too much right now?

Marketing in a pandemic or recession is no different than every other day. There's no so such thing as too much communication or saying too much.

The biggest thing to remember is that you need to provide value in your communication. You could send emails multiple times a day if each message is tailored to your audience and helps them solve a problem or reach a goal.

Right now we are seeing people that are hungry for information, so get out there and answer questions, provide resources, and share your knowledge.

Is this the right time to invest in new marketing software?

I would say absolutely — as long as it fits in with your strategy. If you're just buying it with no idea or intention to use it, then hold off until you can get a strategy assembled.

Right now many companies are offering discounts on software, so if you have a plan, you can save money and take advantage of those.

How often should I meet with my employees right now that are working from home?

You should be talking with your employees daily. There's a lot going on right now and some employees are working remotely. It's easy for things to fall through the cracks.

Employees are missing out on the "water cooler conversations" right now, so you should provide ways to encourage team building.

We do formal meetings with our staff weekly and monthly. We also use https://slack.com to facilitate regular communications. 

You can also utilize most of your marketing software to help you with employee communication — such as using your email software to send mass emails to employees.

Which softwares are best for meeting online?

We use Zoom for one-on-one and small group meetings. They also have Zoom Bulk Meetings and Zoom Webinars.

Zoom Meeting is cheaper than Webinars, but there are some feature restrictions. You can find out more here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115005474943-Meeting-and-Webinar-Comparison

How is Slack better than text or email?

The biggest advantage is searchability and organization. You can use multiple workspaces and channels to organize conversations. And you can search within workspaces or channels to find messages.

There are also some automation tools and integrations that can make it easier and save you time.

Is now a good time to be less professional on social media?

Don't be absurdly less professional — no live streaming in your underwear.

However, it is good to mirror your audience's reality and be human. We're all in this together. Don't worry about your background in your video, kids in the background, pets barking, etc.

People are more forgiving of a less professional setting than every before, so it's actually a great opportunity to test out video if you haven't before.

In regards to the retail industry, does research show that Instagram and Facebook stories work better than regular posts?

Not necessarily. It's more important that your message resonates with your target audience. 

You need to provide value and use messaging that will capture attention. Stories can be a bit harder to put out there though. You have to have more of a story with those, they are multiple panes and people scroll through, so creating them is more involved.

If you have a physical storefront that's shut down right now what can you do?

Be more active on social media. Use this time to build your audience and build your list. Be transparent, be human, and be down-to-earth.

This is a great time to start a blog, build your email list, and get in touch with your target market. You might even find ways to offer your products and services remotely when you talk with your audience.

How can we take advantage of this down time?

This is a great time to do cleaning, organization, reach out to past customers to check on them, work on business processes, and train your team.

If you have revenue to ride this out, then invest in your team and your business and use this time to grow.

Should I continue content marketing efforts during this time?

Don't put anything out there that's not applicable during the current client. For example, it wouldn't be smart for me to publish an article on how to leverage trade shows right now when they are all cancelled.

However, keep publishing on your blog. Most articles take 6 to 9 months to get picked up and ranked on Google, so you want to keep those strategies going.

You might choose not to share those on social or email right now, but you can continue to publish them on your website.

If you can write content that's applicable to the current climate and would still be applicable when this ends, that's a great addition. For example, we wrote one with tips for working remotely that is great right now, but would still be a viable piece after this starts to turn around.

>> Webinar Slides

>> Tools & Resources

We discussed several tools and resources on the webinar and wanted to share a summarized list with you here.

I’ve labeled each tool as either free, freemium (has a free tier, but also has paid upgrades), or paid. Many of the freemium tools have free tiers that keep them essentially free forever for smaller businesses.

  1. Slack is a group communication tool that helps you keep in touch with your team as they are working remotely. (Freemium)
  2. Trello is a tool that will help you manage your workload. (Freemium)
  3. Zoom is a meeting and webinar software. We used the webinar product for this webinar. We also use the meeting software regularly in our own business. (Paid)
  4. EZTexting allows you to send bulk text messages to your list. (Freemium)
  5. Google Forms allows you to gather information such as contact or emergency contact info. The submissions are stored in a Google Sheet to make it easier for you to export them to an emailing or texting software. (Free)
  6. Google Docs and Google Slides make it easier for you to share information and keep it up-to-date in real-time. This document is created using Google Docs. You simply share the link with your employees and they will always see the most up-to-date version. (Free)
  7. Google Sites makes it easy for you to set up a company intranet website to communicate more complex information with your information if a doc or slides isn’t robust enough. For example, if you want to organize the information into multiple pages or include training videos. (Free)
  8. MailChimp lets you easily communicate with your employees and/or customers quickly via email in bulk. (Freemium)
  9. Loom lets you record and quickly share short videos to help you communicate quickly. This is helpful when you need to convey confidence, explain complex concepts, or share information quickly.
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