The recent global shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on economies, industries and markets. However, it is small and medium-sized businesses that suffer the most during recessions. The coronavirus crisis has also proven that no business remains completely unscathed during difficult times, so it’s important for all companies to have digital marketing strategies during these periods.
This will ensure that sales continue to take place, or that product and service awareness will encourage new business when the crisis period ends. While businesses are shut down, they should still work towards promoting their offerings online. During country-wide lockdowns, people spend more time on the internet and social media.
The public also makes use of online shopping and home deliveries as they practice social distancing and remain at home. Reaching these people and turning them into potential customers should be the main focus for businesses during their time off. It will allow them to hit the ground running once the lockdowns are lifted and life returns to normal.
Businesses should opt for a digital strategy during a crisis
Until normalcy returns, the best way to drive sales and give your business a fighting chance of surviving the financial crisis is to implement a strong digital marketing strategy. Getting your product or service information out to a large audience is the main goal of any online campaign.
This means creating interesting, relevant and professional content for your website that is then shared and boosted to a target audience on social media. Companies need to start targeting their audiences where the customers are – in their homes and on their digital devices.
Traditional methods of advertising are not as effective when everyone is staying at home; billboards, road signs and newspaper advertisements are nowhere near as effective as social media adverts and search engines. A digital strategy will allow businesses to promote their offerings online and access customers directly through their computers and smartphones.
Risk and cost can put business owners off
When a company shuts its doors for an unknown period of time, suddenly budget and savings become the most crucial factor in decision-making. With little-to-no sales, most businesses choose to drop their marketing campaigns and divert that budget into salaries and crisis management.
However, a business that implements a successful online strategy can actually benefit from the results. The budget used to pay for professional website content, search engine optimisation and social media advertising can bring in more sales and increase profitability once the company doors open again. If potential customers are made aware of the importance of a company’s offerings through digital channels, they are more likely to make a purchase once the lockdown ends and the crisis subsides.
It is risky committing to a continued digital strategy during these times of uncertainty, but the potential rewards can be highly beneficial. It is better for companies to take this risk than to sit idly waiting for the crisis to pass. Business owners and decision-makers need to be proactive during recessions and use the time off during the lockdown to strategise the way forward for their company.
Companies that started during times of financial crisis
There are numerous examples of businesses that took a proactive approach during difficult economic times and reaped the rewards. These businesses succeeded because their owners and decision-makers used their ambition to their advantage during recessions:
- Groupon – founded during the 2008 global recession.
- Sony-Eriksson – founded at the end of the 2001 dot-com collapse.
- Bungie – the company that developed the Halo computer game franchise was founded during the 1991 financial recession.
- Electronic Arts – another game development company, also known as EA Sports, was started in the middle of the 1982 recession.
- Adobe – founded during the 1982 recession.
- Microsoft – founded during the 1970s oil shock.
- Hewlett-Packard – started at the end of the Great Depression in 1939.
Here are a few honorable mentions. These tech giants were founded just before major recessions and managed to stay afloat by using digital strategies:
- Google – founded in 1998, right before the dot-com collapse.
- Facebook – founded in 2004, just a few years before the global recession of 2008.
- Dropbox – founded in 2007, just ahead of the recession.
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