Unfortunately, COVID-19 did not go away. In fact, America’s infection rates are skyrocketing, and many states are reconsidering their efforts to open up. Businesses everywhere are restricting their hours, their customers and even closing up for the foreseeable future, in the hopes that the U.S. can regain control of the virus and return to normal sooner rather than later. Whether or not your business is choosing to close down for some duration, you need to rethink your marketing strategy while the pandemic rages on. Here are a few serious marketing mistakes you could be making that could impact your business’s future.
Neglecting Marketing Altogether
Though your profits might be lower than normal, marketing is not a service you want to put on pause. Even when your audience isn’t spending money, they are engaging with businesses and planning future purchases. Marketing is indispensable during a downtime because it keeps you in contact with loyal customers and helps you engage new audiences you might not have had the energy to pursue when business was strong. Throughout the COVID crisis, you need to continue investing to avoid marketing mistakes and to remain relevant and position yourself well for the eventual return to normal.
Investing in Traditional Marketing
You should be devoting money to marketing — but not just any marketing. Traditional marketing isn’t reaching as large an audience these days, as most consumers spend the bulk of their time at home, away from traditional sources that lead to marketing mistakes. Instead, digital marketing is the best path through the COVID crisis. You should hire a few different digital marketing experts for this period, such as a social media marketing manager and an SEO marketing agency to drive up your website traffic. Because internet use has increased more than 70 percent in the wake of the pandemic, digital marketing gives your business the best opportunity to thrive, almost regardless of your industry or audience.
Forgetting Marketing Research
Back when the patterns of consumerism were predictable, you could get by with researching your market infrequently — but that is no longer the case. Your audience’s day to day life is fundamentally different thanks to COVID-19, which means your audience will behave differently from how it used to. To provide the right marketing messages, you need to research how your audience has been affected by the pandemic, what they want and need from businesses and how their activities have changed. What’s more, as the pandemic evolves, you will need to conduct research again and again to understand how your audience’s financial and emotional states continue to shift.
Lacking Empathetic Messaging
Speaking of emotional state, it is vital that you recognize the emotional toll of the ongoing global pandemic. For some members of your audience, leaving their home is literally a life-or-death situation; anyone can be infected and experience severe symptoms of the disease, and most people know someone who has suffered if not died from COVID-19. What’s more, lockdowns and slow markets have put many out of work, and a lack of financial stability during this time compounds the stress. You need to be cognizant of how your marketing messaging might add to your audience’s stress and work to eliminate those messages and replace them with messages of compassion and empathy.
Aligning With Cancelled Brands
Cancel culture is frightening, and almost everyone agrees that it doesn’t contribute to a welcoming, progressive environment. Yet, brands continue to get cancelled; just recently, food mascots Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben were cancelled, requiring their business owners to radically change their branding and marketing or suffer severe hits to their reputation and a likely drop-off in sales. In addition to avoiding behaviors that could result in cancellation of your brand, you should strive to distance yourself from cancelled businesses, perhaps severing partnerships if necessary. Though you might not agree with cancel culture, it is undeniably powerful and best left unchallenged while your business is already struggling for survival.
The rising infection rates demonstrate that the COVID crisis is far from over. The sooner your business can master the art of marketing during this pandemic, the sooner you can start to feel more stability. By avoiding these grave marketing mistakes, your business has a better chance at surviving the coronavirus fully intact.