Yes, you read that correctly. While you may be initially inclined to believe the opposite, now is, in fact, the best time to invest in your digital marketing, advertising, and building an online presence for your small business.
Over the next few minutes, you’ll read about why that is the case, how your small business is likely to be impacted by COVID-19, and how you can prepare.
Why the Time to Invest in Your Digital Marketing is Now
In this 6-minute video from Mark Richardson, trusted industry advisor and business coach, he talks about this in more detail and the 3 areas to focus on in your business during these unprecedented times: Your team, your clients, and your business.
Now, with the working assumption that many small business owners will pull back in their marketing and advertising efforts over the next few weeks to months, we want to help build the case for why that’ll only hurt your small business in the long run.
Mark G. Richardson spent last week speaking with business owners across the country to gauge their levels of anxiety and fear over COVID-19 and the likely effects it will have on our country.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most anxious, answers varied dramatically with some saying they weren’t anxious at all (2s or 3s) and others saying they were extremely anxious (8s or 9s).
Then, when asked how long they anticipate this period of uncertainty to carry on for, the average answer was 3 to 4 months. This tracks with what we are hearing as well. Thanks to our reach and being able to speak with a few thousand local business owners around the country, we feel like this will be a 2 to 3 month “thing”. Like most unusual periods such as this, opportunity still exists, and those companies that take advantage will be in a position to thrive.
Kyle Hoffman is the owner of Roofing & More, Inc, a roofing company based in Virginia. He shared with us how he and his team are approaching the upcoming months.
“We are taking a hard look at the big picture, not only today but in the near future. And we make decisions based on facts and data, not fear. I know that what I do today, I won’t feel the effects of until 2 to 3 months out. If I pull back the scope of my marketing now because of fear and feelings, rather than data, it’s only going to hurt me in a few months.”
Jeff Peterson, Owner of Potomac Services receives a majority of his leads through digital marketing. He sees no reason why he wouldn’t remain active in bidding on search terms that have worked well in the past.
“I am spending half of what I was spending per day two weeks ago because the volume of searches I’m targeting with ads has come down in half. I am still getting phone calls though because my competitors have stopped their ads altogether so it’s costing me less and I’m closing at a higher rate, but there is definitely less demand.”
During these next few months, it’ll be important to keep your sales pipeline filled. Because people are at home with more time on their hands, they will be searching online for local businesses more often. You should deploy a strategy that captures their email address, nurtures them, and keeps your business top of mind for when the time comes where life goes back to normal and people are ready to spend their money again.
So what could a plan for the next few months look like?
- Establish an Executive Emergency Leadership team. Meet as a team (virtually) and agree on a single plan that covers the next 2 to 4 months. You want to have one, clear path forward for your business that acts as a bridge to cross over from where we are now to where we’ll be when we come out of this situation.
- Hold fewer in-person meetings whenever possible, both internally with your employees and externally with customers. Instead, opt for phone calls or using video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts.
- Make the most of your current customers and go the extra mile to provide quality service that leads to positive reviews. If there is the opportunity to provide value-added services, offer them at a combine service discount.
- See this as an opportunity to win your competitor’s customers. If you have the cash flow and means to “keep the lights on” and continue with your marketing and advertising initiatives, it will help you capture leads that otherwise would have gone to your competitor. You’re then able to build pipeline and brand awareness because many of your competitors will conserve cash and “shut the lights off”.
- Your messaging strategy is critical to get right. Let potential customers know you are taking the proper precautions to protect them. Add trust factors to your campaigns to reassure customers you’ll be around to guarantee or warranty the work. Offer economic relief and reasonable financing whenever possible. Offer limited-time discounts and offers to help them act now. Let them know you’re flexible and can accommodate a job at any time.
- While your teams are remote and separated, consider the benefits of an all-in-one platform so everyone has one place to look at for leads, paid ads, online reviews, website performance, and all other areas of marketing. When your team has one place to look, you’ll be better coordinated on the activities that need to be done. There’s no second-guessing what is and what isn’t working, especially now during a time where your business may be short on cash.
COVID-19 Impact on Small Businesses
We find ourselves in rare times. Our civilization hasn’t experienced an event quite like this in over a century. No doubt, you are wondering how this unprecedented situation is going to impact your business, as well as your overall livelihood. At the time of my writing this article, we are facing a potential national lockdown and many business owners are stressing over how they will keep their business afloat.
While it’s a natural reaction to be fearful, it’s important to note that because of the technology and digital tools available today, we have never been in a better position throughout our entire history to accommodate change and enable successful work from home and virtual experiences.
Surefire Local is committed to supporting your business, your teams, and you match the challenges that lie ahead. We’re all in this together, and we’ll all come out on the other side stronger because of it. We want to help reiterate the importance of taking immediate preventive measures within the workplace.
Health Practices to Follow:
- Promote frequent and thorough hand washing.
- Keep extra cleaning supplies around.
- To protect others, be sure to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Encourage your employees to stay home, especially if they are feeling sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Discourage employees from sharing phones, desks, offices, or other tools and equipment whenever possible.
- Implement strict and routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment.
Surefire Local will, of course, continue to be responsive to your needs as the situation evolves. For more guidance on preparing yourself and workplaces for COVID-19, make sure you are paying close attention to the information the CDC, World Health Organization, and your local government are sharing.
Surefire Local is Here to Help
Surefire Local is in a unique position to help small businesses across the country because our platform is the most powerful and cost-effective way for small businesses to take back control of digital marketing and make sure they know what is working.
The Surefire Local Marketing Platform gives you an “operating system” that enables you to manage your business’s online presence in one place. Through an A.I.-powered platform, you’re able to see the effectiveness of all your activities in one place, and instantly know what’s working. Having this ability is crucial to not wasting money ever again.
For the month of March, Surefire Local is waiving the setup fee of the Surefire Local Marketing Platform (up to a $1,499 value) if you attend a demo and sign up in March.
As we leave you here, Chris Marentis, Surefire Local’s CEO, recently shared this message.
“The most powerful, cost-effective way for small businesses to grow their online presence in an uncertain world…is to take back control.”
Here are a few other resources to help: