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Mar 19, 2020    Burn Book

Don’t Be Fooled. A Pandemic Is A Great Time to Dig Deeper With Your Marketing Budget.


I’m not even going to say what this article is about – we all know what’s going on in the world and we all know how scary it is for businesses. But what I will tell you is why we, as an integrated marketing agency in Austin, are not scared at all.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. Most of us have elderly relatives or immunocompromised friends, and that’s scary, certainly.

But in terms of the socioeconomic hit nearly all businesses are certain to take, we know this is actually a great time to charge ahead in marketing. That is, with very specific performance marketing tactics.

Here’s exactly what not to do:

— Joke about COVID-19. Comedic relief is great, and dark humor is practically what we run on at Rock Candy Media. But don’t underestimate how many people are seriously affected by coronavirus. While the bulk of us will be physically fine, many won’t, and that’s not something to make light of in the name of your business.

— Keep putting just as much money into ads that don’t make sense. In other words, if you’re a brick and mortar retailer, it’s fair to cut back or stop running ads that draw people through the door. For example, if you’re a restaurant, switch your usual advertising spend over to a campaign focused on delivery and trustworthiness.

It’s kind of common sense, but we also know that some brainpower goes out the door when the whole world (except for like, the Polynesian islands) is worrying about something. We will admit to this too – it’s basic psychology that literal portions of your brain are working in overdrive to hold space for fears, worries, planning, etc.

But to cut marketing spending at this time or go on hold with your growth agency is a sure-fire way to guarantee a tough recovery when this is all over.

Here’s how to allocate your marketing budget during the pandemic:

— As a local Austin ad agency, we’re pretty baller at running Facebook ads to generate leads in the Austin area – both for us and for our clients.

Use this time to reach out to cold or warm audiences and offer something. It doesn’t have to be free product; it could be a notice that, since many of us have some at-home time on our hands, you want to offer a discounted service of some kind. A hardware store can set up mini care packages full of kid-friendly crafts so restless kids have something to do with their hands. A restaurant can make sure their mailing list knows they’re donating their perishable food to the local food bank soon and can pick up anything that other people may want to donate as well.

This doesn’t sound like gathering sales leads – but guess who’s going to come to mind when these audiences get out of social distancing or shelter-in-place scenarios in the coming months? What restaurant will they remember did social good? What store will have that extra brand recognition when they walk by your newly open doors? You. Ta-da.

— Speaking of running Facebook ads to generate leads, this doesn’t just mean generating (future) sales leads. It can mean getting in touch with your lukewarm target audiences for feedback on how you’ve been doing, which will make them hot leads in the future.

Send out a notice that you’re wanting to hear from them. How are they? What are their biggest concerns? What, if anything, can your business do to be supportive? Have they seen ads from you? What did they think? If they’ve already used your product or service, set up Zoom conferences to talk to them in person to gather feedback, reviews, and case studies.

Essentially, everything that your marketing team may have on the back burner to make room for previously priority projects, this is their time to shine.

— Do an updated site audit.

How’s your bounce rate? Eye-tracking movements on your web pages? Where are people clicking through and where are they falling off? Remote employees, SEO specialists, and developers don’t even need to flip a switch to keep working from home during this time. Give local SEO services all the work they want by finally getting around to the SEO update you might desperately need.

— Review social media performance. Now, this is something a growth marketing agency in Austin pretty much does on the daily through omnichannel optimization. But for small businesses that may not have someone like us, or for our clients with smaller budgets and therefore more limited project scopes, this is the perfect time to dive deeper into social analytics and spend more time than usual figuring out why some posts and ads do well and others don’t.

Integrated marketing is a never-ending game – of course there are things that can afford to be on the back burner. But that’s why we like how all-in we get with our clients. We know their long-term growth and success relies on some projects that other advertising agencies like to put (and leave) on the back burner. But we’ll be straight with you — that’s part of why we’re so picky about who we bring on as clients.

— You guessed it – review anything else you’ve been wanting to do that you now have time for (plus those diverted funds from the ads that don’t make sense during this time). Here’s some inspo:

Email templates, graphic design / photography / videography back-stocking, blog posts, interviews with team leaders to spiff up your About page, updating investor presentations or sales slide decks, webinars, and all the boring administrative clean-up that, once you get around to it, will likely help speed up a lot of long-standing internal processes.

Talk to your employees, support your community, and don’t put your marketing budget on hold.

It’s an impulse to pool your resources and sit tight during this time, but it will only make it harder for you to bounce back in the future.

If any of that is scary to you, or you’re unsure how to execute, you’re in luck. That’s kind of our specialty– all of it. That’s what it means to be an omnichannel and integrated marketing firm.

Talk to us – we’re stuck at home too, and itching to help you.

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