Marketing Your Business in Uncertain Times

Last week was one for the books at LCCM headquarters. On Monday we put our heads together to come up with a plan to:

  1. Support our existing clients the best way possible,
  2. Show up for our community in a real, tangible way,
  3. Keep our small business afloat during economic uncertainty.

The first part of the week consisted of checking in with clients and responding to immediate needs, creating a fundraiser to benefit local students and support local businesses, and crunching numbers to see how our books were shaping up for the next couple of months. The good news? We already work from home, so our day-to-day hasn’t changed much. We’re ordering coffee to-go, conducting business over email, phone and Zoom meetings and flocking to our social media feeds to stay connected as we social distance with the best of ‘em.

The not-so-good news? It has been difficult, to say the least, watching our fellow small businesses make the impossible decision to either close completely or alter their business offerings dramatically. And now that all non-essential businesses have been ordered to close, it’s no longer a matter of personal choice whether you remain open to the public. Things are terribly uncertain, and all we know for sure is that there is more uncertainty ahead.

So what do we do?  As marketing professionals? As businesses? As consumers?

At the risk of being cliché: Marketing is a marathon, not a race. It has always been the responsibility of a marketing team to think long-term and help their clients do the same; but now it’s taken on new urgency. The reality is that there IS life after this. It might not seem like it right now, but someday, when we have some distance from this catastrophe, we’ll look back on it and think “Wow, those were crazy times.” But what will be left of our businesses then? How will we keep things moving in the meantime?

We’ve compiled a short list of suggestions to serve as a starting point for making sense of all this from a marketing perspective. We hope it brings some peace and direction to your weary minds. We don’t have all the answers – heck, does anyone right now?

But we do have hearts and minds that were raised in the same small town we serve.

We believe that it is our responsibility to keep people connected. To products. To services. To each other. We’ve said it since the beginning of LCCM nearly 3 years ago, and we still say it to our clients every single day – we’re here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns about where to take your marketing plan moving forward. We can’t promise to have all the answers, but we do promise to communicate with compassion and understanding, using everything within our power to help you navigate these uncertain times for you and your business.

All the love we can muster,

Liv + Sarah


1. Think Long Term

Though it might be tempting to pull the rug out from under your marketing plan, we strongly urge you to keep as much of it going as possible. What you do during this time will affect how quickly you recover after it’s all over. You’ve invested so much time and energy into creating your brand, curating your offerings and crafting your message – now is not the time to throw it all away.

 

2. Adjust Your Message

So you’ve sent out your Covid-19 email, you’ve decided on new hours and have come up with a game plan for how to continue operation. Now what? Talk. To. Your. People. They want to hear from you! So many of us have increased our phone usage significantly in the last week, and we’re getting tired of Coronavirus memes and reading the same news over and over. You are a wealth of information in your industry, and now is the time to dig deep and share a little bit of what you know with your audience. Be sensitive to the times, but don’t feel like every post needs to be melancholy. We’re all craving a little bit of fun right now.

 

3. Get Online

If you haven’t already, it’s time to join the digital age. Start with a Google listing (it’s free!) and a website. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but these days if you haven’t carved out a corner in the World Wide Web, people aren’t sure you exist. Next, tackle at least one social media platform (each one has their own typical audience,) and, if you haven’t started collecting emails for an e-newsletter, get on it ASAP. Also, make sure you know how to track analytics for all of it so you can see what’s working and where people are coming from.

 

4. Invest in E-Commerce

For some of you, e-commerce is the only way to continue bringing in revenue during the stay-at-home order. Even if all you do is give your loyal customers the option to purchase a gift card to use later, there are still people out there who want what you’ve got. Not a retail business? Get creative! Online subscriptions through entities like Patreon or SubHub provide a super-modern way of generating an income without having to step foot outside of your house.

 

5. Support Your Community

It is vitally important for the human spirit to know that it’s not alone. We’re all in this madness together, and even the smallest act of kindness will go a long way. Reach out to a complementary business and see if you can join forces in some way. Give a shout out to your neighboring business on social media. Find a local charity that aligns with your values and give what you can. The only way we can see getting through this is by sticking together.

 

If any of this seems intimidating, don’t stress! We can help you get started. 

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