Preparing Your Business For The Coronavirus Downturn

Our businesses are all facing challenging times as the economic impact of the Coronavirus downturn starts to bite. And when faced with challenges like this it is time to prepare your business for the long haul.

We need to work smarter and be ready to tackle the challenges ahead.

If there is one major marketing challenging now facing most brands it is what to do with their newly slashed marketing budget. If you’ve just lost half of it, the temptation is to dump it all into shorter-term performance marketing and sales promotions.

That may be an error. No amount of hot deals and clever sales activation can stimulate a market that is currently terrified, locked inside their homes and unsure of their future.

Confronted with a cut in marketing budgets, the smarter play is to focus more of it on the longer-term brand-building mission during the Coronavirus downturn.

Performance marketing is going to under-perform in the current market conditions.

But this virus, too, shall pass.

At some point consumers will return to the streets, the cafes and the various other activities that they have been denied during the dark days ahead. Keep the brand light burning, because the cost of snuffing it out for the rest of 2020 and then trying to reignite it next year is gigantic.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your marketing activity during this Coronavirus downturn:

  1. Work smart to retain your existing customer base
  2. Get even more visible in front of your target market
  3. Focus on driving conversions
  4. Measure, measure, measure
  5. Test, learn, repeat

Marketing budgets may appear to be a soft target for businesses looking to make budget cuts. But a cut in marketing activity is a short-term fix that is sure to have long term consequences. Maintaining visibility in your market is essential for long term profitability and continued investment.

Our customers are watching the pennies, but they are still spending money. They may be spending less, but we need to figure out what they’re spending their money on. They don’t want to risk wasting a penny; they want to buy the right products from companies they can trust during the Coronavirus downturn.


1. Work smart to retain your existing customer base

Out of sight means out of mind. You need to keep in touch with your customers or you risk losing them. It’s always cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.

Marketing automation
  • The lowest cost, easiest, and most effective way of keeping in touch with your customers. We are not talking sending automated email marketing spam, nor are we advocating cold calling messages to get new customers. You need to be sending out personalised, contextualised, targeted messages to existing customers who want to hear your news. You need to be keeping in touch with your customers at every touch point in their digital journey through social channels, through exploring the web. And doing this systematically and automatically will ensure the job gets done and will free up your more expensive human talents to deliver creative campaigns that will add even more ROI.
Content production
  • An essential ingredient for your tactical marketing campaigns and for keeping in touch with your existing customers. Share the innovations that you are currently making that differentiates your offering from your competitors and promote your good news stories in terms of awards and client wins. If you need inspiration for a B2B content marketing campaign, talk to us.
Get more social.
  • Engage in conversations with your existing customers. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook – these are places where you customers are reviewing your products, discussing their purchasing decisions, exchanging views on your business. Create a low-cost plan for reaching customers at every point in the social media funnel. Use these tools to listen to your customers, hear what they’re talking about, learn more about your market. And remember, it isn’t about advertising – your contributions to the conversation needs to be valuable and appropriate.
Account-Based Marketing
  • Account-Based Marketing is an approach that dedicates marketing resources to a list of specific accounts. It is a discipline that requires understanding target account behaviour and engaging with timely, relevant and personalised communications. Focus on the accounts that can help you rude out this crisis and also prepare you for the recovery phase.

2. Get even more visible in front of your potential clients

You need to keep building your brand awareness and get more visibility, which means driving visitors to your website to make the sales. One of the best times to get found by potential clients is when they’re searching for what you’re selling. You need to get found at every stage of the purchasing life cycle, from exploring new suppliers to evaluating specific offerings.

Be the familiar one.
  • Consumers develop a preference for your products or services merely because they are familiar with them. Now is the time to explore low cost techniques that will keep your brand visible in front of potential clients on a steady basis. It may feel counter-intuitive, but setting aside an advertising budget for keeping your brand visible will deliver long term benefits. Focus on creating high quality content that is going to get shared, and reduce your budget for generating low value, low impact content.
Update your evergreen content.
  • Your business has an archive of perennially relevant, interesting content that does not become dated and is still of value to your customers… and the search engines. Revisit your content, update it, give it a spring clean, with the objective of improving your rankings in the search engines.
Focus on Testimonials and Customer reviews.
  • What other people say about your business is more important than what you say about yourself. A low-cost way of getting visible in front of a larger pool of potential clients.

3. Focus on driving conversions

A low cost, high impact digital marketing technique to focus on is conversion rate optimisation. Small incremental changes to the user journey will turn more of your website visitors into customers.

Social proof and post positive stories about your business.
  • Revisit how you are using your cases studies, recommendations and reviews at every touch-point in your marketing, and take the time to weave this content throughout your website and share actively on social media.
Customer experience is king.
  • Invest in your website to ensure you are giving a fast, personalised experience. And in terms of keeping costs down, remember that small changes on your website will have an outweighed impact on the final results.
Sell Online
  • Are you selling online? Should you be? Should you be selling more online? Could you be one of those companies transforming your business using eCommerce? Why not?

4. Measure, measure, measure

If you don’t measure, then you can’t manage. Measuring means accountability for your marketing spend. You need to be measuring against your success criteria. You may want to measure sales, numbers of lead generated, upsells, or referrals. Now is the time to ensure you have defined your key performance indicators.

Revisit your Strategy.
  • Evaluate your current strategy, what needs to change. Get expertise, you can’t do this on your own. The strategy of business as usual is not going to work now and especially after this crisis, we are probably not going back to where we were. The world will be a different place.
Configure your Google Analytics correctly.
  • Ensure you are covering all the basics and that you are using the data to drive your marketing efficiencies. Do you have goals set up correctly? Have you connected your Search Console? Have you defined what you are measuring? Are you taking advantage of all the free data that Google Analytics provides to you that can shape your strategy?
Measure your social media ROI.
  • When budgets get tight, you may need to make tough decisions on how you are going to spend your resources. Social media can appear to be very time consuming and an optional non-essential activity. But before you make that decision, ensure you have explored how social media is contributing to your bottom line in terms of engagement, visibility, and profitability.

During the Coronavirus downturn, when cash is tight, knowing what works makes it easier to make the decisions of where to invest your money.

5. Test, learn, repeat

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the digital marketing puzzle, and for your business.

You will need to be nimble and creative. Measure your success and learn from the experiment.

  • Experiment often
  • Fail Fast and move on, try again
  • Experiments should be quick, cheap, and easy to deliver.
  • If it works, then well done, and more of the same, please

How can Emarkable help?

  1. Contact us for an online consultation
  2. Contact us to talk e-commerce
  3. Contact us to realign your Digital Marketing Strategy during the crisis
  4. Contact us to realign your Digital Marketing Strategy to prepare for the recovery
  5. Contact us in relation to account-based marketing and how we can help you in B2B during the lockdown and after the lockdown
  6. Contact us about online learning
  7. Contact us just to talk, we know about marketing.

Click here to find out more about our digital marketing strategies

Celia Deverell
Celia Deverell

A driven digital marketer who is passionate about education. Trained in Community Rural Development and skilled specifically in Project Management. A team player with a common-sense approach to coordinating team activities.