COVID-19 impacted businesses in almost every industry and of every size this year, leading to budget cuts, layoffs, and more. One study found that most businesses only had enough savings to last for 2 months, and the pandemic was predicted to last longer. Many small businesses that were not prepared for a crisis had to close — others remain afloat, but are struggling — only 47% of businesses expected to be open in December.
When making cuts to your budget, marketing is often the first thing to go. But eliminating your entire marketing budget may not be the answer. However, if your business is among those struggling, or if you’re hoping to make a comeback, marketing can actually help you recover — specifically, digital marketing.
Advertising in a crisis or recession is always a good investment.
This Forbes article became quite popular this year; written in 2019, it predicted a recession in the near future and discussed how advertising during recessions has actually proven to be a good investment, instead of a waste.
There are a few reasons why marketing during an economic downturn is smart:
Firstly, many businesses will stop marketing as much or altogether, either because they don’t think it’s a smart move or because they simply can’t afford to. This eliminates a lot of the competition, allowing you to increase your brand awareness in this time.
Secondly, the cost of marketing actually goes down, making it a much more affordable venture. This was true this year, where the average cost-per-click for Google Ads and Facebook Ads decreased across many industries. For example, for lawyers, who traditionally have very high CPCs, these have fallen, making their keyword less competitive.
With a change in messaging, continuing to advertise even during a recession can mean huge things for brands.
More and more customers have moved online.
One of the ways COVID-19 has affected consumer behavior is by changing the way (and the place) we buy. Customers are not visiting physical stores due to social distancing, and instead look online for products and services. In response, nearly every industry has found a way to sell online, whether through social media stores or an e-commerce website.
E-commerce, coupled with digital marketing campaigns, can increase your sales revenue, offering safe buying options to your loyal customers as well as attracting new ones who didn’t know your brand before. Online shopping also opens up your customer base geographically: selling online means you can sell to more people than those who can visit your physical store.
Experts say that new buying habits will endure, so moving your business online with a quality e-commerce site and online campaigns is a long-term investment as well as a short-term one. Meeting your customers where they are will help your sales and your brand.
Digital marketing is more trackable and measurable.
Digital marketing is your best option for advertising during and after COVID-19 because unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing is easy to measure. Even though you should be advertising your business, you do still have a budget, and you need to maximize it. Keeping track of your dollars (and your revenue) is key to recovery.
In PPC and Facebook Ads campaigns, you can set a limited budget for each month. Although you and your campaign manager should decide on a reasonable budget that will get you enough clicks to turn into leads, you don’t have to worry about overspending.
You should ideally aim to get a minimum of 150 clicks to your website every month — less probably won’t get you enough leads to justify your spending. The way to calculate your budget for pay-per-click campaigns is to multiply the average cost-per-click for your target keyword in your location by 150. This will be your minimum budget.
The goal is to get leads (and sales) from your campaigns. Focusing on return on investment ensures that your marketing gives you real results and is not a waste. Digital marketing easily allows you to track how many leads you’re getting, and which ones are turning into sales. E-commerce makes it especially easy to see the ROI on your sales.
In such uncertain times, tracking and measuring is vital to your business’ recovery and survival, so digital marketing is your safest but also most profitable option.