How To Run Effective Marketing Campaigns During COVID-19 While Keeping Costs Down

All entrepreneurs fear the unexpected. It’s the only thing that can take all of our data, research, and experience and toss it out the window. And now, businesses are facing the most unexpected event of the last 100 years.

COVID-19 has left businesses large and small in a state of shock. Some have adapted quickly, some have shuttered permanently, and others are still waiting to make a move.

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Many brands are looking for creative ways to cut costs and keep afloat, but one thing is for sure: this is not the time to slow your marketing efforts. Studies have shown that cutting advertising for short term gain during a recession doesn’t work.

However, this doesn’t mean you should keep plugging away as usual. You need to adapt your campaign for the current climate and shift your marketing goals to reflect a drop in sales. Every dollar spent on marketing is now more valuable than ever.

Here’s how to make your money go the furthest during COVID-19.

Focus on digital marketing
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Run Paid Ads

Your COVID-19 marketing campaign shouldn’t be about cutting costs but about making every dollar work harder. And there’s no better way to do that than by running paid ads.

Why? Because the cost of running paid ads has TANKED, leading to an increase in ROI of over 70% for many marketers.

This huge drop in cost per click has been driven by decreased competition. Ad agencies (aka Google) drive up ad sales via bidding, and when there are fewer bidders, costs go down.

COVID-19 has caused the loss of over 100,000 small businesses (so far) and the permanent closure of about 3% of restaurants in the USA. Many more businesses have stopped advertising because they are unable to offer their services.

While the ramifications of this are bad for everyone, they create amazing opportunities for marketers to ramp up paid ads and compete at levels they had previously been unable to.

Offering purchase financing for customers

Offer Financing

Financing has always been popular for big-ticket purchases like furniture and electronics, but now that customers have less to spend, financing is becoming a smart option for products in the mid-price range too.

Necessary but somewhat costly items like bedding, small appliances, wellness products, clothing, and more are good candidates for financing in the age of COVID-19.

Remember, people still need to buy things. And when money is tight, brand loyalties fade. If your company doesn’t adapt to the wallets of your customers, they’ll abandon you for a company that does.

Offer them a more manageable way to buy from you, and they’ll do it. Data shows that companies that added a financing option saw a 12% increase in conversions.

Offering financing is easy too. You don’t need to hire anyone or rearrange your finances. Outside financing agencies like Affirm and Greensky handle the entire payment process so you can focus on what’s important (marketing!).

VIP membership program for enhancing customer retention

Nurture your Customer Base

Brands have a tendency to pull back when the unexpected rears its head, but waiting it out can leave your loyal customers feeling alienated in their time of need.

This happened to the music festival Primavera Sound. After selling tickets to tens of thousands of fans, it went radio silent for over 6 weeks as it tried to figure out its COVID-19 strategy. This left fans frustrated, angry, and hurt.

Now is the time to give back to your loyal customers, and we don’t just mean sending an email to tell them “we’re all in this together” (every other brand has done that and people are tired of it!).

Instead, give them something of actual value. Offer them a free product, extend some paid features to customers using a free version of your product, or offer a discount.

This may seem counterintuitive, as it will likely lead to a decrease in profits. But the goodwill you build with customers will last far longer than this crisis. And offering a hand to your customers in their genuine time of need will foster much more brand loyalty than tossing them a freebie in times of plenty.

Production team doing video editing

Get Creative with Stock Footage

How do you make ads without a staff, a crew, or even an office?

PowerPoint? No….

It’s time to exercise your creativity and start putting amazing ads together with stock footage.

Stock footage has always been a friend to marketers with low budgets, but it’s also used by huge brands like Allstate and Netflix to create content that is cost-effective and engaging.

These days, you can get excellent stock video footage in ultra HD for a much cheaper price than hiring a camera crew. A lot of videos are even free.

There are hundreds of thousands of videos to choose from, and the list grows every day. Choose from natural landscapes, city skylines, birthday parties, or cats playing the piano. There’s a video for just about anything you can imagine.

Once you buy your stock footage, you can do what you want with it. Cut it and splice it to use in multiple ads or add text, music, or filters to transform it into something new.

If you haven’t used stock footage to make videos, now is the time to start. It’s a skill you’ll continue to benefit from long after the COVID-19 crisis is over.

Business as Usual in Orchard Road, Singapore
photo credit: mario_opal / Flickr

Adapting to Survive COVID-19 is Business as Usual

COVID-19 has shaken up the business world, especially for small businesses. But having to adapt to the unexpected and take risks should come as nothing new. In a lot of ways, COVID-19 has created advantages for smaller businesses to compete with larger ones that are struggling to adjust the voice of their marketing campaigns.

Above all, adapt quickly with data as your guide, and never forget your customer base. If you do this and incorporate some of the marketing tips above, you might find the playing field to be a lot more advantageous for your firm when COVID-19 finally passes.