To market or not to market?
This week, I'm exploring how to promote your business during a pandemic... without feeling icky.
We’re all feeling the crunch right now. With an economic downturn imminent, many businesses can’t afford to take a time-out from promoting itself. But equally, I can’t shake the feeling that companies capitalising on the global pandemic are little… well, icky.
I've spent the last few days considering where to draw the line. My own ponderings combined with some poignant contributions from my Linkedin Network have brought me to the following conclusion:
It’s OK to market your services if they provide real value to your customers today
“Real value” doesn’t just mean something to wipe your arse with or wash your hands with, it can also relate to those moments of pure joy we all need right now more than ever. Take this gesture from Pret, for example:
While businesses like Pret can afford to take the hit, small businesses aren’t as fortunate. For that reason, it’s more important than ever that we support our favourite small businesses right now, particularly in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors.
That’s where us freelance marketers come in. What can we do to help boost awareness for our fellow small businesses at this time? From supporting your local bakery to moving orders to online-only to providing social media assistance to restaurants providing local deliveries - the opportunities are endless.
When it comes to pricing, we have to be tactful. In some capacity, we can afford to help our peers for free. Whether that’s community support in-person to retweeting Crowdfunders, there’s so much we can do.
But when it comes to providing skilled services, like eCommerce development, social media marketing and strategic consultancy, there’s no shame in charging for our services. We have to eat, after all.
Investments we make now will yield great results in the future. That’s how The National Trust is seeing it as they open all gardens and open spaces for free while closing the shops, cafes and other indoor areas.
This won’t make a penny for them now, but you can guarantee we won’t forget this gesture when it all blows over.
It’s about identifying how we can bring value to our customers, big and small, and what that could mean for our longterm relationships.
We need to make money now, but we shouldn’t step on others in order to do so. Instead, we should lift each other up.
In that vein, here are some businesses local to me that I’ll be supporting over the forthcoming period of economic uncertainty.
Based in my hometown of Whitley Bay, NORD Bottle Shop sells the best selection of craft beer from breweries near and far. NORD has increased its online offering, so we can all enjoy a tipple at this difficult time.
I also made the hugely selfless decision to support my favourite bakery, Pureknead, this morning. I drank three delicious flat whites and bought a fresh loaf of sourdough… it’s a tough life, but someone has to do it!
As a marketing consultant, I’m also supporting my clients to navigate their own promotional activity throughout this period. I’m working with a local private gym to market two key services: a beach bootcamp and an online coaching programme you can do from anywhere: Oceanfit Online.
How are you approaching your marketing during the outbreak? And what are you advising your clients? Let me know over on Twitter @ContentByTheSea.