When crisis hits the economy and interrupts daily life, it always inflicts great damage on the business world as well. Either direct or secondhand, it creates the kind of uncertainty that makes you want to disengage and lay low till the storm passes by – but that would be a grave mistake!
Given the situation, more and more businesses (and even some of our clients) are virtually freezing all advertising plans, choosing to go dark in an attempt to cut their losses and lower their profile.
No doubt, you might pay a certain price in the short run, but in the long run, this hibernation could cost you much more.
Sooner or later, this too shall pass. But keep in mind that the worst thing a running business can do to itself, is press pause on its entire media presence and lose brand awareness.
Those of you who regularly shop on Aliexpress for instance, must have noticed that despite China’s strict lockdown, the online store kept on advertising, mailing its clients at least once a week. And this was no mistake, Au contraire; it’s exemplary forward-thinking. It’s the understanding that consumers are still out there, browsing and searching for great offers. True, they probably won’t actually buy anything right now – but eventually, when it all ends, you’d wanna be prepared for the shopping blitz.
If you freeze now, at this critical point, and stop maintaining your marketing and advertising on a regular basis, a competitor will take your place. It’s as simple as that.
Cards on the table – the crisis did not spare us here at Ortal Digital. Some of our clients have also decided to take a step back and pause their promotional activities, and to each its own. But does that mean that we, too, are standing still? Of course not! And this promoted article is a great example.
So what have we prepared for you?
These days we’ve been working on some strategies for our clients, and wanted to let you in on some of them. These are just a few steps you might wanna consider taking, in addition to moves you should quickly make in order to keep your head above water during these times. Those approaches are obviously useful in non-crisis times as well, and should be applied as part of your business routine, but right now can give you a real boost.
So here are 10 things every business should do in a time of crisis, in order to be prepared for the aftermath:
#1 Do not stop advertising!!!
As we were saying, the worst thing a business can do is lose awareness by disappearing on its audience.
The amount of leads and conversions may decrease at first, it may be harder setting up sales meetings, and you may experience cancellations or freezing of transactions – uncertainty affects everyone.
It happens sometimes on holidays or during the summer break; but remember – just because people show less interest, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost it altogether. What’s changed is mainly their willingness (or ability) to respond to your offer instantaneously.
No matter your field of business – don’t stop generating and creating exposure, stay relevant and up-to-date on the current status (we’ve prepared some of our tips on that below) and make sure to keep in touch with your customers.
# Pro tip:
Since many businesses might freeze all activities (we hope you’re not one of them), whoever continues to invest in advertising will enjoy a cost-effective price drop. As we already said – there’s always someone to fill in the gap. This is simply how our economy works.
#2 Adjust your value proposition to the current situation
The field that suffered the most damage is without a doubt the tourism industry, and even the largest companies suffered severe damages as restrictions tightened. And what was the first action the airlines took (at least the Israeli ones)? They improved their value proposition by implementing a more flexible cancellation policy.
El-Al airlines for example, will allow you to book a flight months in advance, while enabling a last minute cancellation. Many restaurants that cannot accommodate seating still continue to operate their kitchens for deliveries and takeouts, and some stores stay open while limiting the number of people inside.
Each business, according to its own features, can create an updated value proposition adapted to this shaky situation, thus creating certainty in these uncertain times.
So give your customers an extended warranty, better terms of payment and an extended payment arrangement, insurance and cancellation options, maybe a significant discount or be more flexible about changing reservation dates.
Even when it comes to embarking on unusually long and complex processes, or making major changes in the terms of service or any other part of the everyday activity in your business – Let your customers know and be part of it.
You’d be surprised to find out how much empathy people are demonstrating towards local, small and medium-sized businesses these days.
Does this ensure maintaining a usual turnover? probably not. Will it help you stay afloat and buy you some time? pretty sure it will. Will it preserve your presence and keep you in the minds of customers? definitely.
#3 Invest in content creation and distribution (articles & videos) to preserve marketing infrastructure and audiences
We know it may sound like a cliché. People have been saying that “Content is King” since about 2014 and sometimes we’re kinda tired of hearing it. At times it even feels impossible to come up with something new and relevant that hasn’t been said a million times before. And yet, it’s still one of the simplest, most essential tools at hand.
Creating valuable content is the key for building a solid sales and marketing infrastructure that will help establish your future customer base.
So what is content? Content is anything that enriches your customers’ world. This article for example is content that (we believe) is valuable to our target audience. Instructional and inspirational videos, tutorials, sources of information, whatever sits inside your head that you can share with your audience – is valuable content.
Whether you’re a plumber showing how to clear a clogged pipe or a real estate investment company that makes instructional videos on how to choose the right Investment. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, and how big or small your business is. Doesn’t even matter if you’re talking about something that has already been spoken of – because today’s new customer doesn’t necessarily know or has been exposed to this information.
The point is, don’t overthink it – turn on your cameras, grab your keyboards, and put your minds together to create content that has a high value.
#4 Turn your face-to-face events & courses into virtual ones
No doubt that online courses are the current fashion; The very fact that we’re not tied down to a fixed schedule or a specific location enables freedom of action for everyone involved:
Customers do not have to commit to specific days and times, get ready, find parking or miss a class because the babysitter canceled.
And you don’t need to reserve a classroom, rent a projector, pay for coffee and refreshments or worry about the turnout.
Every frontal teaching experience can be converted into a digital one. In fact, some of the largest brands in the world create and sell online courses: Udemy, Coursera, MasterClass and many more.
Your conference this month got canceled ?
Turn it into a webinar!
Unable to open the next course as scheduled?
It’s time to work on an online course.
The result will be something you could use in the future, not necessarily as a part of a crisis mode, but as a cheaper alternative or bonus to a more expensive product, as a complementary product that adds value, or simply to sell it at a reduced cost. Bottom line, integrating a digital product into your arsenal of services can’t hurt.
#5 Host webinars – whether using a designated system or via Facebook live
A webinar is basically an online lecture. It’s no new concept, people have been using this tool for years, but as the global market expands, webinars are becoming increasingly necessary and valuable as a tool for businesses. Instead of long conferences that require complex marketing and have high costs, not to mention the oratorical skills needed to hold such a large conference, webinars enable us to stand on a virtual stage in front of hundreds or even thousands of people, within our own comfortable home.
Webinars in this case serve both as a tool for distributing valuable content and as a product that people would later pay for. You can live stream it on Facebook, you can use dedicated tools like gotowebinar (or any other similar platform), you can plan ahead and schedule a webinar with registration, or you can be spontaneous.
If your product or service requires any type of public speaking, now is the time to practice your webinar performance. You may find it so useful that you’d want to continue doing it as a routine.
#6 Revive your old virtual products
Quite a few businesses have already created digital products over the years. Some of which were very profitable, some were not best-sellers, it doesn’t even matter – if you do have a working, functioning virtual product – there’s no better time than now to revive it. It could be a product that, in the past, felt ahead of its time, or even a worn out product that its revival may surprise you. Go over your existing items and find the ones that were best received among customers in the past. Contemplate their prices and see whether they can be lowered – after all these products already exist, so there are no production costs, only marketing costs. In fact, many of our clients are already revitalizing some of their old digital products.
#7 Rapidly set up new virtual Products – eBooks, Free Tutorials, Digital Courses
We mentioned it earlier, specifically when it comes to business based on face to face conferences or courses. Free manuals – eBooks, formerly known as White-papers, have always been an excellent means for building mailing lists and brand communities. We could just as well wrap this article up as a free tutorial and hand it to you if you subscribe to our mailing list or like us on Facebook, but we’re too nice to not give it for free.
So how do you do it? Package your knowledge in the form of a designed manual. Sit in front of the computer until you get something that’s worthy of your customers’ attention and would make them want to click and download it.
All of the above directly connects with section 1 – keep creating content. In this case – The “product” is relatively easy to make, requires minimal production costs and could help you benefit in the future.
# 8 Strengthen your poor or worn-out infrastructures
We may be experiencing a decline, and it is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean we need to bury our head in the sand and wait it out. Far from it – now is just the time to address every weak point in our marketing infrastructure. Things that we haven’t had the time to repair until today. Your landing page is two years old and its conversion rate has dropped? Is it almost your website’s bar mitzvah? Does your Facebook page look like it was made by a 14-year-old? Now is THE TIME to make some improvements.
Take the time to revisit your site and landing pages. Go over them and make sure nothing is outdated and that everything is relevant to current events. Take another look at the design, its fit, the mobile display, the optimization of the forms. When business is slow, taking action is the thing to do, and improving infrastructures is a great start.
#9 Gain new skills that you never had the time for
Do you fully understand the reports sent to you by the marketing service providers? To what extent do you control web surfers behavior on your site? Do you know how to update content to your website? There is no better time than now to learn and improve those skills. That applies to business owners, marketing executives and certainly to hands-on digital marketers.
What should you focus on? Well that depends on the type of your business and your personal knowledge gaps.
Here are some great sources of free information that you could use:
There is nothing better than the original. Google provides a variety of free online courses on analytics tools for all levels:
Google Tag Manager
Tag manager is a tool that allows us to inject codes on websites, without the help of a professional programmer and without editing an actual code. It’s designed for simple implementations such as analytics code or Facebook and AdWords pixels, but also for more complex and interesting implementations. This online Google course teaches the basics of using this tool:
Facebook also offers online marketing courses – a wide array of courses on every possible topic is available here for free:
For both sponsored and organic advertising, Google Skill-Shop offers a variety of free and up-to-date courses and tutorials:
Native advertising – Outbrain and Taboola
These two leading systems are used worldwide for promoting “native” content. Despite that, we still encounter many business owners who are unfamiliar with these two important platforms, or advertisers who already master the major advertising platforms (Google and Facebook), but want to expand their knowledge and gain more marketing tools.
Obviously there are a variety of courses that teach how to use these systems, but we are currently only talking about the free ones. Unquestionably, the best place to learn how to use these systems is their help centers, which offer advertisers a lot of useful information and important tips. And especially for new advertisers and publishers, both platforms also offer additional support by assigning service representatives to new accounts.
WordPress – Elementor
Elementor has established itself as one of the most useful tools for building free websites in WordPress, thanks to its intuitive and user-friendly top-level visual editor. There are quite a few courses on building websites with Elementor, but as we said, we’re only recommending the free ones. The main resource you’ll be needing to put into the process is time. In this case as well, there is nothing better than learning from the source. Elementor’s Support Center offers a variety of guides, covering everything, from the basics (like how to install it) up to an advanced level (like how to use the newest features).
Elementor also maintains an up-to-date YouTube channel filled with tutorials on both technical and marketing related issues, all made to optimize the user’s experience.
The Elementor website: https://elementor.com
# 10 Learn more and broaden your knowledge
In addition to free courses, books are, of course, an infinite source of knowledge. In the world of digital marketing, literature could hardly keep up and stay up-to-date, and yet, some books are evergreen, and are worth the time and money. Though they don’t necessarily discuss digital marketing, many of these books remain relevant to this day, and are essential for providing good foundations of all types of marketing.
Here are some of our recommendations for you:
“Marketing in the digital age” by Etgar spivak & Yaron Aher
Written in Hebrew, this book, published by the two digital marketing veterans several years ago, is definitely one of the best, most comprehensive books written on the field. Starting with marketing strategies in general, through recommended practices, to a thorough review of the different digital marketing platforms, this book is a must for every experienced and aspiring digital marketer.
The book is available on: https://www.digitalmarketingbook.co.il
“Ogilvy on Advertising” by David Ogilvy
One of the most important books ever written on advertising, by the legendary American advertiser, David Ogilvy, who some claim was the inspiration for Mad-Men’s Don Draper. In his book, Ogilvy reveals the principles of marketing, all the do’s and don’ts, his strategies and a few very interesting stories, including many examples from his amazing career. Although written in 1985, the principles of advertising outlined by Ogilvy seem more relevant now than ever before.
Search Amazon: Ogilvy on Advertising.
“Positioning: The battle for your mind” by Al Ries
This book is considered a marketing milestone and, in fact, was the first to use the term ‘positioning’. Rees explains how brands are perceived in people’s minds, when we can change or manipulate this perception, and also when we can’t. By using examples based on decades of working in strategic consulting for the largest companies in the world, Ries explains how every brand’s perception can be measured on a scale, and how to use it to improve marketing.
Note that it’s practically impossible to find this book at the bookstores. However, most university libraries own a few copies, so if you have any student friends or family members, pull in a favor.
Search Amazon: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
“This is marketing” by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is also one of the great marketing experts of our generation. Almost everything that he does is worth reading / listening to / watching, and you can find dozens of his lectures on YouTube. So why is this specific book on our list? Because it’s relatively new and up-to-date and was even translated into Hebrew recently.
“The Art of Writing Advertising” by Dennis Higgins
This book is more of a collection of conversations and interviews with the fathers of traditional advertising, featuring: David Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, William Bernbach, George Gribbin and Rosser Reeves.
** This book is definitely for advanced learners. Although very few copies are still available, you might be able to find a rare printed copy on Amazon. We recommend you to try looking it up.
To sum up – We’re optimistic
Our world and its economy have known bad times and crises in the past, and the current one is probably not the last. Remember that In every crisis there is an opportunity to learn something new, to improve and optimize processes and infrastructures, and sometimes even to reinvent your business. Like in any business situation, stagnation is a sure way downhill. We recommend every business owner to always be proactive and stay in motion no matter the circumstances.
If you have any more ideas, tips or stories about your own business experiences, you’re welcome to share them with us in the comment section below. We wish you all good luck and stay strong even during difficult times.