Amid the COVID-19 pandemic large global brands and small, local businesses alike have temporarily paused advertising campaigns. In fact, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 74% of media buyers, planners, and brands indicated that the Coronavirus will have a bigger impact on advertising than the 2008 financial crisis.
This is understandable, particularly as it applies to small businesses that may have been forced to close entirely during the outbreak. However, no matter the industry you’re in or the product or service you offer, it’s always crucial to be proactive in thinking about ways to generate sales and stand out, especially during an economic decline or other slow periods.
Read on to learn about three reasons to advertise during slow times, as well as some useful tips for cost-effective marketing.
1. Less Competition
Amid a seasonally slow time or economic decline, it’s likely a lot of business owners, professionals, and marketing managers adopt the same approach – minimizing or eliminating advertising and its associated costs. Are you part of this group or mindset?
This approach is reasonable and common, which leads to a majority of businesses going silent for a period of time. However, with other companies pausing their advertising efforts, it allows for less competition and the unique opportunity to stand out. What if you took advantage of the available market share?
Now, of course, it’s unrealistic to sustain the same budget all year long, let alone during an unforeseen circumstance or challenging time. We suggest you plan your marketing budget strategically, accounting for historically slow times and allowing some contingency for flexibility (like an unfortunate and unforeseen pandemic). Further, don’t be afraid to adjust your budget, allocating more spend where it’s needed – I.E. during busier seasons, etc. This will help ensure you’re prepared and able to keep advertising throughout the year.
Just remember to focus on where you make the most margin. Advertising in the offseason or slow time can aid in boosting your bottom line. However, if you could make 10% during your busiest time and that would account for 3 months of the slow time – then you know what to do.
2. Better Rates
Even during slow or hard times, TV stations, radio stations, magazines, newspapers, etc. still need to sell air-time and ad space. With advertisers backing out or pausing campaigns, inventory will increase and the decrease in demand will consequently lower rates.
This is a good time to buy ad space and potentially lock in at lower rates for the duration of your campaign. Given the influx of inventory, perhaps you can negotiate a bulk buy or a bundle buy that includes some freebies or online, digital advertising spots on the outlet’s website as part of the deal. Don’t be afraid to work something out that’s within your budget. You can always ask… the worst thing they’ll say is “no” or “we can’t do that but what about this?”.
As a tip, be very thoughtful about frequency. For instance, rather than spend a lump sum on one full-page ad in a monthly magazine, break down your budget and get three or four quarter-page ads that will run throughout the year.
3. Stay in Front of Consumers
Even with the reasons above, it still might be tempting to halt advertising and marketing efforts during a seasonal slump or otherwise. However, one last factor to consider is the need to stay present and in your customers’ minds. This could help carry success over into the next busy period.
Take this time to be creative and tailor your message to the current audience. Of course, always be sure the messaging aligns with your brand/brand voice.
Perhaps offer a special deal or buying incentive to year-round residents. In the face of challenging times – I.E. the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic – adjust messaging to face the issue head-on and showcase things your business might be doing to help. It’s a good opportunity to reinforce your company’s value and communicate a sense of support to let consumers know you care.
Digital communication is very important and offers a great way to reach your consumers where they spend a majority of their time – online. Additionally, it helps your business maintain a presence on social media and other platforms, as well as retain relationships with consumers.
By advertising online via social media, search engines, and other websites, you have the ability to hyper-target your campaigns to get them in front of the right people. In addition, it’s much more measurable than traditional methods, allowing you to more closely and accurately track ROI.
Digital advertising is also very cost-effective, which makes it feasible to continue online campaigns even during slow or challenging times. For instance, a recommended budget for a social media campaign can be as low as $20 for boosting a post or just $100 for an ad campaign. Naturally, the more you’re able to spend, the better outcome. Just always keep your audience in mind and make sure your targeting settings are right.
In addition, consider placing digital ads on other sites. For example, many news outlets are experiencing a large increase in traffic to their websites, making it a good place to advertise right now.
Ultimately, you need to do what’s best for your business, team members, etc., but before you eliminate advertising dollars, consider some of the potential benefits of continuing your marketing campaigns now and in the future.
For more information on how PTE can help you manage your advertising and marketing needs, contact us.