You’ve probably hear the quote, “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise.”
That adage certainly has meaning during the coronavirus pandemic. With many businesses fighting to stay afloat, marketing will be an essential component of their recovery including law firms.
Is COVID-19 Changing Consumer Behavior?
A key finding during the coronavirus pandemic is its effect on marketing and advertising spending. Experts say that the changing consumer behavior is playing a part in this as we are seeing an unheard-of increase in people staying inside. Of course, it follows that individuals in this pandemic are spending a significant share of their lives online.
Some of ongoing trends that are being observed:
- People are spending more time online.
- Business marketers can become more reticent in their decision-making on spending in the pandemic.
- People are waiting for governments to ease restrictions so they can “go back to normal.”
- People’s purchasing power is decreased dramatically.
But this increased online behavior will likely extend for some time after the pandemic ends.
Just 7% of British marketers say their brands are taking a strategic approach to invest more in marketing during the coronavirus pandemic. The vast majority say they’ve been forced to maintain or slash marketing spend in the face of business disruption.
However, there have been several studies dating back nearly 100 years that evidence the advantages of maintaining or even increasing ad budgets during a weaker economy. This research showed that those companies that maintained or grew their ad spending increased sales and market share during the recession and afterwards.
Why should I start advertising online again?
Experts say there are several reasons to advertise during a slowdown. First, the “noise level” in a brand’s service category can drop because competitors will decrease their ad spend. So, in effect, you do the opposite of the competition. Plus, this lets savvy advertisers re-position a brand or introduce a new service.
Another reason to up your advertising budget and activity is because the cost of advertising drops during recessions. The same can be said for pandemics. Lower rates create a “buyer’s market” for law firms. For example, research has found that direct mail advertising—which can provide greater short-term sales growth—increases during a recession.
Also, when marketers decrease their ad spending, the company’s brand loses its “share of mind” with consumers. This can result in the potential of loss of current and possibly future sales. Advertising gives your company an increase in “share of voice,” which typically leads to in an increase in “share of market.” This, in turn, means more revenue.
Finally, brands can project an image of corporate stability to the public in tough economic times.
As soon as possible, companies should try to resurrect their advertising efforts because Google and Facebook work best when they have strong historical data from which to optimize.
Of course, reducing ad spend maybe a necessity because of cash flow and the ability of your company to invest in your usual levels of advertising during this time. However, some presence will benefit a company’s account history and its customers. One expert recommends running a brand campaign if possible to help show customers that you are still active.
In addition, advertising can shield your competitors from encroaching on your brand and grabbing valuable market share, as mentioned above. You should switch up your ad copy to communicate your company’s current state to customers and prospects.
Ads Can be a Great Way to Communicate With Your Customers
Ads can be an effective vehicle to communicate a strong message with customers and prospective customers. Business slow-downs and shut-downs during the coronavirus pandemic have affected companies in a variety of ways as the production for all types of businesses have been impacted.
If you can once again address customer issues and pain points—either in business as usual or through new and creative solutions—it’s a smart move to run ads to let people know how you can help them. And telling customers how you can help them may require a different strategy.
A company may need to re-strategize its approach to keep the public aware of services during the pandemic, and to explain how the company has pivoted. When conversions are made, this communication gives these prospects the chance to connect with updated messaging that explains current operations.
Even a limited ad campaign can help make re-opening a business more successful. As your company gets ready to get back up to speed, you’ll need to build up your marketing in advance to make a big impression when the day comes to open up the doors or go live online again.