COVID-19 has caused many businesses to change their marketing strategies to stay in the market. The situation has left entrepreneurs and small business owners stressed about how to approach the crisis. Rather than focusing on making short-sighted decisions that could impact long-term success, business owners need to focus on trying to market their brand and build relationships with media outlets, their target audience, and relevant people in their industry.
While not all businesses may generate revenue right now, it does not mean that they cannot offer value and expertise and stay relevant through digital marketing. However, due to the pandemic, companies are either cutting down entirely on PR and marketing activities or coming up with exciting ways to engage their audience during these times.
In this article, we will look at:
- Why use PR for brand exposure
- How PR can help sales
Why use PR for brand exposure?
An effective public relations strategy should help expose a business to new audiences; it is a way for businesses to communicate with people. The common misconception about public relations is that it should be used when companies have made a mistake and need to run a PR campaign to issue apologies or make their business look better. However, that is not entirely the case. A company’s PR efforts help manage how they distribute information. It is the part of an overall branding strategy that focuses more on reputation and communication.
PR has always been one of the most cost-effective ways to market a business. In fact, PR can be particularly valuable when companies have a limited budget but still want to advertise their products or services.
During COVID-19, businesses have changed their PR and marketing strategies in both minor and significant ways. For example, they’ve made changes to operation hours, customer communication, budget allocation, new product releases, and planning.
There are many reasons that PR can help a business with its sales. In fact, there are some reasons that will specifically help businesses both during the pandemic and post-COVID-19.
1) Raising awareness
A good PR marketing strategy should make people aware that a company exists. By creating a consistent public relations strategy, companies can build general awareness of their products, services, or brands. Moreover, they can supplement any direct marketing and advertising efforts, and increase a website’s rank on various search engines.
2) Attracting new customers
During the pandemic, many businesses have had to market themselves differently. For companies to stay relevant and open, they need to focus more on meeting consumers’ needs and dealing with the current situation.
PR generates interest and captures the attention of new clients. A positive news story about the business can influence customers to choose a company’s product or service over competitors that have not gotten any media exposure.
3) Enticing investors
Even if a company is established, it needs to continue marketing the brand. A carefully planned PR strategy can create positive media coverage, resulting in a better negotiating position with potential investors.
These reasons help companies achieve the media coverage they need and deserve. However, it is possible that companies may not have the specific skill set to create an effective PR strategy. If that is the case, hiring PR professionals is the way to obtain everything they need for their PR strategy to be successful. PR agencies like Pressfarm are there to help startups and companies create quality content like press kits that are newsworthy to achieve media outreach.
With that content, Pressfarm will go the extra mile, without the costs associated with huge agencies, to help companies get great results. They will help increase release visibility in relevant search results across major search engines. Companies that work with Pressfarm can also access over 1 million media contacts from different industries through their filter-based search engine. With these contacts, brands can connect with the best media professionals in their niche and share their stories widely.
How PR can help sales during and post-COVID 19
The economy and marketplace are continually changing, but during COVID-19, companies have had to pivot their marketing efforts to match the needs that can make or break a business. So, to survive during and after the pandemic, companies need to ride that fine line between continuing as before, which customers may perceive as insensitive, and flooding customers with constant information.
Some ways that companies can modify their PR strategy and grow their audience are:
1) Emphasize the true relevance of a product or service
When people are trying to save as much money as possible, brands need to emphasize how their brand is still essential to consumers. It’s important to highlight how it can be beneficial to their lives. Companies may need to shift focus on their products or find new ways to fulfill their audience’s needs.
2) Meet current consumer needs
Rather than blatantly promoting what a company has to offer, they need to focus more on consumer wants and needs. When the company provides helpful tools and promotions, consumers are more likely to make a purchase. Companies can think of practical and attractive ways for potential consumers to get information about the brand, promoting online services, offering curbside pickup, or providing live chat and support.
3) Increase digital marketing efforts
Even before the pandemic, consumers were online. While it may not have seemed necessary before, now is the time to develop a good digital marketing strategy. By focusing on digital marketing efforts like paid ads, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing, companies can keep their website up to date. Using blogs, videos, social media, and other digital content., a company can establish itself as an authority and thought leader.
4) Modify email marketing campaign
Adapting email-marketing campaigns to address challenges that customers face gives companies a chance to change their tone, content, and frequency to match their potential customer’s expectations.
During COVID-19, email marketing has gone through quite a few phases. It began with alert COVID-19 messages with information about store closure, working hours, and return policy changes. Soon after, it transitioned to “We are in it together” messages that discuss a company’s intentions to keep both staff and clients safe. These messages also conveyed the idea that we will all get through it together. After those initial stages of email marketing, companies provided access to content depending on their industry, information about their social commitment through donations, support of local communities, help for frontline workers, and volunteering. No help is too much in hard times. Campaigns like these remain relevant as long as they are appropriately designed. Some have also created entertainment pieces and “plans for the future” to give people hope that things will somehow “go back to normal.”
5) Focus on social media marketing
A large portion of a company’s audience is on social media. It’s important to focus efforts on social media channels. Companies can drive customer engagement by creating relevant posts that add value, education, and entertainment.
By doing this, they are establishing trusted relationships between the brand and its customers. Customers tend to focus more on trusted relationships than low prices despite an economic downturn.
Through social campaigns, companies can show empathy and support. They can also show potential customers what they are doing to help the community through the crisis. This kind of content serves as proof that customers made the right decision to trust the brand. It helps spread the word and engage more potential customers. Companies can also use social media to send good vibes and remind people to stay positive. They can use it as entertainment to help people keep themselves distracted with an appropriate joke, or a fun challenge, among other things.
6) Communicate critical information
There is still so much information circulating about COVID-19 and what companies have to offer during this time. Communicating only the important information is essential so that you don’t fall victim to information overload. Developing an open line of communication by creating transparency and honesty will be very well received among customers.
By incorporating the audience, a company can show leadership by reevaluating its goals, adjusting timelines, and welcoming its audience into its thought process.
As a result of COVID-19, companies have had to either adapt or completely change their PR and marketing strategies. However, one thing that remains constant is the need for PR and marketing in their business plan. An effective system can be challenging, so outsourcing the job and hiring PR professionals is essential. By partnering with professionals, companies can get expert advice on how to stay relevant in the market. COVID-19 has caused our lives to go slightly haywire. However, the thing that remains constant for businesses is the need for public relations and marketing to get the word out there about a brand.