Should you be advertising during the COVID 19 pandemic?
Well, that depends…
Everyone’s a little bit nervous right now, wondering (1) How long is this pandemic going to last? And (2) will my business be able to survive?
These two questions have a lot of business owners FROZEN, as leads and sales drop precipitously. (I especially feel for our friends in the northern climes, as they’ve only got until the fourth of July to make enough money to get them through the winter. If you’re building pools in New York City, you’ll be lucky if the phone rings at all.)
Builders in particular are getting desperate for sales, so they’re “ready to advertise in the worst possible way.” (That’s an inside joke for marketing people, and it’s not a compliment.)
So that leads to the big question –should you be advertising during this pandemic?
Well, I’ve got several answers for you.
ANSWER #1 – YES, if you’ve already been advertising for a while, then it makes sense to continue at some reasonable level.
But the tone of your message needs to shift a little. Right now, people are going through a lot of emotional stuff. They need to see and hear some compassion from others, including advertisers. Otherwise, you are going to look and sound painfully “tone deaf.”
This is not the time to be “self-serving” (even though our primary goal is admittedly to help you get more sales).
The slant of your message needs to pivot.
No one explains it better than “Wizard of Ads” marketing great Mr. Roy Williams. And fortunately, he made a 19 minute video on this exact topic.
If you plan to continue advertising, definitely check out this video.
ANSWER #2 – ONLY if your website is up to the task.
It doesn’t make sense – in good times or bad – to spend good money on advertising, only to send people to a website that disappoints and doesn’t convert.
This is overwhelmingly true if you are looking at online/PPC advertising, but it’s also fairly accurate for all other forms of advertising too. For example, if someone sees your billboard, vehicle signage or yard sign, there’s an excellent chance they’ll go to your website before they call you. Heck, even a referral will most likely check out your website before calling you.
So again, if the website doesn’t impress them, then that sales opportunity will dry up right there on the spot.
(Not sure if your website is up to the task? Call us. We specialize in (1) analyzing pool industry websites, and (2) fixing them so they convert.)
ANSWER #3 – PROBABLY NOT, if you weren’t advertising already.
It’s easy for an outsider to philosophically claim “This is the PERFECT time to advertise! Those who invest now will come out ahead at the end.”
It may be true, but that’s only if you survive. It can be dangerous advice if you don’t have the cash reserves to spend a lot of money on advertising for an extended period of time. (If you are counting on the advertising to make you rich overnight, prepare to be disappointed.)
A MUCH BETTER idea is to reach out to your EXISTING PROSPECTS, and “Shake the Tree.”
Reaching out to your existing prospects costs almost nothing, and they are significantly easier to convert than trying to persuade total strangers.
(If you don’t already have a Sales CRM/automation system that allows you to reach out to all your prospects on an ongoing basis, give us a call. We have a system we can implement for you in less than two weeks.)
BOTTOM LINE – There is OPPORTUNITY in these times, but you’ve got to be SMART about it.
You should also keep in mind that:
- You’re more or less in the same situation as everyone else.
- Your challenges will be exacerbated by “low-ballers” who will do anything to keep the cash flowing, even if it means losing money on a job.
- Discounting is a tough way to win. (There are usually too many other cheaper builders who are willing to discount more than you.)
- If you are not already famous as a low-cost leader, then “bundling” and “incentives” is probably a better strategy.
- Be sure to make it clear to everyone everywhere (email blasts, social media, website) that you are open for business, and it’s “full steam ahead.”
- Whatever messages you send out, be sure to convey compassion, rather than desperation or self-serving promotion.
With that said, I am hoping that YOU and YOURS are holding up OK, and safely weathering this storm.
And as always, if you need marketing help or advice, just reply back to this email, or give me a call. We are, in fact, “full steam ahead,” and helping out wherever we can.
To your success,
Brett Lloyd Abbott
Head Guru at Pool Builder Marketing LLC