Many South African businesses are experiencing a decline in sales and revenue during the extended lockdown and the subsequent economic downturn.
Certain sectors are worse hit than others. The entertainment, restaurant, travel, and event industries, for example, came to a complete standstill.
On the other end of the scale, telecoms and IT companies in South Africa continue to operate without many restrictions.
This, however, does not mean they are not affected by the lockdown. Many of their clients are struggling financially which is resulting in cancelled services or payment holidays.
To make up for the lost in revenue and cancelled accounts, companies have to sign up new clients – which in turn requires marketing spend.
During tough financial times many companies often cut their marketing budgets as they are an easy discretionary budget item. This, however, is a mistake.
Without effective marketing a company will enter a death spiral where it is losing clients and revenue without signing up new clients. It is easy to see how this story ends.
Instead of indiscriminately cutting marketing budgets, many companies have adjusted their marketing strategy to focus on what works best and provides the highest ROI – digital channels.
Very few people are currently reading newspapers and magazines, or driving around. Print and outdoor advertising budgets have therefore been cut.
This is because the majority of South Africans are spending more time online – which has resulted in a big increase in online marketing spend.
The results are impressive, and MyBroadband’s online advertising campaigns has seen exceptional engagement rates and the companies which advertise continue to sign up new clients.
Effective marketing strategies to use during the lockdown, the economic downturn, and post-lockdown must contain several key elements – as detailed below.
Content marketing is king
Content marketing – especially sponsored articles and reviews – is highly effective to inform potential clients about your products and services.
Many online publications in South Africa offer content marketing services, which make it easy for companies to create and promote their content.
Social media provides an affordable and effective way for companies to communicate with potential customers and link to products and services.
Facebook is the most effective marketing tool, with LinkedIn and Twitter offering some value for niche campaigns.
Using banner ads to maintain brand awareness
Many companies are now opting to use online banner ads to maintain brand awareness instead of more expensive outdoor billboards, or newspaper and magazine adverts.
A large part of South Africa’s economically-active population is spending most of their day online, which makes banner ads an effective brand awareness tool.
Sources which can help: MyBroadband advertising hub
Newsletters are an affordable and effective away for companies to communicate with their customers and gain new clients.
To reach a new audience, many companies are partnering with publishers in their industry to distribute their message to new potential clients.
Sources which can help: Email marketing
Google Paid Search
Google Paid Search remains a key ingredient in any lead-generation campaign, which is why it is a good idea to leave this part of your marketing budget alone.
It is, however, a good idea to tweak your keywords to take advantage of the changing search trends around the lockdown.
Sources which can help: Google Paid Search
Improve your online presence
Most South Africans rely on the Internet to find information, buy goods, and inform their purchasing decisions.
A strong online presence, which should include a good-looking website and smartphone app, is crucial to optimise business opportunities during the lockdown.
Use webinars in the absence of conferences
Many companies relied on industry conferences to interact with their peers and showcase their products to the market. This is no longer possible.
Webinars are easy and affordable to organise and give companies an opportunity to communicate with potential clients directly.
Sources which can help: Webinar platforms