Coronavirus is the biggest UK public health threat since the Spanish Influenza in 1918, but it’s not just the medical world that is shaken. The spread of COVID-19, and the subsequent self-isolating defence, are also forging an economic crisis worldwide.
As businesses close and governments implore that we stay at home, the global economy is suffering. We look at what’s available for businesses who are trying to keep going, and steps to take that may help.
Government support for UK businesses suffering during the COVID-19 crisis
In a bid to preserve cash and cut spending, many businesses are choosing to furlough staff and instead, take advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme was an emergency measure created by the government to help businesses deal with COVID-19.
It encourages employers to place staff on furlough, rather than making them redundant. In return, the government will pay 80% of furloughed staff wages, up to £2,5000 per month for a set period of time, which is currently due to finish at the end of May 2020.
This is just one of the measures introduced by the government, with further details of available schemes explained on their website. These also include help for employers paying sick pay for coronavirus related absences, grants and loans schemes, and the relaxing of accessibility rules for some benefits.
Marketing as a core activity
Many companies have had to implement emergency survival strategies for the coming months (and maybe even years), many of which include brutal cost cutting. In a recession the first area that tends to get the chop is the marketing budget. After all, if your audience has no money to spend even if they wanted to, why try to lure them in?
In real terms, marketing activities are a vital tool for survival, especially during a financial crisis. Any time that your competitors retreat from the marketplace is an opportunity to step in and plug the gaps that might otherwise have been taken by someone with a bigger budget or a better campaign than you. It keeps existing customers warm, and can even put you on the radar of new ones.
After all, people are currently spending more time at home, and are more susceptible to digital marketing strategies that engage them. Scheduling tools such as Hootsuite can be used to organise content and schedule it for publication, enabling people to prepare content in advance if that’s more convenient. This goes towards keeping the brand active, and is also useful for maintaining (or increasing) your search engine visibility.
If you have had success with paid search before, then this might also be worth revisiting. Social media engagement will naturally rise, with more people using it as a tool to stay in touch with isolated family and friends. It might be time to get creative!
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