We’re dealing with an unprecedented moment in history at the time of writing this article.
The entire country of the UK is on lockdown. Everywhere we look across the globe, governments and leading political groups are urging consumers to stay in, lock their doors, and prevent the spread of one of the world’s worst-ever pandemics.
The result? Business owners are panicking.
While things like eCommerce and digital sales were already on the rise long before COVID-19 began, this is the first time that the virtual world has been the only way for organisations to connect with their customers.
It’s time for companies of all shapes and sizes to start rethinking their digital roadmap.
Fortunately for countless brands that have never faced anything quite like the COVID-19 pandemic before, we’ve got some handy digital marketing tips to get you started.
How Coronavirus affects marketing strategies
As horrific as the coronavirus pandemic is, it’s not all bad news for marketers.
Governments around the globe are increasingly warning their customers not to go outside, meaning that even the people in your target audience that previously avoided online shopping will be starting to embrace the digital world more than ever.
The smartest companies in the landscape right now will be taking the lemons of uncertainty, panic, and global disruption and turning them into lemonade. People will be online and shopping a lot more than they normally would, and the tools are already online to make digital shopping easy.
If you have the right branding and marketing campaigns to attract your chosen audience during this time, you might even earn a lot more than you expected.
Look at this way. If you can find a way to sell to the people in your community that are bored, stuck at home, and unable to shop elsewhere, then now is the perfect time to double down on your promotional strategies.
You have a captive audience all looking online for tools and services that they can use to make their lives a little less stressful and a bit more comfortable during this worrisome time.
While the last thing you want to do right now is to be seen taking advantage of other people’s pain, you can definitely rev up your chances of sales and conversions if you figure out what your customers need and how you can effectively give it to them.
Adjusting your promotional strategies for a crisis
First things first, you’re going to need to sit down with your marketing team, reach out to your promotional contractors, and come up for a plan for how to thrive during this crisis.
The Coronavirus pandemic isn’t just affecting the health of the public; it’s also having a massive impact on the economy. According to Google, since February started, search interest in the term “coronavirus” spiked by 260% on a global scale.
People are looking for anything and everything that can help them deal with the uncertainty of a world-altering illness.
With that in mind:
1. Review your accounts
If you have paid advertising campaigns in place for things like Google, Facebook, and Instagram, now’s the time to stay on top of them. Changing markets are likely to affect the way that people respond to certain search terms.
You might see that some of the keywords that used to work well for your business are dropping in value. However, searches for “local delivery” and “virtual” services might be increasing.
Watching your accounts and your ROI from certain search terms will give you a good insight into what your customers need most from you right now.
Depending on the business that you’re running, it might even be a good idea to start implementing some additional keywords and phrases, like “COVID-19” or “coronavirus.”
2. Evaluate your marketing strategies
Dozens of companies have delayed, suspended, or shifted the focus of their marketing strategies in light of the new coronavirus pandemic. You might need to take the same approach.
Ford, one of the biggest car companies in the world, decided to delay their big announcement about bringing back the Bronco car, as they felt that customers might not be in the mood to buy a new vehicle.
KFC even pulled their marketing campaigns that focused on the “finger-licking good” phrase after receiving complaints that the messaging was inappropriate at a time when hand hygiene is essential.
In these uncertain times, you’ll need to work with your team to figure out which of your marketing strategies you should double down on, which you should put on hold, and which you need to get rid of entirely or risk losing your customers.
3. Update your communication
In a crisis situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst possible response is silence. If your brand tries to continue with business as usual, without addressing critical issues, your customers are going to wonder why you’re so detached from the rest of the world.
No matter who your customers are, they’ll expect to hear some information on how you’re going to keep both your employees and the public safe.
You’ll also need to create crisis communication strategies that address:
Whether events or operations in your business are going to be affected.
What customers can expect from you in the weeks or months to come.
How you’re going to handle any refunds required.
If you’re having a hard time responding to all customer concerns, now might be the time to hire some additional assistance to help manage things like social media comments, and email queries. Don’t leave your clients in the dark.
Digital marketing tips to help you survive COVID-19
The good news for companies unsure whether to continue their marketing strategies or not in this complex time is that there are still opportunities to grow.
Now more than ever, your clients are going to be looking online to find useful information, stay entertained, and even figure out which companies they can trust.
If you can get your branding right now, you could continue to reap the benefits for decades to come – long after the issue of COVID-19 has completely disappeared. All you really need to do is show your customers that you’re capable of adapting to their needs as times change.
Adjust your business model
The CDC and various other health groups have recommended that individuals and businesses alike postpone or cancel meetings of more than 50 people. As foot traffic and local visitation slows to a grinding halt, many companies are being forced to rethink the way that they’re doing business.
Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee brand, announced that it would be adopting a to-go only model, designed to ensure that customers can still get their coffee fix, without the risk.
Disney’s theme parks and stores have closed, but the business has doubled down on other offerings, like the new Disney + Streaming service in the UK.
While you might not be able to completely replicate the services and experiences that you can offer in-person in the online world, you can take proactive steps to keep people coming to your business, even from a virtual perspective.
Ensure your website is well-optimised for search and brimming with information on how customers can still buy from you.
Update your Google My Business page with information on how you’re operating right now. If you’re offering take-outs or to-go ordering, then let your customers know.
Improve your website user experience, so customers feel comfortable buying online.
Add something new to your strategy
If you’re worried that your marketing campaigns will fall short when you’re advertising things like Judo sessions that clients can sign up for three months in advance, it might be time to start adding something new to your campaigns.
Perhaps you can only offer your in-depth classes in person when things have blown over. Still, you can get people started with a beginner’s taster session that’s delivered online through video conferencing.
This could be a great way to attract new customers, and develop your position as an industry leader while giving yourself another opportunity to earn cash.
One of the most important things that any business can do right now is make sure that they stay top of mind for their clients.
As well as adding new sales opportunities to your campaign, think about how you can add new forms of content to your marketing roster to boost brand awareness and recognition.
Start a podcast that highlights your unique knowledge of your industry and encourages people to sign up to your email newsletter.
Use articles and blogs to demonstrate your thought leadership, and boost your chances of being featured on other leading publications through guest writing.
Work hand-in-hand with influencers and other brands to show your audience that you’re a reputable brand while giving them valuable information that they can use.
Manage your reputation
Remember, in a crisis; people will be looking for evidence of who they can trust, and who they can’t. Trust and respect are the holy grails of marketing and sales.
If you want your customers to continue to buy from you both during this difficult time, and after COVID-19 has gone, then you need to make sure that you’re delivering the right image.
Digital marketing tips: Update your tone of voice
There’s nothing wrong with maintaining your personality during times of crisis. People will still want you to sound unique.
However, you shouldn’t be making light of other people’s suffering. Be careful that your tone doesn’t come across as cruel or ignorant.
Digital marketing tips: Show that you care
Don’t just tell people that you’re there to help them, show them that you have their best interests at heart. Give demos away for free if people need them.
Offer discounts to those who are suffering from a reduced income due to Coronavirus exposure. Make a real difference.
Digital marketing tips: Stay active
Don’t go silent when your customers need you most. Keep your clients up to date with the latest on what you’re doing to make their lives easier.
Even a regular email newsletter can make a world of difference.
Looking beyond the coronavirus: Updating your marketing
We’re dealing with a time where virtually everyone is scared, confused, and uncertain.
Businesses, just like their consumers, have no idea what’s going to happen next, or how well they’re going to thrive after the pandemic has begun to diminish. The best thing that you can do right now, is be proactive.
Use the digital marketing tips above and start to adapt your promotional strategies based on what know about your customers and your industry.
Don’t just assume that your customers will keep shopping with you if you’re running a digital company because they’re stuck at home. Give your clients a reason to connect with your brand on a deeper level and start working on stronger brand loyalty.
Now is the time for businesses of all sizes to upgrade and enhance their marketing strategies so that they can prove themselves to their target audience.
If you’re not sure how you’re going to survive the pandemic, or you need a little help dealing with your company’s own personal crisis, reach out to Fabrik today for more digital marketing tips. We can help you to build a brand that will weather any storm.
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